Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4I

Summary of text [comment] page 22

The “No of sin” shows itself in two forms: refusal and usurpation.  Each form includes the other.

[I mention this text in order to show how slowly I’m moving: This same sentence starts blog 1.4D.

Ancient Israel was the first civilization on record to clearly document the historic pattern of a suprasovereign religion establishing a sovereign, that then became a locus of power and a site of competition for infrasovereign religious factions.]

According to Schoonenberg, some [infrasovereign religious] factions aimed to “be like unto God” (Gen 3:5) and to dispose (as if they owned) God’s free gifts.

Of course, they had to destroy whoever complained.  They did so by projecting the anti-object, claiming that dissenters (and whoever else might accidentally stand in their way) held despicable ideologies (that God could not give gifts) and were bad people (for hating God and God’s gifts).]

The sovereigninfra Cult of the Royal House (of the First Temple) projected an ideology of disobedience and a persona of disrespect onto the prophet.  This was manifestly the opposite of what God (and practically everyone else, for that matter) witnessed.


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G8

[This leads to a question: Who pays the price of thinkgroup?

“Denial of lawessential” or “ignoring the consequences of the imposition an object relation” is symptomatic of thinkgroup.

Often, sovereign power is confused – confounded – with lawessential.  “The law” is defined as “the capricious actions of sovereign power”.

Most often, unintended consequences are attributed to the projected other.  I suspect that Rene Girard’s models of the scapegoat may be deduced from this arrangement.  Notably, Girard’s tradition does not develop the other side of the model, what I call “the golden calf”.

Scapegoating protects the golden calves only so long.  Eventually, all subjects become aware of the high costs of thinkpro-object.  They come to realize that thinkanti-object is merely a projection.  The guilty ones (scapegoats) do not really hold the religious ideology and moral attitudes attributed to them.

When people no longer believe, thinkpro-object must rely more and more on the brute force of sovereign power in order to maintain power.  Thinkpro-object stupidly clings to its organizational object.  They cannot let go.  In particular, they must suppress the appearance of individuals who critique their religion from the perspective of thinkdivine.

They must prevent the appearance of a thinkdivine that dares to put their sovereigninfra into context.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G7

[Today, religionsinfrasovereign seek to gain the integrity of a religionsuprasovereign by gaining control of sovereign power.  In short, they confound the “organizational goals” with “character building”.

This is a perilous path, since the costs of completely imposing the organizational objectives of an religioninfrasovereign are high.

What happens if, by some chance, the organizational objectives are met?  Or what if the society must be destroyed in order to achieve the organizational objectives?  Or what if people adapt to the imposition by changing their behaviors in such a way that they lessen the importance of the organizational goal?  What if the effort to impose organizational goals destroys moral character?

Well, the imposition must be continually strengthened in order to meet the imperative.

The imposition becomes like a boulder.  The people become like water.

The dao becomes more apparent.

This is the theoretical challenge facing all critical thinkers today.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G6

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[Today, one might imagine that infrasovereign religions appear only after sovereign power descends under the auspices of a suprasovereign religion.

An Archaeology of the Fall suggested that religions of constrained complexity acted as thinkdivine in concert with thinkorganization.  Sovereignty belonged to the individuals within the group.  The undifferentiated nested form seamlessly encompassed character building3(exercise of power2(organizational discipline and goals1)).

The purely symbolically ordered thinkgroups of unconstrained complexity defined themselves in contrast to this holistic, traditional way of life. Organizing dissociated from character building.

The sovereign arose as the only institution capable of performing certain tasks (such as the natural functions of government: resolving civic and contract disputes, public works, addressing crime, and defense).

However, the sovereign was also the only institution capable of forcing people to accomplish organizational goals defined by infrasovereign institutions.

The legitimate tasks of the sovereign make its institution inevitable.  The establishment of the sovereign then attracted infrasovereign religions.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G5

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[How did the nested form religionsuprasovereign3(sovereign2(religioninfrasovereign1)) emerge?

This is a good question.  In many ways, this is the same question as:

When did thinkdivine and thinkgroup become exclusive yet interpellating?

