After Socrates Episode 21

 [00:00:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: So, uh, we've got a lot of evidence that we are self referential, meaning the arrow of relevance goes this way. And we even experience it phenomenologically, right? How things are relevant to me, how they are important to me. Right? But the fact that we're mammalian [00:00:20] primates that are capable of culture means we also have to learn to tell, and this is agape for me, agape is turning the arrow of relevance the other way, which is not how is it relevant to me is how, uh, how am I relevant to that?[00:00:40]

[00:00:53] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm joined in this episode with people you've already met, my good friends, Christopher Masterpietro and Guy Sendstock. [00:01:00] And we are going to reflect upon a philosopher, theologian, he's hard to pin down, um, who epitomizes making dialogue, or what we would in fact probably call theologos, central to his whole intellectual philosophical framework.

[00:01:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: And that of course is Martin Buber. [00:01:20] Some of you may have seen Guy and I with Zevi Slavin in a series we did together on Martin Buber. But we wanted to bring in the more dialogical aspects here. And I can't think of any two people with whom it would be better to undertake such a task than these two gentlemen.

[00:01:35] Dr. John Vervaeke: So Chris is going to lead us off by reading, uh, I think a [00:01:40] very, uh, pertinent and provocative quote by Buber about, uh, the dialogical way and Socrates, um, and it brings up a lot of the themes that we've already addressed in the series and you've already seen enacted in, uh, in some of the practices. Uh, but it'll allow us to, to dive much more [00:02:00] deeply into the connections between Buber and being after Socrates.

[00:02:05] Dr. John Vervaeke: So take it away, please, Chris.

[00:02:06] Christopher Mastropietro: Okay. Uh, so this is an excerpt from I and Thou, which I think is probably going to be at the center of a lot of our discussion. Um, here we go. How much of a person a man is [00:02:20] depends on how strong the I of the basic word I Thou is in the human duality of his I. The way he says I, what he means when he says I, decides where a man belongs and where he goes.

[00:02:36] Christopher Mastropietro: The word I is the true shibboleth of humanity. [00:02:40] Listen to it. How dissonant the I of the ego sounds. When it issues from tragic lips, tense with some self contradiction that they try to hold back, it can move us to great pity. When it issues from chaotic lips that savagely, heedlessly, unconsciously represent [00:03:00] contradiction.

[00:03:01] Christopher Mastropietro: It can make us shudder. When the lips are vain and smooth, it sounds embarrassing or disgusting. Those who pronounce the severed I, wallowing in the capital letter, uncover the shame of the world spirit that has been debased to mere spirituality. [00:03:20] But how beautiful and legitimate the vivid and emphatic I of Socrates sounds.

[00:03:28] Christopher Mastropietro: It is the I of infinite conversation, and the air of conversation is present on all its ways, even before his judges, Socrates. Even in the final hour in prison, [00:03:40] this eye lived in that relation to man which is embodied in conversation. It believed in the actuality of men and went out toward them. Thus it stood together with them in actuality and is never severed from it.

[00:03:58] Christopher Mastropietro: Even solitude [00:04:00] cannot spell forsakenness. And when the human world falls silent for him, he hears his daemonium say,

[00:04:12] Dr. John Vervaeke: Excellent. So, uh, this brings up many of the themes, um, that we've been talking about and, uh, I've been, [00:04:20] uh, talking about in the series. Uh, maybe it would be good, uh, to clarify for, uh, the viewers, uh, some key movements in this passage. Uh, some of them may be just clarifications. Some people might not be familiar with whether Shibboleth is biblical reference.

[00:04:39] Dr. John Vervaeke: Uh, the [00:04:40] contrast he's making, um, there's an important contrast in there that just goes by between world spirit and mere spirituality, which I think is really important, especially for certain dimensions of Deologos. Um, and so perhaps what we should start with is, um, an understanding [00:05:00] of what, uh, this, this notion of the I Thou.

[00:05:05] Dr. John Vervaeke: That is not just the combination of I and thou, but is the relationship is actually the primordial unity from which the I and thou emerge and in which they are constantly bound up. And then we should [00:05:20] contrast it because he doesn't do it in this particular quote with the I yet, and which is, uh, and so first of all, you know, how would you, each of you.

[00:05:29] Dr. John Vervaeke: how would you, how would you explain what Buer is doing with ial and I yet? Hmm, go [00:05:40] ahead, Ben.

[00:05:40] Guy Sengstock: Well, it, I don't know if this is an explanation, but it's a demonstration. I have a, as you both know, I have a 17 month old at home. Hmm. And we live, we're currently living with, um, his grandparents. So basically [00:06:00] his life is probably spending somewhere between three to nine hours a day sitting on someone's lap, facing them, doing these back and forth gestures.

[00:06:16] Guy Sengstock: And it's so interesting because that's just what he's doing, [00:06:20] right? That's what he's compelled to do. That's what he finds himself doing. That's what everyone around him is moved to do. This thing where we're facing each other. And this back and forth, and you could feel the primordial this of that relation.

[00:06:36] Guy Sengstock: And I think it's, you know, boober in, in some sense, in [00:06:40] my view, you know, really, I think at that time was sensing the, the meaning crisis or nihilism and specifically the isolation, right. And atomization of the eye, right. And the loss of relation and the numbness that comes through [00:07:00] nihilism. And I think when he talks about this kind of ontology of what's most primary is relation, right?

[00:07:09] Guy Sengstock: And what comes out of the relation are the individuals, if you, if you will, but that primordial sense in returning to that, um, is I think really [00:07:20] basically what I, thou is really, really getting at. Right. And, and, and I think it's easy to see that. You know, we all as human beings are born so vulnerable, right?

[00:07:31] Guy Sengstock: We're probably the most vulnerable creatures that we know about in the whole universe. We're completely dependent on others in every single way. [00:07:40] However, that vulnerability trans can transform into everything that human beings are. I mean, we're the ones. Going to Mars, we're the ones thinking about the origin of the exit of existence.

[00:07:52] Guy Sengstock: There seems to be this deep connection between vulnerability and our ability, and it seems like relation is the [00:08:00] difference that makes that difference. Oh, that's interesting. Relation is the thing that makes that difference. We come, we become in and through relation, and we see that most obviously when we're When we're young with the family and how those relations go determine so much of what, what that person becomes and how they conceive themselves and how they relate to the world and [00:08:20] what they do, everything.

[00:08:21] Guy Sengstock: However, I think what Buber is really onto is that that is always happening and continues to happen through our whole life, or at least it can. I don't think it does in our culture, but it really, really can because he's talking about this. I, thou these, I, thou encounters. Right. That you can't [00:08:40] create, but you can find yourself having them emerge can be completely transforming of, of both people.

[00:08:48] Guy Sengstock: Right. And being cultivating an openness to that, right. A, um, A fertility to that, right? Is I think is what he's really expounding on what he's

[00:08:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: after. Chris, [00:09:00] could I amplify the, yeah. So, um, two things I think, uh, kind of came to mind when you said that, and that this is meant as amplification. One is, um, to challenge the Cartesian model, which is you start as a reflective cogito ergo sum, you start as a self reflective.[00:09:20]

[00:09:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: And then you work your way out to the world, but that's not actually what happens in development like with your son. Yeah. Right. So if you ask even a three year old what's going on in their head, they'll say blood. They, they're, they don't have a capacity for introspection, right? But if you ask them, how's daddy feeling?

[00:09:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: They'll say, daddy's angry. [00:09:40] They can. So what they do is they come, we've got evidence of like 18 months. Um, being able to pick up on the mental states of others, and then only, only by gradually internalizing that, do they get that ability to turn it on themselves. So we start dialogical and we only develop into a capacity for monologue, [00:10:00] right?

[00:10:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: That point resonates. And then going with that process is the agapic element, which you're also alluding to, which is these dialogical relationships are person constituted. Yeah. Um, so I want to get that. There's the primordiality that Buber is [00:10:20] pointing to, and you can see that concretely in development.

[00:10:23] Dr. John Vervaeke: And yet we still pretend that the Cartesian picture is how we naturally are. We are primordially dialogical, and the monological emerges out of and is continually dependent on the dialogical. So a complete inversion there. And then the other point is that there [00:10:40] are dialogical relations, um, that are person constituting.

