“The thought employed in the following chapters is an inclusive kind, which effects a combination of reason and intuition. This is to prevent thought from falling into the extremes of either an analytical philosophy with no transcendent dimension, or a mystical thought which aims at transcendence without the theoretical principles which would allow an objective grasp of it. Metaphysical thought has essential things in common with both mystical and rationalistic thought without having any need to identify with either.”I couldn't say it any better, but I could say it more often. I find that in many spiritual circles this metaphysical inclusion is sorely lacking. In fact, much of our notions around transcendence and logic has given way to today's recreation pursuit of unearned spiritual experiences, as depicted in the following meme:
There are many places we could go with Bolton's work: the false egoic self is not who we are, but there is a real self that is “the combination of the physical self of common sense and the soul with its world representations”; that “meaningful purpose must be founded on something both absolute and part of the self”; that Reason or Intellect in the Real sense, must involve a “third dimension, that of depth, which reaches to the essence of things and processes”; that our desire to know is not an option but for most it is “random, unfree, and ultimately self-defeating” when the path is for it to be “creative and free”; that when we decide to be hard on ourselves, consider that “that in us which convinces us we are despicable cannot itself be despised”; that free will exists, but in order to be fully free, it requires “causal power, circumstantial knowledge, and a relation to ultimate value”; that tradition matters in civilization, as it has been shown that how it endures is “in exact proportion as it imposes prenuptial and post-nuptial restraints upon sexual opportunity” (a challenging idea in our milieu); and that “if God was purely impersonal, man would in a real sense be greater than God” (good luck with that!).
Phew! You see what I mean. But I will tackle a little more thought around his ideas on Fate and Providence.
We are only predestined by Fate, as it is our physical being based on our human nature (not Nature) that leads to a destiny, yet not necessarily our telos. If we are are just subject to Fate, we are merely a means to an end. Bolton says, “Conversely, Providence comprises of a different kind of order, one which combines with freedom, albeit a freedom with laws particular to itself, by means of which individual beings can realize purposes which are their own, and not of those of the cosmic system.”
Both Fate and Providence are complementary as Providence requires the constraining force of Fate to give it meaning. For instance, the fact we are limited in life years offers a sense of urgency to get on with it (for some!).
The issue is that modernity has rejected Providence for the idea that we can control our Fate through progress. Bolton notes, “If this succeeded in the long term, mankind would have succeeded in opting out of its place in the cosmic hierarchy, while retaining a dominance over nature based on human powers and techniques alone. Nothing further from truth and stability could be conceived, nor anything better calculated to result in a stampede into the jaws of Fate in the its most inhuman form.”
All in all, Bolton is metaphysically on point, but acknowledges completeness will always be lacking. For the “grand unity of things as diverse as the personal and the impersonal, and the different traditions, can only be known in its completeness by its Creator.”
Exactly! So go ask Him.