VOEGELIN -- RESEARCH NEWS
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Volume II, No. 3                                        September 1996
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_IN THIS ISSUE_:  It is with great pleasure that we offer the rea-
ders of _VOEGELIN -- RESEARCH NEWS_, Professor Zdravko Planinc's
transcription of a talk given by Professor Voegelin at York University,
Toronto, in 1978.  Professor Planinc has, in addition to providing us
with this transcription, included: a) the conference agenda at which the
talk was delivered, b) a copy of Professor Voegelin's notes written in
preparation for the talk (transcribed from a hand written version which 
is to be found in the Hoover archives), c) passages by Voegelin from
other presentations at the conference, and finally d) his assessment of
the significance of the talk for Voegelin studies.

This is a refereed piece, and we would like publicly to thank our re-
feree.

MWP-GLP

NOTE:  We do not know if this will be of assistance to readers, but the
margins for this piece were set at O and 72.


                            _____//\_____ 
                                 \// 

   _______________________________________________________________ 
 
      ERIC VOEGELIN, "STRUCTURES OF CONSCIOUSNESS" (22 NOV., 1978) 
   _______________________________________________________________ 

 
    Zdravko Planinc 
    Religious Studies 
    McMaster University 
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 

 
The following text is primarily a transcription of a lecture, entitled 
"Structures of Consciousness," given by Eric Voegelin at a conference on 
"Hermeneutics and Structuralism:  Merging Horizons" held at York Univer- 
sity (Toronto, Canada), 21-24 November, 1978.  In order that the lecture 
might be appreciated in its context, two other documents are also pro- 
vided:  (I) a Conference Programme (slightly altered from the original in
order to represent the events as they actually occurred); and (II) a 
transcription of Voegelin's own hand-written lecture outline (from the 
Voegelin Archives, Hoover Institute, Stanford University), which attempts
to reproduce the visual sense of the document as closely as possible. 

Voegelin's lecture was one of several events that were video-taped by the
conference organizers.  The video-tapes were deposited in the York Uni- 
versity Library, where I unearthed them several years later in order to 
make copies for use in various of my graduate seminars.  Instead of
limiting myself to a simple transcription of the lecture as given, I have
attempted something a bit broader in scope:  a reconstruction of Voege- 
lin's intended remarks, on the basis of his lecture outline, using all of
the conference video-tapes of his speeches and discussions as sources.  
My reasons for doing so are simple:  Voegelin did not have time to com- 
plete his lecture, as he had outlined it.  From comparing his lecture 
outline with the video-tapes of his subsequent impromptu remarks during 
the question period and on other panels, it became quite evident that 
Voegelin simply continued to speak along the lines drawn up in his out- 
line throughout the conference.  It is thus possible to reconstruct the 
intended lecture in almost every detail very simply by transcribing all 
of his remarks in the order in which he made them.  I have done so; and I
have interpolated the main headings of his outline throughout the text in
order that the reader might better follow the argument with reference to 
the outline itself. 
 
A few words concerning the preparation of the transcription are in order.
An initial transcription of the lecture and subsequent question period 
was very generously provided by Prof. Maben Walter Poirier (Political 
Science, Concordia University); it had been prepared by Prof. Poirier 
with the assistance of Mr. Alain Cogan.  Further transcription work was 
then done by Ms. Oona Ajzenstat, from audio tapes prepared by Mr. Gerald 
Day.  My thanks are also due to the anonymous referee for his or her
careful reading and helpful comments.  The final form of the text,
however, is my responsibility.   
 
The difficulties of translating Voegelin's oral remarks into readable 
prose were not as great as I had initially expected.  Nevertheless,
certain editorial decisions were unavoidable:  (1) All paragraphing and 
punctuation is my own.  (2) Every effort has been made to preserve the 
oral quality of the lecture, without thereby going beyond the boundaries 
of English grammar, as flexible as they are.  (3) Significant pauses in 
speech are indicated by ellipses.  (4) All English terms used in a tech- 
ical sense are indicated as such by quotation marks when first used, and 
subsequently only if necessary in the context; all other technical terms 
are simply given in their original language.  (5) All editorial addi- 
tions are indicated by square brackets [ ].  (6) Such additions were 
made only for the following reasons:  to supply obviously missing words, 
to clarify syntax, to improve word order, to correct textual references, 
to indicate uncertain terms and proper names, and to provide context 
for references to diagrams drawn on a blackboard during the lecture.  
(7) All deletions of any significance are indicated by ellipses within 
square brackets [...].  (8) Such deletions were made only to simplify 
the text by removing self-corrections, redundancies and repetitions 
(of words, phrases and sentences).  (9) The only deletions not indi-
cated in the text are minor simplifications of this sort; and the dele-
tion of a host of terms, too numerous to list, used primarily for oral 
emphasis.  (10) The following text has been produced with the common 
problems of internet communications in mind:  the most rudimentary cha-
racter set has been used throughout, and the proper accentuation of non-
English terms has suffered as a consequence. 
 

                                    * 

        _______________________________________________________ 
 
                        I.  CONFERENCE PROGRAMME 
        _______________________________________________________ 
 
TUESDAY, Nov. 21 
Evening Reception, 7:00-12:00 
 
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 22 
Morning Session 
 
              9:00-10:30     PHILIP MCSHANE 
              10:45-12:15    ROGER POOLE 
 
Afternoon Session 
 
              3:30-5:30      PANEL DISCUSSION:  "The Complementarity of  
                             Methods:   The Ground of Collaboration" 

Evening Session 
 
              8:00-10:00     ERIC VOEGELIN:  ["Structures of 
                                              Consciousness"] 
 
Evening Reception, 9:00-1:00 
 
THURSDAY, Nov. 23 
 
Morning Session 
 
              9:00-10:30     FREDERIC JAMESON 
              10:45-12:15    MATTHEW LAMB 
 
Afternoon Session 
 
              4:00-6:00      PANEL DISCUSSION: ["Reading the _REPUBLIC_"]
                             [ALLAN BLOOM, HANS-GEORG GADAMER, 
                             ERIC VOEGELIN, FREDERICK LAWRENCE] 

Evening Session 
 
              8:00-10:00     BERNARD LONERGAN 
 
Evening Reception, 9:00-1:00 
 
FRIDAY, Nov. 24 
 
Morning Session 
 
              9:00-10:30     PAUL BOVE 
              10:45-12:15    FREDERICK LAWRENCE 
 
Afternoon Session 
 
              3:30-5:30      HANS-GEORG GADAMER 
 
Evening Session 
 
              8:00-10:00     CLOSING INTERVIEW:   
                             "Criticism:  Science and/or Scholarship" 
                             [PHILIP MCSHANE, ROGER POOLE,  
                             ERIC VOEGELIN, BERNARD LONERGAN 
                             HANS-GEORG GADAMER, FREDERICK LAWRENCE] 
 
Evening Reception, 9:00-1:00 
 

                                    *
 
      _________________________________________________________ 
 
                 II.  Eric Voegelin's Lecture Outline 
      _________________________________________________________ 

 
_Structures_in_Consciousness_ 
 
 
_Introductory_ - Ismology 
       Ism - Stasis -
               Interpretation of Reality 
                     Hardened into Doctrine 
                     Finality of Truth 
               [Intellectual Interpretation]-stricken 
               Propositional Interpretation as Ultimate 
               Thinker in _Possession_ of Truth 
               Egophanic Deformation - Openness - Closure 
               Language as Prison 
       Ismology - a type of Language + Consciousness 
 
I.  _Reality_-_Consciousness_-_Language_ 
      (1) _Intentionality_ -Consciousness-of what?-Something-Reality 
            Man - in concrete bodily existence has cons. of reality 
               Reality object - Man Subject of Cognition 

      (2)  Cons.:  _Event_ in the Process of Reality 
              {  Evolution - biological, material  Jacques Merleau-Ponty 
              {  Kant:  regress to the divine beginning 
           Reality as Subject:  _Luminosity_ - Consciousness 
                  _Becoming_ luminous posits Structure (incl. process) 

      (3)  Process and Event - as Reality intended 
             Language _breaking_forth_ in the Process 
                       _signifying_ the process in which it breaks forth
             Truth:  Reality becoming Luminous for its Structure 
                      through a process in which man participates 
             Reality of Consciousness:  its process of both luminosity or
                                                      knowledge 
        (4)  Languages (in the plural) - 
                  phases in the process of _illumination_ and _intending_
                                                              _quest_ 
             Empiricism of languages:  _the_truth_of_order_ 
                                       _in_process_  (history) 
                   enumeration 
        (5)  the Complex:  the _meditative_complex_ 
                fragmentation:  deformation 
 
 
 
                                _2_ 
                               
 
II.  _Metaxy_ 
        _Tension_:  Experience  -  love,  hope,  faith  - Stoic tension 
                                  eros, thanatos, dike 
             zetesis - kinesis 
             aporein 
           tension of the Quest    Movement - Counter-Movement 
              agnoia - nous 
           Knowing ignorance - unknowing knowledge 
           divine - human encounter 

       {  Consciousness of Metaxy: 
   |-- {         Dialectics:  Movement within the Metaxy 
   |   {      {  Polarity of Tension 
   |   {      {  Poles of Tension 
   |---------->   no hypostasis of its parts - eristics 
                  existence - non-existence of the divine pole 
                  reflective distance - identity 
 
III. _Historical_Structure_ 
       (1) _Symposion_:  thnetoi - daimonios aner - amathes 
       (2) _Laws_:  3 Ages - Kronos - Zeus - Nous 
       (3) _Aristotle_ (Metaphysics):  _Equivalence_ of Myth -Philosophy 
 
IV.  _Indelible_Presence_ 
       Plato:  _Epekeina_ - Parousia (Rep.) 
               _Phaedrus_:  Being - beyond _ta_onta_ 
      _Presence_ of Past + Future 
 
V.  _Periagoge_: 
              the Saving Tale 
 
VI.  _Pronoia_-_Paranoia_   Boethius 
 

                                    * 
 
      _____________________________________________________________ 
 
    III.  Eric Voegelin, "Structures in Consciousness" (22 Nov. 1978) 
      _____________________________________________________________ 
 
 
[Introductory] 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen:  As the topic for tonight's lecture, I have chosen 
the title "Structures in Consciousness."  That could be related to the 
general title of this meeting, "Structuralism and Hermeneuticism."  But I
am not talking about the "isms;" not because I am at variance or dis- 
agreement with them, but because the mere ending "ism" adds a stratum of 
meaning about which I have hesitations and misgivings, because "isms" are
positional conceptions which have arisen since the 18th century, and re- 
present something like a _stasis_, in the Aristotelian sense, in think-
ing.  Not that the thought is necessarily wrong.  You will see that, to
a large extent, what I have to say is in accordance with what people who
prefer to style themselves structuralists or hermeneuticists are doing. 
But the "ism" itself is an additional problem.  Let me briefly explain.  
 
We have in the 18th century the beginning of "positional" formulations, 
by a personality, of his "position" in a matter, formulating the truth of
reality as if it were found and now is the truth, to be available in the 
linguistic formulation achieved at the time.  Let me give you a few ex- 
amples of such "isms."  For instance, such "isms" as we use every day 
nowadays--like "monism," or "pluralism," or "dualism" and so on--have 
arisen in the 18th century, have there been formulated for the first time
as philosophical "positions."  [...] 
 
We have, furthermore, in the 18th century the beginning of certain "isms"
expressing new sentiments of existence, such as "optimism," "pessimism," 
"nihilism:"  All new things.  There was no optimism or pessimism in 
Greece or in ancient Israel [...].  And this genesis of the "isms" goes 
together with an entrance into the linguistic sphere of all sorts of 
words connected with the "ego."  The ego itself--you will perhaps be 
surprised--does not appear in English language before 1824.  Before 
1824, apparently Englishmen had no ego.  (I don't know how that works 
out.)  And you get then derivations of ego:  somewhat earlier already, 
"egoism" precedes ego in time; and then there is soon afterward in 1825 
the "egomania;" then against the egoism you find the counter-formulation 
of "altruism" in the 19th century.  And, indicating apparently one 
stratum in the _psyche_ that is connected with such positional assertions
of truth, in 1890 you get the term, for the first time, of "megalomania."
So these are, you might say, existential positional formulations in the 
18th and early 19th century.   
 
