Spirituality Magazine

Modes of Hermeneusis

By Tantrawave @planetbuddha
For our intents and purposes, we can distinguish three different modes of interpretation, i.e., interpretation as phenomenological hermeneusis pertaining to any object, phenomenon, noumenon, thought apperceived, and of course, of text, aesthetics, values, and transcendence.   If ontological relativity with respect to universes of discourses were clearly delineated between two "competing" paradigms as object of debate, there would be no debate, and there would be mitigation of conflict. Without the objects of debate, there could only be recourse to ad hominem name-calling, perhaps sometimes well deserved, but such all-too-human matters are outside the scope of paradigms themselves, outside the scope of ideas and apparatuses of ideas.  One could present a well researched dissertation to an adherent of an ideological system, which clearly, logically, and soundly presents arguments contrary to the adherent's ideological system.  But an ignorant ad hominem attack would end the matter swiftly, which is the way of the Neo-Neanderthal.  When I was a preacherboy, I ran into this problem.  I wanted to share everything I had learned with my fundie peers, to relieve them of their burden of having to believe, of being spiritually blackmailed into believing, preposterous nonsense as articles of faith.  But fat chance of success there.  In all eventuality I became the infidel pariah the faithful flock would suspiciously glance upon from the corner of their eye.

So, the first mode of hermeneusis: the literal.  This is the most elementary level, or mode, of any kind of interpretive activity, and it's also the domain of scientific observation and scientific "debunking."  It is the mode of referring to confluences of meaningful events and objects as random "coincidence" and pareidolia. This mode is the same in both fundamentalism and science, as it pertains to the most basic, commonly shared level of literal understanding (without interpretation), face value, and empirical perception.  It is rather ironic that religious fundamentalism and scientism are so at odds when they are both of the same mode of hermeneusis, i.e., the most common, basic, default-level apprehension-apperception.The second mode: the subtle.  The subtle goes beyond the literal and empirically descriptive to another level of universality.  The literal and perceptual become signs, signposts, symbols, metaphors, synchronicities, and communications of supramundane teleological processes at work.  The third mode: the sublimated.  The first and second modes are not precluded, but subsumed into a nondual whole which has its own synergy that comes together on a personal level.  Call it "experiential," epiphanic, mystical, shamanic, and so on. Example: Mode 1: I see foliages which make a face that looks like the Green Man.  Mode 2: Nature is speaking to me somehow, of its consciousness and some kind of exigency.Mode 3: I recollect all related instances, puzzle-pieces begin to fit together, I become one with the Green Man as nature speaks to me in consonance with my fields that interweave with morphic fields of nature.  And so on.  Scientific debunking, "paranormal" ghost-hunt debunking, and so on, begin and end in Mode 1.  Which is fine because Mode 1 is the domain of "common sense" and socially normative, acceptable "reason."  However, it's a default level.  The common error is when this level, this mode, is raised to being the apex of all hermeneusis.  The common denominator is not the apex, it's the crude, gross, dense, and basic.  

Modes of Hermeneusis

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog