Healing the Rage Against Contingency: Santayana's Therapy
For Santayana, a spiritual life is filled with pure intuitions of essences--timeless forms that draw our attention because of their intrinsic beauty or interest. Lives dedicated to pure intuition seem to be contemplative-- disengaged from the values of strenuous living, including the other-regarding values of morality. Some commentators have worried that Santayanian spirituality might be at odds with moral life. Recently, Tom Alexander has tried to reconcile the tension by arguing that Santayanian spiritual life is consistent with the compassionate moral attention in the Buddhist tradition. John Lachs objects that such other-regarding concern will fail to attain what Santayana means by "spirituality" because other-regarding attitudes involve desires that contaminate pure intuition. (1) Is Santayanian spirituality a detached aesthetic pose, devoid of other-regarding concern? Is Santayana's philosophy a kind of echo (or last gasp) of the distinction between contemplation and action from Book 10 of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics?
In this paper, I argue that the true enemies of pure intuition are anxious desires and hopes, not actions per se. Pure intuition can blossom whenever conscious life is absorbed with delight in activities. When Santayana talks about 'spiritual life,' he sometimes means prescriptive strategies for alleviating anxieties that spoil pure intuition. These strategies serve the therapeutic purpose of helping us deal with the anxious sting of contingency. Santayana is particularly interested in egotistical rebellion against contingency--a rebellion based on distorted beliefs in our power and importance which fuel a pride that degenerates into rage against limitations. The antidote to the sting of rebellion is a humble acceptance of contingency, and an acknowledgment of others' spiritual striving. The soul that has been healed by acceptance of contingency may come to be moved with charity towards suffering. This charity is not a "moral life" on any standard interpretation of that notion, but it does reflect a fascinating offshoot of Santayana's later ontology that moves in the direction of the compassionate attention Alexander finds in Buddhist ethics.
The awareness that constitutes spirit is not an "escape" to another world, nor is it a special kind of intuitive knowledge of true being, it is simply absorbed emotional attention to the immediately given. To be sure, Santayana famously argues that non-existent essences are the objects of all consciousness. Essences are forms of being which do not exist, although they may be embodied in existence when they are selected by "matter"--the irrational flux of events. The reason why it is misleading to say that consciousness of essences is an "escape" is precisely the fact that there is no "place" to go to find essences. As non-existent forms, they are available to anyone who beholds what is immediately given. Much of the time, Santayana contends, worries and hopes force us to regard the essence-objects of awareness as signs for existential events not given. The important thing to note is that pure intuition is simply a mode of consciousness that is directed upon those essences regarded for their own sake, and that provide joy and interest to the particular animal (a fuller account of essences cannot be given in the space here). (2)
A second reason why it is misleading to think of spiritual life as an escape is that Santayana does not regard "spirit" as a disembodied substance. It is only because consciousness is embodied in the habits and practices of complex animals like us that it is capable of joyful awareness of essences offered up by the rhythms and patterns of animal life. As Santayana writes, "Spirit is incarnate by nature, not by accident. Otherwise it would not possess the lyrical, moral, impassioned character that makes it spiritual . . . It is alive, nothing if not transitive, always on the wing, watching, comparing, suffering, and laughing. It is the consciousness proper to an animal psyche." (3) Contingent embodiment is precisely what makes joyous pure intuition possible. We have no reason to lament the fact that we live limited, contingent animal lives. As Santayana puts it, "if spirit was to be incarnate and to appear in existence at all, it had to be born in one odd world or another: why should it quarrel with its earthly cradle?" (4) Why should the guitarist lament the fact that she must use muscles in fingers, and fibers in strings, if she is to produce the musical essences that attract pure intuition? So long as our bodies move in harmony with their environments we may lose ourselves in joyful intuitions of essences we love. Sometimes harmony is easy, and the pure intuitions simple (I smell the California cost on vacation). However, sometimes activities are more complicated, requiring disciplined practice before they develop into the free activities that produce pure intuitions. The expert jazz musician must go through many painful practice sessions filled with anxiety, hope, and doubt before she can cull the skill necessary for the spontaneous expression of mood in a moment of improvisation. Natural activities culminate into a perfect free functioning that makes possible moments of joyous awareness of form. Santayana writes of this spiritual "function,"
The perfect function of spirit is pure intuition. By the very impulse that generates it, intuition tends to become pure. It is the movement of apprehension by which anything is given to consciousness, and there is natural joy in it, whenever it can live unimpeded by fatigue or pain, and not harassed by care, fear, doubt, desire, or any other obsession about the not-given. (5)
"Pure intuition" is, therefore, an umbrella term for a kind of awareness that can be born in many activities that may produce a range of intuited essences, from the simplest perceptual forms to complex performances and shared activities.
