Toward a Unified Philosophy of Counseling: Object Orientation

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Counseling and Family Therapy Scholarship Review

Volume 3 Issue 1 Article 4

An Essay Concerning the Possibility of a Unifified Theory of Counseling

Lance Kair

Regis University, Department of Counseling, Division of Counseling and Family Therapy, Rueckert- Hartman College of Health Professions, lkair@regis.edu

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Kair, Lance () “An Essay Concerning the Possibility of a Unified Theory of Counseling,” Counseling and Family Therapy Scholarship Review: Vol. 3 : Iss. 1 , Article 4.

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Kair: An Essay Concerning the Possibility of a Unified Theory of Counse

An Essay Concerning the Possibility of a Unified Theory of Counseling

LANCE KAIR

Department of Counseling, Division of Counseling and Family Therapy, Rueckert-Hartman College of Health Professions, Regis University, Thornton, CO

The Object-Oriented Ontology of Graham Harman, also known as Object-Oriented Philosophy, presumes to describe an ontology of all objects, including human beings. This essay shows how the discipline of counseling can benefit from such an ontology of objects. To move into this particular case of an Object-Oriented Ontology of human beings, and to distinguish, initially, at least, between the object that we are now concerned with, or will be soon, and the universe of subjectivity, I propose that we refer to universal objects, which is to indicate objects that exist in the universe, however we might define it. In this universal sense, we must take a step into the object that is the subject by removing obstacles which will hinder discussion along object ontological lines. The epistemological obstacles which get in the way of a discussion of the object of the subject may include (1) the science of the mind, or psychology, and what I shall term (2) conventional philosophy under which a sort of regular understanding of phenomenology is organized, which is to say the general philosophical tradition which has developed around the ontology of the subject, the subject of reason, knowledge and discourse. We will see going forward, for a unified theory of counseling, though, that the phenomenology of mind is the most pertinent obstacle.

KEYWORDS: Counseling phenomenology, object-oriented ontology, conventional philosophy, the Two Routes

The Object of Counseling

What is counseling? The subject of counseling is well known to trained counselors and philosophers alike. Counseling generally concerns the human being and its mental or psychic aspects and how these might appear to be involved with a person or persons in the world, and to help such people. Of course, definition of just what counseling might be involved with can be debated, but in a strict, open and obvious sense, the subject of counseling is what the counseling is about or for. This, however, does not get us very far. Counseling is often strongly associated with the discipline of psychology but, being still a young discipline, looks to its older siblings, which includes psychology, neurology, and social work, for its philosophical support. Nevertheless, counseling appears on the scene in its own right attempting to distinguish itself from these older family members. This essay is a part of that effort. The catalyzing issue on the table will be, what is counseling?

A primary issue addressed throughout this essay is the problem with a usual method of approach on all things counseling which supposes to grant credential to criterion to essays and proposals which best cite evidence-based research. Note, however, before reactions are engrained, I do not suggest that such an approach is inherently incorrect or misinformed. The ‘either/or’ polemic no longer central to our point, ‘and’ becomes operative. The view upon this paper which sees an argument toward how the just-mentioned method is incorrect is based in an incorrect manner of viewing the meaning of this paper. Nevertheless, counselors do often admit to a certain doubt around the scientific method; it is plain that scientific research is only capable of

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encountering and making statements upon a minority of experiential impressions and outcomes; that the outcomes by which it is able to honestly comment truthfully amount to, again, only a portion of reason for why a person may or may not be behaving or expressing in the manner she does, and that such comments say even less about what solutions are effective, and should be applicable, than they do about the purpose of the experiment.

While those so scientifically faithful will shudder at such blasphemy, we need only point to the miserable statistics representing any approach to mental health, to the effervescence of new approaches and theories of the psyche, its various ideals and healths, to understand the poverty and basic depravity involved in the continual advocation of an exclusive method called science upon a field which is so obviously resistant to its enforcements and lures. To answer this failure of myopic and stubborn assertion against the facts, this paper seeks to explore an opening; the claim is that mental health will benefit more from a sure objective philosophical bedrock which allows for honest viewing of subjects and outcomes than it has from the relative and philosophically arbitrary methodological reduction, restriction, workings of closure and career that we know of under the rubric of empirical research science.

