Philosophy possesses nothing but yearns for the substance of truth. In Voegelin’s overall authorship the idea of existence as motion, as the desire for illumination, claims paramountcy. The subject, to exercise his free will in quest of truth, necessarily orients himself to the temporal poles, continually recollecting the past, which bequeaths to him the pattern of order, while traveling improvisation-wise towards the future, where he hopes that order will approximate its fulfillment. If the subject knew in advance the End of the Story, it would disincentivize him from any striving or creating, endeavors for which mystery alone provides inspiration. What in Volume V of Order and History Voegelin calls the “It-world” encompasses what he calls the “Thing-world.” The pronoun it names the otherwise unnameable beyond in either direction – the somewhat that is nevertheless not nothing; the nominal thing, meanwhile, names any of the innumerable items that arrange themselves pattern-wise in the between or, to use the Greek term that Voegelin borrows from Plato’s Symposium, the metaxy, where consciousness dwells. The Hegelian or Marxian absolute knowledge denies the presence of the beyond; it reduces everything to an object including the human being, but in order to do this it effectively cancels consciousness. It thus demotes anthropology, the counterpart of theology, to the level of physics, which concerns itself with tracing out cause and effect in inanimate nature. A beginning differs from a cause because, as in a story, a beginning partakes in intention, which remains uncaused. The anti-epistemological project that wants to impose absolute knowledge on the between of the two beyonds is nothing less than a nihilistic plot to bring everything human, psychic, and transcendent to a dead stop.
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