|A Sketch of Lucian Blaga's Philosophy.|
|I will try to present a sketch of Lucian
Blaga's philosophy which will contain both the theory of knowledge and the
theory of the unconscious. I will concentrate my study on the approximately
1000 pages from The Trilogy of Culture and The Trilogy of Knowledge. I would
like to limit myself to these two trilogies, which represent the core, the
center of the Blaga philosophy. In the Dogmatic Aeon, published in 1931,
the Luciferian Knowledge, published in 1933, in The Transcendental Censorship,
published in 1934, in Horizon and Style, published in 1935, as well as in
The Genesis of the Metaphor and the Meaning of Culture published in 1937,
the key notion is Mystery.
Another key notion for the understanding of Blaga's philosophy first appears well defined in Horizon and Style. It is the notion of style as unconscious. It is notable that Lucian Blaga wanted, from the beginning, for the notion of the unconscious to not have a direct link to psychology, becoming a philosophical concept. In The Trilogy of Knowledge one can sense in the subtext the thinking of an unconscious domain, which he evidently needed, but which was probably not yet well structured in its new form, liberated from psychology, or in any case liberated from psychoanalysis. Moreover, in The Genesis of the Metaphor and the Meaning of Culture he speaks more about transcendental censorship, and in my opinion, more consistently, more credible, than in the entire chapter with the same title from the Trilogy of Knowledge, text which has a poetical beauty in its metaphysical display.
|The Dogmatic Aeon and the Luciferic Knowledge|
|Let's start our discussion with The Dogmatic
Aeon. What does Blaga want to communicate in this book? He starts by introducing
the idea of dogma, dogmas, from a critical point of view, as "philosophical
theses which more or less surpass experience" (1) , and he states his
point of view that "Dogma requires... o certain crisis of understanding
(2) ..." (3) such that after he justifies dogmatism in the first dogmatic
formulation made by Philo of Alexandria, he will assume this formulation.
Philo was the thinker who lived in that Hellenistic world so appreciated
by Blaga, world in which the wisdom of the Orient met with the rationalistic
attempts of the Hellenics. Blaga will define dogma as "... any formula
which, incongruous with understanding, postulates a transcendence of logic"
(4) . Everything start to become more complicated: what does formula mean?
What does transcendence mean? By formula Blaga understands an expression
through words. By transcendence he understands to surpass. Toward the end
of The Dogmatic Aeon he will write about radical transcendence referring
to knowledge in the negative direction, Luciferian knowledge.
Before entering deeper into Blaga terminology let's attempt a clarification.
The paradoxes of Zenon from Eleea-the impossibility of the arrow to reach
its target-and that of Achilles, the son of Peleus-of reaching a tortoise
while running-do nothing but show us that we cannot think rationally,
logically, about movement, the displacement of objects, people, or beings,
which is otherwise a common sense observation. Logical antinomies, logical
paradoxes, should not solicit our effort to give them a solution, they
are a witness of this difference which exists, and of which we should
be conscious, the difference between the reality observable through our
senses, the perceived reality, on one hand, and our attempt to give it
a correct shape through our expression, especially written, on the other
hand. By correctness many understand a logical form, a rational concatenation,
such that we are not accused that what we write has an aberrant path from
head to toe. Maybe that's why Pythagoras wrote his wisdom in verse, the
golden verses, maybe that's why Heraclitus was considered the obscure,
because he tried to express in written words what in live dialogue was
easier to argue, maybe that's why the few phrases left from Parmenides
seem to have many obscurities, and maybe that's why Socrates refused to
write, considering the dialogue a possibility to correct his statements,
while scripta manent, as the Latins said-if you wrote a stupidity, it
It seems simple, but it's very complicated. Those for whom life was the
main educator will understand this easily, but it will be more complicated
for those who passed through school, possibly too much school. This is
also the reason why those who have studied the life of primitive people
(5) consider that these people not only are primitive, but have primitive
thinking, logically un-evolved. It's true. They have a magical thinking,
and magic escapes any logic. For them myths, stories, and the transcendent
(read magic) are sometimes more important than food, in other words spiritual
nourishment is in first place. They seem to us to be primitive and with
pre-logical thinking because for them the mystery of the surrounding world
is more important than well-conducted, logical thinking. We consider them
primitive in thinking due to the conceit of those mastered by the demon
I will later say a few words about Luciferian knowledge. I would like
to remember that for both Kant and Blaga there is an impossibility of
knowing reality as it is. But we can approximate it with the help of the
a priori categories; this explicitly for Kant, and more reserved but still
very clearly for Blaga (6) . It is the reason why they were both considered
by some philosophers to be agnostics. How funny, agnostic of someone who
gives a solution about the way in which we can know. It is true that the
solution is doubled by the recognition that we cannot have an absolute
From here follows something which at first sight shocks: on the one hand
we have a world which cannot be known in its intimacy, while on the other
we can, with our mind, with our intuition, try to have knowledge, we don't
know how correct, about this unknowable world. Why does it shock? Because
we are rational animals, because we think, because we have a strictness
of this thinking, because we can have a strictness of our thinking which
we name logic. In these conditions we obtain a great confidence in our
mental faculties and we feel that we can become the rulers of the world.
With our prying mind, with the logic that sustains it, we feel strong
and cannot believe that mysteries are around us. We cannot believe that
we have a censorship of knowledge, although the categories through which
we know are, like our sensory organs, limited. A limitation even through
their function. Does reason also have limits? Does the logic that we use?
Of course. We found out that Cantor's set theory has a starting point,
that of set, which is unclearly defined, and that the theory is contradictory
in the transfinite, that mathematics as a complete system is contradictory.
We found out that the diverse logics with which we hoped to cheat reality
and infiltrate its intimacy, such as the logics with infinite values,
Brower's intuitionist logic, fuzzy logic, modal logics, the logical schematism
of Stefan Lupasco, all of them trying to surpass the limit of the Law
of excluded middle, which functions in the logics with two values, we
find that all these logics can be reduced still to a limit, to a logic
with two values-we found out that we cannot restrain the contradictory
reality in logical girths, that reason is not infallible.
