Monthly Archives: July 2021


In the article cited above in the title (Kisner, 2020), Kisner effectively articulates the fundamental problems with ontology (οντολογία). Ontology is derived from the ancient Greek notions of ὤν (ṓn, “on”), present participle of εἰμί (eimí, “being, existing, essence”) + λόγος (lógos, “account”). As Kisner points out early in the essay, the notion of ontology does not need to be interpreted through the history of the ancient Greek notion of being and logos but can simply have a more broad appeal as a methodological way of organizing; “a framework for defining the domain that consists of a set of concepts, characteristics and relationships”1 which could be ascribed under the rubric of sociology, computer science, and even nursing. However, in all these fields a certain Occidental orientation to knowledge (gnósis: a knowing, knowledge) which has already been designated from a particular epochē assigns an orientation to the ‘how’ of what shows itself (e.g., as being). It brings with it a pre-understanding of temporality as presence (and present-at-hand) in Heidegger’s critique of technology as standing reserve. It also takes in René Descartes’ hermetic sealing of the subject as an ‘I’ that thinks and is essentially separate from substance (active/passive voice). This orientation brings into presence knowledge as a system of ‘correct’ statements organizing and making possible any such thing as science. Kisner goes on to bring out the ‘colonialization’ which is inherent in ontology as such. His thesis is that it is almost impossible or very difficult to even separate the notion of ‘indigenous’ from this history. Furthermore, it forcefully places an essential condition on how ‘indigenous’ can let itself appear and further does violence to any possibility which might exceed the pre-canned approach to exactly what could be hidden by the notion of ‘indigenous’.

In my reading, Kisner is trying to bring out the totalization which pre-conditions even our grammatical structures of active and passive voice and has lost sight of middle voice(s) both culturally and historically. We have even seen this in the suppressed notion of the ‘other’. Many people these days have talked negatively about the ‘othering’ of people. In this case ‘othering’ means already understanding the other as the same as my idea of the other. Here the ‘other’ has been degraded into a notion of what I already think the other ‘is’. It is hard to see how this conception of the ‘other’ is true to the notion of the ‘other’. Since, this notion already contains the meaning of what the other is/means, I think it violates any originary or perhaps pre-originary intent of any possible excess to the idea of the other mistakenly taking it as the same as, for example, my idea of the other. This seems to me to be a case of failing to apprehend what the word ‘other’ could be pointing us toward. If the other is thought through the forceful, pre-apprehension Kisner warns us of in the ‘indigenous’ peoples, we have extinguished even the possibility for the ‘other’ to mean anything other. Kisner recommends an ‘ontological respect’ which he seems to think can escape the ‘re’ of ‘respect’ as reenactment, redo, remember, etc. and chooses patience over “all mouth and no ears”. It also indicates perhaps a more genuine orientation to ontology as the possibility for hearing a voice, an other, which has not been overwhelmed by the tidal history of ontology in the West.

If there is this possibility let’s think about how it might be articulated. Could it be that ontology as an organizational structure which to some extent determines, explains, makes possible orientation and significance can be thought as an economy? This notion of ontology makes possible reward and punishment. It accounts for what may be apparent but lacking any necessary connection to the particular phenomenon it claims as its own. If this is the case, it brings with it totems and taboo, punishments and rewards. One thing feminism has taught us is that such indigenous traditions as widow burning and foot binding interrupt the tendency for patience. The need to act sometimes distinct from the patience of allowing the otherness of the other to show itself may require an intervention albeit not with the same violence as the predatory act. We have also seen from Marx’s critique of capitalism a need for action, whether we agree or not with his recommendations, to counter the inherent monarchism submerged in the abstraction of capital. These issues bring up a complexity to the popular notions of cultural relativism.

Even now in the United States we are wrestling culturally with the covid-19 virus and how those who refuse to get vaccinated are detrimentally impacting others both by facilitating the spreading of the virus and its genetic derivatives. Wearing a mask has become political and, in a sense, a demand from the far-right for cultural relativism. They articulate it as their ‘rights’, as if God or country requires this of us all even if it is detrimental to society as a whole. We are faced with the individual and how society can hold the absolute ‘truth’ of the individual over such concerns as a greater good. Even the ‘facts’ of a greater good are incessantly denied in favor of alternate facts. We are being haunted by preconceptions of subjectivity and individual sanctity which long preceded any of us. It is as if cultural ghosts are finally coming back to haunt us. Is the appropriate response patience for anti-vaccers no matter what their impact is on other people?

