Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2020
Philosophical Turn Towards Religion
Phenomenology of Interior Life and the Trinity
Analysing Michel Henry’s phenomenological schism between Life and World in light of the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity
Michel Henry radicalises phenomenology by putting forward the idea of a double manifestation: the “Truth of Life” and “truth of the world.” For Henry, the world turns out to be empty of Life. To find its essence, the self must dive completely inward, away from the exterior movements of intentionality. Hence, Life, or God, for Henry, lies in non-intentional, immanent self-experience, which is felt and yet remains invisible, in an absolutist sense, as an a priori condition of all conscious experience. In Christian theology, the doctrine of the Trinity illuminates the distinction between the immanent Trinity (God’s self-relation) and the economic workings of the Trinity (God-world relation). However, the mystery of God’s inmost being and the economy of salvation are here understood as inseparable. In light of this, the paper aims to: 1) elucidate the significance of Henry’s engagement with the phenomenological tradition and his proposal of a phenomenology of Life which advocates an immanent auto-affection, radically separate from the ek-static nature of intentionality, and 2) confront the division between Life and world in Henry’s Christian phenomenology and its discordancy with the doctrine of the Trinity, as the latter attests to the harmonious unity that subsists between inner life and the world.