Author Archives: M D

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

or

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)

References

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 https://mypages.unh.edu/sites/default/files/wad/files/devries_hegels_revival_in_analytic_philosophy.pdf

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…

A Novice’s Perspective: Is Fluid Dynamics the Theory of Everything or the Beginning of Everything?

A Brief History of Stasis

The ancient Greeks were recipients of ideas as they were the hub of trade for the ancient world. Pythagoras’ geometry was certainly a direct gift of the Egyptians. Indirectly, the Egyptian’s theory of triangles made the Great Pyramids possible. I think it could be argued that the ancient Egyptians were fascinated with the idea of the straight line. Think of their pottery and their tombs. Almost always circumscribed and inscribed with straight lines, rectangles and squares, set in two dimensions. What better environment to think of the relationship of angles and lengths in geometric objects? Perhaps the essence of this fascination was the novelty of straight lines in nature. The clarity of lines, boundaries and demarcations made possible the Great Pharaohs who must continually one-up their successor in the quest for Immortality resulting in the Great Pyramid’s geometry and the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. We know that ancient Greeks were not only aware of the Egyptians’ history, but some actually travelled to Egypt to study.

Then, there was the influence of the Near East. The fascination with math and numbers which resulted in the decimal system and even primitive calculators in their day. Numbers reveled to reality of the shadows of nature (in Platonic tones). Numbers not only brought clarity to trade but to the cosmos; astronomical measurements of nature which were precise and supported equinox and solstice and impacted agriculture. The Egyptians were also co-conspirators in this wealth of budding knowledge. Numbers and math revealed a geometry behind the scenes; a transformation from nature to what the ancient Greeks thought in terms of phusis (termed physics today) and first principles or origins of the big bang in another mode of contemporary thought (thought through Latin transformations as metaphysics).

Also, we have the influence of the Far East, the Orient. The direction of their thought encompasses the essential circularity of nature. Reflect on the circularity of their art and their philosophy in the early Upanishads. Think of the understated minimalism of the ancient Chinese paintings and art. The questions of chance and existence subsumed by what the Greek’s thought as fate were taken up into the intrinsic play of singularity and multiplicity, the many and the one, the Atman and the Brahman; all the great accomplishment on nature (phusis copied in the Latin thought as naturalis; Latin Adjective . nātūrālī. dative masculine singular of nātūrālis; dative feminine singular of nātūrālis; dative neuter singular of nātūrālis; ablative masculine singular of nātūrālis; ablative feminine singular of nātūrālis; ablative neuter singular of nātūrālis).

In all this we find the nexus of the Ancient Greeks. They did not invent out of nothing; they invented out of everything. They could well be thought as clever thieves of their happenstance. And what of their early thoughts of the cosmos? Strains of ethnocentrism show up as the Mediterranean being the concentric center of the cosmos. The sun, moon and planets revolved around the earth in concentric spheres (circles) of earth as what we now know as middle earth in fiction and the Mediterranean region in geography and sky which demarcated the complement of mortals the expanse of the gods.

Later in Latin thought the geometry and confluence of Greek thought was taken up as the heliocentric of the Absolute God of Constantinople and Christianity. Neo-Platonic thought was copied into Christian dogma and the budding and controversial power struggle of the early catholic (universal) Church and the gnostic strains of Christendom and paganism resulting in power relations of a reformulated ‘eternal’ (as contra-distinct-ed from earlier formulations of eons or ages, epochs) heaven and hell.

Then, we have Galileo and the budding of science. The struggle to denounce heliocentrism and its relations to eternity in favor of a more dynamic and less static universe. A universe where the eternal question itself is raised in a sea of fluidity and flux. A start for the question of boundary, uniqueness, and specificity. A place for the river of Heraclitus which can never be stepped in twice and the chaotic boundedness of Anaximander’s:

“Whence things have their origin,

Thence also their destruction happens,

As is the order of things;

For they execute the sentence upon one another

– The condemnation for the crime –

In conformity with the ordinance of Time.” Anaximander

From there we proceed to the dark ages and the resulting conflict of the Royal Society and Alchemy. The Philosopher’s Stone and the transmutation of base metal into gold representing Salvation and transformation and finally clashing with Newton’s absolute time and space and equations of motion. Chemistry replaced and transformed itself from alchemy into a less mystic and more static thought of ‘purely’ physical ‘substance’ (from Latin); compounds interacting in mechanical fashion with predictability and confluence – fluidity in stasis.

