Professor Patrick Mohr, S.J.
Professor Emil J. Piscitelli
The Matrix of The Speech of Being: Myth, Symbol, and Word in the Spirit
By Professors Patrick Mohr, S.J. and Emil J. Piscitelli
I. Introduction: Hermeneutic Ontology
"Hermeneutic Ontology" is a name whose philosophical history involves the thought of Martin Heidegger and Paul Ricoeur. Like Heidegger we wish to begin our understanding of the term with the etymology of the words themselves. For the etymology reveals a history more primordial than the philosophical, it presents the symbol, which, as Ricoeur so aptly states, gives rise to thought. The primary symbol of ontology, the logos about onta, the word about what exists, is logos. For logos is derived from the Greek verb legein, which has the meaning to lay in order, arrange, and so to gather or pick up, and finally to count, tell, or say. In our discussion of the matrix of hermeneutic ontology we wish to investigate the basic order of logos itself and in so doing see how it arranges being for human consciousness. Such an investigation is an hermeneutic enterprise, not only because in analyzing logos we are analyzing speaking, and "hermeneutic" is derived from "Hermes," the name of the Greek god of speaking. For "hermeneutics" has come to mean "the study of the methodological principles of interpretation." "Interpret," in turn, is derived from the Latin inter, between, and a root corresponding to the Sanskrit prath, to spread abroad.A spreading out of the order implicit in speaking must discover the principles of any spreading out or ordering process, and so be hermeneutic in the ordinary sense of the word. Finally, "hermeneutic" has come to be associated with the "hermeneutic circle" of "faith seeking understanding." Our investigation of the matrix of hermeneutic ontology, the matrix of speaking, is such a circle. For it begins in the faith or trust that speaking gathers up what exists, and understands what exists by that trust in, by being true to, the structure of that gathering. This enterprise is circular, for in the matrix of hermeneutic ontology, speaking lays out and gathers its own gathering.
II. The Generation of the Matrix of Hermeneutic Ontology
A. The structure of speaking
The first laying out of logos is the unfolding of its own structure as speaking. This structure is that someone says something about something to someone. The moments of this structure are called subjectivity, intentionality, reference, and intersubjectivity, where subjectivity refers to the someone or the subject who is speaking, intentionality refers to the saying something or the act of speaking itself, reference refers to the something which is being spoken about, and intersubjectivity refers to the relation between the speaker and the hearer, or the one being spoken to. Since the structure of language as discourse or the act of speaking is identical to the structure of symbol, it can be understood only as an expression of unity in difference. Thus each moment of speaking is truly distinct from the others, but no moment can be understood excised or abstracted from its relation to the others.
A someone is a subject or one who speaks or hears. This simple definition expresses the reciprocity between self and discourse, for in our analysis of the definition of structure of discourse, we find that each of the moments which define it can be itself defined only in relation to the act of speaking. Therefore the self discovers itself only in its expression and cannot be found outside of that horizon. One does not realize oneself as some individual atomic unity abstracted from all its relations, and then choose whether or not to reveal oneself in speaking. Apart from speaking there is no subject or someone. Once the horizon of consciousness and the horizon of speaking are recognized as identical, we can no longer postulate the existence of a speaker independent of its speaking.
2. Intentionality or Meaning
The second moment of the structure of discourse is the central one, and clearly implicates all of the others. For saying something indicates the symbolic function or activity of discourse. In considering intentionality, therefore, we consider what discourse is actually doing. The name "intentionality" is a metaphor which suggests two important aspects of the act of speaking. For intentionality means a stretching towards, and thus first brings to consciousness the fact that speaking is dynamic, which for a finite subject implies an incomplete movement towards a goal. The goal is the other aspect which the metaphor of intentionality suggests. That goal is achieved in the something which is said. And the something which is said in the symbolizing activity of saying is not the name which is predicated of a subject but the relation of commonality which exists between subject and predicate. So, whether one predicates a proper or common, literal or metaphorical name of a subject, it is the unity in difference of subject and predicate which is being asserted, or said.
A saying something is therefore the naming of a relation, not the production of an object. When one says, for example, "a bear is an animal," the "something" said is not "animal," but "is an animal." The relation here may be objectified and named, but it is not an object in the sense that it is a thing which can exist independent of the terms of the relation which it is. "Something" is therefore to be taken in the sense of a relationship and not an isolated atomic object.
The tension of intentionality is really the holding together of the terms of the saying relationship as a unity in difference. This metaphor suggests that a speaking can never be past, it exists only in the present. One cannot have a movement towards saying which is its desire and then a completed saying which is fulfillment. The experience of the desire to say occurs only in the tension of unity in difference which speaking is. Without this experience there would be no longing for speaking. However, the primordial experience of speaking does have within it a dynamism which unfolds ever more complicated expressions of unity in difference. And because there is no end to the possible assemblies of relationships which are involved in any act of speaking, each act of speaking implies a serial infinite. Once the relationship has been established between the two terms, another relationship may be set up between that relationship and each of the terms, and so on. However, that infinite series of relationships would not be possible without the instantaneous infinite which occurs in the primordial act of speaking. Every act of speaking implies, and intends or holds together a present infinite. The goal of intentionality is not to create an infinite communication which is not present, but to develop one which is present.
The third moment of discourse, reference, answers the question "What is being talked about?" The answer to this question refers or carries back to the subject under discussion. It is this subject of discussion which is known as the object, and hence reference is just another name for objectivity.
Lest confusion arise from an apparent identification of subject and object, what is meant here by subject is not a speaker of a sentence but the subject of a sentence. Thus, in the sentence "A bear is an animal," the reference, object, or what is being talked about, is a bear, the subject of the predication. So, while in one sense what is being talked about is the whole predicational relationship, the first sense of reference is only part of the predication, the subject. Likewise, although in one sense what is being said, or the intentionality, is the whole predication, the first sense of intentionality is the predicating. So the referential and intentional moments of discourse can easily be identified by analyzing the structure of predication into subject and predicate.
Although the full sense of reference implies intentionality, and vice versa, at this point of our discussion we wish to investigate their primary senses. Therefore, reference is not to be identified with meaning, even though some call speech meaningless when it has no reference. Meaning, rather, is synonymous with intentionality. Not only is the root meaning of mean intend or talk, but present usage preserves that sense. The question "What do you mean?" is equivalent to "What do you mean or intend to say," or more simply, "What are you saying?" To answer this question, one turns one's attention to the predicate, not the subject, of the sentence, even though in a further sense an articulation of meaning may include an amplification or definition of the referent. This identity of reference with the broader sense of meaning, however, demonstrates the reciprocity of intention and reference, not the restriction of meaning to reference.
In the primary senses of the words, therefore, reference is not intentionality. We saw that when one says "A bear is an animal," what one is saying is the relation be-tween bear and animal, and this saying is expressed in the total predicate "is an animal," not just in the predicate noun, animal. But we must make the distinction that what one is talking about in the first sense is not the relationship between bear and animal, otherwise intentionality and reference would be identical. Rather what is being talked about or referred to is a bear.
A bear, like all objects or referents, is a thing. But by calling a referent a thing we do not mean to suggest a reality which can exist independent of discourse but which is rather a moment of discourse. In examining intentionality we have seen that speaking creates a thing, calls an assembly by showing a relationship between things. But the things which are the terms of the relationship, while in one sense they may pre-exist this particular saying, do not exist before discourse, but are themselves hypostatizations of previous predications. A bear, like any other object or thing, is a relation called into being by discourse, since it is an instance of that which is common to all bears. It is discourse, therefore, which creates reference, even though the referent of a particular predication is not created by that predication.
However, although in a primary sense a referent pre-exists the predication of which it is the referent, in another sense it does not. The full meaning of "bear," for example, does not exist before the predication "a bear is an animal." Even though we may notice the commonality between many beings and call that relation "bear," we do not fully know what we are talking about, we do not know the reference of the term bear until we have made the predication "a bear is an animal." It is here that we can see how a question of reference moves back to a question of intentionality. Having answered the question of reference with the term bear, the next question we must answer is one of intentionality again, the meaning of "bear." And the full meaning of "bear" cannot be discovered outside of the present predication. For speaking or meaning must be present if it is understood, if it is symbol, if it is to speak at all. Every speaking grounds as well as is grounded by, understands as well as is stood under by, all previous speaking. Reference, therefore, or thing, is just another word for previous speaking.
Reference, like all the other moments of discourse, implies all the other moments. Any thing or object separated from discourse is therefore false reference.
The ultimate unity in difference of discourse is called intersubjectivity. It is important to emphasize that the moment of intersubjectivity is not the someone or subject to whom the speaking is addressed. As we have seen above, a subject is one who speaks or hears, since speaking is a hearing and vice versa. Intersubjectivity is the relationship of unity between speaker and hearer which makes the speaker a hearer and the hearer a speaker. So when we talk about language as discourse as saying something to someone, and call the moment "to someone" intersubjectivity, the significant word is the to, for it expresses the relationship. It is also important to emphasize that the "to" does not just indicate movement towards, that speaking is directed at a subject, but that a relationship of mutual speaking and hearing exists between subjects. True discourse is the existence not only of the speaker but also the hearer. This implies that every true speaking has a hearer, and conversely that speaking which is not a relation of unity between subjects does not exist, says nothing at all.
The first implication is somewhat startling, for it suggests that one may have an intersubjective relationship with one whom one does not explicitly know, and even that one may have an intersubjective relationship with someone before that person exists. For how else can one explain the experience which authors have of saying something which is universally true, even though they have no particular audience in mind? Truth, however, true speaking, is an intersubjective relationship with all who hear, and they exist as subjects only to the extent that they hear the truth which is said. To speak truly is to have an intersubjective relationship with, or to be a friend of everyone, even though it may appear on the surface that the speaking is directed to some particular person. Since persons or subjects are constituted by the truth, in a sense there is no such thing as a particular subject, rather all subjects are subjects to the extent that they speak and hear the truth. Speaking truly speaks to everyone.
B. The Generation of the Languages
1. Myth, or the Speaking in Experience
The fact that speaking is differentiated into four moments: subjectivity, intentionality, reference, and intersubjectivity is an exemplification of the fact that discourse can reflect upon itself. But further, the self-reflection of discourse generates types of language, according to which moment of the structure of discourse is the object of the reflection. Language which speaks subjectivity is called myth. In speaking subjectivity, myth states what it is to be a subject insofar as it is a subject. The etymo-logy of "subject" suggests the relational nature of this moment of discourse. For a subject is literally something which is thrown under (from the Latin jectum and sub) an object, something which is thrown over against it (from the Latin jectum, thrown and ob, over against). The theme of the language of myth is thus the subject-object relation, how one exists in relation to an objective reality. A false reflection on what it is to be a someone or subject might attempt to discover the subject apart from its relations. Such an attempt will result in an empty subjectivity or ego, in an expression which expresses nothing. But a language which listens to the awareness of the subject will express it as it is in its implicit relations. The language of subjectivity, or myth, is thus the speaking of experience.
2. Symbol, or the Speaking in Understanding
Language which speaks the second moment of discourse, intentionality, is called symbol. Rather than focus on the speaker of language, the language of symbol discovers reality in the speaker's speaking, in its expression of unity in difference. The expression of a speaker is different from itself as well as from the reality which it speaks about. But in speaking a subject realizes its unity with the reality which is different from it, set over against it. Saying something makes reality supportable rather than overbearing or alien. The awareness of unity in difference which comes in saying something makes symbol the speaking of understanding.
3. Logos, or the Speaking in Reflection
Just as the language of subjectivity or myth thematized the immediate unity of the self in opposition to objective reality, and the language of intentionality or symbol thematized the unity in difference of the self speaking or expressing itself, the language of reference or logos thematizes the moment of difference or otherness or objectivity in discourse. As the symbol of "reflection" (from the Latin flectere, bend, and re back) suggests, however, in logos the speaker, as well as the reality which it reflects upon, is "bent back" upon itself. The carrying away from oneself of the differentiation (from the Latin di, away, and ferre, carry) of speaking becomes a carrying back to oneself in the speaking about something of reference (from the Latin re, back, and ferre, carry). Logos thus emphasizes difference to the point of objectivity inasmuch as it reveals that one can only have an identity as set over against an other who is distinct from oneself to the point of non-identity. The identity-non-identity which logos thematizes is not, however, the immediate subject-object relation which myth thematizes. For logos includes the mediation of the unity of symbol, and the objectivity of logos verges on the objectivity of another speaker.
3. Spirit, or the Speaking in Commitment
The objectivity of another speaker appears fully in the language of intersubjectivity, which is called spirit. It is the function of the language of spirit to express explicitly the intersubjective dimension of reality, and hence it is the language of deliberation, decision, or commitment. To it belongs such speaking as promises and affirmations of love. In such statements the speaker declares the fact that reality for him exists in the relation to the other person to whom he commits himself in his statement. And with such statements occurs the realization that being a self involves not merely the confrontational experience of an objective reality, nor simply the symbolic understanding of that reality, nor even reflection upon it, but rather the giving of oneself in communion to another self. The theme of the speaking of spirit is thus the self--other self relation.
The language of spirit or commitment is the briefest of all languages. It includes all of the other languages and occurs after the subject realizes through symbolization and reflection that reality exists in a particular activity or form of speaking. However, the inclusion of the other languages in spirit may not be a temporal one in the sense that the subject must go through a complete process of symbolization and reflection in time before he can commit himself or decide. For the process of symbolization and reflection is a temporal serial infinite. Were decision to temporally follow complete reflection, it would never occur. The activity of spirit, decision, and commitment transcends time, and temporally considered, it both precedes and follows symbolization and reflection, for it is a statement of what the subject is.
C. General Description of the Matrix of Hermeneutic Ontology
An hermeneutic ontology differentiates being by objectifying the moments of the structure of discourse: objectified subjectivity is called self, objectified intentionality is called logos, objectified reference is called the world, and objectified intersubjectivity is called God. And, as we have seen, logos further differentiates itself by the moments of subjectivity, intentionality, reference, and intersubjectivity into the types of language: myth, symbol, logos, and spirit. We shall first examine these types of language and their interrelations, and then develop our ontology by demonstrating the manner in which they articulate being. Because an ontology develops the transcendental structure of being rather than that of any particular being, an hermeneutic ontology is not immediately a psychology, cosmology, or theology. Nor is it even a logology, for it does not intend to isolate the moment of intentionality which logos reflects upon from the other moments of being or reality. Logos indeed differentiates being or reality, but being is not simply logos. The matrix of ontology will therefore be determined on the one hand by logos and its differentiated moments, myth, symbol, logos, and spirit, and on the other by that which is differentiated by logos, being. Being can be completely differentiated or objectified into types of beings. But in order to have a transcendental ontology rather than its four derivative sciences, we must consider the moments of being as differentiated but not objectified. That is, we will consider reality with emphasis on subjectivity, intentionality, reference and intersubjectivity, but without these moments being completely objectified as self, language, world, and God. This sort of differentiation by emphasis yields a matrix of ontology with four types each of myth, symbol, logos, and spirit. And so is evident in the matrix of hermeneutic ontology the codetermination of logos and being.
