in the word'. Now it seems that even after this victory is achieved, humans can only preserve their status of 'rational beings' if they desist from syllogistic reasoning and in general from exercising their rational faculty.
That this is indeed the case can be seen from the section in the Words that deals with evil 'thoughts'. In chapter 60 Gregory traces these 'thoughts' back to the 'division' of 'simple memory' that resulted from the fall and through which the originally simple human being became 'manifold' and 'composite' in his faculties.70 In chapter 61 he then states that human beings can bring about a return to the original state 'through the permanent divine memory, which has been firmly entrenched through prayer and which through mixture with the Spirit has been lifted from the natural to the supernatural level'.71 From this passage it is evident that Gregory conceives of 'simple remembrance of God' in terms of hesychastic prayer practice. In his treatises on prayer he explicitly identifies the 'remembrance of God' with the 'continuous invocation of the name of Jesus',72 and he warns that one should permit nothing to enter one's heart 'apart from the pure and simple and unshaped memory of Jesus alone'.73 This practice is now projected back onto the original state of man, which effectively turns Adam into the first hesychastic visionary and the fall into a breakdown of simple memory as the precondition for visionary experience: seduced by the lure of the devil, Adam lets himself be distracted and thus 'forgets' God. This allows the conclusion that, though 'rationality' was part ofAdam's natural make-up, it was always transcended. Such a view is already found in earlier authors but Gregory's hesychastic background causes him to draw from it radical consequences.74 In his framework the more adept human beings are in the exercise of their mental faculties the less 'rational' they become, because the very use of these faculties amounts to their corruption. A return to the original state can only be achieved when thoughts are shut out through hesychastic practice. This is then immediately followed by visionary experience: Gregory makes it clear that the 'natural' state of man is nothing more than a point of transition from which one either regresses to the 'unnatural' or advances to the 'supernatural'.75
The reason for this ingenious interpretation is clear: it allows Gregory to sever all links between 'rationality' and intellectual pursuits and thus to integrate the concept of'rationality' into his own model. Significantly, chapters
70 Gregory of Sinai, Words, in PG 150, 1256B [= ed. Beyer, 45].
72 Gregory of Sinai, Opusculum II, in PG 150,1308B [= ed. Beyer, 68].
73 Gregory of Sinai, Opusculum III, ed. Beyer, 78 (not in PG).
74 Cf. Maximos, Ambigua, in PG 91, 1353D.
75 Gregory of Sinai, Words, in PG 150, 1257B [= ed. Beyer, 46].
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