Galesburg, Wall #1
from the comments below:
“Maybe the only "real" crisis arising from this view is in friendship, for if I am isolated from myself and all the world by the dis-figurations of consciousness, I am isolated from you too. Putting aside the mystery of you as a person for the less mysterious limitations of my duping mind, our friendship is an approximation of friendship. Not more.” [quotation from my post]
"As harsh as this may sound – though it sounds harsh only because it flies in the face of social convention and social sentimentality – that is a valid proposition. In the end, aren’t all things of the world there for us simply to love (in the caritas sense)? I will always be a mystery to you, as you are to me. No amount of turning that over will change this fact. The point is to love, not to know." [K's response]
Yes and no. What I meant isn't clear in my original post: as it is with knowledge, so it is with love, if I've adopted a view "which, no longer distinguishing between idea and reality, cannot know real, existent man as he is ... [I] relativize him in reference to an a priori," as Philippe says below. I cannot love him or her, either, except in an ideal way. What I know and love is my idea of the tree, of you, of people in general, of painting--there is no distinction between the what and the who in this idealism, except in terms of how I might choose (or not) to prioritize them. That is, there is a kind of possessiveness in loving and knowing ideally, for the best I can do in these circumstances is to relativize things and people according to my approximating idea of them, which begins and ends with me and which is ordered towards my psycho-sociological concerns.
My understanding and my love are reduced to aesthetic relationships, then, figurations and disfigurations of accident. The mystery of you in this view, as it resides with you, becomes a non-question, something I might actually come to know and love if not for the mere barrier of subjectivity--which as it is, becomes an insurmountable problem stemming from the limitations of my duping mind and idealized representation. As L says below, "For me, the point isn't so much whether reality is really real, in any absolute sense (which it may or may not be possible for human beings to determine anyway), but that it is real *enough*."
This is what I am calling an approximation.
If it is the case that I can only know and love approximately, then all my love is really some form of eros, desire, in its various manifestations, which is not a terrible thing, and which is most often necessary in a general way (for I cannot really love "my neighbor" if I've never met her), but which can wreak havoc in intimate relationships between friends wherever it becomes clear that my approximation of you falls short. My approximations can be very complex, obviously, very analytical, and filled with references to our experiences together, but the barriers of signification are always between us, miscommunicating.
If I cannot touch (with my intelligence) the reality of you beyond this reality, I cannot love you in the love beyond love, which is caritas. In which I love you for you, not for or despite your qualities as I imagine them, and in which you will always remain a mystery--a "secret" as the monks say--not merely because my understanding is limited by language and ideas and approximations, and not merely because you are a wonderful accident of this world, but because you are a person who is sustained in a substantial reality of existence beyond accident. In this sense, then, you remain a secret to me that is always unfolding; we are not doomed to the isolating prison-house of ever aestheticizing one another and wishing we weren't. --Which is pretty close to the definition of hell.
All of this I say with a caveat: I am a toddler with a toddler's understanding.
My heart and thoughts are with Reginald Shepherd and his loved ones.