… As I read your essay, there’s a level more foundational than narrative or the interaction of narratives at which I have a hard time following you. Maybe we could call it context; context as it has to do with history and humanity’s orientation toward god and reality within your essay.
Your (over)statements regarding history seem to be intolerable within your own essay. On one hand you say that “such knowledge is exactly only knowledge of what exists right now” and “such past is not necessarily correspondent to any knowledge of it, it is arbitrary, and so any notion I have of the past is completely based on speculation” – rendering it impossible to speak of human experiences in any kind of integrated way. I don’t see how humanity could have any shared context if history is as speculative and memory is as detached from the past as you say.
On the other hand, you say things like “there is a point in the life of every human being when he realizes his situation in the world. A point when the person has a certain type of cognition about him or herself, when they realize they are conscious, perhaps a moment when they start to understand what consciousness really means to them as an individual, as this connotes also a certain awareness of the world that has a significance for them as being human.” You presume this shared human experience; a cognitive event that every human being experiences – not in an eternal moment as you have suggested recently, but in their own moments in time.
I think this is worth mentioning because it looks to me like you have accessed what you consider to be historically reliable information in order to conclude that “there is a point in the life of every human being when he realizes his situation in the world.” And, I think what you have done on this point is valid. I simply want to point out that the (overly skeptical) statements you made about historical knowledge would make it impossible to make this valid point regarding humanity and consciousness.
That history has meaningful context is not negated in the fact that the context occurs only in the present. But, it can mean that what I thought was true of history may not be as true as I thought it was. What would seem impossible here is that the context by which I have a history to draw from is the same context that allows me to ‘have a point’ from which I draw my assessment, and that this context could be no other way to have allowed me to distinguish the situation, in that the history I thought was real is not so true.
The point I wish to reiterate, and which may be more foundational, is the point of irony. And so far as there may be a real individual named Lance that is myself, or a real individual named Dave that may be your self, a human being, I am indicating that I have had an experience that is not real, which is to say, not informed by the ‘lever’ or of something distinctly ‘not-leverable’ in reality; somehow the experience I have is not real. It may be transcendent so much as I am indicating, or so much as what is taken of this discourse of reality is thereby indicated, but so much as I am talking about the nature of the transcendent as such, in that I am not indicating but explicating, it is not real. In non-philosophical terms, this may be radically immanent, but it is even less than immanent since it is not even transcendent, since immanence likewise tends toward some real situation which leaves transcendence in its wake beforehand – but I suppose this is why Francois Laruelle and others must have a ‘radical’ immanence. Irony, it seems, in the last, solves the discrepancy that occurs in the positing transcendent immanence as well as the immanent transcendence. What can I possibly mean by this? I mean this in the sense that I have experiences of other people who apparently do not or have not had such an experience, and that this experience of mine thus accounts for them not having the experience. This is to say that the other person not understanding me belongs to the experience because it is the experience of other people not understanding me. This situation cannot occur, or rather, only occurs by virtue of the absurd, in reality, so again we have the polemic that comes by what is not real, and by this move, have the revolution that undermines reality’s power. But we should be careful not to lump this experience in with subjectivity or subjectivism for it is not that the experience belongs to me as some instigator of reality, rather, I am included in the experience also as one that may speak about it in this way.
Now, when I say reality (all that is of the real universe is contained by the real universe – as I have said, nothing exists outside of reality, and reality is all there is; if there is something not real or outside of the universe then it is also accounted for in reality) is negotiated and manifested in discourse, I mean that there is nothing outside of discourse. I mean exactly that: There is nothing beyond discourse; what is spoken, discussed and negotiated about is all there is. Hence the issue of what could be not real is due to the discursive condition of reality that usurps all meaning.
If you have a feeling, what is it? What does it mean? I say it means what it means only through the terms of meaning, which are discursive. If you have a ‘private’ or ‘inner’ thought about your feeling, what is it? Is it the feeling itself, or the thought about it? If there is a feeling without a thought, what is the feeling?
I would say: the feeling is the thought. There is no separation. Or, rather, only in reality is there a feeling separate from a thought. Likewise, I say: there is no thought about a feeling, or a feeling about a thought. Or, rather, only in reality is there a thought about a feeling or a feeling about a thought. I say: I am the condition of my thoughts and feelings. Or, only in reality may I find myself through a thoughtful consideration of my feelings.
Now, what am I saying? What am I meaning by these “I say /Or”. I am indicating that there is nothing beyond that which I am, and, that there is a world apparently separate from me, but that this world has become something else due its inclusion with every thought, every experience, every ‘you’, ‘past’, ‘history’, ‘possible future’, ‘situation’,”thing’ etc… Is merely me having the experience, but more so, having the experience through an occasion of meaning, that is determined by the discourse I use to situate it in reality, which is to say, the discourse founded by objects.
