The Problem of the Dialectic: Convention, Reality and Irony.

The dialectic, as I have said earlier, cannot be taken too seriously. For when it is, the break that has perspective finds the levity that brings the truth of the matter over the impending doom. Yet when things have become so serious, it is only because I have been presented with my self and the truth and I wish to hold to my faith, my salvation of true things. When I try to suck from the matter something so thick with seriousness, the moves I have reduce the possibility that I have come wrong, and I am squeezed with apprehension. It is then what I do with it is significant; but the state of affairs often shows that what is significant does not matter, so what is really significant is that I proceed even when no one is looking or cares. If I had a choice then I would probably care and the whole thing would become a circus; but perhaps I’m not realizing just what a master of ceremonies I am, or have become.

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One problem in reading a true critical exegesis of reality and truth through the dialectic, has to do with the tendency of people to read argument as if there is an absolutely true object to be discerned, that this discerning must be of an ‘either/or’ nature, that indicates a decision. This decision occupies, or is situated within a singular and particular horizon. The difficulty, then, in reading essays such as this one, but any writing really, is that the meaning taken is offensive to this orientation. The situation is this: The points I bring appear to contradict what is apparently obvious, and so the individual either sees the points as exteraneous to their activity, interest or ability, like I am involved in a division of labor, i.e. computer science speaks a certain jargon that has nothing directly applicable to mowing lawns, and so I leave what involvement their talk has to do with me in their capable hands, or, they see what I am talking about as complete nonsense.

I should point out that there is no manner of speaking that can remove the reality of, say, a rock. I can of course, as I suggest in an earlier post, talk about how there is no amount of descriptive talking that will ever gain the rock. These two statements show how the problem of the previous paragraph takes place. People want to find either the first or the latter as true; if both are included, then the assumption is that the operation of the first is accounted for by the second and the second involves a division of labor. Yet, if one is taken as true, then the other must be not true, or ridiculous nonsense. In both of these meanings, the nature of facts is misunderstood. The fact of the rock is that it is there; another fact of the rock is we cannot know of it in-itself. The orientation that involves facts with the discussion founded upon a division of labor is of the conventional methodology, of conventional reality.

Reality is real. There is no more or less real reality, and what is not real is real in so much as what is not real is really a part of giving us what is real. There is nothing more or less real than reality but that which is real. Within reality (we cannot but move within reality) situations are presented. Outside of what is presented is that which has meaning, and this meaning discerns what is real and not real. Meaning is not before or after reality, but reality cannot but involve meaning. In so much as I then have been presented with something not real in this regard, i can only situate it by real terms. It is confusion or mistake that excludes by virtue of what is real, the true and false by absolute measure. This is all also to say that situations are posed, or posited, or are posed as they are presented but we do not know what is posed until they are posited. This situation is situated by Immanuel Kant as having to do with ‘the Idea’, ‘intuition’, and ‘the concept’.

Perhaps, a little Kant primer.

I will admit, right off, that mine will be a quite brief synopsis of his formulations, one that considers what is pertinent to this process here.

Kant was attempting to reconcile what he saw as superstitious ideas to what might be called more rational thinking; he was attempting to develop a more true metaphysics. His “Critique of Pure Reason” lays out the problem as well as the conventional solution in its title. His base is that there must be a type of reasoning, or ‘reason’ as in rational thinking, that is ‘pure’. There must be a type or way of thinking that discerns what is actually true of the real world, and he presents this ideal idea as “pure reason”. Keep in mind that his intent as a writer exhibited no particular consideration of irony in his theses, and this (ironically) set the stage for the possibility of convention, as I develop the term. Nevertheless, his ‘Critique’ can be read from opposing camps: (1) Kant was critiquing the very notion that there might be a ‘pure reason’. This stems from the apparency that every one has an aptitude for ‘reason’, though it may seem ‘irrational’ (for now, we set aside the more current ideological, modernist and post-modernist assertions that developed after Kant), and that everyone has a ‘pure reasoning’ behind their assertions of truth, even those ‘irrational superstitious’ ones. In this respect, he can be understood as bringing into question this assumption not only as it might be understood of unique individuals, but more so as the capacity of individuals might be captured under an umbrella of a common human capacity or ability, an ‘absolute’ Pure Reason. (2) The basic presumption of ‘rationality’ is upon a ‘Pure Reason’; his theses can likewise be a critique from this rational ‘purity’; he is thereby staking a true world upon refuting the ‘superstitious’ reasoning. See also that the term ‘reason’ can mean purpose, as in the reason we are discussing… as well as ability or capacity, as in listen to reason.

