The Difficult Problem of Consciousness.

David Chalmers and Sean Carroll

David Chalmers and Sean Carroll
— Read on better-questions-than-answers.blog/2019/02/10/david-chalmers-and-sean-carroll/

WIKI has this about the Hard Problem.

I have a difficulty being tactful and respectful in how I address arguments, and what usually happens is that I don’t get heard because people get offended, I guess. Lol.

So. For a while I’ve heard of this “Hard Problem” Of Consciousness that Chalmers came up with, and I’ve always wondered about it. Specifically, I don’t think it’s very hard. I heard the term “the hard problem of consciousness” and I thought it was not what Chalmers is saying, I thought he was saying something else until I actually read about what he was talking about. And then it bothered me why he would be calling it the hard problem when it is just really a very difficult problem.

What I mean can be found when you read the wiki definition and then when you read his little interview I guess on the post I just reposted. He doesn’t mean that it’s a hard problem, he means that it’s a difficult problem.

When I heard the term “the hard problem” I thought it meant something that was actually hard, as in dense with substance. His hard problem is just a very difficult problem; it is not dense with substance, it is dense with we don’t know what it is right now but eventually we probably well.

And I don’t have a PhD and I haven’t written a bunch of books that everyone knows my name and so I’m kind of fighting uphill here.

The hard problem of consciousness is how it is that someone can operate on a brain and then I intuitively know that that must be the same situation with my brain. The hard problem of consciousness is that which has inpenetrable substance; like a cement wall. It is hard. The hard problem is why I think that something that is happening to someone else biologically, physiologically coordinates with what’s happening with me and consciousness.

There is a subtle difference here and I think the difference is is that Chalmers is assuming that consciousness works in the brain; he is a conventional philosopher. Rather he’s a philosopher that’s taking certain assumptions and casting them out onto all existence, with the only proof that it’s apparent. Of course, he is a scientist Of philosophy or something of that sort. His very difficult problem is really like a puzzle, like sudoku or something, really difficult problem to solve – but it will be solved eventually.

And I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with science, but what he’s posing as a philosophical question is really just a scientific question which poses an amount of difficulty. And this is to say that his hard question of consciousness is just a really difficult question to answer but indeed one day science will come up with how it is so.

But the actual hard problem is why I would think that that explanation that may happen in 10 years or 50 years or 500 years has anything to do with my conscious awareness of the situation as I am talking here into this phone about it. This is not a recourse to subjective experience; in the contrary, Chalmers’ pondering is based in subjectivity. Rather, my hard Problem confronts the nature of reality and thought (subjectivity) as opposed to letting it be given to the common assumption. It is a logistical question. Hard as in solid; not hard as in just inconvenient to a particular thought-world.

If we are to get anywhere, I’d say, at least we need to be less assertive about the commonality of ideas, and more precise and careful about what terms we use to talk about them.

The Field Of Consciousness.

“To say that “consciousness knows us” is to point to a actual ‘thing’ that is outside of knowledge. It appears to me that you are saying that knowledge knows about “things“ out there in the universe that exist separate from us (the knower/thinker) and knowledge is some sort of conduit through which this thing that is me (us-thinker) knows of that other thing that is this other thing.

And so it appears that you’re saying “consciousness “ is indeed a thing like these other things that knowledge knows, but it is a thing that is outside of knowledge’s ability to know as we, say, might know a chair or a rock.

I don’t think that there is anything that substantiates consciousness. To say “brain” or “body” derives the same contradiction.

The enigma in your formulation indicates what I call a particular “orientation upon objects”.

It is an enigma because of the original assumption, or beginning assumption that knowledge is a process as opposed to a physical thing, to use a term. That there is something in me that is receiving knowledge or storing knowledge and then there’s something out there that gives up knowledge about it self, or something of that sort.”

And so when we say “consciousness “it is an enigma to try to find ‘what it is’ because of the assumption involved when I say “is”. The assumption here, as I say, is that things exist in this necessary manner that is assumed. This assumption brings about the enigma like we are talking about. So you say “Consciousness knows us”, because your assumption is there has to be some “thing “that is originating the knowing of some sort, so to speak.

I doubt this. I upset this orientation. This originary-essentialism.

I do not think there is anything knowable that is doing any knowing. Knowing is that through which consciousness “becomes available”. Essence is a part of the whole. It is a field.”

–Cedric Nathaniel. PH.

Will Self’s trip into the Bardo

Will Self’s trip into the Bardo

Will Self’s trip into the Bardo
— Read on syntheticzero.net/2018/04/25/will-selfs-trip-into-the-bardo/

Excellent little venture into the alternity of alternation.

Further commentary:

Will Self is a pretty insightful guy. Got some great social commentary and questions.

What is mostly interesting to me is the psychotropic stuff he talks about.

One of the points he makes is that while the experiences can be quite provoking and intense, often bringing us to the point of insanity (from hindsight), it really means nothing.

He points out of Huxley and Watts and Leary is that when these guys came upon this stuff they immediately thought it was indicating some more significant reality, something more substantial. But also, that you have to pull out your intense and meditation bowls and set the scene and all and have transcendental experience — Like me, his point was that shouldn’t such drug experiences involve the world? I mean the world not set into any particular stage for the scene?

Self seems to have issue with the experience itself in a number a ways, but then basically tells us that it means nothing and that the experience itself is basically nothing in the whole scheme of universal existence.

How seasonably fashionable ! Whoa! Will; you mean you are saying that existence is based upon nothing. that we alone and alienated in the universe, having no availability to truth of it all?

Love you Will, but it sounds like you were a nihilistic punk rocker from the 70s and 80s. Oh wait; he says that of himself.

My point is that, no, it does not mean it all amounts to nothing and has no essential linking to anything outside of the bare experience of nonsense. My point is that IT IS ALL significant and links inseparably to everything that occurs in the universe. But not as an overdetermined “spirituality” or “universal consciousness”. Those are over-determined inspirational ideals manifested through the great God Reason, the church of which it sounds Will is a congregant, a particular denomination that poses itself as “not” that other incorrect stuff.

But of course, everyone has got to make a living. Even if they are unable to pull itself out of its own dogmatic sleep: It would seem the people he critiques as to the psychedelic experience where correct, even for Self’s appraisal. I wonder if he ever looked at it this way?

The question that is posed by the very appearance of Self is how might one behave in exactly a determined manner? It is not spiritual. And it is not ‘nothing’.

Disenchantment and the Long Game.

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“…before we get to the idea of a disenchantment [that has always accompanied humanity in its existence, ] …we first have to address the insistence of enchantment.

Enchantment, in this context, is the view that what is teleologically sound indeed reflects an actuality of human special motion. This is not to say that humans have has no history. Enchantment is the operation of meaning that conveys humanity within a context of a necessary progress, a motion where humanity is not only capable of upholding an actual memory of a truth, of some sort, to thus be able to move forward; which is to say, roughly, toward “the good”; ‘the good’ is a conflation of meaning in which the ideas of humanity, civilization, technology and general well-being are joined together to be ideologically very difficult to separate.  This type of meaning, though, this type of progress, does not indicate a potential for belief; this situation does not rely upon nor insinuate its potential within belief, or a capacity or ability to believe whether or not it may be the case; on the contrary, belief itself is based in the idea of such progress.

This is so much to say that a human being is not able to ‘force’ itself to have an existence which does not find itself within a context of historical progress. How could one even get out of bed, tell her parents and siblings that she loves them, go for a hike in the summer air without a historical sense of progress: There can be no such conceptions without the knowledge that she was born, has grown in physicality and knowledge, has relations with various people or wish to recreate or exercise or relax without a correspondent history of some sort installed before hand.

We cannot make an argument in this case. The argument is negated in the fact that no argument of this sort can be made. The issue is how far this situation can be extended and still be viable for Being…

The logical conclusion of the history of philosophy finds itself, in the end, as contradiction; there is no discussion that decides this, the discussion itself reveals the case.

Certain repercussions arise from this ‘end’, but we will not go into the various formations here

Instead, I invite the reader to make this jump with me.

“Any concept is a concept ‘within’. The mechanism which allows for this confinement is operating successfully when the confinement is not noticed; we take a certain tac and begin in a certain corner to say that the mechanism for the concept functions to avoid recognition of its operating. This adjustment is so seamless that even while toward the closing in on the corner such that the concept of the limit of the concept arises to view, the mechanism will uphold its function to allow the concept to reveal its position, its truth, through the concept that will then thereby allow it to remain unknown; the activity of the concept itself moves in such a way to ‘change the past’ while establishing the change as an object that ‘has not changed’; this is to say, the concept remains viable no matter what it shows. This is the way of conventional method…

“This is the contradiction that has occurred in the ideal of ‘limit’, as the post-modern/existential revelation, that has brought about the culprit as the “Copernican” or “Kantian” central thinker,  and the ‘culprit-solution’ of the speculative ideal of ‘outside’. What has occurred is the mechanism of the concept, revealed, has functioned properly and its slight of hand has allowed philosophers to continue in the concept without ever really confronting the mechanism.

We likewise cannot be too quick to talk about biology and neurology, for these help to avoid the issue, and indeed add support to the avoidance of the mechanism by having the concept find its basis in a mechanism that is evidently getting beyond the concept; this is the nature of consciousness: No argument can be made to deny this situation. this is what happens whenever the concept reveals its basis to itself: Another aspect arises to indicate to the conceptualization that its concept is more than a concept, i.e. that the concept has found its basis, it object.

.

*

Consider now the 1970’s movie “Logan’s Run”.(I have not read the book, but am only going off the movie’s telling.)….

…(Spoiler) In the end, that which brings down the facade of the City’s operation is the contradiction involved with the City’s Operating System recognizing the necessity for an object that corresponds with the term: “Sanctuary”. Logan is sent by the operating system to find out about this ‘sanctuary’ that lay outside the City; Logan will be permitted by the OS to go outside the ‘seals’ (hermetical seal?), outside of the the definition of what the City is. No one in the city (is supposed to have) has ever heard of the word let alone what it might mean, so inclusive the City in its operation is.

The operating system thus sends Logan 5 out to find this sanctuary because, to the OS, the word exists and has meaning and so must therefore have a corresponding object. It is interesting that when a human interacts with the City OS, the procedure is to “identify”….

“Logan returns from the outside and the OS ask him if he found sanctuary. Logan is in a kind of human-computer interface, but he refuses (for some reason) to answer the computer who sent him and so the computer ‘hacks’ Logan to find the answer. The answer that is reluctantly given by Logan is that there is no sanctuary (the outside is just outside of the City, bare nature, but there is no ‘peaceful’ place of freedom). This “does not program”, it does not compute. The computer melts down, the computer is destroyed, and everyone in the City is let out of the City, the first humans to see what is beyond or outside of the City in over 2000 years…

The City was constructed to save humanity from an ecological crisis; ‘civilization’ was informed as a response to the hostility of the natural world. But over time, what was outside was removed from sensible knowledge, from the ability of knowledge to make sense of, from the truth of the outside. The ‘outside’ was a catalyst for the consolidation of knowledge and civility; after a very long period of time, the outside became inconcievable in-itself and the actual reality of the outside was a function of maintaining containment of the City, such that knowledge of the actual outside was a contradiction in terms, a notice for the collapse of sense-knowledge.

“We are not told in the movie why the OS feels that it must send someone to locate Sanctuary. Neither do we really know why Logan does not want to tell the computer that there is no sanctuary, nor why the actual answer causes the computer to fry itself. (Maybe the book has more answers)…

Nevertheless, we can see an analogy to my point in this essay.

