I find myself wondering how much the historical Jesus billed Lazarus for his resurrection.The High Cost of Woo
I was just listening to a story about Covid and religious practice where they talked about Jerusalem and how the three Faith’s all believe that something holy happened in the same place, each to their particular religious history.
This got me thinking: I wonder if the three religious groups, leader ship perhaps of each, could get together and compare each of their theology’s together and find out what is common between them, particularly. And perhaps they could take the word of each of their law, and compare it to the other two and see where it is only the words that are keeping them apart, whereas the spirit of the words is actually the same.
I think this will be the last energy I spend on JP. The less energy given toward his name the better, I think. But one last thing…
I think we can have little more doubt that JP is supplying a new philosophical ground for Christianity; indeed, I might say that he is a theological philosopher. And in an even more honest light, that he is the example of what I call the Postmodern Religion: the manner that religion appears today, the way it behaves for the modern state.
We might wish to be carefully observant.
Peterson is not really understanding the philosophy that he sounds like he is. In particular, from what I’ve listened to of him, (which is about 4 hours all together) he is not really understanding the philosophy is poses to be, despite all his rhetoric, and in particular, the main antagonist of his position, Postmodernism. Specifically, he is taking general ideas of the subsequent postmodern distortions and stretched application and further misapplying them as he is indeed misunderstanding them. Yet, I am imagining that because he has a PhD and a nice suit, and can put sentences together about various abstract ideas to a certain sensibility, he then appears as though he is making sound judgements and assertions. In truth, though, it appears that he is overstepping his academic license in the name of the Postmodern privilege of subjective dishonesty, which he projects upon a straw man that he calls ‘Postmodernism’. He in indeed utilizing Postmodern methods of appropriating discourse for his own agenda, the exact theoretical method that he decries as belonging to his straw man Postmodernism. He is capitalizing upon his alienation from a theoretical space, and then using a rather “sewn-together” version of half-cognized meanings to assert the truth of his subjective power (white male) as though they indeed have valid theoretical bearings. As I said in my last post, this is a particularly postmodern (in the diminished sense that he uses and understands) maneuver.
This is why I am and have been beginning to elaborate upon the a kind of philosophical orientation which recognizes various types of philosophy. Peterson’s “type” of philosophy is one which demands that all conceptual paradigms must be able to be conceived by everyone who has a certain level of education. This coincides with his “absolutism” that seems to rise into everything he has to say; biological essentialism, nationalism, civilization, history –everything to him has an essential and eternal basis. I question this maxim for the exact reason that I am indicating here with Peterson: It is his inability and indeed insecurity around being an academic which does not allow him to admit nor even see that he is simply not comprehending the theoretical arena that he appropriates. Again; this is exactly the situation that the Postmodern authors warned us about; in particular, Jean-Francois Lyotard, who basically gave us the term postmodern, tells us that knowledge is no longer something that raises or falls upon its own merit, but indeed, knowledge is something that the experts prop up. Implicit in this description of our situation is that experts thus demand an equivocation of knowledge to the standards defined by the experts. Peterson, someone who has achieved the title of expert (PhD) does not have the (what one would figure accompanies advanced education, as much as it obviously does not) humility to view something he desires as outside of his conceptual register, because of the systemization of knowledge (technology).
We might look at who supports what he has to say. It appears that Nationalists, racists, white people, and hetero-normaitive Christians form the bulk of his supporters. If he is so concerned with people’s well-being, why does he decry government support for LBGTQ+ politically valid designations? Might we do well to look at what he considers “mental health” also? Reality and truth that he appears to promote likewise has little philosophical support beyond some sort of assumption of a common human who is civilized. And what history exactly is he drawing from to come to his conclusions about society and the human psyche? To me, it appears rather arbitrary and, to be frank, quite similar to the artistic latitude that Freud used for his speculations about the structure and history of the psyche, such as his infamous story of the progenitor. Also, I think it is kind of strange, like a psychoanalytical flashback to not-so-long-ago when homosexuality was officially listed in the DSM as a mental dysfunction., that Peterson advocates so liberally for the democratic tenet of free-speech, yet while also advocating that people have “responsibility” for their lives. It seems to me there is a therapeutic inconsistency somewhere in there. Let him be so free about the possibility that what he knows so surely could be wrong; let him take responsibility for the world and not just his world. hmm? Perhaps have some therapeutic care as a psychologist? Indeed, in my profession’s code of ethics as a counselor, and probably his as a psychologist, (maybe thats why I am not a psychologist: their ethics are a bit out dated maybe, but maybe not) it says that the psychologist shall not impose his or her biases upon the client. In my profession, I am not ethically nor legally allowed to impose my religious beliefs upon the client. If I do, I can lose my license. Likewise, if I am an atheist counseling a Christian, I must not treat the client as though they are stupid or something. And, if someone is Gay, trans or whatever, I am not to impose my sense of personal correctness, as Peterson’s “natural honesty for identity” which says that such people are being dishonest with themselves. If I do, then I can be sued and lose my license. Wow.
There are no free rides, nor simple ideological solutions — he even argues this himself !! (watch the video a few posts ago). It appears that he is advocating the very thing he argues against.
I think his intensions are in the spirit of helping people, which is good. But, when we notice how he draws from history to construct a sensible history — which, upon scrutiny, is filled with many philosophically inconsistent holes –we might want to reference a history somewhat recent to our knowledge, that of Nazi Germany.
Now, I do not mean to be alarmist. But it is well known that Hitler and his propaganda machine drew upon a distorted version of idealist philosophers such as Hegel and Nietzsche, and used this misappropriation of ideas with a particular analysis of history which might have made sense to many people of Northern Europe who were looking for some respite from the depression of the defeat from the First World War. Hitler and his minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels contrived a mash-up of Aryan, Nordic, and Christian myth, which served to unite the people of Germany under a kind of mass hysteria of national pride, all the while propping up straw men under pseudo-scientific “truth” who were identified responsible for the decline of the German Nation. Jews were made to be responsible mostly, along with their “degenerative democratic” news reporting, but all sorts of people who did not fit into the propped-up mythic ideal were seen to be less than human.
Now, of course, in the small of it, this is just another philosopher speaking his philosophical wares, so hey…
But we might want to learn from the past: so many people were taken for a ride and then found themselves in a terrible space of problem that they did not even know they were supporting.
Just be aware.
That said :
Part of the Two Routes is a suggestion that we admit that there is no common humanity, but that there is a humanity that needs such an ideal. I think perhaps Peterson is playing to this crowd. The issue , though, is to develop a philosophical understanding that understands this role, the responsibility Philosophy has to the actual truth of what humanity is by what it does: People need religion. And so the responsible thing seems to be to give it to them, but also to recognize that the religious ideas of “partial reasonings” are in the service of compassion for the common good, and less “true” about what is actually occurring. Less a patronizing, and more a recognition: most people simply do not wish to know, and to give them all the information sometimes just confuses people and makes life more difficult. I think it is possible Peterson is doing this, trying to supply a meaningful world to those who don’t want to really know, but without the awareness that this is what he is doing. We need people who are aware, not just in a power struggle for righteousness.
In this Era of Prehistory, everything gets turned on its head, just like in the Pirate’s of the Caribbean movie…
As I have put forth in various places a “turned on its head” version of faith in the spirit of Kierkegaard (somewhere in my posts Im sure Ive spelled it out, but I surely address it in my book The Moment of Decisive Significance); I am applying Pascals Wager to the issue of climate change.
The deep adaptation that I have a link to in my previous posts signals more than drastic political and financial maneuvers, and more than ideological change; maybe I’ll write about that kind of depth in a post to come.
For right now, perhaps as a way to begin to chart the depths we can meet at the crossroads of the wager.
In the original wager, Pascal places what what can occur against what will occur. For example, what can occur is God’s existence, and our ability to believe, and what will occur is ‘nothing’. This is to say that the Wager is balanced upon what is removed from the possibility of it being removed., that if God does not exist, what will occur no matter what we believe is nothing. Yet, what can occur if God exists against our belief is that either we will be eternally damned or we will be saved.
So the turning on it head of climate change in this regard is placed in this framework:
What can occur:
- the world only changes a little bit, not drastically different than any other change, big or little, in respect to our ability to live through it and adapt: This is to say, the world keeps changing.
- Humans still exist and deal with the universe.
What will occur:
- The world’s end.
My point is that if the world as we know it ends, then there is no amount of believing or behaving that will have had any effect. So, it is better to keep on as we have, as though the world, ourselves, and the climate is changing.
Extension, and perhaps a little more philosophical:
The idea that we will have to adapt deeply regardless of what happens with the climate, coincides with the climate despite what activity we will write papers about or the scientific studies about the Earth. The basic question which stabs at the heart of this whole issue is that if indeed the world beyond a doubt, scientifically, will end, then why are we still arguing about it? Why, if it so certain, must we still try and effect some sort of human business in any way?
I submit, it is because all of it is a human organization. Not an overdetermined basis of utopian solution, not an underdetermined basis of nihilism (or a overdetermined nihilism or underdetermined utopia).
My wager is that the Earth’s climate is changing, but human Beings (as a generality to indicate what ideological Being is) want desperately to keep the climate of knowledge the same even as they might argue drastic change is needed; as Zizek has formulated, their argument is to enact drastic change within the normalized field wherein change is able to be reckoned as change (Postmodern expertise). In other words, keep the basis of knowing of such thing, how the human Being shows up the its world, the same, without the human Being actually having understand it self and the universe in a different manner, which is to say, in the actual manner. My wager is that human Beings will indeed survive to thrive, that the climate will change and will continue to change with human Beings involved with it.
And I argue that this ‘same way’ is Enlightened Reason: The special universal case of the modern manner through which human Beings shows up in the world.
From the Philosophical Hack (out soon):
Laruelle’s is the ‘best’ conventional proof of what cannot be proven through the conventional method. I have already spoken about the distinction between Laruelle’s and my terms. Laruelle distinguishes his project by asserting a positive withdraw in reference to the real common occurrence of philosophy, to call his Non-philosophy a state that purports to communicate this alternate unity (that he calls “real”) must be more real, yet in terms by which its placement is ultimately a contradiction of the ‘philosophical’ terms; whereas mine remains in the positive stance to indicate philosophy as the proper domain of the issue, I then refer to the common occurrence of philosophy as conventional. He likewise implicitly, if not explicitly, asserts that his Nonphilosophy is a better or ‘more true’ statement of what is actually real, where as I simply place reality with what is common,. What is not common, in my view, thus, in reference to this common state, not real. The true issue with Laruelle’s Non-philosophy is it falls into so many contradictory and accusatory pitfalls that it is basically and ironically non-productive to discuss what he could possibly mean as a philosophical position (ironically, it is called non-philosophy); but his point is aptly illustrated despite the easily discerned conventional problems. The most overt of these problems is that in order to agree with his proposal to be able to argue from it, in most conventional cases, one must inevitably and ultimately end up using exactly his phrasings; this is to say that regardless of what anyone want to argue about the veracity of his proposals, an extended rebuttal of his ideas will bring the proponent to have to quote him exactly as a responsive defense. This facet brings accusations of the religious quality of his (non-)philosophy; because the only way to argue with his proposals is to use his exact definitions, which then denies that the rebuttal has any grip on what could be an effective argument to the contrary. The end result is that one merely understands what Laruelle is saying, but really there in no point in arguing his points (as a proponent of them), except that the proponent might then be less a philosopher than a religious convert. The ultimate point of his (non) philosophy thereby can argue the religiousness of conventional philosophy as a whole, because often enough, the same will apply by extension. Thus, we can safely say that to argue his (non-)philosophy without quoting him exactly or using his exactly phrasing or having a firm working knowledge of his definitional lexicon is to misunderstand what he is saying, which begs the question if indeed he is living in his own personal and isolated reality –for how are we able to ground his assertions in any experience but his own except to admit he is a kind of prophet? Thus his position, though valid, represents a condition of philosophy itself that is best “passed over in silence”.
The point of this explanation is to indicate the ridiculousness of taking what can be seen as the most rigorous presentation of non–philosophy as if it is indeed a philosophy.
Also, it shows in relief how my explanation will be said to not understand what Laurel is saying, for various philosophical reasons. Then, ultimately, we will find that there is nothing one can say to the people who consider themselves “non philosophers” to tell them anything about how they might be a little off in their reckoning, so it is best just to let them be on their own, Being, as they are, so correct in their ideals.
This guys seems to do a pretty good job of laying out some flaws in Christian thinking.
Notice that his argument is being made against claims of another theorist in the debate.
One should ask how it is possible that he can move from the specific theoretical claim made by another person to the actualities of occurrence in the world.
This should really be the debate.
I have to laugh at his arguments because they are so good and so true; I am not denying his rebuttal for Christianity. I wish I could have heard the other guys too though.
The real issue, or the issue of the real, doesn’t have anything to do with who made the stronger points. As I have said elsewhere, there is no argument that can change what I believe about God because I have no belief. And those, including this dude we hear, who is placing his whole being upon his ability to make claims about what people believe, is himself a believer, and can just as well have his beliefs changed upon a good argument. As well as all those others who believe in the power of human thought as a divinely inspired tool.
The plain fact is that millions of children will die every day regardless of what anyone believes. This is a fact. It has only to do with belief in as much as people have beliefs that frame how the world is supposed to be. Just like Doctor Coolness Smooth Sam in the video. Can he offer a different belief that does not consider why or how these children die that prevents them from dying? Science? Rationality?Lets hear some moral arguments about these beliefs, huh?