The fears and hopes pertaining to the "not-given" may spoil intuition, but they are also important motivators. They prompt us to develop reliable strategies for sustaining unimpeded activities that instantiate pure intuitions. We could, with some over-simplification, group these action-oriented emotions into the category of "desires." (6) Desires, for Santayana, generate values: things have value only if they satisfy desires. Thus, it is only when our most cherished spiritual pursuits break-down that they come to have a value imbued in them by desire for the return of their proper function. We can speak of pure intuition as "having value" for a person, but this claim is made from the perspective of the person who craves a return to pure intuition. Pure intuition is a joyful awareness devoid of craving for the not-given.
Our activities break-down when we come into conflict with other people, or when biological/natural conditions fail us. Santayana's notion of rational ethics is the higher-order desire, put into practice through intelligent foresight, to bring as much harmony as possible to conflicting desires. (7) When faced with a perilous world of contingent and conflicting practices, the optimal strategy is to apply intelligence to the situation, reaching the best harmony of interests possible. Santayanian rational ethics and Deweyan pragmatist intelligence largely converge here in the focus on social reconstruction. Such rational ethics will always coexist in an uneasy tension with our own favored spiritual pursuits. If the spiritual pursuits of my religious group require practices abhorrent to other community members, rational ethics may require regulation, or perhaps abolition, of my preferred mode of pure intuition. (8)
If I become jaded with the enterprise of rational ethics--perhaps because my own spiritual ambitions have been short-circuited by it--I may turn to what Santayana calls "post-rational morality." Post-rational morality acknowledges the multiplicity of values rooted in conflicting desires, but despairs of worldly success or salvation. One way of looking at post-rational believers is that they have strong desires for the success of a favored activity conducive to pure intuitions, but are stung by the fact that these successes are tenuous--depending on much beyond our control. The post-rational moralist seeks solace in "another world" that admits of harmony not found here. (9) Santayana joins the likes of Dewey in the judgment that other-worldly metaphysics are not only intellectually dubious, their negative practical consequences tend to include passive withdrawal from applying energetic intelligence to real problems, and a dogmatic intolerance of other metaphysical perspectives.
We have just seen how the contingency of nature spoils pure intuition when the specific harmonies between habits and habitats break-down, requiring rational ethics or pragmatist intelligence. However, Santayana suggests a residual "psychological" sting from contingency that he calls "egotism." Egotism involves "imposing one's special categories and standards, as alone right or possible, upon all mankind and even upon God and nature." (10) The antidote to egotisms' proud rebellion is what in, Platonism and the Spiritual Life, Santayana calls a disintoxication from the influence of values. (11) We should be careful. The "toxicity" of values is not that they exist, or that we pursue them. It consists "in asserting these human and local values to be alone valid, or in supposing that they were . . . bound to dominate the universe for ever" (12) The antidote to the poison is humility.
Santayana uses "Lucifer's rebellion" to metaphorically illustrate the way egotism plays out in an emotional dialectic that culminates in rage against contingency. Lucifer's rebellion occurs when the "innate claims and dignity of spirit assert themselves as rights, against an even infinite pressure of facts and circumstances." (13) The "innate claims and dignity of spirit" here must mean simply the fact that pure intuition is intrinsically rewarding. Lucifer's rebellion occurs when we step back and improperly evaluate this rewarding feature of life. The improper evaluation stems from a deep desire for continual return to the joy of pure intuition. Such a desire is not wrong in itself. The error consists in Lucifer's faulty view that his desired spiritual activities enjoy some privileged status from the point of the universe itself. This wishful thinking may lead to the self-deluded belief that the world actually is governed by our own will, or by the will of a benevolent being that certifies our "right" to have our desires satisfied. Since the world frequently bites us in the face, striking down the things we most love, it is hard to come by evidence that spirit really is in control behind the scenes. Thus, initially proud feelings tend to degenerate into rage against the limits on our desires. Lucifer rebels in rage against creative power behind all animal life. His rebellion stems from an advocacy of the free functioning of pure intuition. (14)
Santayana suggests that Lucifer's rebellion is almost inevitable in creatures like us. On the one hand, pure intuition is a self-less or self-transcending state to be in. (15) When I am in that state, I am unconcerned about my animal fate--I simply revel in the timeless essences given. On the other hand, pure intuition is born from the impulses of a limited animal who must concern itself with contingencies in its local habitat. As I compare the perspectives of animal partiality and spiritual impartiality, I may come to the proud conclusion that the satisfaction of my pure intuition is a supreme value. This proud elevation is flawed because pure intuition involves (temporary) cessation of desire for the success of anything, including the desire to succeed in securing the material harmonies necessary for pure intuition. My rebellious attitude is necessarily self-defeating. The more I trumpet the supremacy of my own favored spiritual pursuits with strong desires that they succeed, the more these "intuition-generating" pursuits escape my grasp. "Getting a grasp" on my spiritual pursuits means suspending all hope and fear, and attending to the immediate. Such "desire-suspension" is not always easy. Pragmatist intelligent reconstruction of objective conditions may be needed. However, such reconstruction may not eliminate the residual psychological distortion caused by rebellion against contingency. The therapy for this distortion is honest self-acceptance of ourselves as fragile animals who depend on habitats we can never fully control, and acceptance of the plurality of spiritual pursuits.
The egotism in Lucifer's rebellion involves flawed beliefs and desires that improperly elevate our spiritual pursuit. The error is a failure to see that pure intuition must be born from the contingency of diverse animal lives who depend on a harmony with a world that they can never fully control. I think we can distinguish two kinds of egotism: a dismissal of animal diversity, and a dismissal of dependence on contingent natural forces. We can call these two species of egotism: dogmatism and the vain will to power. Let's consider them in more detail. 1) Dogmatism: I form a second-order desire that some set of desires take special priority. Dogmatism is the refusal to accept that his or her own favored spiritual pursuits are only contingently linked to joyful pure intuitions. That Roman Catholicism steadily fuels the light of intuition in me is a contingent fact about me (and my fellow Catholics). My dogmatic denial of your spiritual pursuits and your special themes of pure intuition will spoil my own pure intuition, at least at the level of creating aversions and fears in me that destroy the unimpeded function of my own activities. Even if I annihilate you and your kind, I may be haunted by the knowledge that my spiritual pursuits are a microscopic slice of the vast multitude of possibilities. Furthermore, dogmatism reflects a basic misunderstanding of pure intuition. The essence of pure intuition is joyous consciousness, whatever themes may wind up figuring in it. The themes that delight the pure intuition of a particular animal are, to a great degree, determined by blind fate.
2) Vain Assertion of Will To Power: I form a belief that I have (or my favored group has) a special power for the satisfaction of a favored desire-set. If this belief is in some significant doubt, it may be accompanied by the desire to have control over the world, and to be independent from outside forces. Correcting the vain will to power requires a humble acceptance of the fact that all spiritual pursuit (my own included) depend on forces outside my control. This last reversal accords with Santayana's view of the spiritual function of piety to roots of our being. (16) If spirit is incarnate by its very nature, then it is futile for me to rail against the fact that pure intuition depends upon specific conditions that surpass full control. Even robust projects of pragmatist reconstruction depend on uncontrolled conditions. Therefore, a certain piety or respect for contingency is at least an honest, and probably psychologically healthy, attitude to adopt in the face of contingency.
Now, it is fairly easy to see how vain will-to-power interferes with my efforts to achieve pure intuition. Personal sanity requires a just estimation of personal limits. Dogmatism seems like a threat to my spirituality only if my awareness of alternative spiritual pursuits generates attitudes of suspicion, dislike, and anger, which may (in extreme cases) drive me to eliminate or limit the other. However, it seems that it would be enough to just "live and let live"--to find ways to focus on activities that turn on my pure intuition, and simply ignore the other. Therefore, dogmatic rebellion does not appear to necessitate a therapy of other-regarding attitudes like "charity." Furthermore, even if some kind of charitable attitude were adopted for the purpose of "my own spiritual healing,"then it would appear to be nothing more than an egotistical justification for charity.
