Quotation by Meister Eckhart:
Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.
1260-1328 (Age at death: 68 approx.)
Eckhart was one of the most influential 14th c. Christian Neoplatonists, and although technically a faithful Thomist (as a prominent member of the Dominican Order), Eckhart wrote on metaphysics and spiritual psychology, drawing extensively on mythic imagery, and was notable for his sermons communicating the metaphorical content of the gospels to laymen and clergy alike. Major German philosophers have been influenced by his work.
Novel concepts Eckhart introduced into Christian metaphysics clearly deviate from the common scholastic canon: in Eckhart's vision, God is primarily fertile. Out of overabundance of love the fertile God gives birth to the Son, the Word in all of us. Clearly (aside from a rather striking metaphor of "fertility"), this is rooted in the Neoplatonic notion of "overflow" of the One that cannot hold back its abundance of Being. Eckhart had imagined the creation not as a "compulsory" overflowing (a metaphor based on a common hydrodynamic picture), but as the free act of will of the triune nature of Deity (refer Trinitarianism). Another bold assertion is Eckhart's distinction between God and Godhead (Gottheit in German). These notions had been present in Pseudo-Dionysius's writings and John the Scot's De divisione naturae, but it was Eckhart who, with characteristic vigor and audacity, reshaped the germinal metaphors into profound images of polarity between the Unmanifest and Manifest Absolute. One of his most intriguing sermons on the "highest virtue of disinterest," unique in Christian theology both then and now, conforms to the Buddhist concept of detachment and more contemporarily, Kant's "disinterestedness." Meister Eckhart's Abgeschiedenheit was also admired by Alexei Losev in that contemplative ascent (reunion with meaning) is bound with resignation/detachment from the world. The difference is that truth/meaning in the phenomenological sense was not the only result, as expressed in Eckhart's practical guide "for those who have ears to hear", but creation itself. He both understood and sought to communicate the practicalities of spiritual (psychological) perfection and the consequences in real terms.
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