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Reality Avenging Itself

Dooyeweerd several times uses the metaphor of reality avenging itself on our feeble theories and ideas and philosophies, especially on reductions, idolatries and the Immanence Standpoint. Take for example, the following passages:

"The antithetic structure of the theoretical attitude of thought offers resolute resistance against every attempt to reduce one of the aspects to another. It avenges the /absolutizing/ by involving theoretical thinking in internal antinomies." [NC,I, 46]

"Hence, every philosophy that tries to dissolve this totality of meaning into Ideas of reason, or absolute values, always ensnares itself in antinomies by which the cosmic order of time avenges itself on theoretic thought which tries to transgress its boundaries." [NC,I,106]

"KANT severed all cosmic connections of meaning which bind the normative moral function to the sensory. This hypostatization of the moral function of personality, as a self-sufficient metaphysical reality, avenges itself by a logical formalism in the treatment of ethical questions." [NC,I,357]

"The latter only deepen and open the meaning of the natural numeral values. The cosmic order takes revenge on the rationalistic trend of thought in mathematics which in theory eradicates the modal boundaries of meaning between number, space, movement (in its original mathematical sense) and logical analysis. As a result this thought gets entangled in the notorious antinomies of actual infinitude." [NC,II,93]

"there can be no question of the inner antinomy that Humanism has to experience on seeing how human personality, claiming to be autonomous in its self-sufficient freedom, is being enslaved by its own rational creations. The Divine world-order is not itself antinomic when it avenges itself on every deification of temporal meaning by the disharmony caused on account of this apostasy in the opening process. No more is it antinomic when it causes philosophical thought to entangle itself in inner antinomies, as soon as this thought supposes it can ignore the Divine order." [NC,II, 363]

What he is saying is that, as we continue to pursue philosophical and scientific thinking in a way that is out of kilter with its own reality.

He also finds similar avenging when we live with a flawed mindset or ground-motive or presupposition:

"Without this cultural erōsno single great work has come about in the course of the opened development of civilization. But this moment of erōsin formative power can only disclose itself in a right way if the principles of cultural economy and harmony are respected. Otherwise cultural love is denatured to idolatry. We shall see in the sequel that nevertheless an idolatrous cultural love may bring about great things in the development of civilization. But it also implies the historical guilt of mankind, revenged by cultural tensions, conflicts and catastrophes." [NC,II,291]

"Holy and without inner contradiction is the world-order, when it avenges itself on the process of disclosure in which the civitas terrena has gained the power to direct the formation of history." [NC,II, 363]

There is a reality, including the reality of how we think theoretically and philosophically and it is a law-side that we find undoes us if we go against it. His suite of aspects is an attempt to understand the diversity of laws and meaningfulness that constitutes this real law-side.

This page, "", is part of The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Questions or comments are very welcome.

Compiled by Andrew Basden. You may use this material subject to conditions.

Written on the Amiga with Protext, in the style of classic HTML.

Created: 30 June 2023 Last updated: