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The Philosophy of Transcendence and Postmodern Spirituality

As we have seen in the previous chapters from various angles, the contemporary philosophy of transcendence proceeds from the principle of live relationality rather than from the principle of thought substantiality. Its immediate openness to the Absolute brings it closer to spirituality, and so much so that it is possible to say that both move in the same element. Nonetheless, unlike spirituality – which constitutes the very events of spiritual relationality, occurring often without any claim to any external expression – the philosophy of transcendence offers a methodologically precise expression for depicting these events.

This expression, although it can capture reliably the experiential nuances out of which doctrinal differences of various religious and spiritual systems then secondarily grow, is not itself bound up by either of these systems and also lacks ambitions to become such a system. Philosophy is nothing more than an independent evalauting reflection – open to any specific spirituality and, concurrently, unbound with any of its limits. Since the philosophy of transcendence itself is, at the same time, open to transcendence with methodological principality – i.e., ad absolutum – it can recognize and comprehensively formulate any limitations of this or that specific spiritual horizon and spell out its position in the whole of possible modes of the human search for transcendence. (In the previous chapters we have attempted systematically to prove that distinguishing ability of philosophical thought.)

Philosophical reflection is thus capable of revealing the inner order of human spirituality as such – without reductions and instrumental intentions, to which any other, too special or ideologically tainted an interpretation which does not avail itself of those neutral and generally contexual methodological principles so uniquely intrinsic solely to philosophy, may succumb. On the other hand, the uniqueness of the postmodern spirituality consists in that it presents to philosophical reflection arguably the broadest possible spectrum of spiritual search man is capable of. The openness and the distinguishing acuity of philosophical thought can be applied in a genuinely orienting fashion. The postmodern era is a great opportunity for spirituality and the philosophy focused on it to yield its best.

We have attempted to show that mutual competitive and dialogic confrontation of various spiritualities gives rise to a number of decisive distinctions for a philosophical insight. The most fundamental one – between transcendence and immanence -is dynamically projected also in two different tendencies of bridging it (and generally in tendecies of bridging any postmodern differences): from a humanly available starting point in immanence or from an unavailable starting point in absolute transcendence. A concrete analysis has shown that these tendencies – seemingly, in a mere conceptual reduction, meeting each other – can be passing themselves, in proportion to the absence of a dialogic attitude on the part of immanence. Relative transcendence – both transpersonal and transcultural – plays here a more or less passive role: it can become either a medium of a dialogue of open immanence with absolute transcendence or a material for spiritual self-confirmation of endorsed and expanding immanence.

Even the valuable postmodern plurality, if bound up solely with immanence, will, by and large, exhaust itself and lose its creative potential because a mere horizontal interaction, characteristically described as the „phenomenon of the melting pot“ (198) has an entropic final effect: the conversion of all to the lowest possible denominator whether through mutual absorption or (simultaneous) mutual negation. On the contrary, in the postmodern plurality bound up with absolute transcendence, none of its members loses its creative identity because it is elaborated primarily within this inexhaustible relationship. Due to the the selfsame reason, its participant has no tendency to confirm himself (with controversial result) through negation or mastering what is otherwise identical. Horizontal relations in the plurality bound up with the Absolute are carried with the order inspired vertically: an ethical order – universally open without in any way compromising its demanding nature. The predominance of absolute transcendence, if immamence is prepared to open up to this predominance, lays its own claims under which the postmodern spiritual search can be permeated by a dialogic spirit. Without meeting these demands even the most spiritual plurality shall turn into a scramble for power to be won by persons with least ethical inhibitions. But philosophical reflection confirms the elementary spiritual experience that a relationship with Transcendence – with everything that ensues from it in the infinite perspective – can be established regardless of any immanent situation of this finite world.

© Jolana Poláková | Licence Creative Commons
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