The Empirical Problem

The substance of various counseling theories and approaches which make arguments as their main support gives rise to two main modes of counseling: (1) strict training in specific application and knowledge of theories and their protocols (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies; Gestalt; Existential; Psychodynamic; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; Systems Theory; etc.), (2) integrative and/or eclectic approaches which suppose their validity in not limiting their approach to one specific theoretical protocol of intervention, which further propose to be able to understand to varying degrees and aptitudes the ideas behind the various interventions and thus use a variety of such ideas in session as the client might or might not respond to them. The disciplines of psychology, social work, and counseling have only some specificity—which each might be quick to point out more than some—and often claim the same work space and client involvement. Upon looking into the particular specificities of each, and upon analysis, often we can find only further theoretical, academic difference and capitalistic difference (names and titles), while the effort is already often integrated in actual practice. Counseling appears to be involved in doing something different than its heirs, but actually is turning out to merely add more reason to not distinguish the various disciplines except in name. It seems as though counseling is the place where the most vehement differences in theoretical belief are allowed to be held at bay for the sake of having empathic kindness to all human beings as well as allowing oneself and others to have a valid opinion about the truth of our situation as mental health practitioners.

One might begin to wonder what the relationship is between the actual state of mental health and the confusing discipline which proposes to address it. In this night of theoretical assertion, one might begin to see less a correlation in attempt to solve the growing problem by adding more and more theoretical approaches to address the increase in the amount of mental issues in society, and perhaps more correlation in the growing abundance of approaches contributing to increased need. People in their turning don’t know where to turn, and where they turn could be said, if we were to ask even a few people, is already founded in a generalized ideological confusion. Indeed; if there is an actual and specific item called mental health, we should no longer assume it is similar to physical health. Despite the history of psychology which would presume to have established such a definite item, in close analysis it is not difficult to see

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that the idea of such an equity between physical and mental health is itself most often an ideological construct, at that, inflated in its conceptual ability and effectiveness. Given an honest and introspective rigorous philosophical look into the ideas of mind and mental health, it becomes more sensible to understand those tenets of what we regularly and generally know as psychology as specifically ideological, in contrast and in distinction to a usual postmodern reductionism which might argue that everything is ideological. As we shall see in Triple-O, such ideals which come forth through ideological identities, e.g. mind and mental health, are at once both only ideological and actual – different in nature – without collapsing into, contradicting, or negating the other. Yet, by contrast, where each is understood to be able to nullify the other, say, because every statement is a subjective opinion, there is the possibility of theoretical solutions that arise only as or within mental constructions put forth in argument or as empirical constructions elicited by evidence- based research. If indeed there is an actual and specific item that we can truly identify as mental health, then it has only partially to do with such methods in as much as such methods are regularly understood to be sacrosanct in their ability to grant a truth of the human mental being in the world; we see an example of an implicit cognitive distortion working in such a reduction that would suggest that it is not partial but rather entirely actual (all or nothing thinking). We say partially because we must admit that indeed there is faulty thought at root in the effort that is supposed to be informing us about what is not faulty in every such proposal, even as we might call it empirical or scientific.

The Phenomenological Problem

The issue that is drawn upon for this essay is a logistical one; namely, how is the subject- thinker able to get outside of itself sufficiently enough to find a true scientific object of mental health? How does thinking overcome its limitations to be able to consider what is not informed by that limitation? What is not only the elements which may constitute a thing, but what path do they take, and just how do such empirical elements traverse the mental barrier such that thought is able to have them in its domain? With this in mind we must then see that the seminal philosopher Immanuel Kant was actually showing how all and every human behavior (including thought, but every occurrence otherwise) merely occurs according to its own imperative; in our case, the Pure Reason. Then the problem he poses is how it may be the case that we think or believe that everything is not occurring according to some universal plan, that is, not determined in both cause and outcomes, which is, the hypothetical imperative or Practical Reason. Yet, without having to reference the whole virtual abyss of philosophical material, there is sufficient discussion about the history of psychology to now admit that such a science as presented above is at worst merely an ideological assertion and at best a theological assertion, developed by minds probably more interested in the establishment of their own names and projects than it is them actually having seen this actual scientific substance called at some times “the mind” and “mental illness” but most recently “mental health.”