Eternal Recurrence of the Same and Chaos in Post Modernity

Now, we look at the stars and think the radical thoughts of Einstein as tame. Time-Space relativity is taken for granted in such a short time from the beginning of the 20th century when it was deemed as fake science and scientific apostacy from absolute time and space. People do not appreciate what a radical and far-reaching effect Einstein had on culture, religion, and scientific dogma of the day. To think time and space as manifestations of a unitary phenomenon of gravity essentially questioned Eternity and all its historical ramifications. In Einstein, we moved so quickly and almost unnoticed from, once again, stasis
(from Greek stasis “a standing still, a standing; the posture of standing; a position, a point of the compass; position, state, or condition of anything;” also “a party, a company, a sect,” especially one for seditious purposes; related to status “placed,” verbal adjective of histēmi “cause to stand,”) and dynamis
(unaccountable, potency, potential, capacity, ability, power, capability, strength, possibility, force , Aristotle’s potentiality and actuality, also taken as power and force and later into rule, in Latin dunamis is taken as potentiality). -In Greek thought apeiron and peras, the eternal struggle of chaos and order, form and shadow, the real and the possible.

Once again, our Einsteinian cosmos has been challenged by quantum mechanics and gravitational waves. In 1801 Thomas Young demonstrated the wave behavior of light and the resulting paradigm shifts in epochs of scientific history. The double-slit experiment which Richard Feynman demarcated as “a phenomenon which is impossible […] to explain in any classical way” focused intensely on the fundamental nature of stasis and dynamis, particle and wave specifically related to light but having permutations in physics which eventually brought on the demise of the static atom and the rise of subatomic particles. Subatomic particles pop in and out of existence with overtones in philosophy of the play of something and nothing, being and non-being, existence and its impossible Other (Levinas). Once again in a more relevant and profound contemporary setting, we have the one and the many, the same and the other, thesis and antithesis in transformation, the universal and the particular, stasis and dynamis.

To add insult to injury now we have gravitational waves. Just as we were settling into a ‘stasis’ of relative calm now we see that our tamer views of Einstein’s relativity have been liberated from the static deep well of gravity as space and time and gravity itself as the flux of dynamis, fluid dynamics. We now know that space-time is not a well, a dip or a break (as in a black hole) in the fabric of space-time but that the fabric has been pulled away to bring forth a fluidity of ‘substance’ resulting in what I might be extrapolating to be related to the popping in and out of existence of sub-atomic particles.

If space-time is a wave which can account for stasis a calm sea and dynamis a tsunami which breaks the fabric of gravity so extreme that we can hardly think of it as a coherent fabric anymore but more like a well of wonder not so removed from the mysticism of alchemy. Neutrinos are everywhere but extremely difficult to find. Why? Because they are so small that our universe rarely sees them and so electrically neutral that they barely interact with our universe. They fly through the earth as if we did not even exist. They very rarely interact with anything in our universe which makes them extremely hard to detect but we have definitely detected them. They are believed to be created in the fusion of a sun and permeate the universe. They change ‘colors’ in a temporally unexplainable fashion which brings up questions about the absoluteness of the speed of light in a vacuum.

Even more so, we know that dark energy and gravity account for most of the ‘stuff’ of the universe, but we have no idea what it is. There is some speculation that neutrinos may be a variety of a ‘lighter’ version of this dark ‘stuff’. While neutrinos have infinitesimal mass, there are so many of them flying out from suns in fluid dynamics fashion that they can have an effect or possibly in another variety called a graviton create gravity. Perhaps it is easier to think of them as massless particles which is kind of a fancy way of saying pure energy, tiny force fields popping in and out of existence having a ‘real’, actual, static, effect on the perceived universe. However, the dynamics of these tiny forces, perhaps Planch size strings, essentially defy our notions of existence/non-existence, static/dynamic, permanence/impermanence, the one/the many, the particular/the universal and we are left as occupants of a cave which can only perceive shadows of fire light and are haunted by dreams of an exteriority opening up into sun light.

So ‘stuff’ which barely recognizes our universe, our reality ‘comprises our reality’. The mechanical machinations of the 17th through the 19th centuries which have solidified themselves into ‘common sense’ and naturalism have been irradicated in this abyss of modernity. What is at question here is the relevance of the ‘real’ to the ‘possible’ and all its associated weightiness in our valuations. The looming philosophical question is the relation of the thematic thesis-antithesis to their transformation and synthesis. Is their relation indeterminate? What is the role of logic in hermeneutically determining their clarity (linguistically, ethnocentrically, historically, etc.) and relevance to each other? Furthermore, what are the ramifications for the history of violence and the State (of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right).