…What is ‘outside’ is not the reality of what is actually outside. What is outside is only understood within the context of that which has posited ‘outside’; the actuality of what is outside, in the ability for the scheme of meaningful reality, is unable to admit that its version of outside has no ability to recognize what it posits as ‘outside‘….

“…This is the case with conventional philosophy. It recognizes the ability of its conceptual scheme only and any position that is not already contained by the conventional route simply “does not program” and is outright, automatically and in due course, systematically denied. Yet, because such an outside is indeed truthfully encountered, the position revealed by its presence within the convention, as an ‘un-communicated truth’, functions (ironically) to upset and ultimately fry the “OS” or the ‘scaffolding’ (Wittgenstein) of reality. And as this melt-down occurs, the only manner by which that reality is able to continue to uphold its manner, the manner buy which (supposedly) ‘life is upheld’, is to affirm its truth in denial…

“Take for example ‘climate change’….

“The questions [that continue,] allow it to continue to get worse. But even while we make antagonists out of those who do not believe that climate change, or global warming, is real, those who would want to implement changes to hold off or avoid the ‘bad’ repercussions of climate change are totally incapable of bringing those ‘good’ protocols about…”



From book 3 of The Philosophical Hack, due 2018.

c.2018 Lance A. Kair

Metrics and the production of uncertainty

If there is ‘nothing’ that supports us, what happens?  People take advantage.

REPOST: 
It would seem that the aim of a neoliberal approach is to produce uncertainty which then stimulates competitive entrepreneurial activity. The more uncertain people are, the more they are likely to be pushed and prodded into value production. The presence of competition is aimed at making us feel uncertain about what will happen, how […]

https://syndaxvuzz.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/metrics-and-the-production-of-uncertainty/

What Lies Beneath?

There is the geographical notion of ‘deep time’ that is often known in reference to its Christian dispensational model of about 6500 years when the earth was made.

The idea of deep time offered that the Earth was much older and has been developing slowly by regular patterns.

Perhaps there is a certain correspondence between ‘Darkness’ and ‘deep(er) time’? 

REPOST: 

Source: Articles: What Lies Beneath?

https://syndaxvuzz.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/what-lies-beneath/

Consciousness has less control than believed, according to new theory

This was already formulated in a book I read in 2004 for college: 
According to Morsella’s framework, the “free will” that people typically attribute to their conscious mind — the idea that our consciousness, as a “decider,” guides us to a course of action — does not exist. Instead, consciousness only relays information to control “voluntary” action, or goal-oriented movement involving the skeletal muscle system. Source: Consciousness has […]

https://syndaxvuzz.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/consciousness-has-less-control-than-believed-according-to-new-theory/

Post-post-modern-modernism: The Mistake of Irony; Or, The Ironic Mistake.

Perhaps a little bitty on postmodernism and the, what could be labeled of our current situation, post-post-modern-modernism.

Here are a couple links that roughly define the conventional problem I will address in this essay. The first is a little less ridiculous than than the second. The first offers us an argument for why postmodernism is not dead, but is rather the condition upon which people find a new agency. David Foster Wallace is talking from so far down the conventional hole – at least, that he was at some point- his polemic reveals how deep his confusion is or was, as the case may be ( no disrespect intended).

http://partialobjects.com/2011/08/what-comes-after-postmodernism/

This is not to say that there was not this postmodern thing-era that these authors are talking about; it is also very interesting, and possibly ironic, that postmodernism has been seen as first represented in architecture (so says the first link). Nevertheless, the era was the conventional reaction to a large misunderstanding that continues.

It is not difficult to find a link between Constructive Undoing and postmodernism, especially with the irony/convention duality that has arisen here. So, in light of this parallel, and that irony is too often defined to postmodernism through deconstruction, sarcasm, posed apathy, withdrawal, multivocality and the like, as well that irony does not stem from any sort of reaction (though pm may) as it merely takes the proposed new as old hat, as already given before it became new, one has to hit it straight on, as a tangent, one might say. As the post of the link says, with “arms folded tight” one continues to lift; irony works, despite the conventional reaction.

