FAQs about Essentialism:
What is the basic philosophical premise of
Essentialism is uniquely predicated
on the concept of a sensible Essence that encompasses all as a "not-other"
to itself. The metaphysics replaces Cartesian dualism with an
undifferentiated Primary Source whose negation of nothingness divides
being (essent) from awareness (negate) to actualize the dichotomy
The negate may be regarded as a "microcosm" of Absolute Sensibility in
that it is value-awareness.
As the autonomous agent of value, the negate assumes organic identity and
creates the appearance of finitude by affirming the value of its
complementary essent to become aware. Psychically separated from Absolute
Essence, the individual is born into a world of dynamic "beingness" that
is largely of his own creation. This makes man a cognizant creature
with limited understanding but capable of exquisite sensibility to the
values experienced in an objective reality. Although he does not sense
Essence directly, Value underlies all experience and represents man's
timeless connection with his essential Source.
How can nothingness create anything?
Meister Eckhart in the 14th
century taught that "To create is to give being out of nothing".
Yet, Absolute Essence contains no nothingness;
Eckhart described it as "the fullness of being". The Platonist
theologian Cusanus helped to resolve this paradox a century later by
theorizing that "the world is not God but is not
Cusa's 'first principle' is posited as "the coincidence of all
opposition", which he called the not-other.
Since Essence is all that is, it includes the potential to
negate its antithetical nothingness (all that is not). This
negation actualizes existence as a dichotomy in which the negate
perceives the value of its essent as a differentiated otherness.
The actualized negate becomes the cognizant subject of a
relational world whose objects are selectively delineated from Essence
by its own intellect, while the cosmic design is intrinsic to Essence.
Like Essence (which also is not-other),
the negate creates by negating otherness to become cognizant of finite
being. The physical forms of beingness are universally
communicable, while their relative values can only be sensed by the
Why do you say that the self is a "not-other"
instead of "other"? Wouldn't it be more logical for Essence to
create man as its other?
This reasoning seems logical until
one realizes that the self can not possess Essence and be an autonomous
agent. The "other" created by Essence is a not-other
only to itself. In the actualized world the
of that other is man's cognizant self—the negate of an existential
dichotomy in which otherness is the object of its experience and the
essential source of its beingness. If the self of man had any
essence at all, he would be predestined and saddled with an incomplete and
imperfect entity of reduced value. Instead, he is free to derive the
value of Absolute Essence incrementally, through the life-experience.
What, then, becomes of man or the self at the
end of that experience?
Although Value is man's essential
reality, his sense of it is provisional, as a negate separated from its
absolute Source. The experiential values realized by each individual
in life are a manifestation of the undifferentiated Essence which is
denied to existents. Every person freely identifies with a unique
configuration of essent-values
during his or her lifetime, and it is this value complement rather
than the individuated self that is restored to its primary (unconditional)
status upon the cessation of biological life. Thus, the human individual
is an autonomous agent that affirms in otherness its denied value in
Essence—not as a "part" of Essence but in the immutable Oneness of
Does this mean that the self is terminated by death?
Yes. Remember that the self is
from the moment of creation, and its value-awareness
is the source of its finitely intellectualized beingness.
Conversely, Essence is uncreated;
its absolute Oneness transcends finitude as well as the differentiation of
a physical world. Value plays a vital role as man's link to Essence,
while man's conditional value-sense
is the means by which Essence gains an "external perspective" of its
How does the Essentialist regard the issue of
Creationism vs. Evolution?
Darwin's theory of evolution is
perfectly compatible with Essentialism's negational ontology in the
space/time context, as is the notion of an Intelligent Designer.
However, the Essentialist believes that time and space are
intellectualized dimensions resulting from man's fragmented perspective,
and that existence is anthropocentric, which means that the
universe exists for man's benefit in the conditional sense and for the
perfection of Essence in the absolute sense. Essentialists also
acknowledge the inaccessibility of Absolute Truth to be consistent with
the principle of Individual Freedom.
What kind of morality system is suggested by
the Philosophy of Essence?
Like everything else in existence,
morality is relative. There is no "right" or "wrong" behavior,
except as determined by the laws of Nature and the conventions of society.
There are, however, higher and lower levels of value-sensibility
which depend on the individual's exercise of free choice in self-development
and in dealing with other human beings. Respect for all sentient
life and the preservation of Individual Freedom are moral principles
consistent with Essentialism. Insensibility to these values diminishes
one's own value in Essence.
Other modern philosophies are founded on
Quality or Value per se. Is the Philosophy of Essence
such a belief system?
Philosophies that have developed in
the postmodern era are typically oriented toward scientific materialism
and have certain beliefs in common. These include:
the rejection of a primary source (considered "supernatural");
a material basis for reality (considered "scientific");
a humanistic (collectivist) ideology that regards consciousness or
"intellect" as a byproduct of material and cultural evolution;
and a non-transcendental
(nihilistic) view of the universe. While Robert Pirsig's
"Metaphysics of Quality" represents a novel departure from materialism,
its moral system is aphoristically defined as "some things are better than
others", its metaphysics is theorized as a hierarchy of values that is
incomprehensible to all but its most ardent followers, and the philosophy
offers no essential meaning or purpose for man's existence.
Since "primary source" implies a Supernatural
Creator, why do you avoid its obvious reference to God?
God traditionally evokes descriptions
that do not apply to Essence. For example, many religious people
understand God as an all-knowing
anthropomorphic Being of masculine gender who exists somewhere beyond the
earth and arbitrarily intercedes in human affairs. Essence is not an
existent, hence is not a Being limited by finitude or subject to the
space/time locus of created
things. Moreover, if Essence were to control the conduct of mankind or
grant "special favors", there could be no such thing as Individual Freedom
which is the core morality of Essentialism. It should also be remembered
that Essence is immutable, which means that it cannot logically be
identified by, or reduced to, relational attributes such as Intellect,
Goodness, Beauty, Love, Power, Beingness, Nothingness, or Contrariety.
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