The Most Deeply Distorted and Misunderstood Intuition of All
In a mission that may be unique among contemporary philosophers, Haverford College professor Ashok Gangadean is trying to bring the Unitary Absolute out of the cloisters and into business and government. Here he make it clear that the Absolute “First” is and must be acknowledged as the foundation for a new global reason.by Ashok Gangadean
Perhaps the greatest lesson in the global evolution of cultures is that there is and must be something original, so profound, primordial and infinitely universal that it must be first, originating and unitive in scope and jurisdiction. As we re-enact and inventory the vastly diverse cultural traditions of discourse and human understanding in this global context there emerges a remarkable convergence in alternative narratives of the origin of existence, thought and discourse. As undeniably diverse and pluralistic as these alternative accounts may be, they nevertheless bear witness to the truth that human existence is profoundly conditioned by something primal and first which makes it possible to be—to think, to experience, to exist and live in a world, to be human and to engage in discourse.
These divergent stories, sometimes complementary, more often appearing to be competing, opposed and even contradictory, confirm an ever deeper primordial presence which must he countenanced for anything to work. Indeed, the more diverse and mutually incompatible divergent narratives may appear this only serves to deepen the intuition of the universal and univocal presence of some ultimate or absolute condition. As we scan the vast range of cultural experiments through the ages in the global context we may see the undeniable evidence of absolute or transcendental conditions revealed in diverse forms of life. Whether the form of life plays out in what we may call a “religious”, a “philosophical”, a “scientific”, or a “political” worldview there is no escaping the intuition of there being primal conditions or grounds which make the lifeworld possible. It appears that this intuition into first conditions is inscribed in existence itself, is constituted in consciousness so deeply that nothing could be or be conceived without it.
Nor does it matter whether a form of life or narrative account is explicitly about absolute conditions or not, whether it is a narrative of “what is first”, for even if it is a blatant denial or rejection of anything absolute or ultimate it cannot but confirm the constituting conditions that makes its voice, its thought, its speech, its narrative possible. In order for it to be effective in denying or rejecting anything it must engage in discourse and hence in the laws and conditions that make discourse possible. So the evidence of absolute conditions is not to be found in the content or object of what is affirmed or denied, focused upon or ignored, but in the very possibility of being there at all in the first place, of existing, of thinking, of experiencing, of being in a world, of engaging in discourse.
This inescapability of countenancing absolute, transcendental or constituting conditions is what orients and gives order to rational space. The place of awareness and discourse is ordered and oriented by absolute conditions which structure, prioritize and hence open the space of natural reason. The very idea of something absolute or ultimate orders existential space by its presiding presence. This absolute condition takes the position of being First in every possible way, and this both orients and generates the space of being. This Absolute Presence, in being First, makes possible the rational force—field that releases intelligible light, that occasions the possibility of origins, of principle, of law and regularity, of unity and diversity, of identity and difference, of relation and relationality, of ground and foundation. So the very idea of something being First, Absolute or Ultimate, irrespective of how it may be characterized or named, is the universal origin of reason and the source of rational intelligibility and the possibility of thought.