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Dec 29, 1997 03:03 PM
by Thoa Tran

Hi Eiichi,

>For Hegel, philosophy and religion are identical:  The content is the same,
>the form is different.  He said that Philosophy "accomplishes" Christianity.
>Rationalists' arguments are not necessarily based on the
>"known things", nor just looking at materialistic side of the things.

Philosophy and religion are identical in terms of Hegel's description of
Plato's suprasensible world and Christianity's constant world of the
beyond, a true and consistent world of laws.  However, according to Hegel,
that is not so.  This true world of laws is not tranquil, but constantly
changing, because everything contains change.  The Christian world of a God
apart from humanity creates conflict.  This belief causes people to
separate themselves from reality and prevents solutions to problems.  This
is different from  Hegel's perception of the dynamic and interacting
"inverted" world.

>For Mondrian as well religious and philosophy are the same thing (so
>does in theosophy, I think).

Mondrian did make an interesting mix of dialectism and Theosophy in his
essays, although he is using apples and oranges to make his argument.
Mondrian's objective of changing society through his utopian art is
dialectic.  His constant using of relationships, of a utopian environment
making a new man, is dialectic.  His idea of equilibrium through placement
of opposing forces is similar to Hegel's using the opposition of forces and
electricity to make his points.  However, the substance of Hegel's
dialectism and Theosophy are dissimilar and ultimately cannot go together.
In Theosophy's world of Truth, the Real can be arrived at by stripping away
all that is inessential.  Hence, Consciousness can exist in itself, A=A.
In the law of dialectics, this is meaningless because separation will only
cause alienation and because everything has to contain change.  Thus,
reality and suprareality changes according to the laws of dialectic and
"everything has a constant difference from everything else.".  For
dialectics to exist, there has to be separatedness.  In Theosophy, this
separatedness is only illusory, it is not the Real, the All.
Interestingly, for Mondrian, dialectism is a mean of stripping away the
inessentials, of exposing A.

>We are now living in a no-truth world.
>Truth cannot be authenticized now (such a naive era was gone, when
>thinkers struggled to proof the truth).

It may be a "no-truth" phenomenal world of maya, but in Theosophy's
noumenal world, "(t)he 'Parent Space' is the eternal, ever present cause of
all-the incomprehensible DEITY, whose 'invisible robes' are the mystic root
of all matter, and of the Universe.  Space is the one eternal thing that we
can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by
either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe.<snip>" (The
Secret Doctrine I, p. 35, Stanza I)

Compare that to Hegel's philosophy of opposites.  Mondrian cannot be a
Theosophist and a Hegelian at the same time.  He may apply Hegelian
philosophy in the phenomenal world, but the root of Theosophy and the root
of Hegel's
philosophy cannot go together.

>Mondrian also seek for the 'reality' and the 'truth', but not just in a
>naive way. He just can't. Because he was a practical painter and a very
>serious one. For him every important theoria should be realized on
>canvas, where there is no transcendental arguments - every entity of
>elements of composition is exposed in front of you. My argument about
>Mondrian's rationalist side is to show the limitation of the Hegelian's
>logical thoughts, which Mondrian (and Adorno) inherited.

Yes, since our divisive selves can only discern the phenomenal world, we
need to deal with it in a practical way.  Mondrian may have inherited
Hegelian thought in relation to the practical world, but he must have
seen its limitation, too, since he is a theosophist.  Throughout his essay
in "Natural Reality and Abstract Reality:  An Essay in Trialogue Form
1919-1920," (Publisher George Braziller, Inc., ISBN 0-8076-1372-X) he made
many remarks regarding the need to not focus on the material and the
practical.  In scene 6, he stated that the practical process of creating
ultimately weakens the contact with the universal.  To eliminate that, he
thought that the exactness of machine-made materials to diminish
individualism's effect, might be the answer.

>Hegelian's logical thinking is just an occurrence in the 'head.' This
>side was seviourly criticized by the other philosophers championed by
>Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard said that in Hegeliam logic there is no room
>for argument of "movement": it's just a "mirage."

Kierkegaard strongly champions subjective truth, as opposed to Hegel's
dependence on relationships.  I tend to agree with Kierkegaard in that one
should know what is best for oneself.  On the other hand, I believe in
responsibility to others, and try to solve problems based on my thinking of
others.  It's a fine line between loving oneself and loving others,
selfishness and being used/controlled.  In an ideal world, loving others
does not result in being controlled or used.  However, in this world, I
find that is not so.  For example, in performing social services, people
tend to use you as a personal chauffeur without consideration for your
feelings and time.  When you give them money, they will keep on asking as
if you're a money bag and will not enquire as to your welfare when they do
not need money.  In personal relationships, acquiescence leads to no
consideration for your time, dreams, or convictions.  Maybe what is best
for oneself is knowing the boundaries.

