'Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.'
The principle of the new philosophy.
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|Subject: The principle of the new philosophy. Fri May 11, 2012 6:42 pm|| |
A heavy section from one of my books:
Take Sartre's (A writer for whom I find in myself very little affinity or respect. The love of freedom for the sake of freedom is something that instinctually reviles me, no matter how spiritualized it may have become.) summary of modern philosophy, that existence precedes essence. Most of philosophy held the opposite, that essence comes before existence, ie. that the soul predates bodily incarnation. My philosophy has endeavored to posit them both at the same level of philosophical categorization and therefor to affirm them as equally positive expressions; existence and essence are two terms in which that excess which underlies their very conceptualization and which cannot be truly contained by either idea is articulated. Thus: existence and essence are both coterminous, and yet do not contain one another, for as philosophical categories they do not contain the excess out of which they were produced and which is reflected in their differentiation. I would give a final formulation of the principle as: "Essence is not adequate to existence; existence is not adequate to essence." With this principle one can defend the freedom of the will despite also accepting the existence of a determined universe, because essence (the will's freedom) and existence (the material universe) are equatable and non-containing of one another, by virtue of their constitutive excess. So let's say I do want to defend the will's freedom. The terms in the conceptual opposition are the freedom of the will and a causal universe, and we can simply propose that there is an excess inherent in both of these concepts which neither contains, and then we transfer this excess to a new series of conceptual oppositions. What would be the excess in the first series, freedom and material? It is the idea of transcendence. The will must transcend its limitations, for it is not an infinite will, nor omniscient, but it must do so through the material existence in which it is embodied as a passionate and creative organism. Thus we get an image of the old Greek concept of Eros- I doubt anyone experiences love these days as they did, as tragic love, as the soul's fall into matter and suffering of flesh, that "voluptuousness of Hell." This idea of transcending the material and sensuous then is the excess inherent in the concept of human freedom, and by transferring it to a new series of conceptual oppositions we can defend the idea of human freedom and at the same time accept the existence of a determined and causal universe, because we have effectively transferred the question of human freedom to an entirely new field of philosophical discourse than the one which was open to the criticism of material causality. Now the question of freedom takes form in the dialogue about the relationship between the ideal and real egos. Freedom is reconceptualized not so much as an exercise of one's will or as a state of being uninhibited by material existence, but rather is it reconceptualized as a kind of experience. This transference of a concept to a new, higher field of discourse- that is, to me, the meaning of the Platonic aporia, and the silence into which every Socratic dialogue is resolved, a technique I believe I have rediscovered in light of my own philosophical method. The aporetic meditation exhausts the content of concepts in order to establish what remains of their meaning as the indication of that excess underlying their creation.
Heidegger rejected Sartre on the basis that a reversal of a metaphysical claim (which is what his philosophy amounts to) is nonetheless metaphysical, and this point is very true. Heidegger however locates the excess in the ontic sphere, as I have said before, and like Nietzsche he uses the strength of the ontic subject (Will for Nietzsche, Dasein for Heidegger) to break completely through the epistemic, that is, the metaphysical. That rendered Heidegger basically philosophically impotent in the remotest extreme of his thought, and all he can do there is silently point to the truth of being. Perhaps, as he says, it can be found in music or poetry. At any rate he abandons philosophy at the extremity of philosophy. I have rather located the excess within the epistemic sphere, elaborating it phenomenologically, that is, in the way in which it structures human consciousness, as well as philosophically, with the concept of the daemonic. I have retained all the strengths of dualistic thought, ontology, and metaphysics, as well as all the strengths of ontic, monistic thought while having inherited none of their weaknesses. In my philosophy there is a monism of the human subject as an excess underlying all consciousness, as well as a philosophical dualism because it is through conceptual oppositions that the excess is reflected in consciousness, and at every step of the way the dualism can be dissolved or the monism expanded dualistically: that is the strength of it. These conceptual oppositions represent not synthesized polarities on the part of a Hegelian self-consciousness as they do in Kierkegaard, as between the eternal and temporal, but rather an immanent division