[00:10:46] Dr. John Vervaeke: And I think that is also a proper part of what is going on in the notion of I Thou. So the relation precedes the poles, the I and the Thou, contrary to a Cartesian model. [00:11:00] It's primordial. And that primordiality It's also one that produces, protects and promotes personhood. So it's that kind, we, we, if we think of conversation, just, well, I don't like conversation as a translation, but anyways, if we think of [00:11:20] dialogue, even as just, we think here, we think of the dialogical, that's what I want to say.

[00:11:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: If we think of that just as communication. We lose the constitutive communing in which person making is happening. And then what I think Buber takes that to mean, as you said, is that is not something that happens, [00:11:40] it's original, not in just being the beginning, but the archaic, right? We are constantly that by which we become more persons, cultivate character, etc.

[00:11:49] Dr. John Vervaeke: So I just wanted to amplify it. Does that land well? Totally lands.

[00:11:52] Guy Sengstock: Totally lands.

[00:11:53] Christopher Mastropietro: Absolutely. Yes. So there's another dimension of this, which is interesting. That [00:12:00] I like the idea that the primordiality of the dialogical relationship is such that we think of it in the context of speech and conversation.

[00:12:10] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. But it's, there's absolutely no necessity in that. It doesn't start that way. No, right. It doesn't start that way. In

[00:12:16] Dr. John Vervaeke: fact, we've got people like Tomasello arguing that the dialogical [00:12:20] relationship gets very fine tuned in order to afford the learning of language. Right. Yeah.

[00:12:24] Christopher Mastropietro: Okay. Right. So it comes, it's prior.

[00:12:25] Christopher Mastropietro: It comes before. Yes. Right. It comes before. It comes before. It comes before. And so a lot of. Dialogical relationships, I think, that are implicitly dialogical are often disguised as subject object relationships. And I think that [00:12:40] actually becomes most obvious in solitude. So, I think examples of interpersonal relationships are far more ready to hand when we talk about I that or I it.

[00:12:53] Christopher Mastropietro: But actually, I think that all, those The examples that to me, the examples, which to me are even [00:13:00] more, um, lucid are the examples that actually come when you realize that you're in a relationship with your, with you're in a relationship with your environment, such that it extends itself to inanimate features of your environment that recur on you as features of your relationship to yourself and by [00:13:20] extension, all of the other relationships that you have around you.

[00:13:23] Christopher Mastropietro: So what I mean is like, I was thinking about this this week, like. You know, I, I live alone. I come home sometimes, right? And I come home to a, an empty apartment and I put my things down and, you know, I go into the kitchen and I prepare something and I go into the living room [00:13:40] area and I sit and maybe I read or I go to my desk and I'm on my laptop for a little while.

[00:13:45] Christopher Mastropietro: Each of those features of my living space, I have a relationship with each of them, right? And what happens when I encounter them is they stimulate in me a whole host [00:14:00] of, of associations and concerns and fears and anxieties, because each of them fold calls to action or avoidance thereof. Each of them require something of me.

[00:14:19] Christopher Mastropietro: Each of them [00:14:20] invite me to do something with them. Each of them are both inviting and repellent, depending on how I frame them, right? It could be that when I sit down and I look at my, the prospect of sitting in front of my laptop, there's a whole host of things that are demanded of me by that feature of my apartment that maybe I really don't want to [00:14:40] confront.

[00:14:40] Christopher Mastropietro: Or maybe when I look at a bookshelf and I think of all of the things I have yet to do, you can relate to that one. Right. It somehow foists my responsibility back on me because it has come to my relationship to that object has come to stand in place of my relationship to [00:15:00] a whole sum of actions and invitations that by accepting or rejecting them, I'm recreating my relationship with the way that I'm living and the relationships I have with other people.

[00:15:17] Christopher Mastropietro: So why am I saying this? I think that yeah. [00:15:20] This idea that even when it comes to the features of our environment that aren't persons in any technical sense we give them I don't want to say we give them but they come with personhood. They come with a kind of personality or personality maybe There's a sense in [00:15:40] which I'm already in a relationship with the space around me, and I have subtly characterized it.

[00:15:49] Christopher Mastropietro: There are, there are subtle personalities that each of these features of my environment have if I come to interact with them regularly. And I'll just say this one, and that [00:16:00] somehow... Whether my relationship with those features is framed as an I it relationship or an I thou relationship has a lot to do then with how I approach my life and the living of it.

[00:16:14] Christopher Mastropietro: And that relationship is framed even in the minutiae of those details. It's not just about [00:16:20] between people, right?

[00:16:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: Now, Buber wants it to be, he talks about when you can get the startling I thou with a cap. Right, right,

[00:16:27] Christopher Mastropietro: right. And it has something to do. I think it has some, there's some, it has something to do with responsibility.

[00:16:33] Christopher Mastropietro: It has something to do with, it's a, it's an ex, it becomes a very existential matter, but that relationship is implicit [00:16:40] in the encounter. Whether or not it has grown out of something as obvious as, as two people in a relationship.

[00:16:48] Guy Sengstock: Some sense to, you're saying, cuz everything I heard you say is basically sounded like something like the book, the bookshelf.

[00:16:55] Guy Sengstock: I sat down and the bookshelf addressed me. Yeah. Like there's a, there is an address [00:17:00] that's not necessarily, obviously it's not necessarily that it's talking to you in, in words, but in a feeling, in a. And so there's some way that you have of comporting that such that it addresses

[00:17:11] Christopher Mastropietro: you. Yeah. Yeah. Like I'm coextensive with it.

[00:17:14] Christopher Mastropietro: Right. Myself such that it is, whatever I mean by that is coextensive with this feature of my environment [00:17:20] such that I can't actually separate the two. If I try to separate the two, I think that that's very, very different dynamic than if I understand the coextension and I treat it as though I were treating.

[00:17:32] Christopher Mastropietro: Myself in some sense, right? If I were treat, if I were to characterize it. So

[00:17:37] Dr. John Vervaeke: I want to challenge it as a way of drawing it [00:17:40] out, because I could hear somebody saying, all you're saying in a very complex matter is that this is a familiar environment to you. And I would, would, I'm assuming that you would say, no, no, this could happen even when you come upon a situation or a setting that's completely de novo to you.

[00:17:57] Dr. John Vervaeke: Right now. And nevertheless, it, it, it, [00:18:00] and that's when a landscape speaks to you or a particular work of art calls you like Rilke's famous, the, the, the bust of Archaic Apollo, right? You must change your life. Yeah. He gets this call. And so you're not pointing to familiarity, you're pointing to this other kind of thing.

[00:18:17] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah.

[00:18:17] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah, right. Yeah. I'm talking about what, [00:18:20] whatever it is that characterizes the salience of a particular environment upon encountering. Characterizes.

[00:18:25] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. The salience, because I mean, the way it

[00:18:28] Christopher Mastropietro: stands out, right. The way it

[00:18:30] Dr. John Vervaeke: stands out, but I hear you saying something more. This is what I'm pressing.

[00:18:32] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. Because a lot of things would be salient to the, you know, um, the fire alarm goes off on their fire truck as it goes by and you don't [00:18:40] mean that I'm talking

[00:18:41] Christopher Mastropietro: about signification.

[00:18:41] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes. Right. Right. So there's a salience that portends some kind of significance. that you feel responsible to. Yes. Is that a

[00:18:51] Christopher Mastropietro: better way of putting it?

[00:18:52] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. And responsible to, I think is the right way. The way we feel

[00:18:54] Dr. John Vervaeke: responsible to like a, a, a great piece of music. We feel like, oh, I'm [00:19:00] called to properly listen to this. Right. Something like that. Yeah. Or, or, um, um, the, the, the, the, the phrase I think that Ruchi makes where he. The weird compulsory, but not compelling nature of the voice of reason.

[00:19:16] Dr. John Vervaeke: Um, like it's compulsory in that we all admit we should follow it, but that [00:19:20] doesn't mean it's psychologically compelling, but it has that ability to call us to a given account to be responsible. Am I understanding? I think so. So, um, I mean, so if this, we bring this back to. a dialogical practice. I mean, I think what you're doing, and you and I have talked about [00:19:40] this, you're bringing out, and this is brought out by Ruchik in his book, The Tragedy of Reason, and Roosen in his book on the Republic, when they're talking about logos.

