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Bulgakov. Absolute Subject Category: Society Ordering of society

Society. Hypostases
Love monohypostatic
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Statically, the unihypostatic personality is the center of self-affirmation and of repulsion; it is egocentric.

Self-love

For the monohypostatic subject, for which this love is self-love, that does not overcome the limitedness and self-enclosedness of the subject.

But how are self-revelation and life realized in the absolute trihypostatic spirit? In its general scheme, this self-revelation cannot be different from that of any spirit, even a relative one. Every spirit has its own personal self-consciousness; then, the knowledge of its nature or its self-revelation; and finally, life in this nature, the living-out of this knowledge as its own reality and life. In the self-revelation of the spirit there are, therefore, a certain ideal element, the "word," and a real element, the connection between this subject (person) and the predicate (the definition of its nature), its own being and life, its is. This scheme of self-revelation corresponds to the life of every creaturely spirit in its limitedness, which is due not only to its monohypostatizedness but also to its state of becoming. This limitedness is expressed, first of all, in the fact that nature in the self-revelation of the spirit is for it the given and, in a certain sense, an extra-positing, an object in the subject, which for this reason does not fully possess it. And therefore its life in this nature is also the given or the state of the object, which has place in it or above it, but also does not belong to it in an I-like manner, is for it a kind of "it," not fully hypostatized (whence different forms of the subconscious). Finally, the self-revelation of I is, of course, its love for this its own, a love which is its life. But this love is limited in a twofold sense: it is partial according to object and self-enclosed according to the monohypostatizedness of the subject, for which this love is self-love that does not overcome the limitedness and self-enclosedness of the subject.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Trinitarity and the Third Hypostasis

The monohypostatic absolute can — not for the sake of love, but in its omnipotence, — indulge its despotic capriciousness.

It can create for itself playthings of creation if only for the purpose of destroying them.

The absolute that is not trinitarian, that is not love (if it is at all possible to conceive such a product of mystical reveries and philosophical fantasy), can remain alone, enjoying itself in the boundlessness of its egotism (which is rather the image age of Lucifer). It can — not for the sake of love, but in its omnipotence indulging its despotic capriciousness — create for itself playthings of creation if only for the purpose of destroying them. But this nightmarish image, full of contradictions, can arise only in the morbid imagination.

Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
The Creation of the World, p.122

Monohypostatic Absolute is limited from within

Нельзя любить только себя, жить только в себе и только для себя, замкнувшись в себе, не выходя из себя.

Бог-деспот, самовластник, себялюбец, изнемогающий в самозамкнутости Своей и имеющий мир лишь для удовлетворения эгоизма, не знающий себе в себе равного, не есть Бог.

1. С. Субъект в отношении ко всему или к миру («единственный и его собственность»). Абсолютный субъект обладает миром абсолютным образом. Мир есть его самораскрытие. Абсолютный субъект любит себя и созерцает себя в мире абсолютной и самодовлеющей любовью. Но в этом имении для себя, обладании для себя и только для себя заключается граница, о которую претыкается наше мышление абсолютного. Если абсолютный субъект един, то он и одинок в своем обладании всем. Любовь к самому себе через свое откровение есть предельный меτафизический эгоизм, а вместе и ограниченность, неспособность выйти из себя, некоторая онтологическая бедность и скудость. Всякое существо, которое сознает себя соборно, богаче этого моноипостасного абсолюта, изнемогающего от своей абсолютности, которой нечего с собою предпринять, некому и не для чего открываться и некого любить. Это люциферическое, своекорыстное себялюбие, (которого как-то не почувствовал в своем Deus sive natura Спиноза), уничтожает достоинство абсолютного, делает его игрушкой своего эгоизма, даже лишает его жизни. Нельзя любить только себя, жить только в себе и только для себя, замкнувшись в себе, не выходя из себя. Любя себя и свое, нужно любить не себя. При наличии предмета абсолютной любви можно любить его не личной любовью, и в своем любить не себя, но другого.

