© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2005
Glossary of Terms
We have immediate knowledge in our heart of the religious fullness of meaning. In self-reflection, the truth of the fullness of meaning in our inner concentration point is immediately revealed (I, 19; NC I, 15). This knowledge of our heart is not the same as our knowledge of temporal things by analysis and abstraction. It is rather true self-knowledge, which is dependent on true knowledge of God. This is not knowledge of God in Himself, but only in His relation to us, as Calvin says. But no science can say what the heart itself is, or what we ourselves are (October 12, 1937 response to Curators, cited by Verburg 223).
Our immediate knowledge is also related to our intuition, which has an immediate understanding of the continuous coherence of meaning in the temporal refraction of meaning. This immediacy is beyond all theoretical conceptual limits ("achter all theoretische begripsgrenzen onmiddellijk gevat.") (II, 408; NC II, 473).
In intuition we recognize the theoretical datum, the Gegenstand, as our own (NC II, 475-480). In other words, our intuition relates our theory to the experience of our supratemporal self. This means that for Dooyeweerd, there is an immediate experience of the supratemporal self. It is not correct to interpret Dooyeweerd as believing that all our knowledge is mediated through the temporal. Our intuition is the link between our supratemporal experience and our temporal functions.
Kuyper refers to our immediate relation to the Eternal. It is interesting that he relates the doctrine of predestination to our ability to have this direct and immediate communion with God:
According to Baader, our conscience gives us immediate knowledge of God (Werke 1,8; 6,294; Betanzos 89 ). The goal of prayer is to establish a direct, immediate relation with God (Werke I, 294;Susini 202). Baader also cites Boehme, "Paradise is born wherever eternity is seen in time in an image (in an immediate manner in man and mediately outside of him)." (Fermenta V, 27, p. 197). This seeing immediately within and mediately without is the "double eye" spoken of by Boehme. Boehme speaks of this in Boehme: The Way to Christ: The Supersensuous Life:
The Idea of immediate knowledge is contrary to constructivism and postmodernist thought. Sauer tries to interpret Baader in this way. Sauer misunderstands Baader’s uses of the term 'mediated immediacy' to mean that the human being interprets himself by the temporal world. Sauer’s interpretation of a mediated immediacy is therefore temporalized or wholly immanent. But Sauer fails to recognize that for Baader, the mediation is upwards, not in the downward structures. And Sauer fails to recognize the immediacy that remains in our supratemporal center. Sauer does not take into account the fact that, although our naïve experience is still itself historically influenced, and although it is capable of error, Baader still emphasizes the unmediated nature of our intuition. Schumacher says that Sauer’s interpretation of Baader in terms of a mediated immediacy ('Vermittlungsbegriff') is inadequate. Sauer ignores Baader’s Trinitarianism and view of God and creation. (Schumacher 29).
Baader's idea of mediation is that we as unmediated beings mediate the unmediated temporal world. See kenosis. I believe that a similar view is to be found in Dooyeweerd.
Some reformational philosophers have unfortunately also tried to interpret Dooyeweerd in this postmodern way–as advocating the idea that all our thought is mediated by the temporal. For example, Olthuis wants to avoid any suggestion of immediacy. He says that even the word 'mediation' is used only against a horizon of immediacy, precisely what he is trying to avoid. He refers to Derrida as being "in line with Dooyeweerd, that knowledge is always located, mediated and referential." Olthuis says that our directedness to the Origin should be seen as always mediated through our temporal functions. Olthuis acknowledges that for Dooyeweerd our relation to the Origin is unmediated; but this unmediated relation is through the supratemporal self, which Olthuis rejects. ("Of Webs and Whirlwinds; Me, Myself and I," Contemporary Reflections on the Philosophy of Herman Dooyeweerd, ed. D.F.M. Strauss and Michelle Botting (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000), 32-38). Hart says that Dooyeweerd had ‘postmodern impulses’ in opposing the autonomous thought of modernism, although he also refers to William Rowe’s contention that postmodernism has its own kind autonomy ("Notes on Dooyeweerd, Reason and Order,"Contemporary Reflections 128, 132). Smith agrees with Caputo and Derrida that the quest for the unconditioned, unmediated, absolute Infinite is a dangerous and impossible dream (The Fall of Interpretation, 29). Strauss speaks of the mediated immediacy of language ("The Order of Modal Aspects,"Contemporary Reflections 16). Geertsema is more cautious in accepting a postmodernist interpretation ("Dooyeweerd’s Transcendental critique: Transforming it Hermeneutically," Contemporary Reflections 83 ff).
But I do not believe that this kind of postmodern reinterpretation of Baader and Dooyeweerd is justified. The transcendental ground of our being is that which makes possible our autonomy, the idolization of the temporal (NC I, 31 ft.1; Elementarbegriffe 544). But although a temporary autonomy of thought may be possible in the Gegenstand relation, autonomy is to be rejected; we must always move from analysis to the synthesis with our supratemporal experience. Sauer does not devote attention to cosmic time and the supratemporal Center. The ‘mediation of the unmediated’ does not refer to our mediated knowledge, but rather to our mediation of temporal beings in order to lift them up to the unmediated. Like Baader, Dooyeweerd says that, although we are bound to time, we are not limited to our temporal functions (NC II, 561). "All human experience, both in the pre-theoretical and in the theoretical attitudes, is rooted in the structure of the transcendent unity of self-consciousness" (NC II, 560). We have access to a transcendental self-reflection (NC, I, 7, 51; II, 491, 554). We can transcend theory in religious self-knowledge of God and self, which is rooted in the heart (NC I, 55). It is only by standing in the transcendent fullness of truth that we can direct our subjective insight into the temporal horizon (NC II, 572).
Today’s movements of postmodernism, hermeneutics and constructivism have their own metaphysical assumptions. To reject the possibility of an immediate experience of the supratemporal is itself a metaphysical assumption.
Revised April 23/05