All these do not mean that there is a complete breach between reality
and our minds, that it's no longer worth thinking and that we should trash
the books of logic and mathematics. Instead it means that we will be able
to approach reality easier with a mind able to accept contradictions and
try solutions with the help of intuition, with the help of creative ideas.
Here is what our lesson should be from Plato, who talked of a pure world
of ideas which we cannot reach, and that we would be satisfied with a
world of the shadows of these ideas; it should also be the lesson from
Immanuel Kant who, as I have said, wrote about an unknowable word (a noumenal
world), which we can approach with the help of the a priori categories
of intuition. The same is the dogmatic aeon in which we entered or the
contradictory domain of Stefan Lupasco. We should listen to these beautiful
minds that brought our attention to the fact that one is and another we
think, who gave us solutions to how to use our own understanding, to use
logic, to use mathematics.
For Blaga, the existential domain, that which exists, is dominated by
mystery. This means that we cannot know reality because it is unknowable
in its ultimate intimacy, it is incognizable, it is hidden behind a curtain
which does not let us approach, and that's why our senses do not permit
us to decipher it. Kant, whom he critiques and denies, but whom he follows
even if he doesn't recognize it, proposed the noumenal world, where master
is the thing in itself. Blaga speaks to us about a world of mysteries
which we fought from the beginning of humanity to unveil, to reveal. It
is indeed an important difference from Kant. We are no longer talking
of an undifferentiated mystery, of "the thing in itself", of
a universal mystery, but of a multitude of mysteries, each mystery having
a description: this means that we know in which mystery we find ourselves,
even if we cannot give a coherent answer. Do we find ourselves in the
mystery of the last particles of matter, in the mystery of the composition
of the world, in that of the brain, or in that of gravitation? If the
existential domain means mystery, it is good to know that there are a
multitude of mysteries, very many. I don't want to say infinitely many
in order not to enter the transfinite aporia from the set theory. I couldn't
justify why one infinity can have a greater or lesser power that another
infinity, that one infinity exceeds in power another infinity, I couldn't
find a proof for this statement, although the idea attracts me. Nor do
I understand the notion of power of infinity, notion invented by Cantor
in order to justify the different types of infinity. This doesn't mean
that I don't respect mathematics, even Cantor's set theory, what I am
trying to say is that human reason, intelligence has led us to splendid
theoretical constructions applicable in reality, but that doesn't mean
reality; reality is different, it remains a mystery however much we unveil
of it, however deep we infiltrate with our intelligence. Without the mathematical
binary system we wouldn't have computers, we wouldn't have any of modern
technology, without physics and chemistry we wouldn't have any of what
surrounds us. Mathematics, physics and all the sciences guarantee our
civilization, but we would like to know more. We would like to know what
we cannot know. Let's see what is taking place? Let's feel knowledge with
the help of Lucian Blaga's mind.
Mysteries are the most important pillar which supports the theory of
knowledge. In order to be able to approach, carefully, this field of mysteries,
Blaga starts to tell us the story of the dogma, which starts with Philo
We return: what does dogma mean in Blaga?
an abdication of the
self because understanding (intellect) has evaded from itself in formulas
which... are inaccessible to logic... Does Dogma imply a certain crisis
of understanding... (7) ? Formula which in Philo sounds thus: ... from the
primary substance emanate secondary existences, without the primary substance
suffering any decrease through this process. Unity is not altered if we
take something from it, the secondary emanations don't minimize divinity
(the primary substance is divinity for Greek philosophers), which remains
unaltered. One generates the multiple? For our everyday mind it seems
an aberration: how can you take something from a unity without lessening
it? The everyday mind, the mathematical mind, seems to be the one logicians
accept, the one they consider to be correct. This is also our reason.
It cannot accept that a being-we will later see what a being is-may have
three persons, such as in God's Trinitarian dogma. A being in three persons.
God seems to be unitary and multiple at the same time and in the same
coordinates. Can we not agree with such a statement? Why not? This dogma
came out victorious each time in front of those who tried to give Christian
belief a rational form: that's what happened with Arie, who tried to make
a hierarchization of the beings that take place in God, a God who took
shape in time, in front of the pneumatics, who proposed a logical thesis,
Christ being an incarnated divine being, in front of the Adoptionists
for whom Christ was a prophet uplifted to divine dignity, or in front
of the Manichaeans, who transposed contradictory and mysterious reality
into the fight between a divinity of good and evil, between God and the
Devil, both having equal power, thus introducing a dualist theology. The
Christian view that was victorious after approximately 400 years of battle
was that of trinity into one being. It is the Christian dogma that has
its roots in Philo's dogma. Why did it happen this way? Blaga thought
that there is a human tendency toward mystery, reason for which the dogma
was preferred and chosen over an attempt to a rational, logically correct
explanation, fact that appears to our understanding as a contradiction
or an impossibility. Maybe intuition whispers to us that logical strictness
is poor and that it is better to leave open the gate of understanding,
to leave everybody the right to dream with open eyes. Sometimes the imaginary
proves closer to reality.
In other words, Blaga draws the attention to a mismatch, a very important
difference between what is real and what we think. It is a difference
that I have mentioned already, noticed by thinkers as early as antiquity.
The solutions, the attempts to surpass this discord have been and are
diverse, varying between two extremes: rationalism and intuitionism; between
giving total importance to reason, to our way of thinking correctly, and
exacerbating the value of intuition, which is closer to reality, and which
tries to surpass logic. There are also diverse intermediary possibilities
of approach between the omniscient logic and the fragile intuition.
It seems that the one who found the most efficient solution to understand
how human knowledge functions was, as I've said, Immanuel Kant. Lucian
Blaga follows closely the Kantian construction of knowledge, of course
with some important modifications. Maybe the most important contribution
is bringing the unconscious into the world of philosophy. In the Dogmatic
Aeon and the Luciferian Knowledge, with which we will occupy ourselves
in the following, Mystery is the central notion that replaces Kant's noumenal
I believe that it is a great gain in our attempt to know. This is how
it was in the beginning when we asked ourselves a question about what
is happening in a certain real situation that appeared to us as a first
mystery, which we felt the need to reveal. Thus we allowed ourselves to
infiltrate deeper and deeper in the knowledge of each individual mystery,
to infiltrate deep in what seemed to us at one point impossible to know.
