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Xavier Zubiri Review, Volume 2, 1999, pp. 65-78

Man, Experience of God: The problem of God in Xavier Zubiri

María Lucrecia Rovaletti

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas
Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Argentina


Truth does not separate us from things in order to carry us towards something different, towards their concept, but, on the contrary, consists in gripping us firmly, immersed formally in the real thing itself.[1]


Introduction: Man and Reality

In every intellection, man is seized by the reality of things and, at the same time, is remitted to them. Therefore, rather than possessing the truth, we can say that it is truth that possesses us by the sheer force of reality, [2] and we are also being dragged along by it:[3] [4]

It is certain, then, that thought must conquer things, but this is so because thought is already moving among them. There is a radical and primary truth of the understanding: its constitutive immersion in things.[5]

Therefore, when man apprehends real things-those which he is in and among-where he is, is in reality.[6] "Nobody begins being in reality or stops being in it; what begins and stops being are the things with which to be in reality" (from an unpublished lecture in 1953-4). "But the essential point is that, with these things, is where we are in reality." [7] For man,

His way of implantation in reality is not forming part of things-as it is true of animals-but being his own as reality before all is a way of absolute reality.[8]

It is "distancing in things rather than moving away from them".[9] Therefore man may feel "lost among things vis-à-vis animals which, at most, may be disorientated in their responses". In this respect, a person is released-from, is ab-solute. While an animal reacts to situations, man, on the contrary, has to project and realize his life: he is absolute though relative.

In every act, man gives shape to the figure of his "I". The "I" comprises the figure of being he attains in his acts. However, man's "being" is shaped not only with respect to things as qualitatively determined, but also with respect to them insofar as they are real.[10]

It is not that man begins by being absolute and then tries to shape himself with things, but rather that he is absolute, living "with" things and being "in" reality, and supporting himself in it. And reality is his support by dint of three characteristics:

I) Reality is ultimateness. Many things fail him, but the appeal to reality man "has" in relation to the constitution of his being is the ultimate happening.

II) Reality is possibility. Man, in his most modest decision, opts for one possibility among others when carrying out a project. But possibilities are possibilities of realizing myself. Things-as a vehicle of reality-exhibit different possibilities in order for me to adopt a particular figure of reality, a particular configuration of my own reality.

III) Man is not only able to make himself, but also must make himself. He must inexorably realize himself. Reality is impellence. It compels him to sketch a system of possibilities, and from among the things available to him man has to opt and thus, in the end, constitute his own reality.[11]

To exist is, then, to exist "with". The structure of this with consists of being in, from, and by.[12] Reality not only impresses us, but also imposes on us, and that is why it possesses us with the characteristics of being ultimate, enabling and impelling. Man lives not only in reality (ultimateness), but also from reality (possibility) and by reality (impellence). Zubiri calls the instrinsic unity of these three characters the "fundamentality or ground of the real insofar as they are the foundation of my personal being".[13] In this regard, "reality is not a kind of 'object' to which my person refers, but the very ground of my absolute being".[14]

However, while grounding, reality constitutes a paradox: "Reality is what is most other than me since it makes me to be, and on the other hand it is what is most mine precisely because it makes me, my being, my reality, I myself to be real".[15] One is not oneself except from and in constitutive otherness, being finite is being the same, i.e., "oneself", and the "other", it is sameness in otherness.[16] Earlier St. Augustine, following another philosophic line and referring to the Word, said "Quid enim tuus quam tu? et quid tam non tuum quam tu si alicuius est, quod est?".

At every minute, the figure of my being defines not only what I am doing or want to do with my life, but also what I actually am. Reality, as the ground of my personal being, exerts a power on me and, thanks to that empowering, I am realizing the figure of myself. Hence,

A person is not merely bound to things or dependent upon them, but also constitutively religated to the power of the real.[17]

Each thing with which we are, imposes on us a way of being in reality. And this is decisive. Our way of being among things and other people, as well as our social organization and history, depends upon the concept we have of reality and its different forms.[18]

I am absolute in my own way, according to the figure of my being that I am here-and-now realizing in my constitutive personalization. I am absolute in a relative way, and this relativity comprises religation.[19] Thus religation consists of the manifest experience of the power of the real, prior to any conceptualization. "Man cannot feel other than religated".[20]

In 1949, Zubiri emphasized that man, even in his most modest and trivial acts, takes a position before "something which uncompromisingly we call 'ultimateness'."[21] Ultimateness is not only something in which man "is", but moreover something in which man "has" to be, in order to be what he is in each of his acts. As a personal reality, he is "in his own right" (de suyo), and he faces reality in an absolute way. While in naked reality man just is, in ultimateness-or in the power of the real as Zubiri would say in his later work-man has to be.

Reality is not a large deep sea in which things are submerged,[22] but rather the very character of each real thing insofar as it is real.[23] "In intellection, we are necessarily in the reality of the thing, "empowered" by it; and this empowering becomes the radical moment of religation.[24]

However, it is not a question of intentional empowering, but rather of a physical, ostensive (though not demonstrative) probing, which throws us towards the reality ground, compelled by the very power of the real.[25]

Reality as a foundation or ground (in, from, by ) exerts a power upon me, by dint of which I realize myself as a person. Each real thing controls the character and the power of reality simpliciter.[26] Each real thing is "more" than being this or that. It is precisely by being real that it is real in reality itself.[27],[28] This more, this excess in the impression of reality, must be made precise, not because of any particular difficulty for us, but rather because the real thing itself is ambivalent. "As a consequence of this duplicity of moments, each thing is intrinsically ambivalent. This is what the word 'enigma' means, in its etymology and in its primary sense." [29] The real thing is that odd imbrication of being "this" particular reality, as well as being the presence of reality itself. And this enigmatic character is not foreign to the power of the real.

