Larval Subjects, the Impetus for Communication and the Common Thought of the Past.

Prof Bryant has an interesting post today.  And it inspired me to comment, below:

As I taught Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics today, I emphasized the manner in which so many of the virtues he lists are social in nature. Although we intuitively value many of the virtues Aristotle lists, I don’t think it would occur to many of us to count these among more or ethical issues. I wonder what the […]

via The End of Dialogue? — Larval Subjects . 

Levi;

It is interesting that you happened to ponder communication right now, because I was also pondering it, but along a slightly different line. I think you are commenting along a different vector of knowledge, perhaps a different category, but still…

I was asking myself if the academic form-method of “papers” and “journals” are even needed any more, if they are relevant in the sense that considers the actual possibility of being human, in the sense of being involved with what can Be. 

I recall a post you made a while ago where you were questioning the academic proper method and presentation of papers, how the whole act seemed in some instances to mock the content of some of the papers themselves, as though the manner by which an author has to present their ideas in academia in order to be taken seriously actually functions to devalue and or discount what they have to say, actually invalidates their ideas, such that the seriousness required detracts from the significance of the meaning of the paper.

heresy-cover_2175694a

I wonder what you might think of this:

I was thinking along these lines:

The reason why ‘papers’ and journals and that whole thing came about (I could be wrong) was because thats what they had. Thinkers had to be able to communicate their ideas at length and so they had these vehicles by which to circulate those ideas so other thinkers could consider them and comment on them. The whole idea of ‘communal’ -cation.

And when you think about the whole ‘modern’ – ‘post modern’. thing, and then this ‘speculative realist’  kind of thing; It seems to have occurred in correspondence with the methods of communication available.

The breakdown of the metanarratives that Jean-Francois Lyotard brought up occurred with the opening up of methods of communicating, namely computers and similar technology. But perhaps, old ways die hard.

Think about back in the pre-computer day: It could appear that everyone was involved in a common progress, every philosopher involved in moving toward some great reckoning of knowledge (of sorts), like knowledge itself was moving in a particular direction (of enlightenment, of progress, etc). because there was only a relatively small number of papers one could come accross, not that one could read, but just the sheer lack of theoretical material, or, at least, people could still entertain the perception that because there was only a relative few number of people who were saying anything significant, we were indeed moving in a progressive motion. Also, though, just the (again relative) small number of people who even entered into “higher education” or were even allowed if not privy to being privileged even to be able to think intelligently and critically, was extremely limited. It was easy to think there was a “manifest destiny” of sorts, an “historical conscious’ moving philosophy and indeed the world. It was easy to discount the ‘ignorant’ as the necessary condition for such ‘thought’, as an historical and divinely ordered hierarchy of progress.

Now think about now. What does it mean when we have raised the ability of the aggregate and or average of people in the world to be able to consider these once effectively esoteric philosophical ideas? Is it not possible that the product itself (philosophy) might change under different conditions? What happens, say, just as a hypothetical example, when instead of 1 out of 10000 people are able to understand, consider, ponder and respond appropriately to ideas, now 50 out of 100 are able to understand, but 75 out of 100 are able to also give a considerate response. And more: The bare fact that all these people can now actually enter the discussion via our technology. I would think that not simply do we have the situation where many more people contributing to what is possible within the possibility of thought, but more so we have an entirely new arena in which thought is possible. Indeed; do you not think there would be a difference in not only the nature of ‘thought‘ itself but in fact the ‘nature‘ of thinking also? It is an odd perplexion; we need only consider what is occurring all over the world to begin to start to understand that perhaps what we are calling thought or thinking is not something that is commonly understood, but only assumed as common thing, and indeed enforced. Must we stop at the Colonialization of a particular era? Does that now bring into question what we have merely accepted due to the Fact of Colonization?

We might discover that what we are calling thought is really a harkening to another time (time is a construct also; Heidegger beckoning us to that other time), a time when there was indeed a functioning meta-narrative, a time by which we displace our time and are unable to reconcile what we experience with what we are knowing of thought and thinking, this because we are not actually considering what is really occurring right in front if us through the ability of consciousness as it is occurring right now, but are rather considering how things should be with reference to this common thought of the past.

What might happen then if we look with opened eyes upon what is occurring now? We night find that Lyotard was correct, but in a significantly different light. It is not that we become aware in someway that we must now be critical in some form about general descriptive and directive narratives. No; such an approach is missing what is occurring for what we think should occur. It is the fact that we are unable to look at knowledge without an authority as to which knowledge we are supposed to consider, why we should consider it, and how we are allowed to consider it. It is a condition of knowledge and not some logical reductive result of a traditional heritage: The heritage is alive and well in the proposal that we had some choice over whether we should approach philosophy through these tropes (meta-narratives).

Perhaps we might be able to glimpse that what occurs through the convention of Papers is no longer a general communication that concerns a direction and purpose involved in finding out independent, dependent and dynamic aspects of our world, but rather an exclusive correspondence between those who decide which knowledge is valid, a manner by which knowledge is to be contained within a certain traditional lineage of what thinking is supposed to be, presumed to be, but indeed, perhaps, allowed to be.

You, Professor Bryant, who facilitated the very notion of Object Oriented Ontology, who entertains the idea of Being machinery, involved with the Speculative; is it not possible that what before was functioning implicitly (Zizek), invisibly, is now merely staying invisible though the very ideal mechanisms that are supposed to defy such oppression (the Modern by the post-modern: The liberal critical academy) ? Would this not be a minimum plausible factor in our moment of the attempt to account for and displace the nihilism of Modernity not coming to pass?

Think not only about how difficult and fortunate you were (are) to have gained a position as a professor at an institution, but how much more difficult it is now to get one, but also the anxiety that accompanies such a position; I am thinking of The Academic’s Peculiar Dissonance — Samir Chopra, his recent post on this topic.

**

Here I get speculative:

One could argue that it has always been difficult (We have always been disenchanted), but I might venture to say for the cloister itself, that the difficulty has reached a different timbre now, and not merely more of the same kind of difficulty; I think a different type of difficulty might be in play now. Perhaps you might disagree? No?

Perhaps it is not merely an effort to keep one’s position of power and prestige, as well as identity capital that is involved, but a creeping suspicion, maybe not even yet apprehensible, that the academy is no longer involved with the legitimacy it is proposed upon. Perhaps it is more involved in the perpetuation of a particular kind of thinking, and that this implicit agenda is behind the difficulty, and the sheer number of ‘thinkers’ that are just as able and who have just as novel thought hiding under their dresses, pants, belts, bras and jock straps, are eager congregants just waiting to impeach the Ideal Priests of the Academy so they can Preach the message?

LOL.

I do get grandiose; for sure.

 


But I think there is something in there that needs consideration –I mean, if we are indeed involved with something legitimate.

No?

Philosophy, Colonialism and Partition.

Perhaps the title should have included “non-philosophy”. lol

This talk concerns the opening whereby philosophy is indicated to its method through the ending that supersedes its domain. Specifically, and in the context of Francois Laruelle’s “Christo-fiction“, that which supersedes any conventional appropriation is the quantum. In particular, there is no philosophical posture that is able to bring any feasible critique against its own effective omniscience, omnipotence and proposed as assumed omnipresence. The indictment is made unto its method, which is the argumentative method that is made by agents of transcendence. This alternate posture is thus outside of (conventional) philosophy’s purview, since its route is one of scientific verification over the conventional argumentative method. This alternative method is thus of allowing for a particular framework in which philosophical experiments are allowed, but it no longer includes the framework within its domain of critique.

But we are only at the very preliminary stages of this work; we are in the long game. This talk is an attempt to lay the theoretical groundwork (the breaking of ground has already occurred with the likes of Laruelle, Badiou, Zizek and Latour, to mention only the few still living), to describe some of the conditions by which such a foundation is needed and will be laid. It departs, albeit significantly, with the recurrence embedded in the conventional method’s approach, whereby human beings have access to resources that while arising from some ‘unknown’ source (immanence, transcendence, biology, neurology, evolution, creation, or whatever…), a source that is never found but at all times presents itself within the discourse that proposes to be ‘finding it’ through the conventional method of delegated agents (what I say are ‘agents of transcendence’), nevertheless still function effectively to supply a true reality, elements of which I call ‘True Objects’; the delegation process instigated by humans is at all times assumed to have the support of providence, regardless of what people might assert as the discursive conditions of such providence (such argumentative establishments are redundant).