Is it any less moral for him to participate in this debate while a 17 year old junkie just overdosed and died 3 blocks away because of such arguments against Christianity (such as Sam’s) that told him not to do into the church that day because Christianity is a stupid superstition, than it is that people buried children in post holes? Is Sam any less responsible than the post-hole diggers?
Oh yeah; for the debate he is. This is an entirely different situation…
Lets get a little real here. OK Sam.
And lets put the most significant feature of his oh so great anti-Christian argument: Shall we mention that this debate, is taking place in a Christian institution, that the manner by which he is making his name, his holier-then-thou white guy suave, is through the idea of Christianity? By virtue of Christianity he gets to make a living (in this moment at least) Shall we ask where and how his clothes were made, how much money he spent in it?
I am fairly confident that if he was so offended by the beliefs and activities of Christians that he could make a better moral statement by not having theoretical discussion in an institution that makes claim to The Mother of God in its namesake, Notre Dame.
Lets face it: His corcern and passion for morality is an act. It is a strict performance that argues itself as substantial through its own implicit assertion of power: We call this privilege. He doesn’t have anymore concern for the millions of children dying in the name of Christianity than he does for the lint in his pocket. He whole purpose is to make name for himself on the substance of substance-less claims. Despite Christianity being a narcissistic belief, he should more look at himself and his own mode of operation.
Hes a sham. The debate is a sham. Sam Harris does not care about the children; he cares about the debate. Thats all. He is arguing for his own religious belief that is supposedly more moral than that of the “superstition” of Christianity.
It was a debate that has no more substance than the one I have in my head over what shampoo I should use today.
Should I wear my $24 socks that have a picture of Einstein on them, or my $15 socks that absorb moisture so well?
Maybe its Einstein today. Im feeling on top of the world.
Ah modernity. The perfect world.
Oh. Not also to mention that people do not hold beliefs based in what arguments can be made. The whole methodology that sees itself in a unitive category is itself is based in a type of thinking that at best we should call disorganized and at least largely unreflective.
In short, I think the discussion about the existence of God and various theological justifications, in as much as there are indeed people who feel that such discussions are important, nevertheless, are evidence or part of a kind of thinking that upholds qualifiers for existence that are of a different kind or of a different order than thinking that considers what is true.
Here is an example of how we could begin to distinguish types of philosophy. And which types are good for which areas of problem.
Here we thus have the need to make notice of offence, accept it not as a negation of it, to thereby be able to discuss true aspects of what humanity does. Not what is ‘more true’ to thereby propose to eliminate it as an incorrect appropriation of what is effectively transcendent knowledge, but an approach to truth that takes examples of belief as true situations not to be discounted, but only left to those who see it as important. To hence locate facts of humanity. Not so much as an ironic analysis of primitive belief, but merely ‘belief’ as a religious term, the use of which located an effective religious structure.
Religion: that state characterized by a supported organization that does not reflect upon itself, except through diversionary tactics which avoid its own inherent disorganized conceptual foundations.
Taking a cue from Amorinblog, I am making an attempt to speak to the notion of disparities. Lets see how is goes.
What is terrorism?
When we think about the activities of terrorism, a marginal view might situate terrorism in terms of truth. What we have with the possibility of terrorism is a function of truth, or “true-Being”. In the consideration of what human beings do, we should not ignore or set aside this aspect of truth: Truth is Being truth. To set this function of human consciousness in terms of ‘belief’ merely reifies the Western colonial construct of subjective centrism, a construct that posits free will and choice in an absolute context of the ability for the subject to align itself with a transcendent course, such as we found in the American context “manifest destiny”. This is to say, we ostracize such “pre-terrorists”, people who might not have becomes terrorists yet they did, through the ideological matrix of the self-referential ethics of choice to say that the one who is a terrorist is choosing unethical behavior; the native tribes of the western northern hemisphere were for most purposes to the early American government, terrorists in every light, even though we understand now how the American “post-colonial” period was an unethical act (still we do very little to repair the wrong). ‘Choice’, and correspondent terms such as ‘free will’, can be understood as a Western liberal code for creating antagonism in the world, an aggravating aspect of Western capitalism and its war machine.
Yet see that the question is not one about an essence of choice. It is practically nonsense to suggest that we do not have choice. But at the same time, if we do not recognize a dual aspect of consciousness, then we always stay within the ideological paradigm of an absolute ethics despite how we might want to situate or define any other liberal ethics of inclusion; we will routinely stay in the unity of consciousness that is able to consider parts of itself, parts it conceives, the unity that appropriates plurality to its uses. Reflection, in this way, is misunderstood axiomatically to be witnessing something outside of itself. As part of the liberal ethical front (and I mean this to describe a kind of Western impetus, a certain manner of coming upon reality) we should not worry so much about what others are doing, in fact, we are only able to understand such ‘other’ through this antagonistic orientation that is first and foremost based in worry, fear, and philosophical resentiment. Ours is based in a contradicting antagonism, and our plight, as well as our ability to act, is based upon a cognitive platform of reconciliation in knowledge. We have then, as we are, to deal with our own BS if we are to ever stop jutting forth to then recoil in the usual modern oscillation of the war solution. In an odd sort of reprimand, the very idea of enlightenment typically does not translate into domination through war; no wonder colonial-exploratory Europe had to see other non-Europeans as ‘less than human’.
Two things here: This is not a argument against war or that we should not have war; this is not an argument for pacifism. Neither is this a suggestion that we should (somehow) withdraw from interacting with others; the point is toward an ability to be honest with ourselves about the situation at hand. As part of an ideological situation, we indeed have a front line; we cannot but be involved with a partition, of sorts, whereby we face and have confrontation with those aspects of the world in which we find ourselves. To move this understanding into any sort of utopian theme of ‘universal peace’ would then be to set aside our moment, our modernity, to basically negate our moment into a whole past to say then that all wars and conflict in history arose due to these constraints, whereas the truth of the matter is that which arrives only within our modern situation as wars stemming from these defined antagonisms: Basically we identify our moment by establishing the contradiction in this context. If we are ever to realize (which is to say, understand the truth of) our situation, then it seems the manner must take place within as the contradiction that is outside of the ideological or mythological construct, a situation that is not accorded to the construct to be thereby abstract (it is indeed occurring within the norm) but, is rather marginalized to the extreme, actively being withheld for the purposes of maintaining a particular kind of reality (ethics).
