the Divergent Proposal, part 2

The question left in the previous essay (the Divergent Proposal) asked us to consider what about the current philosophical proposals are apparent in our daily lives. We need unpack this. Easy at it may seem to refer to science and say that there indeed are processes at work that we do not recognize or acknowledge in our daily activities, we should have pause when including philosophy in this deferment.

We have already touched upon the presumed equivalency of philosophy and science, of metaphysics and physics. Indeed, the arena in which we are involved at this point is ripe for deception; we argue one one side in order to argue against it, to argue the other side. Let us take the usual philosophical example, from the basis that is assumed common of the likes of Bertrand Russell. His description of the situation is a good one. He considers a table and moves toward finding what the table actually is and goes on to describe that at no time do we ever arrive at a table. The table exists as a condition of multiple aspects that arrive according to the various routes of analysis, sensation, intelligence, the instruments used, mode of comparison, et cetera. In fact, it might be possible to bring in Harman’s “Third Chair” as a response to this situation. Nevertheless, in considering an object, there is no knowable reduction that encounters a table, as we say, in-itself.

Now despite that Russel is probably responding to the 200 years of critical philosophical thought since Kant by suggesting that the object exists through different modes (well get to Latour later), it is sufficient to say that through the working of all such modes, even then, we still never get to the table itself, but instead find out selves and the ability to know of the chair within a network of approaches, attitudes, and views. At root, again despite out intellectual strategies that appear to offer us new ways in the attempt to find it, we still find that we never get to the table in-itself.

Something odd has occurred here that I have not seen addressed anywhere in the philosophical literature. Nowhere do philosophers address this shift; I only hear of ‘turns’, but no one ever talks about why or how such a shift occurred. They only justify why it is logical or sensible to begin to speak about something in a particular way. What I always see is philosophers starting in the middle. This shifting of starting in the middle bahaving like it is a beginning, we call a type of pass.

So it is time to start at the beginning again. Any philosophical and or critical effort worth its salt begins its proposal at the beginning. Now, of course, with this statement we should then see that indeed most philosophers would have something to say about that; they would probably say, for one, that that is why people go to school, maybe major in philosophy or at least take a couple classes or read some books. But also, as many are indeed accredited academics, studies and well learned if not proven intelligent, they would say that they indeed have a position (just look at my papers and books Ive written) and that they do start at the beginning.

Again, we have something odd that has occurred here. Are you feeling it? Do you see it?

My hint is that the problem is in the very route by which such beginning are being said to have substantiality. Indeed, there may be a ‘beginning’ of philosophical considerations located somewhere in time, somewhere in the historical library, but isn’t that what and where philosophy gains it stature? From the neverending shuffling and proposing upon various manners of statements, of arguments? We do not find a beginning here. Those philosophers who would site this route might say that, well, one needs to know the issues, the various proposals made around particular topics, and then through addressing and getting responses upon various proposals made through considering particular vectors and types of philosophical arenas (epistemology, ontology, computer science, artificial intelligence, ecological idealism, et cetera) one has developed a position and there by has allowed a sort of organic beginning to arrive by the mere fact of now the operator being involved in the network of discussions. Indeed, the philosophers of this route would say that the very idea of beginnings is another philosophical arena unto itself. (And here I am considering such beginnings. LOL)

Further, though we can site the ideas of Kant as a certain beginning by which to draw conclusions as to what is and has been occurring over the past 300 yeas or so, we could just as well start with the Ancient Greeks. The point is is that it doesn’t matter where we start in the historical discursive record, what matters is what is occurring when a person reads a philosophical work and come to certain ideas about what is occurring and or what to do next, where to go, where to look.

But lets go back to the simple philosophical situation. The table; the object. The basic: Im sitting here on the couch typing on my computer with my legs up on this table. I am going to purposefully limit my scope and focus on the table. What is the table? Take a moment. What do I need to know, have, experience the table?  Of course, there is a slew of critical thinkers that would say, Oh, well, what about the table are you trying to consider? Its “beingness”? it relation to your knowing it? Its structure? Its physicality? Its relations to other things? The mind that is considering it?

Blah blah. Ok yeah; humans have at its disposal potentials located of individuals for various kinds of approaches and solutions to various problems that it also can creatively apprehend. Such is intelligence, ego, superego, wit, privilege, schooling, strategy… Again: We are not attempting to elaborate upon what might occur in the middle of things. We are not advocating the mediating subject. We concede that there is this real aspect of being human and that humanity functions within reality along dynamics of all these possibilities of novel and rehashed ideas that arise from real human viability. There are philosophical thinkers that merely want to showcase their super philosophical intelligence, and likewise there are spiritual gurus who only want to ‘be helpful’. We grant all the ideas that arise to make various real explanations.