Только такая любовь есть любовь свободная, не знающая границ. Как я не существует в единственности своей, но есть член некоего мы, так и любовь абсолютная не дается абсолютному, моноипостасному одинокому субъекту, но требует преодоления границ метафизического эгоизма. Как я есть функция многоединства, соборности, так и абсолютное отношение к миру требует освобождения от метафизической единственности. Бог-деспот, самовластник, себялюбец, изнемогающий в самозамкнутости Своей и имеющий мир лишь для удовлетворения эгоизма, не знающий себе в себе равного, не есть Бог. Таким образом, возникает постулат Божества, которое, будучи единым, насколько это проистекает из его абсолютности, было бы в то же время и не-единым, но в себе соборным. Понятие абсолютного, как миродержца, поэтому также ведет к апории, ибо противоречиво. Оно должно одновременно удовлетворять требованиям единства и многоединства; первое отвечает абсолютности существа, второе — абсолютности образа обладания. Таковы постулаты.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Главы о Троичности
1.C. Субъект в отношении ко всему или к миру

Моноипостасный абсолют имеет для себя все как некоторую данность или объект, след., не-я, которое принадлежит ему, как его содержание, но не является им самим, след., изнутри его ограничивает.

Достаточно на мгновение противопоставить пресветлой троичности моноипостасность абсолюта, который имел бы для себя все. Он не мог бы иметь его иначе, как некоторую данность или объект, след., не-я, которое принадлежало бы ему, как его содержание, но не было бы им самим, след., изнутри бы его ограничивало. С другой стороны, он имел бы это в одиночестве, для себя, причем ему отовсюду противостояла бы граница не-я, пустоты, в которой бы он задыхался от одиночества и обособления. Т. обр. ясно, что идея абсолютной моноипостасности ведет к явным безысходностям, и от них освобождает только триипостасность, в которой жизнь есть себяотдание и себяобретение.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Главы о Троичности
9. Пресвятая Троица как любовь

Попытка я люциферически в себе замкнуться, возлюбив себя абсолютной любовью, делает его только жертвой этой своей ограниченности, утверждаемой как абсолютность (фихтеанство). Граница я жизненно снимается в любви, где я сохраняется, погубляя себя, выходя за свои пределы к другому я, и тогда оно становится образом Абсолютного Духа в отношении ипостасного своего бытия. Абсолютности ипостаси решительно противится ограниченность я, взятого в единственном числе, она требует выхода за эту грань. Но в тварном естестве этим выходом только вновь утверждается эта ограниченность, ибо здесь рядом с одним я ставятся другие я, множатся абсолютные центры, и этой множественностью свидетельствуется их всех относительность. Это могло бы отсутствовать только в том одном случае, если выход в другое я не явится выходом и за пределы его существа, но останется внутри его, следовательно, совершится не в единоипостасном, а в не-единоипостасном духе. По христианскому откровению, Бог и есть триипостасный дух, имеющий три лица и одно существо, Единица в Троице и Троица в Единице: «Единица, от начала движимая к двоице, остановилась на Троице» (св. Григорий Назианзин). Абсолютное единоипостасное, имеющее себя и все безусловным образом, явилось бы не только contradictio in adjecto, но и выражением метафизического эгоизма, абсолютной ограниченности, сатанизма. Но если постулат не-единоипостасности Абсолютного Духа доступен и для духа ограниченного, то тайна этой не-единоипостасности в осуществлении не может быть им самим раскрыта, она становится предметом откровенного учения о Пресв. Троице, которое, в доступной для тварного сознания степени, и приближает к ее постижению.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Ипостась и ипостасность
2. Природа духа

This creaturely world is alien to Him; His devouring will is for us the unfathomable arbitrariness of the Absolute, which is inhuman and unworldly because it is supramundane. Besides fear and trepidation, He inspires no other feeling: the cold, airless expanses are impenetrable for the rays of love. This is a horrible metaphysical nightmare from which creation seeks to hide in its immanence. The being of the world desires to enclose itself in the world, to save itself from this icy Absolute by not recognizing it, and under the pretext of ignorance (agnosticism) to immerse itself in practical atheism, i.e., cosmotheism. This is the other side of the transcendentalism of the Absolute, its dialectical antithesis: the absolutization of the immanent and relative.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Epilogue: The Father, p.391

The monohypostatic God for His own sake needs the world and thus the world enters as a necessary element into the divine life. God before creation is not what He is after creation, and on the other hand, the world becomes God, in so far as it enters into the inner life of the Godhead. In this way the sinister tints of pantheism, theocosmism, appear in the doctrine of monohypostatic theism.

At the same time the world placed in direct and immediate relation with God is powerless to endure this relation without losing its own self-existence. … the absolute losing its own absoluteness as a result of the absence of a proper inner life, and the relative being exhausted in the embraces of the absolute. The monohypostatic absolute subject is power which in itself has no manifestation and needs the creation of the world. It is the open embraces which are empty and need creation, but as for the world, it is the sacrifice of the hunger of the Absolute, doomed to combustion in Its fire.