[00:19:49] Dr. John Vervaeke: This idea, we've, we've talked a lot about the gathering together so that things belong together coming out of Heidegger, but Ruchik and Roosen pick up on this other aspect, which is also in [00:20:00] there, which is there's gathering together so things belong together that. It makes you accountable. You feel like you have to be responsible to this.

[00:20:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: It calls to you in some fashion, uh, and you're accountable to it and you feel that, that you should be able to give an account of it. You're accountable to it [00:20:20] and you're accountable for it. Is that, this is an important, and again, this is typically not how we understand general conversation or even dialogue.

[00:20:29] Dr. John Vervaeke: We just understand it as exchange of information. And then you're saying, even in non linguistic situations, we can get this sense of things have been gathered together in such a [00:20:40] way that calls me, I, I, and I, I have to be accountable in some way and I have to be ready to be accountable for it. Yeah. Is

[00:20:47] Christopher Mastropietro: that, I think that's good.

[00:20:48] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. And they're gathered together, whatever, whatever form they take as they're gathered together, I think is somehow prefigured by the way that the relationship is already framed. Right.

[00:20:59] Dr. John Vervaeke: Right. [00:21:00] So I just to make sure that this is all drawn together, pun intended, I guess, right? You're proposing that that moment where all of that takes shape is the I thou[00:21:20]

[00:21:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: or are you? Am I? Cause that's how you got, that's the, that's how

[00:21:24] Christopher Mastropietro: we got it. Well, what I think, I don't know that I was proposing that that is I, thou only that it only that it, it, well, so what's the relation then? Well, the relation is that like, we're, we're, we're talking about that there, if we're already always in a relationship of [00:21:40] some kind, okay.

[00:21:40] Christopher Mastropietro: And that, that relationship, the valence of that relationship can alternate, right? It can take on an I, it form, or it can take on an I, thou form. And what I mean is that. Is that we encounter the particular form of the relationship that we are in in virtue of reflecting on the way that [00:22:00] we encounter our environment and what it seems to demand of us and how we react to its demands, right?

[00:22:07] Christopher Mastropietro: So I might propose that the avoidance of the demand or responsibility that is called out from us by our environment places us into an I IT relationship with it, right? There's a call without a response. If I can use [00:22:20] it that way. And so when things do come together such that I heed the call to action, whatever, whatever call is afforded and invited and made accountable when that when my relationship with my environment is gathered.

[00:22:34] Christopher Mastropietro: Yes, I would say that is the I thou. That sounds more to me like the I thou, when it signifies such that [00:22:40] the significance has me participate in it. Yeah.

[00:22:43] Dr. John Vervaeke: How would that be? Sorry, I'm not letting you go.

[00:22:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: I want to say something like, I feel that there's still a dimension missing in the accountability, which is that the, how do I want to put it? [00:23:00] Because part of the thou is for the sake of the thou. We're part of the, it is for the sake of the manipulator and the controller. Right. Right. And so there's the gathering together.

[00:23:09] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm called to, to be, not just to respond. Cause I think we respond even in, in IA. I'm called to responsibility. I'm called to give account and be, uh, and be accountable to and be [00:23:20] prepared to give an account of, right. Right. To account for it, but for its sake. That's what I'm also thinking is in the I thou as opposed to the

[00:23:29] Christopher Mastropietro: I am.

[00:23:29] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah, yeah, I think that's right. Okay. I think that's right. Now, the for its sake, I mean, if we're talking about two people, we're talking about relations between persons, the for its sake is for the sake of the [00:23:40] person, right? When we talk about an environment, I think we're talking a slightly differently.

[00:23:45] Christopher Mastropietro: We're talking in in somewhat more symbolic terms Really the for the sake of it has much more to do with well, tell me you have

[00:23:53] Dr. John Vervaeke: a reaction to that Yeah, I do because I think I mean and this is Heidegger standing reserve right versus right where [00:24:00] we're in a relationship where we realize The environment has a, an ex, a value of existence.

[00:24:07] Dr. John Vervaeke: I don't even like using the word value because it's that whole Cartesian preference choice model. But for lack of a better term, the environment has a value independent of human use and human relationship. Right. And that part of what we're doing in art or what we do in [00:24:20] music, or maybe music's a form of art, is we're trying to.

[00:24:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: Disclose, right, that as opposed to how it is useful to me, like for me, what, what is primarily the I, it, uh, is how, what can I get from you? And a lot of communication is I, it, even though it's interpersonal, because [00:24:40] it's, what can I get from you? How can you reinforce my belief? How can I get power over you?

[00:24:44] Dr. John Vervaeke: So I will have more power in the world. This is what a lot of communication is. It's I, it. Whereas I, I would say even with non persons, and I think that's, Uber makes clear, we can, like, we can, we can enter into this, what we've been talking about, things, things [00:25:00] gather together, they belong together. I feel like I'm accountable to it, responsible to it.

[00:25:04] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm accountable for it. And I'm also accountable for the sake of it. Yeah.

[00:25:09] Guy Sengstock: Right. Yeah.

[00:25:10] Christopher Mastropietro: Right. And for the sake of it being for everything about it, of it, that is not yet.

[00:25:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes. It's about the, [00:25:20] it, I mean, you know, somebody like Schindler would say that, that it's for it's, that it has a for itself ness that is not subjective self awareness.

[00:25:27] Dr. John Vervaeke: This is also something Heidegger was trying to get us aware of. It has a for itself ness that is not subjective self awareness. But nevertheless, and this is Schindler's idea, this overlaps with it being real. It is, it is, it's, [00:25:40] it's realness is in a, in a, in a non reducible fashion. It is for itself, like Spinoza's Canadas, right?

[00:25:47] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so I think I can enter into an either relationship. If the logos emerges such that I feel called to really recognize, really recognize the

[00:25:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: Canadas or something. Right.

[00:25:59] Guy Sengstock: I [00:26:00] think, I think. In Heidegger language, it's a, he talks about a way of caring that is really releasing, releasing something for its own most possibility. Yes. It's almost, so the orientation is really on the thou. Which is the way Bupre talks about it, my [00:26:20] understanding is an I thou versus an I it and I it is I'm relating to something as a means to my own end in some regard.

[00:26:27] Guy Sengstock: And an I thou is I'm relating to as an end in itself, right? So, so I would imagine, I, I mean, I was, I was, the couple days ago I was putting a painting up on the wall. [00:26:40] And it didn't want to go there. I wanted it to go there, but it wanted to go on this other wall. And there was, there was like, you could just feel that.

[00:26:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: That's a good example. Right. The, the, the calling. Yeah. Yeah. The

[00:26:52] Guy Sengstock: accounting. And that calling is really mysterious to me. Right. It's really mysterious to me because there's, and in one sense you, [00:27:00] you get this sense from Buber. On one hand, when I, when I read him talk about the thou and the I thou encounter.

[00:27:06] Guy Sengstock: And, uh, the, the, the deeply being addressed and addressing, right, that confrontation, um, is at one level, I get the sense of it's, it's accepting, acknowledging [00:27:20] and validating your intrinsic being the fact that you're here. Right. And, and it's, and in some sense, it's the, it's a, it's a mode when I, you know, and it's interesting because he talks about also that.

[00:27:34] Guy Sengstock: I thou is always spoken as one word. Yes. Mm-hmm. all week, right? Ah, it is too. Yeah. Yeah. [00:27:40] And you can feel this encircling the shift that happens that, that when I start to encounter you as a thou, I can feel a different eye come online. Mm-hmm. , right? They, they come, they come together, they come into pairs, they're fine, right?

[00:27:54] Guy Sengstock: They come into pairs, but then there's that experience of the thou that in some sense, reveal. [00:28:00] It reveals the deeply personal aspects of you, your nature, this kind of way that whatever it is that makes you personally you, yet there's something about Buk Buk that goes beyond that. Yes. Right. And it's that beyond that's really mysterious to me.