Myth of Chaos
Story / Fiction
Because the moments of discourse are isomorphic to the moments of reality, each type of speaking, though already emphasizing one moment of discourse, is further differentiated by those same four moments which are also moments of reality. Thus, for example, though myth is itself a speaking which emphasizes subjectivity, there are four types of myth depending on which dimension of reality the myth expresses. Myth is a speaking which subjectifies, but it may subjectify the subjectivity, intentionality, reference, or intersubjectivity of reality to give different types of myth.
A significant characteristic of the matrix is the fact that each file seems to be under the control of one of the objectified moments of discourse. That is, myth, because it emphasizes subjectivity, seems to be talking about different states of the self, or consciousness. The file of symbol, because it emphasizes intentionality, seems to be expressing different types of speaking. The file of logos, because it emphasizes reference, has its focus on the objective world. And spirit, emphasizing intersubjectivity, seems to be under the control of transcendence or God. However, while it cannot be denied that there are vectors towards these objectivities present in the matrix, our present concern is not to carry them out to their complete differentiation but to capture being in its incipient differentiation.
Another significant characteristic of the matrix is the fact that its various positions, slots, do not have equal ontological weight. For each moment of discourse implies and is included by its successive moment. As we proceed down the file of myths, or languages of experience, each successive myth must somehow include its predecessor. Likewise, as we proceed across through the ranks of being, each successive moment, subjectivity, intentionality, reference, or intersubjectivity must include its predecessor. Consequently, the position of fourth file, fourth rank must include the whole matrix. We intend to discuss each of the sixteen types of speaking in the matrix. However, it will first be necessary to examine the nature of the four main types of speaking--myth, symbol, logos, and spirit--in terms of the theme which they explicate.
In the discussion of the four main types of speaking, symbol, as we have seen, is the key to the others. For it is through the unity in difference of intentionality or speaking that we understand subjectivity, reference, and intersubjectivity, as well as intentionality itself. Of course, this article is a gradual unfolding of the nature of speaking, but at this point we wish to discuss symbol explicitly in relation to the other types of speaking. And we shall consider it first because it is the mediator to all the other types of speaking.
Speaking which is symbolic is speaking which emphasizes the moment of intentionality or unity in difference. This speaking can be called symbolic inasmuch as it emphasizes symbol, or it can simply be called symbol. But it is crucial for us to note that a symbol is a language, a speaking, and involves every other moment of speaking, even though those dimensions are not explicit in symbol. The all important consequence of this principle is that there is no such thing as a symbol isolated from myth, logos, or spirit. A symbol is not an objective connector between the other languages, it is rather a speaking which implicates and is implicated in them. There is no immediate speaking of myth which is non-symbolic, and objective or "scientific" speaking or logos, and intersubjective speaking of spirit must be symbolic as well. On the other hand, there can be no symbols which do not imply a subjective speaking of myth, the objective differentiation of logos, and the intersubjective communion of intersubjectivity.
When we attend to the fact that we have defined symbol as primordial speaking, it seems tautologous to say that every speaking, whether subjective, objective, or intersubjective is a speaking. However, this tautology is seen to be not a trivial matter when we consider that for finite symbol, or speaking, the differentiation or objectivity of the world is its ultimate differentiation. Every speaking, every symbol, must therefore ultimately refer to the world, whether the speaking be an expression of self, world, or God. It is perhaps this necessary connection with objectivity which has led finite symbols to be mistaken for objects. But for us the finite symbol is a speaking which cannot be separated from finite subjectivity.
The speaking of finite symbol can be explicated in terms of its less differentiated, but more object oriented counterpart in consciousness. Understanding is consciousness regarded as emphasizing intentionality. And one understands by speaking in finite symbol, by finding unity in difference with reference to the world. The metaphor "understanding" is a case in point. We understand speaking through the symbol "understanding" which involves a reference to the objective world. On the other hand, since understanding is a symbol or a speaking, we understand it only through the unity in difference which speaking is. And such is the case for all other examples of finite speaking.
2. Symbol and Myth
The speaking of symbol emphasizes intentionality, or speaking, in distinction from the speaking of myth, which emphasizes subjectivity. However, the speaking of symbol includes and differentiates the subjectivity of myth. For in myth, there is an awareness that someone is speaking, but just who that someone is is not explicit. The speaker who tells the myth is not so much speaking for himself as he is repeating the symbols which express the experience of the community. And the community does not speak for itself in myth so much as it repeats what it hears in being. So the subjectivity of both individual and community in myth is primarily one of hearing. Neither individual or community has yet recognized its responsibility in myth, since they are only speaking again what they have heard. In the speaking of symbol, however, the consciousness of hearing evolves into the self-consciousness of speaking. Awareness of reality expressed in the unity in difference of symbol is awareness of oneself as a creative source of expression. The one who focuses his attention on the symbol, therefore, takes responsibility for what the symbol expresses. He recognizes that the speaking which occurs in myth is not just the speaking of being or of the community, but his own as well.
It is important to stress here that the shift from the speaking of myth to the speaking of symbol is a shift of emphasis, an evolving consciousness, rather than an addition of characteristics or dimensions which were not previously present. Myth is a language, a type of speaking, therefore it is necessarily symbolic, and has all of the dimensions of speaking. However, the type of speaking that we call the speaking of symbol is language which makes the moment of speaking central. Consider the difference between the creation myth, in which "God said, 'let there be light,' and there was light," and the symbolic statement "God is light." The first statement appears to be factual, a literal happening which is a question of historical truth. It happened in the past, and the important subject or speaker is not the one telling the myth, but the one who is speaking in the myth, God. Questioning of this myth, however, will show that it is not so literal as it first appears. The questioning of how anyone knows that the creation of light is a historical fact leads to more obviously symbolic or metaphorical statements, such as, "God told so and so that he created the world, and that person told me," or more directly, "God told me that he created the world." In other words, this myth involves the metaphor of God's speaking. On the other hand, the symbolic statement or metaphor "God is light" more obviously involves us in the subjectivity of the speaker of the statement. The use of the present tense here is not insignificant. For symbol or speaking by its nature emphasizes the present. And questioning of the truth of the statement will more directly involve the person who is making the present claim. To the question "who says so?" applied to the creation myth, we expect to hear the answer, "they, the community, say so," whereas applied to the metaphor of "God is light" we expect to hear the answer, "I say so." However, the fact that the difference between myth and symbol is a question of emphasis can be illustrated by the consideration that "God is light" can be a mythical statement if the speaker is not saying it for himself, or has not yet made the distinction between mythical and metaphorical speech. On the other hand, the creation myth is symbolic when the teller of it realizes it as his own metaphorical speech.
3. Symbol and Logos
Just as the speaking of symbol develops myth, it implies logos. For intentionality, as we have seen, implies reference, in that it is unity in difference with the emphasis on unity, while reference is difference in unity with the emphasis on difference. Logos thematizes reference as symbol thematized intentionality. That is, where the movement of symbol was synthetic, understanding, and insightful in its expressing the connection between apparently different realities, the movement of logos is analytic, reflective, as it shows the differentiation to the point of non-identity of apparent unities. Yet this differentiation would not be possible if it were not already implicit in symbol.
The speaking of logos, as we saw, may be illustrated by the metaphor of reflection, which expresses its corresponding state of consciousness. For in logos speaking turns back upon itself, mirrors itself. Thus the experience in consciousness of logos is of self-objectification. The self which emerged from its undifferentiated state in myth to a full consciousness of its own speaking in symbol now objectifies that speaking to analyze it. For the differentiation of reflection does not stop with the reflection of self and other, but the reflection is reflected upon as well. Like a mirror held in front of a mirror, logos sets up an infinite series of reflections.
In terms of the fundamental dimensions or moments of speaking, this reflection of logos is due to the subordination of intention to reference. Symbol expresses unity in difference. Logos steps back from that unity and refers to it, and in so doing makes intentionality itself a reference or objective. Logos, then, objectifies any kind of speaking. As symbol was an unfolding of the undifferentiated subjectivity of myth, logos now is a differentiation of an reflection on speaking of symbol itself. It is logos, then, which will interpret the primordial speaking of myth by reflecting upon its implicit symbols. But logos can reflect upon itself as well.
The principle which is operative in logos speaking about itself is that subordination of intention to reference leads to self-reference. That which can mirror, can mirror itself. That which can refer can refer to itself. The metaphor of mirror is, of course, inadequate, because mirrors don't really mirror themselves. A mirror is not a source of the light which it reflects. Logos, however, does not lose the activity of symbolizing in its subordination of intention to reference, but as a subsequent moment of speaking includes it. So logos is always a speaking about speaking, and a symbol of symbol, in the sense that it makes intentionality its referent, it makes saying something the something about which it is speaking. However, as we will see in our discussion of the languages of symbol, there is a type of reflective symbol which is symbol of symbol which does not yet have the fully developed referentiality of logos.
It is now evident that the differentiation of speaking into the moments of subjectivity, intentionality, reference and intersubjectivity is itself a self-reflection of logos. Thus the self-reference of logos is not empty but leads to infinite internal reference or differentiation. For the various moments of logos can also now be thematized in self-reference. Yet the most significant aspect of the self-reference of logos is not its infinite differentiation, but that which it differentiates, the presence of the infinite which any symbolic speaking implies and which self-reference now explicates.
Since the speaking of symbol expresses intentionality, or unity in difference, it follows that there is nothing which lies outside of that speaking. But the speaking of symbol itself does not explicate that truth. It belongs to logos as the self-reflection of symbol to show that the presence of speaking presents all reality. Although symbol is a unity in difference, it does not explicate the fact that all difference lies within the unity which it says. Paradoxically, by reflecting on and differentiating the unity of symbol within itself, logos shows that symbol does not unify differences from without but that all differences lie within speaking. Thus the unity is shown to be stronger by the fact that it is differentiated.
4. Symbol and Spirit
The speaking of symbol expresses understanding about reality by showing that it is unity in difference. The speaking of logos reflects on reality and shows that all of its differentiation lies within the unity of the speaking of symbol. Finally, the speaking of spirit shows that the primordial difference which is unified within symbol is the difference of speakers or subjects. For the speaking of spirit thematizes and explicates intersubjectivity. It shows what was implicit in the intentionality of symbol, that every speaking is a reciprocal presence of subjects because every speaking is both a hearing of someone and a speaking to someone.
The metaphors of a corresponding state of consciousness will again serve to illuminate a type of speaking. Consciousness experiences the speaking of spirit as decision or commitment. Both of these metaphors, which signify respectively falling upon and sending with, express activity of the subject in this state of consciousness, and the latter metaphor expresses mutuality. But what is left unsaid is the awareness of consciousness in this state that what is being decided upon or committed to is another subject. Only derivatively can one be committed to a thing. Commitment is an experience of consciousness of the fact that the speaking of spirit now fully explicates, that the existence of all reality flows from the mutual presence of subjects.
For consciousness, the speaking of symbol is understanding. And understanding implies a personal commitment to a person. For when a person is said to be understanding, we do not think of him as understanding things but as understanding persons. And we also attribute to the person of understanding the ability to transcend oneself and to know the other person from within. One cannot understand another to whom one is not committed. As understanding implies commitment, intentionality implies intersubjectivity, the speaking of symbol implies the speaking of spirit. In the speaking of symbol, the subject becomes self-conscious by speaking for himself, by appropriating the reality which was undifferentiated in myth. In the speaking of spirit, however, it is made explicit that this speaking for oneself is also a speaking to another, that one can only appropriate one's own subjectivity by orienting it to the subjectivity of another. Speaking is implicitly self-transcendence. And in speaking for oneself by speaking to another, one also speaks for that other. Having transcended oneself in one's self-appropriation, one is aware of one's subjectivity as derivative from intersubjective speaking rather than vice versa. The intentionality of the speaking of symbol is the bud of presence, of which the intersubjectivity of the speaking of spirit is the full bloom.
5. Spirit and Logos
The movement from the speaking of symbol to the speaking of spirit is, of course, not unmediated. It is only through the self-reflection of logos that the intersubjectivity of spirit is unfolded. Logos turns the intentionality of symbol in upon itself, paradoxically to transcend itself. By analyzing finite symbol, logos goes beyond finite symbol and itself as well. For it is logos which discovers the presence of intersubjectivity within symbol, and in that discovery realizes that the analysis as well as synthesis of finite speaking are derived from intersubjectivity rather than constituents of it.
The primary reference of finite symbol is the world, and it is this reference which determines the finitude of finite symbol. However, the infinite dimension of finite symbol, the fact that it intends, that it is a unity, is what allows the finite symbol to refer at all. The infinity of that dimension becomes developed as symbol is reflected upon in logos, until, in the speaking of spirit, finite symbol is transcended in the realization that it is an expression of intersubjectivity. For although human symbol is necessarily finite because its reference is primarily to the world, and human logos is necessarily finite because it is a reflection on that reference, the speaking of spirit, which expresses intersubjectivity, cannot properly be called human because it does not signify limitation. For limitation was destroyed by logos.
The crucial paradox of logos, then, is that in showing the limitation of human symbol and of itself as a reflection on that symbol, it is open to the hearing of an infinite speaking which is differentiated from the finite speaker. Concomitant with the awareness of the mutuality of speaking and hearing with another finite subject is the awareness that the intersubjectivity is not limited to themselves as speakers and hearers of it, but that they are in fact expressions of that infinite intersubjectivity. But this awareness would not have come about except through the selfemptying of logos in its self-reflection. The more that logos differentiates and objectifies itself, the more that it goes beyond itself by realizing its limitations, the more that it is open to the transcendence of which it is an expression, and the more that it is aware that its self-transcendence does not have itself as its source, speaker.
6. Spirit and Myth
With the full development of the speaking of spirit we can now return in our circle of interpretation to a consideration of myth. For myth has the significant common characteristic with spirit that they both focus on transcendence. Furthermore, in both myth and spirit the finite subject addresses himself to transcendent reality as that which he primarily hears. Nevertheless, the significant difference between myth and spirit is that in myth the finite speaker has no awareness of himself as speaker as well as hearer of transcendence, whereas in the speaking of spirit, it was only the movement through awareness of his own subjectivity which brought the finite speaker to recognize transcendence. In the speaking of spirit the finite subject is aware of himself as participating in a dialogue with the infinite, even though he recognizes that he is not the ultimate source of that dialogue or even of his own speaking. The finite subject of myth, however, because he has not passed through the moments of symbol and logos to spirit, is not aware of himself as differentiated from world, other finite subjects, or transcendent reality itself. He is a subject, and so he speaks and hears, but he cannot distinguish speaking from hearing, and his primary activity is a hearing even though it may seem to him to be a speaking.
