Chapter 3: The Struggle for Representation in the Roman Empire, Section 1
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62 part two | the philosophical science of politics the new truth; and the symbols in which he explicated his experience formed the nucleus of a theory of social order. And, finally, it was possible to penetrate the mystery of critical clarification. Genetically it proved to consist in the discovery of the psyche and of its anthropological and theological truth, while critically it consisted in the measuring of the symbols in reality by the standards of the new truth. Chapter 3: The Struggle for Representation in the Roman Empire 1 The preceding lecture has shown that the problems of representation were not exhausted by internal articulation of a society in historical existence. Society as a whole proved to represent a transcendent truth; and, hence, the concept of representation in the existential sense had to be supplemented by a concept of transcendental representation. And on this new level of the problem, then, arose a further complication through the development of theory as a truth about man in rivalry with the truth represented by society . Even this complication, however, is not the last one. The field of competitive types of truth is historically broadened by the appearance of Christianity. All three of these types enter into the great struggle for the monopoly of existential representation in the Roman Empire. This struggle will form the subject matter of the present lecture; but, before approaching the subject itself, a few terminological and general theoretical points must be clarified. This procedure of bracketing out the general issues will avoid awkward digressions and explanations that otherwise would have to interrupt the political study proper when the questions become acute. Terminologically, it will be necessary to distinguish between three types of truth. The first of these types is the truth represented by the early empires; it shall be designated as “cosmological truth.” The second type of truth appears in the political culture of Athens and specifically in tragedy; it shall be called “anthropological truth”—­ with the understanding that the term covers the whole range of problems connected with the psyche as the sensorium of transcendence. The third type of truth that appears with Christianity shall be called “soteriological truth.” 63 the new science of politics The terminological differentiation between the second and third types is theoretically necessary because the Platonic-­ Aristotelian complex of experiences was enlarged by Christianity in a decisive point. This point of difference can be established perhaps best by reflecting for a moment on the Aristotelian conception of philia politike, of political friendship.35 Such friendship is for Aristotle the substance of political society; it consists in homonoia, in spiritual agreement between men; and it is possible between men only in so far as these men live in agreement with the nous, that is, the divinest part in themselves. All men participate in the nous, though in varying degrees of intenseness; and, hence, the love of men for their own noetic self will make the nous the common bond between them.36 Only in so far as men are equal through the love of their noetic self is friendship possible; the social bond between unequals will be weak. On this occasion, now, Aristotle formulated his thesis that friendship was impossible between God and man because of their radical inequality.37 The impossibility of philia between God and man may be considered typical for the whole range of anthropological truth. The experiences that were explicated into a theory of man by the mystic philosophers had in common the accent on the human side of the orientation of the soul toward divinity. The soul orients itself toward a God who rests in his immovable transcendence; it reaches out toward divine reality, but it does not meet an answering movement from beyond. The Christian bending of God in grace toward the soul does not come within the range of these experiences—­ though, to be sure, in reading Plato one has the feeling of moving continuously on the verge of a breakthrough into this new dimension. The experience of mutuality in the relation with God, of the amicitia in the Thomistic sense, of the grace that imposes a supernatural form on the nature of man, is the specific difference of Christian truth.38 The revelation of this grace in history, through the incarnation of the Logos in Christ, intelligibly fulfilled the adventitious movement of the spirit in the mystic philosophers. The critical authority over the older truth of society that the soul had gained through its opening and its...