All of these approaches in reading his “Critique” includes his analysis, at least what is necessary; what is sufficient of his theses reveals his limitation, which is the noumena. The noumena is proposed as the object in-itself; his thesis sufficiency is a reconciling of the noumena and knowledge.

His proposal that is relevant here; If there is a ‘pure reason’ of any sort, then we human beings must have access to it, for if we cannot, then there is no speaking about it. Such access can be implied in experience and this, for Kant, is ‘the Idea’. Because such an Idea is only intuited, he brings in another notion, that by which we can infer the Idea in experience ‘through the senses’, which is then ‘intuition’. Then, the inferred and the inference comes together for knowledge in the ‘concept’. He proceeds to critically explicate the implications of meaning upon this base. He develops what ‘a priori’ and ‘a posteriori’ can mean involving also ‘analytical’ and ‘synthetical’ modes of knowing. The analytical has to do with ‘analyzing’ what is already given, supposedly by the ‘pure reason’, through the Idea, intuition and concept; the synthetical has to do with ‘synthesizing’ what has been derived from analysis of the given, the logical consequences of merging two ideas. Kant situates these activities through possibilities of their arrival ‘prior to’ or ‘after which’. Eventually he comes upon ‘imperatives’ that can be ‘hypothetical’ or ‘categorical’. A categorical imperative amounts to ‘what can only be done according to the pure reason’; a hypothetical imperative are those situations in which we may have an option, such as if I am thirsty I may get a drink of water. But, we come upon his limitation as his qualifiers of both these imperatives is contained within moral contingencies of activity, which is to say, of choice. The Idea is then that which is inferred by the intuition, which are then implied retrograde by the concept. The (small ‘i’) idea is that everyone has something ‘inside’ like a thought, but these thoughts do not come into actual play, in the real world, the ethical world, until they form a concept. The whole world thus concerns the object, the thing, the concept thereof, and so far as this world is an ethical world, that is, a world that exists as an interplay of activities but primarily as such activities involve behavior, such activities of human beings concern moral qualifiers of what one does or how one situates knowledge.

As an individual in the real world, it is not difficult to understand Kant’s motives nor his conclusions. It is commonplace that we have thoughts, these thoughts can be localized in ‘me’ or ‘you’, ‘I’ have thoughts that orient me in reality and the world; it makes sense that there might be a intangible Idea that has to do with an object, that I know of the object through an intuitive aspect of the mind that forms thus concepts. But part of the problem lay in the overdetermination of his (our) presentations, which is particularly conventional. His intentions were based in a type of brutal honesty that is not too often seen; he was not afraid of the potential that might contradict his preconceptions, and so his product ended up serving existence more that reality. The conventionalist – and I mean to point to the ‘philosophers’ of Laruelle, the conventional methodologists, the ‘philosophy of…’ people – would have Kant be giving us a method by which to dissect the ‘true objects’ of reality. Like learning math, they carefully and studiously learn how to discern analytical a priori statements from a posteriori synthetical statements and likewise hypothetical and categorical imperatives as if (1) the statements are really reflecting possibilities of true ‘out-there’ things, (2) that the mind is limited by its also being founded of an object (the brain or body), that knowledge is an aspect of information of an object, and (3) that the truth of reality (the true organization of the universe) can be found through applying Kant’s methods and other critically formed methods, such as the method evident with Lyotard’s ‘phrasing’ (see below). This latter application, by the way, was (maybe still is) responsible for much post-modern nonsense: the conventional misunderstanding of the point of contention activating catalyzing the intentive activities involved in discovering the truth by application of the method.