What I am trying to bring out here is that in some senses we cannot afford patience. Perhaps sometimes patience kills. I believe women have suffered way to long from male ‘patience’. My wife tells me if men had hot flashes it would have been cured long ago. The bigger picture here is that an economy, any economy, places a demand on us. In my opinion, this demand comes from a more primal source – the need to act, to make meaning and significance of lived-circumstance. We cannot wait for exteriority and otherness to speak across the gap of multiplicity in all situations. What is more, we tend to, for lack of better words, ‘spiritualize’ our quest to live and put off the insecurity of death and mortality. Economics gives us the promise of freedom and the threat of imprisonment or poverty. It practically communicates a system of articulations which go unquestioned and simply demand the need to act under its rubric. In this context, the capitalist is the Übermensch which determines his financial freedom by sheer willing it thus. Absolute transactionalism reduces the world to a known as everyone is equally dispensable, dependent on the power of the individual to usurp his supernatural powers. We have evolved into a comic of ourselves in which the super-hero and the villain have some sort of inherent, undetermined agreement that organizes and determines all the possibilities we call reality. We have evolved into a reality show of ourselves.

The value in what Kisner tells us and I find in Levinas’ understanding of the other and in the ‘chaos’ of the earliest Greek thinkers is that we have an urgent need to allow ourselves a break in the historic monologue we, and others, have inherited and have become victims of. We need to do the work of going beyond what we ‘know’ as apparent to see if we can truly allow an other voice to interrupt our homogeneity (even marriage is a good teacher of this if we let it). At the same time, we need to act from values and serious considerations of how force and violence defaces and undermines the ‘otherness’ of the other. If we can even hear the voice of the other, it is a ‘still small voice’ which does no harm and takes responsibility for our actions and the actions of others. We need to stop, listen, and disengage to actively promote the ‘not’ of who we think we are and the ‘not’ of the ‘kn-ot’ which yet again wants to reassert our assumptions of how the other could possibly ‘be’. Those who are hell bent on beating-their-chest-individual-transactionalism may become President of the United States, but the result will only be alternate facts, the right to kill and maim as the will of a demi-god and its patriots, and the demise of any semblance of Constitution ending in sheer hatred and violence as the last fetal, destitute act of terrorism.


1 [accessed Dec. 4, 2019]

Kisner, W. (2020). The Indigenization of Academia and Ontological Respect. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 16(1), 349–391. Retrieved from

On Death

Death is not something that happens at the end of life. As Blanchot mentions in the quote at the end of my recent post,

As long as I live, I am a mortal man, but when I die, by ceasing to be man I also cease to be mortal, I am no longer capable of dying, and my impending death horrifies me because I see it as it is: no longer death, but the impossibility of dying…. I have no relationship with it, it is that toward which I cannot go, for in it I do not die, I have fallen from the power to die. In it they die; they do not cease, and they do not finish dying ― Maurice Blanchot, Literature and the Right to Death.

The only way I experience death is through life. Death is strictly a phenomenon of life. The fear of death is a fear of life as life and death are inseparable. The death of my son in 2017 is not ‘his’ death. He is not experiencing death as he is not mortal any longer; not living. Chris is not human now. He was a beautiful, young, and amazing human but now his humanity is in my heart, my memory, my pain. This is where he dwells now in me and those who knew and loved him. The pain of death is the pain of living. It is not optional but essential. The question remains, how shall we live in the essence of death?

Death is a zenith. It is where life disappears into the infinity of horizon. It is not the horror of hell or bliss of heaven. It is the gate of the infinite. Mortality cannot pass through its gate. The absolute fluidity of this universe breaks upon the shores of death in which there is no return. Does death start where it began as if some universal law of physics requires it to do so?

What we know of physics is that there is a vast multitude of possible and actual physics. The laws of physics in our current universe are themselves a zenith of time and place. The ‘laws’ are an invention of circumstance. According to physicists, they were radically different at the beginning. If not for slightly more matter than antimatter after the ‘big bang’ or the ‘big bounce’ we would not be here at all. As to the question of what’s ‘outside’ the universe we are told two things: 1) Outside is a conventional notion we have derived from this time, this space, this circumstance and says nothing about this mythical notion of an outside to the universe, 2) If there are other universes, they have radically different physics. They would have absolutely no necessity placed on them to mimic our space/time physics in this singular moment of our circumstance.

So, this tells us that even this moment we call ‘life’ is itself a zenith caught on the brink of infinity. We stare infinity in the face every moment of our existence and found or are found by language as history to pacify our delusions of security as we draw in the breath of ‘I’. We forget the boundless ocean of eternity we stand on the shores of. We rationalize and sanctify and flee in the face of this awe and beauty and wonder which is the essence which can no longer be thought as ‘essence’. There is no ground beneath our feet only instantaneous, massless ‘particles’ better thought as infinitesimal force fields which pop in and out of existence and declare, “I am”. What we need in the face of eternity is perspective not absolute determinations.

