Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Apropos of the Unity Octave: From "Unity" to "ONE"

“For as many of you has have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male of female, for you are all one [εις: unum] in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3, 27-29).

Ratzinger comment: “It is important to take notice of the fact that Paul does not say, for example, `you are one thing,’ but rather stresses that `you are one man.’ You have become a new, singular subject together with Christ and, in consequence – through the amalgamation of subjects – find yourselves within the purview of the promise.” (Josef Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology,” The Nature and Mission of Theology, Ignatius [1995] 52).


Significant Change of Epistemological Perspective: (i.e., object of subject)

This appears to be a contradiction. We ask, “How can the many be one, and the one many? How do we resolve this?” The radical answer consists in re-evaluating what we take for granted, i.e., that we are observers of reality in a such a way that we stand outside of it. The great shift that must take place is to do what the theology of faith of the middle ages and modern physics have done: enter into the reality to be known by experiencing ourselves as part of it. This is the mother of all paradigm shifts that would put an end to the intellectual dead end in which modern philosophy from Descartes to the present day deposited us.

Besides his understanding of the meaning of faith in St. Bonaventure - where “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of revelation,’”[1] the subject as image of God being the very revelation of God when “he” is activated as self gift - Josef Ratzinger has found a comforting confirmation of this epistemological stance in modern physics where the scientist does not stand outside the experiment as observer but enters into it as interactive with it. Hence, relativity and quantum mechanics arise within an epistemology cognizant that the observer experiences-self-experiencing-thing, and hence, having only a particular perspective.

Ratzinger comments that “The physicist is becoming increasingly aware today that we cannot embrace given realities – the structure of light, for example, or matter as a whole – in one form of experiment and so in one form of statement; that on the contrary from different sides we glimpse different aspects, which cannot be traced back to each other. We have to take the two together – way the structure of corpuscle and wave – without being able to find any all-embracing aspect – as a provisional assessment of the whole, which is not accessible to us as a unified whole because of the limitations implicit in our point of view.”[2]

The result of this experience of the self (subject) experiencing the sensible thing (object) from a finite and determined position within physical reality has suggested the “law of complementarity” in physics introduced by Niels Bohr. According to this, Ratzinger suggests that “The intellectual approach of modern physics may offer us more help here than the Aristotelian philosophy was able to give. Physicists know today that one can only talk about the structure of matter in approximations starting from various different angles. They know that the position of the beholder at any one time affects the result of his questioning of nature.”[3] The very nature of the questions that we ask depends on the experience of our own placement in the whole. Hence, Ratzinger asks “Why should we not be able to understand afresh, on this basis, that in the question of God we must not look, in the Aristotelian fashion, for an ultimate concept encompassing the whole, but must be prepared to find a multitude of aspects which depend on the position of the observer and which we can no longer survey as a whole but only accept alongside each other, without being able to make any statement about the ultimate truth…”[4]

The whole issue of “oneness” as opposed to being “united” is the issue of being an individual substance. Individual substances are “united” because they are considered to be “in-themselves” and not “in-another.” The connections between them are necessarily “accidental.” This notion of the individual as substance in itself is directly connected with first level experience through the senses and the resulting abstractive concept that is an intellectual cipher that points to reality as cipher. It is a result of standing “outside” of what is “observed” and naming it symbolically. The danger is that we impose on reality our way of knowing it. We see things the way we are, not the way real being is.

As there has been a development of the awareness of the existential reality of the subject in the last century, concomitant with the progressive collapse of rationalism and its spawn, ideology and the progressive collapse into relativism and nihilism, there is a revived sense of experience both of the sensible world and of the acting self. In this regard, Ratzinger mentions that "E. Schrödinger has defined the structure of matter as `parcels of waves’ and thereby fallen upon the idea of a being that has no substance but is purely actual, whose apparent `substantiality’ really results only from the pattern of movement of superimposed waves. In the realm of matter such a suggestion may well be physically, and in any case philosophically, highly contestable. But it remains an exciting simile for the actualitas divine, for the absolute `being-act’ of God, and for the idea that the densest being – God – can subsist only in a multitude of relations, which are not substances but simply `waves,’ and therein form a perfect unity and also the fullness of being.” He then emphasis the epistemological strategy that “the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity even in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature’s answer depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it reflects not only nature-in-itself, in its pure objectivity, but also gives back something of man, of our individuality, a bit of the human subject.”