In the 19th century itself, you have a further batch of "isms" connected 
with social problems.  Again such terms as we use every day--"libera- 
lism," "conservatism," "socialism," "communism," "positivism," "capital- 
ism," "humanism" and so on--are all terms which appeared in the lan- 
guage between 1810 and 1850.  And this set of "isms" is then followed in 
the 20th century by a new set [...] beginning with the term "existenti- 
alism:"  [terms] like "utopianism," "structuralism," "hermeneuticism," or
(not an "ism" directly, but related to "isms") "linguistics," and so on. 
 
We [thus have] characteristic complexes of "isms" since the 18th century;
[and] that is a process that is now going on for almost three hundred 
years.  And it is a problem that is connected with a new entrance of 
"self" related compounds in our language.  Such terms as we use every day
nowadays as "self-assertion," "self-reliance," "self-culture," [...] 
"self-realization," "self-repression," and so on, are all 19th century or
even 20th century terms.  Apparently in earlier periods these "self" 
compounds simply were not used because these moods of an ego asserting 
itself in his sentiments and in his positions of understanding the truth 
of reality was not yet a custom.   
 
For this custom represented by "isms," I want to use the term "egophanic"
symbolisms [...].  Now, that does not mean that everything that is an 
"ism" today is an egophanic case.  But the "ism" itself is a stratum in 
philosophizing that indicates the subjective position of a truth to be 
found authoritatively; so that, you might say, you get the formulation of
an "ism" as a new language prison that endangers [or enfolds] you and 
prevents your contact with reality.  So this conception of an "ism" as an
ultimate insight concerning truth is a modern development, and it repre- 
sents what I call a "structure in consciousness." 
 
I have given you a practical example to begin with, before I go into the 
details of the theoretical problems [...] of what a "structure in con- 
sciousness" is.  There is, beginning in the 18th century, an egophanic 
movement which expresses itself in distinctly distinguishable new lan- 
guage, language expressing a state of consciousness or a structure of 
consciousness--whatever you wish to call it--as a possibility, not 
always of saying something wrong, but of saying something which is a 
fragment of reality.  And by its linguistic fixation, [this language] 
threatens to become a distortion of reality, because it might pretend 
that that is all we know about reality, or have to know about reality.  
So such fragmentizing linguistic elements as we find here, that is what I
call a _stasis_ as a structure in consciousness.  [...] 
 
Let me now go into the problems of the structures of consciousness from 
which such possibilities [emerge].  In this case, it would be a possi- 
bility of deformation, not affecting the truth in detail that may be 
contained in any of these positions.  Let me reflect on the structure of 
consciousness which makes possible such peculiar structures.   
 
[I.  Reality-Consciousness-Language] 

        [1.  Intentionality]  
 
We have in consciousness, first of all, always the problem that con- 
sciousness is a consciousness of something.  And now I have to be clear 
about terminology.  I shall call "consciousness" the something that is 
conscious of something; and the something of which it is conscious I 
shall call "reality."  And this relation between consciousness and 
reality to which it refers:  that, I shall call, following Husserl's 
terminology, "intentionality" of consciousness.  So in relation to a 
consciousness of man, the concrete human being, reality moves into [the] 
position of an object, intended subjectively from the cognitive subject. 
But the cognitive subject, or the consciousness as such, must again be 
protected against "ismic" fragmentations and hardening, because the 
consciousness is something which man has, and man concretely, man in his 
bodily existence.  That excludes from consideration, as again a special 
type of deformation, all conceptions of consciousness which cannot be 
located in a definite human being as experience, for instance an Hegelian
conception of consciousness or similar experiential expressions.  The man
in his concrete bodily existence is the carrier of such a consciousness, 
which intends reality as its object.  That is intentionality.   
 
        [2.  Consciousness:  Event in the Process of Reality] 
 
However, consciousness is not simply intentional.  It is also, at the 
same time, an "event" in reality, an event more correctly in the "pro- 
cess" of reality.  And that means quite a deal.  Because man--as a con-
crete human being, living in his body, [with] a bodily existence [...]
in which consciousness is founded--is an object, [or] an event in the
process of reality that has behind it, for instance, the whole history 
of biological evolution.  And the whole history of biological evolution
has back of it, as we now know better with new developments of physics
since the 1920s, the history of evolution of matter.  So we have a
sequence of matter, biological evolution, and what we more briefly call
historical evolution, as a process in which man with his consciousness is
appearing lately.   
 
Now let me again warn of a possible deformation:  a theory [of this pro- 
cess], as if the process itself, and the consciousness that appears in 
it in the human being, were a given object, is impermissible, because the
man with his consciousness is a part of the reality which he intends.  
And Kant brought that problem already to attention against the biological
theory of evolution in the 18th century in the _Kritik der Urteilskraft_ 
(in paragraph 80) where he explains:  if we go back in the series of 
species and assume that one species develops out of another; and then we 
go further back and explain perhaps the origin of the first living being 
out of matter and an evolution of matter, and so on--we simply put back 
the question [of] what the thing "is," because the fact that reality has 
such a structure, [such] that the evolution of forms (of biological forms
as well as material forms) occurs in it, is an ultimate behind which we 
cannot go back.  [Thus] the question that [only] leads back of it, Where 
does it come from?, leads then to the famous question[s] formulated by 
Leibniz:  Why is there something?, Why not nothing?, and Why is the some-
thing as it is and no different from what it is?  The answer is ulti- 
mately, then, a theological answer:  God is back of the reality which has
that form which it has.   
 
That has very practical consequences.  In biology, for instance, as Kant 
has explained, there is no such thing as a theory of evolution, because 
the world-immanent processes presuppose always:  that if one species 
indeed should develop from one species into another species, that there 
must be something in species number one which, under certain circum- 
stances, can develop into species number two; and where does that 
peculiarity of number one come from?, and so on.  And we get back into 
the regress into a beginning which is ultimately a divine beginning.  The
theory can only refer to immanent, proximate causations, but not to the 
ultimate causation which determines the structure of reality as a whole. 
And this Kantian argument holds good for biological evolution as [well 
as] for material evolution as well as for the problems of history of 
consciousness, with which we have to deal here.   
 
So we have now the peculiar problem that consciousness, besides being the
consciousness of a human being intending reality as its object ... There 
is a reality in which consciousness occurs; reality, the object of in- 
tentional consciousness, is now becoming the subject, of which conscious-
ness, as one of its events, has to be predicated.  So, reality as a sub- 
ject:  can we say that that reality is conscious?, or that reality 
knows?, or is the subject of knowledge?  I don't think so.  We need a 
different term.  I am using the term that is most closely related to the 
similar treatment of such problems by medieval thinkers; I'm using the 
term "luminosity."  Reality becomes luminous in consciousness, and con- 
sciousness then intends the reality for which the reality has become 
luminous in consciousness.  A very complicated structure; because the 
reality in which man is constituted as an event in its process becomes an
object for that consciousness which has arisen in it.   
 
And one has to be clear about this double structure of consciousness, and
not gloss it over [with] terms which tend to become "isms"--like "dia- 
lectics," the Hegelian solution for the problem, for instance.  The word 
"dialectics" doesn't mean anything if used to cover this problem, espe- 
cially because Plato has already used the term "dialectic" at the  begin-
ning of philosophy to designate a very specific structure of conscious- 
ness: the exploration of the "in-between," the _metaxy_, of which I have
to talk presently.  In Platonic language, any attempt to skip that
peculiar problem would be a drawing in of certain other questions, which
Plato then calls "eristic" constructions.  So in a Platonic language, one
would have to speak of Hegel's system as an eristic fantasy, not as a
dialectical speculation by a philosopher--something quite different.  I'm
not criticizing [...] or wanting to depreciate anything.  I'm just
showing you what the structures are and what language exists, [language]
which should not be violated by arbitrary new inventions.   
 
        [3.  Process and Event - as Reality intended] 
 
So this double structure:  we have first consciousness in its intentiona-
lity, and then as an event of luminosity in reality.  And about all these
things we would not know anything unless there were this consciousness 
[with] the peculiar gift of expressing itself in language.  If all these 
experiences, which we may call intentionality and luminosity, were mute, 
we wouldn't know anything about [them]; there would be nothing to be 
communicated.  So language must be introduced as a further structural 
element into this complex, as the method by which the communication be- 
tween human beings and various consciousness[es]--in itself a problem 
of consciousness--[is] constituted.   
 
We have again for language a double problem, as [with] the intentionality
and the luminosity.  All language "breaks forth" in the process of con- 
sciousness, in the sense of consciousness being a luminosity in reality. 
When reality becomes luminous, it becomes luminous by letting that man 
who has consciousness find language-terms to designate what he experi- 
ences.  That is the breaking forth of the language.  But when it breaks 
forth, and once it has broken forth, it--in its intentionality function 
--signifies the reality that is intended.  So both elements are again 
there:  the breaking forth of language--language is not a given which 
has a structure, but language arises in historical process (and we will 
see examples)--and the intentionality.  Both breaking forth and in- 
tentionality, signifying reality as an object, belong to language.   
 
We have therefore in language and consciousness a peculiar problem of 
truth.  "Truth" is, first of all, reality becoming luminous for its 
structure.  I am using the term[s] "reality" and "truth" in the Greek 
sense of the _aletheia_, the term which has both meanings of truth and 
reality.  So reality becoming luminous for its structure through a pro- 
cess in which man participates:  that is the first conception of truth.  
And then this reality that becomes luminous is--in so far as it becomes 
luminous in the consciousness of man in the relation of intentionality 
--a "knowledge" of that reality.  So truth does not refer only to a 
reality outside of man and confronting man, but also to the process of 
reality in which man himself becomes an event, the event of the carrier 
of consciousness.   
 
        [4.  Languages (in the plural)] 
 
Now for that reason, that we have here again a double structure, language
is practically only possible in the plural.  We don't have language sim- 
ply, but we have languages--the languages which, in each case, express 
the state of luminosity and the state of intentionality possible under 
personal, social, and historical conditions in the course of history.  
And there are a series of such languages, as you will see, because there 
are a series of such states of consciousness of increasing luminosity and
increasing knowledge of reality as an object.  So language is to be used 
in the plural.  We do not have one language that has a structure.  There 
are structural elements in all languages which are properly explored, for
instance, by linguistics.  But--better linguists like Noam Chomsky 
are very clear about it--a linguistic analysis is not a philosophy of 
language.  That's something different.   
 
So we have a plurality of languages.  Now let me refer to a number of 
such "languages," so that you see we are not dealing with a very simple 
problem.  I have made a list of languages which have received names in 
history since antiquity, and I shall enumerate them now.  Each of these 
names refers to a state of consciousness in its dimensions of luminosity 
and intentionality and the language which is used to express that par- 
ticular state.   
 
Such languages are:  [i] The ancient oriental myths, developed in cosmo- 
logical empires.  Observe the restriction, "cosmological empires," be- 
cause we have myths also preceding imperial situations in tribal con- 
nections where the myth looks somewhat different.  So imperial myths of 
cosmological empires [are] preceded by [i.a] tribal myth problems.  [ii] 
Then you have another such development in antiquity, the Greek develop- 
ment, where the myth develops as the language of a state of consciousness
that is not involved in imperial constructions, in imperial self-in- 
terpretation, but in opposition, if at all with regard to empire (be it 
the Persian empire or any other imperial construction).   
 
So already two types of myths.  I do not believe one can use the term 
"myth" simply as if [one] knew what myths were.  You will later see how 
the terminology of the myth arises at all as such a language for a state 
of consciousness.  But there are lots of different languages of myth, 
like the ancient oriental, the Hellenic, or other types of myth like the 
ones explored by Levi-Strauss in his _Pensee Sauvage_, where he [is] very
careful [to explain] that that is not the language of savages but lan- 
guage _a l'etat sauvage_, at a primitive state.  [...] 
 