of the human consciousness in an effort to reflect itself daemonically in the mirror of philosophical ideas as that excess which cannot be resolved into any conceivable polarity expressed by them. Philosophy, then, is essentially the stimulation of the real ego, the synthesizing and creative self, the self that lives, desires, and dies, which is worn away in the struggle of eternity and time, love and desire, by the ideal ego; that self which disunites, polarizes, and reflects, and the difficulty of philosophy is the seeming inability to relate the two, it is the fact that no eternity is able to express the beauty and the languishing of time, nor is time, in its last bitter extremity, able to express the absolution of the eternal, for the human self intuits within both terms some substance after its own nature, and which belongs to a still higher order of things in which the meaning of time stands of itself, and the meaning of the eternal is untouched by the walks of time. The real ego experiences the fullness of its life and will only in fleeting moments throughout the course of its existence, and it is this ideal ego which is the heart into which it lays this fullness. Nietzsche comes beautifully close to my conception in the thought of the eternal recurrence, yet he fails to draw out the excess inherent in the conceptions of time and the eternal and, thereby unable to transfer it to a higher field of discourse, he only succeeds in equating the two concepts. His thought perhaps succeeds in inducing a stimulation of the real by the ideal ego, but does not satisfy the real demand of genuine morality.
While the artist wants to stamp the eternal with the image of time, to extend the sphere of the living and perishing consciousness so as to encompass all the breadth of creation, mainly by way of realizing harmonies within the order of nature, the philosopher wants to stamp time with the image of the eternal, to contract his consciousness to a single point, to the ego, so as to encompass it by thought, mainly by dissolving those harmonies and relations, by introducing contrariety and antithesis into the orders of nature and thereby unriddling the impassioned and bodily existence in which he feels himself condemned back into the mute regions of thought. In this way he is afforded objectivity, a view beyond himself and the narrow bound of his egoic consciousness, so that he might comprehend the idea behind phenomenal appearance. True morality, on the other hand, which has been only profaned by the mocking idols of merely human happiness and virtue, in comparison to whose ardor the truths of man are only velleity and convenience, wants neither to extend the border of the egoic consciousness or to contract it, but rather to contract the creation itself by realizing the principium individuationis, the essence of the will, by means of the will. Stimulated by the ideal ego through philosophy, by the thought of the eternal soul, the real ego aims to lay into it its fullness and life, and realizes a morality. All moral realities thereby inevitably create their own objects, as love creates beauty, hope creates happiness, and freedom creates justice. The moral problem is the problem of realizing in the image of the eternal the meaning of the struggle of time and mortality. When beheld with this hopeless and yet necessary question in one's mind, all the virtues and the sins of man become equally insufferable and petty folly.
One would not ask of a dog that it should become more of a dog, nor would one rebuke a dog for being any less of a dog than it should be. All animals live in accord with their fundamental nature, while man rarely rises up to the stature of his own humanity, and the far extremity of his own destiny remains unknown to him. Man alone fails to be what he is. Yet, he still cannot stoop below himself. He cannot even abandon himself and feed on wild grass with the oxen. "I could not become a beast, let alone an insect," cries Dostoyevskian man, and it is a quite genuine lamentation. Bereft of Gods and Men, the individual is consigned to eternal isolation; unable to find any real object outside of himself upon which to direct his most vital power, he would find no contentment even provided all the breadth of the creation, nor is he able to "read in the tongues of heaven the meaning of the earth," to speak with Holderlin. The real moral question is precisely this, the question of the relation between the living ego and the ideal ego, between individual man and universal humanity; the question which plays about the impotent prose of Kant, the question which he could never answer. In Kant the attempt to relate transcendental and empirical apperception, to unite the original consciousness of man as a particular subject, as a being in possession of a soul, as a self, to the consciousness of this self enduring throughout time and its many changing experiences, constitutes the form which the question assumes, and in which it could not be answered. The primal commandment of philosophy, Know Thyself, assumes as its foundation the primal commandment of true morality, Be Thyself, and neither taken alone or taken individually does either precept allow us to gain any deeper understanding of ourselves. Alas, there is so much virtue in man! But so little insight. So much knowledge! But so little sanctity.