What Kant achieved though despite himself, is a cleft, a break, a ‘scandalous’ destruction of the world he was attempting to (re-)build. By undertaking a critical project based upon ‘conventional truths derived from Pure Reason’, he revealed that ethics is insufficient to establish the truth of the whole world through of the possibility of that world reduced to discourse itself. Hence, his critique that was intended to establish a particular rational base for activity in the world, not only disrupted the very Idea of rationality (pure reason), but did so through the assumption of a common rationality that ultimately lead to the disruption. This feat of existential motion that disrupts what it establishes in its establishing is called transformation, but for reality, it is called irony.

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The issue lay exactly here: there is indeed a thing there, say, a rock, and I cannot but speak about it. Lyotard goes even further by saying that even a silence speaks, he thus reduces the issue to the phrase, that even though a person may not actually vocalize about the thing, something about the thing is still being ‘said’.

Hence, we can situate Kant’s Idea, intuition, and concept. The problem inherent with his proposal had to do with thought, as thought is seen to be prior to, a priori, the world. A whole priority of ordering is thus established of reality, as what is real also designates the true world. Thought is central to this world. Thought, by this situation, appropriates all reality (this statement in itself is problematic, but), the inner and outer, and reality, due to this orientating placement of the individual subject, is thereby set in a true real duality of the ‘thinker’ and the ‘world’, a duality that calls for ethics and morality.

Now; it is just this type of stating of the facts that results in a reader being offended. It says to him, “here is the problem of the situation”, and the ‘problem’ means something must be wrong with the object of the situation, or the conclusions I state. In this case, I am taken to be saying that there is in reality no ‘thinker’, let alone ‘thought’, and no ‘world’ separate of the thinker, as well that the call for ethics must be somehow incorrect. But I am not saying this; I am saying that such an orientation, that is offended of this case, is real, but it is not true. By this I mean that reality is determined through a conventional methodology; conventional methodology is not ‘wrong’ but is absolutely necessary. What is mistaken is the placement of the idea of thought within the conventional scheme of meaning; the placement is real because the scheme says its necessary for there to be thought in such a manner in that placement, that thought can only be so in this way to be true. This necessity is then exactly what presents its fault – because, how could it not be necessary? The mistake of conventional reality is to answer: The methodology relies upon no knowable absolute base, and because this base is unknowable, the methodology that addresses or seeks the ‘ability’ is absolutely true, though through the methodology we can determine if the results of the method are false. Significantly enough, the conventionalist would deny that there is any absolute method, and would point to particular methods to show this, i.e. the mathematicians’ method, the plumbers’ method, the teachers’ method, the dialecticians’ method, the surfer’s method, the surgeon’s method, etcetera. But the base that is conventionally ‘unknowable’ is merely a situation of the term, because convention would have little problem with ‘knowing’ that the unknowable base arises with the human being existing in the world, indeed, that it is existence that allows for our ‘seeking’ as well as our ability to ‘seek’ – the seeking appears to have paid off with the absolute truth once again, as neuroscience, psychology, astrophysics and other sciences have determined and are determining, beyond a reasonable doubt, to know things beyond our ability to know (exactly: the true object of faith, the true relation of subject and object).The aggravation here is that these statements are typically read through one lens, so to speak, the conventional lens of truth, as Plato marks it, ‘of the greater position’. So we have a conventional situation where what is real is equivocal with knowing about an unknown, where a term (unknowable) is designated as real, which is to indicate a condition of reality, through the meaning of another term that is knowable (existence); together they form a conventional truth, to wit, existence is what informs humanity to what is real because reality accounts for existence. Another redundancy is found if we continue: Reality is that which allows for our knowing of existence, as existence unfolds in process to grant us reality. Knowledge, here, is always seen as a conducting catalyst of identity between the individual and the true object. The containing operation that equivocates reality with existence poses its limitation as ‘not-limited’ through designations of ‘true/false’, ‘either/or’, and this very limitation can be exhibited in many if not all real situations. The greater truth is founded in limitation, which, when addressed by the “phrase”, reveals only a conventional context.