It is precisely because reality is an enigma that we are physically religated to the power of the real in a problematic way.[30] In an enigma, it is not a question of intellection, but rather of compromising for the sake of being.[31] If reality is an enigma, the determination of my relative absolute being is, for the same reason, enigmatic: this is the enigma of life. Also, the experience of the enigmatic constitutes restlessness. Restlessness is not agitation but, on the contrary, something "closer to a way of quiescence, that odd mixture of rest and motion; a kind of dynamic rest".[32] Therefore,

As the power of the real is enigmatic, understanding finds itself not only "before" reality, but also thrown by reality "towards" its radical enigma. Understanding is not only intentionally "driven forward", but physically "thrown" forward.[33]


Since it is a character of what is real, the understanding sees itself compelled by material things themselves to resolve that "enigma".[34]

Now, this "throwing forward, actualizing that towards which we are being thrown, is the etymological meaning of the word "problem". The Greek verb pro-ballein itself means to throw something forward. Problematism then is not primarily the character of my progression, but rather the character of the very actualization of the real".[35]

Problematicism and Man

Thus the real "gives me pause to think",[36] throwing me towards a problematic actuality. Because the real is problematically actualized-and only because of this-intellection is and has to be inquiring by virtue of an intrinsic necessity. That is why problems are not "created", but rather discovered or found;[37] though not aside from things. "The problematism of an object then arises in the very act by which we become aware of it".[38]

"To inquire is then the way to intellectively know the problematic reality insofar as it is problematic" [39] and, in our case, it is a question of intellectively knowing reality in a very precise "towards": the radical ground of each thing.[40] It is a question of progression of the real as perceived towards the real beyond. That it is "beyond"-i.e., the goal of the progression-is something essentially problematic. That "towards" may be something else, but it can also be the same thing present inside itself, in which case it stops being a reality purely and simply added to the first one. Reality is now actualized as fundamentality, as "reality ground".

On the other hand, reason is constitutively provisional,[41] and every progression, compelled to opt for one way or another, becomes problematic and by trial and error.

Thinking, then, is not only open beyond what is intellectively known, but is also intellectively knowing, activated by reality itself insofar as it is open. "Because of intellectively knowing in openness, thinking is inchoate intellection".[42] As inchoative, thinking explores different paths, though some of them will lead us astray from the reality of things. At first sight, they do not seem to be different, but to differ only infinitesimally. However, those ways that were initially so close, when prolonged in their own line, can lead not only to disparate but even to incompatible intellections and even realizations. "That slight initial oscillation may lead to essentially diverse realities and ways. A thought is never only a point of arrival, but also a new starting point".[43]

And that is why reason is always subject to possible canonical "revisions", by virtue of which not only the content of what has been presented as real is reconstructed, but the very orientation of the subsequent search as well. "To progress in this open world is to move in a 'formal' though provisional intellection of what it is to be real".[44] What then is the goal of that progression?

Given that reality itself is in control, with each real thing I take a position with respect to reality as well as to the power of reality. And the enigma of life then consists precisely of the ambivalent character which the very attempt to shape my being has.

First, when the enigma takes possession of me, it makes life itself constitutively problematic. Man, whether absolute or relative, apprehends himself in constitutive restlessness: it is not a question of coming and going from one thing to the other, but of questioning oneself: "What is going to become of me?" and "What am I going to do with myself?". As Augustine of Hippo said in another context, "Quid mihi facta sunt" (Conf. I, 1). But this is not the "inquietum est cor nostrum" as restlessness on account of not having attained complete happiness. In Zubiri, there is something more radical and prior: the restlessness about man's being, "this restlessness that arises from the inside of a man that cannot be quieted: it is a voice that orientates him in reality".[45]

Secondly, problematism appears as a "voice of one's conscience".[46] It emerges from my radical depth-sometimes clearly, sometimes darkly and even in various forms-dictating to me a form of reality that I must adopt to determine my relative absolute being.[47] The voice of one's conscience, though coming from oneself (Heidegger), constitutes in Zubiri the voice of reality,[48] Physically and not only intentionally, reality throws us towards its depth. The question of the "voice" had already been discussed in 1935 ("Filosofía y Metafísica")[49] when he claimed that "the logos is, then, fundamentally a voice which tells us what must be said. As such, it is something which forms part of sensing itself, of intimate sensing". "But, at the same time, this voice is the 'voice of things'; it tells us their being and makes us say it. Things support man by their being. Man says what he says by the force of things".[50]

As man is a relative-absolute being, he is inexorably compelled to opt for one figure of reality. That is the ground of the real itself, which compels me to adopt one particular figure of reality that is transformed into a search: a search for how real things unite in reality itself so as to opt for one particular form of reality.

According to the way the reality itself of each real thing is articulated, so will the human attitude before the real be distinct, and likewise the horizon of possibilities open to an intellection in order for a person to attain his figure of reality.[51]

Once man has positioned himself in reality, it (reality) may be presented as object-reality (i.e., the object of knowledge of naked reality only): or it may be actualized as reality for me, as my own fundament or ground: it is then ground-reality. What does the problematic enigmatic presence of reality mean? Problematism means that man feels religated in a "restless" way, with regard to his being, and with it he sets out to question what the power of the real is. These are two aspects of the problematic character of the fundamentality or ground of the real.

Thus enigma, inquietude, and the voice of one's conscience are nothing but manifestations of the problematic character that reality holds for man.[52]

Problematism and God

As a moment of things and determiner of my personal "I", the power of the real is "more than the power of each particular thing; yet at the same time, each real thing, in its concrete reality carries with it both physically and constitutively, the power of reality".[53]

The power of reality needs to be grounded on something which cannot be another concrete reality, but must be the ground of reality itself.[54] And as reality grounds my relatively absolute reality, it has to be an absolute reality, that is, an absolutely absolute reality. This is what is nominally understood as God.[55]

Thus the absolutely absolute reality formally exists in things, constituting them as real. In this respect, the possible efficient causality of God with respect to things is a further interpretation of the formal and primary presence of God in things. That is why Zubiri claims-taking concepts from Nature, History, God-that "God is not a reality besides real things and hidden behind them, on the contrary He is in the real things themselves in a formal way",[56] though different from them. Therefore, every real thing exhibits itself as intrinsically ambivalent.

Thus the ambivalence of the intramundane real-being formally and at one and the same time "its own" irreducible reality as well as the presence of reality itself[57]-now becomes extended to the extramundane real: real things are not God. However they are formally constituted in God.[58] "Each thing, on the one hand, is strictly speaking its own irreducible reality; but, on the other hand... it is formally constituted in the absolutely absolute reality, in God-this unity being the solution of the enigma of reality".[59]

Thus real things, by being the medium of the power of the real, by giving me their own reality, are giving me God in themselves.

Now let us consider the nature of the power of the real, insofar as it is grounded on God. On the one hand, it conveys God as "power" and, on the other hand, it is a "seat": things are a manifestation of God: they are not God, but are much more than effects of God.

"To be a seat [of power] is to be a deity". Zubiri claims in El Hombre y Dios in a chapter written in 1973-5. "Deity is not, indeed, a pseudo-divine vaporous character" but rather the very reality of things which, as power, manifests their formal constitution in God.[60] Zubiri insists that deity is not identified with God, a reality in and by itself,[61]-because we still do not know enough to make that identification-but with a "characteristic" according to which man is shown all that is real. Insofar as it is grounded in God, deity is not a property things possess, but rather something which formally constitutes them.[62],[63].

As naked reality, things now comprise the realm of the "profane" and, insofar as they are an internal moment, they constitute the religious in the sense of the religated. We are not speaking of two kinds of objects, but rather of two dimensions in every real thing. Thus every object, even the most profane, is not foreign to an attitude of discovery of the religious. Enigma then expresses the articulation of naked reality and the power of the real in terms of profane and religious. Enigma does not reside in its own obscurity, but rather in "the condition things have when the character of reality as power, the deity, affects them",[64] and also insofar as this character of deity grounds the actualization of personal reality, the very configuration of personal being itself.[65]

Now, the reality of each thing grounds the different forms in which power manifests itself.[66] However, all dimensions of reality are in the end contained in the triple character of ultimateness, possibility and impellence. From here, all dimensions of the deity are of reality itself and not of our personal subjectivity.

By 1949, Zubiri claimed that "the discovery of the deity is the principle of all possible experience, be it historical, social or psychological. We know nothing about this character, we are ignorant even of whether it is a simple character or something which is reality in and for itself. The only thing that we know is that, seen in the deity, things appear to us to reflect that character and they in turn are reflected in it".[67]

Primarily, it is the deity which is patent to us, rather than God. "Deity is the name of a broad area which reason will have to make precise. However, reason would not do this unless religation had previously placed intelligence in the realm of a deity by the mere fact of existing both personally and in a religated manner." [68]

Thus we could discuss whether the word "deity" does not presuppose the existence of God under the form of power. This is not so, because man has always experienced the deity as that "universal and dominating character" in all reality, independently from and even without the existence of God. On the other hand, "only by being placed in this line of power to which we see ourselves religated, will we be able to start moving towards a God who, from the religious point of view, deserves man and this religious behavior.[69]

Now, as deity constitutes one character of the real, intelligence is forced-or we might say pro-jected-to resolve this enigma. And this is already a progression of reason: the deity as a characteristic takes us to the "deity-reality" or divine reality.

Reason makes us to be here-and-now in reason, though problematically. And when the starting point is religation, the problem is actualized as "the problem of God". "Therefore, that problematism of ground-reality is not something that leads to the problem of God, but rather something that formally is the problem of God".[70]

Thus the problem of God formally belongs to the constitution of personal reality, in as much as that personal reality has to shape its own figure by being absolute "with" things, being "in" reality. And it is in religation where God is experientally and enigmatically manifested as a problem. Already in 1937, Zubiri postulated that it was a question of

...porter le probleme sur son vrai terrain et d'essayer de préciser la dimension ontologique de l'homme dans laquelle nous découvrons sa religiosité. On verra alors que, du point de vue d'une interprétation de la réalité inmediate de l'etre, la réligion est une dimension constitutive de l'etre humain anterieur a toute specification de ses facultés.[71]

Nonetheless, the problem of God does not imply, in the first place, a religious faith or religious confession. Zubiri claims that one thing is "the intellectual position taken toward the problem of God affecting beliefs, and quite another thing for it to be a matter of pure belief. This is so because whatever can be philosophically said about God enters into many religions and even into the beliefs of those who profess no positive religion at all.[72] Furthermore, in El Hombre y Dios, he states that atheism, theism, gnosticism and agnosticism are negative, positive or suspensive responses, whose justification takes us back to something more primordial like the discovery of God in man.

But it is not a scientific problem either, as "all the essays written to try to accomplish this are just sad memories of an outdated and completely indefensible attitude".[73] The religious problem of man is recorded in a rigorously transcientific dimension. No science can claim to have the radical perspective of such a phenomenon. Not even theological science which...commonly is expected to adjudicate the pertinence of the man's religious question."[74],[75]

Nonetheless the problem of man today is characterized, not exactly by having or not having an "idea" of God, but rather by something more fundamental : by denying the existence of such a "problem", not "a merely incidental question, but rather one which is primary in the order of foundation".[76]

The theological tensity

The course of development towards the ground, that is, the way of religation, shows that it is reasonable to understand this ground as God transcendent in real things. Ground-reality displays itself as a "deployment of the religating ground in the very constitution of the 'I', that is, of my life".[77] "Therefore, the experience of making myself a person is an experience of the absolute",[78] and the experience of the absolute insofar as it is an experience of my personal being is precisely the experience of God.

For each of us, the problem of God as ground is nothing but the problem of man: what is to become of me? and what am I to do with my life? Thus the God of each person (my faith) is not identified with the idea that the person has of God, but with the real figure of the ground which the person one has been forming in the course of his or her life. "Faith is an integral act of man in the face of reality, and one which is neither primarily nor exclusively a theological act".[79]

Thus God is primarily a ground for being rather than a help for acting. And so God is not primarily what man addresses himself to as the "other" world, but rather just He who constitutes this world. God is present in things without being identified with them: the fountain of all transcendentality is transcendence in things and, due to this, God is accessible in them. Quoad nos et quoad omnes res, God exhibits Himself as realitas fundamentalis.

Now, in man, that presence becomes "personal presence". Man is experience of God, not insofar as he has a particular experience of God, but rather insofar as he is formally the experience of being fundamentally grounded in God. "Man is... the finite manner... of being God.[80]

And religation now becomes "a remitting experience of God". Then what is the unity of these two experiential moments, that of God giving himself in experience and that of man experiencing God"? It is a theologal tensity, a dynamic tension constituing my absolute being in the Absolutely Absolute Reality... In this tensive unity, man is not identified with God, but not being God does not mean a mere numerical distinction; rather it is a real and positive manner of precisely being in God. "God makes me to be a person without being God".[81] Zubiri calls this real distinction and its implications "theologal tensity".[82]

This tensive unity is a precise kind of personal causality. In it, the moment of God constituting my relatively absolute being is prevailing and initiating: we are not God, but are in God and come from God. Man consists in being in the process of coming from his ground and therefore being in Him. God has a pre-tensile function and we are only tensive and tensile. And thus the metaphysical essence of the theologal bond between God and man lies in that tensive unity.[83] The restlessness of the absolute now translates the tensive unity between man and God. "The essence of religation is precisely the theologal tensity between man and God".[84]

Following Gutierrez Saenz, we can say that, in religation, there is an idea of intentionality, though with a contrary sign. In intentionality, an object is in front of us and we are in front of it. In religation, however, we are not in front of, but "coming from" it. Just as the correlate of consciousness is always an object, the correlate of religation is the ground.

Being an open religated essence, man is driven towards God as ultimateness, possibility and impellence. That access is based on the dynamic tension between God and man, which occurs in a double motion: from God towards man and from man towards God. It is a constitutive, individual and historical tension.

Thus there is a personal tension between two absolutes: He who grounds and who is making he who is grounded to be absolute. The manifestation of divine transcendence is realized by trial and error, from an inchoate access (a pre-tension) to a full access or interpersonal tension, where God gives Himself as a gift and man responds with his faith.

Thus religation constitutes the inchoate access, and submission is already the full display of that theologal tension. It is an access rather than a meeting; it is a remission:

The surrender consists in my incorporating formally and reduplicatingly into my happening, as something brought about by me, the happening through which God happens in me. That God occurs in me is a function of God in life. . But the surrender to God is to make life into a function of God.[85]

The possibility of faith is not something man possesses "besides" the knowledge of God's reality, but rather this knowledge is intrinsically the opening onto the ambit of a possible faith.

Considered from the standpoint of the ground, being seized by the power of the real takes on a new character: that of being dragged or swept along. This dragging compels us to accede to the ground, but that is only an inchoate access. In order for dragging to be come to fruition, it is necessary to accept it, and this constitutes the submission to God as a ground.

Thus faith is submission as a radical form of access. It is a personal, steady and optional adhesion; ultimately, it is make our own the attraction with which the personal truth of God moves us towards Him.[86]

And as God-the Absolutely Absolute Reality-does not become present before us immediately but only as a "towards", it ineluctably becomes necessary to justify His existence intellectually. And as the goal we are pursuing is a "towards", it is never univocally determinable nor determined by reality itself. It is one of my own possibilities of direction as well as one of my own possibilities to realize myself. God is present in the real only directionally, but man does not know that and has to prove it. So it is not a question of proving the existence of God, but rather of proving that that which exists is really God.

Truth and Grounding

We have already discussed how it is that intellection, by virtue of being transcendental impression, is always an intellection of reality which is "towards". However, the goal of that "towards" is never univocally determined by reality itself. That which the "intellection towards" formally displays before us is a realm of different possible determinations of the real, not as possible directions in the abstract, but rather as "my" possibility of direction, with regard to my realization.

Now, a possibility becomes actual not by the mere actuating of potency (Aristotle), but rather by "the appropriation of possibilities".[87] When I appropriate a possibility, I am determining a way of being in reference to others; this is volition. "Volition is ultimately and radically the determination of one possibility as my way of being".[88] And, as there is a diversity of possibilities, all appropriation constitutes a choice. "While choice is forced by a need to be relatively absolute, the goals of volition are nonetheless open by virtue of intellection".

"The will to be" thus becomes "the will to truth". Reality as actualized "towards" leads precisely to the will to real truth: "this is the problem of the unity of intellection and appropriation in the determination of my being".[89]

Then that "will to truth" can opt for a "will to ideas" or for a "will to real truth". These are two quite different possibilities: the first is to ideate reality as if ideas, in and by themselves, were the "canon of reality"; whereas the second makes man appropriate the possibility of truth that reality is offering him and submit to that truth, making it the figure of his own reality. Now, the mode in which reality is offered to me in the will to truth depends upon the type of radical unity of the intellective process:

a) In the case of object-reality, man addresses reality in order to transform it (technique, technology) or to know about it: this is the genesis of science.

b) If reality presents before me as ground-reality, I can either limit myself to knowing its reality by reducing it to "object-reality", or transform it into the "ground for me".

Now, the actualization of "ground-reality" is "the possibility of being my own being, but being so in a grounded manner",[90] (italics added). We opt for the will to grounding not as a mere act which follows upon the intellection of "a" ground, but rather insofar as it makes what is intellectively known into the ground of my being.

At first sight, it might be thought that the way of religation is anthropological, though more complete than other ways (St. Agustine, Kant, Schopenhauer).[91] But this would presume that religation consists in a relationship between man and things; and what we are dealing with here a matter of "the very respective and constitutive structure" in which the power of the real occurs. "Religation is not something human as the opposite of the cosmic, but the very happening of all reality in man and from man in all reality".[92] I form myself among real things and with real things; and thus the turning towards them is not a relationship consequent upon my needs, but the respective structure of my realization. From the standpoint of the way of religation, God "is not only that which possibilitates and impels (be it in an intellectual, volitional or sentimental way), but He is also formally and at one and the same time the ultimateness of the real, of this reality which is cosmos and with which we are making our being", (italics added).[93] Religation does not affect man exclusively "as opposed to everything else", but rather it affects everything the same way.[94] But in man religation is actualized formally and in this actuality, everything, including the material universe, appears as a field illuminated by the light of the religating ground, a field where things appear organized in the perspective of ultimate grounding.

Religiosity, for Zubiri-Aranguren says-does not consist of feelings about or experiencing of God, with or without the a concurrent aggregation of explanations, but rather rigorously and essentially a "life in truth".[95] Let us now say that this living in truth is primarily a "will to grounding". And the will to grounding not only starts an intellectual process through which the ambit of a possible submission to God is constituted, but it is also the beginning of real submission to what intelligence knows.

Religation constitutes the radical attitude of man before the reality of things, though not as such but rather as real. The metaphysical character of religation is its primary sense, though not the only one. From this perspective. El Hombre y Dios constitutes the development of the doctrine of reality qua ultimate, enabling and impelling power. That is why Forero considers "religation" as the presupposition of Sobre la Esencia.




[1] Zubiri, X., Sobre la esencia, Madrid, Sociedad de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1962, p. 93 [hereafter, SE]. Texts are quoted from the English edition, On Essence, Washington-Madrid, The Catholic University of America Press, 1980 (translation and Introduction by Robert Caponigri).^

[2] Zubiri, X.: Inteligencia y Razón, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1983, p. 92-3; 15, 63 [hereafter, IR].^

[3] Zubiri, X.: Inteligencia Sentiente, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1980, p. 242 [hereafter, IS].^

[4] Zubiri, X., "Qué es investigar": «Discurso de recepción del Premio "Ramón y Cajal" a la Investigación Científica» (18-10-1982), en Ya, 19 de octubre de 1982, p. 43. Also reprinted as "Qué es investigar" in Rovaletti, M.L.: Hombre y Realidad, Buenos Aires, Eudeba, 1985, p. 87 [hereafter, QI, following pagination in this edition].^

[5] Zubiri, X.: Naturaleza, Historia, Dios, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 9º edición, 1987, p. 21 [hereafter, NHD]. Texts are however quoted from the English edition, Nature, History, God (translated by Thomas B. Fowler, Jr), Lanham, University Press of América, 1981.^

[6] From the point of view of intellection, we say that man is presented with two orders of reality: the "suchness" (a thing such as it is) and the "transcendental" (that thing as reality simpliciter). These orders are internally articulated so that each works as a function of the other. Man creates his life with real things (the suchness order), but where he really is in reality itself (transcendental order).^

[7] Zubiri, X., El Hombre y Dios, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1984, p. 80 [hereafter, HD].^

[8] HD, p. 51.^

[9] IS, p. 70.^

[10] Zubiri distinguishes between "reality" and "being", which translate at the human level into "person" and "personality", respectively. In every real thing, there are two transcendental moments: a primary and radical one, "reality itself", de suyo; and another one, based on the previous one, "being" as a reactualization of the real. In this respect, "personality" is what takes shape through the realization of one's own acts-acts which are not mere accidental additions, since every each stage one passes through is a strict personalization. By personalization, one is never the same, though one is always oneself. (Cf. Rovaletti, M. L., Hombre y Realidad, Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 1985, p. 71, note 17)^

[11] In 1963 (NHD, p. 326) Zubiri states that "man makes himself among and with the things; he does not receive from them the impulse for life, he receives, at most, stimuli and possibilities for living". And this impulse is something previous, "it is something on which man relies upon in order to exist, to make himself".

In 1942 (NHD, p. 197-214) he claims that "these things and potentialities are neither given to man (Greeks) nor set (idealism) but offered for existence, and the primary way they are offered to us is not the patency of their 'physical entity'. The so-called 'things' are instances (as necessity of actuating) which confront us with problems". Which ones? The problem of each instant and "in turn the problem of what things are in themselves". (NHD, p. 284). But things are also offered to us as "means", that is as possibilities that allow us to act in order to resolve those problems. As Ellacuría emphasizes ("La religación, actitud radical del hombre", Asclepio, vol. 16, 1966, p. 97-155, cf. p. 104); see endnote 24), man does not receive from things as such the impulse for living, as they rather "threaten us and put us in danger of becoming alienated and despersonalized".

We remark here that "problems" as a need to act and "means" as possibilities that allow resolution correspond to impellence and possibility, two of the three dimensions with which Zubiri characterizes the grounding of the real. The third or ultimateness, at this ontological stage, corresponds to the "patency of their physical entity" and it seems to be at a second level. The phenomenological-Heideggerian character is highly evident here. However, even at that time Zubiri's metaphysical orientation (preface to Nature, History, God) separates him from Heidegger. Thus Zubiri stated that those problems in turn face us with the problem of what things are in themselves. He had already claimed that "our plans"-contrarily to an animal's responses-are based on what things are.

In Sobre la Esencia, the ontological-Heideggerian character disappears. Primarily, things are displayed or actualized before us under the formality of reality (or reity as stated in IS), and as things are real, they have the condition of becoming "meaning- things" (SE, pp. 128-131, 230-231, 276-279, 365-366). In his books Inteligencia Sentiente, Inteligencia y Logos, Inteligencia y Razon, he shows that things qua real "vehicularize" or convey reality.^

[12] HD, p. 138-139.^

[13] HD, p. 83-84.^

[14] HD, p. 139.^

[15] HD, p. 84.^

[16] NHD, p. 386.^

[17] HD, p. 93.^

[18] QI, p. 87.^

[19] HD, p. 101.^

[20] NHD, p. 450. ^

[21] NHD, p. 311.^

[22] HD, p. 87; IR, p. 18.^

[23] In every structurally considered apprehension, besides the moments of "affection" and "otherness" we have the force of imposition that, in the formality of reality, imposes on us as "force of reality" (IR, pp. 92-93; IS, p. 63). In IS (pp. 199-200), we can see that in every impression of reality, as well as in all conceptualization of reality, there are three moments: the de suyo, "force" and "power". Formally different (IS, p. 195), those three moments describe all impressions of reality (HD, pp. 287-8 and 28). The dominance of one over the other two has given rise to various different kinds of intellection throughout history. (SE, pp. 451-453).

a) as naked reality: a thing is "more" than what it is because of being colored, heavy, is a more of reality. This is the Greek physis before the anagke or necessity.

b) as force of reality: every real thing, because of its constitutive respectivity or transcendental aperture, has a formally functional dimension. It is force as necessity, which has given way to subsequent conceptualizations (fate or moira, mere succession, law, causality...) Functionality is not a relation between one thing and other things, but rather a structural character of the field itself qua field. Things depend on one another as they are intrinsically included in the field, which is constitutively transcendental. A field is not something that surrounds things, but a realm of reality things generate among themselves.

c) as power: everything conveys the very power of the real, that is, the "dominance" of formality of reality over the content of each real thing. Dominance is power (Hacht). And in man, power will be the dominating characteristic of the reality that compels him to make choices. The dynamism of personalization is this appropiation of possibilities. And in this respect "all the diversity of individuals in the course of their lives, their social constitutions, their historical deployment in different times, are a significant experience of the power of the real" (Zubiri, "El problema teologal del hombre" in Teología y Mundo Contemporaneo, Homenaje a Karl Rahner, Madrid, Cristiandad, 1975, pp. 55-65. Hereafter, PTHHD). Animism is, for example, an interpretation of power. ^

[24] Forero. J.G.: "¿'La religación', presupuesto del Sobre la Esencia?", Cuadernos de Filosofía Latinoamericana, Bogotá, oct-dic. 1983, Nº17, pp. 73-39.^

[25] HD, p. 98.^

[26] HD, p. 144.^

[27] ['reality itself' is the translation of "la" realidad.-ed.]^

[28] IS, p. 121.^

[29] Gracia, Diego, "El tema de Dios en la filosofía de Zubiri", Rev. de Estudios Eclesiásticos, 56, 1981, p. 72.^

[30] HD, p. 145.^

[31] Ellacuría, I., "La religación, actitud radical del hombre", Asclepio, vol. 16, 1966, pp. 97-155.^