Let's return to the dogmatic aeon, to that time without a precise limit
in which dogma will have its place. What does this statement mean? Nothing
else than the fact that it is time for our mind, our thinking, to free
itself partially from logic's girths. To free itself partially..? Blaga's
intention was not to free ourselves from logical strictness, but from
the deformation of our thinking through logic, from our erroneous thinking
that logic can make us escape mistakes, thinking mistakes. This could
lead to a partial liberation from logic, which would be well received
for certain portions of thought.
It is true that without mathematics and logic we wouldn't have the technical
wonders of today, but it is equally true that often our thinking, our
thinking of best quality, makes necessary jumps, which no logician can
follow. It is also true that mathematicians prefer constructions that
have continuity without being interrupted by thinking that seems less
rigorous. That's why it is very difficult to accept an interruption of
a logical reasoning in order to change something, in order to be able
to continue think while looking for the new, novelty, what we don't yet
There are attempts to surpass this situation by changing the true and
false values of binary logic, or the intermediary values of logics with
several values, with modal values, a logic of argument, of explanation;
accepted - refused, approved - rejected, or other values. In general contradictory
couples with a certain Universe of Discourse enclosed between the certain
limits of an argument or an explanation. This attempt of the polyvalent
logics does not change the situation too much because they still use a
logic, be it bivalent or polyvalent, in a certain sector of reality. The
limiting of logical action cannot mean the avoidance, the surpassing,
of the fundamental difference between thinking and reality, but it can
be useful just through the limits such a logic gives itself.
We have, thus, a reality that cannot be easily captured in the thinking
without intuition, without imagination, more exactly some portions of
this reality escape the stringencies of logical thinking.
Here it seems I have to take another step deeper in order to have a better
understanding. Our logical thinking wants to capture everything in its
sequences. It is like a mathematical reasoning, which advances step by
step and doesn't leave any gaps. This is the reason there appears a difference
between what we think and what is. Being, existence, does not let itself
be caught so easily. Something can escape us, due to absence of mind,
or because the logical algorithm cannot capture that part, and we can
find ourselves in the exasperating situation that we cannot know, although
we proceeded correctly, logically correct, in our approach to the existent.
Here Blaga pulls the alarm. Is it time for us to be scared and resign
ourselves, as a consequence, to our impossibility to know reality as it
is? Or to take for granted this difference as a reality that we cannot
escape, that we shouldn't even try to escape, but instead to go forward,
to continue to know with our own powers all that we can steal from nature,
to see everything that we can unveil, to have courage but not to be arrogant.
If what we thought or imagined proves to be inapplicable to reality, let's
not collapse, let's keep going, let's find a new way that could be more
appropriate to our goal, that could bring us closer to the truth. Anyway,
it seems to me that man, this weak and strong man, has always done this,
has gone forward and has not surrendered to failures. One fact could change.
If we know that what is hiding is more and more difficult to unveil and
that eventually it will remain something impossible to know, if we know
that we have limited powers, if we know that pride and false confidence
do not help with anything, I think that we are better armed, stronger.
The power of the weak is not an empty word if it is doubled by science,
by knowledge, by the knowledge of one's own limits, if we know our limits.
It seems that this is the reason why Blaga will try to surpass this situation
by steps which, at first glance, seem very complicated, steps which start
with dogma, with the dogmatic, because dogma, the contradictory, is what
attracts our attention that there is a certain crisis of understanding.
Crisis about which we just spoke, crisis of a functional difference, of
a phase difference between what there is and what we think there is: a
being in three persons; a person who is at the same time man and God.
It is interesting that these dogmas of Christianity remain dogmas only
in the expression through words. If we were to formulize them, giving
words symbols, the so called dogmatic crisis disappears. If being = a,
and person = b, respectively b1, b2, b3, the 3 persons, then we can state
that a=b1 + b2 + b3, without anything being shocking. What we can say:
a is formed by the sum of the three b's, and it would have nothing to
do with the main Christian dogma, which says that the unique God, who
is a being, is at the same time three persons: God the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit. Minimal algebra and arithmetic, have nothing to do
here because we are in the domain of words, of words with meaning, of
notions, of concepts.
There is something else. The logical manifestation of thinking cannot
come in contradiction only with reality, but also with language, the words
of a language. As a matter of fact, the natural language of a people contains
in it, without our being conscious of it, the entire reality, the entire
experience lived by that people. The words of a language, the notions,
have a content that we cannot control and which depends on everything
that is taking place, everything that has taken place, with those who
speak the language that contains those words, those notions. When we think,
indifference of whether we think in words or images, we use at least three
points of reference: we use words (or images that can be transformed into
words), which are notions formed for the most part historically, we use
certain rules that impose themselves in the use of these words -grammar
- and we use a correct concatenation of ideas, which we materialize through
words - logic.
Nothing is as simple as I am trying to present it. In old India, some
believe that first was Panini's grammar, then logic. Both grammar and
logic are linked because the rules of an understandable expression are
necessary such that two people speaking the same language understand each
other (some prefer to call these rules of correct expression, which is
indeed so, but we should understand why a minimum of rules of a certain
expression are also used by the illiterates of a people, who have no reason
to interest themselves in a correct form of expression). Still, it is
rather easy to differentiate grammar from logic. Grammar needs words,
it serves words, in order to express rules of correctness, while logic
can be formal, meaning that it can dispense of the words it uses and replaces
them with symbols. Socrates is a man. Any man is mortal, therefore Socrates
is mortal: A is B, any B is C, and therefore A is C. A valid inference
whether we use words or symbols.
Let's return to the dogmatic aeon, to dogmas, to the crisis of understanding.
