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Posting 134, Word Count: 442

A profound cultural change, which came from the rise to dominance of the scientific way of conceiving things, was a shift in the general presence of the world to people, a shift from having intelligent consciousness (personality) as the crucial presence of the world to having inanimate, inertial, objective matter or nature as the crucial presence of the world. In feudal Christendom, personality was indisputably the crucial presence, but in two starkly different versions and placements, displaying in fact a grotesque bifurcation. That conception of personality included the stark contrast between divine personality and human personalty, but the whole meaning and drama of existence centred on personality, specifically the relationship and interactions between the divine personality and human personalities as both individuals and collectives. Concrete nature was merely a trivial backdrop, a platform or staging for the drama. Both the divine and human were clearly instances of personality since only intelligence strives toward a specific not-yet or non-actuality, which is the essence of creation. Human personalities do that all the time and, supposedly, so did the divine personality. This teleology of creation is a crucial identifier of personality along with curiosity, caring, questioning, accumulating orientation, and an expressive voice or agency.

Scientific Nihilism

By contrast, the scientific conception of the world completely excludes personality (teleology, abstraction, ideality, intelligent consciousness) from fundamental reality in rejecting the possibility of transcendent freedom. Personality gets placed on a list of phenomena to be completely explained as an illusion at some future time. This creates a deformed lopsidedness to the conceptual system of reality in modernity, which is something like an inverse of the lopsidedness of the Christian conception of the world. Science dismisses the creative freedom of personality as merely illusion, just as Christianity dismissed the world of concrete matter as trivial staging for the great drama of personality. Of course the grotesque bifurcation of personality into human and divine was another layer of lopsidedness in the pre-scientific conceptual system of reality, which removed the transcendence of personality from ordinary embodied individuals and projected it into a metaphysical monstrosity: disembodied personality as divinity. Just because personality is ideality, that is, immaterial, does not make it more perfect when disembodied! With the modern lopsidedness, science actually needs the continuing culture of personality from feudal Christendom because without it, with only scientific principles of explanation, nothing matters, since it is only to personality that anything matters. With only inanimate nature, we reach a complete nihilism, but people generally know better than to accept that. So, the lopsidedness of the scientific conception of reality prolongs the lingering of outmoded metaphysics and political ideology from feudal Christendom.

Copyright © 2018 Sandy MacDonald.