In monotheist religions, God is revealed as unknowable, because God is not an object (cannot be perceived, cannot be captured in discursive reason, etc.). Not being an object, one cannot apply Aristotelian logic to questions about God. If one does ascribe some attribute to God, that ascription must immediately be put "under erasure", as deconstructionists like to put it, that is, accompanied by loud warnings that the attribute is being used analogically. To do otherwise is to fall into idolatry. All this, of course, is familiar ground to theologians. Now the problem with this, for one without faith, is that it is all kicked off by the assumption that God is real yet unknowable, and so one might ask: who cares?
The reason to care is that bit about falling into idolatry. Another place this pops up is in Buddhism, where the problem is self-idolatry, that is, believing in the "inherent existence" of one's self, which causes attachment, which causes suffering. But here, the lack of inherent existence of the self is not just something revealed (though it is), but something one can work out on one's one, and indeed in one strain of Buddhism (the Gelukba sect of Tibetan Buddhism), this thinking is the primary practice.
The common sense way of thinking about the self is that it persists as one observes objects. I was not seeing the tree, and now I am. But in stating this, I have also stated that in seeing the tree the self has changed. Are there two 'I''s involved? If so, what lets me connect them? Nor can one say that most of the self has stayed the same, while just part of it has changed in observing the tree, for that would imply that the part that has stayed the same is totally unaware of the part that observed the tree (to be aware, it would have to have changed). And so, in order to persist when it observes objects, the self must not persist when it observes objects. Hence, one concludes: one cannot say that the self persists.
Can one just say that the self is an illusion, that all there really is is change? Then where does the illusion of the self come from? Or to put it another way: how is experiencing an illusory self different from experiencing a non-illusory self? In either case, there is a sense of persistence, which is to say consciousness. Yet if all there is is change, then there can be no spanning of the state before a change to after, for that which spans cannot be the change. Hence, one can cannot say that the self does not persist.
Now this sort of word-wrangling has been going on since there has been philosophy, East or West. Why shouldn't one, as Wittgenstein and contemporary pragmatists urge, just stop wrangling? There are a couple of reasons. The first is that by asking "does the self persist", or more generally, "what is self", and as one goes through arguments like the foregoing, one is in effect deconstructing the self, and that is, according to Buddhists, at least, a good thing to do. It is a way of breaking one's attachment toward self-idolatry. But there is another reason, which I think is more important, though I admit there is a touch of speculation involved. In an earlier post, I quoted Denys Turner in regard to Aquinas' view of intellectus with respect to ratio. Here is another quote from the same book (Faith, Reason and the Existence of God, p. 87):
For Thomas, ... reason's powers, pushed to their limit, open up into the territory of intellectus: and they do so, as I shall argue, precisely in the proofs of the existence of God. In those proofs, we could say, reason self-transcends, and by its self-transcendence, becomes 'intellect'".
As before, I have yet to see whether he can make the case that this applies particularly to Aquinas' proofs of the existence of God, but even if not, I would say they do apply to any exercise of the logic of contrafactory identity (LCI). Now I do not mean to imply that just by rattling off the above arguments over the persistence of the self one has transcended static intellect. All that that does is take one to the limit, but not beyond. On the other hand, what better place is there to contemplate what might be beyond?
At this point, consider again the quote from Merrell-Wolff: "It [the experienced flow of contradiction] seemed to be the real underlying fact of all consciousness of all creatures." What I hypothesize is that dynamic intellect just is the LCI, but seen from its own perspective. It is the LCI that creates the self, with its changing by not changing, etc., or one can say that the self (or consciousness) is LCI doing its thing. From our (fallen) perspective, we imagine our self as separate from that reasoning, which is to say we only perceive it as a nest of contradictions, and not as creative contrafactions. And that arises from our belief that we are an inherently existing self that is doing the reasoning, which is to say, is a result of self-idolatry.
Now I mentioned that, for me, this line of thought is speculation, though given Wolff's statement (which I assume is not speculative, but experiential), I have some confidence in it. What is missing, for me, is what Wolff calls a "shift in the basis of consciousness", which is one way he describes mystical states. From the discussion in the previous paragraph, I would say that the shift is from a basis of self-idolatry, to a basis of LCI. In seeing the LCI-type reasoning from this (self-idolatrous) side all one sees is limit. By "becoming" the LCI, one would then "see" the self being created by the LCI. But, of course, there is no button to push to accomplish that shift -- it just happens. Perhaps by living at the limit (i.e., engaging in LCI exercises) one makes the shift more likely, but that is definitely speculative.