Blaga tells us that this crisis has a reconcilable aspect and an irreconcilable
one. We can know, but we will never know the ultimate truth. Through paradisiacal
knowledge we will approach the understanding of certain mysteries, explaining
each of them one by one, we will succeed in unveiling the vastness of
mysteries, explain mysteries in their vastness, just as Kant proposes,
this being the Kantian knowledge (the efforts made in this type of knowledge
are within reach of any man and may belong to the archetype of remembering
Paradise). Outside of this extensional knowledge we can even infiltrate
in the depths of certain mysteries in order to unveil what we can of them.
This is the Luciferian knowledge, the creational knowledge, knowledge
which can bring us light, something new from the depths of a mystery.
Even so, we must know that we cannot have a complete knowledge, a knowledge
until the last little corner. Something like that is forbidden to us,
as Blaga puts it, something like that is not possible because the world's
mysteries have their impenetrable hiding places. Whether we want it or
not, we cannot achieve more.
Another Romanian thinker, Stefan Lupasco, established since he was young
in Paris, will speak of the domain of the contradictory, because reality
is contradictory. Couples of contradictions make the law in what surrounds
us. What sort of law? A law that refuses logic, refuses the excluded third,
and accepts contradiction. How can contradiction be accepted? Simple,
the new law of the contradictory replaces the values of true and false
with other values, those of actualization and potentialization. Thus,
a contradiction can be accepted be it presented formally or sustained
by words, by notions.
A and Non A cannot be accepted together. If we actualize A and we potentialize
Non A, this rapport changes. Actualization and potentialization are functions
that vary between 0 and 1 continuously and inversely proportional. This
means that the actualization of one term is associated with the potentialization
of the other. More clearly, to the degree of actualization of a term is
associated an inversely proportional degree of potentialization of the
opposite term, and we can say that truth is potentialized, or actualized,
in certain degrees. Truth loses its quality of absolute, it becomes relative
to actualization and potentialization. To give another example, Jesus
Christ was, at the same time, man and God. In what proportion, in each
of his actions, he was man, and in what proportion God we can follow in
the Gospel. During the trial, the martyrdom, and the crucifixion, the
actualization of divinity becomes maximized. The contradiction between
the quality of being man and that of being God is only apparent. He was
truly both man and God at the same time, qualities independent of each
other but united without the possibility of being mixed.
Blaga, writing about dogma, draws our attention that dogma is an antinomy,
a transfigured antinomy. This means that even for Blaga this domain of
the contradictory, as Stefan Lupascu puts it, is the contradictory of
the real world, the trivial antinomies of reality. With one difference.
When Blaga says that dogma is a transfigured antinomy, transfigured by
the scission of certain solidary concepts, and he gives as example the
notions of being and person (even if antinomies can be found at any step
and dogmas can be built relatively easily with common notions, it is interesting
that we find it easier to give as example the main dogma of Christianity
as a type of dogma) he does it because here appears more clearly this
fight between notions, this agreement and disagreement between two notions
which in the current language we cannot easily differentiate. Can we speak
of similar notions? What would the similarity and differentiation consist
of? Here is a rather beclouded limit, unclearly represented, just as a
natural language functions. Maybe that's why, even if not only because
of this, the human spirit was forced to bring into the world mathematics
and logic, in order to introduce rigor where it doesn't exist.
Blaga will introduce the notion of transcendent, which, we must admit,
is a comfortable notion, but difficult to manipulate. It is comfortable
because whatever surpasses our understanding may be placed in the transcendent.
Even the surpassing means transcendence, they are equivalent notions,
but used in different domains. Religious language needs the transcendent
because we mustn't understand God too well, we must only believe and listen
to those who understand the language of the transcendent. We must believe
twice, believe in God, and believe in what we are told about him. This
religious use of the word transcendent has made its use difficult in philosophical
language. Blaga is not scared and he takes it saying that the solution
of the dogmatic paradoxes is postulated in the transcendent (8) .
A lack of meaning full of another meaning, as Blaga says. It is a comfortable
solution because it no longer means divinity, but it is, on the other
hand, everything that surpasses our understanding as reason. Blaga will
even say it in a footnote, the transcendent surpasses by a great deal
the idea of God (9) . Maybe that's why he proposed a division of understanding.
An in-static understanding, when thinking is in the midst of its logical
functions, and an ec-static understanding (it is probably not a coincidence
that the notion of ecstasy is close, but also that of exiting to the outside),
in which thinking escapes from itself, being in an irreconcilable mismatch
with its logical functions.
We will stop briefly because we find ourselves at a crossroads in Blaga
thinking, point from which we may not understand anything (which unfortunately
has happened), or understanding everything.
There are two ways of using the intelligent function of our brain, the
thinking. We can think and understand, being led by reasonings with a
certain logical strictness, or we can understand and feel more than think,
which is familiar to us but escapes logical rules. One more time, I find
it very hard to find try right words for something we do regularly. We
pass from one idea to the next without caring whether we trespass the
rules of logic, in other words without linking correctly the ideas that
we use. Sometimes we correct these logical deficiencies that don't bother
us too much as we go along. Moreover, we are rather uncomfortable if somebody
asks us to have a logical concatenation in an exposé. We use implied
subjects without caring if our listener can catch all the unexplained
meanings. We use contracted phrases, violating grammatical and logical
rules because we find it more comfortable to our expression. Each time
our thinking has to depart from itself a little bit, if the thinking's
self would be logical correctness. Of course, the ecstatic understanding
proposed by Lucian Blaga is not exactly this, but it's not far from this.
Blaga writes: Any dogmatic formula represents an intellectual ecstasy
(10) , a departure from itself of our thoughts in order to make, as Blaga
declares, the jump into antinomy, the jump into the incomprehensibility
of the contradictory reality - but in order to understand it. This is
where novelty will come from, the Luciferian knowledge.
Why does our thinking, our intellect, have to depart from itself, to
evade from the strictness of a logical thinking? A thinking free of the
constraints, the hindrances of logic may allow itself through the jumps
it can make to become inventive, creative. Logic is very good when it
corrects the sideslips thinking can create, but it can become a real hindrance
when we cannot leave its ties. Isn't it true that it is very easy yet
very difficult to explain? And especially very difficult to prove.
