The Conventional Limit

–from “Re-visioning psychology” by James Hillman.

The modern idea of ownership permeates into every thing that we think. This preoccupation with one’s “owned” ideas manifests world as some thing to be or to have as owned. Hence we have the eternal problem for the modern individual which shows up in one instance as rational subjective opinion in a world of argued relative opinions, and in another instance as mental illness. We might even begin to discern what mental health is by understanding how it seeks to commandeer the problematic modern individual which is — by the plain evidence of all the problem it vomits everywhere by simply being itself — ideologically and institutionally mentally ill, by placing it in a “positive spin”. For I think the most salient and pertinent issue of philosophy and not only psychology is: What exactly is mental health?

We tend to ignore this question as well as ignore the absurdity involved in the object of mental health by trying to reduce it to some physical state of brain or some organizational state of some “pure” mind, by trying to bring about various conceptual apparatuses, or simply talking about “ways” or practices that we can do to thus be mentally healthy by the doing of them. But none of these ever really tells us what mental health is except maybe a sort of stillborn fetus of modern science to poke and prod at.

And the people who are really suffering are the ones who mostly get to remain in a state of suffering overall.

Why do we continue to remain so myopic towards a problem which doesn’t seem to be responding very well to these narrow idealistic methods? 

But this is not really to make any sort of criticism against processes, interventions, and other efforts to help; for sure, we have to try.

 Here, we are taking on the interface or relationship between psychology, activity, and philosophy. 

The most pertinent philosophical discussion of modernity in this regard was made by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in their book “capitalism in schizophrenia”, but indeed their work is saturated with the attempt to come into a plural solution to the problem of the singular self. 

The issue, though, that we find permeating philosophy, or what I call conventional philosophy, can be viewed through the adjective pronoun “we”; for, what those philosophers pronounce in their philosophical works, in their psychoanalysis in one sense, is exactly “not” we, but indeed that group of people which is only able to understand humanity as a generalized and common, modern, “we”: Meaning, not the We that arises as world to form the contours of self, but indeed the modern We which is the presumed isolated self within a world of individual isolated selves “out there”, huddling in cold groups, and indeed only of beings associated with the category that we call human. The We doesn’t think of the We which involves rock formations, buildings and quarks. Anything that lives outside of this, what I call, religious and theological designation, we label and denote as ethically inferior and or in need of correction due to its epistemologically implicit error of cognition.

We might then ponder what indeed the idea of correction is manifesting around in this regard. What is this idealistic calcification attempting to protect?


I’ll stop there. 


—excerpt from Healing Fiction by James Hillman. c.1983

The question implicit of the object of the subject is not, like the usual phenomenologically subject-based philosophy, meaning; rather, the question is to what use is philosophy put? For what purpose is the Being of philosophy? Cedric Nathaniel puts this juxtaposition of view in terms of how philosophy understands itself automatically with the Being that is necessarily established through the human Being such that this conventional philosophical effort always must be asking and answering the being of itself in as much as it’s manifestation is assumed implicit to every and any other kind of Being, that is, as though the human being is the sole arbiter of the universe.

Once such reductive pattern and method is accepted for what it is, it likewise can no longer be doubted that what it is is what it is doing. It is this move that removes us from the phenomenological correlation by accepting that such correlation can ever be avoided in philosophical reckoning that is involved with time, tradition and history, but as well, then, such a notice does not suggest that something is wrong with those constants.

No longer involved directly with making arguments of ontology, the effort concerns thus the teleology of Being.

—ibid. p.97

Nathaniel: Revisiting “On Vicarious Causation”

This excerpt from Graham Harman’s “on vicarious causation” from 2007 in the journal called Collapse (it is not difficult to find the PDF online) represents succinctly what Cedric Nathaniel means when writes that his philosophical work is not concerned with “what is behind the scenes”, what he generally ascribes to metaphysics, what he calls “conventional philosophy”, and what Francois Laruelle refers to as “sufficient philosophy”.

Harman’s article here puts in very clear terms what Nathaniel means when he talks about what is ‘actually occurring’, that is supposed occurring right in front of our faces, as opposed to what our introspective minds might dredge up from the underworld of “subjective” or what Nathaniel generalizes as phenomenological truths. (Nathaniel inverts Harman’s categories and says that what is phenomenological is ultimately real, where what Nathaniel calls true is what Harmon calls real).

It is how Harman says; phenomenological sensual Truths ride along top of the real object, and as I’ve said recently in a post of mine, That ideals based in subjective, discursive, linguistic etc. modes ride along top what is actually in front of us (that is, once we get beyond the appearance of the phenomenon) like the Hawaiian islands ride along top of a hotspot in the earths crust.

This (object, as opposed to subject) orientation upon things of philosophy I see is much more useful in its truth than grounding whatever theoretical activity in whatever subjective imagination of sense that an individual might be able to fit together; That is, if we are ever trying to get anywhere in philosophy besides a crate load of artistic freedom of expression. Hence I find in Cedric Nathaniel’s books an interesting move towards a science of philosophy.

I would suggest revisiting Harmons seminal article written in 2007, “on vicarious causation”. And consider it in light of James Hillman’s “healing fiction” just what sort of fiction that conventional (phenomenally based)  philosophy writes for itself, given the evidence of the condition of our world, and where intentional communion with the object of thought might be creating more destruction than indeed healing.  perhaps what we are considering imagination it’s not so imaginative after all.  Perhaps there is a weak consideration of what imagination is so far as it might be applied to real activity, which is to say, a weak estimation, a correlation even, between imagination and what is good for the world, as evidenced by the shape or condition of the world, so far as whether we are actually harming or helping that condition. Slavoj Zizek is tight in his discussions about capitalism as quite difficult to imagine beyond: as Nathaniel says, It is due to the phenomenological redundancy which sees in its own reflection an infinity of objective truth obtainable from intuition of a transcendent other (religious communion), the excess that profit and investment arise from.


And I imagine over December I’ll produce a paper along these lines. 😛

Grow. Begin the hack.

Art as Fiction

Art as Fiction.

The difficulty Philosophers and Artists might have with the notions of “art” and “fiction” may wish to consult the psychotherapist James Hillman. Particularly his book Healing Fiction.

In this book he outlines a distinction between history and fiction which is relevant to what Latour says of art.