This is no longer a critique of meta-narratives; such a critique was still occurring in the antagonistic space, a space that could only be resolved through various ‘faiths’ that resolve the modern contradiction (the Deleuzian “Zen”, the New Age Spirituality, the Eastern Karmic cosmos, the “Christian” denominations that are not properly Protestant nor Catholic, and other discourses that take place in ironic suspensions). We have found that the critique of meta-narratives was how a particular ideological state perpetuates itself through ulterior colonialist motions. The Postmodern (but particularly the subsequent ‘method’) thought itself as an exception to the metanarrative, and used irony to suggest its difference, but we found that it merely supplied the ‘final’ narrative to substantiate Capitalism as the ground of real discourse (the “postmodern methodological platform”; see Lyotard “The postmodern condition”, and “The Differend”: The demand for a ground of real veracity, a limiting of irony, calls forth the criterion of ‘efficiency’ that brings about ‘experts’ to define what knowledge is valid, which knowledge is allowed to be considered as true, as well as the reparations that will be made to that aspect of knowledge that was excluded in the interest of efficiency.) But we were not done with irony, that is why definition is insufficient to bring about decisive changes in ideology; hence the various philosophical reconciliations for identity that we find all over the internet, and hence the instigation of a divergence in philosophy.
(Note: The question for divergence seems to be noticed. What others have been trying to do with ‘non-standard’ ideas and such, I simply address directly and say I am a philosopher and this ‘other’ manner of philosophy is still true as it can be identified thus conventional because the orientation upon objects by which it addresses things to gain its veracity. We do not speak from the unitive philosophical paradigm but rather admit that such a paradigm exists at least in parallel. Only one kind of argumentation exists which can reduce all signals to a single matrix, and that is the conventional philosophical route; it does not propose that it is capable of doing this, and that is why we are able to identify its mode with nothing. As I have said elsewhere, we are dealing with the instance of what stays static while something else changes, a calculus, of philosophical reckoning. What has withdrawn has indeed withdrawn beyond all argumentation: It has already been established. As well, any further argumentation is superfluous, redundant but indeed real and valid.)
So this is also not a critique of such identities. It is a describing of how humanity functions; we should not expect such understanding will change our behavior. It indeed will bring about or be involved with some sort of change, but the change will be related in a particularly real manner that seems to be able to avoid the truth of statements and yet likewise be able to argue effectively for how the truth is not what originally was there (a mistaken intension of intentionality). Neither is this a pragmatics, nor a promotion of a way into praxis. This is analysis, a possibility into a beginning of a science that has been brewing for some time (time is not the issue). The fact of atomic interactions is related to the war machine only through incidental, circumstantial yet real discussion, negotiation and argument; the science itself dealt only with the interrelating of factual situations, itself as a founding term that actually departs (instead of merely feigning departure). When we rely only upon a determination of human activity through this former method (of the circumstantial discussion) we arrive at never having the bomb built in the first place, no nuclear energy, no astrophysics, no understanding of our sun or the solar system, etc. No wonder there has been an effort to get back to the “pre-modern” Real thing.
We thus have now reached that point of discernment, an ability to deal with the being of human without recourse to incessant mythological justifying defaults that reify the free intuiting agent of transcendence. Thus far, we have not had a scientifically philosophical way to gain access into what human beings do because we were too busy doing it, busy using the manner; as an analogy, we’ve been like astronomers who have been looking at ourselves looking at the stars thinking we were actually looking at and discussing the stars: Through this approach we can only get so much information about the stars. The most recent of this manner is what we could generalize into a category of ‘Enlightenment’, but other categories that need be sorted are ‘State’ and ‘Capitalism’, among others, and “Neurophysiology” is not one of these primary aspects at this moment. We do not know yet how these function for human beings; we have only been using such categories in a proposal to find out how we might Be, indeed, using them to Be. In our finding this out, then, we have reached a kind of apogee in mythological function: Coming upon such self-reflection there by understands such knowledge as a means to enact, what is now/then seen, as a Truth. Only when this occurs does a moment arise by which to view through a larger frame of what has occurred. It does not occur through any choice in the matter, but indeed functions to begin to detract from itself.
From this moment we might be able to understand what ‘Terrorism’ might be. The first order of business, though, is to dismiss oneself from the reflection of identity, and this does not occur through any choice of free will. As I noted above, this is not a suggestion to indicate that terrible things have not occurred throughout human history, or that we can identify some essential human attribute or psychology to thereby alleviate us from such terrible occurrences. This is a description of what role Terrorism is playing in the reality of being human: Terrorism, in a large sense, is the antithesis of free will and choice; quite terrible. Psychology, at this moment, is too overdetermined in solution to be able to ponder a fact that does not move toward choices of human solutions; there are too many human issues in the world for an institution to consider bare facts; all such facts are ideological and political arguments that function as platforms by which to enact a possibility of real solution. It does no discredit to such psychological method to point out what it does, though, but the reaction that would take such a description as indicating a fault of psychology, or as suggesting that psychology is incorrect or wrong, is missing the point of fact for the sake of its ideological purpose, which is to rely upon the self-evidence of its teleology of real solution. Science concerns facts; real solutions are of a different order, of a different moment. And such moments are not, or at least do not have to be, at odds.
We thus make a proposal that seems almost a truism: Terrorism is the act that takes place from an ideological point of exclusion; terrorism exploits points of access.
I have suggested above that the idea (ideal) of human ‘belief’ is a manifestation of an ideological lack, a founding term that is supposed by the constituents of the ideology to account for what lay outside its purview. It is a colonizing ideal: Belief. Again, in this conceptual moment, we need separate ourselves from the notion that human beings all throughout history have been having beliefs. We are not concerned with what history might have to say about what human beings might “have been” believing (for indeed they were); that is of a different order of analysis. What occurs in terrorism is that the open door, that is supposed to be welcoming and inclusive of various human capacities and manifestations of belief, is not being taken. There is something about the welcome that is understood intuitively and innately to not be welcoming; to wit, the sensible response: My belief is not a belief, it is the Truth. Regardless of how we wish to emphasize our open ideal, in the case of terrorism, it has not worked, that’s why such acts are “terrible”, because they make no sense, they occur outside of our sensibility, our ability to make sense. Our sense of it is 1)that it is terrible, 2)unethical, 4)insane, 5) inhuman,6)of a ‘bad’ sort of religious fundamentalism. Perhaps we even make sense of the people’s acts patronizingly; they are ignorant, they are delusional, they are uneducated, they have been raised in an intolerant culture, they are the product of ‘bad’ ideology or psychology, they have been brainwashed. We cannot dismiss that any of these disclaimers may be the case, but for the act itself, especially individuals who willingly and with intent sacrifice their own lives in the act of terrorism – how else are we to make sense of such acts but through the unitive aspect of consciousness and its humanity that has good and bad psychologies accompanied by ethical mandates ? One cannot choose to escape their reality.