Blaga gives us a definition of the transcendent being careful to also
mention all the possible technical amplifications through which logic
was descended deep into experience: through <transcendent> we usually
understand that which passes not only beyond experience, but also beyond
all the possibilities of technical amplification of experience (11)
. Indeed, only that which surpasses the rational, the logic, must be understood
as being transcendent. In current use the transcendent is dominated by
the antinomic, the transcendent is the domain of the contradictory mentioned
by Stefan Lupascu. An antinomic, a contradictory, which escapes understanding.
Both the thesis, which supports the terms, as well as the antithesis,
which supports the contrary, is equally correct, equally credible, that's
why we resorted to dogmatic formulations that would surpass any contradiction.
That's why Philo resorts to a dogmatic formula: The primary substance
(the divine) emanates secondary existences without suffering through this
process a diminution (12)
translated in Christianity through the trinity dogma: God as a being is
unique, but he is at the same time the Son and the Holy Spirit, three
persons in one being. God the unique cannot lose anything from his substance,
even if from him emanate the persons of the Son and the Holy Spirit. An
antimony without a solution becomes a dogma. Here an observation must
Dogma tends to fix a mystery, be it individual or general, into its own
character, which belongs only to itself. Blaga believes that we have a
dogmatic type of thinking, which embraces mysteries. Our spirit needs
to use this type of thinking in order not to sink into the unknown. More
precisely and specifically, the mysteries of nature, of the world, be
them individual or general, need to find a solution even though they are
incomprehensible. For this we need dogmatic thinking, in order to give
a shape and content to each mystery in turn. The shape is that which gives
specificity to a mystery, and the content has a part that shows itself,
which we know, and a part that hides, with which creators will fight,
be those artists, writers, or people of science.
Because our intention is to remain, as much as we can, in the parameters
built by Blaga, to remain in his Universe of Discourse, let's say a few
words about what direction in knowledge would mean, a concept of an action
we realize in every day life. When we take a few step down a road, we
know where we want to go, the same when we climb into the car, start the
engine, and take off, when we climb into a bus or an airplane. The goal,
the point of our action, the scope of an action, is the justification
of that action. Everything we do, or almost everything, is on the direction
of our action. Many times we prefer to hide in the step that we take the
direction in which we are headed, especially when we have a certain interest,
or we are not too glad for others to know where we are headed. Our Members
of Parliament have found all sorts of little snags in the articles of
a law that asks for the control of the wealth of statesmen. It is understandable,
because they don't want others to know how they made their wealth, they
don't want someone to be able to control their wealth. Moreover, a politician,
a talented poet and head of a party, appears in mass media making fun
of the aforementioned law, which has the pretension to call itself of
integrity. What purpose has morality as law? It has no purpose. We must
push aside any possibility to control those who are above the law. Those
who steal a bread must be condemned, but those who steal our money, the
public money, remain honored if nobody can control them. The scope, the
direction of an action should be followed in the little gestures, which
may seem naïve, or even cute.
For Blaga knowledge has directions. Leaving from the origin, from point
0, it can have a direction toward the reduction of the number of mysteries
or the potentiation of a mystery. The first is called positive knowledge,
which he denotes with the plus sign and names plus-knowledge, and the
second, the dogmatic knowledge, which has in front of it a mystery impossible
to construct or rationalize, he gives it the minus sign and calls it minus-knowledge.
In this theory of directions of mystery (mysteries take on the value of
real objects) our action of knowing can lead, in the positive case, to
a numeric reduction of these mysteries, and in the minus-knowledge case,
it tends to fix, where it can and how it can, the cosmic mystery in its
maximum of depth and relief (13) .
Mystery is heterogeneous, complex, it has different articulations and
can have diverse dimensions, a varied relief, which makes it no so important
whether we use the singular or the plural when we talk about mysteries.
The heterogeneity of mystery can mean a multitude of mysteries. This differentiates
it from the homogenous, absolute mystery, one without dimensions, which
Kant proposed. A filiation means, in many instances, radical changes,
still Blaga did not consider himself to be a continuer of Kant. What is
important is Blaga's statement that "The object of knowledge is mystery.
The problem of understandable knowledge is the reduction or potentiation
of <mystery>" (14) .
Mystery is an object, like any object from reality, and knowledge guides
us to the understanding (Verschtand in Kant) of these mysteries, these
objects (15) , either through their reduction in number (knowledge as Kant
constructed it), or through infiltrating the depths of a mystery, through
which action of infiltration we will be able to partially know that mystery,
and at the same time we will be able to respect its quality of remaining
a mystery. This second knowledge, the minus-knowledge, names thus in order
to differentiate it from what Kant got us used to, is Lucian Blaga's contribution,
the radiant Blaga. Maybe that's why he named it Luciferian knowledge,
radiant knowledge, knowledge which brings light into the depths of the
dark unknown. From here the need to speak of two directions of knowledge,
because it is one thing to understand, to know what surrounds us, and
another thing to search to enter with your thinking in the depths of a
mystery, to evade with your thinking from yourself, self who resolves
very well your day to day problems. What is essential is the new, the
discovery of the new, in one word creativity, meaning fixing a mystery
by finding its own character, without being afraid that we will not be
able to resolve all it's "equations". Physicists are upset in
vain that they cannot find the last brick of the building of the world.
If they look a little at the pats they will notice that in the last decades
many discoveries have been made about elementary particles, discoveries
of which they should be proud. We know more and more about gravity without
knowing what gravity is. We have more and more remedies for many illnesses
and we use them in a more targeted manner, even though we don't know everything
about many of these illnesses and I don't expect we will know everything
in the future. All these knowings don't really affect my daily life in
which I need many other pieces of knowledge, some banal (if being able
to use a computer is banal), about the objects that surround me. It is
evident that the world of creativity, to which all humans have access,
is something else than the world of daily necessities, with which it should
not be confused.
