By Zaine Ridling

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It’s not just that both are self-enclosed and self-sufficient, that they need not refer for help outside of themselves. Within the transcendental mode, there is not even any point in addressing common problems and trying to resolve them for everybody. Everybody is to resolve them for himself and, though there is tension involved, it is personal tension, the effort to satisfy a personal desire. If you do satisfy it, you can offer your solution to others, but unless they have the proper frame of mind – that is, unless they are very much like yourself – it will not work for them.

A game with rules, of course not a free-for-all sort of anarchistic outburst but a disciplined, serious, painstaking pursuit of an elusive prize, of an absconding insight into the reality of things. Still a game, though; nothing is to be earned here except pleasure and peace of mind, no conceivable function performed 51 Ridling: Anselm and the Logic of Illusion except keeping the monks busy with other than devilish thoughts and intents. But now that doubts have been raised concerning this good-natured, reassuring picture, and the suggestion made that, given how elusive the prize is, and how absconding the insight, the playful monks could possibly be after some other business, we must be on the lookout for some cracks, some gestures that don’t quite square with the official ideology of the operation.

For as long as man lives, all he does is travel” (V 365). One is always on the move, and one is never going to reach one’s destination, so the only acceptable course of action is to continue to strive for it: “[I]t is necessary that those who always want to avoid failure, always strive to do better” (III 274 E307; see also IV 69). And our foolish to give up on the custody of one’s innocence after a few failures – as one gives up on a medicine after failing to be cured at once. The suggestion is, clearly, that a condition for not being a fool is getting involved in painstaking, disciplined work of some sort.

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