This alternative route, in its beginnings, is involved with the effort thereby of verification. Currently, seeing that the conventional philosophical method works to obscure facts, we are involved with creating an opening whereby the facts may be noted, upon which such a scientific method may be laid. The only way forward in the effort, it appears, is through the enactment of a partition.

 (I just noticed that it cut off about the last six minutes of the talk. Sorry). 

Philosophy, Colonialism and Partition.

The first Webcast of the Philosophical Hack

Extreme Dialectic: Spinoza and the Term (revisited).

“AS men are accustomed to call Divine the knowledge which transcends human understanding, so also do they style Divine, or the work of God, anything of which the cause is not generally known: for the masses think that the power and providence of God are most clearly displayed by events that are extraordinary and contrary to the conception they have formed of nature, especially if such events bring them any profit or convenience: they think that the clearest possible proof of God’s existence is afforded when nature, as they suppose, breaks her accustomed order, and consequently they believe that those who explain or endeavour to understand phenomena or miracles through their natural causes are doing away with God and His providence. They suppose, forsooth, that God is inactive so long as nature works in her accustomed order, and vice versâ, that the power of nature and natural causes are idle so long as God is acting: thus they imagine two powers distinct one from the other, the power of God and the power of nature, though the latter is in a sense determined by God, or (as most people believe now) created by Him. What they mean by either, and what they understand by God and nature they do not know, except that they imagine the power of God to be like that of some royal potentate, and nature’s power to consist in force and energy.” – Baruch Spinoza.

We do not simply read because we are taught how to do so. If there is an innate ability that merely needs to be awakened in a person then we do not know what it is beyond the Idea. This is because we are creatures that are prone to a type of knowing that I call conventional. As a child we are taught to read but then as we grow into adults we stick with the innately typical, childish orientation upon things and appropriate it into what an adult reality is. We forget that we forgot that we were children, and we remember at some point we remember that we were children; that is, at some point. What do we remember of our being a child? We remember that we were a child, the child that was ‘me’, only through our ability or capacity as adults. We forget that as a child we only behaved, wanted, needed, and appropriated what we were told in whatever manner through our being now being adults. One’s orientation upon the Idea reveals his faith in reality.

Adults then show their children the proper way to read as if it is a way that was innate to being human. What is innate in this way is thus not innate but rather conditioned by a particular manner of coming upon reality. The understanding of this feature of conventional reality is what has allowed conventional method to see and define such terms as ‘ideology’, ‘hegemony’, and the probably most significant term, ‘colonialism’ (please see my previous essays). Similarly for reading (and discussing, for that matter) what has occurred for reality is a colonization of the child by the conventional adult, a colonization that occurs by praising a particular kind of feedback from the child; it is due to this kind of mistake upon reality that perpetuates itself through childish desire for the world, that philosophy is typically misunderstood and misapplied, leading to the marriage of philosophy, ideology and science for the sake of maintaining a particular structure of knowing and power, that is conventional reality. This is the object of history.

We need understand the obstacle created by such a conventional orientation if we are to move beyond the modern-post-modern repetition, as ‘neo-‘ modernism, or whatever new term may be applied to our current philosophical-ideological ‘turn’, is merely a restatement of modernist idealist materialism. Aphilosophy attempts to reveal how this power structure, this particular orientation upon existence, hinders the human being from its actual innate potential.

This essay shows how reading and thus the understanding of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza has been commandeered for the conventional effort.