[iii]  Then a further language arises in the case of Israel which has 
received the name of "revelation" and goes on as the language of re- 
velation into the Christian revelation.  So revelation is a further state
of consciousness and language expressing such consciousness.  [iv]  Then 
out of the Hellenic myths we find the development of philosophy in the 
Platonic-Aristotelian sense; again, "philosophy" as a specific structure 
in consciousness with its language. 
 
[v]  Now the specific structure in consciousness that we call "philo- 
sophy" can harden:  we have a similar problem, already in antiquity and 
going into the Middle Ages, [to] the _stasis_ of the "isms."  One can 
transform the symbols which arise in the mythical language or in Plato's 
or Aristotle's philosophical language into entities which become the 
subjects of propositions.  I speak therefore of "propositional" or "doc- 
trinal" formulations concerning reality, derivative from the original 
symbolisms in revelation and philosophy.  This type of derivative propo- 
sitional language has received in the Middle Ages, through Thomas in his 
commentary on Aristotle's _Metaphysics_, the name "metaphysics:"  doc- 
trinal, propositional knowledge which is based on mythical and philoso- 
phical and revelatory symbols, which are treated as if they were indepen-
dent, autonomous realities which can become the subject of propositions 
about them, with predications.  [vi]  Metaphysics, by the way, is not the
last phase in this propositional doctrinization.  In the 17th century it 
proved insufficient [for getting] at the peculiar problem of doctrina- 
lizing philosophical problems proper (in opposition to theological prob- 
lems), and we find therefore since the 17th century a new term replacing 
metaphysics, which for that very reason I always hesitate to use.  It is 
the term "ontology."  So one should be very clear about it, that Plato 
and Aristotle definitely were neither metaphysicians nor ontologists, and
would have shaken with horror at the idea of doing such things.  They 
were philosophers, and they knew what they were.   
 
[vii]  Now, a combination of philosophical and revelatory symbols, al- 
ready vitiated by the problem of the transformation of philosophy into 
metaphysics, is the so-called philosophical language (usually erroneously
called an Hellenic philosophical language) which is used in the formula- 
tion of medieval "theology."  I would say "theology" is derived from both
revelation and philosophy, but via doctrinization in the form which 
Thomas has called metaphysics:  a very complicated new language, which is
not identical with what Plato or Aristotle called theology--that was 
something entirely different.  [viii] Then, within the Israeli-Judaic 
history, and by the side of the revelatory and philosophical development,
we have special developments which go under the name--for instance, 
from the 2nd century before Christ to the 2nd century after Christ, and 
ever since have retained that name--[of] "apocalyptic" imagery and 
speculation.  We have apocalyptic as a state of consciousness in expec- 
tation of a realization, for instance, of a realm of God in historical 
reality.  And these apocalyptic visions are a state of consciousness and 
have developed an apocalyptic language.  Even in our time we speak of 
apocalyptic as a peculiarity of certain student movements in the 1960s. 
[...] 
 
[ix]  We have a further radicalization of the apocalyptic into the con- 
ception that:  this reality [is] not only bad and will have to be re- 
placed by a better reality, [which] will happen in history apocalyp- 
tically; but it will not happen at all and must therefore be shelved to 
another realm, [another realm which] is accessible to human intervention.
The apocalyptic proper expects a change in reality from a divine inter- 
vention.  A gnostic does not rely on a divine intervention, but on a 
knowledge [of] how to achieve such a change in reality:  by either 
joining the absolute, perfect reality of the _pneuma_, of the spirit, in 
the beyond, leaving this reality which is imperfect behind; or by pulling
the perfect reality into this world and thereby making it perfect--that 
is the modern type of gnosticism.  So we have here types of "gnosticism;"
again, states of consciousness with regard to reality, with their own 
languages.   
 
[x]  Then, a special development out of Platonic philosophy:  under the 
impression of apocalyptic and gnostic movements in the Hellenistic and 
Roman empires, [there] extends the specific development of the Neopla- 
tonic systems.  "Neoplatonic systems" and their language are a further 
language we have to deal with into modernity; because the Neoplatonic 
systems have especially been revived (after having a somewhat subdued 
existence during the Middle Ages) at the end of the 15th century in 
Florentine Platonicism--[where] we have a strong Neoplatonic state of 
mind ([or] consciousness) and of Neoplatonic language for the expres- 
sion of problems of reality--of which, for instance, Frances Yates of 
the Warburg Institute, in her "Giordano Bruno" volume, has given at 
least the earlier part.  But this Neoplatonic tradition goes on.  And you
find it is usually disregarded or at least not too well known:  for 
instance, [in] the _Encyclopedie francaise_ there is an article organized
by Diderot on _eclectisme_--not eclecticism--in which he explains 
that the conception of the _Encyclopedie_, and the whole state of con- 
sciousness inspiring the _Encyclopedie_, is derived from the Neoplatonic 
systems.  And once you realize that the _Encyclopedie_ is a language 
symbol belonging to Neoplatonism in its modern form [...], you will also 
understand certain points in the Hegelian _Encyclopaedie_ better, because
he is also strongly influenced by the Neoplatonists, especially by Pro- 
clus, and wants a similar kind of system corresponding in its conscious- 
ness-structure to certain elements especially in Neoplatonic language. 
 
[xi]  Then, a further such state of consciousness is "mysticism."  I do 
not want to go further into the details, just [to] refer to it.  [xii]  
Further deformations in the modern period we call "ideologies."   
 
Now I have given you, I believe, about a dozen such cases.  And there are
many more.  Because you have again different states of consciousness with
different languages, for instance, in India, in Hinduism and Buddhism and
farther back in the Rig-Veda.  And we have other languages with other 
states of consciousness in Taoism and Confucianism; and in Chinese 
Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, and so on.  So we have probably dozens of 
different languages which all deal with the same matter.   
 
        [5.  the Complex:  the meditative complex] 
 
This problem, this complex which I have explained, is what I would call 
the "meditative complex."  It occurs wherever man thinks and where we 
have records of such a meditative complex.  And all the elements which I 
have enumerated here must not be isolated, taken and torn one from the 
other, so that one can have, say, a theory of intentionality, or a theory
of luminosity, or a theory of language (language in the one sense or in 
the other sense), and so on.  But they all belong together, and must not 
be torn asunder, because then that structure in consciousness (which has 
to do with intentionality, luminosity and language) would be fragmentized
and deformed in its meaning.  That is the first problem I wanted to dis- 
cuss.  The problem of the complex will return, as you will see presently.
One must not fragmentize the complex and pretend that a structural ele- 
ment in that complex can be isolated and made [an] object of independent 
study, because then this complicated structure of intentionality and 
luminosity is gone.   
 
[II.  _Metaxy_] 
 
Now, let me go into a few more such structural elements.  I select them 
more or less at random, because here is an infinity of problems.  I 
[will] pick on a few which are particularly important and [always] recur 
centrally in all sorts of situations.   
 
One of these structural elements in consciousness is what Plato has 
called the _metaxy_, which simply means "in-between."  Man has
experiences of reality, and the center of these experiences is always the
consciousness that we want to know something (intentionally, the object)
and we know that we don't know it; but in order to know that we don't
know it, we must know something about it.  We are in a state of
ignorance, which is conscious to us as a state of ignorance, as a state
of poverty of knowledge; and [...] our consciousness is in action towards
acquiring more knowledge.  That is, we have an horizon and we know that
there is something beyond the horizon--the beyond-the-horizon is an
essential element in consciousness--because we wouldn't look for anything
in the world if we would believe that what we know at present were all
that is to be known.  So we know that it isn't all [there is] to be known
and we have to go beyond it.   
 
This structure is very carefully analyzed in various contexts in the 
Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy, and I speak of it as the "tension" 
of the _metaxy_.  I say, "I speak of it," because the term "tension" does
not occur in the classic philosophical complex.  There we have only the 
concrete tensions:  the "love" of the divine, the "hope," the "faith," 
the "justice," the _eros_, the _philia_ in Aristotle.  The term "ten-
sion," the _tasis_, appears only a generation later in Stoic philosophy. 
But I am using the term "tension" to signify that existential tension of 
the ignorance which is in search--the Platonic _zetesis_--of something, 
and in order to be in search of the something, must be moved already by 
some sort of knowledge of that something into searching for it.  Because 
if there were no movement, no pull (what Aristotle calls the _kinesis_,
the pull toward searching for something), nobody would search for
anything.  So the _zetesis_ and the _kinesis_ are the movements really
experienced by human beings in their quest:  [the] Aristotelian
_aporein_, questing for something that is not known, but known to be
there somewhere, and somehow to be expressed and to be found language
for.   
 
Now this whole process of searching for the "ground" of one's existence 
--the ignorance of the ground, then the awareness that one is searching 
for it, that one is moved in the search by the ground itself (in the 
_kinesis_)--that is what Plato and Aristotle have ultimately called the 
_nous_.  So when we speak of _nous_ as "reason" we should be aware that
reason is not a world-immanent operation or faculty, but always the con- 
sciousness of the in-between, of ignorance with an horizon which always 
has to be transgressed in order to find more beyond.   
 
This consciousness of the _metaxy_ constitutes an area of reality in
which we can speak of that reality of the tension in consciousness as a 
reality.  And what that reality reveals is that it is a tension between 
the man who has the consciousness and something which moves him to be 
conscious and to be conscious of more.  The luminosity of a movement 
toward something which is not yet known but should be known, and the 
intentionality directed towards it, has again that double structure of 
the luminosity and intentionality I talked about.  And this tension is, 
as I would call it, a "polarity;"  and the poles in that tension are the 
poles of that tension, but nothing more than the poles of that tension.  
Let me use here a simple diagram:  The tension goes toward the "ground," 
in Plato and Aristotle; and at the other end of the tension is "man;"  
and there is a movement and counter-movement.  And, we might say, the 
area of that movement [and counter-movement], that is what Plato and 
Aristotle would call the _psyche_.   
 
So the tension reveals [itself] therefore as a tension between these two 
poles; and the poles are not known as givens independent from the ten- 
sion in which they are experienced as poles.  We are again here coming 
into the problem of the complex.  The tension (as a polar tension) [and] 
the poles (the ground pole and the human pole) belong together.  One 
can not, therefore, hypostatize [...] the ground, as the divinity, into a
god about whom we know something, short of that tension; and [one] can 
not hypostatize man into an immanent entity, short of that tension in 
which man experiences himself as man in the tension--that is his ex- 
istential reality.  So anthropologists and theologists have their good 
reason, as long as they become aware of this tension as a tension in 
process.  When the linguistic terms used for describing that tension are 
hypostatized into entities which can be explored independent of the 
tension, the luminous reality of the psyche is lost and one gets into 
empty speculation and theoretization.  [...]   
 
Now [...] this finding of the tension by Plato and Aristotle, that is 
what they call "philosophy:"  to live in that tension, and explore that 
tension.  And the exploration of reality in the light of that tension, 
that is what Plato calls "dialectics" and Aristotle more frequently 
"analytics."  Now this tension is exposed to deformation.  Let me explain
one principle deformation because it has an enormous importance in modern
philosophizing, especially since Romanticism.  [Referring to the diagram 
previously drawn: ...]  The consciousness of "man" is [...] the illumined
consciousness; it is constituted by its relation to the "ground" in 
becoming luminous for its existence in tension.  But this tension at the 
same time is becoming an object.  We are now talking about it as if it 
were some thing.  We use the term "tension" for this _metaxy_ tension. 
And when we do [this,] we must admit that--besides man's being
constituted in this tension as man, and understanding his existence in
the in-between, in the tension towards the ground--[man] can reflect on
this attitude.  So when we separate [out] the reflective factor of
consciousness, [...] the reflective consciousness does not pertain to an
immanent consciousness of "man," but precisely to the _metaxy_
consciousness.   
 
We have no term technically for it.  I call this relationship the "re- 
flective distance."  If you lose that reflective distance--[...] not 
remaining aware that the reflective consciousness can [not] refer [to] a 
consciousness which can be split between immanent consciousness plus a 
ground plus a tension, and so on, but has to refer to the whole of the 
complex--then you identify that reflective consciousness with human 
consciousness understood as immanent, hypostatized as immanent conscious-
ness.  Then you get the problems of "identity."  Identity philosophy and 
contemporary identity psychology reflect a peculiar deformation in which 
the reflective distance of consciousness to its own tensional _metaxy_ 
got lost somehow.  So "identity" is one of the deformation possibilities 
of the tension of consciousness.   
 
