The Lonergan Reader
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28

U of T Press

LWS Front Page


20

of their insights, and making judgments. Lonergan's subsequent accounts of deliberation, evaluation, and decision presuppose his readers' concomitant advertence to their concrete experience of performing these moral operations.

Self-appropriation is a strategy for meeting the demands of our times at the level of our times. The reflective self-possession Lonergan promotes is that of a truly contemporary self, a self experienced in thinking along with the most advanced intellectual endeavors of our day. While appropriation of a less developed self may be preferred to mere self-ignorance, only appropriation of a self at the level of its times equips one with the self-knowledge required to deal intelligently, reasonably, and effectively with the problems of one's times at the level at which they must be treated. Lonergan's invitation to self-appropriation, then, is also an invitation to self-development.

Finally, self-appropriation is self-criticism and self-correction. To seek to take possession of oneself as intelligent and reasonable, free and responsible, is also to discover one's lack of openness, oversights, unreasonableness, irresponsibility, and incompleteness of development. Appropriation of the immanent criteria of objectivity, truth, reality, and value, therefore, involves ongoing self-correction within one's historical community. Accordingly, Lonergan's positive account of the invariant dynamic structure of conscious intentionality is complemented by an account of the principal devices of the flight from understanding - of psychological, individual, group, and general bias. But this dialectical account serves to reveal a deeper dimension to the crisis we are facing. Lonergan's analysis of bias clearly exhibits, in a variety of contexts, the deeper, theological issue posed by our incapacity for sustained development, our moral impotence, and the insurmountable resistance of the problem of liberation to all humanly generated solutions. The enlightenment afforded by self-knowledge cannot reverse by itself the cumulative process of decline: 'A civilization in decline digs its own grave with a relentless consistency. It cannot be argued out of its self-destructive ways, for argument has a theoretical major premise, theoretical premises are asked to conform to matters of fact, and the facts in the situation produced by decline more and more are the absurdities that proceed from inattention, oversight, unreasonableness and irresponsibility.'(39) There is a need as well for religious eman(cipation) To Page 21


39. Method in Theology, 55.