Blaga will talk of a dogmatic type of thinking, another type of thinking
than the logic, rational one, a type of thinking in front of which an
aeon opens. It will be a different spirit, it will be a return of the
Hellenistic, which is the founder of the dogmatic. This statement scares
us a little, more through its misunderstanding. Through the examples give
I have shown that we use this way of thinking rather often, Blaga himself
gives examples that show the presence of this way of thinking. It is not
a new way of thinking, maybe it is, and this is very important, a conscious
form of our creative way of thinking. It is good to know what we cannot
know! It is important because there is a fight between the domain of logic
and that of the ontological. More precisely, a fight between the acceptance
of logic, of the rational, as mode of thinking, which should be followed
each time, and coming up against the domain of reality, of the contradictory,
as Stefan Lupascu says, domain which, according to Blaga, could be ruled
through dogmatic thinking. Later, in the Genesis of metaphor and the meaning
of culture, he will say that the most important characteristic of humanity
is creativity, through art, literature, science, modality through which
man was able to capture and make his own, even if only in part, the mysteries
of the cosmos, the mysteries of the world. Creativity, the explanation
of creativity, the need for creativity, this is the reason by Lucian Blaga
constructed the knowledge with the minus sign, the Luciferian knowledge.
Reality, existence, the antiquity's to on, is contradictory, it is difficult
to govern with the use of logic if we insist on using an unfolding, without
interruptions, of our correct thinking. That's why we find ourselves in
a new aporia between logic and ontological. An aporia can't have a solution
(like most situations in reality in which both terms are in contradiction)
becose both thesis and antithesis, are equally correct, even logical,
sustained and valid. It is the reason, even if not explicitly felt by
Blaga, for which he proposes using a different kind of thinking, a thinking
used correctly, a thinking which cannot be accused if incorrectness, of
invalidity, even if it no longer is dominated by logic, thinking which
will open a wide road to the human specific, to creativity.
In this new millennium when the power of our thinking has grown exponentially,
when we have, for a while now, besides binary logical systems that have
roots in Aristotle's thinking, as I have already underlined, logics with
many values, with infinitely many values, we have fuzzy logic, we have
modal logics, which have replaced the classical values of true and false
with other values; we even have the logic of contradictory from Stefan
Lupasco, which proposes new logical values - of actualization and potentialization,
values with which contradictory situations can be avoided by using infinitely
many degrees between the new values; today when through the use of logic
we travel with vehicles on the moon, when it is useful to have intelligent
machines, which serve our power of thinking, I come to tell you, using
Lucian Blaga's thinking, that we could tame the distance between logic
and ontological by marrying them, giving them a new life together in our
How can we do this? We will elevate our way of everyday thinking to the
level of science, which is not liked by mathematicians and logicians.
Using our correct, logical way of thinking, when we need this correctness,
which we can interrupt, jumping from one idea to another, from one level
to another, and to continue to be logical in the new chosen frame. This
interruption should not vitiate the general economy of a process of thinking,
on the contrary, it should ease it and make it more rapid than the power
of the most efficient computers, no longer having logical barriers which
we use when we don't need them. Could wrong thinking, falseness, interject?
Of course. Listen only to the voice of politicians, especially the ones
who are lawyers, how they play with sophisms in order to avoid a law that
doesn't suite them. Listen even to the liars who sometimes lie beautifully,
charmingly. Natural language has always been able to play such tricks.
We cannot avoid them with only the power of logic or mathematics, because
there will always be a skilled lawyer who will misrepresent the reasoning.
Logic and mathematics will not be able to save us from incorrect person,
and don't forget that "the wolf
does not change his bad habit".
To be correct in thinking may mean to respect moral law, to refuse the
incorrectness that can be born in reality and in front of which logic
can be crushed.
Returning, these jumps, these surpasses of a level in order to enter
easier and quicker into the depths of an idea, of a problem, can be a
source of error, as I was saying, due to the escape from logical control,
but they are also a source of authenticity due to the proximity to reality.
Passing into a level of thinking, transcending between levels is very
close to what Blaga says when he states that the solution to dogmatic
paradoxes lays in the transcendent. The solution lays in passing from
one level of thinking to another, having the respect of logic on one level
only, and the refusal of logical strictness in the jumps between levels.
This passing between levels can introduce dynamism in the process of thinking
and can be achieved in both directions. The control? We can perform it,
as hmans, the ontological, our living. Maybe Goodness.
Even though what I have said is rather simple and is a usual usage in
thinking, it is very difficult to express and understand. Paradoxes are
near us but we use this thinking unconsciously, as if somebody is guiding
the steps we must take. It seems that this guide is reality itself. We
cannot bring to our mouths when we are hungry a logical rapport, a valid
inference, but a piece of food. Reality, to ov, is a first instance for
us, still, sometimes, it transcends our thought, and it surpasses the
'staying behind' due to a logical disagreement. What do we do then? Simple.
We jump over what puzzles us, jump with our thinking, and we continue
to be logical in thinking on the new level that we reach, or we make a
jump in experience, between levels of reality, we take a reality bath,
which can be beneficial. In order not to be tempted by reality it would
be good if after such a reality bath we were to return to the solid terrain
of logic. I don't know if the words said what I was thinking, but at least
I tried to be correct.
It would be good to travel a little further in the Blaga's thinking of
the Luciferic Knowledge (16) .
Intuition and reason - logic - are the two cymbals of knowledge, from
Kant toward us. Blaga will also speak of spontaneity, which is none other
than the spontaneity of our intuition. Blaga will also speak of the irrational,
of the contradictory encountered often in reality, contradictory, which
surpassing logic, being incomprehensible, is not longer rational, it is
the irrational. The rational, like the irrational, are objects of thought,
but in order to have a rational understanding we must make a logical effort,
while the irrational erupts, if I can express myself this way, into our
thinking from the unconscious. Blaga points out that mystery, which is
everything we do not know or do not understand, must not be equated with
the irrational, it does not necessarily imply the irrational, because
a mystery, something we do not know, can be rational, something we will
be able to know only after it becomes known and maybe is no longer irrational.
