Panentheism.  Revisionism.  Anarchocapitalism.



Essays by Me

Essays by Others



From Whose Togas I Dangle


Eric Voegelin





Two Modes of Existence:

In Truth, In Untruth

In our capacity as political scientists, historians, or philosophers we all have had occasion at one time or another to engage in debate with ideologists . . . . And we have all discovered on such occasions that no agreement, or even an honest disagreement, could be reached, because the exchange of argument was disturbed by a profound difference of attitude with regard to all fundamental questions of human exis-tence—with regard to the nature of man, to his place in the world, to his place in society and history, to his relation to God. Rational argument could not prevail because the partner to the discussion did not accept as binding for himself the matrix of reality in which all specific questions concerning our existence as hu-man beings are ultimately rooted; he has overlaid the reality of existence with another mode of existence that Robert Musil has called the Second Reality. . . . [B]ehind the appearance of a rational debate there lurked the difference of two modes of existence, of existence in truth and existence in untruth. The uni-verse of rational discourse collapses, we may say, when the common ground of existence in reality has disappeared.

. . . The speculations of classic and scholastic metaphysics are edifices of reason erected on the experiential basis of existence in truth; they are use-less in a meeting with edifices of reason erected on a different experiential basis. Nevertheless, we cannot withdraw into these edifices and let the world go by, for in that case we would be remiss in our duty of “debate.”  The “debate” has, therefore, to assume the forms of (1) a careful analysis of the noetic struc-ture of existence and (2) an analysis of Second Reali-ties with regard to both their constructs and the mo-tivating structure of existence in untruth.  “Debate” in this form is hardly a matter of reasoning (though it remains one of the Intellect), but rather of the anal-ysis of existence preceding rational constructions; it is medical in character in that it has to diagnose the syndromes of untrue existence and by their noetic structure to initiate, if possible, a healing process.

“On Debate and Existence” 1967.