Colonialism, Evangelism and The Intellectual Left

Some Problems with The Intellectual Left
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I think this post actually describes the situation at hand. He calls it the “political left”, but it really has to do with liberal philosophical intellectualism in general.

When we look at topics like colonialism, capitalism, religion, evangelism, and philosophical topics such as Heidegger’s Dasein and the later existential and postmodern philosophies of the continental tradition, one should not help but be struck by the significance of the meanings of this philosophical traditional lineage. We can even extend this trend back all the way to Kant through phenomenology.

It has been my repeated assertion (or at least insinuation) that phenomenology, as a cannon, is not  describing the human being as a general category; it is describing specific instances of being human. In fact Cedric Nathaniel in his book the philosophical hack will talk about how there is a failure of communication across a common category.  What he means by that is, on one hand, what Jean-François Lyotard calls the postmodern condition: There is no communication taking place despite that human beings simply will not understand the limitation of their own subjectivity, and that technology is a kind of ‘magic’ or fetish which represents the human being seeing itself as indeed communicating with other beings that are not itself (as I extrapolate and make arguments about that elsewhere).

The more pertinent example, on the other hand, is what the author of this linked post, what his essay is saying about a certain type of intellectualism that we generally can associate with academia in general and a kind of Continental tradition or adherence to a kind of philosophical dogma, or dogmatic reading, of Kant and the subsequent lineage of philosophers over the next 200+ years.

When we understand what they are saying and actually apply it to our situation, that is, our own situation, the situation of myself as a thinker, as someone who is using intellect, we may come to a more Kierkegaard understanding like that of the contemporary prophet (see: the philosophical crumbs), as opposed to an enlightenment thinker who is involved with progress. This is to say that the misreading of phenomenology is that what they (The traditional phenomenological authors) are describing cannot possibly be what is occurring in me (The academic or intellectual left Philosopher) as I am reading their philosophy: I am unable to really understand what they are saying because it offends my sense of being human; I thus displace the true meaning and invent a ‘subjective’ meaning, my own meaning. 

This is indeed why Kierkegaard critique still holds true today, and I would submit, why very few authors who consider themselves philosophers today, or critical theorists, will refer to Kierkegaard: because Kierkegaard’s philosophy sticks a spear through the gut of their critical theory.  This ‘other meaning’, the meaning that I ‘make up’ to account for the true meaning which I cannot seem to make fit into the position that I indeed find myself in and against my contest of world, is the basis for Marxist materialist critique and the further critical theorists such as the Frankfurt school.  This ‘other meaning’ which appears to oppress me is indeed the basis for the Real misinterpretation that is the foundation of ideology and political power.

The kind of incredulity, the blatant denial and active assertion of disbelief, is what is actually informing what I see as this author of the linked post is calling “the political left”, yet the author keeps it grounded in the real polemical ideology. He says it very well — I wonder if he really realizes what he’s talking about philosophically, lol — 

— but if I can reiterate:  It is basically that these (what i will call) ‘non-reflective’ intellectuals do not feel that they are a part of the same category of people that they critique. And this to say that their intellectualism insulates them from being part of their own critique,  from being subject to their own critique, and thus from being an intimate part of the world, even while they would use such intellectual ideas to argue that they are a part of the condition.  That is, so far as these philosophers want to draw upon the Continental or phenomenological philosophical lineage as well as the lineage of critical theory to support their political claims. It is the true irony that many completely misinterpret the texts that they will forever site to support their own position, which is to say their “intellectually left” position.  it is not merely that, say, the right is not looking honestly an opening or not being able to see the truth of larger significant issues, it is that the left is also in the same position. What we come up on then it’s just different examples of singular phenomenological activity, placed into a common category that is not communicating across its breadth. It is not communicating because this common category has found it self face-to-face with its own political truth. This is basically what Zizek has been saying about Trump and the American left. in order to have a left, there must be an equally formidable and true right which allows for the position to be valid. While philosophically we can uphold a transcendental encompassing category which contains both the left and right as aspects of this totality, there do we have avenues of negotiation and compromise. But we can also not hold philosophically complex or investigative activities apart from the rest of the world as though they have nothing to do with any other human involvement. At least one Philosopher has talked about how Philosophy always concerns the past even while it wants to speak of the future. In this sense, a philosophy that informs politics this accounts for the end run of left and right sides, self and other conceptual idea logical side, finding it self having no real transcendental ground, or at least to say, so much as Philosophy. is understood as getting somewhere, as finding something substantial, which, in the end we have found that there’s nothing substantial, that only nothing is substantial. This proves to be a psychological hindrance for individuals that want to be founded in a Substantialworld. It is indeed Kierkegaard despair rising up within the individual, who then searches his mind and uses his “intellectual ability” to figure out with the bigger more thorough mines have come to the conclusion, in order for this individual to be able to function effectively in the world to do something with purpose. Following these lines of flight the individual has nothing left but to ground truth, ground its own substance in a truth of its own making, a pure ideological sense. But in the end we find that that’s all it is, and in order to have this pure ideological sense there has to be a corresponding “substance” which allows my truth to stay in place. Hence our current world political situation that we find in various intelligent arenas.