[00:28:17] Guy Sengstock: Feels like it's the

[00:28:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: call. Uh, uh, [00:28:20] well, I think he's pointing beyond personhood to something that is a constitutive feature of p personhood. Uh, which is the, again, this section of anything Its own canus. Yes. Its own active self-organization, selfing in the world. [00:28:40] And I think part of what, what's going on in the IAL versus the I Pale and how they coe.

[00:28:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: This is not in Boober, but this is a take on it given some of the other work I've been doing Some of it with both of you [00:29:00] and this goes back to you and T. Is it okay if I say his name? Oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Um So, uh, we've got a lot of evidence that we are self referential, meaning the arrow of relevance goes this way, and we even experience it [00:29:20] phenomenologically, right?

[00:29:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: How things are relevant to me, how they are in tent to me. Right. But the fact that we're mammalian primates that are capable of culture means we also have to learn to tell, and this is agape for me, agape is turning the arrow of relevance the other way, which is not how is it relevant to me is how, uh, how am I relevant to that?[00:29:40]

[00:29:40] Dr. John Vervaeke: And I think when we start to do that, how am I, how am I relevant to that for its own sake? I think that's primarily a vow. And if you think of the eye, not as a substance, but as a dialogical pole. That is constituted by. The direction that the arrow of relevance realization is pointing. [00:30:00] I think you can say this eye is a very different from the eye that's going in.

[00:30:05] Dr. John Vervaeke: How do I matter to that? Yeah. That's what I does. That land.

[00:30:09] Christopher Mastropietro: It does, it does. It does. Because then in the act, well, like you said, I, I, I, I Is the eye thou. Yeah. Right in that moment. And then [00:30:20] what's drawn out of the eye. Is also something that can't have been, couldn't have been anticipated, right? Whatever's like the, because there is still a bi directional it's, there's still something bi directional that happens in the encounter.

[00:30:37] Christopher Mastropietro: Oh yeah, it doesn't become homogeneous. [00:30:40] No, no, that's right. So that, that the very act of giving kind of unfettered regard in the way that you're describing elicits something from the person who attends such that I think they become known to themselves. Yes. In ways that they weren't known to, to themselves [00:31:00] before.

[00:31:00] Christopher Mastropietro: Yes. So it's true that it is for the sake of what is attended to or who is attended to, but in the act of attending in that way, the self, that, that is, the eye is drawn out in such a way that they are made more present and conscious and full to themselves and to their own [00:31:20] reckon.

[00:31:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: Here's how I would, I, I would like reply to that.

[00:31:23] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think it's the, it's that when we're I thou. We're doing person constituting, communing. Yep. But that discloses something about me that is central to being a person, which is person is an entity that is person constituting. Yeah. [00:31:40] Like I, I only, there's an act, there's my, my personhood can only be disclosed to me insofar as I am in the act of Yeah.

[00:31:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: Person constitution. Yes,

[00:31:51] Christopher Mastropietro: that's right. Yeah. That's right. It's, it's like, it's. It's realization in the sense that you like to use it, right? Self realization, which is [00:32:00] both a recognition, a recognition of a capacity. A recognition and consciousness of something being more, but also phenomenologically a feeling that I have made myself real in ways that I wasn't, right?

[00:32:15] Christopher Mastropietro: Like when you're in the, like when we talk about this in Dialogos all the time, right? When you're in the throes of it, [00:32:20] something happens to you such that you're made present to yourself. Not in an isolated way, not in a Cogito, not in a Cartesian sense, right? In a way that is coextensive with those around you and with what's happening.

[00:32:31] Christopher Mastropietro: But you're made present to yourself in ways that didn't happen a moment before.

[00:32:35] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah, but, but if you try and appropriate that as something you control and make. [00:32:40] You lose it and it becomes I it. Right? This is why we always say you, you can't, you can't do Dialogos, you have to find yourself participating.

[00:32:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: That's right.

[00:32:49] Christopher Mastropietro: You're drawn out by it. Yes. Yes. It's a wind that picks you up or it doesn't. Yes. Yeah. That's right. That's right. That's right. So there's a letting go. There's a letting go involved. There's a kind of a [00:33:00] surrendering. But

[00:33:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: in the Heidegger sense of the, the, the Galazanite, the letting go that is a releasing of, a releasing towards that allows the other to release towards you.

[00:33:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes. See, and I find it interesting and perhaps it's because of his particular heritage, I'm not [00:33:20] sure. There's not as very much discussion of agapic love in Aidau as I would have expected there to be.

[00:33:29] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah, that's true. At least not explicitly. Yeah.

[00:33:31] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah, I think we've all said, we've all made points about how it's deeply implicit.

[00:33:36] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. And I'm wondering if, I mean, he's a, he's a deep and [00:33:40] sensitive thinker. So I'm wondering like why the reticence around that? Is he, is he worried because I mean, perhaps, I mean, it's even more the case now that we, we've, we've generated love from an existential mode, an existential stance into an emotion, and then from an [00:34:00] emotion into a feeling.

[00:34:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: So when people hear love, they think it's the feeling of infatuation, which is a deep problem in our society right now. Or they at least think it's having a particular emotion, like perhaps the emotion of affection. But of course, love is not either one of those. Because when I love someone, I can have the emotion of affection, but I can have the emotion of anger or [00:34:20] jealousy or sadness, et cetera, and I can have all of those emotions and they have very, and the same emotion can have different feelings attached to it.

[00:34:28] Dr. John Vervaeke: We all know the difference between hot anger and cold anger. And so when we reduce love to a feeling, we are so far away from the existential, like inherently relational thing he's [00:34:40] talking about. Yeah. I'm wondering if. I don't know. I'm speculating. I'm speculating without much constraint, but I'm wondering if part of the resonance of invoking love was because of the way it was already.

[00:34:53] Dr. John Vervaeke: Part of this whole romantic decadence you think maybe I think

[00:34:58] Christopher Mastropietro: that's very plausible. [00:35:00] Yeah, I think it's very plausible It's also just in some ways. It's more powerful to talk about it without invoking the term Yeah, because I also think that there's something there's probably a cognitive scientific term for this exact experience You might know it but there's there's an [00:35:20] experience that you have when you're when something is being described And it's being gathered together in a definitional sense, right?

[00:35:31] Christopher Mastropietro: And you're, you're resonating with it because it accords with your experience and it accords with something intuitive that you felt. And it's only after it's all [00:35:40] brought together that the term that actually is ascribed to it actually surfaces. And there's something about that happening that, that, um, that gives it a lot more salience than it would have had he used the term love.

[00:35:55] Christopher Mastropietro: Right? There's something about talking about when you talk about something, but you don't [00:36:00] use it's ascribed term. I mean, it's, it's like That's the job of a good author, right? The job of a good writer. The job of a good artist is to come at something indirectly. Because what they want to do, to use a Thomas Merton quote, right?

[00:36:14] Christopher Mastropietro: The good artist makes you an artist. Your job is to think of the word love. Yeah. My job is to [00:36:20] show it to you. Yeah. Right. Right. Right. Now, I don't know if that's his intentional strategy. Who knows? But I think it's very effective for that reason. It could

[00:36:28] Dr. John Vervaeke: be. The book, and this brings up something else we can talk about, the book is evocative through and through.

[00:36:35] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. Right? The book is evocative, even sometimes even [00:36:40] invoking, beyond just evoking. Um, and I wanted, I wanted to bring that up because, um, we, we have Buber and he is bringing out very some, something very central about the dialogical. And then he explicitly links it to Socrates as being [00:37:00] an exemplary case of what he's talking about.

[00:37:02] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. The kind of eye of Socrates, that inherently dialogical eye, when I talked, we talked about in the Socratic shift, right. And he's pointing to exactly that. The shift, the Socratic shift is. It is, it is consonant with the shift into the I thou mode, [00:37:20] but yet Socrates makes arguments and Buber doesn't.

[00:37:25] Dr. John Vervaeke: And many people, and I'm inclined to agree with them. I don't, I'm part of third way, right? I don't think Socrates is reducible to his arguments. I think the arguments and the drama and [00:37:40] the. Almost the rituals of following and the imaginal and the ritual of following the Logos and all of this I'm talking about, I think these are central, but certainly one salient feature of the Socratic way is, um, some commitment to [00:38:00] argumentation, uh, at least questioning and response, and many people think of that as the Socratic method, et cetera, and I'm doing this because I don't think he has a method, but, but there's none of that, at least Uh, in terms of the format, uh, of the book and I doubt, [00:38:20] and yet Buber sees obviously a close consonance between what he's doing and what Socrates is doing.

