Thursday, October 11, 2012

Metaphysical Nakedness

Scott Bradley

I have previously referred to what W. Giegerich (The End of Meaning) calls "metaphysical nakedness". This is intended to describe the condition of 'modern man'; humanity after the death of God, without the cosmologies and myths that have previously sustained it.

This is not, of course, the actual condition of the vast majority of human beings. And it is a bit of a leap to suggest that those few of whom it is descriptive are the avant garde of what will become universal. I suspect that it might be, but that is of little importance from the point of view of my own metaphysical nakedness.

Not only do I not wish to believe in the mythical cosmologies on offer today or that I might be able to manufacture myself, I am not able to do so. Yet, we all have our mythological fig leaves; this is, I believe, unavoidable. The work of what I call (in the spirit of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche) returning to critical zero, is largely a matter of identifying these fig leaves and, even where they are sure to remain or return, thereby realize some freedom from them.

The point of this pursuit of nakedness is to discover a spirituality that requires no overt mythology, a mysticism without myth. Nakedness is a pre-condition for such a discovery.

What one discovers is no great mystery. We are all rooted in Mystery. And we all, in every act of living, entrust ourselves to that Mystery. The mysticism arises from the exploration and nurture of that entrusting.

The "understanding consciousness", the mind that sunders the unity of things, if allowed to reign supreme, takes metaphysical nakedness as a complete negation of the possibility of spirituality without myth. Yet we are so much more than the ratiocinating mind. And in the end, however much we might learn of ourselves, life and the universe, we discover that absolutely nothing is reducible to understanding, nothing is ever truly explained. And reason is, of course, itself an act of trust.

Metaphysical nakedness, an affliction largely attributable to the intellectual evolution of humanity, is an opportunity, not only for the negation of spirituality, but for an exploration of new and more honest forms of spirituality.

In the final analysis, our rootedness in Mystery and our absolutely necessary trust in that Mystery in the very living of the life that we are renders an appreciation of the bare spirituality of the human experience the most honest response possible to the death of mythological cosmologies.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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