While these intellectuals might point to others’ inability to see past the end of their nose towards larger issues and more significant realities, the fact is these non-reflective intellectuals are indeed doing the same exact thing as the people they condemn: not seeing past the end of their own nose. 

Thier intellectualism, though, their ability to use discursive gymnastics and believe their own scripts, allows them to proceed into life as from a “true” place of privilege from which they suppose they are critiquing “out there” issues; one could even suggest that their idea of self-critique is a self-fulfilling prophecy, at root in matters of systemic oppression (think L. Ron Hubbard and the ‘technology’ he used on himself, while also using it to mind-control and manipulate thousands of people for his benefit). Never do they want actual solution to the problems they find everywhere; never are they able to apply it to their own view, their own perception, their own method of coming up on the world, indeed they will bring out arguments from this phenomenological lineage as if to prove to everyone else how their “Intellectual left” view upon the world is actually seeing things more correctly.

This is not a straw-man argumentative gambit; it is actually describing the situation at hand. “They” indeed function in this manner, as do I.  Yet, the category –the category which is at work in the appropriation of this text , the category where by opinion and subjectivity are suspended in a transcendent ether or “cloud of unknowing” , does not communicate due to the method by which I am able to view the world and things in it; this is the issue at hand: Is there a sure ontological unity that we call “humanity”?

 This goes back to the first point, the first meaning of Lyotard’s postmodern condition: There is no communication taking place.  The rebuttal to this is simple denial through the self-proclamation of intellectualist-historical privilege; this is a simple fact of the phenomenon of being human that is completely denied by certain facets of the intellectual left for the sake of their intellectualism.

For example: “There is communication taking place, but it only appears as though none is taking place, so let me describe to you how intellectually we can create new definitions of ‘communication’ for the purpose of making progress over this apparent subjective limit.”

One could go so far as to say that this is the mistake, in a kind of Lacanian reading, which is contributing to our World political climate. This also contributes to why in some posts I have made in the past couple years I have referred climate change to the question of “just what climate is it that is changing?”

We might be able to glimpse what is occurring at multiple nodes of intersection where this lack of communication is coming together in significant moments of our environment.

Those I am going so far as to indicate as the non-reflective intellectuals (what even Zizek will point out as the “left”) are so quick to move on to the next thing (post-human; post-capitalism, etc…) the next intellectual ‘craze’.  In other works I hope to show how the “philosophical turns” might actually arise at the moment when the intellectualism, as a defining motion, begins to reflect upon itself and its limitations, that the coming into its own limitation automatically eschews reflection ‘out’ and thus as the world to thus retain a certain sense of subjectivity and excess so as to further allow the exploitation of materials it sees fit to use under its purview of self-righteousness. I submit that such ‘turns’ function through ontological denial and work to establish cosmological constants, or categories which do hold potential to communicate across their domains, for the purpose to feeding the capitalistic engine of consumption.

The philosophical turn of our time, toward objects, is due to the stalemate that has arisen by the phenomenological subject coming once again upon its limitation to point to how it is only encountering itself, and then the real ideological denial of that reasoning, that infallible logic, so to speak. The turn is indeed like Moses when he comes upon the burning bush, he turns away, but in our case, human beings turn away “not to see” what this fantastic thing is standing in front of us. Moses turns “into” that which challenges his ontological status; modern human (philosophically mistaken left) beings turn away and deny the truth for the purpose of creating their own world, and thus create infinite problems through which to establish and justify thier real being.

Hence, the denial of oneself (lack of reflection; in despair to be oneself, as Kierkegaard has termed it) for the purpose of a real intellectual subjectivity is the system of oppression that has been feeding itself with the value of disposable others which it turns into valuable commodity through ignoring ontological validity, or what we loosely call equity.  The true goal should be liberation.  Yet, the modern intellectual subject (left) is inherently an unethical subject simply because it refuses to apply its own standards to itself and its behavior: It understands itself within the context of a privileged synthetical a priori, intellectually removed from a necessity to apply its own ethical formations — which it flings righteously onto others — to itself, to exclude itself from its own practicality for the purpose of bringing about its own utopia (subjective authenticity) further through communion with the immanent/transcendent ‘other’ which is perpetually placed out of critical reach through the assumption of its own proper critical methodology.

It is colonialism justified through intellectual denial, and it is evangelism, again denied, through the critical theoretical lineage. An ideal, a cosmology for the creation of an elite individualism of the few, at the cost of expendable multitudes.


AND, when all this is said and done, we should see that what I am talking about is not another proposal of ethical impropriety which needs to be overcome through more intellectualism, more argument for solution which never desires for the solution to come about and be realized.

ON The CONTRARY: What I am proposing is that indeed this offensive situation is what the human being has been doing since its inception, that it will always do this, that it operates in this manner.  And, that due to this feature of the human being, as we are able to describe, now, without the inherent subjective bias, what the human being actually does, and thus, bring out to view the truth of what we can call the object of the subject: the universal object that is the human being.