Nevertheless, as we will indeed see through a philosophical discussion about the nature of counseling as a discipline which will be distinguished from its forbearers and contemporaries, the question for counseling can no longer be suspended in an ‘unknown yet acknowledged’ relativity or mere argumentative practitioner’s opinion which we leave to the barer of subjectivity. If we are to attempt to get out of this ‘chicken or egg’ conundrum of mental health supply and demand, the significant issue now is not whether any particular method towards affecting or addressing mental health issues is better than any other, but whether we will still leave the responsibility of mental health in the hands of a theologically relative subject. In other words, can we as counselors take

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the honest step to consider and accept the object of our effort, the thing that is counseling? Similar to an initial and basic therapeutic intervention where we may ask the client to slow down enough so to be able to ponder facts, the issue for a philosophical basis of counseling is: Can the counselor take a moment to stop reducing the therapeutic relation to a situation between subjects, and that only?

The Real Problem

Though it might seem strange, the answer we are seeking is not a manner which disrupts or changes the individual’s counselor’s personal theoretical ideal. Thinking from the object will not change the actual therapeutic relationship, however it may be.

Another issue which an object ontology of counseling mends is if it is responsible for us who want to be able to help someone suffering from a mental health issue to offer them a general field of helpers who have little more common ground than that they want to help, express empathy and know how to actively listen? This effort, which I have identified here of counselors, who often have no more substantial philosophy under their efforts than, basically, selling the prospective client a ‘mine is the best’ theory of recovery, basically leaving the client to the chance of the draw to what is available or to what or who is referred, or, telling the client that there are hundreds of theoretical approaches and interventions and that you, the suffering client, just need to search and choose from the plethora of varying notions of what mental health is and how we treat it? Then to ultimately settle on what has been handed to them by cohort or Google or what counsellor they like the best? Can we not by now be honest and consider the possibility that the internal confusion involved in the effort to help (psychiatry, psychology, neurology, social work and counseling) could have something to do with exacerbating the explosion of mental health issues that we now face everywhere? If we include philosophy as indeed a valid way to discern knowledge and wisdom, we would do well as counselors to have a philosophy that is not mere “whatever you think”; this is to say, some actual reflective and insightful reasoning could move counseling off from where it has been epistemologically beached.

Again, this is not to suggest a new way to counsel. The point here is to develop a legitimate philosophical ground for counseling as a discipline that is more than just artistic, spiritual or scientific license upon evidence-based research; such methods amounts to no philosophy at all. Such a philosophy, if we must reduce and assign a philosophy to that kind of intentional myopia, is itself what we know as a conventionally informed phenomenalism but without the actual knowledge of what phenomenalism is. This doubly mistaken understanding of a phenomenology of mind is an insufficient philosophy to address real things; i.e. real things are intentional, neither real nor a thing beyond the thought involved in a discursive negotiation of them. I suggest presently psychology has no philosophy of reality because it draws upon a history of scientific truth, then as well, where the assumption is that true reality is accessible by the mind is not a philosophy either. They are merely examples of a reflexive method, or a philosophy of reflexivity, that is, subjectivity without reflection.

Perhaps it is not the creativity for coming up with ways to help presenting clients with their issues that is the true issue, but the philosophical platform upon which we are placing such theoretical givens toward praxis. It seems we need a philosophy which makes room for all such theoretical approaches, one which only disclaims those approaches which propose to be outside of its philosophical description. Our effort here then is like every good philosophical effort, which is, to be inclusive of what is most broad of the category given us, and this is to say, to allow counselors to be counselors, to do what they do, and allow counseling to be, without the interference of their

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having to assert particular theoretical righteousness of effort amidst an ontological inconsistency or generalized ignorance. A philosophy of counseling would include all forms of counseling, their individual theories, methods, applications, ideals and interventions, and would present to us what the object of counseling is.

The Two Basic Philosophical Questions

The Object-Oriented Ontology of Graham Harman is able to be viewed, like no other theory before and despite its specific argument, as evidencing an answer to two questions that plague philosophy at every turn. The first question: Is philosophy a name for what thoughts thinkers are able to do, as in thinkers are able to think thoughts? In other words, is philosophy confined to an approach upon things and the universe where one must and can only spend philosophical energy analyzing all the ways thoughts can fill or otherwise occupy thinking? Or, the second question: Does philosophy get to, address and then speak from what may or may not be essence itself, as they say, the thing in-itself? These questions revolve specifically and irrevocably around thought and nothing else, for the failure to address this phenomenon represents a decision that has already been made and assumed in the presentation of the philosophical position. Due to the nature of philosophy itself, then, because it indeed most often appears in some context of thought, it seems that it would be naturally subject to an effort which does not pull punches when it comes to what exactly is being done; the logic of the psyche makes its primary claims to the workings of thought. The issue thus falls plainly in the realm of the subject of psychology where the subject must become a philosophical issue. A psychology without a philosophy which informs its ontology is also primarily problematic philosophically; this is also the issue I hope to address and make some constructive suggestions upon.

