© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2006, 2011
Glossary of Terms
For the most complete discussion of 'enstasis,' and a history of the usage of this term, see my 2011 article, “Enstasy, Ecstasy and Religious Self-reflection:A history of Dooyeweerd's Ideas of pre-theoretical experience.”
The word ‘enstasis’ is one of the many words that Dooyeweerd uses that rely on the Indo-Greek root ‘sta’ or ‘to stand.’ (stasis, enstasis, dis-stasis, systasis, apostasis, standing in the truth). See the Sanskrit stha.
The word ‘enstasis’ is normally attributed to Mircea Eliade, who used the word in his 1954 book on yoga to describe yogic samadhi. He used this term in place of the word ‘ecstasy,’ which he said means ek-stasis, or a going out of oneself. Now what is really surprising is that Dooyeweerd uses this word in the WdW almost 20 years earlier.
At times, Eliade seems to be using the word ‘enstasis’ in a sense of “pure consciousness.” Now whether or not Dooyeweerd would agree with this depends on what is meant by ‘consciousness.’ Dooyeweerd does refer to a central kind of consciousness, and a cosmic consciousness. If Eliade is intending it in the sense of an inner reflection of the selfhood, then I believe that Dooyeweerd could agree. Dooyeweerd also contrasts enstasy to the ec-static absorption into temporal reality of creatures that do not have a supratemporal center (II, 415; NC II, 480).
But it seems to me that Eliade is using ‘enstasy’ in the sense of a static consciousness that is no longer related to any temporal duration or functions. If that is so, then Dooyeweerd's meaning is quite different. Dooyeweerd is opposed to any viewpoint that seeks a static reality. That is a metaphysical-Greek idea of supra-temporality, and not even the eternity of God should be regarded in that way (NC I, 31 ft.; not in WdW). To seek a state where we do not deal with temporality is to seek a disembodied state. Dooyeweerd rejects that kind of spiritualization.
Dooyeweerd continued to use the idea of 'enstasy' right up to the last article that he wrote, where he says,
Baader also opposes a static view of the supratemporal, and he also rejects any spiritualizing view that rejects embodiment. But Baader does speak of a “true stasis,” (Vorred. Werke 1, 412 ff; reproduced in Philosophische Schriften II, xxvii),and I believe that this is what Dooyeweerd means by “en-stasis.” Baader emphasizes that our true situation is for there to be a relation between the Center and the periphery. Since we are embodied beings, we should experience a movement from our selfhood to the temporal, and also from the temporal to the supratemporal.
And I believe that this is what Dooyeweerd means by ‘enstasis.’ In naive experience, there is the recognition that we are both temporal and supratemporal beings. We are “fitted into” the temporal world along with other temporal creatures, and we experience the continuity of cosmic time. Naive thought does not set its logical function over-against any “opposite” and does not perform any inter-modal theoretical synthesis. It is operative in the full temporal reality in enstasis (II, 401; NC II, 468).
Note: The NC translation speaks of an “inter-modal synthesis of meaning.” This is confusing. The original Dutch only speaks of a meaning synthesis [zin-synthesis]. The theoretical synthesis is between our actual thought [an act from out of our selfhood] and the Gegenstand of abstracted aspects, which is not actual or ontical, but only intentional. See synthesis.
This situation of enstasis is what Dooyeweerd and Baader refer to as ‘rest.’ But again, it is not a static rest.
Baader also refers to the resting in our selfhood as an enstasis; he contrasts it with the movement into the temporal world of extasis. Our resting selfhood is an ‘Ineinandergestürtz-Sein’ of the Center, as opposed to the becoming (‘werden’) of the periphery (Begründung, 58). Our theoretical thought requires a movement outwards, and this requires an act of imagination, which is a movement from enstasis to ek-stasis (Susini I, 378, 379). Baader distinguishes between a passive, contemplative knowledge, and a more active knowledge (Susini II, 30). Our passive knowledge is the Subject-Object relation, where we contemplate, or are spectators of objects above and below us. Baader uses the words anerkennen, kennen and Wahrnehmen for this passive knowledge. Our active knowledge is erkennen. It is an active work, an effort of grounding (ergründung) and a battle (kampf).
Enstasis is, however the state of naive experience.We have an immediate enstatic experience of temporal reality as our own (II, 414; NC II, 479). It is integral, but can still be deepened. This is done by theory. In theory we move out from our enstasis and into the temporal world. Baader calls theory an ek-stasis or ex-stase. Baader says that extase is both a memory of the true stasis as well as an anticipation of the integration and centering of Man, without which creation cannot be integrated (Philosophische Schiften II, xxvii). I believe that the memory of the true stasis is given in the retrocipations. It is an anamnesis. And the anticipation refers to the anticipatory moments which are given in Ideas.
In several places, Dooyeweerd refers to the deepening of our enstatic experience.
- Enstatical logical analysis is restrictively bound
to sensory perception and can only analytically distinguish concrete things
and their relations according to sensorily founded characteristics (II,
403; NC II, 470)
- When the epoché is cancelled, we fall back into the enstatic intuitive attitude of naïve experience (NC II, 482).
- One of the most remarkable statements is that our knowledge from revelation carries primarily a religious-enstatic character. Knowledge about God, in which our religious self-knowledge is enclosed, is thus primarily not given in scientific or theological ways (II, 494-95; NC II, 562).
Dooyeweerd sometimes refers to enstasis as an in-stelling instead of the uiteen-stelling of dis-stasis. Sometimes ‘instelling’ just means ‘attitude.’ But when Dooyeweerd hyphenates the word as ‘in-stelling,' or when he contrasts it with ‘uiteen-stelling’, then more is involved. These uses of 'stelling’ may have something to do with the way that Dooyeweerd first framed the law-Idea. Dooyeweerd says that we are fitted into temporal reality, ‘gesteld,’ in the same sense that Baader says we are ‘gesetzt.’ ( “Advies over Roomsch-katholieke en Anti-revolutionaire Staatkunde,” Verburg 48-61). The in-stelling is to be fitted within the law-order. The uiteen-stelling is a taking apart of that order. The in-stelling is a centripetal motion towards the center; the dis-stasis and the uiteen-stelling is a centrifugal one.
On WdW I, 49, where he does italicize ‘instellende’ in relation to naive experience, he means it in the sense of‘ ‘enstasis,’ contrasted with the ‘tegenoverstellende denkhouding' of theory. In this case, ‘instellende' cannot mean ‘denkhouding,’ because he speaks of ‘instellende denkhouding;’ On WdW I, 61 he italicizes and hyphenates ‘in-stelling’ in relation to naive thought in the full temporal reality, and the deepening of meaning [zin-verdieping] that occurs in philosophic thought. This is all given as a third reason for maintaining the name ‘wetsidee’ for his philosophy.
In both of these instances, I, 49 and 61, the NC English translation does not make mention of this in-stelling. The passages have been re-worked. In my opinion, the Dutch version is clearer.
Revised May 15/06