We breath ‘we’ in this eternity of temporality. Sure, we have individual bodies which are really a communion of organism, cells, molecules, atoms, infinitesimals popping in and out of existence but somehow organizing themselves as an illusion of a whole, a body, my body. We communicate with language which we did not invent but in some undeciphered way acquired from a history we never knew or experienced. ‘Understanding’ is not a something but an acquisition of a ‘not me’, a gift given without merit or even existence as ‘mine’. We think ‘me’ from ‘we’. The ‘me’ that protests, that complains, that judges is a construction of the ‘we’ of language which speaks and has spoken and will speak with and without me, my existence. In all our languages we face plurality of other languages. Not just human but also animal languages, plant languages (actual science behind this). Existence is language. It is communication. It is the physics of interaction. It is the boundary conditions. It is the face. The face is not just a ‘presentation’, a presence. It is an absence of infinity which cannot present itself except as the boundary conditions of this moment, this interaction, this ‘idea’ of reality.

‘Idea’ informs us of notions which give reason, promise meaning, promotes sense and sensible. We even have the notion of ‘absolute’ which finds no home in infinity except as ‘idea’. What is more, ‘idea’ is what Hegel believes is all that faces us. There is no exterior ‘thing’ out there. The ‘thing’ is the idea. There is never a ‘thing’ without an idea. So, in Hegel’s estimation idea ‘is’ infinity and finite, it is ‘isness’. The face of which I spoke is the idea of face, nothing more, nothing less. For Hegel, the ‘notion’ exceeds other notions as being and nothingness and finds place as ‘Concept’. Concept is the embodiment of place, of divine, of me and us, of face. The other and the same cannot remain as they are but must be taken up by the necessity of self-consciousness. There is no self as a notion without an other as a counter notion. The same and the other are the necessity of a self, a me. Even the notion of space and time is a requirement of particularity. We must be a ‘we’ by necessity of Concept not by some exteriority which makes it so. For Hegel this does not do violence to the other as another person for example but requires us to look further into exactly what we are talking about and referring to; to fundamentally question the very fabric of isness and how Concept becomes the necessity of isness.

This leads us to choice. There is no way in my estimation to prove Hegel wrong. He may well be correct that Concept is essentially ‘is’. For Hegel this does not end in some kind of essential narcissism but in a foundation from any such thing as narcissism. Hegel is not bestowing sainthood on individualism and such notions as chest-beating ‘capitalism’. He is certainly providing a foundation for their existence, for existence itself, but not some modern right-wing notion of ultra-conservatism. In any case, there is a question Hegel poses which must be faced, a choice must be made.

I started this post with the notion of infinity. In due course, we have found that infinity and finitude may have and certainly, in some yet undetermined sense, has a basis in Concept but is that the end of the story (or perhaps another beginning)? Even if Hegel is correct, is there an ethical necessity placed on us to face the other, to face my son without Hegel’s face? Are we to abandon ourselves to the necessity of Concept and if so, how does that effect my orientation to the other, to the infinity of the face, to the requirement of my son’s life and living death which I must endure? Even more, what of the suffering of the other? How shall I face this lifetime of suffering which I must endure, my suffering and the suffering of the other? Should I find some kind of solace in the absolute fact of ‘Concept’? Should I think infinity as a necessary condition of finitude? Have I violated something other than my own biases and misunderstandings of Concept? Isn’t ethics just another requirement of Concept, of self-consciousness?

This is where choice determines eternity. I have no basis external to the requirements of self-consciousness for choosing an exteriority which cannot be thought only or more precisely determined by thought. I can choose to found self on Concept and call that ‘isness’. I probably have more reason to do so than not in Hegelian terms. I see many folks who use Hegel (and less intellectual achievements) as a kind of license to justify whatever they want to do to whomever they want to do it to. Perhaps, Hegel’s philosophy is not ready for mere mortals or vice versa. However, I do have to live in the face of the absolute, unsubstantiated abyss of existence. I have to wake up every day with my death, the death of my son, the death of innocence from bigotry, greed, injustice and I have to face it on an ongoing basis without any justification for why it must be so from Concept. In all this I must act and I must make choices not because I am that Concept but because I suffer and I am with those that suffer. My choice is to be self-determined or, without necessity, to heed the cry of the other.

To conclude, I would like to add a bit of speculation, highly speculative. We see in nature and physics (whether it is pure Concept or not) a return to regularity, order, instinct; to repetition in some degree. We did not proceed from Concept to birth but from nothingness (certainly with regard to consciousness) to birth. Somehow, I and we popped into existence. Is there a regularity in ‘popping into existence’? Perhaps, we don’t know. However, one thing we do know is that we did become but from what? We can call this Concept and satisfy the need for origin. However, I prefer to leave that to what Hesiod referred to as chaos (really the yawning gap). There is a gap of not knowing which we can choose to reserve. There is also the observation that phusis or physics, biology, ‘isness’ might like to repeat itself. We are gift standing from infinite abyss facing eternity with language and consciousness that is not our own. Who is to say that that gift cannot find repetition, increasing wisdom and another moment when what I did, how I acted in the face of the other; who is to say it is not the foundation for something I know not what…choose wisely.

Language: Universals and Particulars

We all seem to ‘understand’ language and the ‘literal’ use of language and the ‘figurative’ use of language. Perhaps this is the problem – we all ‘seem’ to understand. Let’s see if we can get some clarity on this pre-understanding we all to seem to have.

