Thursday, September 5, 2019

"a metaphysics of conjoined attention"

"the man who strives to attend [(s’efforce à l’attention)] rejoins the harmonious whole of th[ose] other created minds for whom attention is less difficult, indeed spontaneous, and God himself, in the grasp of the one theoretical and practical reality, of the true and the good.  One finds oneself here at the heart of very contemporary questions about attention conjoined or shared [(l'attention conjointe ou partagée)], [a heart] that radically modifies the conceptual terrain of the question of attention, dislodge[s it] from a posture purely egological, or purely dyadic, in order to situate it within the [whole] system of encounters with others and with the world.  In the ethics of Malebranche, . . . attention serves less to grasp the divine will that man must discern in particular situations than to see the general order-of-perfection of things [(l’ordre general de perfection des choses)].  And, in the realm [(temps)] of thought and of reason in every case (outside of faith in a religious revelation), it is from this correct grasp of the ordination of things in accordance with their perfection that the human will is called to rejoin the movements of preference, choice, attachment, and regard as executed by all minds and once again God himself infallibly and uniformly.  One has here then a metaphysics of conjoined attention [(une métaphysique de l'attention conjointe)].  The moral life would be [then] nothing other than the life oriented, like that of God, towards God himself.  Philosophical by consequence on this way of reason, the ethics of Malebranche is, like the whole of his thought, [nevertheless] radically religious, in the precise, trans-Jansenist sense of a rational confidence in the love of a God who guarantees the solidity ([solidité,] a term very frequent in Malebranche), that is to say the maintenance in being, of entities fragile and inconstant, but whose capacity for attention is a finite thread that, by grace, holds them in union with the Infinite."

     Michel Dupuis, "L'attention et l'amour de l'Ordre dans la morale de Malebranche," L'attention au XVIIe siècle:  conceptions et usages =Les études philosophiques 2017, no. 1 (2017):  70-71 (59-71).