[32] HD, p. 146.^

[33] HD, p. 146.^

[34] NHD, p. 313.^

[35] IR, p. 64.^

[36] The real does not only occur in primordial intellection, but it also gives us pause to think (IR, p. 34). Reason, as intellection of what things "give us pause to think", is an intellectively determined progression, by mere intellection. We move, then, from the primordial apprehension of "the real as real" to the subsequent intellection of what a thing is "in reality" (in as much as it is real, IS, p. 255). As this insufficiency affects the content of the notes, in subsequent intellection, the content becomes richer. Reason is not primarily reasoning, but mainly "intellection of the real in depth". Reality is now actualized, but with ground. Secondly, reason is canonical intellection as it intellectively knows beyond, supported on the canon of reality already intellectively known (IR, p. 57) and finally, reason is intellection in search of the real beyond.^

[37] IR, p. 64; "Sobre el problema de la filosofía", Revista de Occidente (1º época), Nº CXVIII, pp 83-117 y Nº CXLV, pp 51-80, 1933, this reference, p. 57 [hereafter, SPF].^

[38] SPF, 57.^

[39] IR, p. 64.^

[40] HD, p. 142.^

[41] IR, p. 22, 63.^

[42] IR, p. 31.^

[43] IR, p. 31.^

[44] IR, p. 22.^

[45] Gracia, op. cit. 1981, p. 72.^

[46] In 1971 in "El Hombre y Dios" and speaking about divine remittance, Zubiri claimed that in the "voice of one's conscience", the deity is before us audibly. In "El Ser Sobrenatural: Dios y la Deificacion en la Teologia Paulina", 1936-37, (in NHD), speaking about the 'pneuma' (spirit) as the mode of being of personal beings, Zubiri claims that the spirit is a constitutively vocational being and that God is the intrinsic destiny inscribed in the very being of man. " Here what is called not only "is called", but "consists in being called," in such a fashion that its being hinges upon its "divine vocation" (NHD, p. 458).^

[47] HD, p. 104, 137.^

[48] IR, p. 97-100.^

[49] Article prior to "En torno al problema de Dios", partially published in NHD as "¿Que es saber?" (What is knowledge).^

[50] Zubiri, X.: "Filosofía y Metafísica", Cruz y Raya Nº 30, 1935, p. 46 [hereafter, FM].^

[51] HD, p. 110.^

[52] Gracia, op. cit. 1981, p. 73.^

[53] PTHHD, p. 79.^

[54] In NHD (1949, p. 326), Zubiri states that what drives man is not his own personal reality, since he is radical nihility. Man presents himself to himself not only as someone who needs to make himself, "but moreover by himself he does not have the strength for the ongoing creation of himself".

But despite the "character of self-abandoned reality, and of the fact that he is nothing without the things with which he has to realize his life, man appears before himself as a reality "supported" (Ellacuría, op. cit., p. 104-5). This nihility is used in SE in its biological sense-that from which it originally arose its first philosophical formulations (ibid., p. 101). In SE, he emphasizes metaphysical caducity again. "Attention continues to be paid to the constitutive indigence of the human being, but he is presented in more metaphysical terms: contingency (SE) is studied not as a structural moment of reality, but as a metaphysical condition" (ibid., p. 102). From his lectures on the problem of God, man is presented as an "achieved" or "relative" absolute.^

[55] HD, p. 148 and 152. In HD (p. 152) Zubiri clarifies this conclusion to show we have reached God qua God, that is, "that absolutely ultimate reality, the source of all possibilities which man has in order to live, and on whom he supports himself to have to be. None of these moments considered in isolation constitutes what is usually understood by 'God', or the meaning of this term within the whole history of religions".^

[56] HD, p. 148.^

[57] HD, p. 145.^

[58] This paradox is treated again in Zubiri's analysis of the unity between God and man (HD, pp. 151ff). The distinction is not a separation, because in the interpersonal order persons are not one confronting each other, but are involved with one another in various ways. "Not being God is a formal way of being in God. The word not is just the gift of a reality so that man can be a self that is not God. It is a formally active "not" (HD, pp. 352ff) that prevents us from falling into pantheism. This is a real distinction but not a separation, which formally implies theologal tension.

As an ontological dimension, Zubiri says "religation makes patent the condition of a being, man, who is not and cannot be understood in himself, but only from outside himself" (NHD, p. 330). "Thus it is clear how, without blurring the distinction between God and creatures, everything there is in them of positive is owing to the presence of God in them" (NHD, p. 385)^

[59] HD, p. 149.^

[60] HD, p. 156.^

[61] NHD, p. 411.^

[62] According to Diego Gracia Guillén (Conversations in Madrid, September 1986), the word "deity" was gradually left aside after the lectures in 1971 and 1973. The appendix in HD which illustrates the kinds of deity, was not reviewed after its publication in 1973.