The ‘literal’ use of language thinks “let’s go up the stream”. The figurative use of language is like “she is always so up”. From the literal standpoint ‘up’ points to a particular direction “up the stream not down the stream”. From a figurative standpoint ‘up’ means something like an elevated, more desirable mood. From the literal notion we have designated a particular which always implies two things: the universal set of all conditions in which ‘up’ is always the same as x = up and always not the same as x down. From the figurative standpoint ‘up’ is a metaphor, a simile, a kind of reflection of the universal case but not the same as. Notice how we use the conjunction as to equate both universals and particulars and shades of meanings or combinations of meanings which can no longer be called universals and particulars OR
simple nonsense because they employ multiple meanings which separately can have different contexts but together convey a concrete meaning which is different in some undiscernible degree from the universal/particular context.

The question among philosophers of language and aesthetics is which modality of language is superior or are they both valid in different ways or is one really subsumed by the other or can we just ignore one and acknowledge only the other or is it neither and they both do not mean anything as they are fundamentally indeterminate and unable to stand alone? With this in mind let’s see if we can flesh these notions out in a simplistic formulaic fashion:

up is not-down (in the gravitational field of earth)

up is down (in the vacuum of space)

Notice how the previous apparent universal case only makes sense by assuming one particular case.

up is both down and not-down (in the gravitational field of earth and the vacuum of space)

Notice how the contradiction of the universal case makes sense now given two particular cases.

up is beyond words (in the universal which encompasses all particulars)

Words, meaning and language must mean something beyond themselves.

up is beyond words and down (in the universal which encompasses all particulars and universal binary oppositions)

Since the universal by definition cannot be both true and not true it must point to some inability of language where meaning and nonsense have a kind of symbiotic relationship.

up is beyond words and not-down (in the universal which encompasses all particulars and universal binary oppositions and binary universals and binary universals where one term is negated)

Since the universal by definition cannot be both true and not true it must point to some inability of language where meaning and nonsense have a kind of symbiotic relationship AND where one particular case can be maintained on a universal level.

up is beyond words and both down and not-down (in the universal which encompasses all particulars and universal binary oppositions and binary universals and binary universals where both terms are negated)

Since the universal by definition cannot be both true and not true it must point to some inability of language where meaning and nonsense have a kind of symbiotic relationship AND where one particular case can be maintained on an absolute contradictory universal level.

Notice that we can never seem to find a case where all particular cases are congruent with the universal case. However, we can just completely dismiss the universal case as total nonsense. We can even find a way to maintain a blatant contradiction over the universal case. So how can we get around this dilemma?

Well, we can have a tautology. A tautology is always true no matter what by definition. This is the case of A = A. Philosophers call this an identity. It will always be true no matter what the particular conditions because we declare it thus. Deductive logic can be a tautology. Here is how:

All men are mortal

Socrates is a man

therefore, Socrates is mortal


A = B

C = B

A == C

In this mathematical formula we can now declare that we have found the universal, but have we? Well, when we use the symbolic form of A, B, and C we drop out the particular cases of the words and substitute, reduce or ignore the particulars of man, Socrates and mortal. In so doing we have found a way to sustain the universal for all particular cases. So, in a way we have transformed the particularities of man, Socrates and mortal to mean the same thing as a symbol.

A symbol is something which stands for something else. However, in a strict universal sense we can define a symbol as something which stands for something else without specifying exactly what it stands for. Now we can chain symbols and equalities together to start and end in the same place as we did above. What we have really done is to ignore any particular cases for which they mean something and simply restated or repeated ourselves as if we found something significant. In this way we have discovered the joy of a tautology.

Now we can link particular cases together in commonly understood, by certain cultural, historical, ethnic, gender, etc., notions and endow them with the universal quality of a tautology. Isn’t this really a magician’s trick of hand? Deductive logic can communicate true conclusions if its premises have found a certain amount of conditional, particular restrictions which unite them in the terms of the conclusion. However, the appeal to the particular case of the premises and the truth-contingency of the conclusion makes this a case of inductive logic.

Inductive logic can communicate certain conditionally ‘real’ things which culminates in, for instance, science. But science strips itself of the joy of tautology and calls their endeavor inductive logic. Inductive logic finds certain empirical conditions under which prediction is made possible. When these conditions are duplicated, we can expect to see a certain outcome which can be repeated by anyone (we will not get into the notion of degrees of error in this post OR the possibility of some completely different explanation which may have less room for error – think absolute time and space and relativity). However, we can see with inductive logic we actually have the possibility of finding a completely different way to arrive at a predictability without being locked into the ‘truth’ of a tautology.

I would submit that in this brief analysis there may be a way to completely discredit Hegel…or not.