Along these lines of inquiry, imagination always hold open a possibility which denies us, our history, and at the same time holds open an unmitigated, unmediated, ag-gnosis of the impossible Other. This Other is not alien although it is unsettling and contrary to our historically contrived sense of well-being which I heretofore simply deem as death. As death in the Orient is the beginning or re-birth; we find an impossibly, irreconcilable, interminable difference (‘differance’ in Derrida) between birth and death, existence and non-existence; all the historic anesthetics we tell ourselves in the ‘common sense’ truths of language. The symbiotic relation of sanity and insanity (as Foucault tells us), logic and contradiction, sense and non-sense have become natural bedfellows in our mortality. However, let us not lose the sense of wonder, beauty, the good beyond being (as Plato tells us). (sophia) Indeterminateness does not have to belong to oblivion necessarily. It may be a recognition of the residue that remains unlocalizable as ‘reality’. The Other may not be our enemy, the death of logic, the nihilism of meaning as in its deprecated common usage. The Other may remain exterior to our determinations of the confluence of the same and the many, stasis and dynamis. The Other may not be consummated in the same logically however, it may give rise to the field in which such determinations are first possible. The problem I think in Levinas given by the horrors of the concentration camps of fascism is that the instigation of the falling away from the infinitude of the Other into the same, totality and infinity, is itself a predetermination/pregiven of the Other which illudes our synchronicities, synchronisms in a symbiotic fashion. As the thought experiment I previously alluded to in the dogma of Christianity: If God thought equality with God was Not-God, not a thing to be grasped but emptied himself to be sin, the son of man, and escape the omnipotence, omnipresent, omniscient of absolute isolation and solitude deemed as eternal hell, who are we to lapse into power relations of godhood, ethnocentrism, nativism, eugenics; the certitude of a demigod?

The certain, fanciful detour of physics and historic metaphor here is simply to bring to light the rhymes of history and language which situate and re-situate themselves again and aging in our determinations, our certainties which as in the Greek notion of chaos circumscribe our forms and from which our forms draw their breath and being. For me, the Other is not a historic, linguistic consequence of a particular history convoluted with the anachronisms of phusis and founding phusis (of origin) but what has always escaped, transformed such determinations of presence and absence. I believe life is fullest when we let the sun fill our fire thrown imaginations on cave walls.

 

 

References

sophia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.plato-dialogues.org/email/950304_1.htm

Plato didn’t put the one beyond being, but only the good. The one was Plotin’s favorite, not Plato’s.I think the problem is not to look for something “beyond” being, but to stop giving “being” more weight than it has. For Plato, see the Sophist, “being” is the least meaningful of all predicates, as having the greatest extension; anything that can act or be acted upon, being only in my thoughts, has “being”: the “temporary” definition is never reformulated, and holds good till the end. The real problem is not “being”, but “participation”. The question is not “what you are“, but “what you are”; and you are what you become, what you participate in. If the good, and only him, is “beyond being”, it’s because the good is, contrary to being, the most meaningful of predicates, being the perfection of each being, its “telos“, and thus, cannot be one among the being. No more than evil is a “being”, but rather a lack of being, a lack of achievment of what a being is supposed to be, of its “good”. In all that, the “one” is only another name for the “same”, it is what makes each “being” someting, and something different from any other being; different, but not isolated; different, but capable of “participation”… And beware! participation is not only between “material” being and “forms”, but between all sorts of beings, between forms and forms, among others. We have to find out the rules of participation, of “koinônia“, and especially those which make us get along together as rational human “beings”…

‘Anglo-Saxon’ is the New Aryan: Paving the Way for the Fourth Reich

America First Caucus Policy Platform

America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions. History has shown that societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country. (News)

Adolf Hitler

Speech of April 12, 1921

We said to ourselves that race differs from race and, further, that each race in accordance with its fundamental demands shows externally certain specific tendencies, and these tendencies can perhaps be most clearly traced in their relation to the conception of work. The Aryan regards work as the foundation for the maintenance of the community of the people amongst its members. The Jew regards work as the means to the exploitation of other peoples. The Jew never works as a productive creator without the great aim of becoming the master. He works unproductively, using and enjoying other people’s work. And thus we understand the iron sentence which Mommsen once uttered: ‘The Jews is the ferment of decomposition in peoples,’ that means that the Jew destroys and must destroy because he completely lacks the conception of an activity which builds up the life of the community. And therefore it is beside the point whether the individual Jew is ‘decent’ or not. In himself he carries those characteristics which Nature has given him, and he cannot ever rid himself of those characteristics. And to us he is harmful. Whether he harms us consciously or unconsciously, that is not our affair. We have consciously to concern ourselves for the welfare of our own people. (Hitler)

‘Anglo-Saxon’ is the rally cry of Republican fascists otherwise known as White Supremacists. After January 6th no one can deny that Trump and the Republicans have awakened a sleeping giant. In historic terms this giant has only taken a nap. If we as a country cannot step up and decisively put down this insurrection, vote out and impeach these nativists voices, we will be left in history as the fate of the Weimar Republic. From my recent post, Clashing Histories – Right Fright in the Light:

