The set-up. Having identified original sin as an inversion of our maxims vs. their intended order of priority, Kant goes on to note that the nature of radical evil makes it empirically impossible to solve. If every particular choice we make is a reflection of our original choice, then a particular choice to reset that order would be conditioned by the inverse choice "in the beginning," and Kant seems to think that there is an incredible, but not absolutely knowably insurmountable, difficulty that we face in the process of redemption.

Another will than just our own. Kant does mention the "envoy from heaven" (Jesus Christ) and surmises that divine grace could, in an obscure and not overtly miraculous way, make up the difference between the particular redemptive maxims we try for, and the rigid order on the two elementary maxims. But in the Doctrine of Virtue he says:

Moral friendship, as contradistinguished from the æsthetical, is the entire confidence of two people, who reciprocally impart to one another their private opinions and emotions, so far as such surrender can consist with the reverence due from one to the other. ... pure moral friendship is no ideal, but is to be found extant here and there, in its perfection. [emphasis added]

He continues:

A friend of man is he who takes an æsthetic participation in the welfare of his race, and who never will disturb it but with inward regret. This phrase, however, friend of man, is more limited than that of a philanthropist, for the friend cherishes the representation of the equality of his species, and has at least the idea of becoming indebted to them, even while he obliges them, where he figures to himself all mankind as brethren under a common Father, who wills their joint and common happiness.

Suppose, then, that when at least two people are friends, not only are their corrupted wills present and conjoint, but a third will, not necessarily God's or some savior's, is also present. If this hyperwill over the wills of the two friends is at least at first innocent enough that these two friends can, through this third will, choose to reset the order on the fundamental maxims of their souls, and by this means accomplish their initial redemption: for all that, is the Form of Friendship, so to say, something we can be friends with (allowing that Forms self-participate in some way, not like exemplars though), and in this unity of spirit transcend the Form of Evil inside us all?

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    The Form of Evil, as opposed to the supreme Form of Good, is a deviate, mistaken, inconsistent, and overweening Form which can take on almost infinitely different shapes in reality for all beings with self-awareness plus the Delphic sense-certainty intelligence, thus Kant rightly intuited the insurmountable difficulty during one's redemption in the narrow right way. Thus his encoded Form of Friendship may not necessarily transcend the Form of Evil even via self-participation (though not clear what that even means) since clearly 2 friends may fall to Hell together on a same deviant path... Aug 26, 2022 at 6:04
  • If the "third will" is not God's then where does it come from? Do you mean that the pair forms a merged person with emergent "hyperwill" of its own? If so, how would it escape the original sin considering its tainted origins? Their mergence is, presumably, voluntary and still reflects the "original choice". In Christian theology even newborns do not escape the taint, and transcendent action is required to break its hold. Why would mere e-mergence suffice?
    – Conifold
    Aug 26, 2022 at 6:09
  • Kant's solution here is more on the side of above æsthetic participation, indeed the only possible way to break out of such a difficult Form of Evil sphere one needs a penetrating æsthetic 3rd eye to identify the pure good from the bad and the mixed inside the sphere as also hinted by ancient Shurangama sutra: today I realize that although I am greatly learned, if I do not cultivate, it is the same as if I had not learned anything; just as someone who only speaks of food will never get full... Aug 26, 2022 at 6:31
  • @Conifold, I came up with this idea when I converted to a nondenominational church group, so it was originally meant to require that Jesus was the Friend of All, etc. However, Onora O'Neill has a Tanner Lecture, IIRC, where she suggests that Kant sometimes cloaked secular claims in religious language to bypass censorship or something, so I'm sensitive to the possibility that Kant would have wanted a secular gloss of redemption, one not requiring God/Jesus. OTOH it could be that he would have Jesus pure, "just a man," but even so the source of the "other will," then. Aug 26, 2022 at 11:08


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