The World According to Barfield

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The World According to Barfield

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

While we await Ashvin's much anticipated book Deconstructing Barfield's Metaphysics: How It Informs the Metamorphic Tranfiguration of Thinking Mythos, I think it's worth taking a deeper dive, and/or critique, into how to interpret OB, and whether it's ethnocentric or not. So to kick it off, I recommend starting with this Q&A with Mark Vernon discussing Barfield vis-a-vis Jung, Dante, Steiner, C S Lewis, imagination & meaning, and follow it up by reading this12 page paper by Richard Hocks, a colleague of Barfield at the University of Missouri, Columbia, analyzing OB's Saving The Appearances, that leaves out the Christian overlay.

Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Re: The World According to Barfield

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Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:54 pm While we await Ashvin's much anticipated book Deconstructing Barfield's Metaphysics: How It Informs the Metamorphic Tranfiguration of Thinking Mythos, I think it's worth taking a deeper dive, and/or critique, into how to interpret OB, and whether it's ethnocentric or not. So to kick it off, I recommend starting with this Q&A with Mark Vernon discussing Barfield vis-a-vis Jung, Dante, Steiner, C S Lewis, imagination & meaning, and follow it up by reading this12 page paper by Richard Hocks, a colleague of Barfield at the University of Missouri, Columbia, analyzing OB's Saving The Appearances, that leaves out the Christian overlay.

Thanks, Dana! I started reading the first part of that paper and so far it seems very accurate in representing Barfield and interesting. I will have to follow up later. But for now I will say Vernon is exactly right to compare Steiner, Barfield, and Jung. Of course the latter approached the topic of higher cognition from a completely different angle, and not as in depth, but he also recognized the metamorphic progression and, if BK's conclusion he was a metaphysical idealist holds true, which I think it does, I don't see any way to avoid the conclusion that he was speaking of a spiritual Reality when referring to 'archetypes of the collective unconscious' and what not. Also, like Steiner, he explored medieval alchemy and astrology in a very favorable Light. I suppose an essay on the Steiner-Jung nexus may be in order at some point.
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by JustinG »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sat Aug 28, 2021 3:54 pm While we await Ashvin's much anticipated book Deconstructing Barfield's Metaphysics: How It Informs the Metamorphic Tranfiguration of Thinking Mythos, I think it's worth taking a deeper dive, and/or critique, into how to interpret OB, and whether it's ethnocentric or not. So to kick it off, I recommend starting with this Q&A with Mark Vernon discussing Barfield vis-a-vis Jung, Dante, Steiner, C S Lewis, imagination & meaning, and follow it up by reading this12 page paper by Richard Hocks, a colleague of Barfield at the University of Missouri, Columbia, analyzing OB's Saving The Appearances, that leaves out the Christian overlay.

I really liked Vernon's book.

I read it a while ago but, from memory, it seems to me that Vernon brings Barfield up to date with contemporary times by not implying that the road to final participation necessitates the dying out of indigenous cultures.
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Re: The World According to Barfield

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JustinG wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:22 am I really liked Vernon's book.

I read it a while ago but, from memory, it seems to me that Vernon brings Barfield up to date with contemporary times by not implying that the road to final participation necessitates the dying out of indigenous cultures.

You just don't quit :)

You are saying here that Vernon would intentionally change Barfield's view for purposes of his book without letting readers know of this "update to contemporary times" - does anyone who listens to Vernon honestly think he is the sort of person who would do that? If anything, he simply does not emphasize that aspect of Barfield's view when he writes or speaks of it, but I have no idea whether that is true. You want to have the best of both worlds - taking the undeniable power and inner logic of the metamorphic view but leaving out its most essential conclusions. It is Marx flipping Hegel all over again to come up with "dialectical materialism"... some unimaginative tactics never change. Is it so hard to simply admit that you completely disagree with Barfield, Vernon, and anyone else who holds to the metamorphic progression? I suppose if you did that, then you would either be forced to make an actual argument against it or stop commenting on it altogether, and neither of those are acceptable to your ego.

In the meantime, it seems the real interesting question would be, in the context of Vernon's video, what did Dante see in his visions which is relevant to Barfield's metamorphic progression (I think it's beyond any reasonable doubt Dante actually had spiritual visions)? People can read the Wiki summary of the Paradiso and decide for themselves (also I discussed the 10 celestial spheres imagery briefly in last essay on integral mythology in connection with Aristotle and Aquinas):


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Comedy#Paradiso
After an initial ascension, Beatrice guides Dante through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. These are concentric and spherical, as in Aristotelian and Ptolemaic cosmology. While the structures of the Inferno and Purgatorio were based on different classifications of sin, the structure of the Paradiso is based on the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues.

