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The Orthodox Nationalist: St. Basil and the Monastic Metaphysics I – TON 042920


Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson talks about monasticism and the development of metaphysics within the Orthodox Church.

What is the relationship between Platonic Realism and the Orthodox Monastic Life? Realism, in the broad sense, is the metaphysics of Orthodoxy. This means that archetypes of all things exist and they exist separately (relative to man) from created nature.

Monasticism is the essential expression of the church, or the expression of the Holy Spirit, sometimes called grace, energy or light. These are generally synonymous. In the development of Orthodox metaphysics both east and west, Platonism in its metaphysical aspects is critical. The purpose here is to understand the metaphysics and metaethics of the monastic life.

The monastic life is Platonic and requires a Realistic metaphysics to understand. Needless to say, such a philosophical understanding isn't for everyone, so symbols and the services serve to explain all this to those not philosophically minded. This isn't to say that philosophers don't require the services, but to say that philosophy can understand their inner content. The services, like philosophy, serve man and our limited perception of the world.

As always, without Realism, monasticism, like all other forms of community, appears as a chaotic and ever-changing, accidental agglomeration of people bound together only by utilitarianism.

Community in its Realistic guise is of course utilitarian, but its "usefulness" doesn't make it what it is. The rules of St. Basil and St. Benedict have the same purpose and foundation, but rely on two different languages to formulate. The ontology of both is identical.

Presented by Matt Johnson


The Orthodox Nationalist: St. Basil and the Monastic Metaphysics I – TON 042920




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