Nevertheless, Santayana does seem to hold that there is "charitable" attitude that grows in people who have achieved a self-understanding about the contingent nature of spirit. For example, he writes "never, however, when spirit is vigorous and free, can it judge any fate coldly or any aspiration unsympathetically; because to be sympathetic and warm towards all endeavors (though they may know nothing of themselves) is the very essence of spirit." (17) What do we make of this? I think Santayana would say that charity is not "rationally justified" by an argument that states if I want to free myself from the psychological distraction of dogmatism's rebellion, then I should love the alternative spiritual pursuits of others. Certainly such arguments will fail to motivate those who don't already have benevolent desires in them. A fundamental premise of Santayana's value theory is that x has a value only if x appeals to some desire or impulse in us. (18) So, Santayana would have to reject any attempt to mount an argument for charity that is not addressed to people for whom charitable impulses have not, at least inchoately, taken hold. His view must be that people with charitable impulses may come to a greater self-knowledge and perhaps "steadier" dispositions when they internalize his philosophical therapy. (This will work in differing degrees--from the saints on down). People who appreciate the joy of pure intuition, while acknowledging the fact that a certain activity lights this joy is simply a contingent fact about them that might be otherwise, may find themselves developing sympathetic emotions towards those with different spiritual pursuits. Such identification may manifest itself in a deeply felt sympathy for those with whom we can imaginatively identify, which in turn may involve charitable ministering to the suffering that comes from failing. Thus, it is not the case that I make a deliberate choice to "be charitable" for the self-interested reason that this is the best policy to achieve personal satisfaction in pure intuition. Santayana's account describes a certain kind of "disillusioned" charitable soul whose broad outlines may help those people with the appropriate impulses achieve a deeper self-understanding that may contribute to the "steadying" of their charitable disposition. (19)
Does Santayanian charity somehow thread together spiritual life and moral life? Only in the following limited way: Santayanian philosophical therapy may, when ingested, help grow charitable impulses already at work in us. We may find ourselves gradually becoming people for whom the desire to return to pure intuition is something that should be helped along, regardless of who has the desire, or what activities focus the pure intuition. People who display Santayanian charity are "moral" in the sense that they are deeply concerned with others, however, this concern does not necessarily extend to the promotion of rational ethics--the quest for harmonizing all desires. First, charity arrives after the defeat of desire to minister to suffering, and not to reconstruct the social world to harmonize desires that still have a fighting chance. (20) Second, Santayanian charity could result in sympathy for what, from the standpoint of rational ethics, are morally dubious desires. What's more, people who display Santayanian charity do not necessarily count as full-blown exemplars of moral life, if we think that morality involves commitment to virtues other than charity. Finally, Santayanian charity has, at its core, a strange detachment from desire that appears to sit uncomfortably with any robust account of moral-striving. Lachs challenges any "moralization" of spiritual life: "can we be at peace so long as the desire to make the world better roils our hearts?" (21) Lachs is correct that desire-driven actions spoil the peaceful joy of pure intuition. However, charity as a component of the pursuit of spirituality is interesting precisely because it is an other-directed disposition that is neither simply the peace of pure intuition, nor the anxious heated efforts of the moral activist to remake the world in the image of some special ideal. Santayana suggests that charity does not roil our hearts because it is a peculiar kind of disillusioned love devoid of desire. He asserts that "spiritual love is therefore not anxious and is entirely free from desire, it lives in the virtual presence of all the fulfillments and all the possibilities that the natural Will pursues." (22) This love is not the desire-less love that pure intuition has for timeless forms. After all, it is a love for the spiritual striving of real flesh and blood creatures. Charity is a love for all incarnated spirits who pursue their own perfections, but a love that renounces any personal stake that may figure in those perfections failing or succeeding.
Santayana is clear that there are practical psychological, social, and physical limits on how far a person can extend charitable concern. So, charity does not involve the insane, self-defeating desire to satisfy all desires. (23) However, one might object that charity must involve some desire (or hope) that others reach their chosen perfections (or at least hope that the other finds some comfort in failure). If charity does involve some kind of desire or hope for the other, how can it bring any sort of peace to my soul?