In this sense, the word "deity" means remittence from God and cannot be introduced into the metaphysical perspective. Even the term "religation" seems to have been replaced by for "empowering", "ground-reality". It is possible to think of a close correlation with the foregoing discussion of deity. It is probably due to the fact that El Hombre y Dios constitutes an unfolding of Zubiri's metaphysics and not a treatise on the philosophy of religion in the usual sense of the word.^

[63] If we consider Zubiri's lecture in 1971 "El Problema Theologal del Hombre" in its three parts-first, "El Hombre y Dios", el problema teologal del hombre", second, "Religion y Religiones", and third, "Cristianismo"-we can see that this book corresponds to the first part of the lecture, which was also discussed in another lecture in 1973 at the Gregorian University. That is why the word "deity", corresponding to the second part of the lecture, does not appear as assiduously as in other writings and lectures. Thus, as pointed out by I. Ellacuria in the preface to HD, Zubiri considered that that book should be completed with another one referred to as "Historia de las religiones" and with a third one on "Specific Problems of Christianity".

Thus the lectures by I. Ellacuría (op. cit.), D. Gracia, M. Cruz Hernandez, Babolin ("La filosofia della religione secondo X. Zubiri", Filosofia, 1980, XXXI, pp. 83-88), Savignano ("In memoriam X. Zubiri, una filosofia della religione", Rivista dei Filosofia Neo-Scolastica, 76, 1984, pp. 409-426), and Rovaletti (La dimensión teologal del hombre; apuntes en torno a la religación en Xavier Zubiri, Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 1979; Hombre y Realidad, Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 1985), give the concept of "deity" a significant role in the problem of God. In this respect, Pintor Ramos's criticism on the insistence of some authors on this point, "even to the extent of almost placing the burden of interpretation upon it", as in Rovaletti (1975), do not accord with those precisions.^

[64] Ellacuría, op. cit., p. 140.^

[65] A condition, in order to be such, requires an understanding to become a meaning. (Ellacuria, op. cit.). Man finds a capacity in each thing-different in each one-to become a "meaning" for life (Lecture in 1971). In 1973, during the lecture at the Gregorian University (PTHHD), he gives the name condition to that character by virtue of which real things adapt themselves or not and in some way or other, to be a ground of what man does with them. There are things of a good or bad condition, and this does not imply manichaeism. Now, no condition can be independent of the real properties which a thing has. "And that by virtue of which a thing has a just, in the case of religation at least, power.".is exactly, in the case of religation at least, power" (o) Thus a condition is the articulation of meaning and reality-thing (HD, p. 19). My personality also includes the meaning-things which are not pure and simple reality, but which are nonetheless moments of the construction of each thing with my life (IS, p. 273)^

[66] In an appendix (HD, pp. 89-91), Zubiri distinguishes between the power of the real and things as powerful forms. The latter can be found "in rather old religions in the form of gods", insofar as they rule things. In his lectures in 1966, Zubiri enumerated some of these characteristics of the deity: transcendence or power of the Most High, living power ruling man's life, source of living things, solidarity ground, ground of the organization of the real, power of success, close-by power, dominating power of life and death, ruling power of human collectivity, power of destiny, guiding power of the unity of cosmos, power of making things sacred, power of moral virtues, power that fills everything, power lasting perfectly for ever (Cf. Ellacuría, op. cit.).^

[67] NHD, p. 312-313.^

[68] NHD, p. 329.^

[69] Ellacuría, op. cit., p. 133.^

[70] HD, p. 110.^

[71] Zubiri, X., "Note sur la Philosophie de la Religion", Bulletin de l'Institut Catholique de Paris, 1937, p. 339-340 [hereafter, NPHR].^

[72] NHD, p. 301.^

[73] NHD, p. 301.^

[74] Gracia, "Religación y Psicología Profunda", Naturaleza y Gracia, Vol. 18, Fasc. 1-2, 1971, pp. 83-118. p. 133.^

[75] Zubiri distinguishes between "theologal" and "theological". In the theologal, we are searching for "an analysis of human reality as such, taken in and by itself. If in reality we discover a dimension that constitutively and formally comprehends an inexorable meeting with the ultimateness of the real, that is what, in a provisional and nominal way, we can call 'God', and this dimension will be what we call the 'theologal dimension' of man. (HD, p. 371). Theological refers to a theoretical reflection whose unity comes from the theologal level.^

[76] NHD, p. 309.^

[77] HD, p. 160.^

[78] HD, p. 327.^

[79] Pintor Ramos, A.: "Dios como problema", Universitas Philosophica (Bogotá), Año II, Junio 1985, p. 40.^

[80] HD, p. 327.^

[81] HD, p. 353.^

[82] HD, p. 354.^

[83] HD, p. 355.^

[84] HD, p. 363.^

[85] HD, p. 233 [translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo].^

[86] HD, p. 221.^

[87] Man, besides the properties that arise "naturally" from the substance, has other properties by "appropriation". He is not only the subject-of, but subject-to having to appropriate possibilities by meaning; he is a moral reality. (Rovaletti, Esencia y Realidad, Buenos Aires: Lopez Libreros, 1978, pp. 15-17). The Greeks only distinguished notes by their content or by "nature", and not by the way of being proper to, or "by appropriation".^

[88] HD, p. 243ff.^

[89] HD, p. 243.^

[90] HD, p. 52.^

[91] If the cosmic ways lead to a God as "enabling" and "impelling" and the antropological ones to a God as "ultimateness", this has been so because their starting point rests on the opposition between res naturalis and res eventualis. (HD, p. 127).^

[92] HD, p. 129.^

[93] HD, p. 127.^

[94] NHD, p. 327.^

[95] Aranguren, J.L.: "Zubiri y la religiosidad intelectual", in AA. VV. Homenaje a Xavier Zubiri, Madrid, Revista de Alcalá, 1953, pp 13-19.^



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