At the conclusion of World War 1, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated the throne and Germany was immediately transformed from a constitutional monarchy to a republic in signing the Treaty of Versailles. The republic was called the Weimar Republic. It lasted from 1918 to 1933. The treaty imposed harsh economic penalties on the Germans. There were multiple political groups in the republic on both the left and the right. However, the right increasingly became more powerful as hardships got worse for the German people. Here is a quote concerning the ideological makeup of these groups and how they differed:

The parties on the left were strong supporters of progressive taxation, government social welfare programs, labor unions, equality, and economic opportunity for women. They were less nationalistic, militaristic and antisemitic than the parties on the right. They favored greater government involvement in—and control of—business and industry and were to varying degrees anti-religious. Still, there were strong differences and major conflicts between the two major leftist parties. The Social Democrats were strong supporters of the Republic and democracy while the Communists were opposed to both, favoring a Russian style communist dictatorship. The parties on the right were strongly nationalistic and supported large military. They were opposed to social welfare programs, labor unions and progressive taxation. They favored an economy directed by industrialists and landowners with large estates. They were antisemitic and favored traditional roles for women. The Nationalists were a more traditional Conservative Party, while the National Socialists were a radical party wanting revolutionary change. Both parties publicly supported the Churches and the role of religion in society but some elements in the Nazi Party harbored hostility to traditional religion. (Bookbinder)

Now, the United States stands on a precipice which can in nowise be tolerated. Republicans have been paving the way to this inevitable outcome since Barry Goldwater and the John Birch Society in the 60s. The new Republicans and Trump are actively dismantling any dissenting voices in the GOP. These old guard Republicans cannot compete with the money and sensationalism that the New Reich provides. Thanks to Fox News Republicanism has become a drug stimulate to all forms of Pandora’s Box. Without a decisive stand by democracy and voters to turn back this rising tide, many of us will find ourselves in the same shoes as the French Resistance in World War II. The sides have clearly been demarcated as democracy versus authoritarianism.

Anglo-Saxon history is the legacy of the colonialist supremacy of the English Empire. Their origins go back to the 5th century. They were comprised of Germanic tribes and native England occupants. Their history is one of cultural identity resulting in feudalism and aristocracy. They were violently Christian. In the 8th century, the term ‘Anglo-Saxon’ began to be used as a term denoting their Germanic roots as distinguished from the continental Saxons and Anglia. This purely English version counted themselves as chosen by God. ‘Aryan’ is a word developed in the 19th century to denote a Proto-Indo-Iranian language group native to the region in modern-day India and Iran. The word Aryan has a cognate in the Sanskrit word arya meaning honorable, respectable, noble. The speakers of this language were considered members of the Caucasian race. The Nazis distorted this concept to be descendants of a pure, blond hair, blue eyes Caucasian Race.

Thus, from Hitler’s speech above we see the imputed superiority of the Aryan work ethic and the laziness of other ethnic groups he deems as Jews in this quote. There are members of Congress and the Republican Party who are taking up this banner extoling the imagined virtues of the pure, Anglo-Saxon race while making any other imagined peoples inferior and objects for eugenics. The British Empiricists, Locke, Berkeley and Hume, homogenized this purely racial dogma into a doctrine of sensation and empiricism. I will delve into this account in a further post but later schools of thought derived from British Empiricism as positivism and Austrian Economics have become dogma for capitalism in microeconomics. All these roots rely on a metaphysic of absolute individualism. In these movements sensation became more important than historic philosophical debates on rationalism. Sensation is a posteriori based on experience and immanent acts of a metaphysical, individual conscience. Mises, an architect of Austrian Economics, went so far as to press Kant’s a prior, or prior to action, into the service of the purely a posteriori. In their estimation action has no other precedent but the ‘thing in itself’ as simple action, an act. This was a direct assault in his day to the aspect of historic Rationalism which focused on the self-evident and innate ideas perhaps wrongly derived from Plato on. Effectively, action justified itself in its alienated purity. Empiricism was subjugated to mere power as the result of the strongest action in this philosophical undertaking. In this then we see the birth of market Darwinism.

These roots dismiss rational critique in favor of effectivity. Effectivity is defined by those who make and enforce the Golden Rule (those who have the gold make the rules). There is nothing other than result and the quality of result, thought in terms of power, imputed on the survivor of the ‘fittest’. This historic detour is what has contributed to the Republican Party discounting logical contradiction in favor of those who hold power. It fundamentally distinguishes modern day Republicans from the Party of Lincoln. There should be no question about the primacy of sensation in the viewers of Fox News. They come from a long history which has both embraced the power of senses now taken hold of as sensation and simultaneously sensation’s ability as a Piped Piper to assert raw power reminiscent of monarchies of old.  This has led the Republican Party off a cliff. Trump is only the latest version of rhetoric in the service of brute control and power. Roger Stone is his Jester. If democracy cannot overcome this tragic history, history will only, once again repeat itself to humanity’s demise.

Works Cited

Bookbinder, Professor Paul. Weimar Party Politics.