We need to remember the following. First, charity is a disposition informed by pure intuition, but it is not pure intuition as such. Therefore, we must grant that attitudes and actions incompatible with pure intuition must be in play when charitable dispositions are fully engaged. Second, even though charity fully activated must involve desire, it may nevertheless be based on attitudes of sympathetic identification which are themselves desire-less pure intuitions. That is, my sympathy with your spiritual striving may itself be a kind of pure intuition of delight in your own unique perfection. (24) Finally, charity is based on the belief and acceptance of the contingency, meaning especially the finitude, of all spiritual striving. The charitable person may desire the fulfillment of pure intuition in others, but this desire is bereft of hope because it is informed by a deep acceptance of failures during, and at the end, of our animal lives. It is impossible to put this point better than Santayana himself:
Love here walks hand in hand with renunciation: not followed by renunciation after love has been disappointed but clarified by renunciation at its very dawn. Not having any stake in the contest, the Will expressed in sprit can rehearse all the other passions, which are not this intelletto d'amore, this understanding and this lesson of passion. Love, when so universalized and so disentangled, can forgive all injuries, endure all injustice, malice, or madness, and this not by any affected meekness, as if one begged to be trodden upon, but intelligently, justly, in the light of truth. The initial aspiration of life is everywhere innocent, the perfection of it would everywhere be beautiful; and everything is disfigured only by confusion, inopportuneness, and a hostile fate. That which is here and now impossible, impossible for ever for me, must be renounced; but it remains a good and cannot be detested without blindness. It may have its day in eternity. Charity is a love that outlives defeat and foresees it, that embraces death and is immortal; a love not demanding the impossible nor imagining the false, but knowing the intentions of the heart in each instance, disregarding the rest, and not despising the least spark of spirit in the cinders. (25)
1. See Tom Alexander's "Beauty and the Labyrinth of Evil: Santayana and the Possibility of Naturalistic Mysticism," and John Lachs, "Spirituality Without Moral Concern," in Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the Santayana Society No. 18, Fall 2000, pp. 1-19. Sixty years ago, writers like Edman convicted Santayana of advocating for a radical kind of value-free detachment which suspends all worldly interests and pursuits. See his "Humanism and Post-Humanism in the Philosophy of Santayana, in (P. Schilpp ed.) The Philosophy of George Santayana (New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1940), pp. 293-313.
2. It may be that Santayana believes we are capable of having pure intuitions without any intrinsic interest or love attaching to them. For example, I may have a completely apathetic awareness of the essence of a pattern on my wall--an intuition of an essence taken for its own intrinsic character sans any element of belief or intent. Santayana is clearly interested in those pure intuitions that are suffused with joy and love. These intuitions define the class of essences that have value, and this class (as he never tires of pointing out in his later work) has value only relative to some psyche whose attentive intuition casts a ray of joy on it. The essences that enjoy the extrinsic property of having value is obviously vastly smaller than the infinite stretches of valueless essences. For example, "Value accrues to any part of the realm of essence by virtue of the interest which somebody takes in it, as being part relevant to his own life. If the organ of this life comes to perfect operation, it will reach intuition of that relevant part of essence. This intuition will be vital in the highest degree. It will be absorbed in its object. It will be unmindful of any possibility of lapse in that object, or defection on its own part; it will not be aware of itself, of time, or of circumstances. But this intuition will continue to exist, and to exist in time . . .the intuition will be an utterly different thing from the essence intuited; it will be something existent and probably momentary; it will glow and fade; it will be perhaps delightful; that is, no essences will appear to it which are not suffused with a general tint of interest and beauty, Scepticism and Animal Faith (New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1955) pp. 129-130.
3. Realms of Being (New York: Scribner's Sons) p. 597.
4. Platonism and the Spiritual Life, p. 250.
5. Realms of Being, p. 646.
6. At the least, it is plausible to hold that any analysis of fears and hopes will include some element of desire.
7. See Reason in Science (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922). pp. 210-300.
8. This points up the fact that decisions about how to pursue spirituality may well be moral ones, but not in the sense that rational ethics and spirituality will always coincide.