We should look into this reaction. To do this, we will use the framework of the definition of irony, taken from Dictionary.com ( as of spetember, 2013) since the typical conventional misunderstanding involved with the coupling of irony and postmodernism is at play; the reaction allows postmodernism to be placed outside of its ironic bearings.

[Note: This essay is a shortened version.]

Irony:

1.)the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.

Literature.
A.) a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
(especially in contemporary writing)

B.) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.

3.)Socratic irony. (which is defined as feigned ignorance.)

4.) dramatic irony.

5.) an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

6.) the incongruity of this.

7.) an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing.

8.) an objectively or humorously sardonic utterance, disposition, quality, etc.

Generally, all the definitions reiterate the fifth definition; basically, the opposite of what is expected expressed in the various arenas. (A) and (B) are literary devices of turning plot or meaning. (3) is an idiomatic expression of the complete misunderstanding of Socrates, a one-sided view. (4) is little more than (3); (5) restates all the definitions. (6),(7) and (8) are the key definitions, the ones that have been elicited from the most offense of irony, in the postmodern sense.

The really interesting thing about irony is the absolute comedy of its seriousness; in all seriousness, this is the most offensive aspect of irony, and is the reason postmodernism has become a kind of stigma in philosophy, a kind of joke for modern thought so much that it had to ‘die’. Where do I laugh? Where do I nod? How can I tell if what is being said is really meant for what it says? The irony never ends, and everyone wants ends. Most every one wants to be told the punch line – but not overtly; everyone wants to be in on the joke. But the joke and the deep meaning are one in the same; if you have to guess or wonder, then you get embarrassed: you are offended.

Though I can’t be sure about the intent of definition number 6, I assume it refers to definition number 5. In fact, unless it is a type-o, the definition is probably intended to mean irony as the incongruity of what is expected and what actually occurs, in distinction to def. 5 where irony is the “outcome”. If I say I am a liar, and then I lie, the irony could be not very ironic or be very ironic depending on what has been signaled, but the incongruity of this is that one would have to guess, that is, unless the liar while telling the truth were indeed poetic as he lay, for then he would indeed be lying. But what if he were telling the truth?? As it is, the definition number 6, as a definition for irony, is quite ironic, because none of the other definitions reference the other definitions, but we are expected to see that number 6 does. It is a simple pleasure then to think that the authors of this definition included just this presentation (of 6) as a particular definition of irony because probably the best definition of irony is the incongruity of this, as it is not only a definition, but also an example. And just as such a simple pleasure could be a proclivity of some people, this paragraph itself will find many quite fed up and see no humor or pleasure in this exposition; they find it corny or even lacking in a certain finesse or refinement, or perhaps they find it too subtle. Yet it is just this kind of insensitivity or intolerance that seeks ends, that, if not indicated to the punch, will develop a position highly distanced from it, the ironic move so lowly and indistinctive as it is patronized.

Such a humor is of the most inside that one can fathom, so it is no wonder that most cannot help but develop a resentment concerning its irony. To them, they are being made the butt of a joke; like some sort of transcendent wit they miss, they maintain their seriousness as they pull the heavenly act down to their mundane decisions and proclaim and accuse and dismiss. It is not a wonder postmodernism has a bad rap; the dense can hardly hold a tune, let alone wish to appreciate the finest symphony in the world without the liner notes. Grinding their teeth together they talk lightheartedly and then seriously about this and that fashion, all the while truly being the object of ridicule that was never intended for them except that they made it such. “We are not laughing at them, we are just laughing,” and they have much more serious things by which to set their recreation.