Up to this point, before it is a question of a personal God, an absolute Subject, faceless divinity as a divine aggregate of the powers of the world willy-nilly dissolves in the world in the twilight of pantheism (or what is the same, atheism). But once an absolute Subject, the living God, pre-worldly and transcendent, is thought, in the limits of monohypostaseity the proposition becomes interminable and the cosmological problem irresolvable.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrine of the Wisdom of God
in St Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers

«Нарциссизм» падения сатаны

В «нарциссизме» кроется начало падения сатаны, который залюбовался собою, возлюбил свое эгоистической, самоутверждающейся любовью.

In the creaturely, sinful world, love for one's own, that is, in essence, love for oneself, acquires the character of self-love and prejudice, in virtue of which this «one's own» is prized not at its essential and true worth but precisely as one's own; this is the egotistical admiration of one's own image, «narcissism». Herein lies the principle of the fall of Satan, tan, who fell in love with himself, who came to love his own with an egotistical, self-asserting love.

Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
The Divine World, p.105

После последнего разделения, когда мир станет Царствием Божиим, сатана и ангелы его останутся снова и окончательно бесприродными, погрузятся в состояние метафизической пустоты: ипостась, жаждущая природной жизни и ее не имеющая,огонь не угасающий и червь не усыпающий,«огнь вечный, уготованный диаволу и ангелам его» чрез изгнание его из мира.

What can the life of fallen angels be like and in what do they become firmly established? After their fall, having been torn away from God, they lost the possibility of living by divine nature and uniting with the assembly of angels to be reciprocally completed in it. Their existence was devastated and became like a spiritual death, but personal immortality and thirst for life remained inalienably theirs. They kept the spiritual-psychic structure of life with all its possibilities: will, reason, the capacity for psychic movement, but all this became without nature and empty. But up to a time this emptiness is filled up parasitically; evil is nourished by good and hatred by love through combat with them, originally in the heavenly world and after their downfall from heaven in ours. "Woe to you living on earth and in the sea, because the devil has come down to you in powerful fury, knowing that not much time remains for him" (Revelation 12:12). The fall of Satan occurred, so to say, with a view to the human world in which he desired to become "the prince of this world," its god, to ravish it away from God and thus fill up the lack in his own life.

The existence of Satan and demons is parasitical; they are nourished by the fumes of this world; they strike at its sinful passions and strive to corrupt it, making of it their own nature which they are lacking. Therefore the seducer, "the ancient serpent," already appears in the garden of paradise gaining the victory over our ancestors; so too in the desert he endeavors to tempt the Lord already as master of the world, by showing to Him in visions all his dependent kingdoms. And further he will lead an uncompromising, last struggle with the true King of the world. He enters Judas after the morsel is given to him (John 13:27) in order to destroy the Lord through him ("the prince of this world comes" [John 14:30]), but it turns out that he is "judged" (16:11) and "driven out of there" (12:31), and that "the powers are removed from the principalities and authorities" (Colossians 2:15). But until this definitive expulsion from the world and casting down "into the lake of fire" (Revelation 19:20; 20:10), the devil will wage a tireless struggle for this world, right up to the last rebellion of Gog and Magog which he will stir up (Revelation 20:7-8) and to the final attempt to become human in "the man of sin, the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). In this manner, although Satan and his angels have shut themselves off from the possibility of spiritual growth and knowledge, being separated from God, still in their parasitic existence they display a certain progress in evil and the work of evil; their metaphysical egoism becomes dynamic out of its stasis; their emptiness crosses over into efficacy.

But after the final division, when the world will become the Kingdom of God, Satan and his angels will be left again definitively without nature; they will be submerged in the state of metaphysical emptiness: a hypostasis thirsting for natural life and not having it — the fire that does not go out and the worm that does not sleep — "the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" through his expulsion from the world. This state of naked subjectivity without any possibility of being freed from it and of slaking it, which people who have devastated themselves also share, represents the hellish fire of ultimate metaphysical suffering, the state of hypostatic life without nature. It has as its source the cold of egoism, freedom in non-love. God leaves Satan in his own wilfulness, in that spiritual blind alley to which he led himself. Can this experience of emptiness, of the definitive bankruptcy of rebelling creatureliness remain fruitless and is there no longer any path of repentance? The church keeps this question under the ban, as one that cannot be accommodated to our current consciousness.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
Jacob's Ladder: On Angels
V. The Life of Angels, p.114

The burning in hell is the torment of love

Love cannot be monohypostatic, egocentric, self-directed. This is a contradictio in adjecto.