In these kind of reckonings there is no consideration of, as Alain Badiou has said, “difference as indeed different”, in other words, there is no considering their position for what it is in actuality, which is to say, as indeed a Truth that does not reconcile or fit snugly and comfortably in ‘our’ ideological nest. Indeed; I recently heard of how Donald Trump approaches foreign policy in a way that is different than what America has historically: Instead of attempting to defeat authoritarian regimes or dictatorships, reprimanding them with trade and alliance penalties, like the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, Trump approaches other nations on their own ground, allowing their political organization to function in whatever way it does so long as it does not interfere with American interests specifically. This appears very much like a situation where what is different is engaged with in its difference. How ironic that the person who so many in America see as contrary to American interests would be the person who would take an approach that can appear philosophically sound? I doubt Trump is that smart or educated, but it goes to show that we are not speaking about practical reconciliations of thought and action, but indeed a scientific description of the situation at hand. Could this be an indication of a possible beginning of a philosophical science that does not answer to conventional philosophical method?
Terrorism occurs at points of access. (Side note: The paranoia that often arises out of the consideration of an actual Artificial Intelligence develops the very point of access that an A.I. would be able to take advantage.) Terrorism is the revealing that access is not automatic nor guaranteed by any sort of discursive item, and that access now must be authorized (by experts). This is not homicide or murder, in as much as those events target individual people for specific identifiable reasons; e.g. Sam hates Pablo. Of course, we could see some similarities breaching this codification in the U.S. legalizing the corporation as an individual person: The experts tell us now that the human being is an incorporation, and not the other way around. It is not that corporations have become people, its that people must be incorporated to have ‘free’ access. In this sense, then, “in the name of (the True) Islam, I kill a number of symbolic representatives of the Christian West” is murder because this individual is incorporated (with an institution called ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-kaeda, Neo-Nazi, Free-Speech Movements, Pro-life, Black Lives Matter, whatever.. ). The irony, and the evidence that such terrorist groups see themselves through the lens they wish to destroy, is that they are asserting their freedom of access, pointing out the contradiction inherent in the (Western Liberal Capitalist) liberal mind set. This is the divine beauty of Capitalism: Its apparent omnipotence. Those who are not terrorists are those who are definably and axiomatically free to access: They are born incorporated: Nationalism has ‘bred’ itself into an offspring. Of course terrorism is insensible: How does one make sense of an act of assertion that positions itself against something that is already inherent to the act itself? This is the contradiction as well as the blind spot we find also involved in the critique of race relations. How much more non-sensible can it be for those who must behave through such ideological mechanisms? But this is not an issue of knowledge and education as much as it is what is occurring. The fact that such marginalized groups would have to speak about how to gain for themselves basic and inalienable rights is just about the most ridiculous thing that could occur given our ideological ground. Might the ‘terrorist’ actually be more sane??
This is not my position, necessarily, by the way, nor am I arguing anything about what sanity might be. But, an analysis of a situation must be able to point out facts about the situation if we are to get anywhere: Speaking about or describing what is offensive should not be taken as an argument for that which offends. A person of color is not asking me to change my skin color, reject my heritage nor deny myself as a human being in the world; she just asks me to be open to facing some harsh truths that come from outside of my ability to reckon on my own.
Identity has been taken to a further extreme, perhaps as a counterpoint to the extreme absence of sense that the act of terrorism evidences. I am not going to make an argument against that kind of reckoning, but only point out that such situations are about the political order. As to facts, if I may take the Islamic Terrorists as a case example (though we could put this analysis to any so called Terrorist), the suicide bomber is not targeting specific people, in fact, the hatred is entirely ideological (as I said): It is not Burt that I hate but that Burt is American, and he is not so much an American, as I reestablish the Truth of my sense, the sense of Truth, and re-appropriate to assert the Truth, as much as he is an Infidel. The point of access is a symbolic act against symbols, the scheme of which, on the part of the Terrorist, functions to reclaim conceptual territory (see my REBLOG post about conceptual territory) through lumping the antagonist into the counter-partial founding category by which a closing is understood as an opening (an act of faith); the corresponding ideal of the West is ‘belief’. The point of access is exactly the gap that opens up with murder without personal motive; the personal motive is the successful attack upon Truth. It is no secret that the opening for belief allows for all sorts of ethical compromises that brings into question every ‘belief system’ that functions under its umbrella. Only in the “blasé” attitude (Walter Benjamin ?) that accompanies the pursuit of real identity may someone have a valid ‘belief’; one must suspend their ideals in ‘nothing’ in order to ‘really believe’ (or to have faith). It is this kind of nihilism that is terrified by someone who is willing to die to destroy even the smallest piece of the antagonizing ideological leviathan; the transcendence that accompanies the modern nihilism is of a different sort than that usual Western ideal that places religious thinking in the category of concern with a transcendent ‘creator’. The Western religion of nihilism (the state of belief) cannot bring itself to have any sort of passion strong enough that would allow itself to willingly kill itself; how ironic. Here we even have the beginnings of a philosophical explanation of addiction, as well as the reason why it has reached epidemic proportions in America; but as well, a possible explanation of China and how it becomes present in the West.
The point of the terrorist act is to destroy the antagonistic state, the state that directly confronts the Truth through the ideal of human belief (the ideal of ‘belief’ is a singular ideological Truth). The terrorist act thus is an act that is already admitting what it is losing; like the Kamikaze fighters of World War 2 Japan, Japan had already lost the war, but would not admit it. Slavoj Zizek speaks of this kind of ideological instance in the analogy of the cartoon character, say, Wile E. Coyote, chasing the road runner off a cliff, running out into the air. Coyote does not fall until he looks down and realizes that he is standing on nothing, and even then, he has time to wave good-bye to the camera. The interesting part of this, though, is that the terrorists are already a part of the ideology that they are terrorizing, because they are already admitting that this antagonistic state has a claim in their Truth: They are fighting against the ideal of belief, an ideal concept –like that which is unstable within Anslem’s argument for the proof of the existence of God, — that they already and inherently understand; we might see the contradiction suspended in the terrorist act in as much as they destroy their own lives in the process of attempting to destroy the whole of the antagonistic state: A ‘not-life’ for a ‘life’. Likewise, they know that their act will not actually destroy the whole of the infidel’s kingdom, but perhaps (who really knows) they ‘believe/know’ that their act will cause some sort of cascading event of collapse, as their disruption in concert with the ongoing series of disruptions will inevitably achieve their ideological goal, which is to dispense with ideology (as belief). We might see again a similar ideological activity in the events of Helter Skelter, ,where the murders of Hollywood celebrities would instigate a race war. Such antagonisms supply the fodder that ironically sustains the Capitalist ideology.
Terrorism could be marking that point when Capitalism has run out in to the air; perhaps it is now waving to us, but I doubt it. If I have to summarize the point of this essay on terrorism, perhaps it is that terrorism is an ideological construct that has its basis in nothing, an irony, because while it destroys people, actual lives, it is already serving Capitalism as a source of capital, of “magic”, of supplying energy to the ideological fetishized commodity that is identity: Terrorism is understood effectively, axiomatically, automatically to be identifying a real-true thing. Disgusting ethical juxtaposition really, but again this is why Capitalism could be said to be the umbrella Religion of Nothing, because people have to have faith in order to be able to ignore the incredible depth of the nothingness in which such events, and their labels, induce.
