Chapter 19. The transcendent society.
- Phenomenon and noumenon.
- The transcendent society.
- Phenomenal liberties and noumenal liberty.
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 conditions, 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 noumenon26.
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
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.
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