(7) and (8). The definition of ‘sardonic’: characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering: a sardonic grin. In other words, the distasteful, ‘dark side’ of irony: “objectively sardonic”. The attitude behind this irony is an anxious individual, almost despairing of the world. The irony is a type of ‘sick’ humor; his denial is palatable. This one has come close to his theoretical, indeed actual, demise and spits out his fate upon everyone and the world (the objects) because it is the world. Ironically, the world has let him to know, and he doesn’t like it; he doesn’t like being dominated but he has found his distance from it in one of two ways: a) The world is shitty. The world of history is not the place of his childhood dreams; it has brought everything opposite childish happiness had more than hoped for. He wants to be free, but his conscience tells him its all a sham, and this is known to him due to the world’s history coming upon him. The oppressive world. b) His attitude is justified in righteousness. The offense of the shitty world is countered by the nobility of human presence: the world is great, it is working in his behalf. This nobility is held in countenance for the world, but soon the world rejects it, it counters every move. A suitable image must be maintained; the oppressive individual. In both, the object is prominent; in (a), it is the object proper to convention, in (b), the individual, the subject-object, the subject of convention. Whether it is in reference to some ‘childhood dream’ or the ‘grown-up’ approach to reality before him or her, the motion is that the nobility rejects the rejection and the world crumbles; it deconstructs because the individual is no longer complicit with the world, but again, offended by it. The individual perpetually lives in a fear of his own making, cast upon the world that is surely going bad from the activities of himself – if only he could just leave, or, can he save it in time!

*

The reaction here is ironic; the ironic-sardonic postmodernist and the individual that sets postmodernism to a proper era are both implicitly involved in the conventional reaction. Consciousness, by its very nature, is a retreat from the world; perhaps more precisely, the world is consciousness’s retreat from existence. The individual who is being ironic by realizing that the world of the great (at least, modernist in the last, but conventional in its beginning) human history has brought itself to destruction, is reacting not to the world, but to her inability to reconcile it to her knowledge; her knowledge does not ‘reach’ the object. The reaction is completely of alienation, which is to say, the individual is not alienated due to some historical social motion where she is offended at the state of the world and so withdraws from it, but rather the individual is alienated from herself due to her rather un-ironic belief (faith) in the oppressing thing of the world, that is, that there is this world, which is reality, the conventional world of the true object. This is not so much that the world brought itself to its own destruction, but that the world did not destruct, and this is to say that the world did not find solution, but that the world is insolvent. The result of the world finding a new way due to the old way not working, or bringing itself upon destruction, is not finding a solution in this new way, the result is that the new way is exactly the same as the old way, that the two ‘ways’ could not but have caused and resulted from each other necessarily, that the causes will be found conventionally. The reaction is thus not of the world but of the meaning that the individual has derived from it, which contradicts that the human was ever part of the world in the first place. Then the reaction becomes dismissive, yielding the ‘that’s just life’ tail. Asserting the priority of beliefs and their function for finding ‘the good’, the reaction wields the power of resentment in hopes of stifling and ending all dissension.

The belief itself, the act or motion the term ‘belief’ signifies of faith, is what creates or allows for the alienated individual; the condition of the human being in reality is the separated individual. This separation, basic to the individual, is what constitutes freedom, the great future of progress, as well as its complimentary spiritual form of union (yoga) and ‘return’ (Christ, messiah, or ‘anointed one’; the motion as ‘to anoint’ connotes a uniting of separate substances, yet where one significant or uncommon element is rubbed on a regular or common element, and in this moment the two are transformed; the blessed oil becomes merely oil, the common, significant. The misused idea of ‘karma’, so prevalent in the West, falls in here also.) Nevertheless, it is recognition or realization, a coming into knowledge, that develops ‘alienation’ as a lived experience. But the inherent and unavoidable condition of human consciousness is separation.

