On Absolutes, Ideals and Those Who Pursue Them
The Consummate Man, the being who chases the Absolute, is less a physical being than a metaphysical reaction to the catalyst, “Why?”
The answer to this question is a compulsion which overpowers even the division between the mischievous factions of bodily and spiritual need. He feels it as a constant sensation tingling in his nerves, a sort of philosophical wanderlust that urges him ever onward. He feels it as an implacable anxiety every stalking the hinterlands of his mind, in the inexorable pressure under his eyelids that will not subside even when he shuts them for the night.
“Why?” is a question at once both viciously impersonal and obscenely intimate. The answer informs everything he does and nothing. He is guided absolutely by the answer for it embodies the Absolute, the Ideal unblemished by the world, stretching immutable through time. It is this, and this alone, to which he devotes himself, offering his honed skills in a show of reverence made especially potent by the indefatigable rationality which compels him.
“Impossible,” the doubters scoff, “for rationality and such singularity of purpose to coexist.” Not so, the Consummate Man shakes his head in reply, with the sad, sober mien of one who cannot understand why others are blind to what he comprehends with such perfect clarity. For the question was asked of his own volition. But once asked, he is as iron shavings to lodestone. His single purpose is monomaniacal, yes, but it is an obsession informed of a need to know, to learn that more might be discovered in his unrelenting quest to answer the question which catalyzes his life’s mission, that indefatigably driving challenge of “Why?”
Yet, nothing he does can touch the Ideal. It grants him only the cold, impersonal serenity of knowing the integrity of his consciousness lives in his work, to be seen and perhaps understood by the kindred scions of the question, “Why?” strewn throughout the ages. It is abstract immortality that is the spiritual reward of the Consummate Man.
It may seem a paltry reward for a life of such fanatic devotion and monastic discipline. But that is ancillary, for pursuit of the Absolute is an end to itself.
The Absolute is that which stands outside the laws of time and nature. It is purity, perfection, all the virtues which inspire men in righteous pursuits. The all-corroding laws of nature and time cannot touch it as they do other matter for the absolute is eternal. And abstract. It is so in two senses. First, in the sense that its existence is a law unto itself. Second, in the sense that virtue transcends all divisions. As an abstraction, the Absolute lacks concrete definition; there are many absolutes yet none is a standalone concept but contributes a part to the transcendent whole.
And this means that the Consummate Man may never touch it. Hence, the primacy of Ideals to his epistemology. It is the Ideal which acts as the mediary through which an individual comes to understand the Absolute. It is the Ideal which the Consummate Man upholds.
An Ideal is also an abstraction. It must be, for thought, before it is expressed through action, exists in the eternal world of possibilities. The Ideal reflects the Absolute reality that could be. The actions of the Consummate Man are directed by the existential need to bring it to be. His labors embody virtue through form. Taken separately, they are directed in accordance with the needs of an Ideal. When the totality of his endeavors is taken, his consistent service to the Absolute is clear. His achievements, to the degree they reflect the Absolute, place the locus of his existence within it. Through consistent service to the Absolute through idealistic thought and action, the Consummate Man achieves an abstract eternal existence in it.