9. Depending on the circumstances, Santayana seems to believe that post-rational morality may peacefully co-exist with rational-morality (within a person or between people). See The Philosophy of George Santayana, 564-565. If a state is predicated on a commitment to rational ethics, it may regulate post-rational moral institutions (although it has no authority or special say over the post-rational moral systems). In Reason in Science Santayana suggests that post-rational moralities are somewhat deluded by their other-worldly orientation. In actuality, the cloister, the church, the mosque and temple are worldly institutions that bring people together in shared spiritual pursuits that compete with other ways of life. They are as of the world as sports teams, police forces, and universities
10. Philosophy of George Santayana, p. 561. Egotism is not necessarily the assertion of the power and importance of one's personal will. It may, as in the case of Lucifer in Santayana's play, involve a benevolent assertion of the "right" of human happiness against the order of God or nature.
11. See Platonism and Spiritual Life (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1957) p. 248.
12. Platonism and Spiritual Life, p. 248.
13. Realms of Being, p. 721.
14. In Christian myth, creative power is depicted as God, whereas in Santayana's ontology it is the realm of "matter."
15. See especially, Realms of Being, p. 721.
16. Santayana's first discussion of piety in chapter by that name in Reason and Religion (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922). One finds discussions of piety peppered throughout the later works. For example, "humility, piety is a prerequisite to spirituality. It is much more than a prudential virtue for those who wish to prosper in the world. It enables spirit to recognize the truth and to be inwardly steady, clear, fearless, and without reproach" (Realms of Being, 759).
17. Realms of Being, p. 823 Elsewhere he writes "(spirit's) own perfection consists in charity, in the perception and love of possible perfections in all other things, Realms of Being, p. 759. In Dialogues in Limbo, Santayana distinguishes between philanthropy which is the "love of that beauty and goodness in man which if realized would make his happiness . . " from charity which is "less than philanthropy in that it expects the defeats of man's natural desires and accepts that defeat; and it is more than philanthropy in that, in the face of defeat it brings consolation" (London: Constable and Co. LTD., 1925) p.139. Santayana goes on to say that by 'natural desires' he means something like "profound aspirations."
18. Presumably any other-regarding obligation claim would be treated this way.
19. We should note that in everyday practice, charity is not inculcated by reflection on anything like Santayana's ontological categories, but via a host of religious and moral traditions and practices that accept assumptions challenged by Santayana's ontology (especially supernaturalist justifications). Santayana's treatment of the virtue is that charity is not explained or justified by reference to moral or religious imperatives (in any standard sense). But we should keep in mind Santayana's own view that religious traditions express in poetic and symbolic form certain ontological truths that philosophical analysis reveals more adequately. See for example the striking way that Santayana reinterprets the Nicene Creed, Realms of Being, pp. 844-853. I do not think the account that Santayana gives in the chapter "Charity" in Reason in Religion is the same as that given in later works like Dialogues in Limbo, and most certainly Realm of Spirit. It is not so much that I believe Santayana rejects the earlier account, rather, I think he is giving accounts of different phenomena called by the same name. I cannot justify my claim in this paper. But consider briefly the fact that in Reason and Religion he says "justice and charity are identical" p. 216. This suggests that "charity" is a kind of political virtue that is part of rational ethics, or the "life of reason." In the later works "charity" refers to the pursuit of spiritual life by the individual soul who is coming to terms with finitude and contingency. To be sure, there are similarities between the various accounts. However, a systematic interpretation of how these accounts relate would require another study. For what it is worth, I suspect that Santayana himself never cleanly worked out the various senses of "charity" in his own mind.
20. " . . . Charity gives alms, even when rational economy might hold back; because the benefit is clear, even if undeserved, and the detachment just, even if ill-timed. It is not creative or constructive of anything positive, unless it be hospitals and almshouses. Institutions produce rival ambitions, rights, and contentions. About all plans and projects charity is disenchanted and sure only of the ever-present propriety of charity itself" (Realms of Being, p. 795).
21. "Spirituality Without Moral Concerns," p. 18.
22. Realms of Being, pp. 786-787.
23. "Now sympathy with all good and attention to all knowledge are not possible to an animal psyche in its physical action; they enter the field only as ideals of the spirit, evoked by the psyche in the act of becoming sensitive to some sympathy and to some knowledge (Realms of Being, p. 796). 796).
24. The charitable soul frankly acknowledges the relativity of values. Your psyche with its unique dispositions and circumstances determines what essences figure as themes of intuition satisfy your spiritual desires. However, I need not adopt those essences as themes for my spiritual love in order to sympathize with your spiritual striving.
25. Realms of Being, pp. 785-786.