Direction 4.5: Jargon, Bad Faith and a brief explanation of the non-philosophical project, its problems and shortcomings.

The other problem with truth is that everyone already knows what is the truth. They encounter it everyday and what they know is sufficient for them to go through life with at least adequate contentment; the rest they can invest in church or their respective church-like elements of their lives.

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I came off rather strong in that last post. If I have offended anyone’s sense of truth or reality then I have struck something significant with you. It then either beckons you to a question of your reaction or to a denial of the offending proposition.

Anyways, I have only to continue. Here is a sound byte of an author taking about what non-philosophy may be.

(I hope this link is a good link to a 7 minute spoken introduction to a book about non-philosophy that just came out. )
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It is possible that some readers may have noticed a paradoxical aspect of my presentation. Somehow I disagree with Laruelle but yet in that I am discussing his ideas I appear to agree with him. In particular, I have pointed out that his use of jargon is contradictory to what should seem to be a humanistic effort; as well, I have accused him of being in bad faith. But I do agree that there is a generally “unrecognized” arena or basis of knowledge that is ignored or denied; this is the reason I can speak to his project: because I am addressing the significant issue, and not so much (yet) the veracity of his position.

I should make a distinction in terms between Laruelle’s and my own. Laruelle has coined ‘non-philosophy’ to distinguish his proposal from ‘philosophy’; I propose that what most people consider philosophy is not philosophy but what i call ‘conventional methodology’. Hence, his Non-Philosophy is what I consider as Philosophy, and what he points at and rebuts that he calls Philosophy, I call Conventional Methodology, because it functions the same as any other effort to solve problems between things. He has relinquished a quality of term to the masses so that he just thus frames Non-Philosophy to oppose what has been commandeered and called philosophy.

Ironically, I might say that another reason he uses such “high” jargon is so he might not offend anyone, so he might be thus able to (finally) implement or explain sufficiently the truth of the matter and thus gain some other honest seekers, but it is this futile effort that explains more thoroughly the issue at hand and the phenomenon of bad faith.

The distinction that both of us have come upon has not until somewhat recently (within the past couple hundred years maybe, but particularly in the past hundred – but maybe 4000! ) been noticed, or at least not in institutional or conventional discussion. The problem is located in the assumption of common effort, which is the idea that everyone who might be considering things is human and thus are involved in the same problems and solutions that collectively are known as progress. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were the first to notice this problem, but they were caught likewise in the assumption: they still thought that people, once shown the truth, would thereby change; but this never happens because either no one cares or because they already know what is true. Again, what was clearly delineated in both their works as a break, a polemic, was and is taken up in conventional methodology, or philosophy, to be allegorical; as if K and N were really speaking of and to “individuals”, that their discussions were aimed at everyone so the individual might consider ‘new insights into existence as a human being’ – because conventional-methodological philosophy cannot have essential difference, it must reduce everything back into its common generality. I submit that such insight is entirely wrong, a misappropriation of meaning from what Laruelle would call non-philosophical, what I would call true philosophy, into philosophy, or what I would call conventional methodology. It is correct, of course, to the extent or in the belief as one is oriented in their Being towards a absolutely true, one, single, reality: as one is of an unquestioned faith.

The assumption of common effort is what Laruelle identifies as an understanding of a world given to knowledge: the understanding which philosophy ( I will now stick with Laruelle’s usage ) takes as its ground and purpose, a progress of and towards truth, a progress that Laruelle has eloquently debunked. Yet, it is also where religion gains its purpose. We should see that Laruelle is being strategic in his presentation; he is applying discursive tactics by focusing his attack on philosophy: the analysis and construction of the basic methodological approach for conventional thinking upon being human and existence (ontology and epistemology). But indeed such a critique and commentary cannot be confined without becoming that which it decries. As i have already indicated, conventional methodology behaves as a religion, functions through faith, and develops history along particular lines of control and power. If Laruelle truly sees his effort as particular to philosophy and not to reality in general, then in one instance at least, he is in bad faith. But this kind of bad faith is only of a lower type, and the more significant is being developed here.