That is perhaps in conflict with psychological conceptions about iden- 
tity.  People are in search of identity, mostly, today.  I would say, for
heaven's sake, if they [find] their identity, then they are really dead. 
That's the one thing they must not find.  They must remain open, knowing 
that they have no identity except in that tension.   
 
[III.  Historical Structure] 
 
Now let me refer to perhaps one more of these structures.  [...]  The 
discovery of this tensional structure in consciousness is [an] event in 
classic philosophy, and even preceding, in Presocratic philosophy.  And 
it is an historical event.  But what does that mean, "historical event"? 
We simply use such language as if we knew what we where talking about, 
but we don't know it at all.   
 
It means something very concrete; because [for] a thinker like Plato, who
goes through that experience of illumination [...], philosophy is not 
natural reason, but the discovery of that structure is a supernatural 
event--a revelation, of course.  Now the man who goes through that 
illuminative, revelatory process knows that it has happened, and that he 
now has a different type of consciousness and understanding of reality 
from people who have not gone through that process.  You find therefore 
in the _Symposium_ of Plato a new classification of man, socially and 
historically.  The man who preceded that discovery of illumination 
remains under the title of the Homeric language for man, the "mortals," 
the _thnetoi_.  The man who goes through that [experience] and [is] con- 
scious of it, he calls the _daimonios aner_, the "spiritual man," who
lives in that consciousness and is aware of it.  And then there are of
course the people who don't like that at all, but insist on identifying
themselves with their human part without such tension--for instance, in 
pragmatic politics in Machiavellian attitudes, and so on.  And them he 
calls the "unwise" or "fools," the _amathes_.  We have three new language
terms.  Please observe that language doesn't lie around somewhere, but is
created on these occasions.   
 
Three new language terms:  the mortal, who has no longer the Homeric 
meaning of "mortal," but now is historically and socially the man who has
not gone through that process [...]; and then the man [who] goes through 
it and is aware of it and lives in it from now on; and then the man who 
resists it, the _amathes_.  And the state of mind in which such an
_amathes_ lives is called by Plato the lack of _nous_, the _anoia_. 
Especially in the _Laws_, he analyzes the _anoia_.  And [thus] there
appears the Greek term which corresponds in other contexts--for instance,
in revelatory contexts like the Israelite or the Christian--[to] the
"fool."  The "fool" becomes the technical term for the man who is not
open in his relation to the divinity since the 8th century:  the _nabal_
of Isaiah (and _nabala_, the "foolishness").  In the Christian context,
that is translated in Latin as the _insipient_ (the insipient); and the
King James Version translates the _insipient_ as the "fool."  So the
"fool" is the technical term for what Plato has called the _amathes_
already as a technical term:  [one] who does not understand the openness
in that relationship.  It's not simply a name-calling question, but there
is a technical term since the 8th century B.C. for this kind of people. 

Now, that is one such instance of consciousness of the historical situa- 
tion.  Let me give only one more. [...]  Aristotle, in the _Metaphysics_ 
(in book A), reflects on the problem that what he is doing in philosophy 
--that openness of the knowledge of the noetic relation to the ground 
which is at the same time an illumination--[...] is not different in 
its structure, on principle, and in the search (in the quest in which he 
engages), [from], for instance, [what is done by] cosmogonic myth-poets 
like Hesiod.  When they speak of the origin (in Platonic language, the 
_aition_) of the world, in heaven and earth, and from [there] construct 
then the whole history of reality in the form of a cosmogonic myth or a 
theogonic myth, they do exactly the same [as] he does.  They are in 
search of the relation to the ground and try to find the formula for that
ground.  Only that, in the philosophical case, that structure of con- 
sciousness has become more differentiated, more clearly articulated than 
it was in theogonic or cosmogonic speculations.  Now, we have no term for
this relationship; and I have called it the "equivalence of symbols" 
under various conditions of consciousness.  So we can have the same 
quest, which expresses itself philosophically or (I am stressing the 
illuminative element) in revelation, also in the mythical symbolization 
of mytho-speculations like the theogonic, anthropogonic [and] cosmogonic 
speculations.  They are equivalences on the scale from compactness to 
differentiation.   
 
[IV.  Indelible Presence] 
 
How do we recognize, however, that it is always the same?  Here comes in 
a very important concept which I will take from Plato.  It is the same 
because there is a structural element in all of these experiences and 
linguistic expressions of consciousness:  They all have to do with the 
presence of the divine as the moving factor.  This presence of the divine
as the moving factor in the soul and in the world at large is called by 
Plato the _parousia_:  in the _Republic_, for instance, when he develops 
the concept of the _epekeina_.  This presence identifies the various
events which are equivalent and makes them recognizable to each other. 
We understand the comparatively primitive, compact symbolization, because
we recognize in it the quest for the same presence (in experience of
divine presence) that [we] find in the more differentiated experiences. 
One can, therefore, not say that past events of consciousness and
experience belong to the past, or that future events will belong
exclusively to the future, because what makes them events as events of
consciousness is what I would call the "indelible presence" of the
divine, which identifies the tension in relation between man and the
divine ground.  So all past events are present in the sense of the
indelible presence, and therefore belong to the same structural problem
and the same reality in historical process of compactness and differ-
entiation.  And therefore do we have a history; and, you see, a history
that is intelligible.  What makes the history intelligible is the
_parousia_ in all cases.   
 
And you see now [...] what it would mean to discard these findings in the
structures of consciousness.  Because then you lose, not the past, which 
can be thrown overboard, but you lose your present, because your present 
has no meaning unless it is related to the more compact events of the 
past which are also present.  You can't get away from the indelible 
present in history; and if you try to do it, you become a savage of the 
moment with no relations to your own reality and the structures of your 
own consciousness. 
 
[V.  _Periagoge_] 
 
[...] I want to point to some more such problems; for instance, in the 
_Republic_.  Plato concludes the _Republic_ with the admonition, put in 
the mouth of Socrates, that this story which just has been told of the 
last judgment is a story that had to be saved from forgetfulness through 
the man who brought it back from there.  And we are saved in our morta- 
lity, and on the way to the immortality in the consciousness of that 
tension, if that tale--in this case, the story (the _mythos_) of the last
judgment and of the descent into the Hades--[...] is saved from the 
dead (referring to the death of Socrates).  If that is the result--if 
on such an occasion as the death of Socrates, one recognizes that he died
living in that tension and refusing to surrender it--then the story of 
that death saved will make Socrates a _soter_ (as it is formulated in
that passage), a savior for those who follow him in his discovery of that
openness and tension.   
 
So the "saving tale," as Plato calls his story, must be saved from the 
death.  And I mention this understanding of the saving tale that is to be
saved from the death, because we have on the Christian side--in Chris- 
tian symbolism and revelation, in the history of dogma--always the 
terrible problem of the historicity of Jesus, of the reality of the 
things told there, and so on.  And it would be of considerable help in 
understanding a Christian story, in this case a Gospel, if one would 
apply to it, first of all, the term developed by Plato on the occasion of
his Gospel on the occasion of Socrates' [death], that it is a saving 
tale, saved from the death of a [man] optimally illuminated by divine 
presence.  So not an ordinary myth, but a saving tale saved from death.  

Well, let me conclude on this; and we shall have questions, I understand.


                                   * * *
 

                            Question Period 
 
First Questioner (John O'Neill):  When the structures of consciousness 
that you've analyzed there are homologized to the social system, as in 
Plato's _Republic_, is there any saving story then with respect to soci- 
ety in the way there would be a saving story with respect to the life of 
Socrates?  It seems to me that ...  
 
Voegelin:  ... The _Republic_ is no system.  It is an analysis of order 
in society based on the insight concerning the _epekeina_, the divine 
reality in the beyond.  And it is then to be supplemented, of course.  As
you know, the _Timaeus_ is a continuation of the _Republic_, a formal 
continuation with analysis of cosmological structure. 
 
O'Neill:  I think many of us tend, however, to read the _Republic_ as a 
construct that trades on the notion that stages in the philosophical life
come to the same thing as classes of persons who choose different forms 
of life--they choose money-making, or they choose war-like activities, 
or they choose philosophical activities--and it seems to me that those 
structures of consciousness are not simply analytic stages within the 
philosophical life, but they're thought also to be the topological strata
for the ... 
 
Voegelin:  ... they are all compactly present also in people who are not 
philosophers.  You see, that is one of the important elements in Anglo- 
Saxon culture, especially the English-American culture, since the 18th 
century:  we have the common sense philosophy of Thomas Reid and his 
successors, who explained that "common sense" is knowledge of reality in 
inarticulate form, and the behavior in accordance with that knowledge by 
people who are not articulate philosophers.  And what philosophers 
articulate is the common sense which is compactly present in the other 
people. 
 
O'Neill:  I wanted to drive toward something like that, because on the 
basis of your model, the common sense would not be a form of unknowing; 
and if the _Republic_ were an analogous structure, then those at the 
bottom of the society would not have laid upon them the matter of getting
to the top of the society.  Now there are many such societies that 
nevertheless project that for themselves as a goal.  That is to say, 
modern society could be looked at as trying to move common sense into 
science; it can be thought of as trying to move its lower classes, 
through what we speak of as social mobility. ... Well, I'm thinking that 
if one were taking seriously these philosophical notions, it would 
provide a kind of Platonist critique of the sort of social structures I'm
speaking of ... 
 
Voegelin:  ... hypostatize the formation of the symbolisms developed 
here.  The Platonic _epekeina_ is not a philosophical notion.  It is the 
expression of an experience of tension in relation to a beyond of _ta 
onta_, of the things in the cosmos. 
 
O'Neill:  I understand that.  I don't mean to say that it's a notion of a
technical sort.  It's presumably an experience within the structure of 
consciousness. 
 
Voegelin: ... [You are using] immanentist doctrinal language now, which 
is in opposition to what Plato is doing.  He was, on the contrary, very 
explicit on various occasions that anybody who would transform what he 
has to say in the dialogical manner of analysis into a doctrine of any- 
thing has misunderstood him. ... Plato has no doctrine. ... Look, this 
doctrine problem is also one of the modern problems in the structure of 
consciousness.  Since I have been a graduate student in the 1920s, Plato 
has been--already since, say, roughly 1870--a socialist, a communist, 
a utopian, a constitutionalist, and he has ultimately become a fascist in
the Stalinist period.  [O'Neill:  I can agree with you on that, but it 
seems to me ...]  He isn't any of these things.  But you get here a 
structure of consciousness, which is specifically modern, of doctrini- 
zation according to trendy problems. 
 
O'Neill:  I can agree with you, but I think it's a desperate solution to 
save him from even philosophy. [...] 
 
Second Questioner:  Professor Voegelin, in your article entitled "Reason:
The Classic Experience," you offer to your students a grid which is to 
help them in sorting out the mass of undigested material that comes at 
them every day.  Now could I ask you, using this grid, where would you 
place, or how would you deal with structuralism and hermeneutics? 
 
Voegelin:  That grid to which you refer is a grid concerning the funda- 
mental items to be included in any interpretation of reality, but it does
not deal with everything.  For instance, the problem of doctrinization is
simply not in that grid at all.   
 
And hermeneuticism, as far I understand it, is a development lying in a 
German line of philosophizing from Hegel and Schleiermacher via Dilthey 
to the contemporary hermeneuticists via Heidegger. It is a very German 
problem, which sometimes assumes odd forms.  For instance, [...] a man 
like the great theologian Pannenberg [is a hermeneuticist] who believes 
that there only are three great theologians--Schleiermacher, Dilthey 
and Pannenberg--within a German development.  So ethnic developments of 
that kind in ethnic cultures have their peculiar problems.   
 
You might also say about structuralism, for instance--which assumes 
sometimes odd forms--that the death of God is now to be followed by the 
death of the author; that here you have a specific French problem which 
became acute on the line from Baudelaire to Mallarme.  And as an English 
historian of literature--[Wakeman], I believe it was--[recently] 
explained, here you have a trend to make the French language unintel- 
ligible after it has been superbly intelligible in the Cartesian French. 
Now what the purpose is of making [French unintelligible]--a typical 
case like Sartre or Derrida, and such people--I don't know.  But it is 
a problem which is not covered by this grid. 
 