Before the beginning, in constrained complexity, this nested form was not differentiated.

In the beginning, as depicted in An Archaeology of the Fall, a change in the way we talk from referential to symbolic potentiated the differentiation.

The differentiation characterizes unconstrained complexity.

In Biblical myth, the differentiation was already apparent by the end of the stories of Cain and Abel in Genesis.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G4

[The difference between the character-building thinkdivine and the organization-justifying thinkgroup is significant.

The difference reminds me of the ego’s use of objects in order to bring other aspects of the psyche into relation.  Non-ego aspects of the psyche, harbored in conscience and in dispositions, may be trained through the integrative symbols of thinkdivine or they may be brought into command by the disciplinary objectives of thinkgroup.  Ironically, both these aspects appear to fall under the label of “superego”.

Either way, the non-ego aspects cannot escape the ego’s object relations because they cannot leave the psyche.  Virtually the same condition holds for the sovereign subject.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G3

[A thinkgroup may seek sovereign power in order to “establish the object that brings all subjects into an organization”.  (Or an alliance of thinkgroups may seek power to establish objects.)

When an infrasovereign institution grasps sovereign power, the thinkgroup re-iterates the previously described parallel structure, but on the basis of a particular organizational relation – which I will call an “organizational object” – that establishes the difference between the grasping thinkgroup and others.

Thinkgroup becomes thinkpro-object.

Furthermore, thinkpro-object substitutes for thinkdivine.

The exclusion of the nested form of thinkdivine and the substitution of thinkgroup/pro-object (in thinkdivine‘s place) leaves the parallel nested form (formerly occupied by thinkgroup) empty.  Into that emptiness, sovereign power projects a nested form onto whoever does not go along with the party line.

The resulting parallel forms are thinkpro-object(virtue=object relation(consciencepro-object)) versus the projection of thinkanti-object(sin=violations of object relation(conscienceanti-object)).

The difference between the character-building thinkdivine and the organization-justifying thinkgroup is significant.


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G2

[Let me continue to expand on the first criteria in blogs 1.4F and 1.4G1.

Under conditions where supra-sovereign religions operate, the normal contexts of the vertical axis (of the intersecting nested forms) manifest themselves as thinkdivine(virtuous actions (consciencefree)) and thinkgroup(sinful actions(consciencelacking)).

The sovereign (ultimately no different from anyone else) is contextualized according to her actions within this universal – civilization engendering – dichotomy.

Thinkdivine addresses “the object that brings everyone into relation”.  Each person is called (interpellated) to align herself with that object (bring herself into relation).  This process may be called “building character”.

Personal character induces spontaneous organizations within society.  Organizations spontaneous arise and order themselves as individuals cooperate under the inspiration of the simple character building rules of a suprasovereign religion. For example, organizations may further train the person according to some goal.

Organizations, in turn, are contextualized by (or as) institutions. Institutions justify organizations.  Here is the location of thinkgroup.  Institutions put organizations into context.

Some of these institutions may compete for sovereign power.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4G1

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[Let me expand on the first criteria in blog 1.4F

The nested form has the structure of normal context3(actuality2(possibility1)). The normal context puts the situation into context and the situation situates possibility.  This corresponds to Peirce’s concept of “precission”.

The “intersecting nested forms” is a tool that illuminates a structure.  This structure consists of (at least) two nested forms that intersect in the realm of actuality.

The horizontal nested form corresponds to a natural and philosophical orientation:            lawessential3(human_action2(disposition1)).

The vertical nested form corresponds to a moral religious orientation.

Theoretically, this axis would be: think3(human_action2(conscience1)).

Practically, in the world of speech-alone talk, this axis manifests the attributes of symbols. Symbols form exclusive orders (systems of differences).  Each interpellates the person.  This explains the term: “exclusive yet interpellating”.

Consequently, the vertical nested form is divided into at least two parallel nested forms. The differences between these two parallel nested forms are similar to the differences between “belonging” and “organizing”.

“Belonging” and “organizing” may be considered two types of symbolic orders or specialized languages.)]