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The description of the situation is only made available with or through the understanding that I have come upon, the understanding that Laruelle seems to expound. Yet we have merely come upon and agreed upon the issue; where we diverge is at his excessive and overtly positive asserting – because this seems to necessitate jargon. This is my third explanation for his excessive jargon. Laruelle is fixated upon reconciling the discrepancies of reality, and in so doing, I fear, he is really venturing no further than the philosophy he is supposedly critiquing. The positivity – that is to say, the orientation upon a one reality that attempts to describe a completeness, or total explanation of what occurs or is occurring – that Laruelle is involved in mimics Sartre: his description is so considerate of positive, historical possibility – even while describing it away in meta-synthesis – it seems plausible and credible.

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Here is a bit of synopsis of Laruelle by another author

[Gabriel Alkon,1 Boris Gunjević2
1City University of New York, Baruch College, Department of English, 455 Fort Washington Avenue, US–10033 New York, NY
2Theological Faculty “Matija Vlačić Ilirik”, Radićeva 34, HR–10000 Zagreb gabriel_alkon@msn.com, boris.gunjevic@zg.htnet.hr]

PG. 213:

“According to Laruelle, the true event for philosophy is in fact the coordinated positing of relative and absolute, combined and separate, conditioned and unconditioned, as mutual presuppositions – there is no event apart from the philosophical “decision” that sets these oppositions in motion. This decision is the “proto-event”, which is the self-positing of philosophy as the discourse concerning the relation of the unconditioned to what it conditions, or of the transcendental to the given. This relation, which becomes an immediate unity in the event, is the presupposition that establishes philosophy’s adequacy to its other. The presumed correlation of actual being to a transcendental condi- tioning power is what allows philosophy to know itself through the other by moving beyond the other as given. It is the sheer being-given of what it knows that philosophy must resist; its skill is the derivation of the transcendental – the transcendental that is its unacknowledged presupposition. The event, which undoes the given in the immediate presence of its preconditions, is the true culmination of philosophy – the moment at which it need no longer depend on its objects, which are replaced by the transcendentals that are the preserve of philosophy alone.”

Now, my problem with Laruelle is primarily founded in the high-speak of philosophical jargon. Here is another author explicating what Laruelle has said and he cannot even remove himself from the necessary jargon. It is like a disease that is contagious, spread by the mere act of dense and vague verbosity, not even the person who is attempting to disseminate into, what is suppose is meant to be, simpler language, is able to tear himself away from the sickness, is not able to get simple.

Since I am not concerned with status, position or privilege, I find the truth of the matter in much simpler terms and thus come to a more solute ground of the issue (my wording nor word count does not have a dollar or a academic discursive value attached to its effort):

The issue is the term. Since the object can never be known in itself, we are left with only knowledge. Not knowledge of it the object, but only knowledge. Knowledge concerns the object, but because of its limitation (knowledge reflects only itself) the object thus likewise must be a condition of such knowledge, and not the converse. Such conditions designate reality according to discursive relations of meaning ( I will dispense with the Big-Name droppings since there is no profit in it in truth ), relations that correspond with Laruelle’s “coordinated positing”. Such relations cannot be known in themselves without, as Laruelle also finds, resting upon silent, or denied relations upon which the new relations are thus situated for their truth, and this is Laruelle’s philosophical “decision”. Thus, to be simple, we are not ever dealing with things in-themselves, but only terms; it is not that there may be such “decision” or “proto event”‘ but how one is oriented in knowledge toward those ‘things’. Terms are thus situated in consciousness and are revealed by the manner of their use by Beings as to their orientation upon existence- this orientation operative in the questions: Is the term equivalent to its object? Does the term express a true object? Does the Being see itself essentially integral with a common true reality designated by true objects that are conveyed through terms – what Laruelle calls “the world given to knowledge” ? When we begin to understand the issue, we will see it is one of faith; in other words, terms always rely upon an ability to express absolute truths, an object in-itself, and thus implicate, in their role of expressing truth, a transcending element. Again: We are not therefore concerned here then with what the terms may be able to express so far as absolutely true objects, but whether or how one is so oriented upon the truth that is supposed to be expressed in such terms. Hence the polemical non-philosophical and philosophical projects – which I see as better expressed as ‘philosophical’ and ‘conventional- methodological’, respectively.