I want to thank Jainism for this…

  1. o is P.
  2. o is not-P.
  3. o is both P and not-P.
  4. o is beyond words.
  5. o is beyond words and P.
  6. o is beyond words and not-P.
  7. o is beyond words and both P and not-P.

See The Literal-Nonliteral Distinction in Classical Indian Philosophy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

(Keating, 2021)


Keating, M. (2021). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: The Literal-Nonliteral Distinction in Classical Indian Philosophy. (E. N. Zalta, Ed.) Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.

And in never ending conclusion I would only add…

William James advised us a century ago, the Hegelian “system resembles a mousetrap, in which if you once pass the door you may be lost forever. Safety lies in not entering.” My take is that Hegel, at first, is more like the Sirens Song of ancient Greek mythology. The half bird half woman creatures according to Homer sang their songs so sweetly and divinely that no mortal could resist it and sea wayfarers would jump in the sea and die to reach their island. Certainly, Hegel resembles a sea which surges toward and according to lore ushers in the divine. Well, at least for philosophers that popular mythos holds have no life. If one is to survive Hegel, one must tie oneself to the mask before opening the ears.

In my first post on Hegel, I tried to bring out some underlying structural dynamics. We must stop the common place thinking that a verb must always find a subject (in Hegel the verb is the subject). We need to let the movement of the dialectic be the ‘reality,’ the imminent unfolding of what it is – without hermeneutics and supplementation. It is not a familiar approach to the way we usually use language to process as referent and words as signposts of some other ‘reality.’ Hegel asks or shall we say insists and assumes that the reader will lay down all such notions such as an other ‘reality’ which gives words meaning. To understand Hegel the dialectic itself in a more literal orientation is the underlying semantic and nothing else. Rather, it is a reduction or an assumption of what ‘literal’ means and all else should be laid aside and deferred while the dialectic plays out.

As we proceed through the dialectic, we find that our start was not literal but abstract. We find that the meaning of concrete evolves to take on a different kind of focus. The concrete is not made by nouns upon nouns but by the dynamic play of the dialect itself. We find a proper place for signification which does not depend on an exteriority or excess of meaning but solely on the play of the dialectic dynamic itself. As the ‘concrete’, the ‘proper’ becomes what it is through itself. In Hegelian’s idea, it becomes what it is not by force but by its own working dynamic. It critiques to the point of immediate dismissal any attempt to import objections which comes from outside the text itself. In this way it is like the Siren’s Song. It admits no exteriority to the text or plurality of meaning which is not explicit in the text itself. So, from the start a demand is placed on the reader to suspend critique and simply listen to the dialectic. Certainly, we are told that this is not too high a price to pay for a temporary suspension of importing anything into the text that is not immediately there. This is the price of rigor and scholarship.

As the dialectical song unfolds, we begin to see a temporalizing effect which is made from successions of apparent oppositions which hold open the possibility, the necessity, the door, of transformations. These transformations and their underlying contraries take on a higher and higher order until we find ourselves in the absolute waters of the divine. The temporalizing has taken on the eternal from inherent necessity…and nothing else. The words of the dialectic themselves have leaped from the page into the reality, the thing-in-itself. It’s as if words could, as the Greek logos, be spoken from Hesiod’s ‘before the gods there was chaos’ but now instead of chaos we have the definite, the determinant, the reality of what was always meant but got ‘metaphy-sized’ away. Perhaps the sin of Eve was thinking a concrete apple was something more as the knowledge of good and evil.

In my second essay on Hegel, I tried to bring out the lived world of sensation as an excess in the same way that a mere picture of a girl is exceeded in the Mona Lisa. Certainly, the picture is of a girl or a lady, but it almost seems to do violence to its immediate presence to ignore the plethora da Vinci intends. We do have a phenomenological ‘feeling-in-the-world.’ And it does not seem unrealistic to think of this temporalizing place as an excess of meaning to the literal semantic of a syntax. It also seems as if there is an indeterminacy of how this excess is related to language. There is a relationship, but it seems a bit hazy. Certainly, some specificity can be achieved by thinking rigorously about its expression in presence. I can hear the Hegelian now pedagogically point out but if it is indeterminate that is itself a determinacy so how can it be indeterminate? So true, in the literal meaning of the concept, but does that suffice as the picture of a girl suffices for the Mona Lisa? Can the Hegelian approach be used as a kind of violence and force? Well, certainly it has. Let’s take the case of Karl Marx and how communism realized itself in history.

As I and many others have pointed out Karl Marx in the mid-eighteen hundreds living in England and resisted the horror and darkness of the English industrial revolution where child labor and black lung disease from mining long hours with little pay made for short lives. Marx actively opposed the violent and brutal monarchies of his time and had no futuristic knowledge of what would become of his notion of communism in the Russian revolution which happened long after his death. In Marx’ communist ideal, violence would be replaced with meaning found in work and ownership of the product of one’s labor. It was the 19th century idea of entrepreneurship, work which provided for needs but also dialectically joined the laborer and his work to usher in an epoch of integration not alienation. However, in the twentieth century we saw that such an ideal, non-hierarchical notion was replaced with authoritarianism of the worst and most brutal kind. The ideal which found its appeal in its material dialectic was replaced with a tragic nightmare of inhuman proportions. Likewise, today we see the intrinsic beauty of the notion of democracy being subjugated to the violence of authoritarianism. We have yet to see the brutal history that will unfold if we cannot pull ourselves back from the brink of this abyss.

Karl Marx was the father of dialectical materialism. It was founded upon Hegelianism without the brutality of the German bourgeoisie. The Marxist dialectic did not empower and protect the ruling hierarchy of power but founded the dialectic upon lived life, work and the empowerment of ownership as an imminent reality in and of itself in practice, achievement, and self-realized ownership of one’s engagement and creation – production. For Marx, that was the real value of work not abstract capital. However, certainly we have seen that the dialectic did not remain as it was in and of itself but became the vehicle through which its antithesis was worked out in history. The dialectic did not remain its own immanent reality but the product of other’s authoritarian nightmare. I see no reason why Hegel’s Philosophy of Right cannot and has not been used to authorize the sanctity of the horrific State. In all this I am trying to show an excess to what scholars would think as the proper place of Hegelian dialecticism. True, I am describing a kind of dark Sartrean hell of no escape but nevertheless a monstrous excess to what Hegel himself most likely intended has certainly been historic consequence. The spinoffs from Hegelianism certainly demonstrate the power of Hegel’s works as was furthermore evident in Existentialism and British Empiricism.

As an excommunicated Hegelian, Kierkegaard wanted to bring out the excess in lived experience which Hegelian dialectics seemed to dismiss or transform into a moment of the dialectic. He could not counter it directly as many intellectuals have rightly surmised but questioned it relevance, at least in the way Hegel meant it. There are and have been many schools of Hegelianism and it is not unlike all the denominationalism which prevails in many religions. Kierkegaard realized that a direct assault on Hegel was incredibly difficult if not impossible so in opposing Hegelianism he relied on its seeming inadequacy in lived experience and its absurdity in believing it can account for the excess of experience; action and responsibility in having to put the book down and make decisions, live, work, die and face death as the possibility of the absolute impossibility of Dasein (the there of being or human being) in an everyday world. How could Hegel answer this excess which wisdom requires? For Kierkegaard, the passion of existence he called faith was damped down by dialectics and thus, lacked the ability to answer the call of existence. In Nietzsche we find that dialectics is the priestly mediocre, the tired values of good and evil which dampens heroic life-affirming ascent and condemns it to the drudgery of the last man. He criticizes many philosophers as chastised preachers of descendent ethics which boil in their continued resentment and vengeance of life and sour the high places of creativity and the epoch-bestowing ascendency of the Übermensch which spins off worlds and gives birth to millennium of meaning and purpose.

It is important to note that the power of Hegelianism has spun off reactions in Marxism and Capitalism in both continental philosophy and analytic philosophy. Beyond existentialism, continental philosophy, finds its place in history. In structuralism, post-structuralism, modernism, post-modernism and the advent of Žižek which founds a most radical form of Hegelianism and sociological formation of Lacan whom others have deemed the ‘dangerous philosopher’. I have no doubt that there are many new forms of Hegelianism yet to come. In the British Empiricists and Adam Smith, we also see a radical and direct reaction to Hegelian and German Idealism. Both communism and capitalism find their creation of Hegel. There is no way to exempt these major historic trends from the work of G.W. Hegel. The enmeshments are undeniable. We also find immediate and radical reaction against Hegel in analytic philosophy, both its beginnings and its round about return to Hegel in ‘Pittsburg Hegelianism” have cued us in on how Hegel is like Nietzsche’s ‘eternal recurrence of the same’ which has yet become new again.

Analytic philosophy may have started in the historic swamps of Newton’s absolute time and space, Latin’s metaphysics of nature (nātūrālis (neuter nātūrāle, adverb nātūrāliter)) and the British Empiricists naïve reflections on sensations and later on pragmatism. However, now we have seen relativity and, I would say, even epistemic problems which continental philosophy has toiled with in the desert becoming center stage in analytic philosophy.  It comes as a corrected Kantianism that is the “sociality and historicity of reason, the proper treatment of space and time, conceptual holism, inferentialism, the reality of conceptual structure, the structure of experience, and the nature of normativity are the central concerns of Pittsburgh Hegelianism.” (deVries)

Analytic philosophy abhorred the mentalism of German Idealism and embarked on a reactionary journey to realism. Realism was considered fundamental to any such notion as reality. It saw language as the product of speech acts which had their place in a concrete world. It also took on the 19th century metaphysic of mechanics in the absolute time and space of Newton. However, from the start analytic philosophy saw the pitfalls of atomism and how fundamental axioms played a decisive role in the thematics which follow. The atomism inadvertently brought about in and through analytic philosophy shows itself in the Mises school most vividly where words are a creation act which have an almost mechanical individualistic kind of generational iteration founded upon rote learning. Speech is brought under the rubric of an act, a reenactment of an interlocution of players performing speech as act. Language can be private but in so doing fails pragmatically in paring itself off from its purpose to communicate.