This is not confronting any necessary context of meaning, since that by which context has meaning is the necessity of conventional method; the operations of the method have no necessary base of relations but that of the world, its object, and the world is real. So long as context is limited to a particular meaning of an object, to a particular (absolute) way of coming upon what is true, we have the redundancy that occurs with the ‘phrase’, that then necessarily moves into a specific temporal context, i.e. the ‘true universe’, that becomes, in one instance, the explication of the present existence, often known as ideological structure or a ‘meta-linguistic’ analysis, but can also at times venture out into the ‘spiritual’ or ‘scientific’ realms of matter, particles, waves, minds, souls, parallel universes and planes of existence (metaphysics and mythology), and in another, cultural critique that seeks to explain a proper course of activity, both thoughtful and behavioral, which then is the moral world that Kant Begins and ends with. Since ‘what is moral’ likewise is made into an object in this way (non-philosophy’s philosophical object), the individual becomes caught in an eternal negotiation of intent and motives based in momentary circumstances. The problem thus becomes intensified and increasingly localized as one attempts to circumscribe the world within these psychic and behavioral (discursive) realms. In the last conventional resort, the problem persists as a ‘world’ that perpetuates the transcending and immanent operations that was or is first proposed to be overcome.

Hence, we have problematized, again, duality, but reduced to its significant bases: the world or universe, and the method by which we engage with it, that is, the object and the subject, respectively. More so, we have reduced this duality to another duality (the non-philosophical quadripartite?), where the only object that exists is one confined the the dictates of an ethical situation. What this means has to do with what I have called the ‘subject-object’, the human being centered upon a true world that is discerned through thought, and ultimately the differend that is indicated by the division of faith from knowledge. For what we mean when we speak of the subject cannot but exclude or include the object in question. We cannot reduce the whole world to a single rhetoric of reality (ah, but we do!) and this is to say, where reality is reduced to a one universe, there we have exclusion, faith, and where there is at least two realities, there we have knowledge. But knowledge then can be that the subject is the meaning of the object as well as the topic of discussion, and as these conflate, the individual human being. Therefore, in so much as we have distinguished the significance of reality, we also find that knowledge tends toward an establishment of the truth where it might lack (of these realities), and is then again usurped by convention.

The issue is not about discourse as a bracketed phrase or context; Lyotard is speaking less of method and more of existence, of the necessary categories that extrapolate from any situation; which is, in his case, as well as mine, the point of contention. The dialectic is crucial here: Where the phrase may be operative for any reality, by contrast, context is a relation of meaning that defies convention while using it as a means; the point of contention can be said to be that base from which meaning springs out of context: the term. Lyotard offers us thus a rendition of the point of contention, reducing ‘reality’ to the present within or of or to discourse itself, showing how the ‘phrase’ can either encompass or lack its supposed subject, but including these motions into a proposed ‘non-lack’ or truth of reality (singular); his point thus presents convention. He leaves the differend to itself with reference to discourse, as discourse (the phrase) implicates existence. As a motion before the court, I beg to differ, and submit that, though Lyotard has fully explored conventional reality, its existential destructive motion, he comes very close but misses irony; the issue concerns the term, and a person’s orientation upon its reality.

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For those who might be where a full understanding of the issue begins, I wish to admit two things:

(1) Nothing has been discovered anew. In the same way that any object can begin the reduction to the same issues at hand, every ‘good’ philosopher worth its salt deals with the point of contention.

This is why I do little citing or relating of ideas; every other sentence I wrote would be filled with at least another sentence if not paragraph of citing and bibliography. Of course, this blog is mainly a working space, and future books and essays will most probably report the redundancy of authors’ ideas.

(2) Where I may differ is where every thinker differs in the discussion after the point of contention; but where I go further, I do so only upon the necessary results of the premises given in time.

It is not so much then that I may discover a new synthesis based upon a considerate analysis of the ideas of other authors, rather, it is that such authors deal with the point of contention, and so in reading I find out what has already been said of it, that in repeating, reiterating or ‘re-phrasing’ it, I may thus present something ‘new’. This motion can be said, thus, to be of the differend of the dialectic, which is, in every case, ironic. The reader, if s/he is keen, will then inevitably proceed to ‘throw out the ladder’.