It is most suggestive to take thinkers like Bishop Berkeley and David Hume seriously in their understanding of sensible perception. For Berkeley, the esse est percipi seems to lead to the absurdity that he is the only one who exists. That the only reality is the self perceiving a supposed world, but that world may or may not exist in reality since perception is a subjective experience. We see colored shapes; we hear sounds; we touch surfaces although "on the other side" of the perception there may be only variations in quantity of waves and spaced particles. Is there any sound of a tree falling in a forest if there is no hearing to perceive it? Owen Barfield suggests: “Look at a rainbow. While it lasts, it is, or appears to be, a great arc of many colours occupying a position out there in space. It touches the horizon between the chimney and that tree; a line drawn from the sun behind you and passing through your head would pierce the center of the circle of which it is part. And now, before it fades, recollect all you have ever been told about the rainbow and its causes, and ask yourself the question Is it really there?”[5]

Barfield goes on: “Now look at a tree. It is very different from a rainbow. If you approach it, it will still be `there.’ Moreover, in this case, you can do more than look at it. You can hear the noise its leaves make in the wind. You can perhaps smell it. You can certainly touch it. Your senses combine to assure you that it is composed of what is called solid matter. Accord to the tree the same treatment that you accorded to the rainbow. Recollect all you have been told about matter and its ultimate structure and ask yourself if the tree is `really there.’ I am far from affirming dogmatically that the atoms, electrons, nuclei, etc., of which wood, and all matter, is said to be composed, are particular and identifiable objects like drops of rain. But if the `particles’ are there, and are all that is there, the, since the `particles’ are no more like the thing I call a tree than the raindrops are like the thing I call a rainbow, it follows, I think, that – just as a rainbow is the outcome of the raindrops and my vision – so, a tree is the outcome of the particles and my vision and my other sense-perceptions. Whatever the particles themselves may be thought to be, the tree, as such, is a representation.”[6]

Barfield then takes it a step further: “A representation is something I perceive to be there…. He now deals with perception: Perception takes place by means of sense-organs, though the ingredient in it of sensation, experienced as such, varies greatly as between the different senses. In touch I suppose we come nearest to sensation without perception; in sight to perception without sensation. But the two most important things to remember about perception are these: first, that we must not confuse the percept with its cause. I do not touch a moving system of waves or of atoms and electrons with relatively vast empty spaces between them; the name of what I touch is matter. Second, I do not perceive any thing with my sense-organ alone, but with a great part of my whole human being. Thus, I may say, loosely, that I `hear’ – all that I ever hear simply by virtue of having ears – is sound. When I `hear a thrush singing,’ I am hearing, not with my ears alone, but with all sorts of other things like mental habits, memory, imagination, feeling and (to the extent at least that the act of attention involves it) will.”[7]

Barfield concludes his point: “On almost any received theory of perception the familiar world – that is, the world which is apprehended, not through instruments and inference, but simply – is for the most part dependent upon the percipient.”[8]

The short explanation is the following: The only subsisting existent that I experience directly – i.e., without the distortion of mediation - is myself, I, in the moment of freee action, or self-determination. Everything else I experience through the mediation of perception such as sensation or conceptualization. And it is important to insist that it is the experience of I as being, and not consciousness. Wojtyla says, “In determining myself – and this takes place through an act of will – I become aware and also testify to others that I possess myself and govern myself. In this way, my acts give me a unique insight into myself as a person. By virtue of self-determination, I experience in the relatively most immediate way that I am a person.”[9]
As there is no perception of the rainbow without a perceiver, so also with the whole of sensible reality. We do not experience the reality of what is perceived in the senses. What we perceive is the perception. The reality that we experience is the I experiencing itself - as being - perceiving through the senses. We do not perceive the reality of the perceived, but the reality of ourselves perceiving. The being I experience when I sense something is I myself, the reality, from whom I transpose to the thing now sensed.

And this is the moment of the experience of "values." Good and evil are not abstract metaphysical deductions (although they can be as in the Summa of St. Thomas) but direct experiences of the self in the free act of self-determination. They are absolutes because they are direct experiences of being, the being of the self that is self-experiencing in the free act. This being of the self has been made in the image and likeness of God who alone is good "There is only one who is good" (Mt. 19, 17). Since God alone is total self-gift, in the tendency of the self as image, one experiences the consciousness of good and evil that we call "conscience." Revelation speaks to that tendency and calls it to act. Agape speaks to eros.