For these reasons he will say that we should look at understanding knowledge
from a dual perspective. A paradisiacal knowledge, quantitative knowledge
(it removes mysteries one by one without entering each of their depths)
is the knowledge proposed by Kant, through which what we don't know, the
mysteries, are reduced numerically, quantitatively, using the analogy
of what we have a priori in our heads, our brains, with space, time, and
the categorial concepts. This knowledge is achieved step by step through
the knowledgeable elimination of mysteries (one by one), elimination through
logical understanding, reason, and storage into memory.
The second type of knowledge is the Luciferic (17) , the knowledge which
dives into mystery, which wants to know not only what is obvious, what
is on the surface, it wants to know what is hidden in a mystery. It is
a qualitative knowledge, which wants to rip out of mystery what is given
to us to be able to know. (It is again difficult to separate the quantitative
from the qualitative. Knowledge, whichever one of them, has qualitative
valences, in the same way as a preponderantly qualitative knowledge, like
the Luciferian one, has quantitative parts.) It is true that we cannot
know what the limit of our possibilities to know is. What we can know,
what Blaga tells us, is the fact that we know when we are in front of
a radicalized mystery, a mystery that is antinomically formulated, reason
for which it appears to be irrational. We know it has something irrational
in it. Still, we have the possibility of using knowledge in order to enter
in its depths. What is important is that we are able to know, and it is
good to know something like this, that however much we will bring to the
surface from its hiding place, there will still remain an irrational seed,
an antinomy that we will not be able to remove, an antinomy that will
be more and more profoundly contradictory, it will have in it a greater
internal tension between the poles that are in contradiction. It is like
a balance, a scale, whose pan of the unknown becomes heavier and heavier,
a qualitative weight rather difficult to express and imagine (because
it is an antinomy in itself, it is a mystery within a mystery, a mystery
encapsulated in another mystery) the more the other plate lightens through
knowledge. Luciferian knowledge means, in Blaga's acceptance, the opening
of a mystery of which you know that it will not be completely transformed
into knowledge, that it will remain something incomprehensible however
far you advance in knowledge, you/we know that infiltrating the intimacy
of the mystery, bringing it to the surface, successful knowledge will
be paid by the thoroughgoing of the remaining mystery.
These two types of knowledge are complementary, they complete each other.
Positive knowledge, bringing to understanding one mystery at a time being
able to extend our knowledge to however many possible mysteries, does
not oppose the possibility we have to linger within a mystery in order
to "through" ourselves in its depths. It seems we usually use
both types of knowledge. Maybe the most used knowledge is the positive,
quantitative one, in extension. The knowledge that Blaga calls negative,
maybe only due to the need to underline that it has a different sense
than the positive one without opposing it, the knowledge that ransacks
the depths of a mystery is the one that gives us data about the quality
of that mystery, is it the one that will pull as much as it can from that
mystery, it is the knowledge that guarantees creativity, the bringing
of the new.
Knowledge depends on the man, on the power of his mind to penetrate the
impenetrable, to pull out from the unknown the diamonds of thinking. Kant
placed the first stone, in the modern world, in order to be able to approach
the understanding of knowledge. Blaga follows him, even if he refuses
this estimation (18) , trying to unveil more and more of the intimacy of
this phenomenon (expressing ourselves in a Kantian way).
The understanding knowledge has this complementary duality, which it
needs. Paradisiacal knowledge, positive knowledge, is the one that progresses
extensively, by bringing new objects to understand, to research, to know.
On the other hand, Luciferian knowledge evolves intensively, in the depth
of the object to be researched, in the depth of the mystery. When it finds
itself in front of a mystery, Luciferic knowledge opens that mystery,
splitting it into a part that shows, the bright (the Greek fanos), and
a part that is hidden, the cryptic.
In order to build the understanding of a mystery we need an idea, a theoric
idea (19) , an idea that can assure our jump into the unknown, into the
open mystery. This means posing a problem, thinking something new. The
idea, together wit the categories of understanding, with the Kantian categories
as well as the stylistic categories, categories that are helpful for us
both in the paradisiacal knowledge as well as in the Luciferian knowledge.
Categories, in the paradisiacal knowledge, help us with the numerical,
quantitative reduction of mysteries (extensionally). In the Luciferian
knowledge they are ideas, ideas with theoric function, which are like
planks for jumping into the unknown of the mystery we wish to reveal.
These ideas create an interior tension in the object, tension which is
greater the further the idea is from the bright (the Greek fanos) of an
open mystery, the more the idea that we launch is different from the bright
(the Greek fanos) , from what is known of the mystery that we opened.
What do we attempt through knowledge? We want, actually, to "rationalize"
experience through concepts that apply to the intuitive, the existent,
the ontological, giving it determination. That's what Kant taught us,
that's what we also know today. The way we understand this may be different.
This is what Blaga promote us about the way Kant speak of the understanding,
We return; we saw that our understanding, knowledge, is dual, is paradisiacal
or Luciferic, but it is also enstatic and ecstatic (20) . In other words,
closer to us is a quiet and common thinking, or, at the opposite pole,
one that comes out of itself in order to subscribe to the minus-knowledge,
the Luciferic knowledge. Common knowledge does not accept contradictions,
while ecstatic knowledge subscribes to the acceptance of the anti-logical,
the contradiction without solutions, of what Blaga called transfigured
antinomy, or even the irrational.
If we were to gather our thoughts we could repeat by saying that reality
and thinking are completely different. Reality accepts contradictory situations,
which we can translate in our mind through dogmatic situations. We can
remain in the logical domain, that of the non-contradictory, in which
we may feel very comfortable, but we are far from reality. That's why
the solution could be to be logical when reason asks it, and to jump over
logic, noting the place and reason for this jump, when reality asks it.
If we would have such an un-folder in our mind we could have under control
our apparently illogical thinking (21) .
