David Bentley Hart on Consciousness and Knowledge

‘Consciousness does not merely passively reflect the reality of the world; it is necessarily a dynamic movement of reason and will toward reality. If nothing else is to be concluded from the previous chapter, this much is absolutely certain: subjective consciousness becomes actual only directed through intentionality, and intentionality is a kind of agency, directed toward an end. We could never know the world from a purely receptive position. To know anything, the mind must actively be disposed towards things outside itselff, always at work interpreting experience through concepts that oly the mind itself can apply. The world is intelligible to us because we reach out to it, or reach beyond it, comng to know the endless diversity of particular things within the embrace of a more general and abstract yearning for a knowledge of truth as such, and by way of an aboriginal inclination of the mind towards reality as a comprehensible whole. In every moment of awareness, the mind at once receives and composes the world, discerning meaning in the objects of experience precisely in conferring meaning upon them; thus consciousness lies open to – and ventures into intimate communion with – the forms of things. Every venture of reason toward an endm moreoever, is prompted by a desire of the mind, a “rational appetite.” Knowledge is born out of a predisposition and predilection of the will toward beings, a longing for the ideal comprehensibility of things, and a natural orientation of the mind toward that infinite horizon that is being itself.'(David Bentley Hart, ‘The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss’, pp. 238-239)

2 thoughts on “David Bentley Hart on Consciousness and Knowledge

  1. Ian Thompson (@theisticscience) October 19, 2013 / 11:28 pm

    You quote: a desire of the mind, a “rational appetite.”
    Is that not love, even spiritual love? Do we not recognize it?


    • whitefrozen October 20, 2013 / 8:20 am

      Yeah, I think that to think of it as love is pretty much right on.


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