Everything philosophical first must rely upon an answer to the questions above before anything else happens, at least as much as we might be thinking about it, or we are simply reiterating the post-modern theological mantra of the special human being suspended in new discourses—much of philosophy since the 19th century can be understood as the new kind of monotheistic religious apology for the modern human. By contrast, the maxim here, upon an object ontological ground, is a rose by any other name would smell as sweet because it is a rose. We are not quibbling about terms, meanings and definitions. It is becoming apparent that the various counseling and psychological theories are complimentary in practice despite their arguments of exclusivity. The philosophical approach which would problematize statements is always in large, phenomenological – which is to say, based in an unquestioned ability of a human thinking subject that is making meaning. Yet one is never dissuaded from asking the meaning of “stop,” for example, and never see that the meaning is different than the definition. The question which splits thought unto itself, though, to mark religion as a vital and inseparable element of the being of human in every arena is whether thoughts do anything or are anything in-themselves. The question is no longer either how to remove the religious component of all thinking, or what we mean by thought and thinking, that is, it is no longer what is thought and how to correct our conception of it. No longer is mere questioning itself automatically a credible method for finding out what a thing is: Such a method finds that a thing is always a thought or a definition that arises out of thought; altering the definition of the term does nothing to change the fact that we now have come across and are forced thus to admit.

The significant question is the relation of thought to its definition, or in other words, how we organize what thought actually is. To continue to proceed into thought by asking what it is

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through the same method is a redundant operation. To reiterate; the deconstruction of words by reorganizing definitions assumes an ability that is left unquestioned, that is thinking. If we deconstruct the term ‘thinking’ by the same manner, we must deny whatever definition we come up for how we are to proceed to know the truth of things through definition. The issues for psychology in general then are whether we can indeed find a thing that we can identify as thought, and what does it do. However, it is a non sequitur to suggest that thought is the name for a conflation of neural processes, for again we are being philosophically loose in the estimation, relying upon a certain kind of ungrounded faith to overcome the redundancy which has been implemented. Likewise, sense, as a simple body action-stimulus, as the five senses, does not except in pain or extreme pleasure ever overcome sense as in the coming upon things of knowing, as something might make sense to us, and there is more going on than whether or not we consciously are actively noticing thoughts occurring.

The next question arises how we would know of something that is outside of the knowing of it? Traditionally, this is the phenomenological question of the thing in-itself, to which the answer has justified science to allow it to make its own claims upon a domain which is assumed to be particularly given to the human being. Science merely must rely upon a philosophy that it denies by its internal logic of method and operation, however, to thereby retroactively assert what it is not, e.g. not relying upon a philosophy which is never disclosed to thereby assert a philosophy of the activity that has already occurred. This is redundancy, but this time a suspended judgement upon an inherent contradiction, that is, a judgement made to dispel the suspension. Must we really simply redefine the parameters of thinking, at that, redefine what we mean by the word thinking in order to ‘not’ think something else, such as the given object of science? Are we really allowed to merely talk about what we speak of? Where does that leave thinking?

I refer to this methodological redundancy as a theological suspension because it operates despite seeing it for what it is. Despite the conventional philosophical method which calls for changing anything which is noticed, this notice is just a notice for the purpose of being able to see and observe. Also, for the purpose of epistemological distinction as opposed to logical elimination, I call the approach that is not theologically suspended, description. Nevertheless, the method of theological suspension, and its modern correlate science, seems to be what the philosophy of at least the past couple hundred years would have us operate by; whether specifically stated or not, thoughts are assumed and implicitly rely upon a human ability to commune with transcendence, something ‘other’ which calls to the individual to action, albeit, immanently. The question is about how we discern what action is to be taken. Is the activity implicit to the scene, or is there some work to be done in order to be able to actually notice what is being presented at that moment? Simple philosophical definition, even a definition of thought or thinking, while evident in history, is revealed as a philosophically lazy method for the discerning of things, and probably a questionable means to discern a vector of action; philosophy and indeed science of mind would have it that we are able to define ourselves into a definite world, or at least have a definite world that we are defining. The problem of the chicken or the egg seems always best solved by an implicit theological faith; one wonders though, how a mind would be able to accomplish such a miracle, that is, believe something into existence, but even the science of neurology relies upon this ability.