Now what does this mean? I have said before that there is no true object, how is discourse founded by objects if there is no object? This too cannot be intuited of reality. There may be objects, but their truth is based upon faith in conventional reality. The distinction of the real individual is that there must be an object as opposed to ‘me’, as opposed to the considerate person; such objects must be true for the individual of a group to arrive. For what is a group of considerate people and against what does the real individual find itself? Faith is faith in humanity of right and wrong; the ethical universe.
Again: I am not discussing an ‘either it is this way or it is that way’; I am not talking so much about or from some exclusive meaning that determines some actual real truth. In fact, I am talking about what is not real; in a more precise way, I am talking about what is ‘either/or’ prior to or a priori ‘either it is this way or its is that way’. And by this peculiar situation wherein I find myself in reality, reality itself comes to be in question, seen as merely a particular reality, not a total universal, actually true reality. I am not situating an exclusive truth of reality except that there may be one that is situated that way; for I have said, I am talking about what is not real. I am not exempt from reality. But somehow I have an experience of reality that is not real. What is it?
So it is that I find that when I speak of God ‘of the universal dance’ as in the metaphor above, I am speaking of a particular God, one that rules over a particular reality: reality in particular, one that has beginnings and ends, but particular beginnings and ends determined by the discourse of reality.
Again: I am not saying that I do not live in reality, or that reality is not really true, or that somehow I do not have feelings that I think about or feelings that can’t be described in words. I am merely describing the real situation as it has to do with what is not real. This is because what is real at this point cannot contain what my experience is: and this is exactly the experience of being human with full awareness of what being human ‘means’ when the meaningful situation, experience, the association of feelings and thoughts and meaning, is taken to its end in itself, in my self, but for the sake of the desire to ‘fully know’ the other. This other is the individual person of my experience, but also, by virtue of how consciousness functions to grant reality, this other is the transcendent of conventional meaning.
In reality, feelings and thoughts are associated momentarily, that is, to situate into meaning a particular situation in an occasion; the meaning is not typically ‘carried’ into ‘the next’ occasion, except as something ‘learned’ about a thing that is particularized in situation. Yet when feelings and thoughts are associated to make sense, and at that, complete sense, as one might say ‘God is with me’, for example, then, if one is not segregating real experiences for the sake of justifying oneself to other ‘selves’, other people, other means to further oneself in the real world, but rather is justifying oneself only ‘to God’, then one finds that he or she does not come to ‘know oneself’ as some sort of psychological or spiritual entity, righteous against other ‘wrongness’, a mediating agent of greater knowledge, as a real individual justified in his individual doings in the economy of other people doing things, as these are all negotiating and discussing what might be possibly true and real – on the contrary, one comes to have the complete sensibility of knowing the other, which is, for a term, God. The feeling-thought correlation comes to make ‘complete sense’; no longer does one doubt or have insecurity based in the thoughtful reflection upon particular feelings or sensual ineffable experiences, experiences that are put off into an ignorance that is really based in a segregation of real experience, the ‘unknowing’ that is then posited as a transcendent God or spiritual experience. The ‘complete sense’ commandeers such insecurity of worldly things and feelings. This does not mean that a person does not or should not have insecurities, it merely means that such feelings are real.
Yet, in so far as I may harbor identity within such feelings, so much that I see such feelings as indicating what is real and true, as I investigate the transcendence that is instilled by conventional reality through discursive indication, through such conventional truth, I encounter anxiety, or dread; I encounter the distinct feeling that I should not question here. What do I do with it? Typically, I recourse back into reality for meaning, identify the real things about the experience, and proceed to meditate that transcending experience into reality as if such transcendence is not already and still occurring at the very moment I pose to mediate. I create meaningful distance between me and the experience and deny that such experience is immanent to my experience and activity. Yet as I still doubt, this process repeats until the recourse back into reality becomes impossible, until the experience itself can no longer be denied and mediated, and it resolves in what cannot be real.
Hence, irony. We take again the example of where the Bible speaks; it speaks of two situations:
One that excludes in after the fact either/or situations of right and wrong, and one that includes, where both tellings have veracity.
In the first, love is the commitment that is chosen, based in a segregation of thoughts and feelings, of thoughtful consideration of feelings situated in a particular meaningful fashion that transcends the scheme of meaning that determines how such ‘things’ are supposed to fit together, that indeed is fitting them together to reach the meaning of the transcendent. Such it is that love originates with the individual ‘wanting’ the transcendent object indicated by the desire, the individual remains situated in real things.
In the other, love is the commitment that cannot be chosen, since it occurs by the imperative to know oneself but through the other, since it is the other where love finds its baring, that ends in finding only the other as self sacrifice.
God loves humanity, and so loved the world that he effectively gave himself to the world. He did not harbor in his ‘self’ and then gave a token of his love to the world; God loved, and gave himself to that by which love could only arise. If there was no world, God could only love or be love as a transcending element that is beyond human reality, which contradicts that humans then even have a reality, or that reality is also true, which is the transcendent element of humanity, that we often call spiritual.