What is the table? Let us take the Kantian and Russelian idea as a beginning. In the framing above, we can say that the table exists only as knowledge and that such knowledge exhibits a network of functional categories that are ever changing, dynamic in the flow that is the human and universal exchange and negotiation of information, the views offered through encountering the table at different observational and sensational junctures allowing for any particular frame of reality by which to enjoin further negotiation for progress.

Really? So me sitting here right now, the table that I have my feet on is really a product of a dynamic network of knowledge? In this respect, if the real table is indeed is totally accounted for and described by that statement and extrapolations, rebuttals and reiterations and proposals of actuality, then I would have to say then that the table on which I have my feet is not real. In fact, if I extrapolate to other objects the same basis, such as that cup, the floor, the window, the tree outside, electricity, my car, my hat, coat, chair, book, my foot, legs, pants, bulbous belly, fingers, eyes, vision, brain, thoughts…then I must say that at least part of what is occurring is not real, including most significantly, that aspect by which I am able to have such a consideration, that I call, colloquially, my self.

By this situation I just described, we, in some partial yet significant way, discount what philosophical considerations that propose upon me what is real and true. And by this we can categorize these new Realist proposals as of another sort of ontology, another sort of teleology. In fact, we have only then to see that what they are proposing, as psychologically as well as politically and objectively,, falls entirely into the realm of phenomenal ideology. I am a psychological being only in as much as I must speak about what is occurring in particular manner to make sense to those occupants of that real world in which I find myself.

We must admit then, given all the Zizekian-Lacanian-Hegalian ontological posturing that a type of non-philosophical event is occurring. The way I frame it is that I must behave as a lie. I must wholeheartedly and truly take the form of that which I argue against in order to expose and reveal the faultiness of that position, and that is the only way any sort of progress can occur. So if this is the case, then I have only to offer that such Realists, again, are involved in a Bad Faith, because they are posturing upon an existential maxim of honesty that cannot occur truthfully in any ideological stance.

But, we cannot say that somehow I have a better grasp on some truth of reality. No. The functioning of reality occurs the only way that its does; the significant question is rather about orientation upon objects, and not whether any particular mode of existence is more or less real.

I am concerned with truth. Reality is left to those so invested in objective identities. I propose through a divergent route that uses ideological structures in order to expose their fallacy. In short: The offensive route is toward the destruction of the transcendental object of faith, the fetishized commodity of identity. Yet see that this is not to suggest that reality will somehow relinquish what we must say are their idols. This never occurs. Rather we merely attempt to lay a foundation by which to speak about what is neglected, in fact, agued out of existence, or rather, this can be to say, what has been usurped by the discourse of power.

Ill get back to what happened later in this essay.

Direct Tangent 2.9

Right now I am attacking (ooops, I mean critiquing) the thinker-(non) philosopher Francis Laruelle, and I have to admit that what he is saying is a somewhat difficult concept to convey in words, so, I have to figure that he must have seen that no one else has said what he is attempting to say, and so felt he compelled to say it. And he says it pretty well; I just am geared that way – that way of being able to grasp philsophical jargon – indeed, I had never heard of anyone saying what he has said either, and if they have then they didnt say it well enough – I suppose thats why Laruelle had to come out and say it.

But I am not so geared into desiphering jargon. What I mean by this is the discussion should not be presented as a puzzle, not in puzzle form, as if in reading the essay that is proposing to have disphered a particular puzzle, I have further to disipher the puzzle of the proposition itself; I feel, as a reader, I should be given the Rosetta stone from the start of the proposition, one that concerns not only the probelm but also the problem of how I am being presented with the problem. If the point of offering something significant is to be significant to all humanity then at least the majority should be privy to its meaning without having to invest too much time/money/education into its contruction or presentation. I disagree with the idea that explanation needs be complex or for only those so invested and learned in the jargon (read: discursive technology); I say: leave that to science – and a philsophy attempting to be (modern, contemporary, 2013) science either should be overtly presented and admitted to be a “philsophy of…{fill in the blank}”, in other words a technology and hardly Philosophy, or it is just a mockery of the human potential; it screams, anymore: idiocy. Of course; I have already (in another post) pointed to those people who seem to be writting to a priviledged few, that I think they largely really could give a crap about humanity and they are mere giving institutional lipservice to such an idea: they are really concerned with how they are preceived by others and not so much concerned with benefiting humanity in any way: the capitalist faith keeps them in line and justifies their activity a priori. If the capital investment at UCSC over the past 10 years is any indication, the departement of philsolphy better be being a science – or else!