The ambiguity of the subjectivity of myth is apparent in the metaphor of its corresponding moment of consciousness, experience. Experience literally means a tryout. Yet consciousness at the stage of myth is not sure whether it is trying out itself or a reality objective to itself. The man who lives merely in experience does not know what dimension of his consciousness to appropriate for himself, and what to attribute to a transcendent reality. Consequently he vacillates between subjectivity and objectivity. At times he talks as though the content of his consciousness were totally objective, obvious to all, and not dependent on his own interpretation. At other times, however, he acts as though his experience were totally subjective, for he interprets any questioning of his experience as a personal attack rather than an enquiry into objective facts which should be able to speak for itself. "Are you calling me a liar" he will retort to doubters, even though he is not sure himself that he has spoken. And a simple appeal to consciousness will not solve the confusion, since consciousness itself is primarily experiential and of itself undifferentiated.
The speaking of myth, though fundamental, is prone to the danger of the fundamentalism of the man of experience. Though human speaking can never abolish myth, since it is never more than a reflection upon it, on the other hand to remain in myth without reflection is to cut away the dimensions of speaking which myth itself implies. Myth without reflection is self-destructive, just as experience without reflection can be shown to be no experience at all.
7. Myth and Logos
Myth is a primordial logos, and so it performs the function of logos in an immediate way. Thus it integrates the unconscious and makes it conscious by symbolizing it. Myth, therefore, is not pre-symbolic, for there is nothing in consciousness prior to symbol. However, myth is pre-thematically symbolic. It belongs to logos to interpret the use of symbol in myth, which is immediate and unreflective. For myth imitates the stream of consciousness by developing the symbol as a narrative. The moments of the narrative are like the moments of consciousness. And by bringing consciousness of presence within the story which it tells, myth creates and lives in a primordial time.
Because myth is primordial logos, it has all the moments of logos, though in an undifferentiated state. For myths are narratives about the origins of the cosmos or some part of it through the actions of some supernatural or sacred beings. The sacred or supernatural beings are objectified transcendence or intersubjectivity, the cosmos which is explained is the objectified moment of reference, the actions of the sacred beings are objectified intentionality, and as actors they are objectified subjects. In myth, all of the dimensions of logos are objectified. This is peculiar, because myth is a type of logos which emphasizes subjectivity. However, an examination of the myth itself will show that it is precisely the immediacy of myth which does not distinguish subjectivity from objectivity. For in the myth itself, what is being talked about, the world, is objectified reference. But as we saw, as an explanation of that object which the world is, all of the other dimensions of speaking are being talked about as well. In myth, objects are given as explanations for other objects, sacred objects are given as explanations for profane objects. And it is the characteristic of explanation which makes myth primordial logos. The immediacy of myth, however, can be seen in its subjectivity. For who is the subject or speaker of the myth? The one who tells the myth does not see himself as the author of the narrative. Of course the narrative is acknowledged by a community, and in a sense is theirs, but the ultimate source or author of the narrative must be transcendent. Consequently, there is the paradox that although the emphasis of myth is on subjectivity because it expresses the individual subject's most primordial experience, that subjectivity is recognized in terms of objectivity, the sacred being who is the source of all reality. And not only is the sacred being the ultimate speaker of the myth, but as the explanation or meaning of the world it is the intentionality or what is being said. Finally, because the world or what is being talked about is seen as derivative of the actions of the sacred beings, even what is being talked about is reductively transcendence or objectified intersubjectivity. Myth, therefore, is a narrative which expresses subjectivity as objectified intersubjectivity or transcendence.
III. Explication of the Matrix of Hermeneutic Ontology
A. The Types of Myth
1. The Myth of Chaos
According to our matrix, the first type of myth subjectifies subjectivity. It is subjectivity because it emphasizes the first moment of being, and it subjectifies because it is the primordial speaking of myth. And, as we saw, since primordial speaking articulates subjectivity it is under the control of consciousness. So the myth of subjectivity expresses the root of all experience of the subjectivity of being. In other words, it expresses primordial consciousness, the first experience of consciousness.
The first type of myth can be identified with the myth of chaos or theogonic myth, which is illustrated by the SumeroAkkadian myth of Marduk and Tiamat. In this myth, the present divinity, Marduk, is generated from the original divinity, Tiamat, who is symbolized by oceanic waters. Tiamat, who is the progenitor of all existent Gods (save Apsu) also produces monsters and threatens the existence of the assembly of the gods which she has generated. Marduk, proclaimed lord of the assembly, is incited by the other gods to destroy the threat to their existence. So Marduk drives evil winds into the body of Tiamat, cutting her in two, and thereby in this division effecting the creation of the cosmos. The myth is thus theogonic because it narrates the genesis of the gods, and it is a myth of chaos because it explains the genesis of the world out of a primordial chaos.
Because the myths, with their emphasis on subjectivity, are under the control of consciousness, which is objectified by the self or psyche, it is tempting to treat them as merely expressions of the finite self and to interpret them psychologically in the manner of Freud. With such an approach, the myth of chaos, as the first expression of consciousness, is more primordial than the later, differentiated Oedipal myth. Psychologically interpreted, the myth of Marduk and Tiamat becomes a myth of human birth. In the myth, the primordial male divinity is not present when Marduk is generated. Symbolized by fresh waters, Apsu unites with Tiamat through the mingling of fresh waters with the ocean. Although the myth has Ea, the divinity of water and wisdom, binding Apsu by magical incantation and killing him, the symbol of fresh water mixing with marine water expresses the termination of the male in its very union with the female. Apsu then becomes irrelevant for the rest of the myth, except insofar as Tiamat's production of evil is explained as revenge for the murder of Apsu. The central action of the myth is Marduk's struggle with Tiamat. Tiamat, ocean, female, is the ambiguous chaotic source of both life and destruction. So life begins with a struggle against the salty waters of the womb which generates it. As the newborn establishes its independence with its first breathing, so Marduk slays Tiamat with violence of wind, perhaps seen as evil because breathing itself is a struggle.
If the myth of chaos is seen as the only expression of consciousness, then all of life becomes a violent struggle against a world which is regarded as ambiguously good and evil, good because it is the source of life, and evil because it will eventually destroy that life. The violent negation of Tiamat by Marduk differentiates reality and orders it, but does so by a principle which will lead back to the primordial chaos. The dry land formed by the division of the oceanic waters still floats on fresh waters, the fresh waters erode the land to form the ocean, and all returns to chaos. The male struggles against the female to establish his independence, but he will eventually return to her and be lost in her chaotic disorder. Marduk's violence toward his mother is only the counterposition of his attraction towards her as life source.
Interpreted psychologically, the myth of chaos expresses a "macho" consciousness which fights against all of reality as objectified evil. Interpreted ontologically, the myth of chaos is the foundation of philosophies of dialectical counterposition, in which being or reality is seen as a nauseating undifferentiated fullness which must be negated for the production of conscious being. As Ricoeur notes, elements of the chaos myth may be found in the ontologies of German idealism.
Our concern here, however, is not to reflect on the myth as the primordial expression of a finite psychology. Nor can we regard it as the foundation of our ontology. For the myth of chaos emphasizes only one dimension of being, the subjective, and though it implies the others, it does so in an undifferentiated way so that their full meaning and interrelationships are not apparent. An hermeneutic ontology will show the full implications of the myth of chaos by analyzing all of the moments of discourse in the myth and revealing them in their seminal state under the domination of consciousness.
The paradox of the myth of chaos, subjectified subjectivity, is that in it as related there is no real subjectivity at all. Tiamat indeed "acts" to produce Marduk, who in turn "re-acts" to destroy her, but these "actions" are not so much communications as self-negation. The genesis of Marduk and all the other gods is a negation of the subjectivity of what is, Tiamat. Marduk's subsequent destruction by violence of Tiamat merely repeats or continues this negation of subjectivity. Marduk, of course, symbolizes consciousness, and his actions represent the violent overthrow of being as non-speaking. Violence is crucial here, for the myth expresses the fact that consciousness interprets all non-communicating reality as violent, even if that reality be its source. So Tiamat as source is subject, but as noncommunicating this subjectivity is identified with violence. Marduk consequently does the only thing he knows, he subjectifies subjectivity by violating violence. The effect of this action, destruction, shows that it is not really an action at all. It does not do, but undoes. Of course, Marduk has established a differentiation in the cosmos, but it must be a differentiation of violent friction, the opposing forces of which will reduce each other to the primordial chaos. The hermeneutic message of the myth of chaos emerges: non-communicating "action", subjectified subjectivity, is violent self-destruction.
To subjectify subjectivity means to cut the speaker off from all of the other moments of speaking. A someone then becomes an empty, undifferentiated reference, a primordial chaos. As such the subject is more than objectified, it is alienated from itself. Following the lead of this subjectified subjectivity, all of the other moments of speaking suffer a peculiar sort of self-alienation in the myth of chaos. As we have noted, there is no speaking, intentionality, unity in difference. Reality is then unity without difference, Tiamat, primordial chaos, or difference without unity, the relation of Marduk to Tiamat, or to the parts of the cosmos, or of these parts to one another. As a result of the failure of intentionality, reference or objectivity is also inadequate. The cosmos is not an expression of difference in unity but difference in alienation proceeding to undifferentiated unity. Finally, because there is no speaking, there is no intersubjectivity, transcendence, discovery of the self in the other. The divinities are so in name only because they are not hypostatized intersubjectivity or communication but self-destructive subjects.
Regarded from within, the myth of chaos expresses radical self-alienation and contradiction. However, regarded as a speaking of the human subject who is telling the myth, it does not fare so badly. First of all, there is obviously some true subjectivity, because someone is actually speaking or telling the myth. This attempt at expression of reality to another establishes the reality of the person speaking. However, the logic of the myth has its implications in the teller's attitude towards himself. For he does not regard himself as the author of the narrative nor does he recognize himself as the protagonist. His subjectivity is projected onto divine beings, who are both the actors and the ultimate source of the narrative. Of course all myths reverse subjectivity and intersubjectivity, making the divine being the real speaker and the finite speaker only the hearer of the myth who then repeats it. But the myth of chaos, which is the myth of myths, shows most starkly the principle of this reversal. For it is most unaware of all the myths of the unity in difference of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, of speaker and hearer. For it, to hear is not to speak, not to be a subject, and so it imitates in its hearing the subjectified subjectivity of non-speaking transcendence.
The reference or objectivity of the myth, what it is talking about, is also wanting in differentiation. For it is really speaking about all of reality, self, world, God, and language. But not only are self and God confused, but language, world, and reality are not distinguished from each other either. For primordial consciousness of myth, the myth, speaking, is the reality. Consequently, myth is accepted in a "literal" fashion. It is not seen as a symbolic expression of realities whose difference it unifies by its very expression. And although every myth as myth has this inadequacy of differentiation of object, the myth of chaos is the most undifferentiated because it is the first speaking.
For it is in the speaking or intentionality of the myth of chaos that its lack of differentiation is most apparent. What is really being said is that reality as consciousness engages it is like the violence between Marduk and Tiamat. But because consciousness is not aware that it is speaking about reality with its narrative, the speaking of the myth itself becomes reality. Thus the ritual reenactment or speaking of the myth places consciousness in contact with reality, not just by making reality present, but by being reality itself. As literally spoken, myth is unity without difference, presence without absence. Of course such undifferentiated presence without absence is false. Any speaking at all is an implicit contradiction of undifferentiated unity, and as consciousness struggles to express the first moment of difference, it does so in terms of contradiction itself, the metaphor for which is violence. So the myth of chaos symbolizes its own implicit contradictions not as linguistic contradictions but as physical violence.
2. The Myth of the Exiled Soul
The myth of chaos was subjectified subjectivity because it failed to articulate the difference between subjectivity and the rest of reality. With the second type of myth, subjectified intentionality, the first explicit differentiation of subjectivity appears. For the nature of intentionality or speaking is unity in difference. Attention to intentionality must therefore bring attention to differentiation as well as to unity. But because myth subjectifies, the myth of subjectified subjectivity will be an immediate rather than a fully differentiated expression of unity in difference.
It is a significant peculiarity of the myth of the exiled soul that it is difficult to identify it with any particular expression, such as we did the myth of chaos with the Marduk-Tiamat myth. Although the myth of the exiled soul appeared early in Orphism, it has had other important appearances throughout history such as the Hebrew myth of exile from paradise, and the Platonic philosophical explication. It can be found in Paul's epistles and is favored by Christian spiritual writers throughout the centuries. Unlike the myth of chaos, it does not lurk in the realm of immediate consciousness, but stands ready to hand to express our experience. This is not surprising, since it is a myth of symbol, and as such is the basis for all our attitude towards symbol. Unlike the myth of chaos which was chaotic in its undifferentiated amalgamation of symbols, the myth of the exiled soul, myth of symbol, has its focus on one symbol. Since this symbol is the archetypical mythical symbol, one can describe the myth simply by developing this one symbol.
The symbol of the myth of the exiled soul is that of the soul sent away or fallen from its proper place and exiled or imprisoned in the body. The body is seen as limited in time and place, subject to the vagaries of pleasure and pain, mortal, and in short, finite. The soul is seen as of itself beyond time, place, pleasure, pain, and death but involved in these because of its restriction to the body. The soul, therefore, has all the characteristics of transcendent divinity, whereas the body is seen in terms of its opposition to that which is divine. The union of body and soul is explained by some sort of primordial sin of the soul, some turning away or fall from that which is divine. The purpose of existence is then a movement of the soul away from its restriction or exile in the body back to its natural place in the divine.
In a sense, the myth of the exiled soul is the psychological myth because it is the myth of the psyche. Whereas the myth of chaos projected unconsciously its own subjectivity onto the transcendent, the myth of exile shows the speaking, intentionality, of the subject as subject. The myth of the exiled soul is the dawn, not of consciousness, but of self-consciousness. It is a primordial explanation for every self of its self, and as such is immediately appealing. What self does not experience undesirable limitations on its being and activity? The myth of the exiled soul allows consciousness to express this conflict simply in terms of the limitations of the body.
For the self-consciousness which is expressed in the myth of the exiled soul, life is not a struggle against an external world which is ambiguously good and evil. Rather life becomes a movement towards mastery of and control over the body. For the body, though seen as a limitation on the soul, is also recognized as belonging to it, and therefore participating in its goodness. On the other hand, as a limitation the body is regarded as evil, something which ultimately must be sloughed off, discarded as at least irrelevant if not positively harmful. In any case, the preoccupation of the myth of the soul is the self. Taken literally, the subjectifying of intentionality removes intentionality just as the subjectifying of subjectivity removed subjectivity. That is, the one who sees speaking as a rejection of the body will cease to speak, focus attention on withdrawal from the body, and become catatonic.
One interesting psychological feature of the soul myth is its a-sexual tendencies. If the subjectivity of the myth of chaos is lost in struggle which can be sexually ex-pressed, the subjectivity of the soul myth expresses itself by renouncing, or at least controlling sex as it controls the rest of the body. And ultimately, like the rest of the body, sexuality is viewed as irrelevant for self-consciousness. What one is, is determined by how one negates the body rather than by how one expresses oneself in it. That the myth of the exiled soul is still taken literally can be seen in popular anti-sexual movements which find sexual differentiation to be at least irrelevant and at most distracting form the true nature of the self.
