About Truth and its Unveiling - Maureen Breen - 5 March 2002

greenspun.com : LUSENET : von Balthasar Seminar : One Thread

Philip, Is the shadow-side also my truth? How far does psychology take you ? When does the transcendental enter ?

-- Anonymous, March 05, 2002


Mauren, Sorry about the long delay in replying to your questions. Just one preliminary suggestion: if your questions arise from a particular passage in von Balthasar, it would be good to give the page reference.

"Is the shadow-side also my truth?" -- It depends on what you mean by "the shadow-side". I don't have a particular passage in von Balthasar in mind here, so I will just comment in a general fashion: There is certainly a lot in us that exists in the shadows in the sense of not being clearly visible to us. Some of this is "doubtful" material, in the sense that there is questionable stuff in us. Some of it is just the unexpressed reality of my life, which may come to expression through much work or struggle--think of the effort that any creative work requires (even this putting down of a few words on a page!). So, I think that some of the "shadow-side" is not my truth, but contains much that needs to be healed, forgiven, embraced... in order to become integrated into the reality for which I am responsible and in order, at the end of the process of integration, to become my truth. But the "shadow-side" in the sense of the not yet expressed, in the sense too of some of the dream side of life can be good. But is it my truth? In the sense of "truth" that von Balthasar sometimes uses (based on Heidegger), truth is a-letheia (Greek) and is unveiling or coming to the the light. In this sense, it is only what comes to the light that is my truth.

"How far does psychology take you?" Von Balthasar has some interesting reservations about psychology (see pp. 209 and 216). He thinks it is much less than spirituality and much less than the insight we get through ordinary association with a person. He also thinks that the image a love holds up to the beloved is a powerful and creative force, or a much more valuable character than the "analysis" of the character practiced by psychologists etc.

But, how far does it take us? Well, answering for myself, I think that psychology can have an important role to play in the way a person actually gets to grips with some aspects of their lives. It can help them to see things that otherwise would be invisible to them and opaque to their understanding. However, I am reminded of the remark of a psychoanalyst (Johnathan Hannagan) about the importance of love in the healing that can take place--and this emphasis rejoins Balthasar.

"When does the transcendental enter?" I think that whenever there is love there is something of the transcendental--something that goes beyond the ordinary limits. I also think that wherever there is prayer or meditation, that there too the transcendental enters in. I think that fundamental healing in the end is beyond our calculations and has to do with the transcendental.

-- Anonymous, March 18, 2002

Philip, thank you for your answers to my queries. There is so much there that I need to think about and I have'nt had time to do that yet. Reading this book I feel I am being taken into,immersed in thisGreat Being , Mystery - in Worship 'deep Adoration , Silence. And that , even tho' I don't always follow von Balthasar's philosophical arguments ! I am very grateful to you . With best wishes Maureen.

-- Anonymous, March 20, 2002

Moderation questions? read the FAQ