If we accept the contradictory, we can accept the dogmatic thinking that
puts us in the situation of our understanding leaving itself, no longer
being enstatic, becoming ecstatic, which estranges us from logic but draws
us nearer to reality, to the ontological. Moreover, it gives us the possibility,
stopping, for a while, the flux of extensional understanding knowledge,
to know mysteries close by close, one at a time, to deepen their understanding
into only one mystery, a mystery that captivates us, it allows us to use
an idea that we have and that we hold dear to ourselves in the knowing
of this mystery. It is a way in which we will be able to mix logical steps
with steps lead more by intuition, the intuition of the idea that is a
plank in the understanding of a mystery, a plank in that which exists.
This type of unfolding a way of thinking is our common thinking. We understand
little by little all the events of a day even if we sometimes have time
to stop at a certain idea, which, maybe, torments us because we cannot
find a solution for it. Still, we search for the solution that we need
and even if there are some steps of thinking that don't seem correctly
built (in the flux of thinking we don't even notice), moments that contradict
each other or jumps into thinking that are not justified logically, all
these phases draw us nearer to an acceptable solution. This is what the
thinking of a man of science is like, who wants to clear up an issue or
conduct a mental experiment, which can lead him to important discoveries.
Maybe this is how J.S. Bach thought when he composed the great fugue,
reading his own mind made him run up and down notes and the counterpoint
canvas. Listening to Bach, we listen to his thoughts materialized into
notes. When you hear the last note of the penultimate passage (the 21st),
a note that seems suspended in nothingness, it's as if your heart stops.
I wonder if he had the same sensation. Maybe the sensation is only in
my mind. How happy you are when your heart restarts to beat at the beginning
of the 22nd and last passage of this great fugue! It's as if the power
of music can give life and can also kill.
Similarly, reading Dostoyevsky, Balzac, or Plato, you are in direct contact
with the way in which their thinking unfolded, which, at least in me,
produces an indescribable sensation. That's why literature cannot die,
same as music, all art, because we need to enter in contact, to dialogue
with these illuminated minds. The trivial way of thinking, or that of
creators, be they small or great, constantly comes up against the unknown,
and that's what makes man satisfied, happy, or enchanted, every time he
surpasses a difficult moment, every time creativity is at home. Our intimate
way of thinking is maybe not interesting, but that of great thinkers is.
Maybe also trivial, common, is that when you solve a life problem you have a satisfaction. As a physician I can say that I experienced the greatest happiness when I was able to improve a patient's suffering who had come to ask for my help, just as sometimes I felt, like a suffering, the failure of the medical act. I did not like to feel powerless in front of a man in a difficult trial of health. Sometimes nothing is more difficult to solve than illness. In front of some cases beyond my control I could only resign myself to the situation, but there are cases when you feel that you should be able to find a remedy that you can't seem to find. It is the torment of a physician! Maybe the same torment happens to a painter, a musician, a writer, a mathematician, a chemist, a carpenter, a gardener, who feels that he cannot finish a piece of work, that he no longer has enough creative power, that his creative power has exhausted. Creative power, the maintenance of creative power, is maybe the key to man's being on Earth as Lucian Blaga tells us.
|Note de subsol:|
|1. Lucian Blaga, Eonul dogmatic in Trilogia cunoasterii, Ed. Fundatia Regala pentru Literatura si Arta, Bucuresti, 1943, p.11.|
|2. I will replace, from the text, the word intellect with understanding every time it will be necessary. In modern spoken Romanian, intellect and reason are synonims. This is how Blaga uses them, because he refuses the terminology introduced by Kant, for whom Verschtand (understanding) is different from Vernuft (reason).|
|3. Op.cit. p.14.|
|4. Op.cit. p. 19.|
|5. Claude Levi-Strauss, Mithologiques, Le crue et le cuit, Plon, Paris, 1964 and Du miel aux cendre, Plon, Paris, 1966.|
|6. Op. cit. Cunoasterea luciferica, p.199 " .. the theory of knowledge, the way Kant left it for us, a theory of basilical monumentality, which reduces knowledge to intuition, categories (trascendental aperception)... is in fact a theory of knowledge which we agreed to name <paradisiacal>."|
|7. Op. cit. p.15 si 16.|
|8. Op. cit. chapter Paradoxiile metafizicei, p. 55|
|9. Op. cit. p. 101|
|10. Op. cit. p. 95. As I have written above, I translated each time the word intellect as understanding. Still, in Blaga, intellect and intellectual, as is our case, often have the meaning of correct thinking, of reason.|
|11. Op. cit. p. 100|
|12. Op. cit. p. 14|
|13. Op. cit. p. 106|
|14. Op. cit. p. 108|
|15. "The idea of "thing in itself" is, in our opinion, one of the many variants of the idea of "mystery"" . "Kant searched for the secret of the validity of exact science in the way of application of concepts upon intuition. He strived to show that science is born through the application of intellectual categories upon a material received through the senses". Lucian Blaga, Despre constiinta filosofica, Ed. Facla, Bucuresti, 1974, p. 145 si 33.|
|16. Op. cit. p. 145|
|17. Maybe this Luciferian
knowledge is not stranger to the fact that his name, Blaga's name, was Lucian,,
the one that shines, glistens, the knowledge that brings creativity into
the human world (from the latin luceo-cere= that shaines and Lucifer-fera-ferum=
In the late papers (after 1943) he prefer to name the Padisiac Knowledge, the Type I of Knowledge and the Luciferic Knowledge, Type II of Knowledge pouched by priest Staniloaie critics.
|18. The only fact that draws us near Kant's philosophy is the fact that we accept to speak of so-called inaccessible "transcendences" in a way absolutely adequate to our cognitive aptitudes. ... we find that Immanuel Kant philosophied too much on "the thing in itself", but too little on the idea as such of "thing in itself" Lucian Blaga, Despre constiinta filosofica, Ed. Facla, Bucuresti, 1974, p. 145.|
|19. It is the term proposed by Blaga.|
|20. For Blaga enstatic as well as ecstatic, are not another way of knowing, they are only another perspective, another point of view for the same dual knowledge, Paradisiac and Luciferic|
|21. Subsequently it's possible that a phase considered without logic to appear to us as logical.|