*

To approach the entry excerpt, we should first see that the functioning or operation of existence is inclusive and consistent at all reaches, but that this is all that can be said of existence itself. Nevertheless, we can extend and explain the meaning of this situation. The statement goes like this: Given a universe, all that exists and is real comprises an effective containment. Every thing, all in its most inclusive meaning, taken together as a totality, is the universe. The universe operates or functions like a grand machine; every element of the universe is interactive with every other element. Nothing is excluded (by definition). Matter is a result, energy is a result, yet if these are not, then they are essential basics. Everything of the universe arises from the same universal substrate. Life arose and or has arisen in concert with every other thing in the universe; no matter how small the linkage, the linking between any separate operations is there, a grand symphony. In this way, distinct objects or elements function of themselves complicitly and intimately with every other object. No essentially segregate object exists. In short, the universe is a closed system. Human beings are also life. Therefore, the activity of human beings likewise exhibits nothing extraneous to the universe’s inherent operation. This represents the basis of the existialist, post-modern dilemma that brought about the late twentieth-century tribulations of angst and crisis; it was a crisis of conventionality, a misreading of the proposed problem that advocated a particular, mistaken, solution.

The problem is just this: what is ‘knowing’? Or more precisely, what is this thing that human beings are capable of doing, that is able to treat and address the universe, that we call thought, concept, problem and solution? The typical answer is the apparent ability. We are capable of analyzing objects or aspects of the universe and discover or uncover true things, if not also basic laws of the operation of the universe.

My answer is another question, which seems an epistemological question but is actually a logistical question: how do you know? By this I mean, how is it possible for you to be or become separated enough from the universe to know these true things, or, the truth of these things?

As reconciliation between the problem and the answer above we have the usual possibilities. One can be called the religious reconciliation, or ‘creationism’. It says that we are created ‘first order’ entities, meaning, God created the universe of an established order of things, and human beings are at the top; we have dominion over the universe as decreed and evidenced by free will. Another can be called the ideological reconciliation, called ‘evolutionism’. Here, human beings are at the top of the order that developed through processes of natural selection; human cognitive ability is merely an adaptation to particular pressures exerted in particular environmental niches. Aside from that polemic; a current scientific notion suggests that our knowledge may not reflect anything of a true universe, and that the question of some essential or absolute basis of objective, universal truth is non sequitur with the real question of truth. For these modern thinkers, truth is a man made item, as well ‘universe’ or ‘objective world’, a formulation of the mind inept for grasping any ‘actual’ or ‘objective’ truth, that therefore merely resorts to practical models based upon solving problems that are presented to the mind. Such problems and solutions are particular to the mind’s ability or capacity, or even purpose in the universe. The assertion of any one of these approaches, even the model of the model, is supposed to limit one’s sense of truth to an either it is this or it is that position.

While these three approaches, and maybe more (these just came to mind), appear to argue with each other, when we begin to think critically about the initial question, we must come to but one solution: the answer is all three. It goes something like this: (A) god created the universe accorded to a particular order that is evidenced in the mind coordinating its own manner to achieve a reasonable development of staged priority in reality, itself as the center to top. While this appears to suggest an actual ‘god’, but really only shows that the idea of ‘god’ is a necessary element in our knowing, if only by the fact that we can consider its truth or falsity, here is a possibly better rendition: The implication involved of a mind coming upon its own ability in respect with its view upon the world is one of a certain effective ‘creator’ imperative, a precipitative aspect of a mind developing along lines that validates its apparent prolific survivability as privilege, even if this privilege asserts its own limited ability to exist through models. If we only come by models, then equally such models comprise the totality of the truth of the universe, as these models describe also their lack as ‘unknown’, and so far as we can know, then argues that what we know thereby these models is necessary for the universe, which means, the idea that we merely know by models is itself not a model but an absolute truth of the universe, which is contradictory to its meaning. For this essay, the attempt of the presentation of these statements then is to release one from the insistence of an either/or truth, and to invite a thinker to view the reality that is actually presented to their knowledge.

But such a comprehensive view of the truth of the matter cannot be achieved without establishing the basis that accounts for human knowledge as the manifestation correspondent with the operating of existence. One cannot hold to an apparent ability without compounding the problem the apparent ability beholds to solve. In this there can be no Hegelian ideal historical consciousness nor a subject-agent of it that moves as some sort of evolutionary spearhead. Neither can there be an ideological backlash that can accommodate or mediate the tendency for such big-headedness. At least, but at most, we can not be ‘inspired’ by some ‘intuitive’ element, some intuited transcendence or some immanent moment that is revealed of our selection, and this is to say, we do not learn from the past; the situation of knowing that is these cases informing the decisions of the day result necessarily. They are correspondent, inseparable.