Again, however, we are concerned not so much with the psychological implications of the myth of the soul as its ontological analysis through hermeneutics. And the first movement of our analysis will be to show its presentation of subjectivity. Unlike our analysis of the myth of chaos, however, the movements of the myth will not first be discussed from within, and then from the point of view of actual speaking of the myth. For the myth of the soul is really self-referential. Although there are forms of the myth that project the movement of the myth onto gods, the significant emphasis of the soul myth is that it is the story of the self, of every finite self, both of the one telling as well as the one hearing the story.
It is the self-referential nature of the myth of the soul which makes it the first real appearance of subjectivity rather than a projection of the self. In the speaking or intentionality of this myth one realizes that one is speaking about oneself. The focus on intentionality therefore does not destroy the previous moment of subjectivity, but rather reveals its true nature. Intentionality, speaking, is a unity in difference, and the self realizes itself as such only through difference. In the myth, soul becomes the unity and body the differentiating reality. And here, the in of unity in difference is taken literally. The unity of the soul really is trapped within the difference of body and must struggle to overcome it, and finally to remove it.
As we have noted at the psychological level, the myth of soul taken literally destroys intentionality, just as the myth of chaos taken literally destroys subjectivity. There is the temptation to go beyond unity in difference, intentionality, speaking, or symbol by getting to pure unity without difference, soul without body. This would be a kind of non-symbolic speaking, but since speaking is by its nature a unity in difference, a movement towards non-symbolic speaking is a movement towards no speaking at all.
As the problem area for the myth of subjectivity was the nature of intentionality or speaking, so the problem of the myth of intentionality is the next moment of analysis, reference or objectivity. For the myth expresses intentionality simply as opposition to reference, as unity in opposition to difference. The myth talks about the soul, unconscious of the fact that all of the expressions it uses are really about the body, that is, are symbolic. The nature of the body in its world can only become clear then in the next myth, the myth of reference; the myth of the exiled soul is inadequate because the nature of objectivity remains unexplicated in it.
Because of its undeveloped objectivity, the myth of the soul has no way of expressing its relation to the divine, or for that matter, to any other subject beyond itself. The soul simply is the divine, the transcendent, in exile. Its aim is unification rather than communication. And it achieves that unification by removing difference, by rejecting objectivity, the body. Of course, the myth of the soul is a speaking in the body, and taken literally, is performatively self-contradictory. But rather than express either harmony or self-contradiction linguistically, it expresses self-contradiction as a struggle within the self between soul and body, un-self-conscious of the fact that its expression of that struggle is in the body.
3. The Tragic Myth
The third type of myth subjectifies objectivity, that is, it treats the world of nature as though it were a subject, a source of action, which man not only must deal with but by which he is controlled. Nature so subjectified is called fate. In fate man comes to recognize difference, objectivity, or otherness. So with subjectified objectivity comes the realization of the necessity of the world, and the necessity of speaking about the world in all speaking. Speaking is no longer merely self-referential. However, as we shall see, because objectivity is not the fullness of speaking, the immediate experience and expression of objectivity tends to fossilize it as mere difference without unity, thus destroying its truly objective nature.
The tragic myth is so called because of its excellent expression in the Greek tragedies. For the same dialectic of themes is present in the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. And the crucial dialectic is that of necessity and freedom. The world in which the hero who represents human subjectivity is involved is the world of fate, of brute necessity. The hero refuses to accept the necessity of fate, but reacts against it to express his own freedom. In so doing, he breaks the bounds of moderation; blinded by his own reaction he fails to recognize the impossibility of separating himself from his necessary destiny in the world. In the end his subjectivity is crushed by sin, fate, and death. His attempt to be himself is overwhelmed by objective reality. In direct counterposition to the myth of the exiled soul, which lost intentionality by losing the differentiation of the objective world, the tragic myth gives status to the objectivity of the world only to have it reduce subjective speaking to itself in the end.
Freud's psychological application of one of the tragic myths, the Oedipus myth, is well known. Although this is not the only myth to express the crucial moments of the third stage of primordial consciousness, its intersubjective dimensions are particularly enlightening. It is prophesied at the birth of Oedipus that it is his fate to kill his father and marry his mother. Thinking that immediate death is better fate than such a heinous crime, his parents try to have him killed by exposure. Oedipus, however, is given to someone who does not know the identity of the unfortunate child, and grows up himself ignorant of his own identity to fulfill his horrible destiny.
This myth is tragic because it expresses predestination to evil, the triumph of an evil divinity or transcendence over a dawning human realization of the true nature of intersubjectivity or transcendence. Evil transcendence or intersubjectivity is symbolized as illicit sex and violence, for illicit sex and violence are perceived as objective human interaction without communication. Against this sort of false power, not only Oedipus, but everyone in the story struggles. For the hero of the story is not just Oedipus but everyman, the human. The story tells of the human desire to communicate, to interact at a level beyond immediate natural forces, and of the vanity of that desire. Not only are all the actors at one with Oedipus in his struggle, but the members of the audience as well suffer with him, recognizing in his tragedy their common lot.
In terms of psychological consciousness, then, the tragic myth is a significant advance over the previous myths. In the Marduk-Tiamat myth, the self did not even recognize its own subjectivity. Sex and violence were divine and there was no possibility of acting otherwise. In the myth of exile, the self rejects the forces of nature and body, for it regards them as alien to its divine self. Now, in the Oedipus myth, the self realizes itself and its intersubjectivity as distinct and alien from natural forces, but it is those forces which are divine and immortal, not man. The paradox is that in this myth humans achieve a self-transcendent divinity through their compassion for one another in the face of an alien divinity. And, as we noted, this intersubjectivity spills out of the drama into the hearers who recognize themselves in it.
As the tragic myth approaches true intersubjectivity, the moments of being approach their maximal differentiation. First, the human subject recognizes himself as responsible, as able to respond, that is to commit himself in return. He is a speaker, an actor; he is free. The tragic contradiction is that even though he feels responsible for his selfexpression or action, it is already determined for him by fate. He is responsible, therefore, but not really able to respond, to develop his intentionality or speaking to truly communicate. He recognizes that he is a someone only in his involvement, communication with others in the world of nature, but will be destroyed as a someone in his very involvement. He is a hero, because he does not withdraw from that involvement, but he is a failure because his action is ineffective in the very involvement.
Intentionality is always the key moment for interpretation in an hermeneutic ontology. So here it is crucial that the hero of the tragic myth does not recognize what is being said, either by fate or by himself. For he sees his intentionality in opposition to that of objective nature which is divine. On the one hand he is blind to what the divine nature is saying to him, that he is subject to its forces. But there is another hidden blindness which makes the myth tragic. He is unaware that what he is saying is also divine and the source of the divinity of nature. He does not see that his desire to communicate already exalts him above the forces of nature. Thus his speaking is a unity in difference because it recognizes the reality of self and nature, but it is blind because it does not recognize that it is a unity in difference.
The paradox of the tragic myth, which is the myth of objectivity, is that it is defective in objectivity. Just as the myth of chaos, the myth of subjective experience failed in that it did not express the experience of the subject but projected it onto the divinity, and the myth of the soul, the myth of subjective understanding or speaking did not express the understanding of the subject but withdrew from understanding or speaking because it withdrew from the difference of intentionality, the failure of the myth of subjective reflection is that in it the subject does not reflect, he is not able to judge and discern about his own speaking and the speaking which the world is. For in the tragic myth, distinction, otherness, is seen as belonging totally to nature. The self cannot be objective about itself, and consequently it cannot be objective about nature either, but makes it divine. If it were to reflect, the subject of the tragic myth would realize that the true presence of divinity lay within it in its own human intentionality and not in exterior forces by which it is its destiny to be crushed. The identity of divinity or transcendence with the objective, with nature, with that which is spoken about in every finite speaking, is therefore a movement towards true reflection and objectivity, but has not yet achieved it.
Just as the nature of subjectivity becomes evident only in intentionality or speaking, and speaking in reference or objectivity, the nature of objectivity is revealed only in intersubjectivity. The tragic myth, having accepted the objective reality of the world, presents us with a divided intersubjectivity by making the world a transcendent divinity. Nature is subject in that it is source of objective reality, and is intersubjective in that it presents that reality as a play of interrelating forces; it even prophesies to everyman that its existence will be a story of shameful sex, violence, and death, but despite all this it does not really speak because it does not communicate. Man, on the other hand, struggles for transcendence, for communication which involves but is not reducible to natural forces; his very struggle communicates but he does not have the words to express it. In the tragic myth the world speaks without communicating, and man communicates without speaking, by his suffering in enduring his fate. Despite its failure to express complete intersubjectivity, however, the tragic myth has realized the finitude of man in his determination in the world. Broken by his own limitations, man lies open to transcendence. The non-identity with a nature that is physically more powerful than himself is the road to realizing his non-identity with the intentionality of unlimited communication, or God.
4. The Adamic Myth
The final myth must subjectify intersubjectivity or transcendence. This means that it represents communication or intersubjectivity as a someone, as a being who speaks. As intersubjectivity includes all of the moments of speaking, the being or speaker who is intersubjectivity must somehow include all of reality. Likewise, only in the myth of subjectified intersubjectivity can the meaning of the other myths be revealed. For, as we saw, each myth depended on the one succeeding it for the clarification of its proper moment. Although the proximate motivation of the myth of intersubjectivity is the explanation of objectivity or the world, such an explanation involves the explanations of intentionality and subjectivity as well.
It is no accident, then, that in the Hebrew Adamic myth of creation, the objective world is created first. For the explanation of man comes only in the explanation of his objective finitude in the world. But the explanation of the world itself and thus all dependent reality is in the speaking of the transcendent being. "And God said, 'let there be light;' and there was light." Here the divine is the source of all being as it is in the Marduk-Tiamat myth, but unlike that myth, creation is effected by the word rather than by some silent natural force. Nor does the divine shun the limitations of the world as it does in the myth of the soul. Creation, with all its limitations, is declared to be good. It is so good, that God can make man in his image, even while making him out of the ground (Adhamah). In a similar manner, Eve is fashioned of Adam as Adam was fashioned of the ground. The intersubjectivity between God and man, symbolized by the fact that man is God's image or symbol, also exists between man and woman, his companion. Yet it is not just in the fact that man is formed mediately through the world by God's word that makes him God's image. Man is like God in that he speaks and his word is effective. God brings the animals to Adam to see what he would name them. God is interested, in other words, in what Adam has to say. And by his listening, he gives effectiveness to Adam's word. The myth says that the names that Adam gave to the beasts are their names still. Adam even names his wife, woman, giving her intersubjective equality with himself. And he names her, in the other tradition, life, Eve, the mother of all the living. In the intersubjectivity between Adam and Woman or Eve, the difference between speaking and spoken, intentionality and reference, communication and natural life force is reconciled. And evil is no longer a positive reality to be identified ambiguously with the source of life as in the myth of chaos, with the body and the world as in the myth of the soul, or in the inexorable destiny of divine natural forces as in the tragic myth. In the Adamic myth evil is a lack of communication which occurs when man attempts to speak without listening. He then knows the difference between good and evil by experiencing the pain of ruptured communication, whereas before he had known only the good of intersubjectivity. The break in intersubjectivity now exists between man and woman as well as between man and God, as they no longer perceive each other as clothed in their communication but as naked natural forces. And the murder of Abel by his brother Cain is the natural outcome of regarding the relations between humans as interplaying of natural forces unmediated by communication, selftranscendence, or intersubjectivity.
An analysis of consciousness based on the Adamic myth does not see the goal of life as resignation to the forces of lust and death as the tragic myth must. These natural forces appear as violent and evil only when they are unmediated by communication. And resignation to these forces, even intersubjective compassion in being subjected to their violence, is not adequate to express human intentionality. For, as in the Adamic myth, man desires to name natural forces as he named the beasts, and in so doing to make nature, including his own, his expression, instead of resigning himself to be the plaything of some violent, allpowerful natural fate. The intersubjectivity of man does not consist in being reduced to silence together but in speaking together.
It is only in the Adamic myth, then, that the full experience of subjectivity is expressed. Adam speaks, and he does not speak about nothing, but about the world as he names it and communicates it not only to his companion but to God. He knows his subjectivity in this speaking, he knows his responsibility in his actual responding rather than in the guilt of inability to respond which is experienced by the man of the tragic myth. In the success of his response, Adam achieves personhood. It is only when he fails to listen and respond that his subjectivity or personhood is diminished. In the Adamic myth man does not have to be subject to the natural force of death. He dies only when he ceases to communicate.
The presence of true subjectivity in the Adamic myth is dependent on the presence of true speaking or intentionality. And Adam actually is saying something, he is effectively naming. But his speaking is not the first speaking, nor is his subjectivity the first subjectivity. God speaks, and his creative word becomes reality. Adam's subsequent speaking is a coming to self-consciousness by participating in a speaking that already exists. He speaks only by hearing and thus participating in an infinite intentionality. In contrast to the hero of the tragic myth, Adam is not the source of the speaking which transcends the silent forces of nature. In that myth there was a subtle usurpation of divinity by man. For while divinity is attributed to nature, the hero chooses the better part, to communicate, at least by intending to transcend natural necessity. His very intention is punished, however, for it is flawed. The intentionality of the Adamic myth reveals this defect by showing that there is neither simple identity of divinity with nature nor irreconcilable division. Nature is not divine, but it is the word of the divine. Man's encounter with nature is not then a struggle of a human to speak in reaction to a divinity which does not speak. Rather it is an awareness only if he himself speaks, if he participates in the divine speaking by naming nature. The speaking or intentionality of Adam, therefore, is not a movement towards something which is not present, but a response in dialogue to the speaking of God which is present.
The distinction between the intentionalities of God and man is made in the objectivity of the world. For the world is God's saying something, his predication to man, but what he is speaking about, his reference, is himself. God says nature in talking about himself. Man, however, has the intentionality of God, but what he speaks about, his reference, is nature. While God's speaking about himself is not necessarily restricted to nature, man's speaking does not transcend the speaking of God, and even when he intends to speak about God, he does so through the mediation of his first reference, nature. The Adamic myth, therefore, is the first one to see objectivity as good rather than evil. The myth of chaos saw objectivity or nature as a confusion of good and evil, the myth of the soul was in flight from it as evil, and the tragic myth was crushed by it as its evil destiny. For the Adamic myth, however, nature is good because it is God's word, and man can realize himself as a person only in speaking about that word.