Newman explains this (in the Grammar of Assent) with regard to the experience of causality. I do not experience causality outside of my self in my sensible perceptions. When I see a red ball in motion hitting a green ball, and the green ball moves, I associate the motion of the green ball with the red ball. I do not experience causality through sensation. I associate. However, when I decide to move myself from here to there, I experience myself moving myself as cause of the motion. I then extrapolate that experience of causality from myself to the exterior.
Ratzinger says the same with regard to revelation. Until there is the experience and consciousness of going out of self to the person of the revealer, there is no revelation because there is veil removed, or no re-vel-ation. The experience of the self as image of God is part of the revelation of God to us. We must activate ourselves in our subjectivities to experience self as image, and in that activation, experience God. The major part of revelation is the activation of the self as “I am” in order to know Him who is “I AM.” Like is known by like, because ultimately knowing is being one being with another in some fashion or other.

This has been the epistemological move of modern physics. The observer introduces himself into the experiment and becomes part of it. Relativity theory and quantum mechanics became possible precisely by this insertion of the observer as part of the observed.

Hence, by necessity, with regard to the topic of unity, the subjective experience yields oneness, not unity because unity is the objectified perception of individuals, who/which stand in themselves as substances and are related accidentally. When one lives Christian faith as the moral act of self gift, one literally becomes “another Christ” and by transferring this experience to Christ, one is able to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 15). This “becoming Christ” such that there is “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor freedman, male nor female” because “you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3, 28), then we are not “united” but "one." This is the depth of the Unity Octave - "that they be one as we are one" - and some of the subjacent epistemology.



[1] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones,” Ignatius (1998) 108.
[2] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 123-124.
[3] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” op. cit. 124.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Owen Barfield, “Saving the Appearances,” Wesleyan University Press, (1988) 15.
[6] Ibid., 16-17.
[7] Ibid. 20-21.
[8] Ibid. 21.
[9] K. Wojotyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination,” Person and Community, Lang (1993) 193.

2 comments:

Mortimer Shy said...

Apropos of Owen Barfield, you might find this piece enlightening: http://www.antigeist.com/mortimer/archives/2006/04/the_writers_imp.html

Anonymous said...

Brett Manning :: Singing Success

*If you grapple with trying to hit high notes, have a need for more vocal power, or experience vocal strain, you'll want to read my story here.

I went from blowing an easy "singing telegram" audition... to having a beautiful 5-octave range, all because I discovered the right vocal method.

In a matter of hours, using simple, easy exercises, I was "suddenly free," exploding past my vocal limits, and extending my range by over an octave.

I was the most frustrated singer in the world. I had the desire, but not the ability. I was turned down cold for a "singing telegram" job (I really did blow the audition tune, "Happy Birthday to You"). Then I went on a quest to find a proven method to unleash my voice.

It took years of searching, but my quest eventually paid off. I discovered what turned out to be a kind of secret treasure map to the human voice. Since you're on this site, my guess is that your vocal "life story" might be a little like mine:

Perhaps you've struggled with a limited range, having to flip into "falsetto" all the time, when you reach "the end."

Because of this limitation, you sometimes drift out of tune, especially in the upper registers.

You've tried to belt through to a few higher notes, but have either felt the strain (and pain) and given up, or...

You have persisted and injured your vocal cords, or you are in the process of self-injury...

You've visited a vocal "coach" who has talked more about breathing than about singing, or more about "support" than about sounding better.

And now you may be dissatisfied with your tone as a result of all of these.

On my search, I found that I had a combination of all the above! Are we somewhat alike?...whatever your vocal limitations are, mine were probably worse, but...

Your singing life could change right now

My name is Brett Manning, and thanks to my painful story, I now lead singers out of their vocal difficulties all day long. The good news for you is, you don't have to live with these challenges ever again.

I'm no miracle worker, though my students often joke that I am. That's because I regularly "hand" singers a full octave or more in as little as a couple lessons, and in the process, they lose all vocal strain. So it's no wonder they use words like "magic," and "automatic," when describing my method.

Visit Brett Manning :: Singing Success

I created a fool-proof system that literally "erases" the range limits for 99% of the singers who use it! I've discovered and invented a series of simple, easy exercises that "trick" the voice into working as it was designed to--effortlessly, "shifting gears" as it moves over a wide range of notes.

How wide a range? The normal range of a singer should be AT LEAST 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 octaves. Most of the singers who come to me arrive with about an octave and a half.

Three Things that Changed My Musical Life

Thing #1: On my quest, I took a lot of high-priced voice lessons and saw no real results. I visited countless vocal coaches and, with each voice lesson, I only saw my range AND my bank account shrink.