[00:38:27] Dr. John Vervaeke: And so for me, I feel a tension there. And I wonder what you, you think about that. Um, and it's, I'll, I'll put some labels on it just to help us give quick reference. I think [00:38:40] Socrates is properly understood as a sage, um, because he's doing all of this for the sake of drawing people into the deep and profound transformative love, profoundly transformative love of wisdom.

[00:38:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: Whereas, [00:39:00] and, and of course, many people have had a great difficulty labeling Uber, and he didn't help by the way, because he would, he would shift around. Right. Um, which was very trickster of him. The, for me, the closest term for Buber is profit and not in the modern misunderstanding of [00:39:20] profit as the fortune teller, but right.

[00:39:23] Dr. John Vervaeke: But as the, as the individual who with discernment discloses pertinent. And, and, or perennial patterns that are not being noticed and should be, he draws attention to and discloses as a call to responsibility, a call to [00:39:40] accountability. And so I guess my way of posing the question then is, how is this tension between the sage and the prophet?

[00:39:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: How can we, how can we properly wrestle with it so we can understand why Buber found it so easy to identify Socrates? [00:40:00] As an exemplar of somebody being able to undertake the I thou and, and this is all relevant, of course, Chris, to our larger project of the relationship between Socrates, the sage and Christ, the prophet and beyond.

[00:40:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: But yeah, Socrates and Kierkegaard, [00:40:20] right? Kierkegaard, I think, is Very easily also seen as having a significant prophetic dimension.

[00:40:25] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah, for sure. I mean, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Buber also all share. I mean, there are, there are arguments within the work of both Socrates and Nietzsche. If you, you know, in select places you can find philosophical arguments.

[00:40:38] Christopher Mastropietro: But I think you said in one of our [00:40:40] earlier discussions, and it was quite right, that the argumentative form is not their, it's not their primary mode of engagement. And it's secondary to the, what, what, what they're doing formally, the, the argumentation where it appears is secondary to the formal presentation and it's secondary to the poetic presentation.

[00:40:58] Christopher Mastropietro: When I think of Buber and Buber [00:41:00] style, this sort of aphoristic declarative style reminds me of both of those other prophets. Oh yes, yes, yes. And there's something challenging about it. There's something deliberate, the tricksterish quality I think is very appropriate. There's something. Um, when I read certain passages of his, [00:41:20] there's almost a kind of intentional difficulty.

[00:41:26] Christopher Mastropietro: That's something that both Nietzsche and Kierkegaard share, right? For Kierkegaard, he has that famous, famous passage when, you know, one of his pseudonyms is sitting and smoking, which is important. Um, right. Because it's a, it's a, it's a way of [00:41:40] symbolizing the contemplative act and the suspension of time and all of that.

[00:41:43] Christopher Mastropietro: And he thinks, you know, the world. It's filled with people who make things easy, who establish compendiums of all there is to know, and who build technology that allows us to shorten the distance between two points, and who makes life and the [00:42:00] living of it smoother, simpler, faster, more ready to handle. And when I look out at all of these people, I don't find myself among them because there's nothing I could offer that they haven't already done.

[00:42:12] Christopher Mastropietro: What is my role? What could I possibly do to contribute? All I can think to do is [00:42:20] make life more difficult.

[00:42:22] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. And

[00:42:22] Christopher Mastropietro: so this is very, it's all I can think to do instead of making things smooth is to make them rough because there may actually come a time when we'll want of difficulty when we've forgotten what it means and when we've forgotten its value.

[00:42:38] Christopher Mastropietro: Socrates is nothing if not. [00:42:40] Yeah. Yeah. I get that. Socrates is the author of difficulty for many, many, many people. He uses a different style, perhaps different rhetorical style. Okay. That's a good point. But Socrates and Kierkegaard, and I think perhaps Buber. I'm not as confident with it with Boobur, but you can tell me what you think.

[00:42:57] Christopher Mastropietro: Is that there is something about his style [00:43:00] that is intended to foist a level of difficulty upon his interlocutor, his imaginal interlocutor. The confrontation with which is designed to create... A relationship that is already suffused with a certain kind of intensity, a certain [00:43:20] charge, and a certain affective response, right?

[00:43:22] Christopher Mastropietro: His call has a certain affective, um, um, I don't know, it's, he's, he's, it's not just that he's being provocative in a propositional sense, but there's a kind of poetic aggression, right? He's forcing something upon you, and he's forcing you to [00:43:40] take it seriously. Not in a logical or an argumentative way, but in a, but, but, but in an artistic way.

[00:43:48] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. Right? It's like Rilke's poem, right? Yeah, yeah. You must change your life. Yeah. Why should a statue of Apollo force such a consideration?

[00:43:56] Guy Sengstock: But it does. And look what it, look, look at the outcome of it. It's, [00:44:00] it's, it, in this, the prophetic text is, we read this over and over and over and over again. I mean, what are we doing when we read something over and over and over again?

[00:44:09] Guy Sengstock: We're in a dialogue with him. Yes, yes. So in some sense this, I'm appreciating you really drawing out this complexification. Yes. This making something almost on purpose more [00:44:20] difficult. It seems to be enacting the draw, right, of dialogue, right? So in some sense it's, he's... He's creating the conditions in his writing to address us in such a way that it perplexes.

[00:44:34] Guy Sengstock: Yeah, right. And in that perplexion drawing into dialogue with

[00:44:39] Christopher Mastropietro: us, [00:44:40] right, right, right. There's something about the it's it's not incomprehensible per se, but there's something about the obscurity of it. It's a zone of possible. It's a zone of exactly right there. It reminds me. There's a quote. I think of Anselm of Canterbury, anyway, there's a, it's a famous quote and it's, you know, believe so that you might know.

[00:44:59] Christopher Mastropietro: [00:45:00] Yeah. Right. And there's something of that going on. Right. You have to try this on. It's not trying to persuade you of anything. Yeah. I don't think he's being persuasive per se. It's

[00:45:10] Dr. John Vervaeke: really, I mean, I think he is, um, I, I, I mean, but, but. I understand what you mean, but this is, this now affords me to probe, [00:45:20] which is, I, I, I don't think he,

[00:45:22] Christopher Mastropietro: if not logically persuasive, that's what I mean.

[00:45:24] Christopher Mastropietro: That's what I

[00:45:25] Dr. John Vervaeke: took. Yeah. Right. He's, he's not convincing me through argumentation and strictly speaking, Socrates is in that weird place where he doesn't actually make. Premise to premise arguments that's misrepresenting them. He's doing this weird questioning thing. Yeah. So that's already important, but here's [00:45:40] what I want to say.

[00:45:40] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think everything you've said is great. Like, I think that like you want to people, the best learning happens in the zone of proximal development. It draws people into dialogue. They have to internalize the perspective of the other that is initially perplexing them. I think that's all going on, but here's what I want to ask.

[00:45:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: What's the difference between that [00:46:00] and bullshit because what the good bullshit artists will do? Yeah, we'll give you an astonishing complexity that seems to draw you right yet What one whole species of bullshit is pseudo profound bullshit? That's what some of the most powerful like then it talks about the DVDs and things like this where you make [00:46:20] this you make this cloud of complexity that draws people in and they get entrapped by the salience of that But they have not in any way developed or articulated their understanding.

[00:46:32] Dr. John Vervaeke: Right. Yep.

[00:46:33] Guy Sengstock: Oh, I would. So, so first, I don't know if this is what it is, but the first thing that comes to mind, see if I can kind of catch it for it slips away. It's [00:46:40] like, there's something about with Boober and I don't know what makes this, where it seems like it could go either way and it, and it has more to do with your relationship to the enigma.

[00:46:53] Guy Sengstock: Right. Like if you try to consume it and understand or know it or something like this, but there's [00:47:00] There's also another way that you can go with it that would make it not bullshit by your, the way it draws you in, but that there's, but that that's open, right? That it could go either way, I think is a, seems a feature of it.