Third Questioner (Hans-Georg Gadamer):  I wanted just to ask you, Dr. 
Voegelin, concerning your description of the distantiation and the con- 
sideration of the tension between man and the ground.  I mean, especially
in your application to Platonic work, one asks himself--and I think it 
would be helpful [if] you could say something about that--that this 
distantiation includes the danger of sophistic.  I mean, that by this 
reflective layer, which is opened in the middle position of man [in the 
diagram], we have not only the alternative of meaninglessness (_anoia_)
and [the] wise man, but we have also the semblant, we have the sophist. 
And that is what I would like to know:  how you take this point in [the] 
tension. 
 
Voegelin:  If I have understood the question correctly--it was a bit 
complicated, the question--we have the problem that I have explained 
here [in the diagram]:  a reflective distance of consciousness, which 
refers however not to a hypostatized immanentized consciousness, but 
precisely to that tension.  If you--not necessarily in sophistic form 
--hypostatize, you get the oddest problems, with which Plato had to 
deal.   
 
For instance, the dialogue _Parmenides_--let me reflect on that perhaps 
--where you have the tension between two language symbols which had 
arisen out of the Parmenidean philosophizing, the language symbols of the
"one" and the "many."  Sometimes this Platonic dialogue _Parmenides_ is 
interpreted as a dialogue which has no conclusion, somehow.  I think it 
has a conclusion.  The conclusion is made explicit in the last sentences 
of the dialogue.  The problem in the dialogue is:  can one predicate of 
the "one," that it "is" (existence), or that it "is not" (non-existence)?
And Plato says you can do the one or the other; and either way you do it,
you get into aporetic problems, which are explained in the dialogue.  Now
my impression of the dialogue is--now I have to say something subjec- 
tive about it--that in the school (and the Academy is a school), Plato 
was frequently pestered by young people, by students, with the question, 
Does that _epekeina_, that being, exist?  Does that "one" exist, or does
it not exist?  And once, when he got very much fed up with such silly 
questions, he wrote a dialogue, exhausting to the point of becoming 
boring, all the possibilities of nonsense resulting from that question.  
I think it is a didactic masterpiece of explaining why terms like "being"
or "existence" cannot be predicated of the "one," of the _aition_.   
 
And that, I think, is a problem which he has dealt with explicitly in the
myth of the _Phaedrus_.  Because there he gets into the question that 
there is a something beyond all existing things, beyond _ta onta_ (and
the _ta onta_ for Plato always includes the gods, the Olympian gods). 
And if we apply the category of existing things, of _ousiai_, to the _ta
onta_, including the gods, then what is that something that is beyond all
the _ta onta_, which is experienced here in that illuminative myth?  And
there he says:  it is not one of the being things; but it would also
[not] be proper to say that it is not real or not being; so it must be a
sort of pre-eminent kind of being, beyond all the other things.   
 
He gets into difficulties, which I think also are difficulties still of 
Heidegger when he deals with his philosophy of being as a fundamental 
ontology:  that the being about which Heidegger talks is a being, not 
beyond this world (the _ta onta_ of immanent things), but beyond the _ta 
onta_, in the Platonic sense, including the gods; and that _epekeina_ in 
this Platonic sense is not a possible subject for predications, except by
analogy, even for being.  So one cannot simply speak of the _epekeina_ as
being.   
 
I would say the same problem arises also in Christianity in certain 
contexts:  for instance, the _Letter to the Colossians_, which is of 
dubious origin, but is certainly Pauline.  There is explained what is 
meant by "incarnation."  And by incarnation is meant (according to the 
_Letter to the Colossians_, chapter 2) the presence of the _theotes_, the
divine reality.  And if you read only _Colossians_ and not [any other 
text], you would assume that Christ is to be defined [...] as the optimal
presence--the _pleroma_ of _parousia_--of the divine in a human being, 
while all other human beings have lesser presences of the divine, and are
only aware that there is one person, the Christ, in whom there is the 
_pleroma_ of presence.  And the _theotes_ is not identified as a personal
god, but as--you might say, in the Platonic sense--the presence of 
divine reality experienced in reality by the people who stand around and 
hear the Christ talk. 
 
I don't know whether this is an answer to your question. 


                                   * * *
 

[Voegelin's remarks on Plato from the panel on "Reading the _Republic_" 
(23 Nov. 1978); relevant to various sections of the "Structures in 
Consciousness" lecture] 
 
In the few minutes that are assigned to me, I shall confine myself to a 
few marginal notes on the topics presented by Dr. Bloom and by Professor 
Gadamer.  One of the topics that came up in Dr. Bloom's report is, What 
kind of dialogue or work of art is such a dialogue as the _Republic_?   
 
I'd like to stress that, linguistically, quite a number of the Platonic 
dialogues are most carefully constructed, beginning from the first word. 
One of these dialogues is the _Republic_.  It begins with the word 
_kateben_--"I went down"--to be understood in various meanings:  the 
going down from essence; [the going] down to the Piraeus and that night 
festival; or the going down from Marathon to the present sea-power and 
harbor of the Piraeus; or the going down from an existentially 
satisfactory order to an existentially not-so-satisfactory order, in 
contemporary essence of the sophists [...]; and ultimately the going down
into death.  And what does death mean?  Is it an end to mortality, or is 
it a way to immortality, and [if so, how]?  And the whole _Republic_ is 
constructed, first of all, around this initial language formulation.   
 
The "I went down" culminates in the parable of the cave, going down into 
that cave, but with the intention to rise from it.  And the question is: 
Where to?  And the going down [is] then repeated in the great myth of the
underworld, [the] myth of the judgment in the end of the _Republic_, from
which one then comes up with the tale of that judgment, the saving tale 
that must be saved from that underworld.  So there is a relation, 
existentially, between insight concerning the light, and the willingness 
to be open to the light, and first having been down there somewhere and 
having experienced the non-reality of that "down," of that "going down." 
So the _Republic_ does not simply present a way of life, or a philosophy;
but the whole construction of the drama is based on that existentially 
"going down" and then coming up again.   

But with what?  With the tale of which I had the occasion to talk already
last evening, the saving tale that must be saved from the death of 
Socrates.  That is the existential core of the _Republic_, I should say. 
But beyond that existential core now extend certain political problems, 
some of which have been already analyzed just now by Professor Gadamer:  
the probably ironic or satirical elements in the _Republic_, like the 
community of women and so on, which remind one very much of similar 
constructions in Aristophanic comedies. [...] And the question is:  for 
what political purpose?   
 
Now, I would oppose any formulation of the Platonic construction of such 
a city--which he himself calls the _ariste polis_ (the "best city") or 
the _kallipolis_ (the "beautiful city," the "most best")--as ideal.  
Because the ideal carries the connotation of perfect.  And if there is 
anything characteristic of the constitution developed by Plato in the 
_Republic_, it is that it is not perfect in the sense of being durable, 
but, as Professor Gadamer has already stressed, there will be made 
mistakes even in the so-called best city, and it will go down through 
[the] varieties of deformation described in the second part of the 
_Republic_, down to the dream-world of tyranny.  So, the best polis 
should be understood realistically, as also the best polis is understood 
by Aristotle:  the best is still miserable enough to go to pieces.  So 
one should not mix up a construction of a best polis with what today is 
called utopianism.  That is not the question in Plato and Aristotle; they
are superb realists and know that even if you get the best construction, 
it will go to pieces sometime, sooner or later. 
 
But then why engage in such a construction at all?  Here comes in an 
interesting political problem.  In the _Laws_ (in book 3), Plato explains
very carefully that one can have an Hellenic unity that could resist the 
imperial attack from Persia only if the city-states in Hellas had a sort 
of constitution which will not get them into permanent conflict.  The 
fratricidal wars:  they are a political fact that must not be forgotten 
as the background of the _Republic_.  And that, for instance--in the 
_Republic_, I believe it is--Plato suggests as a great improvement in 
the international law of war [...], that when one city is conquered by 
another, one shouldn't perhaps kill more than one half of the population.
So if you will be killing off [less] than one half, then you are already 
a very progressive liberal, [one] would say, in the Platonic environment.
So this peculiar fratricidal situation in the background; and the fact 
that, according to various estimates, 40 or 50 percent of all Greeks 
living in the 3rd century, shortly before Alexander, were political 
refugees; and that these political refugees were a considerable 
recruitment store for the armies with which Alexander could operate in 
Anatolia.  So a very messy political situation, very atrocious, is as the
background, and the conception of Plato seems to be: if one could get a 
sort of constitution under these existential conditions, the Greek cities
would stop making war on each other [...] and unite into an imperial 
strength that could hold its strength against [Persia]--in the _Laws_ 
he calls it Assyria.  So this imperial concept is back of Plato, and you 
should say that on the level of a Platonic philosophy, that is the 
equivalent to the conceptions of empire that we later find in, say, 
Polybius in the Roman context.  So Plato is not a philosopher only of the
city-state, as it is sometimes presented, but one should have regard for 
the awareness of a political background, and of the imperial conditions 
of politics in the situation in which he lived.  He died ten years before
the ascent of Macedonia, and Aristotle witnessed the Macedonian conquest.
That was the end of Athens and Greek culture, as an independent culture. 

Now if you'd like to go back for a moment to that problem of the 
existential order:  in this existential order, I think there is, in Plato
as well as in Aristotle, a very curious lack of consistency, not because 
of any logical failure or lack of intellectual power in either Plato or 
Aristotle, but because new problems had to be formulated which had not 
been formulated before.  I mean by these problems, where a certain 
internal contradictoriness shows:  [for example,] the construction of the
world by a demiurge, who operates with the "ideas."  I have a feeling 
that the development of [this] religious symbolism of the demiurge as a 
constructor of a universe, operating with a material that may offer 
obstacles to a perfect form to be imposed on it, is a typical case of a 
theological symbolism which then is transferred to man as the artificer. 
God makes the universe according to a plan; man makes all sorts of other 
things, artifacts, according to a plan, including perhaps the 
constitution of a polis.  So, this artifact conception of the "idea," the
"idea" as a form to be imposed on matter, seems not to be transferred 
from the activity of man to a god who is a demiurge, but from this divine
symbolism to man.  And the "idea" constructions in Plato, I believe, 
reflect the demiurgical component, as they do later in Aristotle.  But by
the side of this demiurgical construction, and the "idea" as form-- 
which later becomes a metaphysics of form, after the classic philosophers
--there is that immediate experience of the soul in its openness toward 
a "beyond" of divine reality, which is definitely not a formation of the 
soul as an artifact, but that openness which is a characteristic problem 
of Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy.   
 
Now this openness has certain implications which affect these problems of
the gods and the poets who represent all the gods.  Because the
_epekeina_ ... and I believe--I may be completely wrong here (perhaps you
will correct me immediately)--the _epekeina_, as the beyond-designation
of the true divinity, was created by Plato.  There was no "beyond" before
Plato, as far as I know, linguistically.  Maybe there was, but I have
never seen the term "beyond" as a designation of a transcendent divinity
before. ... And this beyond-conception is not new in the time of Plato,
but you find the mystical symbolizations which betray the necessity of
getting toward a beyond, ... already the earliest case I know are the
"Amon Hymns" of the 13th century in Egypt, parallel with the appearance
of Moses.  In these "Amon Hymns," you have also a peculiar transformation
of a god with a name (just like other gods, and later the Olympian gods),
the god Amon, into the god who is the real god back of all the others,
and who was there before any of the others were created by him.  And
therefore nobody knows his real name, and nobody, even of the gods, knows
him; but they all derive their immortality from the real immortality of
the one god in the background.   
 
There you have--already very early, as I said, in the 13th century in 
Egypt--a very clear "mystical" symbolization of a mystically ascending 
soul toward a divinity which can no longer be identified with the divi- 
nities which later were called "polytheistic," but were not polytheistic 
at that time.  So, this ascent is a very early discernible mystical 
problem, which in Plato becomes articulate to the point that he at last 
now has a god who is not a former Amon, but who is "the beyond."  And 
that beyond is not only a form, but that divinity whose _parousia_ main- 
tains the soul in order and the whole world in order.  
 
