We are generally afraid of talking, let alone thinking, about truth. I think this is due to the terrible things that humans beings do under the name of truth. Truth is associated with narrow-mindedness and intellectual myopia, as well as authoritarianism and religion.
Well, I seek to disrupt those automatic associations, to help with an understanding truth in the context of truth itself, as opposed to what we are justifiably afraid of in real understanding and activity.
The Real Condition, or The True Condition of Reality
I was reading this part from a book:
What caught my attention was “…experts in the field of emotion…”
I am reminded of the seminal paper by Jean-Francois Lyotard call The Post Modern Condition:
As well, now, the foundational infamous Danish philosopher Soren Kiekerkegaard comes to mind; particularly…
To where is everyone going so fast ?
It is possible to understand philosophy as a name of an involvement with knowledge. In this way, bringing these authors to bear upon philosophy, we can understand that either a person is moving so fast in their effort to get somewhere (who knows where, though) that they forget or mistake their effort as concerning something that is not knowledge, or, the person understands that knowledge is the only thing that is being handled.
The irony here is that this situation is not merely philosophical.
This is to indicate what is happening in our knowing of it, and in fact, in our knowing of anything at all. Two mutually exclusive, non-philopsohical, operations arise in knowing:
- It is real
- It is true
On one hand, there are those who will read this far with a fair assumption that they are reading a philosophical post, will already be engaged with it under a certain notion of what is happening and in a way ‘ride upon’ that notion in order to engage with the post or not engage. That is, usually, they will think that this post requires of them to engage in a certain way, and so will be interested or not. If they are not, it is likely that they are not really into thinking this way, that is, philosophically. This is what I generalize as the real philosophical issue: philosophy is just another topic that people will be interested in or not, and within the philosophy understood in this way, there are other philosophical topics that again, people will be interested in or not.
Nonetheless, to the extent that people see this as a real philosophical issue, which then compels them to engage or not and despite what they see as their choices, there we have the true philosophical issue: the issue of the human being involved with knowing.
The truth of the real philosophical issue has to do with how to be a human being has a proper modern identity. Such a person must really be on their toes, for, their goal is to out run and out do everyone else. They must constantly live worried about what everyone else will say or do, because they must get there first, anticipate other peoples activity to make sure they get there first. They must know more than anyone else, and interaction with others are the occasions to be their identity, that is, likely not truly themselves, but just a person in reality. They must use technology better, and they must outdo nature.
They thus concern themselves with being what they are not: they must be experts in themselves with regard to what others are in reality. There is only so much food: I gotta get mine. I want to be the best business executive: I have to know more than the other person, look better, perform better. I want people to be educated and healthy: I must make sure I know what Im doing so I can be viewed as someone who is able to help with those things, so people will come to me for those things. I want to live in peace: I must protect what is mine and be keen on what someone else might do to take from me what is mine. This is what the human being does and must to in reality, and to rebut this is simply to be engaging in this very activity. It is not necessarily wrong; it is simply what we do, have done for as long as we can understand what is human, and it is what we will do in the same way, again, as long as we understand the human being as such.
Lyotard describes this real situation as the Postmodern Condition , and I think it still holds; his report is a report on knowledge, not really a treatise about what ought to be done to correct it (of course, he is obligated to imply an ethical response to it, but that is a real philosophical issue; see my other posts.) To say it is “post-modern”, though, opens things up for his proposal to be something other that what it is, something that it is not, to be something else, like realist, or structuralist. See, though, that these names stake their claims in reality, and in anticipation of people staking their ideological claims to identity, in the same way that Lyotard, by his paper, was/is understood to be making a real philosophical claim. Ironically, this activity is to what Lyotard refers the Expert of Technology: everyone attempting to gain justice for themselves by outdoing everyone else. Thinking better; thinking differently, and so on.
While it comes out of the title of the paper to make a real philosophical claim, when we understand what he is saying, it is more that he is describing the situation for what it is, and that every rebuttal and proposal, at once, falls into the description (of the postmodern condition), while then adhering to its claim, suggests that it is moving beyond it to be something else. By virtue of this real condition, it is near a non sequitur not to see this condition as true. This is to say, the only escape from it is made by using the method that the condition describes, which shows that this condition never changes. I call this condition, thus, real. It is the description of the reality of knowing.
Then, be extension, I feel like something is wrong in this realization of the reality that I am involved with. Somehow, once I see it, I am not able to gain a sense of Justice in my having to be involved with reality. I try and try, but something is always lacking, and I just can’t figure it out. So what do I do?
The Beginning of Knowing As Such
The example of that excerpt above is a usual description of what science gives us; an assertion which seems like it is giving us something definite and precise, yet upon scrutiny, it is vague and means very little. We look at scientific proposals and we like how it appears, we like how it makes us feel, like that we can be sure of what we are talking about, like we know something. It gives me a feeling that what I am doing and saying is justified. It is real and part of the knowing of what is real.
However, to again doubt and rebut, to resort to thinking by our fear, as though I am suggesting science is “not true” is a real issue, not the true issue. Of course science and is findings and proposals are real, and true in their reality. However, to make further assumptions and statements beyond this fall squarely into real philosophical issues, real philosophical material of ethical dimensions.
What I do from there is the true philosophical issue.
More in a bit…