Anxiety and despair over such a realization is usually understood to be relieved by two moves, though there are really three; the first two are conventional. The first is denial, where the realization is avoided. This reaction replaces the old with the new as part and parcel of willed, reasoned progress. The initial problem here is replaced with the solution that is human agency, the negotiation of parties, be it spiritual negotiation or mundane. The second is insanity. Both of these reactions are complicit in the resolution to the problem, since there is no true overcoming of the discrepancy; faith in reality accomplishes this feat through denial; hence, denial and insanity are the only real options. I emphasize real options, in the sense that I have already been developing conventional faith; anything else is absurd, insane. Thus the third option is the non-conventional, the ‘not-real’ option (Francois Laruelle might call this the Real option); the reconciliation that can come only does so with existence, through the experience of irony: denial and acceptance become not mutually exclusive.

The human being in existence cannot but help behaving in the only way it can: ultimately determined in every activity. But this activity, this existence, is also human consciousness; it can only behave the way it does. This is to say on one hand that consciousness does not behave or operate in any way separate from the behavior of existence, but also on the other that its operation is to have a world that is sufficiently separate from itself by which it can then perform its functions, and these are exactly formed and allowed for through the partition we call free will, that is, choice. Human consciousness must have a true object, it cannot function without it, but in order for there to be a true object there must be a correspondant of at least equal stature, and this is the individual thoughtful human being. The evident aspect of consciousness is thought, and is itself a mode or motion of the existing universe. Thought thereby retains an effectively universal operational structure as part of its nature, which is to say, the processes and features of knowing resonate the very motion of the universe as course, which is unity. Yet unity, unfortunately for the individual, can only exist by separation; only in the condition of separation can a notion of unity have meaning. Separation and unity have a significance for the meaning making existent human being; the tension or motion thereof, which is vacillation, is not allowed in the progressive reality: reality relies upon the equanimity of subject and object as real things, absolutely true objects, and its privileging of either dependent upon the circumstance at hand as the circumstance is foundational in indicating progress.

Stepping back from this, we can say nevertheless, once the equilibrium, or symmetry, of the statures of true object and thinking subject are upset, existence effectively takes over its proper imperative, that is, the sanctity of the true object begins to fail for knowledge, and knowledge likewise is compromised of its ability to ‘hold off’ the encroachment of the operation of thought upon itself: consciousness then must uphold its existential operation, as its foundation is the differend between thought and object, and the reduction of the knowledge of the object to the object of knowledge eventually brings thought into a consideration of itself, as an object of itself. Only in the balance that holds the (inner) subject and (outer) object at sufficient distance in consciousness can one say that the objective dominates; psychology is the conventional method that attempts to keep the distance of thought and object, to maintain the balance. Once this symmetry is lost, however, the motion never falls toward the object, the motion is always toward the knowing subject, falling in upon the subject of knowledge until consciousness almost comes upon itself and faith is reestablished; this can be called, what is typically known as a ‘psychological breakthrough’ or a ‘spiritual experience’. Where it indeed truly comes upon itself, we call this insanity or death. Where the individual is incapable of functioning constructively in the group of humanity, conventional reality is upheld by the group through a faith that functions to keep the balance and maintain the symmetry of the subject and object in knowledge, as an objective aspect, and thought, as a subjective aspect, which is to say, in knowledge that such an individual is insane defined as a true object for the purpose of establishing the standard for the individual: the subject (subject-object), and in thought for the purpose of establishing the objective standard of reality: the object.

*

The usual reading of postmodern exposition is contained thus far; not for a reiteration of it, but to a step from it. Though more than a few authors either contributed to the development of postmodernism, or step from it, to offer their version, I address two authors here: Jean-Paul Sartre and Francois Laruelle. Through a particularly conventional lens, each offers a stating of the point of contention, a reiteration, as well as a reconciliation of the ironic problem, while saying, really, ironically, the same thing. The punch line: the discrepancy (the individual is established in separation) is solved through an assertion of essential freedom. Again, this is to say that both proposals arise through a denial of existence and an assertion of the true object. This, in effect, is the definition of what Sarte terms “bad faith”, as I have argued of Laruelle in the Direct Tangents of Constructive Undoing.