And the love of that god--there are formulations in the _Gorgias_ 
especially--the love of that god, and the love towards that god, is the 
formative principle of _cosmos_.  And where that love is not present in 
reality, there you get the _akolasia_ or the _akosmia_, the disorder and 
dissolution.  So, the Platonic philosophy, in the light of such a 
passage, for instance, is an articulate symbolization of the truly 
pre-philosophic experience of reality, and order in reality, as an order 
of love.  And when the order of love is made explicit, it looks something
like Platonic philosophy. 
 
This existential problem is, as far as I'm concerned for my own [...] 
problems, the most interesting for me in Plato; and to follow [it] up 
through the various dialogues, and to find out where, earlier already, 
you find similar attempts at mystical ascent, as you find it in the _Amon
Hymns_.  You find it of course later, in the 8th century, but still 
preceding Plato:  for instance, the same formulation in the _atman_ and 
_brahma_ in the _Upanishads_.  There you find also such awareness that
the real divinity is a divinity beyond the Olympian gods.  
 
And in the _Phaedrus_ myth, there is a special formulation of that 
problem:  after a banquet in Olympus, the gods ascend to the roof of 
Olympus, which you would think is the roof of the world; but no, they 
ascend to the roof of that banquet hall and from there they see the real 
_ouranos_, the divinity from which the Olympian gods derive their
divinity.  So the secondary divinity becomes now a great problem in all
symbolizations of a divinity which is understood to be transcendent even
to the Olympian divinities.  And you get then the Olympian divinities--to
which not only Plato sticks, but you find them still in Plotinus (in 
the argumentation against gnosticism they are retained).  But they have 
to be retained, also in other constructions of divinity [such] as the 
Israelite or the Christian.  We have, then, the in-between divinities-- 
no longer called gods in the polytheistic sense, but [...] angels and so 
on (coming from Judaism, influenced by Babylonian angels [...]), and 
later the development of saints--as a whole army of the intermediate 
divinities, which derive their divinity from the true divinity and 
immortality of the really beyond.  So the really beyond always produces, 
apparently, an in-between set of immortalities and divinities which are 
not identical with the original immortality of the highest beyond.  [...]
 
[A later remark by Gadamer]:  Just one word to you, Dr. Voegelin.  I 
would very much support your general remark about the "beyond," but in a 
[...] broader sense.  I think the whole ancient Greek tradition was full 
of [the] awareness that the "divine" is something much more relevant than
the "gods," as they were accepted.  You know the Homeric men were not 
acquainted with the authentic names of the gods.  That was their own 
feeling.  When they addressed in a prayer to the gods, then they said: 
"O, how you would like, or prefer to be called."  Because the proper 
names of the gods, that was a human work.  And [...] you know Wilamowitz 
made one day the fine remark that "divine" is a predicate, not a sub- 
stantive. And in this sense I would enforce this special point of your 
remark. 
 
Voegelin:  Well, I am quite in agreement.  The sense of that beyond is 
there.  But I have never seen the term _epekeina_ before that passage in 
the _Republic_.  

Gadamer:  Yes certainly.  But it is certainly not a neologism. 

Voegelin:  No, no.  

Gadamer:  It is an ordinary word.  

Voegelin:  It is an ordinary word, but never used for the designation of
a divinity beyond the Olympian gods. 
 
Gadamer:  That's certainly true. 


                                   * * *

 
[Voegelin's remarks on _paranoia_/_pronoia_ from the panel on "Literary 
Criticism" (24 Nov. 1978); representing section VI of the "Structures in 
Consciousness" lecture] 
 
I am not only a reader.  I happen also to be a professor in a university 
and I have to deal with students, not only with colleagues.  And the 
students ask questions, and want to know all sorts of things about what 
they are doing, why they are doing it, in what direction they should be 
going, and so on.  And one of the instruments of informing them, is 
informing them about literature which they should read.  So in my 
reading, I cannot quite separate, as an educator, the reading from the 
content of what is to be read.  And the content of what is to be read has
something to do--always in any book of any importance--with questions of
man's existence, and the meaning:  Where do we come from? (the classical
question), Where do we go to?, What should we do in between?, and so on. 
And these questions now are questions which dominate the social and
historical scene of the contemporary world.  
 
I suggested I should say a few words about such "structures" in our 
contemporary world, into which we run every day, and which can be 
illuminated and become intelligible, especially to students, through the 
reading of certain books.  For instance, within the last year, I happened
to hit on the novels of Thomas Pynchon.  I read first the _V_ novel, then
_Gravity's Rainbow_, and here I was now made aware that there is one 
novel in between, _The Crying of Lot 49_, I believe.  And I was struck by
it, that here is--you might say--an almost classic examination of the
pathological situations created by alienation and _paranoia_.   
 
Now, alienation and _paranoia_ are not simply individual problems, but
they dominate the contemporary scene in the form of the various
ideologies, who always want either to persecute somebody, or feel
persecuted by somebody else, or mostly both at the same time.  And on
that occasion I hit on the problem of _paranoia_ in a theoretical sense,
which had not become clear to me earlier, because _paranoia _is usually
dealt with [...] by psychopathologists.  But that is not the problem,
because if you have everybody being in a paranoiac state (practically),
that is a bit more than the question of a patient for a
psychopathologist. There is some fundamental structure involved.   
 
And the fundamental structure involved [...]--and I was guided [...] by
the observation that obviously Thomas Pynchon has taken his cue from 
Romain Gary in his _[Dance of_]_Genghis Cohn_--is connected with the
general problem of ideologies as conceptions of order in history, which
has a determinate nature into which you have to fit.  Now, where do such
ideas as an order of history--with a determinate course, going to a
certain end--come from, except from certain Christian and philosophical
contexts of a creator who creates a world and is in foreknowledge of what
that world is doing?  He has providence, he has the _pronoia_.  (Usually
I deal with that problem now under the title of _pronoia_, and the
opposite is then the _paranoia_.)  And if you have a _pronoia_
conception; and this _pronoia_ conception is perverted in the sense that
it is imagined as a human foreknowing of things, and not as a divine
knowledge (as it has been analyzed by Boethius in the _Consolationis
Philosophiae_, in the last book); then when you get [the] alienation of
being immanentized, you believe still in the _pronoia_, in the
providence, only you assume that the providence is supplied by human
beings; and that if necessary, in order to defend yourself against the
_pronoia_ of human beings, you have to engage in a counter-attack, and
provide your own _pronoia_ in opposition to the _pronoia_ of the people
who are apparently [per]secuting you.   
 
So I would say there is an intimate connection with the experiences of 
perverted providence and the conceptions of being persecuted by somebody,
being whoever it is:  the bourgeois for a Marxist; or a Communist for the
bourgeois; or the CIA or the oil companies for a leftist liberal; and so 
on--all these conceptions of persecution are perversions of the _pronoia_
concept, then producing a paranoid reaction.  And these paranoid 
reactions are, [...] in Pynchon's _Gravity's Rainbow_, detailed in a 
massive casuistry.  One might almost say there is nothing left out of it.
 
And it is an insight.  It is not only an interpretation which I am giving
of a novel by Pynchon, but he knows it himself:  he speaks of those 
people who are in the state of _paranoia_ as "the victims of the
vacuum"--the vacuum being the spiritual and intellectual vacuum with the
loss of tension towards the beyond.  And this loss of tension, the vacuum
... you can translate it also into German: the [vacuum] is the _leere_
which, for instance, was magnificently analyzed in its consequences for
an intellectual already by Hegel in _The Philosophy of [Right]_, where he
deals (in the paragraph 5, I believe it is) with the intellectual who is 
empty.   
 
And the vacuum situation:  since one cannot live actually in a vacuum, 
the vacuum must be filled with some sort of reality; and if it isn't the 
real reality, you get second realities.  Now the term "second reality" 
again is not an invention of mine, but it is developed by the great 
novelists of the 20th century, by people like [...] Heimito von Doderer 
in his novel _The Demons_, [and] by Robert Musil's _The Man Without 
[Qualities]_.  And the second reality is the substituted reality which 
you imagine [...] if the real reality is lost in a state of alienation.  
Now what is back of this state of alienation, however?  The back of it 
is, of course, generally [...] a being thrown out of a context in which 
life makes sense.  
 
You have these problems already appearing in the 3rd century B.C. with 
the Stoics in the wake of Alexander's conquest with the destruction of 
ethnic cultures.  We have the same problem appearing later, [...] in the 
17th century in the modern Western world in the wake of the religious 
wars, and then later [following] the Industrial Revolution.  So when 
established cultures, which are the house in which we live, with more or 
less stable conceptions, are destroyed by historical events, then an 
emptiness and alienation can happen; and then comes in the construction 
of second realities as a protective house in which you can live instead 
of in the house which has been lost.  
 
And there comes in the question of who are the people who create these 
second realities?  And why do they do it?  What are the psychological 
motivations?  And that again is known since antiquity as the [_aspernatio
rationis_], the _libido dominandi_, the will to power.  One wants, by
one's own power, to supply a reality which has been lost, and which is
not one's own power, but the reality of the creation in which we normally
live as adapted or accommodated or attuned human beings.  So the power 
problem enters into the construction of second realities.  And the 
constructors of such realities--say for instance Marx--are at the 
same time then power figures; or when it comes [to] the practical 
application, power figures in the literal sense like Hitler or Stalin-- 
[they belong] together.  
 
Now, this connection goes back to the fundamental possibility of creating
second realities at all, out of passion.  And I always like to quote in 
that connection a sonnet by Shakespeare, I believe it is 129, which 
begins:  "Th' expense of Spirit in a waste of shame/ Is lust in action." 
So when you use the possibilities -- the fantasizing [and] imaginative 
abilities--of the intellect and the spirit, and the languages of it, in 
the service of creating a second reality for the purpose of getting 
influence and power over somebody to satisfy your passion of domination, 
then you have that situation which results, in the course of a couple of 
centuries, as it has done, in the contemporary _paranoia_ situation. 
 
Of course that situation is not new.  It has happened in similar critical
situations of civilization.  For instance, the magic of the word which 
can corrupt--as it does through ideologies, and produces a paranoiac 
state--is to be found also in Greek civilization.  By accident, 
studying other problems, I found for instance that the term "magic," in 
the sense of the magic of the word, appears for the first time in a 
production by Gorgias the sophist, in the 5th century, in the _Encomion 
Helenes_, where he speaks of the magic of the power of Paris in 
persuading Helen to come along with him.  That's where the magic of the 
word appears.  And he compares that magic of the word to the magic of 
addiction to drugs.  So you have two main sources for getting drugged:  
either the magic of words, or chemical drugs.   
 
And that remains since antiquity a constant among philosophers who deal 
with the problem of addiction and intoxication and getting drugged.  You 
find the same problem, for instance, in Plato in the _Laws_, where he 
also speaks of the crime of drugging somebody, and subdivides the problem
of drugging somebody [into] drugging by chemicals or drugging by words. 
Hitting at the sophists, you see?  Or, you find a similar problem in the 
19th century, in the modern civilization, in Baudelaire.  In the _Paradis
artificiels_, for instance, you have again two possibilities:  you can 
drug either by hashish, or by reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  Both have 
the same effect of intoxicating you into a certain state.  There you have
then, when the ideologies come in as the drug purveyors, that 
Shakespearean conception of the expense of spirit in a waste of shame is 
lust in action, and so on.  
 
And since I have quoted Shakespeare let me perhaps conclude with another 
quotation from Shakespeare.  We talk very much today in popular language 
about "brainwashing."  Much to my surprise, I found that Shakespeare has 
already the phrase of "brainwashing."  In _Antony and Cleopatra_ (in the 
second act, the last scene), where the world rulers--Augustus, Mark 
Antony, Lepidus, Pompeus--are together at (what Shakespeare calls) 
[their] Alexandrian bacchanal, in the end, getting drunk, as the world 
rulers dividing the world into power among them, until they get so drunk 
that they hold hands and dance around. ... A very good [image] of what a 
world ruler is:  the drunken dance of power. ... And in that context, the
Caesar, Augustus, is the only one who hesitates in getting as drunk as 
the others.  And in that connection, in his resistance, he formulates:  
"monstrous labor, when I wash my brain,/ And it [grows] fouler."  By the 
drink. ... And then Mark Antony answers him:  "Be a child o' the time." 
... Very much of the time.  In the power game. 
 