One might expect that the Adamic myth, the myth of intersubjectivity, would be defective in its presentation of intersubjectivity just as the other myths were defective in the dimension of reality that they thematized. However, the defectiveness of the other myths lay in the fact that no dimension of reality can be expressed properly unless it is seen in the light of an overarching intersubjectivity. And the Adamic myth, in explicating this dimension of reality which is not only the goal but the foundation of being, explicates itself as well as all the other dimensions of reality. This is why, in the Adamic myth, all of the dimensions of reality are most clearly differentiated yet most in unity. The person is reconciled with expression, nature, and God, yet it is not confused with them or they with one another as they were in previous myths. It is in his speaking to God that man realizes himself as a person, but that intersubjective speaking is at the same time an intersubjective listening to God. Likewise, Adam's speaking to his companion, woman, is the same intersubjectivity, for in naming woman he is also naming himself and nature as well as speaking to God. His communication with woman is his communication with God. Nor must it be thought that only the male, Adam, speaks. The myth refused to identify the woman with objectivity, reference, or nature, for it has Adam being formed out of nature and woman formed of Adam, thus cleverly expressing the fact that both man and woman have their female dimension. Nature is female, and both man and woman are of the female, but the woman is not simply identified with it any more than the man is. Likewise, transcendence of nature in intentionality or speaking is no more to be identified with Adam than nature is with woman. Man and woman communicate and their communication is the presence of intersubjectivity or God. It is only when they turn their attention away from intersubjectivity and regard nature as possible without it that they are lost in that objectivity and are ashamed of it. In the other myths, male and female vacillate between confused identity and violent opposition. In the Adamic myth, male and female are both highly differentiated in man and woman and completely unified, insofar as man and woman speak and listen to each other.
Aside from the myth of chaos, the consideration of the dimensions of reality has proceeded from a perspective within the myth itself. We have been concerned to discover the subjectivity, intentionality, reference and intersubjectivi-ty of the elements of the myth itself. The questions still remain, therefore, who is the speaker of the myth, what is he saying, what is he talking about, and to whom is he speaking. The Adamic myth, having differentiated the dimensions of reality internally, prepares us for answers to these questions. We noted that a principle characteristic of myth was its reversal of subjective and intersubjective dimensions, attributing to divine inspiration what was actually the speaking of the human subject. The Adamic myth gives the rationale for this inversion for it thematizes all human speaking as a participation in the speaking of God. Thus the Adamic myth self-referentially justifies itself for it can claim both human authorship and divine inspiration. It follows also that there is one intentionality in this myth, for the saying of man is God's saying, and what it is saying is being, reality. It is with reference, however, that distinction is clarified. What the myth is talking about is all of the dimensions of reality, explaining them by showing their interrelations. To whom is the explanation addressed? The Adamic myth says that God is interested in Adam's naming or speaking about reality. It thus makes a claim that human speaking about reality not only has God and man participating in its authorship but also in its hearing. God speaks to man and man speaks to God. The speaking of the Adamic myth, then, leads naturally to the self-conscious speaking of the language of the symbol.
A. The Types of Symbol
1. Aesthetic Symbol
It must not be thought that the speaking of myth is temporally prior to the speaking of symbol. For the speak-ing of myth is nothing more than a primordial speaking of the interrelationship of symbols. Yet symbols are not atoms of meaning which are built into more complex meaning structures of myths. For just as myths only have meaning as a unity in difference of the totality of symbolizations of reality, so symbols only have meaning in the unity of that primordial speaking. The speaking of symbol, then, is not a speaking opposed to or even isolated from the speaking of myth but is its explication. Just as intentionality, saying something, reveals subjectivity, the nature of the someone who speaks, the speaking of symbol develops the subjectivity which the cycle of myths proceeded to differentiate from the other moments of speaking.
The first type of symbol, aesthetic symbol, is accordingly the symbol of subjectivity. As a symbol, or speaking, the aesthetic symbol is a unity in difference. As aesthetic it is the unity in difference of the most immediate moments of subjective consciousness. And as aisthesis is divided into the moments of feeling and perception, so also is aesthetic symbol. For aisthesis is nothing more than the speaking of aesthetic symbol.
a. Aisthesis as Feeling
The Greek word aisthesis is undifferentiated, and can have the meaning of either feeling or perception. The first meaning of feel was to touch, a transitive verb which implies an object or reference. The meaning of feel has evolved, however, to emphasize the awareness of the activity itself, so that it can now be used intransitively. And so for us here feeling shall have this common meaning of an awareness which neither specifies nor excludes an object. Feeling is the first appearance of finite speaking or intentionality. As there is no speaking which is not a speaking about something, so there is no feeling without an object, yet the feeling may properly be considered without explicit reference to its object. The referential moment of aisthesis is expressed in the word perception, whose etymology signifies taking or capture, and which has preserved this transitive sense of relation to an object. It is this emphasis on the object which makes perception the aesthetic moment or first appearance of reference, just as feeling was the aesthetic moment of intentionality. Although these moments of intentionality and reference are not as clearly differentiated in feeling and perception as they are in fully developed speaking, the need to speak of aisthesis in these two terms indicates that even at the most immediate level of speaking these distinct moments are present. And so our analysis of aisthesis will analyze feeling in terms of intentionality and perception in terms of reference.
As the first appearance of intentionality, feeling is the primordial desire to say, and is thus passional and dynamic. However, feeling is no more pre-linguistic than intention is. How is it that the desire to say does not occur before saying? Desire here is meant in its root sense of that which comes from the stars, that which is derived from the light of speaking. Feeling, as the primordial desire to say, is already a saying, a unity in difference, and cannot be separated from any of the moments of speaking, even though at this stage they are immediate and implicit. And so feeling, as intentionality, is a dynamic tension between two poles. On the one hand it moves toward unfolding the unity which will finally appear in thought, or fully developed speaking. On the other hand it moves toward unfolding all the objectivity and differentiation which will appear in that same fully developed speaking.
b. Aisthesis as Perception
The world as object is immediately present in perception, which is the first appearance of reference or difference in unity. Feeling focused on the active awareness of the subject, without explicit reference to the object, whether body or world, which determined it. Perception, however, focuses on the other, the object which determines consciousness. This objective differentiation of perception appears even at the immediate level of bodily awareness. Feelings are expressed in an undifferentiated way, for though there may be many different types of feelings, the specification is always caused by a relation to an object. Even though one may feel happy or angry or hot or sick, the ultimate answer to the question of how one feels is either good or bad, depending on whether one is experiencing unity or disintegration of one's consciousness. The important question with perception, however, is not "how do you perceive?" (which would have a transitive sense of relation to an object which "how do you feel?" does not) but "what do you perceive?" The answers to this question, even in their most undetermined forms, are differentiated into the objects of the senses: "I perceive light, sound, odor, taste, solidity, heat." And it is interesting that even where "feel" is used synonymously for perceive, it is used of general objects which have no further differentiation except of degree: "I feel heat, or hardness," but not "I feel light" which can be further differentiated into red, green, or blue, or "I feel an odor," which has multiform specifications. The emphasis of perception is clearly on differentiation.
The differentiation or objectivity of perception is the determination of the world, but it does not have a character which is unavailable to the revelation of speaking. Rather, the differentiation and objectivity of the world become apparent only through the unity in difference which speaking is. It is thus that different colors, odors, and more determinate objects such as types of snow, trees, etc. can be attended to or noticed only after they have been named, developed into speaking. Indeed, the very possibility of their being differentiated or existing as objects depends on their implicit presence in feeling. Perception yields primacy to feeling as reference does to intentionality.
It is because of the primacy of feeling and intentionality over perception and reference that every human perception of an object is an activity of symbolizing in the most radical sense, for it is a speaking of unity in difference of consciousness and the world. Every object of human perception is therefore a symbol, because it is the product of an act of symbolizing. Once an object or symbol is discovered through the differentiation of reference in perception, it is available for further differentiation, and the referential process continues as perception develops into reflection.
The symbol which appears as the object of human perception must be distinguished from the symbol which is the product of a more reflective artistic or scientific expression. For the primary symbol of perception is immediate and undeveloped. Although the human subject is actively speaking in such a symbolization, for there can be no symbolization without a reciprocal speaking, the consciousness of the subject in perception is focused on the objective world in which differentiation is present to it, and thus in perception the subject is primarily immediately aware of itself as hearer rather than speaker. In the later more developed symbolizations of art and science, the human subject focuses its consciousness more on its own activity of speaking and thus creatively participating in the determination of its world.
(1) Symbol and Sign
The primary symbol which the human perceives must also be distinguished from a sign. For a sign is abstract reference. It has unity with that which it signifies only through contiguity in space and time. But space and time are themselves abstractions of reference and intentionality and are derived from the immediate symbolization of feeling and perception. Rather than forms of aesthetic speaking, space and time are reflective articulations of its referential differentiation. So an awareness of a sign as a timespace reference point is a highly reflective act and cannot be confused with simple perception. Whatever one might call an animal's reaction to a sign, it is not human perception, which must necessarily involve the unifying activity of intentionality or meaning. Nor, obviously, can an animal be aware of a sign as sign, for to do so requires greater differentiation, and therefore greater intentionality, than fundamental human perception.
(2) Aesthetic Symbol
The most immediate aesthetic symbol is the unity in difference of feelings which expresses one feeling in terms of another. And the most immediate form of symbolization of feeling is the unity in difference of the same feeling. For to have any feeling at all, whether of color, heat, odor, etc., is already a symbolization. One is tempted to say that what constitutes the unity in difference is having the same feeling in different times, but this would make the speaking of symbol derivative of the differentiation of time, whereas time is an abstraction of the different moments of the unity in difference of the same feeling. It is in the apparent immediacy of the most simple feeling that the self becomes conscious of itself as a speaking, a unity in difference, for the feeling symbolizes the self, it is one with it and yet different from it. I am one with my feeling of heat, or redness, or salt, yet I am different from it. One can therefore have an aesthetic experience of red, or salt, or even pain.
But an aesthetic experience is a human experience, and one cannot experience the aesthetic symbol of red without some sort of explanatory speaking about reality, even in its primitive state of myth. Consequently, each mediation of simple feeling on the way to a full speaking is necessary even to experience that feeling. And the first mediation is the recognition of the same self in different feelings. I am the same subject which is expressed in a feeling of redness, and of saltiness, etc. It is doubtful whether one could be aware of oneself as different from one's feeling if one did not have more than one feeling. However, once one is aware that one is different from one's feelings, one can not only see oneself expressed in terms of one's feelings, but one can express one feeling in terms of another. Like all developments of speaking, this movement from passivity to activity is at the same time a movement towards greater subjectivity and greater objectivity. Although I may find myself symbolized in my feeling of red, when I symbolize one feeling in terms of another, for example using my feeling of red to symbolize heat, or blue to symbolize cold, I both become aware of myself as an active source of expression and at the same time move towards making that consciousness available to other subjects. For the more connection between feelings is established, the more manipulation of the objectively observable environment is required. Of course, the first time I notice a unity in difference of the feelings of heat and red I may be passive, but a repetition of the experience of that conjunction, if it is to go beyond mere memory, will require a control over the environment more obvious to the external observer than that required to repeat one feeling.
Even though we can discuss the expression of one abstract feeling in terms of another, feelings never occur in abstraction. At most we can attend to specific aspects of our consciousness. So it is not surprising that most aesthetic symbolic expression is not that of one simple feeling in terms of another, but complexes of feeling in terms of other complexes. Thus a painter or musician may express in a complexity of color or sound the complexity of his feeling at a particular time or about a particular situation. And the more complexity he establishes in the expression the more objective and universally available the feeling he is expressing becomes.
The movement of feeling towards objectivity is the movement towards perception. Perception is aesthetic symbolization regarded from the aspect of objective determination. A subject's perception is its feeling or complexity of feelings regarded as caused by something external to it. And the something which causes the feeling or complex of feelings is called the object of perception. Objects do not cause single feelings or we would not be aware of them as objects. However, just as we may attend to one feeling, we may attend to the one dimension of the external source which is causing that feeling. Objects then may be manipulated to make present the feeling or feelings which they customarily cause. Thus a musician may pluck strings in order that they may produce a complex of sounds which express his complex feelings.
But objects need not be used merely instrumentally to produce symbols, for they may also be symbolic expressions. A fire, because it produces feelings of heat and motion, may express continuous feelings of consciousness and thus symbolize life, whereas the rigidity and cold that ice causes may allow it to symbolize death. Still, it is not so much the object which is the symbol, but the complex of feelings of which it is considered to be the source. To be more accurate, we should perhaps say that objects are nothing more than complexities of feelings that are regarded as different from the self. The most immediate such complexity is one's own body. Of all the feeling complexities which we experience, it is the most stable. But we are aware of it in conjunction with other feeling complexities, the totality of which we call the world. The more stable these complexities are, the more we regard them as objects. (It is paradoxical that the most stable of these are other subjects.) We conclude, therefore, that although the manipulation of the world is a symbolization which is necessary for the symbolization of feeling, it is no more than an explication of that primordial symbolization. A perception, or an object of perception, can symbolize a feeling because they are simply objective differentiations or explications of that feeling.
In summary, then, we can say that it is only through the unity which is experienced in the differentiation of feeling that the subject is aware of himself as subject. But this speaking of the symbol is not possible without objectification, both of individual feeling and of complexes of feelings, so that they are perceived as objects. These objects or feeling complexes are then the bases or reference points for intersubjective communications as well as being the determination through which the subject comes to selfawareness.
2. Poetic Symbol
We have already seen in our consideration of myths the necessity of aesthetic symbols to express an explanation of reality. Hence, for example, the use of the feeling complex called water in the Tiamat myth to express the feeling complex associated with the female, or life source. And even as myth is not possible without the fundamental speaking of aesthetic symbol, this symbol itself is not possible without the further differentiation of poetic symbol. Aisthesis requires poesis, for poesis, derived from the Greek word poiein, to make, makes the object or complex of feelings by naming it. Poetic symbol is the key type of symbol, then, for it symbolizes symbol. It does this by making explicit the intentionality or unity in difference which is implicit in aesthetic symbol. It is a paradox that aesthetic symbols cannot exist without this explication. For feelings cannot be symbolically expressive until they are objectified. And they cannot be objectified until they are named.
It is the name, then, that displays the intentionality of the feeling. Through the objectification of a name which focuses our attention on a particular unity in difference we can be self-conscious that we are having a continuance of the same feeling or a repetition of it. Thus the name "red" becomes the index of a particular visual sensation which allows me either to continue to refer to it as continuing or to recall it from memory for comparison to a present sensation.
Although all linguistic symbolizing is metaphorical insofar as it expresses a unity in difference in naming, poetic symbol may be metaphorical in a strict sense when it predicates the name which properly belongs to one feeling or feeling complex of a name which belongs to another feeling or feeling complex. For example, the statement "This sonata is blue" attributes the name of a visual feeling to a complex auditory feeling. Metaphorical descriptions of simple feelings in terms of complex ones are perhaps rarer: "This red is definitely Georgiana" This example is particularly rare because it predicates the name of an individual or stable feeling complex of a simple feeling, and since Aristotle the impropriety of predicating individuals has been recognized. "This red is hostile" would be a clearer example of a complex feeling metaphorically describing a simple feeling.
The chief characteristic of poetic symbol, whether it be simple naming as in attaching the sound "red" to a particular color, or metaphorical naming as in the statement "this red is hostile," is that it constitutes or makes simple or complex feelings by the naming of them. Poetic symbol is always immediate inasmuch as both what it says, its intention, and its reference, what it talks about, are individual feelings or feeling complexes. The highest degree of abstraction or differentiation that a poetic symbolizing reaches is the predication of one feeling of another. Of course, there is some differentiation in the simplest poetic symbol inasmuch as a name refers to the same feeling in different times or different places. But here it is the name which establishes the unity of the feeling in those differences. The movement towards greater differentiation in the naming of poetic symbol allows for greater intersubjective communication, for the greater the differentiation of the symbol, the greater the unity which it is expressing. And the ultimate unity in difference which is expressed in symbol is not the unity in difference of things but of persons. So poetic symbol which implies this intersubjectivity cannot be understood without the further differentiation of the successive types of symbol.