[00:47:13] Guy Sengstock: Oh, it strikes me.

[00:47:15] Christopher Mastropietro: Oh, I think that's right. I think it's, it has to do with the character of the [00:47:20] relationships that undergirds the encounter in the first place. So, so let

[00:47:23] Dr. John Vervaeke: me ask you this, because this is a really interesting, almost rhetorical theory here now. The idea is you have something that's equal poised between bullshit and a genuine zone of proximal development.

[00:47:35] Dr. John Vervaeke: And if you take the I it to it, you will, it will turn into bullshit for you [00:47:40] and you may even be attracted to it. But if you, if, but if you take the I thou, it will lead you into a more profound understanding. Am I understanding the proposal

[00:47:49] Guy Sengstock: correctly? Yeah. Cause there's nothing to possess in the I Thou, the I Thou is precisely that thing that you can't possess.

[00:47:57] Guy Sengstock: Right. The I, it is that thing that you can [00:48:00] possess.

[00:48:00] Dr. John Vervaeke: So I think this is really good. So then, um, still I want to, I want to keep doing almost, I guess the Socratic thing. I want to ask, how does one like, how, how does one know which way it is going and how do you know when there's a text that is like that [00:48:20] and it's from just a text that's just Bullshit.

[00:48:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: Or just a text that's obtuse, right? Or something like that,

[00:48:33] Dr. John Vervaeke: because I mean, part, part of what it might be is something like, [00:48:40] if I relate to it as bullshit, I'll get something like a reciprocal narrowing in my relationship with the world because I'm not actually understanding and I'm diminishing my agency and the world's possibilities are being, because that's exactly what you're trying to do with bullshit.

[00:48:54] Dr. John Vervaeke: You're trying to get people reciprocally narrowed so you can compel their behavior, right? [00:49:00] If I get this text, I know I'm in his own proximal development because it's, it's an ongoing fount opening with it. I can return to it again and again and again. And the dialogue keeps unfolding and, uh, right. And, and, and, but I can only be in the reciprocal opening if I have an I that relationship with something.

[00:49:19] Dr. John Vervaeke: [00:49:20] Is that, is that all making, is that all working? Yeah.

[00:49:23] Christopher Mastropietro: I'm hearing a couple things in that. I'm hearing beauty plays a role. Of course. I'm hearing also that whatever the subjective character of the experience that is elicited by the encounter is itself a measure of the value of the encounter and is itself a measure of whatever the potential value [00:49:40] is in continuing the relationship.

[00:49:41] Christopher Mastropietro: Right. Right. Because it's not being presented as. An objective reality that has to be apprehended in the way that we apprehend an argument. It's being presented for the subjective benefit of the reader. And when it's taken upon [00:50:00] by the reader, it finds its value, right? Its value is, it's, it's, it's value is in the relationship that it opens.

[00:50:12] Christopher Mastropietro: When it is taken upon, right? And I think that's what it shares with the Socratic tradition.

[00:50:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: So, so is the I [00:50:20] Thou inherently aspirational? I think

[00:50:22] Christopher Mastropietro: so. Yeah, I think it is. And so

[00:50:23] Dr. John Vervaeke: therefore it, like there's, there's something really profound about this because, you know, there's all of the stuff about You know, um, about the proleptic dimension of rationality, we'll talk, you know, we've talked about this, right?

[00:50:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah, yeah. Um, the, [00:50:40] the, the, that, um, part of, a constitutive part of wisdom is loving wisdom or a constitutive part of, of being rational is being called to become more rational. There's a calling to accountability and all the way we've been talking about. And then you've got L. A. Paul and Agnes Callard. You can't [00:51:00] infer your way through that.

[00:51:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: You can't argue your way into that. But nevertheless, it can't be an irrational thing because it's at the heart of rationality per se. Yeah. You pretend at it. Yeah. There's the serious imaginal play that affords it happening. Yeah. And I'm wondering. Yeah. I'm wondering then,[00:51:20]

[00:51:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: here, I'm really trying to articulate something that's somewhat incohate. If you'll allow me, you see mentioned the three prophets, right? And there's other people that are prophetic. I think Jung is often prophetic rather than in any way argument. [00:51:40] It's hard to find an argument in Jung, right? It's very hard to find an argument in Jung, but that does not mean there isn't profound persuasion within Jung, right?

[00:51:50] Dr. John Vervaeke: Both for Jung and Nietzsche, there's also passages that are aphoristic in the way we're saying, and I'll come across them. And I'll think, I actually don't think [00:52:00] that's true.

[00:52:03] Dr. John Vervaeke: It's like, how can I do that? You know, for example, Nietzsche presents a lot of aphorisms about Christianity that I think fundamentally misapprehend Christianity, for example. And it's like, I [00:52:20] get it. The aphorism is good insofar as it's making me aware of something that is a real possibility, but the aphorism doesn't have a, it's right.

[00:52:31] Dr. John Vervaeke: It's making too complete of a call on me. That I don't feel I, I, I have to, I sort of have to say yes or no [00:52:40] to it because there isn't any argumentative structure that I can play

[00:52:41] Christopher Mastropietro: with. And that's it. And that's it. I think you've just said it. You have to say yes or no. Right. Presents an either or to you, I might say.

[00:52:49] Christopher Mastropietro: And. There's something about the call to decision and the responsibility that it places on you to do exactly that that I think is part of the exercise that it's taking you [00:53:00] through. Kipgard, same thing,

[00:53:01] Dr. John Vervaeke: right? The prophet makes you decide as opposed to... Forces decision on you. Not just, not

[00:53:06] Christopher Mastropietro: just conclusion or agreement.

[00:53:07] Christopher Mastropietro: action embodiment, right? Because they're not talking. It's not what am I to know? It's what am I to do? Right? That's the question. That's the question that they're demanding of us, right? And it tests

[00:53:19] Guy Sengstock: you. [00:53:20] Yes, right? That's the trickster. It's like a test. It tests you. It calls you like, well, you

[00:53:25] Christopher Mastropietro: respond, right?

[00:53:26] Christopher Mastropietro: Yes. And you hold yourself to the measure of that test. Whether you agree with the proposition, it's It's almost irrelevant, right? It's the test that the proposition forces upon you. It's having to walk its [00:53:40] gauntlet. It's having to find yourself in it and find yourself related to it and find what that relationship means to you.

[00:53:46] Christopher Mastropietro: And I think there's something within us that is awakened and made conscious by that encounter. And in the end, at the end of the day, whether we agree with the proposition. Okay. It almost doesn't matter. Yeah. This

[00:53:57] Dr. John Vervaeke: is very good. So, uh, there's, [00:54:00] I'm going to use a word to try and distinguish from the text, but not in a way that's completely separable from it.

[00:54:04] Dr. John Vervaeke: There's a voice that calls you to decide. Okay, and I think this is again, uh, all of this, all of this and what we'll do in the next episode, we'll try and review and gather this back into the practice [00:54:20] of dialectic entity logos. But right again, what it seems that there's something about us, a virtue, and I don't, I mean it in That gestalt of belief, [00:54:40] skill, trait, identity, right, all the kinds of knowing.

[00:54:47] Dr. John Vervaeke: You have to hear the voice, and that's very different from just getting the text, given everything you've been saying. But surely there must be a required virtue of [00:55:00] discerning of voices, like the discerning of spirits. Mm hmm. So you have, uh, you have, you have stuff in the New Testament and you'll have stuff in the, um, in Vedantic philosophy and in Zen, you know, there's a, the Maiko that you avoid.

[00:55:14] Dr. John Vervaeke: There are voices that will call to you. Um, and I want to bring this up [00:55:20] because of the, the challenge around something that was mentioned and that has been talked about in the series, the demonium. The voice. Yeah. Right. And, and. And the discern, what, what is, what is the virtue that helps us discern the voice so that when we actually hear it, [00:55:40] because a voice is, is the way I'm trying to use it.

[00:55:42] Dr. John Vervaeke: It's always a call to respond, uh, to, to, to decisively respond given. Right. So it's a prophetic voice. And how do we discern the prophetic voices because, and this is of course the issue around the demonium, right? Well, how do you distinguish the [00:56:00] Socratic demonium that keeps calling Socrates into the I thou relationship?