The problem of resting in the apparent ability is thus located in that tendency to want from these situations. This ‘want’ is a determination of ideological truth that claims a true object. The ‘overdetermination’ of meaning that takes from the meaningful category and establishes the true object, finds itself in the determination of tomorrow as it separates itself from the past as meaning ‘the individual agent of free will’. Currently the history of the overdetermination is written as the process of discovering what this ‘freedom’ really means, a process that cannot help but resituate the vulgarities within a progress, but never really accounts for the supposed ‘progress’ that never saw itself as vulgar before the atrocity. There are other ways overdetermination may manifest, but the functioning of it is always the same: progress justifies the overdetermined state, in our case, freedom. This forgetful disposition defines the conventional Idea, and it is the denial that reveals that convention is not a ‘modeling’ of an unknown totality, but rather is an orientation upon the true object; the overdetermination cannot be an accident; it likewise mist be absolutely necessary in the operation of the universe. The question then is less what freedom means, than what freedom is, or is not.

If the universe is a closed system, this then also means, quite counterintuitivly, that if there is anything that is not of the universe then we cannot know of it, we cannot think of it – damn! – we cannot even think it, in fact – damn! damn! – we cannot even know it. We cannot know that there is anything extra-universal, for if we knew it we would be situating the universe as not the universe, but only a universe – which completely shows how terms do not identify any particular true thing, but only reflect momentary conditions of existence.

One so keen might see this idea in practice as a reiteration of a type leading to an absurd theatre. In one sense they would be right: in the conventional sense; in another, more significant sense, they would be wrong. The conventional orientation for reality is thus the issue that is treated aphilosophically; what we have to breach is the insistence of the conventional orientation upon knowledge.

*

To proclaim that such a statement of existence (inclusivity) defines or otherwise implicates a one universe merely adds upon the first statement and does nothing but limit the meaning of that statement to conventional knowledge. Such a move can be called transformation. What otherwise would be truth has been transformed into conventional reality; the process of conventional knowledge coming to positive terms with its own reality is evidenced in history and its philosophical counterpart, and ‘ends’ with non-philosophy. The process of coming to terms with the truth of the matter is called irony; it includes the critique or rebuttal of non-philosophy (as non-philosophy is a critique of philosophy) that will be called aphilosophy, and the appropriation, which is to say literally: an appropriate- tion, of non-philosophical methods accompanied by an aphilosophical response, that which addresses the point of contention as solution, we shall call metalepsis.

This is to say, knowledge manifests always in human consciousness as a complicity of ‘known’ and ‘unknown’, but that conventional knowledge would unite these ideas in a polemical potential that thereby establishes the true (one) universe against what is ‘not the universe’, or what is absolutely false, its physics and theoretical ideas, with all its accompanying parallel or multi-dimensional possibilities, the individual of free will, past and future.

Furthermore, what should be understood as true is due to this very nature of existence. Terms, being but another procedure in the operation of existence, an operation evidenced as human beings are likewise merely an operation, must necessarily reflect only a present existential manifestation, where substantial elements, elements (not to be confused with the Periodic Table of Elements – we will discuss the appropriation of mathematics and philosophy later) that comprise the functioning of existence, of the universe remain constant while the terms, as a loci of meaning, ‘float’ or are transient labels of momentary significance. The route of the conventional static-metamorphic term (see below) that identify particular true objects must be seen as merely one manner of coming upon existence that is also necessary, but in that it asserts its total omnipresence, it thereby lacks.

The problem presented by Spinoza concerns this feature. All men have an idea of what is Divine or transcendent, or not explainable, in relation to what seems natural, or explainable. It follows that what is extraordinary or contrary is deemed to be stemming or otherwise caused by a transcendent. But this is not so much a statement of his times, as if there are,as an absolute category, people who are ignorant, or ‘superstitious’, in a relation to people who are more ‘knowledgeable’, rather, it is a statement that says human beings are only capable of ‘knowing’ in this manner, that what is not explainable is put off into a transcendent category for knowing.