3. Categorical Symbol
Poetic symbol symbolizes intentionality by naming individual feelings or feeling complexes, but categorical symbol symbolizes objectivity by naming classes of feelings or feeling complexes. Thus, noticing the similarity among different types of individual feelings of red, categorical symbol expresses their unity, what they have in common, by classifying them all as red. Or, noticing the similarity in different individual visual feelings of red, yellow, and blue, it expresses their unity by classifying them as color. Such classification can continue indefinitely, as long as it does not involve itself in the paradox of classification of all classes. The only limit on classification is the ability to see unity in different individuals. And so classifications are not bound to their original namings. There can be categorical metaphors as well as poetic metaphors, for the similarity between different classes may lead to applying the name of one class to another to which it does not originally belong, as in "Man is a wolf." It is crucial to note, therefore, that the difference for us between poetic and categorical symbol is not whether they are metaphorical or not, for both may be, but whether they name individuals or classes.
It is also important to note that there can be no aesthetic or poetic symbols without categorical symbols, any more than there can be categorical symbols without aesthetic symbols and poetic symbols. That there can be no classification of individuals without the individuals and the awareness of them in feeling is obvious, but it is not so obvious that feeling requires naming and classification for it even to exist. Yet for feeling to be recognized as feeling, some distinction of it from the self is required, and for that distinction, the distinction of it by naming is required, and the naming of individuals is not possible without the interrelations of those names in categorizations. Names of individuals are not given out of context, but in relation to other individuals in the world. In order to understand an individual, one must understand its class. But in order to understand its class, one must understand the difference between that class and all other classes, between that set of individuals and all other sets of individuals. This means that the most immediate consciousness of feeling or individual implies all individuals and classes, and also that it is not completely immediate. For a total immediacy would imply no distinction whatsoever and would be equivalent to an unconscious state.
Although the object is constituted by the naming of poetic symbol, it is categorical symbol or classification which thematizes objectivity. For the classification articulates the characteristics which are necessary for the individual to stand out from other objects. The paradox of symbolization, and of speaking in general, is that abstraction is necessary for individualization. Classification creates objectivity not just by giving an abstract overview of individuals which is removed from their subjective immediacy, but by establishing them as objects as well. It is true that the object appears with the poetic symbol, the symbolizing of intentionality or unity in difference. But poetic symbol is no more possible without categorical symbol than intentionality is possible without reference, than unity in difference is possible without difference in unity. For poetic symbol primarily establishes the object by indicating it with the same name in different space and time. But space and time differentiations are themselves abstractions, categorical symbols of that which is in common to all physical objects. Consequently, there is the paradox that abstraction is just as necessary for individualization as individualization is for abstraction.
The classification of categorical symbol enhances not only the individuality of the object, but of the person making the definition as well. For the person knows itself as person only as a unity of its feelings, and it knows those feelings only by naming them. But since finally it can understand those names only by their classifications, the person has the fullest expression of itself in categorical symbol. For the subject does not feel adequately expressed in simple feelings, but wants them classified in terms of ever more encompassing unities.
The ultimate unity which the subject expresses by categorical symbol is intersubjective unity with the person with whom he communicates with that symbol. And the classification of categorical symbol not only enhances subjectivity but to the same extent develops intersubjectivity. It is axiomatic that the self only knows itself in another self. But it is categorical symbol which makes this intersubjective communication possible. For just as classifications set up complex distinctions which allow the subject to make discerning judgments about itself, so also the objectivity and differentiation of those classifications allow for unambiguous communication with other subjects. Unnamed feelings and unclassified names are not yet at the state at which they lead beyond confusion of the different aspects of the self, or of the self with the other. Of course, as we have said, there really are no feelings without classifications, and so to feel properly one must communicate that feeling by carefully distinguishing it from other feelings.
The categorization of feelings would seem to be an endless process of striving towards an ultimate classification, an ultimate unity in difference which would symbolize complete objectivity and therefore complete subjectivity and intersubjectivity as well. The very idea of such an ultimate classification seems to lead to a double negative paradox, or self-contradiction. First, in terms of objectivity, a classification of all classifications both classifies and does not classify itself. Second, in terms of intersubjectivity, the ultimate objectivity would have to be an ultimate intersubjectivity. But if that ultimate objectivity of classification of all classes is impossible because of its negative paradoxical nature, so also is ultimate intersubjectivity. And if ultimate communication is impossible, how is there any communication at all? If classification does not then reach an ultimate classification but is an infinite process of refinements and distinctions, we have the paradox of an intersubjectivity as a goal which can never be reached. But since intersubjectivity must be not only the goal but the foundation of all speaking, if intersubjectivity is not present in the most immediate expression of feeling, then it can never be present. On the other hand, if it is present in the most immediate expression of feeling in aesthetic symbol, why is there any need to go beyond aesthetic symbol in communication? Our principle that aesthetic symbol requires classification of categorical symbol is a partial answer. It is only partial because categorical symbol demands a classification of all classification, and that seems to be a negative paradox. This paradox we hope to resolve in our discussion of existential-religious symbol.
4. Existential-Religious Symbol
The double name of this fourth type of symbol reflects its polarity of objectivity and intersubjectivity. For existential religious symbol, in symbolizing intersubjectivity, must solve the crisis to which our discussion of categorical symbol led. Existential-religious symbol would seem at first to be the ultimate level of objectification and abstraction. Aesthetic symbol differentiated or abstracted feeling from subject, poetic symbol differentiated feeling from feeling by name, categorical symbol differentiated name from name by classification. Thus, for example, aesthetic symbol differentiated the feeling of red from the self feeling it, poetic feeling differentiated one feeling of red at one time from the same feeling at a different time, or from a feeling of blue. Categorical symbol classified what was common to all feelings of red, or further to all feelings of color, thus differentiating one red from another and one color from another. In a similar fashion categorical symbol classifies the simple and complex feelings of the other senses. It remains, then, for existential-religious symbol to express the unity in difference of all classifications. And what is in common to all classifications of feelings, whether simple or complex, is the fact that they exist. Being is the ultimate unity which allows the differentiation of all the classes, which in turn allow the differentiation of all the feelings. But being is not a classification, for it is common to all of the feelings, as well as all names and all classifications. Consequently being transcends the classifications and is the most immediate as well as the most abstract or mediated of all of the predications or things which can be said about something. With being, the hermeneutic circle of predication closes on the subject.
Existential-religious symbol is therefore called existential because it expresses the transcendence of being. But it is called religious because the transcendence of being is intersubjective. The being which is common to every level of symbolic expression is the being of communication, of intersubjectivity. So intersubjectivity is not simply the goal of every symbol, every speaking, but is rather its deepest being. Consequently, the differentiation which takes place in the most "abstract" type of classification is only an explication of the symbolization of the most immediate feeling. The fact that categorical symbol "is only" an explication of more immediate feeling, however, makes it neither otiose or reducible to that feeling. For consciousness is not satisfied except with the expression of intersubjectivity in all the permutations of interrelationships of its feelings. And those permutations are infinite.
Since it is the function of the existential-religious symbol to express or thematize intersubjectivity, and intersubjectivity is a transcendent dimension of every symbol, every symbol can be a religious symbol inasmuch as the transcendent dimension of the symbol is made explicit. Thus the simplest feeling or the most complex categorical definition can say intersubjectivity. But the symbol itself does not contain that explication. This is why religious symbol must be interpreted as to its explicit intentionality by the fur-ther reflection of the word or logos. The feeling of satis-fying hunger by eating, for example, may have its ultimate intentionality implicit, and remain a simple feeling, or it may express the highest human and divine intersubjectivity by being intended as such in an interpretation of the word. Existential-religious symbols are created by the word of the religious community.
The fact that existential-religious symbol transcends and includes all of the other symbolisms allows it to fully express every moment of being symbolically. Thus subjectivity is adequately expressed symbolically only in existential symbol. One does not completely know oneself by feeling, naming, or even classifying. Each of these activities, though it implies the others, can let them remain at an implicit level. Thus a subject can consider itself unclassified when it attends only to its feelings, or it considers itself unfeeling and abstract when it attends only to its classifications. But in existential-religious symbol the subject feels itself well classified and classifies itself as feeling.
As intersubjectivity is the fullness of intentionality, existential symbol completes the saying of poetic symbol. For poetic symbol has not yet developed the fact that what enables it to name at all is the intersubjective context of saying. It is only in the light of the ultimate unity of self-transcendence that there can be any unity at all. Humans do not name things for themselves, they name to communicate. As the Adamic myth expresses, it takes the interest of God to bring Adam to name. An audience is required for a poet to exist, even if it be an implicit audience. But with the fullness of existential-religious symbol, the audience is explicit, and the poet speaks and hears himself being spoken, makes and is aware of himself being made.
Existential-religious symbol is the most objective of all types of symbol because it creates the presence of the object to which it refers. For the object to which it refers, that which it is speaking about, is the very intersubjective communication which it makes present. Any symbol of commitment, such as an embrace, a kiss, not only identifies intentionality with intersubjectivity, for what is being said is the intersubjectivity between the two persons, but also with reference or objectivity, for what the symbol is talking about is the communication between the persons as well. An existential-religious symbol does not refer beyond itself, but is an intersubjectivity which is self-referential. Although the moments of speaking reach their highest symbolic identity in religious symbol, however, that is not a confused identity but a highly differentiated one. For religious symbol must include the differentiations of the previous types of symbol. An existential-religious symbol is meaningful only to the extent that one can distinguish oneself from one's feelings, speaking, the world, other selves, and God. Once those distinctions are made, existential-religious symbol can reach its full force of showing their ultimate unity in difference.
Although an existential-religious symbol creates its object, it is not atomic in the sense that it can express its intentionality outside of a context any more than any other symbol can. Yet as we saw, it is not self-interpreting. A language is required which makes the speaking of symbol its object, puts it in a context, develops it and discerns the proper meaning of the symbol. This type of speaking which reflects upon symbol and interprets it is called logos.
Logos is the speaking of reference, or objectivity. As thematizing the third moment of speaking, therefore, it somehow includes the languages which thematize the previous moments of subjectivity and intentionality and implies the following speaking which thematizes intersubjectivity. The function of logos, then, is to reflect upon or interpret symbol in its mythical context. This reflection is achieved by a continual differentiation of the dimensions of these languages. Because this differentiation unfolds an ever increasing complexity of reality, and logos can focus on any aspect of that complexity, it is not always obvious that the ultimate function of logos is to lead, through its interpretation of myth, to a differentiated involvement in transcendent reality. However, this goal becomes evident as logos approaches and explicates the highest dimension of reality, intersubjectivity.
The type of logos which objectifies the subjective dimension of reality is called story. This speaking reflects upon experience by narrating it. There can be different types of stories depending on what the story is talking about, for example, the general topics of self, world, God, or dimensions or interrelations of those realities. But the chief characteristic of the story is that it tells what is the case, narrates the facts about its object. The referential nature of logos explicates the facts of experi-ence by locating them in real space and time. In so doing it creates history. Story, therefore, is not to be confused with myth. For while a myth, like story, is a narrative about reality, it is not concerned with fact, but with symbol detached from any particular space or time. Myth is expressive because its time and space are universal. What happens in myth happens in every space and every time. Story, as story, narrates what happened in one space and one time. This is not to say that a story may not have any mythological dimension, be a factual example of an universal experience. Indeed, the criterion for whether story is interesting is the degree to which it displays that univer-sal dimension. And to the extent that a story speaks about reality, there is always some universality about it, for being is universal. But a story need not make that universality explicit as a myth does.
A story, then, is a narrative which is presumed to be true, in the sense that it relates occurrences in an actual place at an actual time. Thus the word "true" in the expression "true story" refers to its spatio-temporal factuality. A myth, on the other hand, need only satisfy the criterion of expression of universal experience in order to be considered true. Story is fictional if its times, places, referents, or their interrelations are not expressive of actual facts. Story is false, however, if it is actually fictional while purporting to be true. In contrast to story, a false myth is not one which is fictional while pretending to be factual, but one which gives a perverted expression of universal experience. One does not expect a myth to be historically verifiable, but one does expect that it will have sympathetic vibrations in one's own consciousness.
Story objectifies subjectivity or experience in the sense that it takes someone's feeling complexes or perceptions and articulates them in speaking in spatio-temporal relationships. It is this objectification which makes the teller of the story unimportant. Nor is the focus of the story the subject to whom the story is told, nor even the subject who originally had the experience, for what is emphasized is the fact that the experience happened. The teller of the story may or may not find his own feelings and perceptions expressed in the story, but this is irrelevant. A story expresses objectivity by establishing a reality independent of both speaker and hearer. This is a significant difference from the subjective dimension of myth. For in myth the teller is taken up into his account and need not be conscious of the distinction of himself from his speaking of the myth. Indeed, the ritual re-enactment of myth is aimed at breaking down the distinction between the self and the telling. But in the telling of story the distinction between self and the telling has been clearly drawn, to the point that the story seems to have factual existence independent of its narrator and hearer.
The telling of the story is of course not unimportant. But the objectivity of logos makes the significance of the telling a reflection of what has happened in the past. Story, because of its factual reference to a particular place and time, does not aim at ontological re-creation of the past, even though it does make it logically present. Of course this does not mean that story is closed to such ontological re-creation. A story of a particularly successful statesman may inspire the hearer to repeat those successes in his own life; the story of techniques used by a great painter or musician may allow an hearer to paint or play; the story of a successful scientific experiment may allow the hearer to repeat the experiment. But the story is not the repeated experiment: that is another story. Story, because it differentiates in space and time, distinguishes past happening from present telling from future happening. Myth does not.
Story, as we said, can talk about all sorts of things, all sorts of different experiences. And it is the objectifying function of logos which allows it to do so. For it is through the abstraction of space and time which logos creates that distinctions are possible. Without this referential function, it is not clear what one is talking about: self, world, God, or some aspect thereof. We say that story objectifies subjectivity or experience, but it should now be clear that this means that without story as the objectifying of experience there simply is no experience. Therefore, there is an element of story in every speaking. But when we speak of story in itself, we wish to emphasize the creation of that experience through spatio-temporal objectification.
As was suggested above, the focus of story is not on intersubjectivity, the relationship between speaker and hearer, any more than it was on the subjectivity of the teller. This is not to say, however, that story is not an important advance of intersubjectivity over previous stages of speaking. For the objectification of experience in story is the clear distinction among selves and world. And without this clear distinguishing, no true unity of intersubjectivity is possible, for intersubjectivity is not a unity which is an amorphous lack of differentiation, but is proportional to increasing differentiation. Therefore, the greater the objectification of reality, the greater the possibility of communication of subjects in that reality. For example, we saw that in and of itself, an existential-religious symbol cannot be distinguished from an aesthetic symbol. Its intentionality is only made explicit through its story, its space-time relations to other true, and perhaps to other false symbols. Thus a Mafia kiss is not an existential-religious symbol of intersubjectivity, because its history associates it with other symbols which are contradictory to that intersubjectivity. The story of that kiss, followed by the death of its recipient, leads to its interpretation as an aesthetic symbol which expresses feelings of ironic contempt rather than communion. Woe to the one who misinterprets the symbol by being ignorant of its story.