Some only gave me more "stuff to remember" while I was singing ("Sing from your diaphragm!!", "Picture an egg in the back of your throat!!").

Others taught me to just belt it out as I went higher, until it caused that old familiar strain and then pain. Still others gave me the "proper" way to sing, making me sound like a misfit classical singer. (Classical singing is wonderful, but it wasn't my style at the time.) Sometimes frustration is the mother of invention.

Something had to happen...

Thing #2: I met an "old master" voice coach, nearly 70-years-old. (Imagine a vocal "Yoda," but without the light saber.) In just one singing lesson with this aging pioneer, everything changed.

He made me do some stupid little exercises. And I felt stupid, but I immediately felt the vocal strain "lift off" my voice. I flew past my "break" where I normally had to flip into falsetto--by 7 notes. I immediately booked more voice lessons.

They were super-expensive ($200/hour), but they were worth every penny. These were NOT like any other voice lessons I had ever taken!

Needless to say, I was like a sponge. He had years of experience training some of the nation's most successful pop stars, and he was able to show me singing tips and tricks that were kind of like "insider's secrets" for singers. And my vocal abilities began to skyrocket. (I made rapid progress that I never saw with other voice coaches).

I became a star pupil and a star teacher! I ended up with a 5-OCTAVE VOCAL RANGE!!

Visit Brett Manning :: Singing Success

I also found out I was gifted to teach, diagnose, and "fix" voices like few others on the planet. I invented new voice-training technologies and exercises, and came up with my unique method that lets me guarantee a full octave increase to anyone who uses it! The truth is...

Most of my students eventually out-sing me


Thing #3: In the past 10 years, word has gotten out about my method, and I've had the privilege of training both new singers as well as some of the best professionals in the world. I've worked with recording artists from Capitol, Columbia, Atlantic, Interscope, Dreamworks, Lyric Street, MCA, Epic/Sony, KMG, Word, Embassy, Gotee Records, as well as countless independent record labels.

I've been privileged to work with the casts of the Broadway productions of Les Miserables and Jekyll and Hyde, as well as the Broadway tour of Elton John's Aida.

"Brett, you make me sound so good!"
-Keith Urban
Grammy-nominated
Country Singer, 2005
CMA Male Vocalist
of the Year, 2004 + 2005!



My method is the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the world�s most prestigious vocal awards, including the Doves, the CMA Awards, and yes, the Grammies.

Over the years I've taught my students these best-kept secrets, learned from my "Yoda" master (and a few I discovered on my own). And it's been the most fulfilling work I've ever done. They've gotten the results they were looking for. Maybe you're looking too.

Not everyone can afford to work with me personally (My teaching time is very expensive)...and I realized that I would never be able to teach everybody these techniques--it would take multiple lifetimes. I put my method into an instruction program called the

Brett Manning :: Singing Success �

Systematic Vocal Training Program



In this course, I've revealed:

The one mistake even professional singers make, that drains away 3 times more vocal energy and yields only half the needed vocal power.
How classically-trained singers can get their natural tone back, even after years of "unnatural" teaching.
The 3 simple exercises that allow even a "beginner" to make rapid increases in range (this also eliminates vocal strain).
My secret for "dissolving" your break, so you'll never have to flip into falsetto again, but you'll still sing as high as you want--in full voice.
The "two-edged" technique I perfected for one Grammy winner, that magically added "bite" to her tone and at the same time relieved all her fatigue!
The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course, that reveals my entire proven method, step-by-step.

This is over $3000 worth of lesson time with me on these CDs. (I spent over $10,000 with "Yoda" himself, learning the foundations of this breakthrough method). You'll get all the secrets I paid so much to learn and perfect.


We haven't raised our price in several years so you still pay only $199 (for now, at least)

Visit Brett Manning :: Singing Success �

"Brett has given me the keys to get the most out of my voice."
Mark Kibble, Take 6
10-time Grammy Winner



By the way, you can't lose with my risk-free , ironclad, "coffee-stain resistant" guarantee.

I'll give you 6 full months to try this amazing program.

If it doesn't give you at least an extra octave and the results you're looking for, send it back and I'll refund your full purchase, NO QUESTIONS ASKED! * "Coffee-stain resistant" means that even if you damage it, you can return it if you aren't satisfied!

You'll get all these benefits, and I'll take all the risk.

Don't decide based on just reading about it. Get the program, use it, and see what everyone's talking about. If it doesn't give you the results you want...Send it back for a full, no questions asked refund.


Visit Brett Manning :: Singing Success �