Hitler, Adolf. Speech of April 12, 1921.

News, PunchBowl. America First Caucas Policy Platform.

Impermanence

With every breath, the old moment is lost, a new moment arrives. This is something Buddhist meditators know. We breathe in and we breathe out. In so doing, we abide in the ever-changing moment. We learn to welcome and accept this entire process. We exhale, and we let go of the old moment. It is lost to us. In so doing, we let go of the person we used to be. We inhale and breathe in the moment that is becoming. We repeat the process. This is meditation. This is renewal. It is also life. (Das)

Impermanence, anitya, or anicca in Pali, is one of the Buddha’s three marks of existence, three conditions that characterize all of life, and are always present. (The other two marks of existence are anatman (Pali: anatta), or not-self, and duhkha (Pali: dukkha), suffering, or dissatisfaction.) (Unknown)

Teachings in Buddhism tell us of impermanence. In Occidental philosophy we might think the impossibility of presence; to appear, to persist. Yet, there is appearance. So, what gives? This question is again brought to the fore in ancient Greece. Heraclitus tells us we can never step into the same river twice. Anaximander tells us:

“Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
As is the order of things;
For they execute the sentence upon one another
– The condemnation for the crime –
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.” Anaximander [1]

Let’s remember that the three marks of existence are impermanence, not-self and suffering. The word ‘existence’ is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma… a koan in Zen. Existence only has ‘sense’ in coming to presence. What cannot come to presence is not even comprehensible except as the lack of presence (within presence). In appearance there is a retention which presses through in temporality as not only enduring but also necessarily entails a kind of absoluteness upon which sensibility is made possible and persistent. To be and not to be relentlessly announce themselves as existence. They cannot erase themselves. This then is suffering. Suffering has no answer, no solution, except in the impossibility of denying appearance. The ‘it’ of appearance can have the ‘appearance’ of denying itself but in so doing only re-announces itself in its negation. The classic Latin world fitted itself with a ‘metaphysic’ of eternity and substance. This was also its doldrums in the later advents of philosophy and science. Science necessarily proceeds classicism in the de-naturing of presence and has continually brought the mystery of presence into a clarity which dispenses with noble certainties of yesteryear. Over the centuries we have lost the Latin consolidations of absolute certainties by paying close and temporal attention to its content.

Yet, what cannot be unveiled is the pain of loss, of suffering. There is no doubt that suffering and impermanence are inextricably linked. In extinction, Buddhism tells us of the not-self, the erasure of self. But only a self can erase itself. Thus, we have the age-old debate between Buddhism and Hinduism of the Atman (the soul, self) and the Brahman (what I have brought to the fore here as ‘presence’). Buddhism recognizes the not-self as a distinction from Hinduism. The unity of the Atman and Brahman in the Upanishads and Hinduism are irrelevant in Buddhism just as the belief in Christianity is irrelevant to science. Centrality itself is fundamentally questioned and yet, even in this we are still mired in philosophy and the notion of presence. This is why meditation is important in Buddhism. It is the practice of mindfulness. It puts into practice the value of detachment, from attachment to the incessant dilemma of presence. Buddhism, as with better practices in philosophy, deepens the questions of existence. It enriches the value of what cannot come to presence as a reverence and humility which does not totalize. The most knee-jerk reaction to suffering is fear. Fear totalizes as if it were an answer to suffering. In this way, fear loses to richness of life. It reduces and compacts suffering into an easy answer, a fictionalized tradition. However, the absolute as fear or God does violence to the depth of mystery and wonder, the notion of the ‘new’. We are world-weary when the new becomes a replay of the past. We lose our way; we miss the mark. Resistance to pain is suffering.

The tragic loss of my son is pain. It is not erased as long as I am. His death as change is painful. As long as I am, [that] pain is. This is my debt to the obligation I owe him. My debt will never be repaid. It is my homage to his presence and loss of presence. I do not shrink from it in negativity, fear or oblivion but carry it with every step I take as the burden of existence and relatedness, relationship, as what I have/had with him. It is real and deepens with every moment. Every moment carries promise and renewal but also weighs heavily especially as we age. Likewise, the notion of absoluteness, even as the absoluteness of impermanence, is not an escape but a way in, a chance for ‘new’ not yet announced. The death of Chris is the death of me, of us, and the possibility for what is not yet announced or capable of being formulated in presence and absence. This is what Chris was and is. This is what all of us have been or will be. We can shrink from it or let it transform us, deepen us, make us capable for the ‘new’.