The speaking of symbol in all of its types is hypothetical. The word hypothesis comes from the Greek roots hypo, under, and thesis, that which is placed. So the root meaning of hypothesis is that of foundation, and the speaking of symbol is foundational in that all other languages are built upon it. It is true that myth is the most primordial form of speaking, but as we have seen, myths narrate only in terms of symbol. When a symbol has been interpreted in the factual experience of story, however, it is no longer treated as hypothetical but is now posited as a thesis. The objectified symbol, or thesis, is then called theory, which etymologically means a looking on or viewing. It is through the symbol treated as an objective expression of reality that one is able to see and thus to know that reality. So crucial is theory to mediating reality to the knower that the objectified symbol of the theory tends to be identified simply with the reality which it expresses.
The intentionality of theory can be contrasted with that of story. In story, each symbol has its meaning interpreted through its relations to other symbols in the story. But there is no necessary predominance of one symbol over another. In theory, however, the meaning of the story itself or objectified experience is expressed in terms of one central symbol. In our Mafia story, for example, the meaning of the kiss was interpreted to be negative because of the subsequent treatment of the one to whom the symbol was expressed. A theory, however, would go further to organize the whole story around some one symbol and see in that symbol the explanation for the whole chain of events of the story. Thus the kiss which expresses contempt becomes identified with the cause of subsequent harm to the one kissed and is then the kiss of death. One might argue that it was feelings of contempt, the fact that one person despised the other, which led to the death, but contempt and despising are metaphors which refer to symbolic acts of judging (Greek temnein) and looking down upon (Latin despicere). While any one of many symbols might be the key one to integrate and thus explain the story, a theory chooses a point of view, takes one symbol and expands upon it to give an account of the happening. And this development of one symbolic point of view is the central characteristic of theory, whether the symbol be a kiss to explain the story of an interpersonal relationship, an indivisible particle to explain the story of the world, or light to explain the story of God.
As we noted, it was indifferent to the truth of the story who it was who told it, for a story was objective experience, available to anyone to hear or to tell. And a theory, as a further objectification of story, is in one sense even less subjective than a story was, for a good theory should be held by all hearers and speakers of the story to be its explanation. Further objectification thus does not destroy subjectivity but enhances it. Thus an insight into the central meaning of a story is both more subjective and more objective than the telling of the story. It is more subjective because a higher degree of appropriation of a story is necessary for a theory than for the mere telling of the story. It is more objective because it is expected that a true theory will be accepted by everyone who has heard the story. We are presuming in our comparison that the teller of the story and the speaker of the theory accept them as true. If they do not, they are not really saying something but reporting on the saying of someone else. Thus when one tells a story or proposes a theory that one does not personally accept, the proper formulae are: "so and so says that this happened," and "so and so has the theory that." Our point is that when one accepts a story or a theory one finds oneself more subjectively expressed in a theory than one does in a story. And this is paradoxical, for there is more immediate attachment to a story if it was one's own personal experience which is recounted, if one was there, than there is attachment to a theory that one was the first to see.
The detachment of theoretician from theory is a function of objectivity. Theory achieves this objectivity by making the factual experience of story an account of the theory which it has chosen to integrate that experience. The result of this linkage between story and theory is that the theory, which is actually a symbol or unity in difference, tends to be regarded literally as an actual fact. For example, the success of the planetary symbol of the atom in describing physical experience has the not surprising effect of leading one to think that the world actually is made up of such atoms. Thus the objectification of intentionality leads to the collapse of intentionality into reference or objectivity. Intentionality becomes self-referential in that what is said, the symbol, or intentionality, becomes what is talked about, the reference. Thus to accept the atomic theory as literal or factual truth is to think that when one talks about atoms one is simply talking about the world, and vice versa.
The tendency to accept theories as literal fact can perhaps be traced to two influences. The first is that of the objectified subjectivity of story or experience. For there is no fact or story without a theory to integrate it. The movement to choose one symbolic theory to explain experience is not unnatural, for without an implicit theory, experience becomes merely a succession of unconnected feelings without self-conscious integration. When the natural function of expressing experience in theory becomes explicit, the necessity of theory to have any facts at all is realized. And it is an easy confusion to move from the realization that theory is necessary for fact to think that a theory is a fact.
The second influence for confusing theory with fact is the intersubjective dimension of theory. Intentionality is the key to intersubjectivity. When intentionality becomes objectified in theory, so also does intersubjectivity. That is to say, in integrating experience, theory presents that experience in such a way that it is universally available. This is a higher degree of universality than was present in story, for there the integration of theory was only implicit. The intersubjectivity or communication which is the goal of all speaking is thus enhanced by theory. And if a theory is accepted as fact, communication seems to be complete, for both speaker and hearer find their different subjectivities united in an objective reality which integrates not only their present and past experience, but any experience which they might have in the future.
The literalization of theory is nothing more than an acceptance of theory as being the final form of communication. Theory becomes world, and the subjects lose them-selves in that world. By our analysis of speaking, such a view is inadequate, for it does not give expression to all the dimensions of speaking. Intersubjectivity is obviously incomplete when a person is considered to be nothing more than his theory about universal experience. But the objectification of symbol in theory is most immediately shown to be incomplete in that it does not give full expression to the dimension of objectivity. For inasmuch as a speaker or subject cannot be reduced to an object, he transcends it. When, therefore, his speaking itself is objectified in theory, he transcends it and objectifies the objectivity of theory. To the extent that theory is factualized, therefore, it becomes a fact among other facts of experience, different from the subject, and available for further integration by the symbolization of the subject.
The objectification of theory is the objectification of objectivity and is called critique. Critique arises from the dissatisfaction at allowing any one speaking or symbolization to be identified with reality. This dissatisfaction can arise when it is discovered that there is some aspect or fact of experience which the theory does not truly express. But since, as we said, there are no facts of experience without symbols, a discrepancy between experience and theory is really a clash between theories, even though one of those theories may be implicit. It is the function of critique, whose name is derived from the Greek word for judge, to fully explicate the conflicting theories and to judge be-tween them. The movement of critique, however, is not simply a horizontal one of developing parallel theories, comparing them, and then choosing the best. For there is never a situation in which there is not some theory in possession. The very recognition that a current theory is inadequate to experience is already an implicit critique because it objectifies the objectivity of that theory. It only remains to critique, then, to develop its own implicit theory. And that theory must be a higher viewpoint than the former theory for it must explain everything which that previous theory explained plus the new experience in the face of which it was inadequate.
It is in critique, then, that the objectifying character of logos reaches its self-referential apex. Story objectified the subject in his experience, and theory objectified the story in a symbol and its development. Now critique objectifies theory. In so doing, it is not accepting the theory which it objectifies as a fact in the sense that it is a literal truth. On the contrary, critique disengages itself from the theory which it criticizes by its very reference to it. This differs radically from an attitude which identifies a theory with reality, for such an attitude, losing the distinction between theory and reality, loses the ability to refer. Critique enhances rather than diminishes reference, for it makes the distinction between the experiential story and the theory in possession as well as the distinction between that theory and the theory which it is developing.
With these distinctions comes a new level of awareness of subjectivity. For the speaker of the critique is acutely aware of his own activity in objectifying theory. Just as the appropriation of a symbolization of reality may be so strong as to lead to forgetfulness that the symbol is not simply identified with the reality, the rejection of a particular symbolization of reality cannot help but make the subject aware of the distinction of self from the reality which was symbolized, as well as the distinction of the symbol from that reality. One does not have to be the original speaker of a theory in order to regard it as one's own expression. And even if one is the original speaker, once the theory has been spoken it is easy to forget one's subjectivity and identify it without differentiation with a theory which is itself undifferentiated from reality. But as soon as a differentiation between theory and reality reappears, it is difficult not to have a focus of differentiation shift back to the one who is aware of the differentiation.
An enhancement of subjectivity is always an enhancement of intentionality as well. This is especially true in the case of critique, where the realization of a heightened subjectivity was concomitant with the development of the new theory, or new objectified intentionality. For a critique, as the objectification of a moment of reality successive to intentionality, includes intentionality but goes beyond it. A critique must propose a theory. Not to do so would be a retreat to a more immediate level of story, and such a return to immediacy would not explain the judgment on the first theory. This is why, for a true critique, it is not sufficient to have a feeling, a story, or even an implicit theory which does not correspond to the present theory. A critique is considered adequate only when it can show, point for point, the inadequacies of the theory in possession. But such a judgment necessitates a higher viewpoint which not only explains what the current theory explains, but also what it does not.
It might appear, then, that critique is no more than a second level theorization, a sort of meta-theory. If no story is possible without symbolization in the first place, and original theory provides an integrational symbolization of the experience which is story, can we not say that theory becomes a story for further theorization? The answer to this question is that there is a significant difference between the sort of theorization which explains story and the sort of theorization which objectifies theory itself in critique. For although story contains symbol, it has not objectified and thematized any one of the symbols to explain the total experience. This objectification and thematization happens first at the level of theory. So in contrast to theory which, by symbolizing, integrated the various symbols of story, critique integrates story and theory. Having thus objectified the objectivity of theory, critique itself is open to a higher critique, with a new theory which explains elements of reality which it left unexplained. But this succession of critiques, be it infinite, is unlike the movement from story to theory, for a story is not a theory but a collection of symbols which are at most implicit theories. The movement of story to theory is a movement to symbolization which gathers all of objectified experience into one explanation. Subsequent movements from theory to critique or to further critiques simply exchanges one putative universal explanation for a more adequate one.
Heightened subjectivity, intentionality, and intersubjectivity in critique should produce a heightened intersubjectivity. However, critique appears at first to diminish intersubjectivity. For the originality of critique comes as a shock to the comfortable intersubjectivity of an accepted theory. The intersubjectivity of critique is a challenge to conversion, and such a challenge is sometimes taken as arrogance and alienation. And even if the challenge to conversion to the new theory were accepted, such conversion seems to be faced with a dilemma, either horn of which is unacceptable. On the one hand, the new theory is subject to the intersubjective inadequacy of the previous theory, namely, of confusing intersubjectivity with an objectified speaking. For although intersubjectivity is a speaking and it is objective, it is not reducible to either or both of those moments. On the other hand, once it is realized that one finite symbolization or theory is inadequate to express reality, the possibility of finding any adequate theory is called into question. Critique itself is no answer to this question, for it just offers the possibility of an infinite succession of theories, each one more adequate than the last, but none of which meet the demands of complete expression of reality and therefore perfect intersubjectivity. An infinite series of explanations, even though each successive one be more adequate than its predecessor, is no explanation at all. By itself, critique founders.
For a critique to have an intentionality which is not self-contradictory, a basis is required. This basis which objectifies intersubjectivity by analyzing the intersubjective structure of any speaking whatsoever, is called foundations. Foundations, then, is the true critique of critique for it shows the dialectical structure of speaking which makes any critique at all possible. And that dialectical structure is not one of negative reactions to previous speaking. Nor is it simply a higher viewpoint which itself can be subsumed in a successive higher viewpoint. Foundations is the critique of critique because it provides a basis for uncovering the true intentionality of every speaking. Thus the word foundations is in the plural because it provides a foundation for every critique as well as for critique in general. And, as the foundation for the next highest type of logos or objective speaking, critique, foundations also founds theory and story as well as every type of symbol and myth. No one of these languages can be understood without seeing them as a particular amplification of their hermeneutic foundation. Since we have all along been judging each speaking according to the intersubjective structure of speaking, it must now be evident that the task of hermeneutic ontology taken as a whole is that of foundations.
In terms of the dimensions of speaking, foundations is objectivized intersubjectivity. That is, it thematizes intersubjectivity by temporally and spatially manifesting its structure. Speaking about something always involves a spatio-temporal arrangement or manifestation, but in the case of foundations what is so structured is the completeness of the act of speaking itself. Because this is the case, foundations reveals the goal as well as the basis of every act of speaking. For speaking has meaning only to the extent that it proceeds from communication and to communication. Intersubjectivity is the circle in which all interpretation must travel. While foundations itself is not the fullness of intersubjectivity, for it is only the highest type of speaking of objectivity rather than a speaking of intersubjectivity, it does provide the basis for reflecting on intersubjectivity, of discerning how it is present in a particular speaking.
In foundations, a high degree of subjectivity must be achieved. For foundations is a reflection on intersubjectivity, and one can hardly reflect on intersubjectivity unless one has participated in it. In addition, the reflection itself, as being a type of speaking, is a dimension of intersubjectivity, even though it is not the fullness thereof. The person who speaks the language of foundations, therefore, must experience a great satisfaction. For he is thematizing that which alone is adequate to express himself, namely intersubjectivity, and in so recollecting that intersubjectivity in logos cannot help but rejoice at its presence. The paradox is, however, that foundations must be the most selfless of all of the languages of reflection or objectivity even though it attains the highest degree of subjectivity of them. For just as a self discovers itself in an intersubjective relationship only by forgetting about itself, foundations, if it is true, cannot be possessed by the subject who speaks it. Rather it possesses that subject, for if it is true, it is the foundation of his subjectivity. In foundations, therefore, one must realize that oneself is not the source of one's subjectivity, that there is a foundation for oneself beyond oneself. Consequently, true foundations belong to the speaker of them in the same sense that they belong to everyone else. While it may be appropriate for the speaker of the other languages of reflection to refer to them as my story, my theory, or my critique, for expressions which he has either originated or appropriated, the adjective "my" sounds jarring when it modifies foundations, hermeneutic ontology, or philosophy. For the emphasis on intersubjectivity of foundations demands that at least implicitly it be spoken of as "our" philosophy, since if it is true it expresses the basis for that which is most in common, our speaking. Foundations thus structurally presents the element which is common to everyone's story.
As intersubjectivity is the completion of intentionality, foundations is the completion of theory. In theory, however, what was being said was restricted to some particular area of objective experience. In foundations, by contrast, something is being said about all possible experience. This is due to the fact that what foundations is saying is the structure of every saying, not just a particular saying. The intentionality of foundations therefore implies its reference. For in revealing the structure of saying, foundations is talking about every saying. And if every being is a revelation or speaking, foundations, in revealing the structure of every speaking, is revealing every being, including itself. The self-referential intentionality of foundations is in a marked contrast to any other kind of saying. When one tells a story, the story is not identified simply with the sequence of events of which it is the story. And in theory, what is being said refers to something beside itself. When one develops an atomic theory or a wave theory, one is not developing a theory of theory. One is developing the symbol of particle or wave so that one can predicate it of some external situation. When one integrates story and theory in critique, one is not giving a theory of story, or a theory of theory, or a theory of critique, or a critique of critique, but merely giving a higher symbolization to include a previous theory of critique. Foundations, however, is the hermeneutic circle, because in giving the foundations of saying, it gives its own foundations as well as the foundation of every other type of speaking. Foundations then is the foundation of critique, theory, and story, as well as the critique of critique, theory, and story, theory of theory and story, and story of story. To the extent that theories and critiques can become events, there can be a story of theories, and a theory of critiques. But there can be no theory of foundations, because that would provide a higher viewpoint than foundations, and there can be no such thing. There is really only one foundation, and that is the self-founding nature of speaking.