It appears that Laruelle in his efforts is like Sartre in that he is attempting to describe a true world. We may find over time and repeated returns to this type of philosophy ( or non-philosophy, as the case may be), that they are indeed giving us a comprehensive picture of reality as it is/was at the time of the position. We will have then another way to view reality in existence as another sort of style or fashion. So far, in as much as every expression is an exact reflection of existence at that moment, at least, we have Sartre’s description and now we have Laruelle’s. The problem is in their bad faith of being able to present a description of a real, true world; they end up only giving us a picture of a world that existed for a moment – but without the irony that would allow their proposal to give a picture of the eternally true world.
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I am honored if indeed anyone has continued with me this far; I must assume that if you are still here then I have been speaking to the right person.

But chances are none have ventured this far.

Nevertheless, I have only to continue, regardless.

But right now, I’ve to go to the snack stand….

Direct Tangent 4.4: science and faith.

The main problem in finding the truth is that no one cares about the truth. And, even if one may, the usual outcome is that truth is located in two arenas of knowledge, found through their respective methodologies, science and culture, that reflect only a temporary-momentary truth called theory , or as a theory is played out time and time again and so confirmed, law, or tradition-dependent truth, which likewise develops law. The two are situated into arenas that may function exclusively but also cooperate. In other words, there is no ‘absolute’ truth, but only ‘relative’ truth except that the absolute truth of the matter is that there is only negotiated, or relative truth.

But indeed, I had a periodic and lengthy discussion with someone over just this feature of truth. His position was that there is an absolute truth but we just don’t know what it is yet, that science is in the process of uncovering the absolute truth of the universe. Further, he says, that we cannot know if what we know now is even a portion of this absolute truth, but through science, in the future, we will sort this out; for example, the theory of plate tectonics. He would say that the theory of plate tectonics is absolutely true, that indeed there are continental plates that float on a layer of magma, etc…

I countered that with Stephen Hawking’s idea that what we know as truth is really a scheme of truth based upon models, and that these models seem to work for practical solutions of apparent problems. I am not sure if Hawking would say that there is as absolute truth out there that we seek in science, I think he would be content with merely saying that there is a truth out there that we uncover through our investigations, but it is a human truth, and such truth is limited in its nature but it is all we can know, that there may be more to the universe than our knowledge, but we can never know it.

I do not stop on one side of things and proclaim it for the other; I say that such ideas, both my counterpart and Hawking’s, are based in faith, that this faith lends itself to a particular kind or scheme of knowledge, and that this scheme is intimately linked with the ethical standpoint of action, as this ethics develops a humanity to a particular kind of reality; a reality which is inherently false. That is, reality is inherently mythological at its base, and in so reflects only itself upon the unfolding of existence: it is not true, but only true in negotiation.

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I was watching a show the other night called something like “Steven Hawking’s: the purpose of existence”, or something like that. The grand culmination is, after going through all the theoretical physics and nifty science facts, after the tip of the ‘model’ limit of knowledge (above) and using the model idea to indicate, as counterpoint, the individual realities that go on inside of each of us, that, thus, we all make our own realities, and the purpose of existence is the individual’s.

Umm; what ? Such a platitudinous regurgitation of modern new age spiritual science seems hardly worthy of one of the supposed Big Minds of our day. I could only think that the poor guy must need money, or Cambridge does; I’m sure someone does, because if all the Big Minds can come up with after all this science, thinking and formulating and discussing, is that each individual creates his or her own reality and purpose for that reality – with such an act of statement they have moved from scientists into priesthood, so presumptuous they are to proclaim that their science has even taken one step into or toward investigating what they have proclaimed truth upon: it is an act of utter religious flagrancy and pomposity – indeed; the Big Minds have done nothing but propagate their faith, as evidenced by Hawking’s move here. Utter small mindedness hiding itself in grandiose bias.

What I am saying is that if i have come upon the truth of the matter, or at least the beginning of it, maybe there will be people who will investigate with open minds what the truth may actually be; but i doubt it, becuase the great thing is, no one or hardly anyone cares so faithful they are. It is the story of the ages.

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So back to what i see includes Laruelle in this whole thing.
Science does contribute; philosophy, now, is a wing of science, or at least tries to be; Laruelle sees this. I cannot comment right now as to what he sees as following from his project, but if he is to remain consistent, the project can only propose necessary outcomes.

Hence, I proceed.