Graham Harman refers to this general kind of ability or state of modern identity as knowledge; it works and gets things done, but it never achieves what the doing actually is while also positing what allows for the object of knowledge, and just as thoroughly and often never is able to find us the thing in-itself. The suggestion in this odd, believable and widely relatable suspension (modern knowledge) is that we should be cautious when we posit a phenomenology,

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then, because the usual phenomenological arguments any graduate student knows stop holding all the water here. If we wish to get to something substantial, as opposed to something which just works at times but at all times, then we might wish to begin to apply what we know of mental health into the process of philosophical reckoning.

An Entrance into a New Teleology is a Closure of an Old Ontology

The two questions now arrive at the beginning of philosophy, apparently assumed or missed in history. They were missed because the assumption is that a common reason can allow for a common ground amidst a field that is otherwise unknown yet knowable through the definition of a common ground (suspension). Yet these two questions go to the heart of what philosophy is as opposed to what philosophy means. If it means anything, then whenever we begin to say we are involved with philosophy we are allowed to play an old school game and feign one or the other depending on what is given us, what suits our need to be right and validated, to avoid claiming responsibility for our acts; we insinuate a vacant, or perhaps negative, phenomenology, what is known in Triple-O as the object that withdraws from view, but in other circles the result is the same; e.g., the indivisible remainder (Zizek) and even void (Badiou). Any consensus is merely an arbitrary stopping point – faith – but also one parameter of limit by which we can discern an object.

The notion of withdrawn object is relevant to counseling. Counselors are trained to suspend their own judgement and bias, to be curious into the client’s phenomenology which appears in the discourse they use; counselors persistently poke holes in their own ideas (preconceptions and implicit biases) about the client by being aware upon multiple levels and often evoking responses from or outright asking the client about what she really means by any statement they make, though other kinds of involvement are also used. In short, the counselor must be and not be while the client is allowed to be, but the discipline regularly avoids this contradiction through having the client and counselor to be together or at least at the same time. We might be inclined to ask if they likewise be in the same space. From that kind of implicit denial, though, in counseling as well as philosophy, somehow, we are dissuaded from asking questions of that kind let alone about those three kinds of Being. We are silently persuaded to uphold a faith. Whether or not we find any actual substance in these methods, actually, does not matter because those methods are the way we avoid the issue at hand, which is the philosophical issue of method, for the sake of justifying the subject thinker to presence – not Being withdrawn – and their ‘personal theory’ which moves then toward a non-unified and idealistic discipline.

Further, the general way counselors approach the therapeutic relationship is through validating the client’s experience – little concern is given to the counselor’s experience – in the therapeutic encounter; the counselor may indeed grow from it, but by definition, it is about the client. In one light, we have the medical model, aka. neurology, psychiatry and often psychology (such as psychoanalysis and psychodynamic but also cognitive and behavioral therapies, and most likely others), and we have the blatant failure pointed out earlier of the orientation which supposes that the mind has a structure, can be diagnosed like a physical organ and that solutions can be organized and mapped in the same manner; these theories overtly present and rely upon an ‘expert/patient’ dichotomy. Here, the expert is ‘absent’ by definition of the relationship, his presence arriving through the reliance on the compendium of research, that is, what is not really there or there only by virtue the expert who is not unloading the theoretical postulates upon the client. Then in another light, a salient philosophical issue arises in the therapeutic theories which suppose, theoretically, the counselor and client to be involved with or otherwise co-create a

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transparent therapeutic environment (such as Feminist theory) in a neutral therapeutic space. A philosophical problem appears because there is a contradiction founded in a space occupied by two people of unequal power (the counselor/therapist holds more power). Hence, there is no ‘consensus’ between the counselor and client, no ‘agreement’ on method. Thus, we can say that any agreement is already implicitly ‘outside’ of the client’s ability to make an informed decision about any co-creation or transparency. It is the power that the counselor is already wielding (for ideological presence) which allows for the client to agree or for the two of them to come to a consensus.