It might be objected that any theory might be implicitly self-referential and therefore hermeneutic, because the saying of a particular symbol of itself neither includes nor excludes a particular reference. For example, one might develop the symbol of atom or particle, and later use the developed symbol as a theory to explain the behavior of matter in general. And couldn't that same symbol be used as a theory to explain speaking itself, and thus be implicitly self-referential and foundational? The difficulty with such a position is that a symbol is a particular feeling or feeling complex, and is not adequate to express the universality of speaking. Thus an atomic theory of meaning was found inadequate to express the relational character of intentionality. And the problem here was not that the atom was a defective symbol to express the foundation of speaking, but that every symbol as particular feeling or feeling complex is so defective. The dynamism of fire, the flowing nature of water, the collection of logos all express something about speaking but cannot be taken as a theory of speaking. For a theory must be taken as a universal of which its reference is a particular instantiation. And speaking is the universal of which all symbols are instantiations or expressions. So one can rightly say "fire speaks," "water is expressive," and "atoms have meaning," but not "speaking is fire," "expression is water," or "meaning is atomic." Of course we make such statements, but when we do so we are doing it by a metonymy which exchanges subject for predicate. This, as any metaphorical reconstruction, is acceptable if we know what we are doing. While each symbol reveals something about speaking because each symbol is a speaking, no symbol can reveal everything about speaking, for the intentionality of speaking is infinite and symbols are limited.
It is the function of foundations to reveal the infinite intentionality of speaking. For foundations is still a human speaking and must therefore speak in finite symbols. Foundations is absolute, yet it is relative in that it is explained in every speaking. And its absolutism is not the absolutism of one viewpoint among many, for it claims to present what is common to all viewpoints or theories. Unlike theory which is restricted to one feeling or feeling complex of its integrating symbol, foundations gives the condition for the possibility of any feeling whatsoever by presenting itself. And how can it present itself? Not by abstracting from finite feelings, for such an abstraction would reveal nothing at all. It is rather the fact that foundations talks about itself in finite feelings which reveals its infinite intentionality. Self-reference without feelings are empty, feelings without self-reference are non-existent. While foundations does not limit itself to expression in any one symbol, it relates all symbols in such a way as to show its presence in all symbols.
Foundations reaches the highest degree of objectivity of all objective speaking because what it talks about is that which is most available to all, what is common to every being. This is not the abstraction of space and time, but the concrete reality of intersubjectivity. While foundations does not collapse the moments of speaking, it does show the unity of intersubjectivity, the relation between speakers, with objectivity, that which it is speaking about, just as it showed the unity of that objectivity or reference with intentionality. We have seen that the highest abstractions, or perhaps we should say the most complex feelings, are space and time. For space and time are present only when feelings are highly integrated and attended to. Foundations uses even this high level of space-time complexity as a symbol to reveal the presence of intersubjectivity, and does so by expressing them, as with other symbols, as a derivative of itself. Foundations thus makes the claim that its own spatial organization or temporal sequence is not constitutive of itself but a symbolization of its all present and eternal character. But in stating this intersubjectivity in space and time, foundations has not completed the task of speaking. It has just shown that intersubjectivity is implicitly present in all speaking, including itself. There remains a speaking which makes intersubjectivity explicit by being an expression of commitment to it. This final speaking, which thematizes intersubjectivity, is called spirit.
The speaking of spirit may be called the speaking of deliberation, decision, or commitment. The decision of spirit is not among finite determinations of action but whether to be or not to be, life or death, to discover oneself in the intersubjective horizon or not. The speaking of spirit decides these alternatives positively, not by developing a rationale for its decision, but by speaking it. Thus the speaking of spirit is a speaking of intersubjective commitment. One speaks this language only by committing oneself. And yet the etymology and the usage of the word commitment suggest that commitment is not merely self-initiated. Derived from the Latin commitere, commit has the root meaning of send with, and the Latin can be translated as put together or send forth. There is a sense in which one puts oneself together or sends oneself forth in speaking, but there is also a sense in which one finds oneself put together or sent. Hence the verb is frequently used in the passive form, "I am committed," to such and such. Commitment reaches its intersubjective completion when it is made to another person. And in that situation the passive use of the form "I am committed" may well express a sense that commitment is not something which one produces of oneself but something in which one finds oneself involved. For being committed to is being in love, and it is truer to experience to say that one finds oneself in love rather than puts oneself there. Nor does one find oneself committed by oneself but with another, just as one does not find oneself in love by oneself. For as the fullness of speaking, spirit, the speaking of commitment finds oneself in speaking and realizes that oneself is in love. To reflect this fact that commitment always occurs in a community, we shall subsequently speak of commitment in a community rather than to it.
A statement of love is most of all a commitment in intersubjectivity, which contains all of the other dimensions of speaking. This commitment does not look to the future for its fulfillment, for it sees the future as well as the past included in its presence. The statement of love thus commits itself to an intersubjectivity which has no beginning and no end but includes all beginnings and ends within itself. This is so whether the commitment is made to another human person or to the relation itself between the persons which is the source of all commitment.
The positive paradox of the speaking of commitment, then, is that it has the characteristic of being self-referential as the speaking of foundations was, but it is not of the finite self. The speaking of foundations which objectified intersubjectivity was the foundation of all of the other speaking which preceded it in the matrix, but it was not the foundation of itself. Rather it was founded on intersubjectivity, and intersubjectivity is expressed in the speaking of spirit or commitment. The speaking of foundations can only judge and include all other languages, then, in the light of a self-commitment. In founding foundations, the speaking of commitment does not refer to anything outside of itself, but the finite individual who speaks the speaking of commitment does not experience himself as its ultimate source.
Paradoxes are to be found in every moment of the speaking of spirit, for as the most perfect speaking, it is both the most unified and the most differentiated of all languages. There is only one speaking of commitment, and yet there are also as many languages of commitment as there are persons to whom commitment is made. And even an expression of love or commitment to one person is unified yet differentiated through the totality of communication with that person. A statement of commitment cannot be restricted to one time or one space but includes all possible expression in its ambit. Every word, every action comes into being only as a manifestation of that commitment and love. For in loving commitment action and world are not separated but mutually explicative.
The speaking of spirit, like the speakings of logos, symbol, and myth, can be considered according to the moments of speaking which are emphasized in it. Statements of intersubjectivity or love constitute communities, and emphasis on the moments of subjectivity, intentionality, reference, and intersubjectivity produce the family, academic, political, and religious communities.
1. Commitment in Subjective Intersubjectivity: Self and Family
Every statement of love is not only a promise of devotion to another person but is also a commitment to be a subject, a person, a someone. However, one cannot resolve to be oneself, to be an authentic person, merely by oneself. Human experience of commitment, from the Socratic dialogues to Alcoholics Anonymous, illustrates the fact that the decision to be an authentic self occurs only in community. On the other hand, community only exists as a unity of distinct selves. If it is true to say that one discovers oneself only in commitment to community, it is also true to say that one discovers community only in commitment to oneself. These discoveries are not differentiated by temporal priority, but contemporaneously manifest themselves.
The self is an objectified subjectivity which has its place in any intersubjectivity or community. However, because this self first appears and develops in the family community, it has a special relation to that community of subjective intersubjectivity. From the dawn of consciousness to the experience of marriage and parenting, the family is the intersubjective arena in which the subject learns what it is to be a self, an hearer and speaker. It is this community therefore in which the self learns that it is committed, that it is not alone but has its being in communication with others. The person's awareness of that commitment is first passive, realizing its own being as the result of others' commitment, but it will later be stated actively in the subjects responsive commitment. Particular statements of love, whether responsive, or constitutive as in explicit marriage vows, are all part of the statement of subjective intersubjectivity which the family is. This commitment, as the first experience of selfhood, is part of the foundation of foundations which is hermeneutic ontology, and is required for the interpretation of any other type of speaking. Moreover, because of its special focus, commitment in subjective intersubjectivity has special relevance to the speaking which treats subjectivity as an object, that is, psychology. An hermeneutic ontology will therefore apply itself to psychology by analyzing the character of authentic self-commitment.
2. Commitment in Intentional Intersubjectivity: Speaking and the Academy
A statement of love includes a commitment to saying something as well as to being a person. Indeed, a commitment to being a person implies a commitment to speak, and a commitment to saying something includes authentic personhood. One does not love without expressing the unity in difference between lover and beloved, between speaker and hearer, by speaking. Rather a statement of love is a continual speaking which transcends time and is expressed in all time. Never does one find with a lover that one has nothing to say. This obviously does not mean that one has to be the speaker in order to be faithful to one's commitment, for in a true love relationship both speaking and listening are experienced as saying something. Nor is it necessary that any finite self in a love relationship be conscious of oneself as original speaker, for all speaking of love is experienced as a gift of absolute speaking or love. True human commitment to intentionality can never be egoistic or self-centered because it presents itself as coming from and returning to an infinite speaking. As soon as one is committed to love, therefore, one's eyes and ears are opened and one's tongue is loosened and one begins to participate in an unending dialogue.
The community of unending dialogue, of intentional intersubjectivity, is the community of friendship, for a friend is one to whom one feels free to speak without limitation. As institutionalized, the community of friendship is known as the academic community. Commitment in this community will appear in the form of persons gathering together to discover the truth by saying it to each other. Such speaking is academic freedom in its positive sense, and it is guaranteed by the fact that well spoken truth has an authority which is irresistible.
As it is appropriate for a commitment in subjective intersubjectivity to supply the data for psychology, so also it is appropriate for commitment in intentional intersubjectivity to supply the data for the science of speaking well and truly regarded as an object, logology. And as a science of speaking in itself is empty, and cannot be considered without its four dimensions, logology in the real order is ontology, and a commitment to intentional intersubjectivity is the dimension of love necessary to found ontology. This foundation, of course, is the foundation of the hermeneutic circle, for one must love, or be committed to speaking in order to speak, and one must speak in order to love. Hermeneutic ontology applies itself to itself, therefore, by analyzing the character of authentic speaking. And as authentic speaking is the epitome of right human action, an ethics, or science of right action, will be the first fruits of hermeneutic ontology's self-analysis.
3. Commitment in Objective Intersubjectivity: World and the Political Community
As we have noted, a statement of love refers to or talks about itself. This self-referential nature of the speaking of spirit does not make it subjective, but the epitome of objectivity. For since it is the speaking of spirit which founds intentionality, anyone who can speak can understand, and anyone who can understand can understand the expression of love which is the foundation of understanding. To commit oneself to another person is therefore to make oneself understood by everyone.
The place in which everyone and every community is understood in the sense of given a place to stand is the community of objective intersubjectivity, the political community. As critique orders all theory in terms of implicit foundations, so the political community orders all communities in terms of an implicit transcendent community. An hermeneutic ontology, which examines all reality in the light of transcendent community, will develop a theory of politics which reveals the derivative principles of the political community.
The objectivity of human love which appears in the political community, however, is not devoid of reference to the limitations of that love, the world. It is the world in which the political community gives the other communities and individuals their place and rights. The unity of human love finds itself differentiated in this world as white light breaks into the colors of the rainbow. As human speaking always speaks about the world, even when it speaks about itself, human love is always a commitment to the world as well as to another person. For "world" is the name for that which differentiates the finite self from the other self and from their intersubjective relation. Commitment to the world, therefore, is commitment to the difference in unity which one experiences in love. To people in love, the tiniest object in the world is infinitely valuable because it is an expression of their love. Nor can people who are committed to speaking about the world fail to grow in commitment to other persons since the moment of objectivity implies intersubjectivity as difference implies unity. What is most objective is not what is present in one space and time but what transcends space and time. A commitment is that transcendence which, viewed under the aspect of objectivity, discovers itself in every moment of the physical world.
Commitment in objective intersubjectivity is then the love which gives the founding principle of all study of the world, or cosmology. That cosmology can be successful only to the extent that it articulates the structure of communication in nature. For example, a radical atomic theory of material objects will be found defective, for it will have no means of explaining the relationships between the atoms. The unity in difference of commitment must be found at every level of nature, even the most insignificant, if nature is to be intelligible to the being who exists in the speaking of spirit. An hermeneutic ontology will thus be the source of a cosmology as well as political theory as it articulates the structure of communication.
4. Commitment in Intersubjective Intersubjectivity: God and the Church
Contemporaneous with the discovery of other self is the discovery of God. To the degree that one discovers oneself as a speaker in dialogue with another, one also discovers that one is not the ultimate source of one's speaking. Attempts to establish oneself as the originator of commitment are illusory products of sub-linguistic compulsion and are doomed to frustration. In a truly self-fulfilling relationship, each member of the dialogue is grateful for a gift which he did not produce, and so together the community discovers an infinite unity which is its bond. In contrast to this awareness, theories of the self-made man or Pelagian grace are seen to be illusions, and the self sees itself as separated from infinite love and from other human selves only to the extent that it's consciousness is diminished.
As "God" is the name for the infinite unity which brings the community together, "Church" is the name for the community of intersubjective intersubjectivity which is so gathered. As the etymology of "church" suggests (from the Greek kyriokos, of the Lord, in turn from kyros, power) the Church is of the Lord, and its power is the power of intersubjectivity or love. It speaks this power in its worship or sacrifice, in its statements of loving recognition and thanks that God is its source and bond. Again etymology is enlightening, for the word "God" may come from a root which has the plausible meanings of either pour or invoke, and thus signifies either the one to whom it is poured out in sacrifice or the one who is invoked. Since the speaking of worship or intersubjective intersubjectivity includes and founds all other languages, an hermeneutic ontology, or foundations, will be faithful and true to that speaking of ultimate commitment, understanding its presence by revealing its structure in all other languages. Thus is the hermeneutic circle of faith seeking understanding completed.
Finally, since the statement of love achieves its completion in the unity in difference which exists between finite selves in their relation to each other as they worship God, it is appropriate that intersubjective intersubjectivity or Church be the community which gives the principle to the science which objectifies intersubjectivity. This science of objectified intersubjectivity, or God, is theology. An hermeneutic ontology will be this theology as it articulates the structure of the Church's worshipful speaking.
"The symbol gives rise to the thought." This is so, as we have seen, because the structure of symbol, of unity in difference, is the structure of speaking, and thought is the self-interpretation of speaking. It is that logos which reveals onta, what exists. The complete symbol, the symbol of thanking God, reveals the ultimate existent and shows it as the source of all speaking and being. Thus is the etymology of "thank" reversed. For etymologically a "thank" is a thought, a product of thinking. And the matrix of hermeneutic ontology, which shows that the symbol gives rise to thought, articulates the fact that thought is a product of thanking.