To make myself (hopefully) a little more clear: I came accross a post-paper that talked about whether propositions exist in space-time, or something lilke that, or maybe it was discussing how propositions are manifested in space time. (I could be wrong for this particular essay because I admit I didnt take the time and read the whole thing, but Im sure there are many many discussion which proceed in just this way.) I couldnt really get into it – I guess because I dont think it is saying anything significant: it is a word game, in the very Wittgensteinian mode. But I gathered it was addressing the question of whether all propositions refer to things in space-time, and in what cases do and do not refer to things in space time; I expect also that such things in space time can also be defined as physical things, as opposed to mental, psychical, metaphysical, ethereal, imaginative and the like things. Now, I gotta say that anyone who is framing possibillity within the realm of space-time is not really being philosophical in the sense that I understand philosophy: they are being methodological: they are playing a game – and not only that: they are playing a game for which there are definitive rules for how to proceed, how to look, what the purpose is, what the goal is (we wont get into the discussion of hegemonic ideology here!). They are merely reworking logic as if logic can find out what is real, and these real things, the group that contains those categories just mentioned, thus are true because logic has do to with truth. Then I have to wonder if they understand that logic is a tool, not a determiner of criterion. Logic does not find for us what is True so far as true may be real, but logic finds what is true given a set of conditions, and the conditions are always presented upon other conditions that are supposed true for the set of conditions that are being questioned. This idea is what Wittgenstien offers us; but just as existentialism has come to be a buzzword that totally misses the meaning of existance, when Witt. says ‘language games’, most people -indeed, many many supposedly learned people – completely missed the bus, and in fact were huffing on exhaust fumes attempting to reap a career out of erudite dellusion.

*

It is here that Laruelle find his purchase for what he has to say. The ‘given’ propositions behave as invisible qualifiers for what is being considered or addressed. He presents this by suggesting that the method of philsophy is one of dividing propositions into a condition of either/or, and working out the reprecussions of this primary division along lines of further division until one reaches a point of contradiction. The contradiciton then indicates what must be true. This process is what is ususally known as the dialectical method. The philsophphers have taken the givens as static, as previously presented in the past, different ideas presented by different authors contributing to a progress of knowledge, a cumulating progress, presented now in acedemic learning, so as to allow a further development. But since, I’d say, Kant, everyone has been addressing the same problem and saying the same thing about it using different terms. (I will elaborate upon this some other time.)

Larualle has also found this, (as well, Kierkegaard did too; Zizek I will give the benefit of the doubt, considering he is actually a ‘cultural theorist’) that what occurs through the process known as philosophy, over time, is that the same problems are addressed and answered, but under different terms. The philosophical method does not, and is incapable of, keeping an eye on the ball, so to speak, because the eye itself is moving as the ball moves. Because philosophy is mainly concerned with solving the problem of reality, which is known as a positive solution, terms are taken as being capable of detemining actual things in-themselves, but what occurs over time is that the terms lose integrity for such particular identification and then this situation elicits new terms that are then applied as if to clearify the previous mistakes. The new terms are said to better indicate the actual thing in question, but what occurs in the effort to nail down terms to things, the conditions by which the individual is considering such fixed ideas have also changed; in other words: philosophy proposes its method to be like science, having particular static items for consideration.

Real things are not identified within a static space; which is to say, it is only within the idea of a static universe that an identification of a thing may be presumed stable. Real things are come by because of an economy of meaning that reflects the givien condition of any time. Though one can say ‘keyboard’ or ‘rock’ and have a definite and distinct idea of what that actual thing is, a ‘keyboard’ does not exist in reality in empty space apart from all else: it can only exist in context of meaning with other things. It is thus the philosophical process upon positive things that proposes to find a ‘total’ context, and thus find the True universe. The fact that through such positive philosophical rigor, for probably at least 400 years if not longer, we have found no conclusive truth reeks of a necessary precipitation: this is where Laruelle finds purchase for what he has to say. In fact, it is the complete misconstrual of Sartre’s ‘freedom’ and ‘revolt’ that we have the situation of what I would call ‘Neo-modernism”, or in other terms, the ‘New-materialism’, as if we ever need a ‘neo’ in front of any of these labels for the ‘new’ ideas: another positive assertion of true reality: faith in the true object.

Against this movement Laruelle proposes a project that attempts to find the authenticity that is routinely missed in philosophy; he thus finds “Non-philosophy”, a rigorous application of confronting the truth of existance and being in reality.

My issue with him is why he has to be so damn jargon filled.

Direct Tangent: Useless Jargon.

Lets be frank here: Laruelle’s problem is nothing more or less than what anyone who struggles with the reality of duality has dealt with. It is the same struggle that every religion proposes to solve; it is what the early 20th century magician Alistar Crowley also tried to solve with his Magick, no less.