The purpose of what has been and will be is what can never be, can never come into presence or be totalized into fear. All of us carry each other in the burden of existence. We can choose to deny this and whither and shrink away into anger, despair, regret and isolation. This avenue denies who we are and what beckons us toward extinction not as release but as fulfillment of all that has been and ever will be which can nonetheless ever be created or made from the presence of existence. The impossibility of existence is not a step into nihilism. It is the occasion of birth. All of our presences and absolutes did not usher us into life before birth as if stepping into a river in which we carried our intentions and conscious from one state to another. We ‘are’ the river which can never be stepped into twice. How appearance ‘is’ is not a question or an answer, it is an occasion for wonder, renewal in a type of ‘new’ which can never be made temporal or a-temporal. It is the possibility of enrichment which can only be nourished by debt and obligation to the other, the presence and absence of the other, in suffering… for the sake of the other which undoes me into the infinite depth of what is not-me, not-self.

References

Das, Lama Surya. Practicing With Loss.

Unknown. What is impermanence?

——————————————————————————————————————————

[1] See my discussion on Anaximander here.

Postscript from “A thought experiment…”

While I am not a Christian, I find ages of accumulated wisdom in many religious traditions which must be wrested out from the noise which history has encased within these traditions. While I certainly do not ascribe to the effectively cliche metaphysical positions which have dominated these traditions, I do find the historic play of metaphysics can embody allegorical dramas which has the possibility to bring a kind of clarity from the dust bins of dystopic ages past.

One of the more interesting and intentionally playful metaphysical musing was given to us by Friedrich Nietzsche most notably in his work, “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. Within the backdrop of classic, Newtonian physics, Nietzsche reasons that since space and mater is limited and time is eternal all combinations of matter will eventually be repeated exactly as it was before. Effectively, this means every human life will always come again only to repeat itself in the exact same way for an infinite amount of time. Zarathustra called this the ‘Great Nausea”. By this he meant that it sickened human spirit to think such a metaphysical thought. However, Zarathustra’s insight was that this nausea held the possibility for affirming life as the ‘eternal recurrence of the same’. He thought this was the sign of an ascendant life as opposed to the decadent, sickened life of despair and the utter pitifulness of those who are forever condemned to take their extreme vengeance on life. In the case of Zarathustra, we can clearly see a kind of allegorical play with Metaphysics which can illustrate the philosophical underpinnings of Nietzsche’s thought. In this way, I would propose another metaphysics in a contrary direction as Nietzsche’s concern which has a more updated take on physics.

With the advent of relativity and quantum mechanics absolute time and space are no more. While physicists hate singularities and infinities, they are compelled at the current time to labor under these mathematical obscurities. Certainly, calculus is the mathematics of infinities and the peculiar formalities in which physics currently shows its dilemma (e.g., as converging and diverging infinite series, peculiarities of zero, etc.). What is more, physics has discovered that most of the universe is pervaded by an absolute mystery called dark matter and dark energy. We find that the fundamental building blocks of all mater is held together by quarks which pop in and out of existence, more like flavors of reality than reality itself. We are told that nothing can be smaller than a Planck size or the distance light travels in a perfect vacuum. A Planck is the absolute smallest possible unit of measurement which can have meaning (approximately 1.6 X 10 -35 m). And yet we are told that black holes can reduce the mass of a sun, billions of times larger than our sun, down to a singularity. What is more, we also have the peculiar dilemma which has yet to be disproven that intrigues many physicists that black holes may really be the other side of a ‘big bang’. So, even though we know meaning can only be thought in terms of Planck size we effectively are saying that universes can be created from what we think is a finite amount of matter in a huge sun. Universes have much more matter than one huge black hole. Our universe has many supermassive and known ultra-massive black holes in addition to all the other mass in our universe. So, if a black hole can create a universe with extreme orders of magnitudes more mass than the mass of its collapsed star – even more so, according to Einstein’s physics, the infinite mass of a singularity, we have a huge amount of mass in the new universe which can have no meaning according to the notion of a Planck size. What shows itself here is that our idea of meaning is more convention than ‘meaning’. Furthermore, to suggest as some physicists do that there may be infinite universes, makes Nietzsche’s metaphysics outdated and a bit moldy. That is why I would like to propose a counter metaphysics which has more affinity with the present.

Instead of a finite amount of matter given over to the infinite amount of time producing eternal recurrence of the same. Perhaps the singularity of Heraclitus’ river which can never be stepped in twice is more apropos. Nothing is ever repeated in exactly the same way. There can by rhymes but not repetitions. If the metaphysical notion of the soul has a rhyme, may it be in the notion of a one without another which nevertheless cannot remain in absolute obscurity but must affirm an Other, the other. A singularity cannot remain shrouded in absolute meaninglessness but must rise again to affirm the other, not the same which is fundamentally meaningless. Instead of the assertion of power and might, of absolute Spirit, perhaps the weakest confounds the strongest. The weakest not condemned to utter despair and vengeance but opened upon the possibility of others. The decision that spirit cannot remain in absolute certitude of itself but must Decide that others, that other, is built into the cry of despair and emptiness. Instead of perpetual and eternal vengeance we have the ‘meek inheriting the earth’. Why? Because they cannot stand in the allusion of grandeur, of mastery and self-subsistence, ‘self-substance’ which makes no sense. The other is not the multiplication of the same, it is the opening onto the ‘tree of life’, that which makes possible any such erroneous notion as the same. Meaning as convention fails to be what it aspires to, what it asserts itself as. Only in the Decision of choice, Ethics, can obscurity rouse itself from its eternal slumbers in welcoming the Other, the stranger, the he and the she.