Note: The categories “left” and “right” are as ambiguous as they are almost useless to use for any sort of absolute reference. They are terms to describe the activity of polemical negotiation. But when they become understood as actual identifiers, actual ideological sets, this is where we find the problem of “the end”. 



Read: The Philosophical Hack

Oh Kaay!

I finally took a minute and got some things in order.

THE OBJECT OF THE SUBJECT : The Second Part of the Philosophical Hack  is available in EPUB HERE. 

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                 and in paperback HERE.

THE PHILOSOPHICAL HACK: The First Part is available HERE in paper back.


“The Philosophical Hack a hack into philosophy. A hack in one sense is someone who knows how to use the technology but nevertheless assembles useful objects in non-conventional manners. A hack is someone who adeptly utilizes standard methods but is not employed to make marketed products. Yet in another sense, a hack is a repeated application of a specific yet broad algorithmic protocol upon a closed problematic space. The role of the hack is at once to disrupt and to consolidate. The hack is a check on the security of closed functional systems, as well as the impetus for its growth. Defining this problematic space through a careful assault on weak points in the philosophical facade, Nathaniel offers us a way into a “science of philosophy”.  Mr. Nathaniel is writing to a wide intelligent audience. It is written in such a way that the philosophical mind will not be ostracized but will indeed be challenged. It is indeed a philosophical hack.”


Using Slavoj Zizek’s EVENT! as a platform, Nathaniel moves us beyond Zizek’s more political subjective confines into an object orientation.  Graham Harman, of noted Object Oriented Ontology, posits that knowledge either speaks to what a thing is made of or what it does, and that while we need knowledge to exist and to thrive as human beings, cognition is not exhausted by knowledge.  Objects, in this sense, exist at once as present and withdrawn.

Further, he suggests that philosophy is not only about knowledge, not only about what what objects do and what they are made of, but about the love of wisdom. 

He also tells us that Object Oriented Philosophy includes the human being as an object, what Nathaniel calls a universal object.

Setting up a few steps back from Harman’s front, and in Harman’s terms, the Philosophical Hack sets up the contours of a philosophy as an effort of love toward or involved with wisdom. Nathaniel thereby begins to lay the groundwork toward a hopefully more substantial and meaningful practical philosophy for mental health and counseling.  In this new understanding, the conventional and traditional modes of human Being, such as science, biology, psychology, religion, and spirituality, as well as the traditional philosophical theoretical (as many we know) constitute contributing components of the object that is the subject.

The Philosophical Hack is the beginning of a philosophy which includes other disciplines to form a more coherent and seamless cognition of what the human being actually is as a universal object infinite in its involvement with other objects, as opposed to what the human Being is able to be as a transcendental and special phenomenal subject limited in its ideological nothingness.

This new way is to retain everything, as opposed to excluding.

#mentalhealth, #objectorientationcounseling, #truth, #loveofwisdom



video of Harmans visit to Tijuana

video of my visit to Tijuana
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Knowledge is not the whole of cognition.

Knowledge either overmines or undermines. We do need knowledge to survive. What things are made of and what they do.

But knowledge is not the whole of cognition.

Philosophy is not a type of knowledge, not a claim of how to have knowledge. 

Philosophy is the love of wisdom..

Excerpt From “The Object of the Subject: The Philosophical Hack, the Second Part”

The Modern mode is defined by transcendence. Despite the various eras of the scholarly historian, modernity is an annoyingly persistent overlying of transcendence upon existence by reason; always there is a positing of what cannot be proven onto what is apparent and what is religious in this regard is the assumption of what should be apparent by all parties. The atheist is annoyed with the theists, and vice versa. The farmer annoyed with the trader of finance, and vice versa. The regular person is annoyed with technology; the Silicon Valley tech-star cannot understand how technology is pointless. Key-shortcuts on computers are annoying and frustrating to some while wonderfully efficient to others. History was incorrect in this way, and history verifies the various points we wish to make in that way. Everywhere and at all times modernity brings in the transcendent aspect to be concerned with itself; the Wall Street wizard who relies upon her wits to make powerful business deals; the business owner who does yoga to allow him to center on what he has to do today to make and sell the best pastries; the dog walker who has to negotiate eight dogs down a busy city street and pick up after them. Transcendence brings the appearance of reality into focus by presenting us the conditions for existence, from the daily insistences and nuances of social interaction, to the great and deep physical discoveries of science, to the spiritual-magical fronts of consciousness and other planes of existence. Transcendence allows for it all to “be-there”, whether it be ‘only’ thoughts or the ‘actual’ world.

—Cedric Nathaniel, The Object of the Subject — OUT OF YOUR MIND and into you hands…SOON !!the-subject-objects-prints
{Artwork from Society6 —}

On Metaphysics, Objects and Decent Politics with Graham Harman

This week I had a fantastic conversation with Prof. Graham Harman about his unique theory of Object-Oriented Philosophy. Our discussion was wide-ranging, we discussed Graham’s background, metaphysics, HP Lovecraft, art, architecture, Bruno Latour, cont
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