It is within such determinations that we find necessarily that I am not speaking of a unitive situation, but indeed, I am speaking about how such a unitive situation operates.
I could go on, and there is a further bit having to do with explosions, but Ill leave it here for now.
I seem to have found a significance for Anslem’s proof. It may be that it is not significance for whether God might exist, but, as I have said, significance for how I present ideas.
We will start with the rendition from Princeton’s site. I think they have a pretty good rendition there.
Without all the strict logical hoopla, I think the simple way to put Anslem’s idea is that God exists because we can think of It.
The significance of this notion appears to disrupt what we generally consider of time, it’s ‘natural and directional’ progress.
The Princeton site says that Anslem was addressing a particular issue that, actually, we still find totday in atheism. Basically, Anslem is confronting two ideas:
1.He understands the claim that God exists.
2.He does not believe that God exists.
Now, I have done only the most preliminary research into Anslem and his ideas. I am just taking the very popular simple version, and considering these two situations. There is no ‘hidden’; whatever Anslem’s results most probably are quite apparent, and the ones that are not – well, what point am I trying to make here? I have already said in my earlier post that there is no logical argument that sways me in any direction or causes me to believe something I didn’t before. So any extension of argument must be involving something else; perhaps I am attempting to get at what this something could be.
I think the main point Anslem makes is that, as Princeton puts it, this is an inherently unstable condition of being. What we might call the ‘founding essence’ can be understood to be responsible for this instability. Somewhat similar to a ‘thing-in-itself’, this founding essence would be a kind of gravity well, if you will, of mental activity. The instability arises because of the knowledge (the known-ness) of what something is able to be. The question arises: How can I know what something is if it doesn’t exist? The basic assumption in this question, what philosophers tend to lump into the category called ontology, is that existence is, that there is no need to discern what existence is because to argue for or against the being of existence does nothing to displace the argument except as much as it merely denies existence. The point of saying something exists thus should equate with what can be known, and so the instability of the situation is found in the human ability to choose on whether what exists is actually true. In this case, though, Anslem is dealing with the basis of all that exists as a category, namely, God; God, in this sense, as we cannot but apply our modern sense to consideration of it, is merely the name of the category that contains all that can exist as an active element, the element by which all else can be said to be. The extension in time to Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’ can be understood as a factual description of this situation, and thus, rather than an opening up unto Being, ironically as a closing of Being unto itself and thus a factual description of what human beings do: The identification of the in-itself of human Being. More on that elsewhere.
The resolution that Anslem posits of this unstable situation occurs because of the foundational nature of the knowledge itself. In this Medieval Christian context (which I argue is still a modern context), the resolution (the clarity, the definition) that must be referred to must be understood in a context not so much of mind, but of the essential God-inundated mind that is able to uphold and entertain knowledge, which for our context might be the mind that exists. In short, the condition of knowledge is/was such that all things referred or otherwise are established in existence due to an absolute situation, a situation whereby all things gain their status in the universe, what we usually index by the idea of an absolute ethics, in a manner of speaking. In this condition it thus appears that a reflective mind will naturally be drawn into the the contradiction involved in making a choice as to the (true or false) existence of something that (already) exists (in essence), and will therefore correct (or become the correction) the instability by virtue of their own existence (in the absolute universe, or the universe that is indexed by absolution). The question of whether something actually, or physically, biologically exists, such as a race of human beings that live in the midieval antipodes,
unicorns, dragons, spirits, extraterrestrial aliens, etcetera, has no baring upon existence because of the absolute reference and access of mind to God (existence). What can be incorrect of knowledge as to what is true of existence finds its resolution in the posited (assumed) basis of existence.
The Medieval as well as Modern mind is consistent in this ideal of progressive understanding of the universe. What is significant of this orientation upon progress is the mind’s innate access to what is true of the universe with reference to an assumed basis of that truth, what we can say is an assumption of stability unto which all knowledge will inevitably resolve; despite whether we posit that there is no actual resolution or that everything is flux, or whatever conditional conditions we define, the result of any positing is always toward ends, toward a resolution. Even if we say that the universe and the knowledge of that universe is completely and utterly contingent, this contingency must be absolute; hence we say that the effect of such terms within any scheme of knowledge or organization of definitions is what we can call a “founding term”.
Oddly enough, we are able to find purchase into understanding what human beings do by looking at what philosophy does. Not, as Graham Harman might have it, that everything we might do automatically falls into a subjective appropriation of semantics that defies our attempt to locate such philosophical behavior. Rather, at some point we should be able to locate a mark by which we are able to be dismissed from this correlational philosophy that wants to avoid any critical gaze upon its method.
Once we find this mark (which I do not go into here), we can extend this situation (of existence and deferment) to apply to everything that might exist: Within this situation, a person can understand and then decide upon it. There is no thing that escapes this formula, and Anslem is making an accusation about it: It is unstable, and it will eventually resolve itself to the conclusion that the thing in question exists, in his Medieval case, God, and in our Modern case, perhaps, the object of empirical physics.
The point he relies upon is the idea that God is the greatest being or thing that can exist, for, so long as we can conceive of something greater, then that is not God. Similarly, we can use this conversely and say that because we can conceive of ‘that which nothing is greater’, this greatest thing exists as a foundational ontological ground of Modern effort as well: The ‘greatest’ thing is the most substantial.
What interests me is that this simple notice occurred late in the 11th century. Here, already, is a situation made notice that no one noticed until very recently, like 10-20 years ago with the philosophers such as Alain Badou, Francois Laruelle, an then for the younger folks (of the time), of the Speculative Realist Conference. In particular, the idea is that there may be something that exists outside of our knowledge (not necessarily our ability to know), and as for in this situation, that which is greater than the greatest thing we can know. This category has brought modern philosophy (again) to consider things like void, nothingness, chaos and such things, and the corresponding ideal that whatever works to create identity is all good. But if we are honest, we might be able to glimpse the same ruminations of Scholasticism (St. Anslem is said to be one of the founders of the Medieval Scholasticism), occurring in our Modern philosophies, but under different terms. Indeed; I argue (along with Jean-Francois Lyotard apparently) elsewhere that Postmodern scholarship is really a religious apology for Modernity.
In this post I confront the veracity of some of our current philosophical modes and arguments by asking what seems to me to be a most obvious and significant question, a similar question that Graham Harman asks of Heidegger’s “tools“: Why did no-one notice what Anslem had opened up until now, some 1000 years later? We are able to understand Anslem’s argument to this day; no one proposes that the thinkers 1000 years ago were any less astute than our thinkers today. Why is it only now that we are addressing the possibility of what might be ‘beyond’ or ‘at root but not part of’ (Badou’s consideration of set theory) knowledge? And then we might even ask more confounding question if we find that philosophers during the interim of the thousand years also considered the same question over and over.