While Pittsburg Hegelianism is not your mother’s Hegelianism it is cognizant of the contributions Hegel made to language as collective and historic. It seems to have displaced the monadist atomism of individualism (what I call the metaphysic of individualism) and finally come to grips with a ‘science’ which desires to let phenomenon come to the fore without imposing an underlying structure such as individualism but rather to observe scientifically the phenomenon which shows itself on in its own irruptive presence. This has a lot in common with new schools of philosophy which do not take Hegel to be metaphysical but literal in the unfolding of the dialectic. These recent Hegelians seem to abhor the metaphysics of presumption as much as their alter egos (which may not be so alter anymore) in Pittsburg Hegelianism. While analytic philosophy has been the love child of conservatism for several centuries, there are actually left and right schools in Pittsburg Hegelianism. It seems that the monadism inherit in the rhetoric of capitalism has been displaced to some extent by a more dynamic attention to socialization and language-meaning which cannot be privatized without losing something essential in the speech act and its interlocution. However, this rendering reminds me more of Saussure’s referential signs upon signs constituting wholes of meaning and syntax which are not processed in some serialization fashion but are encountered less singularly and more holistically. Nevertheless, abalytic philosophers still seem to be firmly rooted in their historic notion of experience as sensation and not unmoored from individual experience.

In conclusion, let me return to my beginning in somewhat of a dialectical rhetoric device to transform the Siren’s Song to Medusa. Again, Medusa was female (do we see an empirical pattern here). She was beautiful but terrible (hmm). And like Hegel, it seems that whenever the head of Hegel is cut off it only produces more heads. Or, perhaps the gaze of Orpheus is the scientific fact of Hegel’s work. Whether the solemn gaze is Blanchot’s living, monstrous death of words which live in the entropic graveyard of epitomes reminiscent of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein or Jaques Lacan’s terror of the real in which we are thrown from and to the phantasmas of yearning and desires in the symbolic, we seem to be doomed to never be able to exit the dialectics of Hegel and the eternal recurrence of the same.

As long as I live, I am a mortal man, but when I die, by ceasing to be man I also cease to be mortal, I am no longer capable of dying, and my impending death horrifies me because I see it as it is: no longer death, but the impossibility of dying…. I have no relationship with it, it is that toward which I cannot go, for in it I do not die, I have fallen from the power to die. In it they die; they do not cease, and they do not finish dying ― Maurice Blanchot, Literature and the Right to Death.

I refuse this speech by which you speak to me, this discourse that you offer me to attract me to it in calming me, the time in which your successive words last, in which you hold me back in the presence of an affirmation, is above all this relation that you create between us just by the fact that you address speech to me even in my silence. — “Who are you?” — “The refusal to take part in discourse, to make a pact with a law of discourse.” — “Do you prefer tears, laughter, immobile madness?” — “I speak, but I do not speak in your discourse: I do not let you, speaking, speak, I force you to speak not speaking [je t’oblige à parler ne parlant pas]; there is no help for you, no instant in which you rest from me, I who am there in all your words before all your words.” — “I have invented the great logos of logic that protects me from your incursions and allows me to speak and to know in speaking through the peace of well developed words” — “But I am there in your logic also, denouncing the oppression of a coherence that makes itself the law and I am there with my violence that affirms itself under the mask of your legal violence, that which submits thought to the grip of comprehension. ― Maurice Blanchot, Le Pas au delà (Maurice Blanchot and Fragmentary Writing: A Change of Epoch | Reviews | Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews | University of Notre Dame)

Part something of nothing called cross-eyed and tired…

Works Cited

deVries, W. A. (n.d.). Hegel’s Revival in Analytic Philosophy. University of New Hampshire. Retrieved from

