On 26/02/2013, at 9:20 PM, Peter Dillane wrote:

Thanks Carrol,

I think I'm more understanding. I certainly find it more reliable to see relations than a construct  of parties to the relations because I falter when I try to characterise the " ahistorical nature of man".
I am not making a pretence of profundity I just can't imagine how I would perceive this.
Nancy observes about the 1917 poems in her book on Time in Eliot that for Eliot an ultimate purpose was necessary for meaning and that he asserted a willed belief in an experience beyond the temporal. (I'm ready to be corrected if I have it wrong sorry Nancy)
I wonder how one wills belief but I think  it is the basis of much of the scholastic tradition with which  I was indoctrinated early.
Thank you for the reply, I'll give you leave on the free will issue.

cheers Pete

-----Original Message----- 
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
Of Carrol Cox 
Sent: Tuesday, 26 February 2013 7:45 AM 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: The " abstract - isolated - human individual" was Can less be more? 

It is the concept of "the individual" in the modern sense that is at issue. 

... it is not meaningful to think of ourselves as existing independently of 
those relations. .

The context is provided by the sixth Thesis on Feuerbach: 

***Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the 
human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. 

In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations. ...

Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence, is 
consequently compelled: 

1. To abstract from the historical process and to fix the religious 
sentiment as something by itself and to presuppose an abstract - isolated - 
human individual.