>'Rhythm' is a strange thing: It's half thought, half experience. Earlier
>stage of Neo-plasticism (1917-1927) Mondrian took the theory of 'rhythm'
>based on Hegelian's dichotomy - 'subjectivity' vs. 'objectivity', on
>which also many theosophical philosophers based in the beginning of this
>century, especially such a scholar as Schoenmaekers, by whom Mondrian
>got obviously influenced.
>In Mondrian Hegelian logicalism and Theosophist mysticism are
>interestingly mixed up. I think he sensed the limitation of the Hegelian
>logicalism (Mondrian thought rhythm is the property of the subject and
>the substratum of composition, and in the process of attaining the
>objective (or the universal) functions as an agent to attain
>equilibrated point, which was, in the earlier stage, 'stasis'.

In mystical thinking, each is part of a whole and yet is the whole.  In
order to see the whole, we need to look at the part in its relationship to
the whole, see that the part is also the whole, and that there is no
differentiation.  Ultimately, there is no such thing as separation.  With
that in mind, we can understand Mondrian's idea of multiplicity.  In Scene
2, p.36, Mondrian made the difference between materialistic rhythm and
inner rhythm.  In a Hegelian sense, rhythm is formed through relationships
of separate things to each other.  Also, rhythm unifies them, that is,
destroy their individuality and "capriciousness".  That is true in
naturalistic painting.  In the New Plastic, the multiplicity of the
"primordial relationship" creates an inward rhythm, and this destroys
natural rhythm. This makes sense in that "rhythm, no matter how inward, is
always present, and is even varied by the diversity of dimensions through
which the primordial relationship, that of position, is expressed."  To me,
that is yogic rhythm, the rhythm of stillness, the rhythm that passes
through the various laya centers, the various dimensions. This
"equilibrated duality" creates stillness.  This stillness is the inner
rhythm.  This is "movement as purely equilibrated relationship expressing

>In Hegel 'absoluteness' and the 'universal' is the same thing and which
>is brought by 'judgement.' Within this 'judgement-universal' sphere
>rhythm is the epistemological evidence and not empirical one.

What do you mean by 'judgment'?  Hegel's 'absoluteness' refers to the
perfect, total, and practical concept of the world.  The perfect merging of
theory with practice.  To him, this is an unattainable ideal.  Hegel's
concept of the "universal" is unlike the theosophical concept of the
universal, which cannot be affected by theory or practice.

>Then Mondrian gradually elevated the status of rhythm as a role within
>the subjective, from the substratum of composition to the same level as
>composition, which organizes the elements of painting, such as lines,
>colour planes.

As he became more aware of the role of rhythm in his thinking, he began to
employ it more consciously in his painting, probably walking the fine line
between naturalistic rhythm and plastic rhythm.  He also said that the
practical distracts from the universal.

>Here my interest in Hinduism (and Theosophy), which you evoked me a
>lot,  is  that the theory of rhythm in Hinduism, I conjecture, is not
>limited to the epistemological evidence, but applicable to the empirical
>field. In order to attest this point, all you have to do is to listen
>Hindu music. A great deal of Hindu music is very rhythmic and exactly
>based on the theory called Raga.
>If Mondrian knew Yogic theory of rhythm like Bailey put it, it will be a
>very interesting story. The scenario is like this: Mondrian quit the
>theory of rhythm based on Hegelian logicalism, and in the process of his
>deepening Theosophical-Hindu thoughts accompanied by his experience as a
>practical painter, he constituted the theory in much empirical way,
>which is still based on some logic; this time Hinduism. I hope this
>scenario will work in a positive way. How do you think?

It's a possibility.  It could also be that he merged rational thought and
mystical thought from the very beginning.  Think of it this way.  No matter
what we do, we have to acknowledge the material and use it to connect with
the universal, even if it's by meditation or chanting.  To me, Mondrian
used the concept of relationship between material means (color, lines,
tones), expressed via Hegelian concepts, in order to reach the ultimate
goal of inner rhythm that connects to the universal.

>Definitely your English is better than mine, but you also should watch
>out: too much vocabulary and rhetoric might kill the clarity of the
>argument. Your throwing stone cannot kill two birds at the same time - a
>clumsy English speaking preacher birdie with a clear argument and a
>smart English speaking preacher birdie with a clear rhetoric. Clumsy
>talker sometimes enchants the listeners because of the contents. Anyway
>I always love your witty joke, Thoa.

A smart English speaking preacher with a clear argument creates poetry.  I
could be Shakespeare, but you'll have to stick with Haiku, Eiichi.:o)

>> >OK. My religious experiences are not theoretical ones, though.
>> If not theoretical, what were they like?
>Maybe mysticism. This answer makes a tautology, doesn't it?

Depending on whether it REALLY is theoretical.

> Okay, partner, the tennis ball is on your side, again! 

Ka-pow!!!  On your side!!!

Thoa :o)

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