St. Isaac the Syrian once expressed the thought that the burning in hell is the torment of love.

Thus saith the Lord GOD: “will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.(Eze 28:11-18).

This extinguishing of love for God leads to the awakening of spiritual self-love, egocentrism, isolation and self-blinding, self-immersion, the seeing only of self, excessive pride in oneself. Satanical pride is a manifestation of the extinguishing of love for God; it obscures the image of God, the image of sacrificial and self-renouncing trihypostatic love, in which each of the hypostases acquires its own personal center not in itself but outside of itself, in other hypostases. Opposed to this humility and altruism of divine love is the pride of satanical unlove, which is incorrectly called "self-love," for this is a contradiction in terms: Love cannot be monohypostatic, egocentric, self-directed. A self-lover has no one and nothing to love in the case of this identity of the subject and object of love. Such an egocentric self-godhood inevitably contains the ineradicable, insurmountable consciousness of all the falsity of these pretensions, of this self-deification. Creatures know their creatureliness and, in this sense, their nondivinity or "nothing"-ness. Creatures are conscious of their createdness or givenness for themselves. To attribute one's own to oneself is a plundering, which is expressed in a cold fire of envy and a hatred of God to which this envy gives rise. It is expressed in a devouring rivalry with Him, in a madness of despair, in writhings and convulsions of envy. Here, creatures must continuously convince themselves that they are the equals of the Creator and even superior to Him. This is the fatal chain of satanical inflamement: unlove, pride, envy, hatred, despair, the dark flame. St. Isaac the Syrian once expressed the thought that the burning in hell is the torment of love: extinguishing love in themselves, beings created by love, in love, and for love do not stop being tormented precisely by what constitutes the inner law of their being. From the radiant flame of love, they become submerged in the dark, freezing, hellish fire of envy, hatred, malice. Hatred is the negative energy of love, love with a minus sign. But it preserves its "absolute" value, that power of love by which these beings are defeated in their spiritual suicide, which does not know death. The spirit that is in the image of God is a loving being; this spirit is created for love, which determines this spirit's entire life even in a fallen state. Satanical wickedness is the dark infernal face of inextinguishable love, love that has turned into its opposite.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
I.3.2. Creaturely Freedom as the Possibility of Good and of Evil, p.156

Individuality

Born in natural sin, human personality is not only a hypostasis created by God in His image, but also an individuality, which keeps aloof and separates itself from others.

After the fall every hypostasis began to live after its own reckoning, as an individuality, and together all proved to be enslaved to the debt of sin, and became children of wrath — τέκνα όργῆς (Eph 2:3).

Individuality is the reflected light of the Morning Star on a human being whom he desired to pervert according to the image of his metaphysical egotism — a multi-hypostaseity without love.

One ought to note particularly the consequence of natural sin indicated above: human personality is born in it not only as a hypostasis created by God in His image, but also as an individuality, which keeps aloof and separates itself from others. Through this the natural, ontological equality of people as multiple centres not only of a similar but also of a common single life becomes obscured and perverted. The wholeness of the human race collapses and comes unravelled together with the loss of chastity, and in place of multi-unity multi-difference appears, bad plurality, in place of concentricism there is eccentricism. This plural number contains the satanic lie, namely the like gods, which knows not only good but also evil, i.e., its own limitedness, and which is always carrying with itself its own shadow. Individuality is the reflected light of the Morning Star on a human being whom he desired to pervert according to the image of his metaphysical egotism — a multi-hypostaseity without love. It is in this sense the consequence of original sin: fallen humankind knows hypostasis only in the form of individuality, and the whole of humanity decomposes into individualities which logic considers possible to unite only in the abstract, by mentally inferring in brackets universal signs.

The loss of one's soul for the sake of Christ, that is, liberation from the captivity of individuality, is the condition of Christian salvation. But in the fallen world individuality is the sole form for the life of the soul, just as a sinful body is for the life of the flesh, and only life in Christ liberates the hypostasis from individuality, leading it into the multi-unity in love that is necessary for it, into the Church. Thus, we repeat once again, quite out of place is the question of whether the individuality of Adam has no decisive meaning for original sin: before the fall into sin there was no individuality, separating him from others, and Adam really was the representative of the entire human multi-hypostatic race. In him and his person every human hypostasis lived and acted harmoniously. So it was before the fall into sin, but after the fall it became otherwise: every hypostasis began to live after its own reckoning, as an individuality, and together all proved to be enslaved to the debt of sin, and became children of wrath — tekna orges (Eph 2:3).