[00:56:04] Dr. John Vervaeke: I think that's a brilliant thing that, that Buber said there, that the way the Socratic demonium works, like this, I just, ah, I wish I'd thought of this, but what it does is it's it's this kind of existential conscience. It's constantly calling Socrates into the IRA that relationship, [00:56:20] if there's anything else I got out of that, that, that was like, yeah, right.

[00:56:25] Dr. John Vervaeke: And maybe I'm answering my, my, my, my question in the way I'm answering it. Maybe the way you discern the voice is like, these are, these are sort of bound up together is my ability to recognize that I'm in an either relationship is how I, is [00:56:40] how I track the voices. That I should be listening to or something like that.

[00:56:43] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes, exactly.

[00:56:44] Christopher Mastropietro: And, and the truthfulness of the passage, the truthfulness of the text, not the, right, the truthfulness in the way that we were talking. Yeah, yeah. The truthfulness has everything to do with whether or not it can induce and [00:57:00] maintain that relational stance.

[00:57:02] Dr. John Vervaeke: So for me, this figure that I've been relating to, the Hermes figure.

[00:57:06] Dr. John Vervaeke: And, and, and one of the things that, uh, came out in dialogue with Hermes is, is, is it, well, Socrates is the Metaxu relationship from the human towards the divine. And Hermes is the Metaxu relationship from the divine to the [00:57:20] human. So they're actually interwoven like this. It's like, Oh, wow. Like that stuff like that comes out.

[00:57:26] Dr. John Vervaeke: Um, and so for me, the internet, because people have been asking like, how do you know, like, why should you listen to that? How do you know? And it's like, I think I take that question profoundly serious. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I was trying to say, well, it's not isolated, it's bound up in the whole ecology of [00:57:40] practices, all of it, dialogues I'm having with people, but also this sense of it reciprocally opens me and puts me, I'm in the zone and it calls me into responsibility.

[00:57:51] Dr. John Vervaeke: It calls me into accountability, which is, which is happening. And I think I'm getting a better answer in that. I, I'd like this idea [00:58:00] of this, this, this kind of, I'm sorry, I just want to repeat it again. Cause it was savoring this existential call conscience that it's not, it's a calling that is helping you Socrates continually remember sati, like remember enact within enactment, the either relationship, it's like, Oh my gosh, what a [00:58:20] beautiful way.

[00:58:21] Dr. John Vervaeke: Of yeah, I think that's an even better answer than the one I've been giving to people who would, I think it's consonant with what I've been saying, but I think it, it, it, it, it just, well, it, it just brings it together, right. And yeah, it opens it up for me that, that I think that's a very powerful. No, I want to just say something around this [00:58:40] because, um, I want to, I'm, I'm still going to be consistent.

[00:58:44] Dr. John Vervaeke: All, all of that can be the case and it's way, way better when it is. , but it can still fail. There is no panacea, right. Practice, right? There is nothing that is always inevitably going to [00:59:00] work. Yeah. Um, because I think, and, and, and I'm gonna make the, this argument, I think the attempt to turn it into a panacea practice is to deny it the actual canus that it has.

[00:59:14] Christopher Mastropietro: Turn what? Into a pen. State practice specifically.

[00:59:16] Dr. John Vervaeke: Turn, turn, turn, turn this listening up to the [00:59:20] voice. And, and that the way you listen to the voice is it reciprocally opens you and right there reciprocally opens you. And what we just said, it's constantly calling you into the IRO. Even that, I think that, I think this is an excellent maxim, an excellent decision procedure.[00:59:40]

[00:59:40] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm still willing to say that that can nevertheless fail, um, and that we might be listening to a demonic voice rather than a demonic voice. But That is not, that is not to say that everything we've talked about is useless. [01:00:00] Everything helps to cultivate the virtue of discernment that I've been asking for.

[01:00:04] Dr. John Vervaeke: But the virtue of discernment is not an algorithm because if we had an algorithm, we would be turning it into an it. This is what I'm trying to argue. So. All the best we can have is to be in a virtuous relationship with thou, but that can never be [01:00:20] algorithmic. So people who want from me, can you give me the algorithm that will guarantee I can't give it.

[01:00:26] Dr. John Vervaeke: And not just because I'm ignorant, but because it would be a performative contradiction to do so. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a good answer because it is, it is a, it is a really legitimate request. And the good answer [01:00:40] is no, there are ways in which you can reliably cultivate the virtue of discernment that is needed here.

[01:00:46] Guy Sengstock: And you can always pull yourself. Yes. And what, so what's important about for this to be genuine, that that possibility has got to remain open. Because

[01:00:58] Dr. John Vervaeke: if it isn't, like I said, [01:01:00] then there is nothing in the relationship that has degrees of freedom. Yeah, totally. That can unfold

[01:01:06] Guy Sengstock: itself. We've, we've got, you have to, you have to risk failure.

[01:01:10] Guy Sengstock: Like that, this is never an algorithm, you can

[01:01:13] Dr. John Vervaeke: never make it a completely well defined problem. Yeah. It's like [01:01:20] having even, even the, you know, just having a good conversation, let alone deal logos. I can't make that into a well defined problem, right? Does that mean I can't get better at the virtues that afford good conversation?

[01:01:34] Dr. John Vervaeke: Of course I can. And I can get better at discerning good conversations. And when those virtues are present or when they're [01:01:40] absent or when there's vice, but that doesn't mean I can give you the algorithm. Yeah. For a good conversation,

[01:01:45] Guy Sengstock: right? Yeah. Yeah.

[01:01:47] Christopher Mastropietro: And so then the risk, the risk is very helpful because consciousness of the risk has to be weighed, right?

[01:01:52] Christopher Mastropietro: The value of. Answering the call to discernment and decision at every instant is weighed against the [01:02:00] constancy of the risk. It's like Kierkegaard's idea of the continuance of sin. It's very, very similar, right? Which is this idea that my weddedness, my commitment and discernment to that process is something I have to renew every moment.

[01:02:12] Christopher Mastropietro: Right? There was no once and for all time answer for it, right? There's nothing, there's nothing I can do that will then make it [01:02:20] possible in perpetuity that will make it actual, that will make it actual in perpetuity, I should say, right? Nothing I do will make it actual in perpetuity. The actuality of it being possible at every moment is something that I have to renew at every moment.

[01:02:31] Christopher Mastropietro: This is finite transcendence. That's it is finite transcendence. Totally. Right.

[01:02:35] Guy Sengstock: And that's the, that's the, the I vow encounter at every moment. It's like, The [01:02:40] moment I say, okay, you're the ally, my done, we can coast on it. Yeah. Oh, no, that's the end

[01:02:46] Christopher Mastropietro: of the relationship.

[01:02:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: So I want to, I want to push on the marriage, right?

[01:02:51] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yes. Like a marriage. Um, so I, I want to push on this because this goes to work that, um, maybe by the time this video comes out, it'll be published. It's in revision right now. And [01:03:00] right now on have on, um, um, on rationality and relevance realization. Uh, and it's about this. Uh, I want to make a distinction between two things, risk and uncertainty.

[01:03:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: So risk, properly understood is when you can assign a probability to an event, and therefore you can calibrate yourself to it. Uncertainty is when [01:03:20] you can't do that there, right? There's, it's a difference between a unknown, unknown and an unknown. Unknown. Yeah. Fair. And, and, and, and, and I'm not denying that risk is part of it, but I think Right.

[01:03:31] Dr. John Vervaeke: The deeper thing is, and, and this again touches on the, the, the, the stuff with Kard is that the, [01:03:40] the, the. There's something more than risk in what we're talking about here. There's genuine uncertainty. This is how it is ultimately at the opposite pole of what Descartes after. Right. It's that, no, no. Do you know what I actually have to do?

[01:03:57] Dr. John Vervaeke: Uh, what I, what I, how do I, how [01:04:00] can I participate in some of the deeper aspects of reality is I have to accept uncertainty, which is not risk. Risk is calculable. No, you're

[01:04:09] Christopher Mastropietro: right. That's a, that's a, that's a better way of putting it.