The problem of science is that even if it is a model that grants humans a working truth, humanity and scientists such a Hawking, do not go about life as if it is a model; they go about life as if it is absolutely true. Hence a reiteration of what I propose above: the faithful humanity, guided by the priests of science (among other priests) views itself and determines its worth ‘individually’ with reference to this truth of science. It likewise cannot help but see itself in the reflection of scientific dictates, in particular, psychology. Psychology proposes to describe the true human psyche and everyone sees him or herself through a lens described by psychology. It is not difficult to see that if I am having a view of myself as a reflection of the science of psychology, as my mind may work in various ways, I immediately have self worth or not in view of the truth of psychology which is admittedly only a model of the truth – I am going to have problems that I cannot but describe either as stemming from a spiritual or psychological malady. It is no wonder that our most popular forms of spirituality and religion have to do with aligning oneself with some transcendent god or gods or what have you. Science, and by extension, psychology, creates the necessity for a transcendent entity by the contradiction involved in science being itself a model, the model being a basis for actual and absolute (relative) truth, and the assertion of individual realities – such a formula allows for the individual that hardly “knows thyself” because the self, in faith, is always relegated to the mysterious individual of free will.

Yet, this is not to say that such a faith based in a methodology of acting, of action, does not contribute, but it does so in the arena of social justice. (See my post on Feminism.)
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So I must describe Laruelle as a passivist. Not a pacifist, but a passivist as opposed to an activist. What I mean by this is not that he is a pussy or that he has no principles that he will stand up for. I do not mean that he does not behave from a general standpoint of propriety or that he won’t punch someone who crosses that line. I do not mean that there aren’t things worth advocating actively. What I mean is, in so much as i understand what Laruelle is saying, I cannot escape from the position where every problem that involves the individual reduces to one answer, so I am unable to address myself ethically to solve one problem wholeheartedly without also addressing other problems that naturally and inevitably concern the initial problem. This does not mean that Laruelle or I do not live life and address problems; rather, such problems have already been solved by their reduction to one solution, which is my being consistent with myself in existence – and I am thereby activated.

On the other hand, we have the co-conspirator in the project: the activist.

The activist sees each problem as being solvable, at least potentially, and the hope that accompanies the activity of solving each problem is justified in the ethical default that at least one tried to solve that problem even though its solution may then present, lead to or have caused more problems. The activist is thereby passive, in that they pass by the aggregate of the world, the world which is inevitably the activist itself, for the sake of solving one problem, and in remaining active despite its own deficiency in solution, the activist finds itself in the solution of other.

Together, the activist and the passivist join in active praxis through their natures of having an ability to confront ignorance; ignorance is seen by both as the antithesis of an ethical human existence. The passivist confronts what ignorance there may be for the individual human itself by refusing to stop himself or herself at their own belief, and thereby the passivist might become an unbiased and un-violenced representative instrument of existence. The activist confronts ignorance by questioning others from the perspective of an ethical righteousness that takes its form from an initial individual reflection of service, which gains from an impetus toward a common human social justice.

Ok. Now before I get into the more juicy parts of the meal, Im taking a coffee break. We will return after these important messages…..

Tangent: Bad Faith, Part 3

Ok, time to get serious. One has to have the time, see, to get really serious because when one gets really serious, things tend to get really funny, so funny, that most people will hardly have the time, so serious they are about having such a little amount of time. But thats a joke.

Bad faith is about being seriously serious. What is serious, as I have said earlier, is that which confronts one’s mortality, and the biggest threat that one has is, what I shall call, the Object. The Object is that which impedes or confronts the subject. If I am talking about something in particular, I have addressed an Object, and to the extent that I might think that I have actually indicated somthing else, something that is not the subject, I have barred the subject from existence because I am speaking about a particular object. This is the problem of duality.

Most people understand duality, but it takes a little more consideration to come to the point made earlier: Religion is the convetional effort to overcome duality. The typical and most overt analogy to what I am talking about is Heaven and Hell, Nirvana and like religious doctrines. This kind of overcoming duality is where the person puts-off the overcoming of duality to the ‘moment’ of unity, which usually means (but not always) ‘when I die’ – they go to heaven. The duality is overcome by ‘kingdom come’; this is to say that this duality is overcome by the complete negation of duality called that which is ‘after-life’. This is the very secular way of speaking about this effort: and we call it ‘Religion’. One will find continuing with my essays, that convenetion mimics, or reflects, what is true, but does not actually get to or reveal anything true in itself beyond its own ability to suspend truth in relativity, which is to say, in duality.