This question is given varied forms in all great philosophies. In Plato it is depicted in the relation between man’s finite bodily existence and eternal soul. With the concept of the daemonic this question, to my mind, finds at last its perfect expression and, ultimately, its resolution.
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|Subject: Re: The principle of the new philosophy. Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:19 pm|| |
The ontic subject or the "subject itself" simply means any particular "epistemic" structure whereby data, as stimulation of that structure, is translated by the particular logic of the structure itself, which is to say interpreted, into information; the structure takes account of that quality of the data which it is able to relate to itself, which is to say makes this data meaningful, and this meaning-giving act then renders the otherwise unintelligeble and useless subjective "excess" into manageable and usable objects. The venture of science is characterized by its narrow focus on these objects themselves, as in their objective quality, namely whatever is excessive about them as concerns the subjective structure for which the object is object; thus science, being born of philosophy, is a particular myopia of an otherwise broader philosophic reason that has become arrested at a certain stage of that reason, allowing it to perseverate and thus "gain some advantage" due to the limited range of its concern. The focus on object-qualities and measurements, after Aristotle, certainly has its advantages and is a particularly necessary component of philosophic method, contributing to the wider philosophic concern and interest. But it is this wider range of philosophy itself that concerns the entire process by which objects are object and may be said to come into existence at all; that particular epistemological body constitutive of the subjective meaning-giving power is the indirect focus of philosophy, whether this focus directs itself toward the periphery of this body, as metaphysics, toward the center of this body, as ontology, or toward the equivocating "middle ground" of this body, as phenomenology. An ethics can and does emerge from any of these methods, as either religion or science in the case of metaphysics and ontology or as something thus far without a name, a sort of amorphous ethical particularism that shuns broad categorical emphasis for a more narrow-minded multiplicity of differential planes of materialization, as with phenomenology. This latter ethics is the basis out of which a proper understanding of the excessive component itself, and eventually also an understanding of the daemonic structure of consciousness, must first come. We might then say that the phenomenological focus is the attempt of consciousness to self-value itself more directly and more all-encompassingly toward reducing the errors it engenders, toward greater precision and "controlled schizophrenization". Certainly psychoanalysis is a method situated within this space and attempting a more nuanced articulation of daemonic process.
As this subject comes into existence through its own articulations of itself, our task, since we now grasp the basic "set up" involved, must be to provide a better method for subjective articulation, both for ourselves as well as for others. Identifying the excess within common conceptual oppositions is critical to transfer these oppositions and "common understanding" to a higher plane of discourse, where the old problems are seen in a new light, rendered unproblematic, and a whole new series of problems is allowed to arise in its place. This is really the raising up of self-consciousness, of the darmonic processes of self-engendering creation, and the sheer joy and awe involved in this alone makes it possible that this method, once initially grasped, will certainly bring philosophy "to the masses", as they say. But it is only possible to grasp this joy once one has become capable of it, which is where the leap of faith is involved. We might attempt to communicate this leap of faith itself within the language of this daemonically constituted subject, since while the sort of leap of faith which Kierkegaard necessitates may, as you say, now be rejected we can reframe the leap as the step of moving from either subjectively-emphasized ontology, namely religion, or objectively-emphasized ontology, science, to a realm which is beyond either approaches and which includes both. The leap involves leaving behind the old antinomy of religion and science for real philosophy, and of moving beyond the superficial construction of man as either a dualistically or monistically constituted subject, in order to approach genuine morality, as you say. This would begin with a direct articulation of the nature of self-consciousness to itself as its own subjective potency, this potency now rendered and felt intelligebly by making visible, which is to say by making sensible the substrata upon which man's current master-signifying terms, on either the individual psychological or group socological level, come into existence and by which as a consequence of this making sensible they may be regulated. Of course as a consequence of this this would also engender an entirely new order of relations among men and groups, a new politics.
The principle of the new philosophy.