Sartre’s points are foundational. The reduction of thought to an object of itself opens meaning to an ‘abyss’ of freedom, where meaning comes to its own essential lack. To (here now) reiterate the foregoing, the essence of meaning (if we can say there is such a thing) is seen to be vacant, void, nil, as Slavoj Zizek has said of the subject. This knowledge of contradiction, meaning that is no meaning, causes the individual angst, or Kierkegaardian ‘despair’; in my terms, the individual understands that the reality through which he or she was moving, that has been established and motivated through basic, what was before thought, true tenants of reality, true objects, is found to be not true. Sartre’s move then is to ‘revolt’ from this ‘nothingness’, since the individual supposedly sees now that meaning is arbitrary, and thereby find true freedom because the individual sees that he is no longer constrained by any essential, determined, or otherwise actual truth of any matter whatsoever.

Laruelle, if we are able to set aside the conventional-temporal object for one moment, where Laruelle builds his non-philosophy due to Sartre’s and others’ ideas before him, we may find his address through what I shall use as his basic idea. While all of his terms interact and compound upon one another to indicate the same thing, which is the point of contention, his ‘unilateral duality’ works to indicate the last conventional object. The ‘future Christ’ he terms as a culmination or basic differential which allows or accounts for the total meaning of, what I call, the scheme of meaning that is conventional reality, the meaningful organization of true objects. By summoning total meanings of significant oppositional objects, his critique of philosophy proper reduces its operational terms to explain conventional reality; he limits conventional reality to the arena of ‘philosophy’ for strategic reasons, and calls the consequence or result of this reduction the ‘Real’. Using the idea of future Christ, his reconciliation poses some sort of radical agency – mind you, ‘agency’ has been likewise re-situated in non-agency – that, one is to gather, comes about through a proper understanding of reality. The reason he can appear, as we say, ‘in the last’, is the real and the Real remain for him ‘lateral’ or maybe better, parallel but are situated more properly upon a parallax. The freedom of Sartre is similarly re-situated with the ‘radical’ form of knowing and proposes some more evolved state of humanity.

Again, keep in mind that I am presenting a typically conventional reading of these authors, that the fact of their presentations are routinely and faithfully, in Laruelle’s terms, ‘made into another philosophical object’, a representation of the point of contention. The problem is at all times conventionally upheld for reality, Real or free. The problem is not the presentation that these authors enact, but the re-presentation: the overcoming of the true object is impossible for conventional reality.

Hence, perhaps a better rendition of the matter at hand can be better situated to address the impossible. To put it directly into conventional grasp, we might then see that to confront the impossible is a matter of insanity.

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Yet before we venture into the impossible, I would like to offer a small quote from Thomas Nagel, and his effort from the possible, of staying in the possible:

“However, I do not find theism any more credible than materialism as a comprehensive world view. My interest is in the territory between them. I believe that these two radically opposed conceptions of ultimate intelligibility cannot exhaust the possibilities. All explanations come to an end somewhere. Both theism and materialism say that at the ultimate level, there is one form of understanding. But would an alternative secular conception be possible that acknowledged mind and all that it implies, not as the expression of divine intention but as a fundamental principle of nature along with physical law?”
~ ‘Antireductionism and the Natural Order’, in Mind and Cosmos, p.22.

One should see that Nagel’s situation is nothing larger than what Soren Kierkegaard offered 160 years ago: Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical? For the question Nagel asks here is nothing greater than conventional, though he might be trying to indicate something more (we shall see). Nagel is asking if there is a way to bring the remnants or basics of the bifurcated real meaning wherein we have idealist subjectivism and religious transcendence/immanence versus materialist objectivism, into a scheme of meaning that does not indicate upon such distinction, which is to say, does not reify the insolvency. The answer is: conventionally, no. All human reality depends upon the duality of meaningful categories; the real is the universal is the ethical. The answer ironically is: yes.