The point to become aware of is of a differend in knowing. Even today our rationale of reality configures knowledge of the explainable into a category of itself to justify our ‘enlightened’ ability to know. In this manner Spinoza’s argument is placed in a temporal category of ‘past’ that confines the term of his theses to particular absolutely true objects, this is to say, the context of historical progress that sees Spinoza as addressing an ideological or religious situation of his time where superstition and irrationality, or even love of power, still held sway against rationality and truth. Indeed, Spinoza was addressing these items, but in so much as the terms themselves are variable momentary identifiers of existential elements, his argument says much more and actually situates eternal truths concerning the existence of human beings.

We can further situate Spinoza’s in the following manner, as we begin to get a grip on the matter at hand:

{from the introduction to the sixth chapter of “Tractatus-Theologico Politicus”, in italics.}

“AS men are accustomed to call Divine the knowledge which transcends human understanding, so also do they style Divine, or the work of God, anything of which the cause is not generally known: for the masses think that the power and providence of God are most clearly displayed by events that are extraordinary and contrary to the conception they have formed of nature, especially if such events bring them any profit or convenience: they think that the clearest possible proof of God’s existence is afforded when nature, as they suppose, breaks her accustomed order, and consequently they believe that those who explain or endeavour to understand phenomena or miracles through their natural causes are doing away with God and His providence…”

For our current ‘enlightened’ atheistic or agnostic temperament of truth, ‘God’, the term, can be seen as or could be called the unquestioned base of, what I call, ‘conventional’ knowledge. But see, this is not to argue that there is a god or God at root under everything; rather, it is to say that conventional knowledge functions upon a given that is put into the impetus of the ‘potential of the future’ to hold that which is only not yet understood by its method (see also my essay “Aphilosophy, convention, God and faith). The method (conventional methodology), in this way, proclaims the truth of the universe by its universal ability to ‘uncover’ truth (the general rational ‘scientifical’ method). Such as this situation is, the truth of conventional knowledge is most clearly displayed as it ‘discovers’, explains or ‘develops’ things that were thought impossible, especially if it brings people profit or convenience, but also, when convention breaks with its accustomed order, for example, when people kill for the sake of killing, or the Law lets a guilty person go or imprisons an innocent. Exceptions to the rules allow the rules to be refined, more efficient and effective, and thereby enforce the reifying of conventional omnipresence and omnipotence.

The juxtaposition to see concerns how convention is oriented for reality. As indicated above, convention founds its truth in a historical progress of absolute categories, where terms of those categories maintain integral meaning to its object through time, and where terms change, the metamorphosis can be traced. This method sees that the categories ‘nature’ and ‘God’ of Spinoza indicate static elements, and that Spinoza’s argument concerns a critique of the God of miracles and by extension, an argument against the more superstitious rendering of God. His argument thus marks a moment of the progress away from religious hypocrisy or superstitious fantasy toward the more true or real scientific inquiry of nature. Conventional method thus sees itself as the motion and path of truth that has foreclosed the need for superstitious belief through open-minded investigating and explaining natural causes of before-seen miracles of God. In this way, though such superstitious belief is still around, convention has basically reduced all reality to a truth that is, can be, and will be found of nature; in the same motion, God has been pushed to the margins of incorporation with conventional reality; the workings of God are put into rational categories that are readily and easily adjusted for what science explains. In the most liberal of ideas, God is the relative unknown that resides into consciousness by the loose ends of science and psychology. As an effective unknown space, God can help, influence or be persuaded to move with a person and their life; God can comfort as well as create purpose out of misfortune, and of course God can be the inexplicable force behind good fortune. Similarly, God can be a sort of universal energy, still unexplained in its essence, but which can be used for a persons benefit; God in this manner is the basis of spiritual practice such as healthy living, meditation, tai chi, yoga, the 12-steps, and the like. Yet through all of these practices and concepts, God is no longer a truly active agent, but is more an involved element, a reason or result of conventional ideas and practices, all of which have a natural and rational basis of explanation that accounts for them. Furthermore, a necessity of God is not demanded, belief is an individual choice, since everything will have a natural explanation. Conventional reality thus accounts for all that can be explained by including within its potential, within its method of operation, that which is unexplained; nature and God are thereby brought under a general theory, so to speak, of methodology, where all that is explained and not explained is included in its dominion by its potential to make everything (at least, eventually) explainable. Nature as a category is inclusive to God, as creation, and God as a category is inclusive to nature as ‘a god’s’ effect concerns natural elements. In sum; convention has brought ‘God’ into itself, it has done away with a need for God by putting itself in that place. Convention, in this way, has encompassed ‘God and nature’ such that it sees its domain as total, as comprising all that is true, real, and existing.