So all great literature--and when I mean great literature I refer also 
to the content and not only to its artistic value as a work of art 
(because very accomplished literary works of art may be very poor stuff 
because their content is poor stuff)--so the great works have to deal 
with such problems.  And I wanted to bring out a bit this question that, 
over the analysis of a work of art as a work of art by literary 
criticism, one shouldn't forget that works of art also have a content 
referring to man's existence, and that they should be viewed under that 
aspect, and be valued under that aspect, and read under that aspect. 
 
 
                                   * * *

 
    ____________________________________________________________________ 
     
        THE USES OF PLATO IN VOEGELIN'S PHILOSOPHY OF CONSCIOUSNESS:  
         REFLECTIONS PROMPTED BY VOEGELIN'S LECTURE, "STRUCTURES OF 
                               CONSCIOUSNESS" 
    ____________________________________________________________________ 
          
 
    Zdravko Planinc 
    Religious Studies 
    McMaster University 
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 

    
       While it may be that God is the measure of human beings, Plato is 
certainly the measure of anything written about God, human beings and 
their relation.  So much so that when one studies and writes about Plato,
one unavoidably reveals more about oneself than about Plato.  A 
platitude, perhaps; nonetheless, I believe it to be true of Voegelin's 
work, the later writings as well as the earlier ones.  This is not to 
suggest that we do not learn anything about Plato from reading Voegelin: 
we do.  But it is very much Voegelin's Plato we encounter throughout.  
And that is my topic:  not Plato per se, but rather how Voegelin uses 
Plato in his own work, and more specifically, in his philosophy of  
consciousness.  Plato is always central to Voegelin's philosophy:  but it
is a highly selective Plato--often no more than a few favorite 
passages within a rather extensive collage of references to the various 
things that were important to Voegelin at one time or another.  The task 
I have set myself is to explore what may be learned about Voegelin's 
philosophy of consciousness by examining his unique reading of Plato. 
 
       On occasion, Voegelin presents his reader with extensive analyses 
of Platonic dialogues that may be studied alongside the texts:  in Volume
3 of _Order and History_, for example.  More frequently, however, 
Voegelin discusses Plato not by way of _explication de texte_, but rather
in authoritative summaries of Plato's meaning, presented  both as 
self-evident interpretations of various passages in the dialogues, and 
also as instances of important elements of Voegelin's own philosophy of 
consciousness.  My  reason for emphasizing the difference between these 
two ways of discussing Plato is to  point out what is perhaps best 
described as a rhetorical matter:  the latter way is often  presented as 
if it were the former when it is not.  More specifically, Voegelin's use 
of terms such as _epekeina_ and _metaxy_ is not sufficiently grounded in 
the exegesis of Plato's texts; despite his insistence that they were 
quite conscious and deliberate technical terms for Plato, they were not 
--at least, not in the sense that Voegelin claims. 
 
       Another reason for emphasizing the difference between these two 
interpretive strategies is to point out what I take to be a fundamental 
ambiguity in Voegelin's treatment of Plato:  the Plato of his textual 
exegeses, the subject of his analysis, is not quite consistent with the 
Plato of the philosophy of consciousness in which Voegelin uses Plato's 
writings as a means to illuminate other subjects of analysis.  It is one 
thing to use Plato and the Gospels as ostensibly equivalent instances 
of a theophanic movement that can be counterposed to the modern 
egophanic movement represented by figures such as Hegel and Marx; but 
it is quite another thing to demonstrate their equivalence without   
reference to a common inferior alternative by means of sustained analyses
of the dialogues and the Gospels themselves.  And Voegelin's attempts 
to do so in essays such as "Gospel and Culture"--for all their 
brilliance--always leave a reader with the impression that Plato is 
not quite up to the mark.  Allow me to give just one example.  In "Gospel
and Culture," Voegelin writes:  "though Plato's _homoiosis theo_ is the 
exact equivalent to the filling with _theotes_ by the author of Colos- 
sians, Plato's spiritual man, the _daimonios aner_, is not the Christ of 
Colossians, the _eikon tou theou_.  Plato reserves iconic existence to
the Cosmos itself [in the 'Timaeus.' ... Thus,] the barrier becomes
visible which the movement of Classic Philosophy cannot break through to
reach the insights peculiar to the Gospel"  (_Collected Works_, Vol. 12,
194). 
 
       Voegelin's broad comparisons of philosophy and revelation are 
usually more ambiguous than this passage suggests.  A reader is often 
left with several contradictory impressions at once, all rather common 
in such sorts of comparisons, but seldom seen together:  that Plato and 
a few other favored Greeks are being baptized; or that the superiority 
of Biblical revelation to philosophic _noesis_ is being argued quite 
subtly, despite claims to the contrary; or the opposite, that the 
superiority of _noesis_ to revelation is being argued subtly, despite 
claims to the contrary.  As evidence of the lingering impression of   
baptizing the Greeks, I mention only that the "leap in being" ostensibly 
performed by Parmenides, among others, was first performed by 
Kierkegaard as a "leap of faith" (_Autobiographical Reflections_, 79).  
And as evidence of the impression of the superiority of revelation, I 
mention only that the familiar argument concerning equivalent experiences
distinguished by degrees of compactness and differentiation ultimately 
persuades no one about "equivalencies" proper because it simply restates
the superiority of revelation in a different set of technical terms.  In
other words, the relation of compactness to differentiation is the
relation of natural philosophy to supernatural revelation, or the
relation of Classic philosophy, limited by the barriers of _cosmos_ and
_polis_, to the theology of the Gospels, maximally or properly oriented
toward the divinity beyond the _cosmos_ and _cosmopolis_.  And if the
scale of compactness and differentiation is not intended to carry this
meaning, it is, then, a questionable bit of literary criticism. 
 
       Finally, concerning the impression of the superiority of the 
Greeks:  as Voegelin himself points out at the beginning of "Gospel and 
Culture," some Christians are suspicious of any questioning whatsoever 
(_Collected Works_, Vol. 12, 173-5).  My own reading is rather 
different.  Far from arguing convincingly for their superiority, I think 
that Voegelin sells the Greeks short, if anything.  Plato's dialogues 
are more than merely equivalent to the Gospels, they are far superior, 
without the limitations Voegelin finds in them, and possessing 
resources he overlooks.  Plato does not "[reserve] iconic existence to 
the cosmos itself," though the Pythagoreans might have done so; and his 
_daimonios aner_, Socrates, is thankfully not the _eikon tou theou_, the 
Christ of the Gospels.  But I anticipate the argument. 
 
       Let me return to my earlier point:  are _epekeina_ and _metaxy_ 
Platonic technical terms in Voegelin's sense?  I will discuss Plato's 
use of _epekeina_ first, and _metaxy_ afterwards.  _Epekeina_ appears
twice in the _Republic_ (509b9, 587c1), and nowhere else in Plato.  Its
first use is in the dramatic or dialogic context in which Socrates
attempts to instruct Glaucon, with little success, about the significance
of the "good beyond being."  That there is an ultimate reality or
divinity beyond the being-things of the cosmos is hardly a new insight,
though it would be new for Glaucon to accept it as such.  What is
important at this point in the dialogue is not this insight, but rather: 
Socrates' entire account of the good, in all its details; the shifting
dialogic relation between Socrates and Glaucon; and the literary features
used by Plato to present such matters, some of which indicate a great
deal about how the _Republic_ should be understood, as a whole and in
relation to other dialogues.  In such a context, one cannot take Plato
himself to be referring to anything like "the _epekeina_:"  the
formulation is, instead, Voegelin's hypostatization of a single word,
treating it as if it were a technical term carrying the full meaning of
the passage and context in which it appears.  It does not.  The sense of
something beyond the cosmos is there, of course, but hardly innovative,
as I mentioned.  And in hunting for such technical terms, Voegelin misses
the full significance of the passage and its context.   
 
       One of the philological matters he overlooks about the word itself
is quite interesting.  The double use of _epekeina_ in the _Republic_ is 
deliberately intended to be part of a series of parallel terms.  The 
good beyond being is contrasted to an extreme opposite:  the worst 
possible pleasures, "beyond" even the bastard pleasures Socrates does   
mention, which the tyrant who has fled law and reason takes as his 
paradigm.  The contrast is obvious, but not worked out in all details 
in the _Republic_ itself.  The "flight" of the philosopher who takes 
the good as his "paradigm" is described in the _Theaetetus_ (176a-7c).  
And the two opposed paradigms within which human beings live their lives 
are in turn described as "measures" in the _Theaetetus_ and the _Laws_. 
The paradigm of the good beyond being toward which the philosophic soul 
ascends is described as taking God as the measure in the _Laws_ 
(716c-e); the paradigm of the worst possible pleasures toward which the 
tyrannical soul descends is described as taking a dog-faced baboon as   
the measure in the _Theaetetus_ (161c).  The Protagorean understanding of
human being as the measure (frag. 1 D-K) is not a limiting paradigm:  
it must give way to one or the other.  Obviously, many of the main 
features of this analysis have been captured in Voegelin's account of 
the _Laws_, but the dialogues are far richer, and the philological   
implications far more suggestive -- especially for ethics -- than his 
account would suggest. 
 
       To paraphrase Hegel's remark about Schelling, Voegelin conducted 
his philosophical education in public, that is, in print.  I intend no 
criticism with this remark, as Hegel did.  But I do think that it 
should be admitted to be the case, because there is a good deal left to 
be done.  Voegelin's work is not complete in any philosophical sense, nor
even complete as it stands, in that much of the textual analysis will 
have to be redone, if not undone.  Even Voegelin's explicit 
self-corrections are not without their problems.  There are two 
well-known instances:  the first is Voegelin's turn from the study of 
"ideas" to the study of "symbols of experience," which led to _Order 
and History_ as we have it; the second is the turn, between Volumes 3 
and 4, from understanding history in the developmental sense associated 
with notions of linear time (at least concerning the history of what 
Jaspers calls the Axis-time period) to an understanding of history as the
permanent presence of the mystery of human existence.  These two turns 
in his work are perhaps too readily taken at face value and too little 
analyzed.  Voegelin's frequent remarks notwithstanding, I do not think 
they are the decisive or pivotal events they are made out to be, in 
that the "new" understanding is quite evident in the earlier writings, 
and--what is more important for understanding Voegelin's account of 
Plato--in the later writings, the past "errors," such as they were, 
are never completely overcome. 
 
       Consider the turn from "ideas" to "symbols of experience."  Is it 
a turn from words or abstract concepts to symbols, or from the 
intellectual generally to the experiential (and does the experiential 
include or exclude the intellectual)?  And in what way does a symbol   
differ from an idea or a concept, given that Voegelin seems to identify a
symbol with an author's deliberate and conscious use of a specific 
technical term or word?  Furthermore, one would assume Voegelin's late, 
meditative writings to be the most attuned to experience and its 
symbolization, but this is not the case.  Voegelin's analysis of the   
meditative complex is focused on "consciousness:"  the mind, and not the 
_psyche_ in Plato's sense.  The components of consciousness are 
intentionality and luminosity:  the former is a rather modern 
Husserlian epistemological category; and the latter, I believe, is taken 
from a dubious notion first developed in Augustine's _De magistro_ 
(11.37 ff) as a response to the Roman philosophical schools, but too 
frequently used by Voegelin as little more than an experiential 
substratum for consciousness as intentionality.  Whatever type of   
experience luminosity might be, it seems to result in strictly 
intellectual investigations that result in symbols, understood as 
neologisms, which differ very little from concepts or ideas.  In my 
opinion, Voegelin's account of intentionality and luminosity is not as   
insightful or precise in detail as Buber's comparable account of "I-It 
experiences" and "I-Thou relations;"  and Voegelin's narrowing of the 
range of symbols to something like the set of all historically 
significant technical terms needs to be augmented toward, say, Northrop 
Frye's more conventional definition of symbol as any feature of a text --
from the placement of punctuation to the structure of the text as a 
whole--that is intended to convey the author's meaning. 
 