One must continue to keep in mind, though, that this essay does not propose to negate by reduction of argument through the mere showing or revealing of the situation. We are involved with a description of the situation as it is philosophically – the object of counseling – while not necessarily suggesting a problem with any particular method of counseling or that an improvement can or should be made; any argument would be a part of the contradiction, a part of what we must allow to remain suspended. The two therapeutic examples above can characterize two extremes, or parameters, of possible professional psychotherapeutic involvements; though the format of the essay can convey an appearance of critique, the intention is involved with only the facts of situation. There is no ulterior meaning to glean from the situation at this point but that there are indeed these different manners of therapeutic approach and that these manners have good analogue for a segue into a philosophical consideration of the object of counseling.

The afore mentioned contradiction upheld by a methodologically withdrawn aspect is suspended in the following manner. If I am doing philosophy in an effort to get to something significantly essential (say, for counseling, a therapeutic consensus) or to say something about it and I find, in response to sustained barrage of questions about meaning and definition, that there is nothing essential that I can communicate, then I can revert to the argument that we are really only dealing with a multiplicity of thinking human beings who are all allowed (according to modern philosophy, at least) to see things differently, i.e. have different realities and worlds, and admitting that, we then move to find a reasonable common ground – which then is the phenomenological intentional consensus where what is absent is suspended. Then on the other hand, if philosophy is merely a name for what thought is capable of doing, and the arguments cycle down to suggest that thought is not doing anything, that indeed thought reflects, views and expresses only itself at all times in both perception and assertion, then I can take up an argument that there is something more essential than thought, or something else of which thought is but a weak reflection and retain the absence in presence, for example; again, the consensus. Where then are we finding a reasonable ground which conjoins these two manners of argument? In every case, the reduction must fall into a choice of subjective reason – what can we do – since there is no phenomenologically subjective manner which can objectively weight proof to either side. Any argument I would wish to propose merely relies upon one of those methods (truth procedures) which I have chosen in advance for any condition. In order to retain my subjective philosophical primacy, I will choose not to agree depending upon which condition arises: If thought has an essence, if thought is an object in-itself, then the argument will be that it has no essence, but if thought has no essence, then I will argue that I have subjective intentional primacy and privilege to create my own reality. The issue here is thus whether a common ground has any meaning, and this is to say, what ground are we speaking of? Hence, this last is the significance of the object: In terms of counseling, it is the therapeutic relationship at every instance, the consensus implied by the expert or made overt through transparency.

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In the case of much of our current eclectic and integrative approach to counseling, that which appears as more essential are the products of science, neurology and supporting research- based results to which both client and counselor are subjects. Yet, as I have already submitted, this is only because counseling as a discipline has no overt substantial philosophical basis; its philosophy (if we can indeed generalize the multiplicity of theoretical approaches to counseling into one category) tends to develop in hindsight as a theological apology. Such vacillation (between assertion of the common science and the apology for the realization of nothing common) can be seen all through the ages of Western philosophy and its concurrent events and practices. The most infamous is (the conventional misreading that is) Kant’s idealism, but the simplest example is in Jean-Paul Sartre’s primacy of existence over essence. The contradiction of having the meaning of his proposals have no initiating essence, which is to say, having really nothing to be able to comprehend because everything merely exists, including the argument, demands a theological apology, which comes in the form of the given philosophical assumption of thought – which, rather un-ironically, itself is argued to be grounded in nothing. If everything is grounded only in thought, then what grounds thought? And what grounds nothing?

In the end, both conservative and integrative approaches to counseling merely refuse to attempt to say anything about an essential ground due to the implicit idealism inherent to a certain philosophical extension of phenomenology. I submit that the refusal is based in a theological ideal which inadvertently and ironically allows, on one hand, for a philosophically unsubstantiated recourse to the scientific ‘evidence,’ mentioned above, provided by technology but without, again, having a rigorous understanding of just what technology actually is in any sense that it can or should be applied to mental health in general but what could better be called the individual psychic manifestation. Then on the other hand, creative or artistic improvisation makes up for the implicit ‘lack’ of science. In short, counseling relies upon a sort of religious hope that its methods might work. However, far from suggesting a solution to this conundrum, as though we might be able to overcome this methodological issue, this essay will instead attempt to describe how such a conundrum forms the essence of a substantial theoretical ground for the collective effort of mental health counselors, that is, the object of counseling.