The seven lowest spheres of Heaven deal solely with the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Justice and Temperance. The first three spheres involve a deficiency of one of the cardinal virtues – the Moon, containing the inconstant, whose vows to God waned as the moon and thus lack fortitude; Mercury, containing the ambitious, who were virtuous for glory and thus lacked justice; and Venus, containing the lovers, whose love was directed towards another than God and thus lacked Temperance. The final four incidentally are positive examples of the cardinal virtues, all led on by the Sun, containing the prudent, whose wisdom lighted the way for the other virtues, to which the others are bound (constituting a category on its own). Mars contains the men of fortitude who died in the cause of Christianity; Jupiter contains the kings of Justice; and Saturn contains the temperate, the monks who abided by the contemplative lifestyle. The seven subdivided into three are raised further by two more categories: the eighth sphere of the fixed stars that contain those who achieved the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, and represent the Church Triumphant – the total perfection of humanity, cleansed of all the sins and carrying all the virtues of heaven; and the ninth circle, or Primum Mobile (corresponding to the Geocentricism of Medieval astronomy), which contains the angels, creatures never poisoned by original sin. Topping them all is the Empyrean, which contains the essence of God, completing the 9-fold division to 10.

Dante meets and converses with several great saints of the Church, including Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Saint Peter, and St. John. The Paradiso is consequently more theological in nature than the Inferno and the Purgatorio. However, Dante admits that the vision of heaven he receives is merely the one his human eyes permit him to see, and thus the vision of heaven found in the Cantos is Dante's personal vision.

The Divine Comedy finishes with Dante seeing the Triune God. In a flash of understanding that he cannot express, Dante finally understands the mystery of Christ's divinity and humanity, and his soul becomes aligned with God's love:[41]

"But already my desire and my will
were being turned like a wheel, all at one speed,
by the Love which moves the sun and the other stars"
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by ScottRoberts »

JustinG wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:22 am I really liked Vernon's book.

I read it a while ago but, from memory, it seems to me that Vernon brings Barfield up to date with contemporary times by not implying that the road to final participation necessitates the dying out of indigenous cultures.
Why shouldn't they die out? All cultures do. Ours will, to the extent final participation takes hold. Or do you hold that spiritual development should be denied to some in the name of preservation?
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by JustinG »

AshvinP wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 4:53 am
JustinG wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:22 am I really liked Vernon's book.

I read it a while ago but, from memory, it seems to me that Vernon brings Barfield up to date with contemporary times by not implying that the road to final participation necessitates the dying out of indigenous cultures.

You just don't quit :)

You are saying here that Vernon would intentionally change Barfield's view for purposes of his book without letting readers know of this "update to contemporary times" - does anyone who listens to Vernon honestly think he is the sort of person who would do that? If anything, he simply does not emphasize that aspect of Barfield's view when he writes or speaks of it, but I have no idea whether that is true. You want to have the best of both worlds - taking the undeniable power and inner logic of the metamorphic view but leaving out its most essential conclusions. It is Marx flipping Hegel all over again to come up with "dialectical materialism"... some unimaginative tactics never change. Is it so hard to simply admit that you completely disagree with Barfield, Vernon, and anyone else who holds to the metamorphic progression? I suppose if you did that, then you would either be forced to make an actual argument against it or stop commenting on it altogether, and neither of those are acceptable to your ego.

In the meantime, it seems the real interesting question would be, in the context of Vernon's video, what did Dante see in his visions which is relevant to Barfield's metamorphic progression (I think it's beyond any reasonable doubt Dante actually had spiritual visions)? People can read the Wiki summary of the Paradiso and decide for themselves (also I discussed the 10 celestial spheres imagery briefly in last essay on integral mythology in connection with Aristotle and Aquinas):


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Comedy#Paradiso
After an initial ascension, Beatrice guides Dante through the nine celestial spheres of Heaven. These are concentric and spherical, as in Aristotelian and Ptolemaic cosmology. While the structures of the Inferno and Purgatorio were based on different classifications of sin, the structure of the Paradiso is based on the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues.

The seven lowest spheres of Heaven deal solely with the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Justice and Temperance. The first three spheres involve a deficiency of one of the cardinal virtues – the Moon, containing the inconstant, whose vows to God waned as the moon and thus lack fortitude; Mercury, containing the ambitious, who were virtuous for glory and thus lacked justice; and Venus, containing the lovers, whose love was directed towards another than God and thus lacked Temperance. The final four incidentally are positive examples of the cardinal virtues, all led on by the Sun, containing the prudent, whose wisdom lighted the way for the other virtues, to which the others are bound (constituting a category on its own). Mars contains the men of fortitude who died in the cause of Christianity; Jupiter contains the kings of Justice; and Saturn contains the temperate, the monks who abided by the contemplative lifestyle. The seven subdivided into three are raised further by two more categories: the eighth sphere of the fixed stars that contain those who achieved the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, and represent the Church Triumphant – the total perfection of humanity, cleansed of all the sins and carrying all the virtues of heaven; and the ninth circle, or Primum Mobile (corresponding to the Geocentricism of Medieval astronomy), which contains the angels, creatures never poisoned by original sin. Topping them all is the Empyrean, which contains the essence of God, completing the 9-fold division to 10.