       What saves Voegelin's account of the meditative complex and makes 
it comparable to Buber's philosophy of consciousness is his use of 
Plato.  He introduces the terms _epekeina_ and _metaxy_ to account for 
aspects of experience that cannot be covered by intentionality and 
luminosity.  The resulting account is roughly Platonic in character, but 
only as a result.  None of the specifics are strictly Platonic:  there 
is no discussion of "consciousness" per se in Plato, nor of 
intentionality or luminosity; and the term _epekeina_ is not a category, 
as I have mentioned.  Voegelin's use of _epekeina_ is intended to provide
human consciousness with a "ground of being" that is more than a 
perspectival horizon:  in Buber's terms, the "ground of being" is the 
Eternal Thou; we might say God, simply.  And Voegelin's use of _metaxy_ 
is intended to describe the nature of the relation between   
consciousness and the ground, among other things.  It is not immediately 
evident how luminosity, as Voegelin describes it, is related to "the 
_epekeina_" or God.  In Buber's account there is no difficulty:  the 
Eternal Thou stands at the end of a range of Thou-relations that might, 
in Voegelin's terms, also be described as luminous experiences.  In 
Augustine's account, luminosity and God are related in the Christian 
manner, through the exclusive mediator:  luminosity is possible as a 
supplement to intentionality only when Christ is accepted as savior.  
But in an attempt to avoid such specifically Christian formulations,
Voegelin relates luminosity to God by means of "the _metaxy_." 
 
       Like "the _epekeina_," "the _metaxy_" is Voegelin's hyposta-
tization of a single word, treating it as if it were a Platonic tech-
nical term.  But unlike _epekeina_, _metaxy_ is quite a common term--a
mere preposition or adverb, never a noun--that appears in a wide variety
of passages and contexts:  one hundred, to be precise (according to
Brandwood's Word Index).  By no stretch of the imagination can the
substantive matters of all the passages in the dialogues be related by
the fact that the word _metaxy_ appears in them.  To select an example at
random:  What has Homer's way of making connections "between" his
characters' speeches (_Republic_ 394b) have to do with what is "between"
the midriff and the navel (_Timaeus_ 77b4)?  When Voegelin refers to the
uses of _metaxy_ in more obviously philosophic contexts, he finds only
two; but the same problem arises:  What has the realm of the number
(_arithmos_) and form (_idea_) of things that is "between" the
Anaximandrian poles of one (_hen_) and many (_polloi_), limited (_peras_)
and unlimited (_apeirian_), mentioned in the _Philebus_ (16c-17a), have
to do with the daimonic realm "between" the gods and human beings,
mentioned in the _Symposium_ (202a)?  (_Ecumenic Age_, 184-5;
_Anamnesis_, 103)  There is no self-evident answer; and the substantive
matters of the two passages cannot be related, much less identified,
simply because the word _metaxy_ appears in both.   
 
       Voegelin takes this even further in his article, "Equivalences of 
Experience and Symbolization."  After first hypostatizing _metaxy_ and 
then using it interchangeably with the Stoic notion of "tension" 
(_tasis_), Voegelin goes on to claim that a large range of tensional 
experiences are strictly equivalent, in other words, identical:  the 
_metaxy_ is ostensibly evident in the tension between life and death, 
perfection and imperfection, time and timelessness, truth and untruth, 
_amor Dei_ and _amor sui_, the moods of joy and despair, and a large
number of similarly constructed pairs of antithetical terms (_Collected
Works_, Vol. 12, 119-120).  Quite simply, these pairs of terms describe
widely different experiences, perhaps comparable in the context of a
rather extensive philosophic anthropology; and to claim that they are 
equivalent because they have an antithetical structure that produces an 
"in-between-the-poles" in every case is to commit a rather obvious 
logical fallacy.  I am fully in agreement with Voegelin that one of the 
most important tasks of the philosopher is to formulate a philosophic 
anthropology capable of analyzing the relations among the experiences 
expressed in such antithetical pairs of terms.  But Voegelin's account 
of the _metaxy_ as a structure in consciousness is not up to the task. 
To paraphrase Max Scheler:  Voegelin's _metaxy_ is only the road-sign,
not the destination. 
        
       The extent of my agreement with Voegelin may not be immediately 
evident from these critical remarks.  They are intended only in a 
constructive sense.  I know of no clearer description of the human 
condition and the task of the philosopher than the first pages of 
_Israel and Revelation_, in which the "quaternarian structure" of the 
"primordial community of being"--God and human being, world and 
society--is discussed.  And I know of no one who has done more to 
explore the mystery of human participation in the "order of being"-- 
in its individual, political and historical dimensions--than Voegelin.  
But there remains a good deal to be done, and some of it requires 
us to reconsider Voegelin's work in the same spirit in which he 
constantly reconsidered his own.  My concern at present is his 
philosophy of consciousness:  in my opinion, its undoubted explorations 
of the "structures of consciousness" evident in the order of being are   
expressed in problematic ways; and these difficulties are less errors or 
oversights in textual analysis than the result of a preference for a 
critical vocabulary with inherent limitations.  The terms in which 
Voegelin describes the "meditative complex" are less adequate to the 
task of accounting for the full range of human participation in the   
primordial community of being than are the accounts given in Plato's 
_Symposium_, Buber's _I and Thou_ or Scheler's _Ordo Amoris_, for 
example.  The main difference is that Plato, Buber and Scheler give 
primacy to _eros_ in the exploration of the order of being; in other 
words, the primordial community of being is best described as an order of
love, and its exploration is best described--even in its details-- 
as an erotic activity of the _psyche_, and not as a tension in the 
relation of consciousness and reality. 
 
       In Voegelin's philosophy of consciousness, "the _metaxy_" has yet 
another determination that deserves separate comment.  Intentionality 
is the type of experience that counterposes subject and object; and 
luminosity is the type of participatory experience counterposed to 
intentionality.  As I have suggested, one of the best accounts of the 
nature of, and relation between these aspects of existence is given in 
Buber's _I and Thou_.  Following Buber, I would say that the term 
"luminosity" makes no sense if it is taken to refer to something "be- 
tween" the subject and object of the intentional or "I-It" experience.  
At present, it is very fashionable to formulate "post-modern" critiques 
of modern scientific rationalism in precisely this manner, the best  
known of which is Gadamer's hermeneutic philosophy.  And yet Voegelin 
also uses "the _metaxy_" in this way on occasion.  For example, in 
describing William James' essay, "Does Consciousness Exist?" as "one of 
the most important philosophical documents of the twentieth century," 
Voegelin states that its "fundamental insight" is its identification of 
what "lies between the subject and object of participation as the 
experience;"  and Voegelin is quick to equate this Jamesian "in-between" 
with both Plato's _metaxy_ and his own account of the luminosity of con- 
sciousness (_Autobiographical Reflections_, 72-3).  Needless to say, 
there is nothing of such an understanding in Plato.  The closest similar 
formulation is the description in the _Republic_ (507c ff) of truth 
(_aletheia_) as the light emanating from the good beyond being, illumi- 
nating the object of intellection for the _nous_ just as sunlight 
illuminates the visible object for the eyes--a difficult passage to 
interpret, but quite obviously different in meaning from the notions 
advanced by James, Gadamer and even Voegelin. 
 
       Despite these difficulties in Voegelin's philosophy of con- 
sciousness, it is nevertheless roughly Platonic in character.  But 
it is Platonic in character only as a manifestation of Voegelin's own 
character, and not as a result of any close textual analyses of the 
dialogues.  As I have attempted to demonstrate, there are problems in 
Voegelin's readings, even though he always seems to identify some of 
the salient points often overlooked by others.  But the greatest problem 
in his reading of Plato is what it passes over or leaves out entirely.  
Most importantly, Voegelin's ostensibly Platonic philosophy of con- 
sciousness provides no account of the virtues--quite a surprising 
omission, considering the fundamental importance of the account of the 
virtues in the dialogues.  Where Plato discusses the capacities given 
in human nature, their development as virtues and their corruption as 
vices, Voegelin instead speaks only of a small range of unique ex- 
periences whose importance is more historical than ethical, in that 
they distinguish those who have had them from those who have not, or 
from those who refuse them in some way.  His favorite example is the 
distinction between "mortals" (_thnetoi_), the "spiritual man"
(_daimonios aner_) and "fools" (_amathes_), which he finds in the
_Republic_, _Symposium_ and _Laws_, and claims is equivalent to the
distinction in the revelatory tradition between those who have accepted
revelation and those who have not, the insipient "fools" dismissed by the
Psalmist and Isaiah (_Collected Works_, Vol. 12, 385-6).  But the
distinction between virtues and vices--that is, between the development
and corruption of capacities common to all human beings--is simply not 
equivalent to the distinction between human beings who have had unique 
experiences and human beings who have not.  Similarly, what one learns 
about Socrates in the dialogues is not equivalent to what one learns 
about Christ in the Gospels.  Virtue is not a conversion experience and  
vice is not a failure or refusal of such an experience; and the manifold 
differences between human beings in history can be analyzed far more 
accurately with terms that describe the various dispensations of uni- 
versally given capacities than with terms that describe psychological  
and historical exclusiveness.  Voegelin's subsumption of Plato's moral 
philosophy to categories ultimately derived from the revelatory tra- 
dition is more than a problem of textual interpretation: it has left his 
philosophy of consciousness without significant ethical consequence. 
 
       This was, of course, not Voegelin's intent.  If anything, his 
intent was just the opposite.  The gradual "turn," evident throughout 
his life's work, from political science proper to meditative reflec- 
tions is a turn away from the neutral, scientific objectivity claimed  
by the academic discipline toward the philosophic life; and the 
philosophic life is one dedicated to the cultivation of the virtues, 
the highest of which in Plato's account are theoretical and practical 
wisdom, or the excellences of what might be called "consciousness."  
For Plato, the psychic and noetic ascent toward the good beyond being   
is an activity undertaken primarily for itself, but also for its 
consequences:  the ascent is a cultivation of given capacities, and its 
indirect result is a descent with greater virtue.  All comparable 
accounts of this ascending and descending movement--I have in mind   
mystical texts such as _The Cloud of Unknowing_, frequently mentioned by 
Voegelin--describe both the turn away from the world, in solitary 
meditative ascent toward the ground of being or God, and the primarily 
practical virtues consequent to the ascent that order the living of 
one's life in the world and in relation to other human beings.  
Voegelin's philosophy of consciousness provides an account of the 
ascent:  consciousness moves toward and is ordered by "the _epekeina_" or
God.  But there is no descent.  And without a properly grounded account 
of the virtues, his entire project threatens to become a strictly   
intellectual pursuit, and thus ultimately a merely academic matter.  
Without a return from the meditative ascent through ethics, there is no 
consequence for life. 

       Voegelin demonstrated such virtues in his own life, of course.  
That is not at issue.  My point is that his philosophical anthropology, 
for all its brilliance, is insufficient.  It remains an unfinished or 
incomplete aspect of his work.  And in order to complete it, we must 
return to the primary sources--in the first instance, to Plato's 
dialogues--in the spirit in which Voegelin read them, but we must 
avoid the problems of the manner in which Voegelin read them.  
Voegelin's first "use" of the sources--his _explication de texte_-- 
was ground-breaking.  But only ground-breaking.  Everything else remains 
to be done; and some things must even be redone. 
   
 
                            _____//\_____ 
                                 \// 
 
 
====================================================================== 
Dr. M.W. Poirier                  | Dr. Geoffrey L. Price 
Dept. of Political Science        | Dept. of Religions and Theology 
Concordia University              | University of Manchester 
Loyola Campus                     | MANCHESTER M13 9PL 
7141 Sherbrooke Street W.         | United Kingdom 
MONTREAL, Quebec                  | 
H4B 1R6                           | 
E-Mail: poirmw@Vax2.Concordia.Ca  | E-Mail: g.price@manchester.ac.uk 
======================================================================