Direct Tangent 6.9: A Word on Faith: An Appropriate Rendition of Francois Laruelle’s ‘Sufficient Philosophy’; The True Object, A Moment with Pierre Bourdieu and the Practice of Process.

As a close to the Direct Tangents and segue to the next, this essay is a simple and direct stating of a basic series of the matter at hand. By ‘series’ i mean to refer to the structure of argument: points that must be understood as true in order for there to be an discussion; what are called ‘premises’ usually do not have to be true, but only sufficiently understood for an argument, but then communication may not occur. I would say that it is the insufficiency of premises, and thus argument in general, upon which conventional reality is manifested. A practice of process involving a statement of series is the condition of truth; here, I cannot, that is, am incapable of coming upon a concept already proposed as if it should not be or not have been, as if i were then jealous or offended, against which i would then argue. In the process of truth, there is no exceptions. The issue is not so much about finding truth; it has to do with the situation of terms. What is the object?

We deal in two possibilities. If i am stating my position by my opinion, i can call it an argument, and I can start anywhere I please as long as I develop sufficient premises. Yet, because, here, we deal in truth, I may not approach as if I am speaking within a conversation already developed (considering my whole blog is really one essay). I must start at the beginning, not in the middle, every time. I thus do not ‘disguise’ my target through addressing what then appears to be particular arenas of discourse, though I may use such discursive objects as an occasion for what I have to propose. The tact that is taken by many writers, whether acknowledged by them or not, of opinion, is often deceptive at best, a type of withholding, and derailing for many who would otherwise be interested.

Though Francois Laruelle appears to come very close to being ‘honest’, a reader has to be somewhat informed as to the particular meaning of what terms he presents, cloaked as they are in a type of conventional-institutionalized deception (what I have designated as ‘jargon’), to be able to appreciate what he has to say; indeed, Laruelle produces his own “dictionary” of non-philosophical terms, an effort that i see as unnecessary. It is sufficient to convey his meaning, and necessary in that he could propose it in no other way for himself and be in line with his intent, but it is not necessary by virtue of the insolvency of the true object (see below). In his attempt to be transparent and approachable (I must grant this to every writer, at first), he ‘auto-excludes’ much of his potential audience, and demands of his audience a certain academic effort. In previous posts, I have addressed this by suggesting he is in bad faith by his presentation, since – is he not supposed to be speaking upon ideas that concern everyone? And if not, why not? I, on the other hand exclude all but none in that I approach through an intent to be clear to everyone as well as myself; my exclusivity is found by choice, as there is maybe barely one who would have never chosen to come upon my work. (Nevertheless, one should note: Laruelle’s manner is indeed appropriate, since he is attacking what can be seen as the ‘head of the beast’, the effectively institutional-religio-ideologicracy of conventional method called “philosophy”, the ‘bastion of the sacred method’ by which he is a self-proclaimed “heretic”. Just as Martin Luther, and just as noteworthy, Martin Luther King Junior, among many others, challenged the prevalent institution of their times by advocating and practicing what can be seen as the antithesis of the institution’s pro-motion, Laruelle confronts the similar element of our time, but in a ‘radical’ manner. Reader, please keep this in mind as I occasion Laruelle in this discussion. I am left to wonder if in his assault on the boarder gates he has become a citizen of his own pillaging and continues to build and climb an ever renewing ladder, or whether in his proposition he has thrown away the ladder.)

