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Essay/Chapter 19. The transcendent society
Chapter 19. THE TRANSCENDENT SOCIETY
All that we have been saying in this Part Three up to now, may be included, roughly, within what is called «quality of living», since we have always mentioned a possible improvement of the conditons, both material and cultural, environmental or psychological, of man's life. In brief, we have limited ourselves to the phenomenal dimension of human life. But, beyond that, there is another dimension, which we wish to discuss in this last chapter.
1. Phenomenon and noumenon
Beyond the phenomenon, the noticeable appearance, which can be experienced through the senses and expressed through words, there is another dimension, exclusively pertinent to man: the noumenon, which cannot be experienced through the senses, because it is given us in pure spirit, and cannot be expressed in words because it cannot be conceptualized and is ineffable.
The noumenon, nobody knows what it is; we only know that it is experienced in the deepest privacy of our being, in a completely gratuitous manner, as an ethic-transcendent fulguration, that is as a lightning going through our whole being and elevating it to unknown regions and filling our life with a living sense.
From these fulgurations we derive the joy of living —happiness—, the discovery of oneself and of the other as beings with an immense value, with an irreducible singularity; and from this an intimate communion is born with the other person.
Now, in every individual cannot spring up the free ethic-transcendent fulguration if it is not based in the phenomenal joy of a prior aesthetics; and this fulguration cannot rise towards higher regions if it is not nourished with higher and more extensive aesthetic joys.
2. The transcendent society
Individuals, taken in their noumenic, ethic-transcendent dimension, make in whole the transcendent society.
It is easy to understand that everybody, freely willing it, may participate of it: every born person is capable of noumenal experience; the only condition is to accept it.
It is also easy to understand that the specific activities through which can express itself phenomenally the noumenal experience: love acts and expressions, of disinterested help to our neighbour,... cannot be materially rewarded without betraying their own spirit. For this reason, the transcendent society as such, is radically unmonetary. Within it, nothing can be bought nor sold.
Of course, within the transcendent life of every person nobody can interfere at all, and much less the State. The field of action of politicians is strictly phenomenal: they can only bear upon the phenomenal society, which includes the utilitarian society and the liberal society. Politicians can never promise to give happiness to people, because this is a private matter concerning each individual and his ethic-transcendent life; on the contrary they may hope to solve many of the phenomenal causes of many human hardships.
Therefore, in the transcendent society, there is no place for any legislation; the only thing which must be asked and constitutionalized is tolerance and practical respect for each person's singularity and dignity.
3. Phenomenal liberties and noumenal liberty
Often, however, when the prevailing social-phenomenal conditions are anti-libertarian, they stop the noumenal life of every person from expressing itself freely, from becoming a phenomenal action and life. Excessively antilibertarian conditions may even prevent from discovering our own noumenal life: this is called «alienation».
When we say we are libertarians we mean, simply, that our goal is the protection and promotion of all the specific phenomenal liberties of the past and future, in order to carry out without hindrances the emergence of each person's specific noumenal freedom, and his free phenomenal expression.
The specific phenomenal freedoms developed by politicians in every day's life —utilitarian and liberal—, will produce the structural-phenomenal conditions which, far from determining the transcedent life, in practice will free it from its negative, phenomenal conditionings; and will make up the aesthetic basis of the free development of the ethic-transcendent liberty in everybody's privacy and in the communion with all the persons.
1. Phenomenon comes from Greek phainómenon, which means «that which appears (noticeably)»; noumenon comes from Greek noúmenon, which means «that which is perceived by the spirit, without the agency of any noticeable appearance».