Part 5a: Horizontal Finality, a note
Posted On June 27, 2015
… marriage is more an incorporation of the finality of sex than of sex itself. (Finality, Love, Marriage, 45)
On vacation, so this will be short. Horizontal finality refers to the relationship of an initial potency to an unfolding of that potency both deductively and homogeneously on the same genus of being. Hence, the relationship between the spermatazoa and the oocyte to the multi-cellular organism is one of horizontal finality. This same finality Lonergan argues is what is sublated vertically both into the man and into the woman personally at the levels of understanding, judgment, deliberation, and the actuation of the capacity for self-transcendence. However, that which is sublated in the man and in the woman is not the zygote, but rather the generative procreative act of the union of the man and the woman. It is that act which is the “conjoined plurality” and most important, it is the finality of that conjoined plurality, that is sublated in a man as a husband, but only when he has committed himself to the woman “until death do us part” and likewise into the woman as a wife, but only when she has committed herself to the man “until death do us part.” Take note. This finality can only arise in virtue of the conjoining of two semi-fecundities that are ordered toward such a union. And they can only be sublated within a context of understanding, rationality, and good will that grasps the higher orders of the good life and eternal life which contextualize the conjoined union in a conjugal act. In other words, a union based on the potency of the conjoined plurality of male and female is much different than any other types of human union. It is rooted in the very nature of the semi-fecundities as complementary, and this complementarity is what constitutes the finality.
I cannot depart without mentioning the sad case of the supreme court decision today. It has been long in the making of course, arguably centuries. It means that nothing of this natural finality is recognized as constitutive of marriage anymore. The good news is that the reality of the finality exists whether a state or a people recognize it or not. It is a bit like the worth of life. No state constitutes such worth. A state can only recognize it and it should develop policies that support it. The same is true with regards to the finality constituted by a concrete plurality called male and female. The state does not constitute it because it is a given within the fabric of the organic world as sublated within psychic, intellectual, rational, volitional life, and the finality of the entire universe. It is sad because such a finality does have a unique and crucial role within the unfolding of the emergent universe, and to not recognize it results in a serious blind spot and deformation within human existence. It is the strange reality of sin that it can violate the finality of emergent probability. But never for long without devastating consequences. History has proven this point.
Just some quick thoughts.