The principle of sufficient discourse says that all human beings have a consciousness which is sufficiently similar to allow for a direct communication of ideas and concepts within the potential of intelligence and education.
This ideal is a theological dogma. That is my proposal.
There are two facets going on with the ability to make this proposal.
- Humanity is progressing
- The progression of humanity is exceptional.
The idea that humanity is progressing cannot be denied. The argument that would say that humanity is not progressing is itself based in an underlying ideal of progression, that is, the proposal to say that we are not progressing is itself an improvement upon the condition, etc. Any such proposal is a metaphysical proposal and cannot be escaped within the idea of a common humanity.
The argument is not that this is not the case. The argument put forth is that this is the case under certain conditions, and that these conditions cannot alaways be communicated within the ideal of a unitive category. This proposal does not exclude; it does not propose that what it is speaking toward is wrong. The idea of a mistake is itself a progressive move founded in the ideal of failure rather than the promotion of a Progressive succession, Or “scaffolded Babylonian tower” of concepts, history culture, knowledge etc.
What is —
must I say “radically “? We really need to come up with another term because ‘radical’ is so burnt out that it almost means nothing
— progressive about this formulation is that it doesn’t exclude it self from the actual situation of a cultural and historical humanity in our knowledge.
What I’m calling conventional philosophy, or what is a common sort of linear Progressive understanding, is based in the ideal that what is occurring in the human thought is separated from its history by such progress. The ideal of progress within a culture allows itself to be separate from the notion of culture as merely a ‘set’ of norms; it cannot see itself as but a progress from other cultures that are necessarily subordinated in meaning (‘culture’ a manner by which to distinguish my culture from the anthropological concept applies to other groups). Human consciousness is really incapable of entertaining the notion that the means by which it understands itself is mythological; the usual manner of incorporating such knowledge into knowledge of itself is to maintain the distance as a sort of nihilistic default. Human consciousness will not actually apply such knowledge to itself due to the nature of how human consciousness functions.
That is, we are not saying that the conventional route is wrong, we are not arguing exclusionary politics.
So as an example of kind of what I’m meaning here by exclusionary politics, by the nature of consciousness and its default of excluding itself from its historical knowledge, I am putting forth an anecdote that might be well known for students of anthropology.
Dr. Triloki Pandey Was one of my professors in anthropology and he always astounded me at his prolific and wide ranging intelligence and ability to convey meaning.
One of his stories stuck with me. He would speak to us of colonialism, and he tells us the story, a hypothetical story granted, of the native people of the western hemisphere first encountering with Europeans. We can imagine the native people on the beach perhaps fishing perhaps playing, when someone notices out on the ocean horizon a small figure. From our position of reading this post we know this figure as Spanish ship. But the native people did not see a ship; we don’t know what they saw and we will probably never know what they saw but they definitely did not see Spanish ship. They had no context in their understanding of world to place Spanish ship and so there is no possibility for them to understand or even know of a Spanish ship.
When we understand fully what this means, it is not difficult to see a close parallel with the phenomenon ofCargo Cults. Though I can’t find the exact YouTube video right now, I did do a post a few weeks ago that has this one video that guy did about the cargo cult and Christianity, namely that Christianity itself may be another manifestation of cargo cult.
Now my point here really resides and becomes grounded when we realize that we are totally incapable of realizing that Our lived reality may be another manifestation of our human mythological tendencies. You cannot go to these cargo cult congregants and tell them the “truth“ of the matter, because every statement that you make to try to explain to them how that particular ritual and belief is incorrect serves to be incorporated into the entire meaning of the religious mythological structure. It is not sufficient to pull them out of their environment and take them to say San Francisco and show them around and tell them how their belief is incorrect because all that will happen is the same structure is that informed them to the cargo theology will be transferred over into a new paradigm. They may be able at some point to say that the cargo cult was in fact incorrect, but due to the fact of their placement of the past in an incorrect mode would have merely establish them in a modern paradigm. And this is to say in an exclusionary politics which says that now you are removed from your past and have progressed into, I guess what you could call, sort of truth. The only way to dispel this kind of redundancy is to deny it; and the act of denying a situation is itself an act of offense, which in other words is an affront to religious faith.
Again the point here is not to say somehow that the cargo cult are incorrect and that modernism is correct or and also it is not to say that modernism or what we see as modern is wrong. In fact it is to point out a significance of humans being in the world: namely points 1 and 2 above.
There is no argument that can be made to prove to anyone in an effective manner that what we understand is modern is not a progress from the cargo cult mentality. Consistently then it is useless to argue to a point to say that Modernity is nothing more than a cargo cult. It is pointless and useless and it does not reflect the truth of the matter.
Yet the fact, the truth of the matter, is that we are incapable of understanding what it could be to be a cargo cult in the modern context because the modern context is itself a distancing, an excluding ones being from it’s past as a progress.
And the other point is that you cannot argue to people that are invested in the modern exclusionary faith that theirs is merely a faith. There is no set of terms or organization of discourse that will explain to such modern congregants that their faith is merely a faith, A mythology.
This is what we mean by a breakdown in communication, and this is also what we mean by colonialism and oppression. And this is why in our modern times we have the never ending discussions of identity and various methods to escape nihilism and meaninglessness. And this is to say that there is a manner of understanding, a manner of coming up on the world that is not modern (nor postmodern) that forms a critique and analysis upon what is modern and conventional, that cannot be communicated to the congregants of modern faith (as I use this term in a manner of speaking).
At some point we will realize that exclusionary politics is not working; but unfortunately like every mythological construct, every scaffolding of meaning has to work out all its clausal defaults before paradigms shift, which is to say before mythology is become extrinsic.
But we should also realize that faith itself functions to maintain coherency and continuity of what is real and so such transition for those conventional minds will never be noticed except through another political identity.
This is why we say that such attempt at communication of this manner of this understanding is futile and the reason why post modern and some realist discourses really become a religious apology for midernity rather than an effective solution for it. If there was a truth invested in such postmodern orientation then it is lost in the process similar the that which Alain Badiou discusses in his book “being and event“;Namely that whatever is of the Name of the void is lost at the beginning of the count of the Real multiple. And likewise, incidentally, when we begin to understand what’s going on in these proposals, we can find purchase upon what Graham Harman is talking about in his object ontology.
The two points emphasize how the situation was not that the natives came to know the ‘truth’ of ships, as much as they were keel-hauled into the service of a religious ideology.