I submit for consideration that we have gotten not very far in philosophy. We might begin to understand the vastness of time and how slowly and incrementally human beings, as a group, accomplish knowledge, and how it is much more like a science than philosophers are capable of arguing. Indeed, if we think into this situation, we can then find often the situation that we have already come across elsewhere; namely, that on one hand philosophy is the way we situate the conditions of our times, how we work out logistical problems of being in a semantic world, and on the other, merely reflections of people (the authors) in-themselves. But if this is all philosophy does and is doing, then we also might see that we are actually merely re-contextualizing not what what has already been contextualized (as thus a re-contextualization), but in actually what we’ve already done, making the same arguments over and over but under different terms. We are reminded of Shakespeare’s “a rose by any other word…“.
Upon this conclusion, we are careful to not move too fast as we might then jump to the conclusion that such an idea should negate the ontological status of what I am calling conventional philosophy, as though such a proposal should then move beyond what we have and what we get through philosophical method. This is not the case. It seems near ridiculousness to figure that we can commandeer reality by a stroke of the pen (or a keystroke) except that we might be involved in such philosophical endorsement; we should then ask how is it that am I to get beyond it merely saying something in a particular manner? No. We cannot ‘turn’ the truth of the matter; we have but to see the power that is invested in the leviathan of religious interests, of maintaining a particular formation and method to know that, as the philosophers have argued, I cannot escape it unless I wish to perform some magic, perhaps some discursive slight of hand. We should ask if we can be done with all this trickery of the ontological police. Then, all we have to do is speak of facts instead of the essential Being of things, to speak teleologically instead of ontologically. We can argue the conditional nature of real essence for the rest of eternity and never get anywhere further than circling back and forth away from and back into Medieval type scholarship. And thats fine, and thats the point: This is the factual nature of reality, the impossible aspect of what we have to deal with in reality. Of course there will be those who will argue that what the philosophers are doing now days is not Scholasticism and who will produce all sorts of argumentative and ultimately circumstantial evidence to support their claim. Great! Perfect! Does this sway me to believe something that I don’t already know? The proper response, in this case then, is that this is not a proposal toward any popular or social change, and in fact it has little to do with how political ideology might be at any moment; we can of course use it for such purposes (identifying our moment from the past conditional moments of history, for example, etcetera…), thats what Badiou and Zizek tell us…
We are not so much learning anything new as much as we are justifying our limited manner of Being in the world, and this is an end in itself that should be heeded but not as a call for change, as though we can somehow transcend what we are — we can only transcend was we identify with as political and ideological subjects. Rather, we should see this situation as a mark of what is true of being human, as a mark of significance, which is to say, a mark of fact. So another of my indictments of philosophy: Despite all the great discursive gymnastics and the twistings of subtle argumentative semantic juxtapositions, philosophy works to avoid having to look at itself as a human behavior. Conventional philosophy refuses to allow itself to be seen as an indicator of behavior, perpetually argues itself as an exceptional incarnation of divine intuition and inspiration, a blank spot of Being, and then uses this fact as a means to absorb all activity under its purview back into the real political and ideological limit — to say that this is all there is. I see the constant and basically automatic referral of all things ‘thought’ back into this kind of philosophical pond is self defeating to the effort of progress, even as progress itself is routed back into this (touted) ‘speculative’, or ‘realist’, or ‘post-post-modern’ maxim. It is no wonder outside of capitalism is so difficult to think!
As Amoreinblog has argued somewhere, perhaps anthropology is the way out of this philosophical conundrum; despite all the philosophical misappropriations of ideas involved with the AIME (An Investigation into Modes of Existence) project of Bruno Latour (even by Latour himself, lol), his book can be read as an argument for the need to open up a space (perhaps, in his terms, create a pass) whereby we can avoid this modern philosophical whirlpool that we have been involved with for at least 1000 years. It seems that only now, with Postmodernism, but as of late Post-postmodnerism (must we find a Post-Post-Postmodernism also?) do we really get an idea, but also an actual way to understand and realize what human beings are doing.
Time itself may be the issue that is involved with Modernity invading as it usurps all discourse into its machinery. The issue that opens up after Postmodernism (but is not itself Postmodern scholarship) is the break from Enlightenment Ontology. So it may not be so much that we have to philosophically get out of this temporal mode — that kind of move would be philosophy attempting to avoid itself through arguing itself out of itself, redundantly, establishing as it maintains reality for everyone. It may be as simple as admitting that there is no escaping the philosophical limit, and realizing a kind of anti-Husserlian manner: Of finding the independent object in the bare fact that we know that there is an independent object, and perhaps that we need not speculate about how it can be so in order for it to be so. Of course we can discuss how it can be so…and indeed we will, but that does not mean that we cannot stay where we are at and let the pagan-Christian rollercoaster come around again and again.
Maybe we need to make a clean break.
It is an interesting excersize:
The history of philosophical reductivim is written in the last half of history as a conflation of the Jewish ‘unknown’ and the Greek ‘Logos‘, both of which are really the only types of ‘oneness’ we are capable of perceiving: a completely unknown element (Judaism) that communicates to humans as singular and specific sites (prophets of the absolute transcendent), and a completely known element (Greek intelligence and immenence) that communicates as the integration of reason into activity.
Together, they comprise the whole of possible rationales behind the One God of our great monotheistic religions, but also the ‘One-ness’ that is the denial of ‘the other’ absolute One (God) as identified as the ‘set’ of atheism.
We have the possibilities of absolute One-nesses (theism-atheism, and their compromise of agnosticism) that we should recognize through its guises as the One God, the God of One that most every ‘rational’ person ‘worships’ in one way or another.
My question is: What of the Two God, the God of the Two?
What happens then?
Ok; here is the post I meant to put:
So we come to Bruno Latour, and his notion of the pass. What is it that allows for the repetition whereby self-fulfillment is denied? This is the question of ‘what happened’. We will never get to answer the question of what ‘is happening’ until we answer the question of ‘what happened’. This is because if we do not find out what happened, then it will happen again. We are then keen to Kierkegaard’s “Repetition”, for the question that most everyone wants to answer is the subsequent question, the question of Being, “What is happening”, why is there what is and not what is not? This question, though, denies its own bases and so asks upon itself without ever even looking for, let alone being able to see, what it lacks. What ontology always finds then is itself, or an other (an other and self are constituents of the real state). All is indeed vanity.
Further; philosophy as an ontological practice cannot escape the political, ideological and in general social dynamics. It is a simple thing to see the reason why I call such conventional philosophical method real. What is real is what is happening. But because thinkers, as opposed to Beings, but consistent with being real, take the products of themsleves as indication of the potential involved with other beings, and take this as evidence of not a whole, but actually The only whole, they thus always (1) take everything real as a product of some sort, be-caused of some thing or other, and (2) take as an automatic demand upon all things within their field their proof toward what is happening, and this, even to the extent that they demand that the question of ‘what happened’ must conform to the state of Being that is happening.