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
II. The Power of Original Sin for the Mother of God, p.26

… The fullness of the human race, as well as of the angelic assembly, exists from all eternity in Divinity, and this fullness is revealed in the simultaneous creation of the angels and in the gradual creation of human beings in the course of time. The entire fullness of humanity, however, which is actualized in reproduction, is already precontained and precreated in Adam. But this pre-eternal eternal existence in God does not signify some other, preexistent life of the creaturely spirits, a life that is replaced by earthly life and represents a segment of it, as it were. The human world does not preexist «in heaven» as in another world, but it does find there a sufficient basis for itself: as far as its nature is concerned, the human world is based on the Proto-Images of the Divine world, and its hypostases are rooted in divine life. The creaturely hypostases are images of the noncreaturely Divine hypostases. These multihypostatic images, in their singularity, do not reflect God's trihypostatizedness; they can only reflect its individual hypostases. But can the Paternal Hypostasis be the Proto-Image for the creaturely hypostases when it itself is revealed in Sophia, the Divine world, not in its own countenance, but through the Son and the Holy Spirit? Even if one can admit the existence of holy angels corresponding to the Paternal Hypostasis, angels who are always submerged in Divinity as in Mystery and Silence, the image of the human hypostasis can only come from the hypostases that reveal the Father, both in His proper divine world and in the creaturely world.

The first of these hypostases is the hypostasis of the Logos; He is the Proto-Image of the creaturely human hypostases, and they are His rays: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). The human spiritual countenances are images of the Logos, the Man from Heaven. Insofar as the Logos as Christ gathers them into His body, into the Church, it is said about them that “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28).

Together with the Logos, the Third hypostasis is also the Proto-Image for the human hypostases, because the Third hypostasis reposes upon the Son and, together with Him, reveals the Father in the heavenly humanity. (In the Incarnation this hypostasis corresponds to the divine maternity, manifested by the Virgin Mary, the Spirit-bearer.) In other words, the human hypostases have a double Proto-Image, which belongs to the heavenly humanity in its two countenances: the Logos and the Holy Spirit. This also corresponds to the fact that man, created in the image of God, was created as both male and female, and the context of Genesis 1:26-27 compels one to see the fullness of the image of God precisely in this bi-unity. In man, a clear distinction is established between male and female, expressed in the fact that the female was made out of one of the male's ribs (not directly out of the dust of the earth) and, in general, in the fact that the male plays the dominant role, since he bears the image of the demiurgic hypostasis, the Logos. Male and female, differing as two distinct images of man, bear, in their unity, the fullness of humanity and, in this humanity, the fullness of the image of God: they bear the imprint of the dyad of the Son and the Holy Spirit, who reveal the Father. In their ability to reproduce, they contain the image of multi-unity that is inscribed in the human race as a whole. Thus, man is an uncreated-created, divine-cosmic being, divine-human in his structure by his very origin. He is the living image of the trihypostatic God in His Wisdom.

Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
The Creaturely Sophia
Man

Tri-hypostatic love vs mono-hypostatic

Моноипостасная любовь к себе есть порождение себялюбивой ограниченности и гордости, но не такова любовь к себе триипостасного субъекта, ибо она есть откровение своего как не-своего, раскрытие природы себя как другого, не гордость самоутверждающейся ограниченности, но смирение самоотвергающейся, безграничной любви. Эта любовь Божия есть не только предвечный акт жизни, но и содержание его, неразрывно соединенные между собою, и в этом соединении и заключается основание откровения Божия твари, перехода от трансцендентного к имманентному.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Ипостась и ипостасность
4. Бог в Себе и в откровении Своем.

It is now impossible to say about the trihypostatic God that which inescapably has to be said about the monohypostatic monad that needs the world: the life of the trihypostatic Godhead, as Love, as pre-eternal mutuality and self-revelation, is absolutely self-sufficient and complete, it needs no one and nothing and cannot have any supplementing. The trihypostatic God lives in Himself, i.e., in the Holy Trinity, and this Life is a pre-eternally realizing Fullness. Hence the world is not necessary for God himself and it is powerless to add any supplementing to the Fullness. The world is entirely a creation of the generous and magnanimous love of God, a love which gives and which receives nothing. God is necessary for the world as its foundation and goal, but not the reverse. By trihypostaseity the solitude of the Absolute subject, his aloneness, is overcome, and thanks to this victory the monohypostatic God is compelled as it were to create the world. The Trihypostatic God is one in His triunity, but not alone…

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrine of the Wisdom of God
in St Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers, p.146

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