Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus believed in “the idea that all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos.” Few words are as loaded in the Christian world as logos, but before Christianity, the Stoics understood the logos to be “the account which governs everything.” Heraclitus taught that everything is essentially an idea before it is ever manifest in any other form, and that ideas are the force governing all of existence, motivating all human action.
Anyone that’s ever tried to motivate or lead people will appreciate this seemingly simple notion that power lies in ideas, but where there are ideas there is need for understanding, and that’s where simplicity gives way to complications which I think are what put a self-existent, self-revelatory God in the paradox (conundrum? dilemma?) which binds Him to mankind.
How do you expose people to an idea, have them understand it, accept it, and conceive it to the point that it becomes their reality? I’m tempted to go as far as making a sweeping generalisation by saying all of philosophy is concerned with this question. The interesting thing to me as a Christian, of course, is logos as used in John 1:1. The trouble with ideas is, the minute an idea is expressed, it ceases to be pure in itself; because context comes into play both when it is expressed and how it is perceived.
Unless the expression can somehow be a perfection of that idea, somehow overcome all the particularities of perception to maintain all it’s substance, and not only it’s essence. If this happens, the identifiable event when it is expressed becomes the single indication of an idea’s true nature.
For example if when I said the word “apple,” that word wasn’t just an arbitrary sound linking to some abstract concept in your mind to produce meaning (because we can talk about apples all day without ever having an actual apple in either of our hands, “apple” remaining just an idea). But what if by saying “apple,” the taste, smell, weight and sight of the organic form could be present in that one word, so it ceased to be just an idea?
Is this the logos of John 1:1, a Being and an Event at the same time; concept and communication in the same context? If so, is John 1:1 (and consequently the whole chapter) the definitive Gospel basis for a Christian philosophy? Is it then either implied or evident that there is something in the nature of the Being that demands such an Event? Something like Love can not exist if there is nothing to love, and neither can Knowledge if there is no one to know it?
Contemporary philosopher (and mathematician) Alain Badiou coined the term “Truth-Event” to refer to such an event, describing it as the insistence when an unequivocal Truth becomes known. More specifically;
“The Truth-Event is simply a radically New Beginning; it designates the violent, traumatic and contingent intrusion of another dimension not ‘mediated’ by the domain of terrestrial finititude and corruption.” (S. Zizkek’s The Ticklish Subject)
I have been pondering Badiou’s statements on the issue for days now, especially what this means in light of the John 1:1 logos, and I’m interested in hearing what the readers of this blog think of this;
“As Badiou puts it, Christ’s death is not in itself the Truth-Event, it simply prepares the sight for the Event (Resurrection) by asserting the identity of God and Man – the fact that the infinite dimension of immortal Truth is also accessible to a human finite mortal; what ultimately matters is only the Resurrection of the dead (i.e. human-mortal) Christ, signalling that each human being can be redeemed and can enter the domain of Eternal Life, that is, participate in the Truth-Event. … Christian Revelation is thus an example (although probably the example) of how we, human beings, are not constrained to the positivity of Being; of how, from time to time, in a contingent and unpredictable way, a Truth-Event can occur that opens up to us the possibility of participating in Another Life by remaining faithful to the Truth-Event.” (from The Ticklish Subject by S. Zizek: pg.147)