Bruno Latour begins his book “An Inquiry into Modes of Existence” with a description of what a pass is with an analogy. I don’t have the book right with me, but he writes about a mountain trail or path that goes from the base to its peak. Note that I will not here follow his description exactly; I am not putting forth a strict analysis of his book and what it means in this post. It is enough that he came up with a pretty good analogy, a good term that can indicate the issue and the way it is dealt with. What is significant with Latour, at least in his AMIE project , is that he sees the need for an opening. It is clear from visiting his webpage that he understands the problem of a multi-vocalized reality similar to the type that Lyotard suggested in the conditions of the post-modern moment . Namely, the problem of communication between worlds. The salient question of every significant philosopher worth considering is “Is communication taking place?” For it is from this pivotal question that the world manifests in its ways.
So, if we can understand what this question means, which is to say, if communication has taken place through this one phrase, then we have found a common pass (a given ontological base). It doesn’t really matter too much if we identify it with Latour’s scheme (supposedly he describes 15 types of passes, 15 ‘modes of existence’; hence the book’s title “Inquiry into Modes of Existence”). What is significant is that he saw the need not so much for another reconciliation, not another philosophical reduction to some essential truth for which the author is trying to gain traction for through their communion with the intuition god, but rather some way to relieve the reduction from being the responsibility of one authors’ intuitive argumentative assertion. What is significant is that he sees that the method is at issue, the philosophical reductive method and its associated (and invisible) givens are at issue, and that the only way to get past this method is to somehow poke a hole in it! Instead of giving into the nihilism that arises in conventional minds, we need to create an opening whereby people can begin to communicate.
In my upcoming book, we might get into the complicity of needs that relates François Laruelle and Bruno Latour’s works; I am getting off the track of this post. The upcoming book probably will answer all the stray ponderings and vectored analyses.
For now, it is enough to understand the simplicity of the idea. First off, ontological foundations must be admitted given. If a traveler does not admit to an already given ontological truth that has already been explored, then the significance of the pass will make no sense; the trail will be missed and avoided. In order to pass, we must set aside the want to apply redundant deconstructivist techniques to every clause. This is because only once we understand the ontological foundations of existence, only once we admit to that truth, can we begin to see the passes. While I see really only one effective pass, Latour sees this pass as expressed in different ways.
The first kind of pass (probably not in the same order or number that Latour notes) is just this: Where a particular methodological application accounts for all that is allowed, a pass has occurred in the scheme of meaning that accounts for real estimations. We might even call this kind of pass a ‘given’, because it functions to allow reasoning to grant reality despite the problem it poses upon that reason to attach to real things. For example: If there is a question of the truth of Being, for which a particular formula answers this question, whether is be God, or whether it be a series of philosophical arguments, such as Deleuze’s Rhizomes, or various ‘arrived-at’ states or situations that we can associate with metaphorical ‘plateaus’ – where such an explanation of what is happening routes all occurrence back into its logic or reasoning such that every event is account for or deflected within that scheme, a pass has occurred to ‘miss’ the meaning of an alternate suggestion. The person effectivly ‘passes over’ the situation where someone is expressing a different reality because everything is making sense to the logic of the first person’s ‘total’ explanation of the situation. This is the post-modern condition.
But lets back up. Latour uses the analogy of a mountain pass. The meaning of the forgoing paragraph is that first we have to admit that there is a mountain in front of us. I show you a mountain and say that we are going to hike that mountain, and I start to walk. But you don’t move; you stand there pondering whether or not there is indeed a mountain. I tell you to come on, lets go, there are great views at the top of this mountain. But you stand there and reflect upon the possible aesthetics involved in being at the top of an epistemoloigcal situation that we cant agree upon.
This is the very problem we face when a philosopher will not admit ontological foundations as true. But I am not going to go into all the ramifications of this discussion here.
Again, enough to say that Latour’s analogy is of a mountain and a way to hike to the top. There are all sorts of dangers on this trail though. We will have to cross some fast streams and climb some crazy rocks, some steep terrain, but it is navigable, we just have to follow the route.
Now; the problems that Latour comes across and discusses in his book are due to the issues of this same type; he is still justifying the situation ontologically and thus has to address, and or finds, 15 types of passes that represent 15 types of manners or ‘modes’ that account for reality for the various types of people (various people use various modes so reality stays ‘whole’ –for those of the particular modes). This is why his gets sticky; because as soon as he attempts to justify something that is passing ontological constructions, he then has to use a pass that somehow avoids any of the passes he lists, or incorporates. Ironically, the need he notices gets set aside as another ‘religious’ dogma, another philosophical reductive scheme, accepted by some and rejected by others.
The point that he himself misses (and we will discuss somewhere the duplicity involved with conventional significance) is that in order to be able to see a pass one has to admit that ontological justifications rely themselves upon a pass. Simply speaking, Latour is attempting to answer a teleological question through ontological justifications.
Another kind of pass, a good one, and I think one of the first passes that Latour notes, is: Say we have a map of the mountain and the route leading up to the top. We mark our progress along the trail by markers in the map that indicate, like ‘when you get to a big dead oak jetting out of a rock, then you go east for two miles until…’ or symbols or pictures that say just as much. How are we able to transpose or translate the actual mountain to the map of it or vice-versa? The map itself looks nothing like the mountain, and in fact is nothing like the mountain. Yet there is some sort of resemblance between the two, and indeed, provided that something has not happened to have changed or altered the actual physical landmarks that the map notes, we are able to stick to the directions on the map and get to the top. In this kind of transferal there is a pass enacted in our understanding of reality. While I am not here addressing all the peculiarities of the situation, it is a simple thing to see that there is an obstruction in the actual Being of things to get around or past, and this can be analogous to two Beings attempting to communicate. In order for us to be able to follow the map of the course up the mountain, there has to be a sort of pass that allows us to ignore the problem that occurs in between the actual physical mountain and the small paper drawing of symbols that describe how to get up the mountain. This pass thus marks a particular manner of coming upon reality, a particular ‘mode of existing’.
The significant point, though, of noticing this situation is that in order to get beyond the dead end that is the modern-post-modern obstruction where no communication takes place (again: what do I mean by this? Read my past posts and my books to find out!, (and maybe check out some killer tunes to boot!)) is that an opening is needed through which people can be free to describe, what frankly amounts to, the ‘insane realties’ that actually occur in the meaningful life, but without fear of judgment of reprisal. Yet, this is not so much some sort of auto-biographical non-fiction or something, nor some authorial-fantasy of artistic license. It is more a manner by which we might be able to find out some facts about what reality really is.
At least, this is the idea behind Latour’s vision.
While I do enjoy the idea and see the need for a pass, I am not so optimistic as Latour.