Whimsically, can I also suggest that in order to rise from the dead as the God, mythically spoken of in the last post (“A thought experiment…”), could it be that every obscure singularity must through many universes and worlds ultimately become a ‘Jesus’ and die for the world, the Other, eternal Agape?

All life and death and elsewise must forever be in its singularity, its moment which can never be altered. Even more I, as a rhyme of singularity, must ultimately take upon myself the sins of the world, missing the mark, such that I become sin meaning that I am Responsible and held to account for the suffering of the Other…just saying…

A thought experiment…

God is dead.

In orthodoxy, God is omnipotent and omniscient – all powerful and all knowing.

This would mean God “is all and in all”

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11 (Paul, AD 90)

…one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Paul, AD 62)

But if God is all there is, was and ever will be and knows everything how awfully boring and lonely would that be?

What is more, it is a living, eternal Hell.

So, what did God do…

God made a Decision – thou shalt be Other.

This was creation from nothingness.

And so, we were born.

In so doing, God deemed that absolute is Other not self.

Not logical other as opposed to same but he, she and other that is not he or she…

one who has face and faces.

Face is appearance, the presentation of the other.

You get to decide if the other is Other or only your own reflection, opinions, and attitudes.

In denial, you lose face as all faces die with you.

And so, God died…on a cross they say.

Moreover, God descended into Hell.

Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:9″ (Paul, AD 90)

Hell is absolute absence of the Other until perhaps…

one becomes as God, dead to self-absolutism and faced with the Other by virtue of Decision.

By this then, God deemed the lowly, weak, poor, sick, homeless, hopeless, suffering of the Other to be more paramount than the powerful, high, and mighty.

Absolute is no longer omnipotent and omniscient.

Absolute is the lowly, the stranger, the sojourner, the other.

Absolute essence is the other.

Those who fuel their vanities, elevate their conceptions of themselves; feign the omnipotent and omniscient condemn themselves to Hell.

They gorge themselves on their own illusions of grandeur.

They deny the plight of the other, the lowly, the suffering in their indolence.

Ultimately, they become omnipotent and omniscient in a living Hell of nothing other…

but only themselves.

Maybe in eternal Hell they find themselves, a god, who has only themselves with none other.

In that place who is to say they cannot make a Decision – that there is an Other, others.

God died to self for Other.

If God rises from the dead, it is only when we all rise together…

If you would know God, do what God does: die to yourself, live for others.

You Decide.

References

Paul. AD 90.
Bible. AD 90. Vol. Colossians 3:11, English Standard Version.

—. AD 62.
Bible. AD 62. Vol. Ephesians 4:6, English Standard Version.

—. AD 90.
Bible. AD 90. Vol. Epeshians 4:9, English Standard Version.

The Rules of the Jungle?

Much of out thinking has been shaped by Darwin’s theory of evolution. We tend to take the theory as a model of who we are but, is it? Certainly, the notions of survival of the fittest and genetic adaptations which promote greater abilities to adapt to the environment are rooted in biological fact and the fossilized record of history. However, one thing we have also mistaken to our detriment and taken for granted is the ‘environment’. We have taken it as an externality which is what it is apart from the activity of any particular species including Homo sapiens. We see ourselves as passive in the face of our environment where the only question is how well we can adapt to its demands and changes. However, what if the environment itself can be changed and manipulated strictly by one particular species; at least the virtual environment?

The ancient Mesopotamians started using tokens, scribed marks, around the 8th millennium BC to represent accounting for trade purposes. Symbols such as “spheres, cones and discs stood for measurements of grain, while cylinders stood for livestock.” (Clayton) Around 3200 BC writing systems in the Near East, China and Mesoamerica began to take on more complex forms as pictograms, pictures which, for example, represented the appearance of a grain of barley. (Schmandt-Besserat, 1992) Eventually, the pictograms began to stand for sounds, for phonemes. These phonemes began to mimic the ancient’s oral languages. Once these phonemes gained independence from a token or a pictogram, they could be written in ways which described spoken language and as such could be totally distinct and separate from the meaning of a token or a pictogram. This abstraction was the beginning of an alphabet.