Consequently, the conventional agent believes that those who explain or endeavor to understand phenomena through their ‘non-conventional’ causes, are doing away with the conventional methodology and its providence. The fact is, though, conventionalists have really no idea what it is to propose true and false, and has no standards but its own arbitrarity by which to place its standards. The nature of this method then corresponds with the next clause of Spinoza:

…They suppose, forsooth, that God is inactive so long as nature works in her accustomed order, and vice versâ, that the power of nature and natural causes are idle so long as God is acting: thus they imagine two powers distinct one from the other, the power of God and the power of nature, though the latter is in a sense determined by God, or (as most people believe now) created by Him. What they mean by either, and what they understand by God and nature they do not know, except that they imagine the power of God to be like that of some royal potentate, and nature’s power to consist in force and energy.

The point Spinoza is making, though he could not know it for the terms of our time, only his, is that the stasis of conventional terms prevents convention itself from falling prey to Spinoza’s formula; such conventional method typically distances itself from Spinoza by calling his position ‘pantheist’. in this way, through conventional progress, reality is presented to have included previously excluded ideas; for example, whereas resort to superstition used to be usual and accepted, now superstition has been debunked. To reiterate; convention thus disclaims God by its rationale, and affirms God so far a conventional method is activated in its considering of the possibility of God. The problem is revealed when what is ‘outside’ or ‘unaccounted by’ conventional reality is brought to bare upon conventional truths of method. The conventional response to this addressing, of elements devoted to the ‘God-ness’ of conventional reality, the ‘unknown’ outside conventional domain of the conventional ‘soon-to-be-known’ method, the effectively ‘miraculous’ or incredible aspect of conventional reality, is to view such non-conventional endeavors to be “doing away with”, what has now to be seen as, conventional ‘God-and-nature’ truth and its providence. Conventional method, offended by the revealing of what it cannot account for, sees the non-conventional or aphilosophical explanation as doing away with what is true, and thus reacts, as methodology usurps or commandeers what should be its true meaning, thereby making it a part of the conventional reality, for ideological, political or religious agendas, or plain calls it non-sense or false.

These are the facts of the matter, the discussion upon the point of contention, aphilosophy, and how it relates to conventional reality; it is the attempt to explain “phenomena” or “miracles” of conventional reality that is and or has been supposed within or by the conventional methodology to be natural, which is to say for much of it, sought in psychology. The irony is in the conventional orientation of itself dealing with nature, when it now must be seen, due to the aphilosophical explanation, that conventional reality is really a religious cosmology, a reality “formed in the mind of its God” that avoids what is natural existence by its very nature of avoiding is own existence. It is the conventional offense, its instilled fear of losing power, that reacts by redistributing true existential meaning onto the real map that is the conventional scheme of meaning that designates and corresponds true objects and their terms. Such conventional methodology would then place aphilosophical description in a particular category of either/or to for the truth of its faith in its own objects. And it is this feature of human existence that then speaks polemically, not relatively, of a universal ethical situation as existentially necessary – a discourse that modern theoretics will find quite distasteful.