In both situations, the same move is evidenced but correspondently, counter-partially. Eternal life is the complete sensibility that arises from what is not real, but true. In one, it is of the complete sensibility that brings a transcendent element; in the other, it is the complete sensibility that accepts no transcendence. That there may be life eternal is the condition of life; where it equivocates with a possibility of truth in reality, where the universe culminates unto human knowledge, eternal life is always set off into possibility and negotiation, of future and past, of choice. Yet where life is merely an eternal feature of the universe, in that the universe never occurs without it, here faith is revealed unto its offense, for the terms of reality always must indicate something more than the terms.
It is like two rooms separated by a two- way mirror; one sees the one room and a reflection of themselves in the room, it knows its merely a reflection, and that ‘on the other side’ some unknown looks upon; the other sees both rooms. There is no power play here. Both are correct, but one excludes and one includes; the play of power comes in the exclusion. But, as you pointed out, but taken rather ironically:
“I simply want to point out that the (overly skeptical) statements you made about historical knowledge would make it impossible to make this valid point regarding humanity and consciousness.”
The French philosopher Jean-Paul Lyotard may be correct and corresponding with your observation: perhaps, no communication is occurring. Perhaps the ‘room’ in which historical knowledge takes shape is incapable of hearing the truth about the operations of consciousness that the other ‘room’ sees. What is impossible retains its veracity as not possible only from the domain where what is real is also true, and absolutely so. Yet also perhaps, it is this juncture, between the speaking and the unhearing, within which history unfolds; your point is actually the basis of critique of history:
“– rendering it impossible to speak of human experiences in any kind of integrated way. I don’t see how humanity could have any shared context if history is as speculative and memory is as detached from the past as you say..”
And yet we have, if only because apparently we have an ‘integrated’ context for such history to have cohered as it does now, however we may construe this. It is no surprise that history is constantly reiterated into the ‘true history’ that has ‘obviously’ been generating for eons. The Story of the Bible may be only ‘functioning’ in the way it is meant to function in the context where the Bible is well known, that it is well known because it has context within a discourse of humanity that knows of the Bible; this does not invalidate its God, but rather maybe puts it in context, as the context of history still contextualizes the Bible. The question then again concerns its dual expression; for we are still trying to figure out what humanity is, as well as not, real. Who qualifies? What counts as cogent? Who gets to count it? It seems a Story that says “God created us, we live, and then we die” is quite cogent and explains pretty much everything in life that we experience. Do we need a greater explanation? Why? And these are not nihilistic expressions, but questions that arise from the very basis of the context in which we find the Bible, and the context that the Bible brings into reality. Who am I to question God’s plan? Am I even capable?
Indeed, if Jesus came at a certain pivotal time and can arrive at significant moments in people’s lives, then He does so according to a particular meaningful scheme of knowing. This does not negate Jesus, it actually contextualizes history, as history has meaning. The time that Jesus comes places time in reference with significant greater and lesser moments of history against which all of history gains relevance as a real progression. If Jesus also comes at the end of time, then time itself is situated within a particular scheme of meaning. This does not mean that it won’t happen, but that its possibility of happening or not happening is real. Yet if the end of time can come then it must have already come, for what could be holding it in place? What could prevent a beginning from enfolding into its end? What could possibly hold taught the string of unfolding progressive time? Only a transcendent, only some element that does not exist in the real universe as we know it. In fact, so much that this must be the case, a term cannot identify, account nor even implicate it – in fact, it would be more wise to suggest this element by removing its possibility from any real discussion, and call it any arrangement of symbols, such as “wtf”. It is exactly faith that holds the transcendent at bay sufficiently enough to allow for the progressing true reality of discursive negotiation, of ethical propriety; indeed, it is faith that prevents such an element to remain in its proper sphere. So long as Jesus does not arrive, all is well, and the individual can live in reality; but as soon as Jesus arrives, reality loses its absolute power.
So it is very ironic that I am indicating nothing less than an ‘end of history’, and that this is due to the fact that history itself is used as evidence for its foundering, instead of its integrity. For, what i am indicating has been made explicit, and what is explicit leaves nothing to have faith for, but it is just this feature of reality that will never allow a sensible reason to remove the transcendent, even as this essay is presented. This is because it is not some ‘intelligent pondering’ that arrives at a logical synthesis evidenced in what I’m saying that might be found true or false, rather, it is of an unmistakable truth, that apparently is not real.
The ‘end’ is exactly the stating of the facts that are taken as a proof of argument, as well as a proof that the stating is indeed an argument. Where the presentation of the facts are assumed to be an argument, as opposed to a mere presentation, there we have the negotiation of the true reality. For where the facts are understood in the presentation, there they were already known (see the essay by Martin Heidegger, Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Math concerning learning and teaching) and no proof was needed, for the proof is actually a verification, a validation. But where this is seen as an attempt to convince, the facts have been represented, and thereby come under the speculative reality based in decision.
So we should not see that somehow humanity ends, or even changes; such change is of a priority discourse, of social negotiation and justice. Instead, we need look into what may be allowing what is not real to now speak.