But that route is to easy; it is too easy to point to religion, or believers, or, the faithful and relieve or justify oneself as to one’s belief. I am talking about truth, not relativity. Yet, here is the difficulty: I cannot say that a ‘unity’ is the truth either. Unity, or a One Universe, as I have said in another post, is just as a religious proposition as heaven and hell. In fact, I can only say what is true in reality, and reality is determined as conventional.

So, again, it is not truth that is at issue. If the truth is at issue then one is in a conventional negotiation. The investigation into the truth of an Object is a conventional negotiation of reality. When this effort is taken as substantial, that is, as what I shall call essential, or basic truth, as that which informs and has nothing else or prior that informs it – when we have an effort into the truth of an object, an effort that is taken under a premise that it has something to contribute to an essential truth, as opposed to contributing to reality, as if reality is de facto truth – and this is to say, when the effort is supposed to contribute to an essential truth of objective reality, we have what is conventional: we have a religious undertaking: we have meta-physics. We have an effort that is made under an assumption that is the assertion of the true Object. Furthermore, and this is key: The true Object is always transcendant: it is never found, the truth of it is always the objective. An effort which proposes to find a true metaphysical proposition is a real contradictory effort; it proposes to find the transcendent and bring it down into the world as an object, so it thereby can be immanent, and this would be the true Object. Every real motion which proposes this objective against a truth is a metaphysics, and as such a proposal elicits maxims, or actual truths, it proposes religious truths called dogma. The conventional secular world avoids its religiousness by discursive slight-of-hand, and calls its ( as opposed to Religious) doctrines as ‘ideological’; in other words, it finds the truth of reality by segregating religion from itself: it thereby cannot be a metaphysical (read, ‘false’) reality, but the reality it proposes is thus the True Reality.

Hence we have come to the most solvent presentation of what religion is. Such a presentation explains a feature of human reality without recourse to any other discussion. it contains all rebuttal; we have thus what can be called truth. It is real because it cannot be otherwise and be communicated, but it is not of reality because it explains reality: it is true, it has no prior or other referent but itself. This explanation is thus the ground of any discussion that concerns religion. Every other explanation inevitably must fall to this explanation as its premise. Conventional reality posits a transcendent true Object by its very motion, and because of this fact, what is true of reality is that it is a religious proposition.

We have found a fact of reality; a fact is that which is real, and what is real cannot be avoided except through denial. A life lived in denial is, by definition, lived in Bad faith. When we can come to a full acceptance of such a disclosure of the single person in the world, then we might be able to get somewhere. Until such disclosure is accepted, we will only make decisions based upon a mistaken apprehension of reality.

We can now rejoin the discussion upon the question: why do I say that Francis Laruelle’s project of Non-Philosophy is in bad faith ?

* * * A Further Tangent.

What I am taking about is the strange, offensive notion that whatever is there is entirely contained in knowledge. If one has an open mind, this can easily be demonstrated: attempt to describe some object to someone so that they know exactly what you mean. At some point in this excersize I bet that you will not be able to convey what that thing is without referring to an underlying assumption that that person is human. At some point you will invaribly point to it, or say it is like this or that, or say ‘you know’ and will begin at some point to almost urge that person to understand what you are trying to indicate, you will try to convince that person that they really do know what that object is. Eventually, if the other person does not give into your urging or your compelling to agree with the common humanity, you will give up under the justification that this excersize is stupid or the other person is just being obstinate. But the fact of the matter is that there is only the object there, as a true object, to the extent that both parties agree that some reasonable amount of information has already been given before the exchange had even begun; there was already an established ‘scheme’, if you will, ‘matrix’ of meaning or understanding, knowledge, that supplies the true object prior to the interaction. Yet, as one proceeds to attempt to uncover what this knowledge is, or try to find some pattern or orderly sense to the scheme or matrix, they only find a further aggrivation of the scheme. At each juncture where the investigator comes upon a ‘truth’ of a situation, a true thing there, he or she has found only faith; they have found only the margin of thier encompassing belief, that which establishes for them thier identity as a human being in reality.

Of course, what we have now a days is a new faith; we have a world where people have given up the investigation into what is true and returned to the effort for the true Object – but, this is not because there is no truth, but because thier investigation is founded in convetional methodology: religion.

And it is not difficult to see this everywhere.

(But part of the problem I am explicating is this ‘new’-ness. As if people ever were ever not interested in attaining the Object.)

Ill let this soak for a little while now…