Direct Tangent 3.1: Appropriation of the Rhetoric of Power, part 2

There is a book called “Castes of Mind” by a man maned Dirks. It is an historical analysis and critique of 19th century English colonialism through an overtly cultural difference, caste, and how this feature of Indian culture was dealt with both by the English in an attempt to rule, and the Indians attempting to assert cultural autonomy and agency. I do not remember what his argument is beyond a picture of this interaction, but what I inferred from his presentation was this idea of appropriation of rhetoric, what feminists and modern theorists and activists call, but from a slightly but significantly different view, ‘hegemonic discourse’. Dirks is giving us a picture of how ideology asserts itself through a process of discourse, where those who have the power, in the case of colonialism in India: England ( but colonialism in general), dictate the terms of the cultural negotiation upon the colonized, namely, the indigenous Indians. The scheme or group of terms and their definitional relations are seen as a mechanism or tool of asserting power (read: violence) upon those who are colonized, and, as a very light definition, this is called ‘hegemony’.

What this means is that those in power bring the terms by which those not in power may be allowed to exist. And this is literally the case. Dirks paints a picture of how this really means for us that people are permitted to exist through discourse. One example (keep in mind I am not doing a research paper here; I am merely recalling the book from memory – one can easily look up the book for themselves if interested) he gives is about some Indian ritual. If I remember correctly, Dirks is drawing his analysis from written material of the time of the events, from various sources. The significant point here, is that the English there had trouble making sense of it. When they would ask the locals what was going on, or their feelings about it or the reason behind it, the English had no context by which to understand them. The Indians were effectively silent; they could not be heard: they effectively did not exist. Because of this, the English could only act upon the events through the understanding they had, which was total misunderstanding. The English, because of their position of power, were righteous in their view, having little or no ability to understand that they perhaps did not understand the Indian context: the Indian context was exactly what the English thought it was. Thus, the Indian context, the reason and meaning of the ritual in this case, was ultimately written by the English. The Indians, in an effort to establish their cultural legitimacy thus, in various ways and circumstances, developed a position in relation to what the English were saying, and doing, and in this way the Indians began to exist, for if they did not respond to such rhetoric in that fashion, they would in effect ‘remain silent’, and would thus be forced, physically, existentially, out of existence.

This is the typical feminist reading, analysis and comment upon such a situation; there are many such analyses upon various cultural contexts. The feminists propose to reconcile this hegemony, to balance this abuse of power and infringement of human autonomy and rights, by advocating that the colonized people, whether it be women, blacks, Hispanics, Argentinians, Koreans, hair dressers, union workers, or what, raise their voices, as the Indians did, by asserting themselves actively into the discourse, what one could call, the priority discourse, or the discourse of power, what i call a ‘rhetoric of power’ for reasons I will develop later.

What I am saying is a critique of such feminist rhetoric. The Feminists say that one needs to appropriate the hegemonic discourse, so that there is enacted thereby a shift in power, so it loses its effective hegemony. See, hegemony is read to imply agenda that is not recognized or approved of by those who are the subjects of the hegemony. But I suggest that what occurs is not that the people are empowered to their agency, but rather, they themselves become subject of the rhetoric of power such that they then too get to partake in the spoils of – what has developed out of – the hegemony, of colonialism. The people who appropriate the priority discourse lose their identity as individual cultural agents, and instead become, as Paulo Freire might agree ( maybe, but his was not at this level of critique), oppressed: involved in the game of oppression, both the oppressor and oppressed likewise caught in play. The oppressed, who learn the ways of the oppressor, become acculturated such that they are rewarded for their complicity, and thereby sustain the game of oppression. Neither have enacted a true free agency, neither have come upon praxis; both are oppressed.

* *

This is the position Laruelle appears to be presenting, the position I present here. Laruelle has appropriated the rhetoric of power, the priority discourse, in order to present his minority view, which is exactly silent – but as opposed to the movement of feminist-colonialist theoretics, which present the possibility of pushing agencies out of real existence by virtue of the establishing reality of the hegemonic (priority) discourse. And, it is because of this feature of his proposing Non-Philosophy within or by the priority discourse that he appears to be in Bad Faith.

It is thus the explicating of this appearance that is my task at hand here. The existence Laruelle proposes is exactly real opposed to the reality of the rhetoric of power.