So, whether or not his intent is to also confront the greater reality, I see that when he says ‘philosophy’, and proceeds to address and direct his activity upon and through a supposed institution or discipline called ‘philosophy’, he is also talking about how people in general may have ‘philosophies of…’ the various aspects and circumstances of life and existence. In contrast, I suspend no presumptions; I am addressing and treating of truth, and nothing less than what it seems a life of experience has lead me to see of how myself and other regular people (including theorists) deal with life. What is ‘rigorous’ is the critical undertaking of experience, and less so, the experience of learning how I might approach an analysis of it and thus so to speak of it. I thus approach from a proposed basis of ignorance, because that is how I came upon the world, through doubt, and through a transparent process that shows frustration and contempt as well as assuredness and askance upon the issues (Constructive Undoing is a process) as most anyone earnestly interested would, attempt to shed light on the significant issues concerning reality and existence. Hence, I hope it helps with this purpose to say that Laruelle and I are parallel in our presentations, but moreso involved in a basic parallax upon the same point of contention.

To this end, a have located a (another) specific occasion. Laruelle’s “sufficient philosophy” suggests that philosophy sees itself sufficient by itself to indicate what is true in-itself, what is true of truth. Where Laruelle has coined this idea, appearing as proposing as he is addressing a specific discipline, as he may or may not be, I coin ‘conventional methodology’ to make explicit that I am indeed taking on truth and reality of the everyday sort, the ‘ordinary method’ of coming upon reality pertaining to agreement with accepted standards, and in this I submit that I step to where Laruelle avoids, as he has been invested in a (slightly) more conservative effort, a conservation of the clause – ironically, at least in appearance.

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Here is an excerpt from Pierre Bourdieu’s “The Logic of Practice” with my clarification comments in brackets, not italicized:

One has to escape from the realism of the structure {the true object}, to which objectivism…necessarily leads when it hypostatizes {makes, sees, understands or otherwise develops as foundational} these relations {true relations of conventional methodology} by treating them as realities already constituted outside the history of the group {an object ‘in-itself’ or ‘out-there’ as opposed to the individual thinking human being} – without falling back into subjectivism, {the individual thinking human} which is quite incapable of giving an account of the necessity of the social world { in so much as reality or the world can be argued as originating from the individual human being (subjectivism), it fails to account for the apparent arbitrary agency of random events and other conscious subjects}.” [1980 Stanford University Press; English translation, 1990 Polity Press. Pg. 52]

One cannot assume a common understanding. This is why there is discussion. But a discussion must find a common ground before there is true communication. This is the initial problem. The meaning of the terms of the issue have not been sufficiently disclosed, and it seems for our discussion, here, we are up against a very large obstacle: faith.

What I mean when I use this term is also part of the problem; through Constructive Undoing I have been attempting to indicate how faith is to be situated so communication might then occur. In this post I have presented the above excerpt because it describes the situation in a pretty good and clear manner, such that I might be able to elaborate and thus promote and get at a sensible, understandable and productive communication. In short, I turn the conventional meaning of faith, as having to do with belief and choice, on its head, or rather, back upon itself and its proclamations of truth, proposing that the conventional effort itself is based in faith, yet more precisely I propose faith as the containment that allows for the individual and conventional reality due to its ‘having’ choice and belief, but that the truth needs no faith.

Here is a more fluid reading (my rendition appropriate to ‘faith’) of the excerpt above:

One has to escape from objectivism, the idea of the true object, where objects exist ‘out there’ in the world and where the human being is likewise an object among objects of a true universe, the meaning of which allows for and maintains an absolutely true scheme that relates objects and establishes conventional reality. But also, one should not respond by falling into subjectivism, or the idea that reality stems from the individual thinker, or that whatever one believes is thus true, for this idea also fails to account for much of the aspects and activity of a social world.

Please note that Bourdieu is involved with a critique of anthropology and sociology, their theories and practices of approaching and analyzing cultures. Though his presentation is quite profound, I will not go into his particular argument here, except to say that his proposal is that one needs instead to look at practice, hence his book “The Logic of Practice”. At some point in the future I will discuss in more detail the relevance of his and others’ positions and activities. For now, his is a sufficient occasion to talk about faith.