The General Theory

This essay is an attempt to lay some groundwork toward a unified theory of counseling. The general topic proposes that an orientation upon objects is central to a philosophy of counseling. This philosophical approach arises in some coordination with Graham Harman’s seminal treatise on objects called Object Oriented Ontology. This essay also describes how essence has been placed as further removed from knowledge, to be defined redundantly as an ‘essential place’ or thing in-itself that is out of reach, and how this situation reveals an actual truth which can serve as the substance from which counseling as a free, curious and creative effort toward solving problems of mentality and psychic forms, may derive a sure practical validity. Essence, in this case, is what we all know as essence, the essence of which is defined in whatever manner which stays consistent with what we already understand as essence before we apply the operation of philosophy; essence is foundational as definition is itself indeed defined without having to be defined. If the subject is Existential, then the object is essential. We concede the point that whatever we define as a specific essence is itself indicating an essence as we understand it regularly. As the anthropologist cum philosopher Bruno Latour might agree, we deal with what is in front of us before it is reduced to nothing by modern phenomenalistic philosophies. While new

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ideas and philosophies should and can arise, understanding where philosophy has brought us thus far, the task of philosophy as a category, the self-identity that is philosophy and nothing else, is in our case no longer to create new arguments toward reductive metaphysical truth or to support the assertions of subjective priority. The task now is to take responsibility for what we have before us, whether it be of the past, present or future, to organize the chaos which informs us to our phenomenological nothingness, our relative chaotic realities. In the words of mental health, as counselors, our task is to be able to present viable ground upon which the generally discomforted, disorganized or disordered mentality may find a certain reflexive solace, that is, a substantial ground upon which therapy may do its work. As witnessed by the overwhelming surge of mental health issues in our society, the present philosophical ground of an unknown and unknowable relative creative or scientific therapeutic license has proven to be insufficient.

Modern philosophy shows us that there is, at once, no one method by which to ascertain the truth of a situation in order to apply a solution, but also, no multiplicity of methods which likewise is able to address all problems with success; a specific set of determined values is required in order to arrive at any solution, and this involves a question of access to excess. Access never occurs anywhere; it always occurs at a specific place, even if that place is a multiplicity of places (the place is multiple). A case in point is the generally acknowledged failure of the ‘top down’ (which is actually redundant and retroactive) psychoanalytical manner of grafting a theoretical model of psychology (the excess that the theory relies upon) upon all human beings (the point of access). This assumption of a general but specific validation of methodological activity gives rise to the discipline of counseling acquiescing silently to a “whatever works” approach that encourages creativity, intuition and empathy that we call integrative. Every creative endeavor is accepted if it produces results (and no egregious complaint) and whether or not the results can be measured; this is what phenomenology is, the phenomenon always in the end avoids ‘the other’ and slips through our fingers, under or over our grasp; discursive, narrative and open. We thus teach and seek conceptual and practical flexibility over rigidness. Whether a theoretical system of counseling, or an improvisational approach, whether religious, spiritual, or scientific, each often achieves results (within particular social and ideological limits or circumstances). Definition, while useful to get things done, does not really tell us very much about the thing in question across theoretical paradigms; always there is some aspect of the thing which alludes our understanding, which exceeds knowledge. We may indeed have a theoretically closed explanation and correspondent application, but always some, if not many subjects do not respond. Always, some are left out, by definition, that is, due to definition. It seems any conventional method is actually only concerned with most and not all suffering human beings, and this is significant to the object of counseling as a whole, that is, in-itself.

In general, the role of the counselor is to allow the client, with some guidance, to fill out their own meaning and enact their own solution, or for any term, to become empowered to themselves in the world. Again, we are dealing with essence and not merely existential definitions, not merely argumentative or researched ‘proofs’ of effectiveness; no matter what terms we use to inscribe particular theoretical methods to effect outcomes, as counselors, we want people to be able to come to their own sense of ability in the world, a solution that they own, embody or otherwise Be, whatever that is. This essay is not attempting to argue a new way to counsel nor a new theoretical approach; we have enough of them, and people will undoubtedly come up with more. What we find, though, in the general effort of counseling, inscribed by postmodern ‘idealism’ and scientific empiricism, is that even as we encourage creative and integrative approaches, the allowance for multiple effective treatments is itself an existential contradiction in

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terms solved by defining ‘universes of terms’ (the theory) and the conditions that must be enacted or brought about by both counselor and client. We find this everywhere in practitioners decrying other methods as well as adhering to their own ways despite the failures: Denial and assertion, or, reduction and assertion.