In each successive stage of human development we see an increasingly higher level of abstraction. As such, we see an ability to represent our environment rather than to merely react to the externality of our environment. Over human history we have increasing seen this level of abstraction transform itself into vital and pervasive innovations through such things as the printing press and the Scientific Revolution from the 16th through the 18th centuries. We also see value understood through the lens of abstract capital rather than bartering for goods and services.

Also, in each successive stage we have developed a profound understanding of human behavior: id, ego and superego and how human meaning is acquired and maintained. We have developed sciences of psychology, sociology, and marketing. We understand how individuals maintain their beliefs and values for their own benefit and simultaneously at the expense of how others are perceived. The most noble values of human history have taken on dark and tragic underbellies both on an individual basis and political, cultural religious collectivities. The knowledge of the manipulation of values and meaning has filtered down from the elites of academic institutions to the transactional endeavors of average humans with such forms as mass consumption-ism and scammers. It does not take a genius now to figure out how to manipulate people and use their own valuations and devaluations against them. Now, with the advent of virtual reality and the sciences of mass marketing we have taken a further step away from our environment, the rules of the jungle, to an environment we can manipulate and change for multifarious outcomes including those of malintent. In effect, we can create our own jungle.

We can create an environment where people’s perceptions are procured and produced. They have their own facts, beliefs, values, and essential meanings conferred upon them from without but not from something such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which was tied to the externality of a Darwinian environment. Now, both attractors and detractors for human behavior and meaning can be abstracted, manipulated, conjured up in service to the power-seeking whims of power and capital. Even more so, at the expense of our own environment – Earth. Our abstracted counter-Earth is now on the verge of annihilating our organic and biological roots in our concrete earth – Climate Change. Additionally, we currently have 265,000 deaths and counting in the US with the COVID-19 pandemic and many of us are callously denying and ignoring the tragedy while making sure we reverently mark the tragic deaths of 2,977 people every year from 911. Where is all the grieving for 265,000 and counting? Ignored, denied – not a tear shed or even such a simple action as wearing a mask. What does this tell us about our defunct values? Or, more particularly, what does it tell us about how we perceive reality and how it gets created around contrived values.

The science behind our ability to create and change our ‘jungle’ is addressed in social network theory. I will not go into this now but suffice it to say that our collective identities have been formed from ancient sources in the form of gossip – the essential need for drama given by collective abstraction. Drama is not just entertainment anymore – it is our ability to abstract, to form an alphabet, to shape and have our environment shaped by an essential collectivity which goes deeper than our individualism. In fact, individualism has been an ingenious invention of our collectivity. It can only be accomplished through language. Language, thinking, and values are a kind of content broadcasting phenomenon that inscribes the possibilities, content, and ways in which we are. It is what makes possible and circumscribes our basic meanings and values; our dignities/shames, well-being/malaise, truths/lies, concerns/ignoring to the point of endangering the Earth and our own dejected, disdained and incriminated kind. All of this comes through the well known nodes of our social network. Now, we have a precise understanding of how these dynamics work and how they can be commercialized into an alternate form of reality.

What all this has brought us to is this: we are at another evolutionary stage of development where we MUST recognize who we are, what we have done and how absolutely pervasive our abilities have become to the point of changing the ‘jungle’ into an image created in our own image and imaginings. If we cannot surmount this clear and present danger Homo sapiens will go extinct not due to the defiled ‘natural laws’ or rules of the jungle but because we failed to think clearly and see critically the facts of our collectivity and sophisticated, inherent and essential abstractions. While we fiddle Rome burns. The brute facts of climate change with accompanying pandemics, agricultural devastation and weather catastrophes will overtake us. This is a brute fact of our bygone environment, the jungle we left behind. Our essential abstractions of religious/irreligious, justified/incriminated, friends/enemies can no longer be informed by our social network; that has proven to be untrustworthy as it can be capitalized and manipulated to the point of driving us all blindly off the cliff of existence. We must each do the hard work of thinking based on fact and science. Additionally, and most important, we must let ethics be our guide not the other equal and pervasive possibility – individual and egomaniacal power mongering in a sea of manufactured reality. Ethics as my obligation to the other before my individual place (or placement) can no longer be at the expense of the other but by my Decision, always at the benefit of the other with whom my collectivity, my web of meaning and action from which I spring, take me out of the unwieldy hands of reality constructors and place me in debt and in question to the stranger, the he or the she whom I do not know but whom I owe a debt which cannot be repaid, the debt of who we are.

Works Cited

Clayton, E. (n.d.). Why did humans start writing? Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/history-of-writing/articles/why-did-humans-start-writing#:~:text=We%20travel%20back%20to%20the,tens%20of%20thousands%20of%20years.

Schmandt-Besserat, D. (1992). The Evolution of Writing. Retrieved from https://sites.utexas.edu/dsb/tokens/the-evolution-of-writing/#:~:text=The%20cuneiform%20script%2C%20created%20in,recording%20goods%20with%20clay%20tokens.