Meontisk eller meonic freedom ("me on" til forskel fra "ouk on"). Greek Philosophical Terms
Ouk on vs. me on. Absolute non-being vs. relative non-being. First mentioned in Parmenides but there is no consistent distinction until the German theologian Paul Tillich defined them as absolute and relative in the first volume of his famous Systematic Theology.
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International Journal of Orthodox Theology 6:3 (2015)
Richard A. Hughes
M. B. Rich Professor of
Religion at Lycoming
College, PA, USA
Richard A. Hughes:
Nikolai Berdyaev’s Personalism:
Personality and Meonic Freedom:
In his seminal work of 1916, The Meaning of the Creative Act, Berdyaev explains that freedom is nothing in the sense that it stands outside fixed, deterministic, and conditioned structures.
Freedom is ultimate, and it has a deep, inexplicable mysteriet that cannot be derived from anything. “Freedom is the baseless foundation of being: it is deeper than all being. We cannot penetrate to a rationally-perceived base for freedom. Freedom is a well of immeasurable depth−its bottom is the final
Berdyaev affirmed the ultimacy of freedom throughout his writing career, and toward the end of his life he clarified aspects of freedom. Freedom is complex and must be understood concretely. It can be outward and formal, but primarily it is inward and real.23 When living within Soviet Russia, freedom is understood as a collective activity which makes real, inward experience difficult to achieve. Freedom is an obligation connected to human dignity. While humans live naturally within the realm of necessity and are conditioned by economics, as Karl Marx thought, humans are nevertheless called to the realm of freedom beyond necessity.
Within the world of necessity freedom functions negatively as free will. In his autobiography Berdyaev emphasizes, however, that freedom is primordial and not reducible to free will.24 Free will chooses between good and evil, but real freedom is essentially an eternal, creative means of knowing the revelation
of truth. Freedom informs personality, but within individualism it is in a state of estrangement. The freedom of personality breaks the chain of necessity through love and reaches out to the cosmos. Freedom is a religious virtue and the primary way to enter the Kingdom of God.
God does not create freedom. Instead freedom is prior to God, and it originates in the Ungrund. Berdyaev borrowed the idea of the Ungrund from the German Protestant mystic Jacob Boheme.
In 1930 he published in Put an essay entitled “The Teaching about the Ungrund and Freedom.” In this paper Berdyaev points out that Boehme defines the Ungrund as a dark, irrational principle which is deeper than being but is within God.
The Ungrund is unfathomable, primordial freedom that is present before the creation of the world and that gives
rise to evil.
On the basis of Boehme’s Ungrund Berdyaev developed his idea of meonic freedom. He derived the word meonic from the Greek
term for nonbeing me on in contrast to ouk on in the Greek indicative tenses. Berdyaev comments: “And I am inclined to
interpret the Ungrund, as a primordial meonic freedom, indeterminate even by God.”25 Meonic freedom has a potentiality which is also “unfathomable and indeterminate will,” consisting of fire26. “Within the darkness of the Ungrund there is a blaze of fire and this is freedom meonic with potential.”27 The will of fire erupting from meonic freedom is an act of creativity, an ecstatic passage from nonbeing to being. (1)* (se nederst)
Whereas Boehme located the Ungrund within God, Berdyaev placed it outside of God. The primary reason was his unwillingness to assign the origin of evil to God. “The dark freedom is unpenetrable for God. He does not foresee its results and is not answerable for evil as regards its origin, it is not created by God. The teaching about the Ungrund removes from
God the responsibility for evil”.
28“The principal effect of situating nothingness outside of God was to mythologize, to give life to the notion of a person possessing a freedom that is absolutely original.”29 Humankind
is the offspring of both God and meonic freedom. God aids humans in their struggle against evil with freedom. God as love,
liberty, and sacrifice struggles against evil, suffering, and injustice by suffering with humans. God has power in relation to being but not in relation to freedom.
As a god-like being, belonging to the realm of freedom, man is called to reveal his creative power.
Creativeness is neither permitted nor justified by religion - creativeness is itselv religion. Creative experience is a special kind of experience and a special kind of way: the creative ecstasy shatters the whole of man's being - it is an out-breaking into another world.
The creative experience is unique and self-sufficient - it is not something derivative; its roots go into the deepest depths.
What is of God in life is revealed in creative acts, in the creative life of the spirit, which penetrates even the life of nature. Spirit can upset and change the 'natural' order.
There is nothing of God in the dull and prosaic normality of the objective world order. It is only in a disruptive "creative ecstacy" act which breaks through that commonplace normality that he is to be found.