Language and the Absurd

Is language hopelessly bogged into its own ability to be able, the ‘yes’ which must always precede and welcome its ownmost possibility? Does thought revolve incessantly upon itself, hermetically sealed in its absoluteness? Must language always circumscribe and prescribe possibility and encounter? Is it possible that the universality of such a language does violence to the caress, the press of owns skin upon the other of desire? What shall we say of the effect of language which can only be signifier upon signifier or negation pressed into transformation of higher orders while sustain its predecessors in dialectic certainty? Is this how we arrive at speech acts or acts as such; acts as sentiment, love, hatred, dismissal, encounter, wonder, beauty, awe. How does language as dialectic move from its ground in and of itself into gesture, profound lyric poetry, the muse of music which at once animates and announces experiential temporalizing moments of joy, sadness, despair, longing without ever needing to utter a word? Isn’t idea realizing itself as it is in itself only mimicking the movement of some other kind of language-passion? If Hegel’s language is complete, admits of no exteriority to itself as it ingests exteriority in the same and other, how can it rise into life, the desire of provocation and emotive immersion, baptism of expression which has yet to find its ‘proper’ words? In Hegel’s dialectic have we not just privileged the Idea to the point of extinction of anything else which could possibly exceed it? To be sure, not to exceed it as words which could never counter or even hope to counter systemic Concept. The ‘counter’ of which I allude can never face the dialectic in and on its own terms. It could never expose a presupposition which the System takes no account of. However, to live in the totality of the System is to live alone in the solitude of thought which can never address an other except in forgetfulness. Could it be that dialectic must forget itself in order to live, to approach the he or the she which inspires and contests, touches, and retreats, despairs and places the weight of existence and non-existence heavily upon our inwardness, our years and presses on our every-daynesses. Do we die in Hegel’s System? Do we face the dreaded moment in the certitude of Concept? Isn’t this Idea the tragic comedy, the Monty Python of absurdity? Isn’t there a radical reduction in language as in and of itself, the theatre of the absurd? How do we give place to human sensual immersion as ‘meaningful’ and ‘significant’ without reducing it to idea or supplementing it with the text? Certainly, I do not mean this excess as mystical or unrelated to language. The relationship is not reductive to language. Neither does it find place without language. There is a relationship, but the relationship is absolutely indeterminable. No bridge of thought can substitute or take account of the absolute excess which engulfs and fires our passions; at least, without totalizing it, taking it as the same as its idea and thus, propelling it into the absurd. Perhaps the most profound thought humanity has ever encountered is the impossible excesses which we can only mortally mark and hold in unknowing, the awareness of our inability to be able, the joy and wonder of what cannot be but what must absolutely be.

Part 2 of Infinity

Absolute Relativizing

Reflections reflects. As such it necessarily posits a distance from itself as if to observe itself. Yet, the ‘itself’ is not yet a ‘self’ but a moment suspended upon the emptiness of a verb absent a subject. The object of reflection can no longer be the subject of reflection. Thus, the impossibility of sustaining itself is brought to the fore. As such, it must face its extinction in every junction. Its nothingness is what must come to the fore. In this then, Hegel arrives at immediacy. From the start of the Hegel’s “Logic” we must then follow a progression from being and nothingness to becoming which must untie itself from its apparent Gordian Knot towards pure concept which has no transcendence or metaphysics but can only remain as a totality whose founding is only of and in itself. Only the leap into exteriority can account for metaphysics which can then only be the forgottenness of the System. The question emerges have we finally unraveled the Gordian Knot or only proven its existence?

Desire is the leap to absolute emptiness which can only begin again immediacy and mediation. And thus, renew again Hegel’s epic ground whose ‘ungrund’ (un-ground) can only weave once again the dialectic of the Logic. Even ‘logic’ as ‘formal logic’ must take a backseat in the beginning chapters. Hence, a new kind of ‘Logic’ is thrust upon us as what must arise prior to formal logic’s inception. Thus, the tools of formal logic, based on the principle of non-contradiction, and its refinement into symbolic logic must be deferred in obeyance to the ghastly shadows in which being and nothing find oppositions and transformations into becoming. We cannot yet call this ‘logic’ as that has yet to find its moment when it must be what it is in itself and for itself. In this then we see the appropriateness of succession. We must wait for the appropriate unveiling, the proper moment, when rigorous Logic which is not yet formal logic can find its place, ‘stasis,’ which needs nothing other than itself to be what it is.

Let’s recap the topics which serve as margins or notes to the one without an other which is the unfolding of the dialectic. We have an abstract start in immediacy and mediacy. Its pure abstraction is nothing other than the ostensive statement of itself, nothing more, nothing less. The machinery of what it is itself and for itself must only be assumed as nothing more (so cannot be reduced to the 19th century metaphysics of mechanical). Its impossibility drives it into becoming without any supplementation. We are rigorously reduced to strict acceptance until the further development can be unveiled in its necessity, its essence. We must employ the oppositions of Logic without yet requiring a formal logic. Yet, we have retained a proper, a succession in the dialectic in which further developments will immediately follow without supplementation. So, we also have the appropriate, the proper, without yet establishing it until later perhaps. In this then we are reminded of Derrida’s supplementation to the text which in Hegel can no longer claim a timeless critique but must finds its time in the dialectic. In its proper moment we will see that the improper is demanding supplementation prior to the formal establishment of the legitimacy of how proper and improper arise in their proper place. There is a temporality of succession, of dialectic progression, which must be employed in order to establish the ‘proper’s’ necessity in itself. This then shall not have been called deferment unless you failed by virtue (another topic) of your hasty indolence to lead into metaphysical objections prior to the upcoming necessity. Can we suggest that relativity, the pausing of the moment, to found its proper moment has now been recruited into the service of the absolute? Can we think, ‘force’ yet?

Part One of Infinity…