In order to find the problem of L’s problem, we first have to get over the acedemic intellectual jargon; this is the first problem of all what- is-known- as philosophy. Acedemic jargon works to do two things: under the guise of a need-for condensed term, jargon creates a hierarchy of preists who thereby are so initiated and deemed worthy of considering the high problems of the court. Jargon thus is posed under a type of necessary fog ceiling of sorts that distinguishes those initiates as doers and considerers of great things. Hence jargon creates for those not initiated an aura of importance that justifies those big thinkers in the same way a congragation views the clergy, the bishops and the pope: the clergy is working in behalf of the congregation. It is like if I have a computer that does not work, I thank God for the programmers and technicians that I know or can rent for their knowledge and ability. The practicioners of philosophy so ordained in acedamia are viewed in the same way: under an assumption of thinking the big thoughts for the bennefit of humanity, or with skepticism, as if they really are doing nothing of importance. But the fact there are career, or at least ‘acting’ philosophers argues that they must be thinking something significant to the world.

The other thing jargon does is establish that indeed they are doing something important, because they have technical terms that (must) identify some vital disciplinary technolgy, like when physics comes up with ‘ quarks’ or ‘superstrings’ or ‘event horizon’ or ‘uncertainty’. Most people do not know much more that the basic ideas behind these things.

The difference between philosophy, or should I say ‘theoretical discourse’, and science is that science really does have use for much of their contrived terms in that science is dealing with segregated items of technology. Computers as a technology have little to do with the internal combustion engine but both technologies can be used to enhance each other – yet each with their own terminology that identifies particular items important to the technology. No one proposes or argues that a timing belt should have some epistomological relation of truth to a microprocessor, but the two may find harmony and use because they concern individual peices of technology; but what are the ‘peices’ of philosophy?

Philosophy, by and large has taken up this technological approach and has thus segregated itsself into disciplines and these disciplines then can be applied to aspects of reality as if there are pieces of ‘ thought reality’ that have a quality much like the computer and car engine. We have thus ‘ epistomology of business’, and ‘ ontology of civic duty’ and ‘computer ethics’ and like arenas that appear and propose to address particular things so as to procure usefulness in reality.

The problem with philosophy thus has more to do with the difference between bread-and-butter type paycheck philosophizing and the tendancy of those thinkers to synthesize some larger grand scheme about the truth of reality based upon their ventures into crunching the somewhat sketchy but apparently taken-as- practical ideas of what could be called ‘secular’ philosophy. Also there are those purist acedemics who read and read and read and analyze other philosophers who then are in the attempt to describe what those other philosophers were really saying and how significance might be drawn into our daily lives by these new profound insights. You see, it really is quite religious in its activity, the parish preists and reverends, the monks, the evangelists – one is hard pressed to miss the parallels between academic philosophy and institutional religion.

This is the problem Larualle is attempting to address. philosophers tend to believe in their efforts that they are doing some sort of fieldwork and then writing about their findings; the feildwork is seen as everyday life and their findings are philosophy. In this way, the problem lay in how they liken themselves to the other sciences that experiement with items of reality (fieldwork) and then state their findings. The philosophers, though – again – in their motion to combine ‘ technologies’ seem to over look ( or rather, probably forget to overlook) that the combining that they are involved in is Being itself: the human being and the world – and this is really all there is.

The scientists cannot help but be (in a way) humbled by the basic separation involved in their efforts, but the philosophers cannot help but move toward the inherent unity of their efforts. And the heads inflate, and the great meanings proposed in such the way involved in the great meaning tend to arrive the acedemic philosopher at the Truth ( at least this is the general feeling of those who have efforted the great effort that contemplated so intently).

Laruelle has rightly capitalized on this apparency and tendancy of philosophy to come to truths that are debatable. The point is that if these philosophers are indeed coming to the truth of the matter, or, to put it another way, if they are coming to the truths of the matters, then how or why is it debatable? The issue is that if all things are indeed relative such that we discuss, then this feature (the basic feature of debate and debateable things) of reality must not be in itself true but indeed must be relying upon something by which such proposals and arguments are seen to be coming to truth. For, of course, there cannot be a thing without something else, and if there is this thing of debate it must be by virtue of something else that is not debate. It cannot be relative since then we have a truth based upon a non-position that reduces upon itself infinitely and therefore has no substantial quality.

Now, this is just one way to put the issue, but I have done so in such a manner that avoids the acedemic jargon. It is the issue that Laruelle describes. So I ask: why all the jargon? Why all the acedemic hub bub? To me it is utter pomposity and it reveals that what he and those who step in similar discursive regalia are up to has little to do with solving any real problem but the problem of justifying their academic positions – but there is something else going on with Lauelle.

What Laruelle is proposing reflects upon his current position in reality. He is proposing his exact existential problem as if it is a problem to be solved objectively. He is caught in a way of speaking about his situation that defies the meaning he is attempting to convey and thus solve, which is the problem of apparent reality, which is exactly the problem I have proposed here.

Yet we should see here that this is just the beginning of the problem and that the other facets of Laruelle’s proposition also.hide under a facade of jargon.

So, it is only when we are capable of stating clearly the problem that we can begin to address the situation, for it is only then that we have the actual situation at hand.