Dante meets and converses with several great saints of the Church, including Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Saint Peter, and St. John. The Paradiso is consequently more theological in nature than the Inferno and the Purgatorio. However, Dante admits that the vision of heaven he receives is merely the one his human eyes permit him to see, and thus the vision of heaven found in the Cantos is Dante's personal vision.

The Divine Comedy finishes with Dante seeing the Triune God. In a flash of understanding that he cannot express, Dante finally understands the mystery of Christ's divinity and humanity, and his soul becomes aligned with God's love:[41]

"But already my desire and my will
were being turned like a wheel, all at one speed,
by the Love which moves the sun and the other stars"
You could be right, maybe Vernon does believe it is necessary that indigenous cultures die out. As I said, it was a while since I read the book.
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by JustinG »

ScottRoberts wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 4:59 am
JustinG wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 1:22 am I really liked Vernon's book.

I read it a while ago but, from memory, it seems to me that Vernon brings Barfield up to date with contemporary times by not implying that the road to final participation necessitates the dying out of indigenous cultures.
Why shouldn't they die out? All cultures do. Ours will, to the extent final participation takes hold. Or do you hold that spiritual development should be denied to some in the name of preservation?
Even if one adopted a totalizing Hegelian perspective (which I don't), Aufhebung can be likened to "transcend and include", which is a lot different from dying out.

In any case, I am more interested in what the actual 'real world' implications of this view are regarding how the so-called 'developed' world should best interact with contemporary indigenous cultures. Your thoughts?
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

JustinG wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 5:46 amIn any case, I am more interested in what the actual 'real world' implications of this view are regarding how the so-called 'developed' world should best interact with contemporary indigenous cultures. Your thoughts?
My thoughts are that everyone, regardless of culture, 'should' be interacting with each other while functioning within the integral, aperspectival modality, which is a function of an evolving process, and clearly remains a work in progress, as collectively we simply aren't there yet. And like any evolutionary process, this means some old modalities become anachronisms, which can only adapt. Meanwhile, as there's no going back to a pre-modern modality, with those indigenous cultures now being but shadows of any former modality, we're left to deal with the symptoms of still being mired, regardless of culture, in a foundering modality that is at the root of the symptoms, and will never suffice to resolve the issues, at best offering some transitory relief, until other symptoms, often side-effects of the 'treatments', reappear in some other variation of the repetitive theme. This why it just goes on and on indefinitely, not because there is any shortage of temporary ways to deal with it, which of course never turn out to be actual fixes. So whatever more such insufficient ways of dealing with it may be offered up here, in lieu of addressing the deeper factors, will be no more satisfactory than what any other forum has to offer. Again, as mentioned elsewhere, if you think that's what this forum should be about, then it will be of little use to you.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
JustinG
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by JustinG »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 11:34 am
JustinG wrote: Sun Aug 29, 2021 5:46 amIn any case, I am more interested in what the actual 'real world' implications of this view are regarding how the so-called 'developed' world should best interact with contemporary indigenous cultures. Your thoughts?
My thoughts are that everyone, regardless of culture, 'should' be interacting with each other while functioning within the integral, aperspectival modality, which is a function of an evolving process, and clearly remains a work in progress, as collectively we simply aren't there yet. And like any evolutionary process, this means some old modalities become anachronisms, which can only adapt. Meanwhile, as there's no going back to a pre-modern modality, with those indigenous cultures now being but shadows of any former modality, we're left to deal with the symptoms of still being mired, regardless of culture, in a foundering modality that is at the root of the symptoms, and will never suffice to resolve the issues, at best offering some transitory relief, until other symptoms, often side-effects of the 'treatments', reappear in some other variation of the repetitive theme. This why it just goes on and on indefinitely, not because there is any shortage of temporary ways to deal with it, which of course never turn out to be actual fixes. So whatever more such insufficient ways of dealing with it may be offered up here, in lieu of addressing the deeper factors, will be no more satisfactory than what any other forum has to offer. Again, as mentioned elsewhere, if you think that's what this forum should be about, then it will be of little use to you.
Thanks Dana, I appreciate your thoughts.
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Re: The World According to Barfield

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Btw, speaking of the integral, aperspectival modality, for another more nuanced take on the implications of struggling through this mutational, phase transition into that modality, with all its foundering dissolution, disruption, confusion, insufficient treatment of transitory symptoms, etc, I would suggest reading Seeing Through the World: Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness, by Jeremy Johnson, who also has significant amount of content on Youtube, including an interview with Mark Vernon, where they get into comparing Gebser's ideas with Barfield's.

Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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