[01:04:11] Dr. John Vervaeke: No, I'm, there is risk too. Yeah, yeah. Right. And I'm not denying that, but they're behind the, and this is, I'm, I'm trying to get back to you, the behind it, the boobers, [01:04:20] right?

[01:04:20] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah. There's all of this and you can talk about it this way and you can still frame it within a risk framework and you're still in the calculative mode to use Heidegger's. But if you're, Heidegger's idea, but if you're actually trying to participate in the inexhaustibleness of reality and how it is for its own sake, not for your sake, there is [01:04:40] an irremovable uncertainty.

[01:04:42] Guy Sengstock: Oh, and this is why intimacy involves the ability to tolerate anxiety. Vulnerability

[01:04:48] Dr. John Vervaeke: is exactly our relationship to uncertainty. And when I heard you now, and I'm coming back and understanding it better, you're saying somehow, there's a way of undoing it. Educating vulnerability. [01:05:00] So it gives us a particular sensitivity, right?

[01:05:03] Dr. John Vervaeke: A particular access. Yes. Is that what you were saying earlier? Yes. Yeah. Right. And now I'm trying to, I'm saying this is how I'm understanding it and articulating. Right. Right. The attempt to become perfectly safe, right. Is how we face risks. Yeah. But if, [01:05:20] if we are in this, right. And we acknowledge. Right.

[01:05:25] Dr. John Vervaeke: That we're actually trying to participate in the inexhaustibleness of reality. We actually have to be in that state in which we are apprehending uncertainty and that is vulnerability.

[01:05:38] Guy Sengstock: Yes. Yes. [01:05:40] Absolutely. And there's also something around here too, about the way, um, uh, family systems theory talks about this.

[01:05:49] Guy Sengstock: That the particular anxiety that, that you tolerate in having intimacy has to do with this interesting, these two existential [01:06:00] drives for on one autonomy and the other one closeness. Right. Right. And I think what, I think what we're, I think the outcome of I vow over time, right. Is, is something it's like where the closeness actually affords.

[01:06:19] Guy Sengstock: Right. Right. [01:06:20] And that autonomy allows me to then unfold and become closer. But

[01:06:24] Dr. John Vervaeke: not by identifying the two together, because if you turn it into an equation of identity, you remove the fact of how they can reciprocally reconstruct each other. Yeah. Right. And that has to be able to go beyond any sort of predictive

[01:06:39] Guy Sengstock: [01:06:40] calculation.

[01:06:40] Guy Sengstock: Yeah. It's not just psychological. That's right. Right. It's like you're, it's like going beyond, not, yeah. Yeah. Not close to you as an identity and me as an identity. And I, then I, I know you more as an identity, but more of this sense of actually, there's something about you that I [01:07:00] realized whatever I know right now, I will, it may not be true ultimately.

[01:07:06] Guy Sengstock: Right. But, but, but I have a relationship to that beyond, right. And that's, what's having you occur in this. I

[01:07:15] Christopher Mastropietro: occur. So I'm just like the initial proposal. Yeah. It's the commitment to come to [01:07:20] know. Yes. It's taking all of that vertiginous possibility, right? On all of its attendant anxieties and actually exercising that freedom and narrowing it to the commitment.

[01:07:32] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. Right. Which is a paradox, but very deliberately. So. Well, yeah, it's not narrowing it, but

[01:07:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: yeah, it's the learned ignorance. [01:07:40] It's, you know, Kooza, it's Socrates, it's, it's, it's the knowing that you do not know that allows you to participate more deeply in like the depths of reality, right? And that's what, that's what I'm hearing.

[01:07:55] Dr. John Vervaeke: I'm hearing it. It's like, I don't, I don't, to say that I [01:08:00] know the uncertainty is actually a mistake. You, you, like it's, it's paradoxical or even a contradiction to say, you know, uncertainty, but I think what we're talking about here is something like no book, but I can embody it in vulnerability and embed, I can also, I'm going to use stigma or sensor.

[01:08:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: I can also orient [01:08:20] the vulnerability, like the arrow, uh, the relevance arrow turns around, right. Such that, right. Um, I'm actually calling forth something about the reality of the other person as opposed to labeling them ahead of time or categorizing them. Is that sort of tracking with what we're talking about?

[01:08:38] Dr. John Vervaeke: Yeah.

[01:08:38] Christopher Mastropietro: Yeah. It [01:08:40] sounds very similar. I mean, the context is different. It sounds very similar to a kind of Kierkegaardian faith, which is this objective sense of uncertainty. I think the way it says it is inward held fast to the passion of inwardness, right? Right? This is the way. Oh,

[01:08:53] Guy Sengstock: yes.

[01:08:54] Dr. John Vervaeke: Right? I see now. Oh, this makes it better than I've

[01:08:56] Christopher Mastropietro: understood it before.

[01:08:57] Christopher Mastropietro: Objective uncertainty held fast to the [01:09:00] passion of inwardness, which is that when the uncertainty is somehow taken upon in this deeply, deeply embodied and subjective manner. And that's, and becomes a learned ignorance. That's when we have finite transcendence. Yeah.

[01:09:14] Dr. John Vervaeke: Excellent. Excellent.

[01:09:16] Guy Sengstock: I like the connection to learned ignorance a lot.

[01:09:18] Dr. John Vervaeke: Well, this has been, I mean, the, [01:09:20] the themes, right. You know, that the Socratic, I know not. Yeah. I know what I do not know, finds its culmination in Nicholas Kuz's, uh, learned ignorance. That is a proper way of trying to participate in theosis. Right. You know, the participation in, in, in God. Right. And then the other is the [01:09:40] platonic proposal that reality is somehow fundamentally dialectical.

[01:09:43] Dr. John Vervaeke: Mm hmm. That I think comes, I've argued has come into fruition, uh, through Erigena. Um, I'm going to propose that, um, I think we've unpacked a lot that's really rich here. And then I, I'd like to sort of draw, I want to give each one of you [01:10:00] a final say, but I want to draw this episode to a close and propose that we take what we've drawn out here, deduced, drawn out.

[01:10:09] Dr. John Vervaeke: Um, and we take it into a discussion about how can we use this to reflect upon. Um, and perhaps improve critique, the, [01:10:20] you know, the whole, the, the whole ecology of practices that was in episodes 10a and 10b, you know, specifically, uh, you know, dialectic and to deal with, but also some of the, uh, attending affording practices.

[01:10:32] Dr. John Vervaeke: Um, but first, uh, anything last you'd like to say, so that connection was a really good one. Very helpful. [01:10:40] I,

[01:10:42] Guy Sengstock: I'm mostly just with, I'm going to be, this is going to be rattling in me for a while. Just this sense of, this sense of what you brought up about the, the uncertainty between how do we know if it's bullshit or if it's, it's real.[01:11:00]

[01:11:00] Guy Sengstock: And, uh, and that a real profit in some sense, right, is going to be a trickster in that way, that, that he's going to comp that, that, that you can't rest on your laurels. That's comp that has to be continually be re upped. And I, I'm getting that sense of that continually re upping is that way that we continually become [01:11:20] persons, right.

[01:11:21] Guy Sengstock: And that in that way, that's, yeah, I anticipate this is going to be working itself through. It's like, how do we know it's a, we know it by its fruits. Yeah. Right.

[01:11:34] Christopher Mastropietro: How do you know me? You know me by my

[01:11:35] Dr. John Vervaeke: fruits. Yes. But I can't claim [01:11:40] to ahead of time, know your fruits and that's the problem. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you very much, gentlemen.

[01:11:49] Dr. John Vervaeke: Oh. So next time we'll take up how does this education from Buber. In Deologos, about Deologos, how does it, how can [01:12:00] it help us better articulate, improve critique, improve and inform and improve and maybe cut stuff away? All kinds of possibilities are open, but how can we take it up into reflection on the ecology of practices that have been proposed as a way of reverse [01:12:20] engineering the Socratic way?

[01:12:22] Dr. John Vervaeke: Thank you everyone for your time and attention. I've been sort of boiling down all of the meaning in life questions to two questions, which is, tell me what you want to exist even if you don't, and tell me how much of a difference you make to it now. And if you got a strong answer to both of those, I predict you'll, you'll find your life [01:12:40] very meaningful.