In as much as Bourdieu proposes a solution of ‘practice’, I extract from his proposal and develop ‘faith’. The situation that he describes above, that one must “escape” from, represents how faith is constituted as reality. For my occasion toward meaning and in a manner of speaking, he is suggesting that what is necessary for truth is to relinquish ones faith in objectivism and subjectivism. It is not difficult to understand what a usual or common object is; we see them and interact with them every moment of our lives: the tree, the lamp, the box, the shirt, the person. What is not so easy is to see that these objects are not solute in knowledge, meaning, though they might be presented to knowledge, and may be re-presented by knowledge, such knowledge does not contain or correspond with any true object except that what is ‘true’ is likewise qualified or quantified to a ‘true’ meaning. What this means is that knowledge reflects only knowledge; it also means that what is at issue is where or how truth finds its ground, or its fundamental basis. Knowledge cannot, does not, ‘reach’ some ‘out there’ object, nor does the various qualities of such a true object (what can be known as an object “in-itself”, or what I call an “absolute true object”) influence knowledge or yield up information of itself that knowledge then ‘apprehends’ or ‘gains’ of it. Knowledge is not ‘knowledge of…’ so to speak. Admittedly, though, this concept seems to defy common sense, but it is apparent when one attempts to convey a truth without sensory confirmation, and without faith; hence, what is ‘common’ sense.

What we are dealing with here is a necessarily advocated separation of things in the world; we are dealing with what we see actually occurring in life and ones perception of life and the world. The method of theoretical reduction of reality to some ‘more real’ idea, such as Laruelle’s “Real” or “vision-in-One” as opposed to “reality”, is merely a situating of meaning based upon a presumption of the true object, and this yields nothing but a mythological ideology, as if one mythology might be better or more advanced or progressed than another. How is it possible for there to be a something more or less real? Despite all discursive gymnastics, only through relativity can we have a Real and then a reality, only in a world where terms are able to indicate something better than or worse than, ignorant and enlightened, essential as opposed to mundane: only in a world determined through a conventional methodology. To be more more precise, the issue is not of a discerning or discovering of (true) things based upon phrasing, clause or context, but quite the converse. It is not a mis-definition that gives us the mistake of belief in the true object, it is something infinitely more subtle and insidious: it concerns ones orientation upon the term; the issue has to do with a situating of terms for a designation of the object.

Bourdieu does an absolutely amazing job at putting into words the situation of reality as it pertains to this idea, how theoretical assertions fail, how exactly terms interact meaningfully, and how these issues resolve in, what he proposes, practice. Here, though, I am not so concerned with the particular discursive meanings of practice since we all practice every day. Our ‘inner’ thoughts and ‘outer’ physical activities are the manifestation of existence; so far as I am concerned, the world of practice just “Is”. The contemplations of what I shall do to day as well as how I actually do it as well as the thoughts about all this is commonplace, well worked and though interesting, not very significant. Things get done, I have my attitudes, my opinions, others have theirs – life goes on. But it is how one is oriented upon such ability to “practice” that is significant: it reveals ‘faith’, or how one is oriented upon reality.

Where it is possible for an absolutely true object to be correspondent with, or signify itself as, a person’s thought of it, there is faith, but also conventional reality. The theoretical reduction that would remove the incidence of meaning intended here, that would rebut again to reveal how “there is no absolutely true object”, has not grasped reality, but has asserted it; indeed, in that theoretical move, conventional faith has been restated. Such a faith is not of reflection, it is of direction; conventional faith is of the naive past toward a knowing of truth revealed as such, a superstitious past toward an ‘enlightened’ future. The direction is the conflation of sense and knowledge; the sensation combined with what ‘makes sense’, knowledge, amounts to the true object; so it is also with the ‘sensation’ based upon a ‘proper’ theoretical argument. The reflection that understands that the sensation only confers meaning through knowledge, and not along side of it or conspiratorially with it, is not in play for conventional reality: a TV is a TV, a doll is a doll, a tree a tree, a car a car, cells are cells, bricks bricks, a bird a bird, a dog a dog – a theory a theory – the assemblage or ‘world’ of such true objects, I call ‘conventional reality’, or simply ‘reality’. We should be not so concerned with some fundamental, more real, reality, which is to say concerned with how to describe (the true object called) reality for what it ‘really’ looks like, for this amounts to a metaphysical proposition; rather, our discussion here has to do with what is practical, what emerges as a result of ‘practicing the process’ life.

Absolute true objects rely on and are found by the possibility in equivocation of thought to the thing out there that is sensed and a subsequent negotiation with things out there or other; such objects rely not only on knowledge but on an indication – i say “tree” and i point over there and the person next to me sees the tree or touches it or smells it and nods “yes, i agree, that is a tree” and thereby we know that thing there is a tree in truth absolutely. By the term ‘absolute’ I mean to indicate an orientation one has upon reality, but this is difficult because in our discussion of faith there is no objective referential like a tree to point to; i can only describe situations from the occasioning of objects ( such as this ‘discursive’ object called faith). Again, even as I would argue the position that there are no absolutes, that such ideas gain their meaning as relation, which is to say, in the negotiation of meaning, i am arguing not only a truth, but i am asserting an absolute nature, aspect or thing of the universe, as if the universe has given me some piece of data or information of itself to my knowledge, as if the true one universe has relinquished or revealed itself to my knowledge. The irony of this situation cannot be overdetermined.

Conventional reality that rests upon the possibility of the absolutely true object is not true, but only true in knowledge; the reality that mistakes the ‘object of knowledge’ for the ‘knowledge of the (true) object’ is of faith. Only through knowledge can we know of what may be sense; the sense that orients sensation, as from the physical senses, that would distinguish it (sensation) from thought to show how they involve separate elements of stimuli and process, also uses such ideas to develop and reinforce the incorporated individual who is manifested, a human being, as a result of these elements. The idea is that thoughts can be distinguished from raw physical senses but the sense can influence thoughts and thoughts the senses, but that in fact they are intimately intertwined. The real human being is defined in reality and in this way is real. Hence, what i say is not real of the human being is that none of these situations can be recognized without knowledge, and thus knowledge is the total situation of being human. But, as pointed out, we should not take this to mean that we should look to subjectivity for the truth, as subjectivity usually denotes belief, not so much because, as Boudieu puts it, subjectivity fails to account for and actually avoids social contingencies, but rather because the rhetorical-theorietics of subjectivity is also informed by a particular orientation toward the true object, what I call the subject-object. We are thereby concerned with, and revealed unto, not the real subject, but rather, the true subject.

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I coin the phrase “faith makes true” to emphasize the difficulty of overcoming the mistake of (conventional) reality. Reality is qualified as such, as designating the arena of true things, because it is so prevalent and common: it is reality, the relations of things in reality are real. It seems frivolous and presumptuous to make a counter-distinction, as Laruelle does, and call his ‘the Real’, as if it is somehow more real than reality; it seems more consistent and logical to call a counter distinction “not real” – and this sensibility thus also re-emphasizes the difficulty of escaping the “realism of the structure”, as Bourdieu puts it above, since one inherently and apparently is bound to what is real, to reality, because the conventional methodology deems it real and true. Also, the ability to come upon ‘what has been chosen’ informs reality inso much as ‘one chooses’ of what may be come upon. In this the object, inanimate or animate, may behave and be interacted with the human being through the free act. Reality thereby confers upon the individual his situation as real in reference to what he may or may not have chosen of himself; thereby he may have illusions based in the choices he made and be brought back into reality. So it is that the conventional agent of faith is incapable and unwilling to relinquish what (to her or him) is true, because of his faith in the true object. Faith is sufficient for reality, but not for truth, and what is more real is only likewise of faith; nevertheless, the terms of reality are sufficient to convey the truth, but are not sufficient of themselves. The non-philosophical method itself is a sufficient philosophy, and can thereby pose some ‘more real’ reality (the Real), but it is insufficient to reveal the truth.

How can this be so?
What we have is a meaning of basic duality that precipitates from conventional duality, that is found through a simple doubting of everything; a precipitate that I call the conventional bias. The sufficient non-philosophy that would recourse to offer some progressed state of reality is rooted in bias. When what is needed to bring about such progression is needed, there is faith, because the hope is that what is sufficient for logic will be sufficient for the truth of progress; but alas, it is so difficult to relinquish ones faith.