Indeed, the French philosopher François Laruelle describes for us this condition. That which is philosophically sufficient unto itself, i.e. the therapeutic approach which serves some issues but not all of them, necessarily denotes a common and unitive ‘non-philosophical’ solution outside of the particular therapy’s ability to reckon, outside of the theory’s accounting. This is to say, the contradiction involved in the general approach of counseling shows that any solution always arises in correlation, but as well as in the failures (contradiction of contradiction). In order to allow for the general effort of counseling in its own manner or manners, without negating any particular approach, while also accounting for the unique effectiveness of each under a common and specific conceptual paradigm, we call the therapeutic correlation which arises in existence, an object.

Consistency and Cohesion

The genius of Graham Harman is that he simply told us that now, with his Object-Oriented Philosophy, we going to talk about objects; in this essay, Object Oriented Philosophy (O.O.P.) will necessarily be involved with and communicate Object Oriented Ontology (O.O.O., pronounced “Triple-O”). The problem of his philosophy, at least from the phenomenological standpoint, though, is that he didn’t give us a way there. One is simply supposed to understand the conversion involved without a philosophical path to get us there. How one gets from the centralized thinking subject, or in our case, the relation of subjects such as between the therapist and the client, each who is always involved with itself, to a consideration of an object in-itself that lay outside of the thinking subject’s purview, is never shown to us or explained; it is implied in his philosophy but the method of argumentation has often yet to succeed in pulling us out of our correlational subjectivity. This is to say that his philosophy behaves from the standpoint of the not correlational, i.e. a subject ultimately free in its phenomenological ability to make meaning. Nevertheless, the simplicity of finding this apparently esoteric path comes when we understand what Harman the philosopher is doing outside of the conceptual paradigm of his philosophical proposal; by simply moving to talk about objects, he implies that all along philosophy has been invested in and constructed by a generalizable human grounding essence called thought. Martin Heidegger could not even be so forthright in his discussion What is it we call thinking? So indeed, not so ironically, it is very possible that a certain general historical effort of philosophy has been more about the doing thinking, while psychology and counseling has been upon thought and thinking. The untying of the knot of eternal subjective relativity (the given of the subject of meaning, where psychology assumes; yet, philosophy assumes) is in order for an object to be truly known in-itself. We can begin to talk about the being of thinking.

The notion is nearly ridiculous when we think about it. Here, not only do we not need to go on to reference and compare voluminous lists of philosophers and theoreticians and their respective ideas, but if we were to do so then we would have to ask why we would need to take notice about thought in this way; because, the reference would be assuming a reflex that philosophy has the monopoly for designating everything that has to do with thought (which it indeed does argue through a whole linage of ideas about language, discourse, text, sign, signifier, etcetera, the meanings of which get so convoluted, one has to wonder where one begins and one ends and if there is indeed a common thing that any discussion concerning those items really involves just

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because they use the same terms) as opposed to or within a context of various disciplines, in which philosophy is but one. We have then to wonder if philosophy is able to suggest anything about anything if indeed its method will conveniently refer out an answer to another discipline which, at any moment, it does not wish to address.

The question on the table is whether or not we are involved with philosophy itself or merely a definition of it. Triple-O refrains from reifying the centralized thinker, so many might reply, “of course Harman’s philosophy is involved with thinking, this notice merely shows the contradiction within Harman’s philosophy that makes his move weak”; or in the terms of counseling, “how could mental health not concern thought?” However, my point is that this contradiction allows for a strong move, a move which allows for a substantial ground of practice. In other words, a phenomenology of a subject never exceeds itself for anyone else to be able to apprehend or comprehend because always something is missed in the appropriation, and because any appropriation (comprehension, conceptualization, perception) is made by another subject of the same limit. Any difference, such as that posed by Jacques Derrida in his grammatology, is ultimately based in a contradiction of the phenomenal subject; this is point that Kierkegaard makes of Hegel and is also why what I shall generalize to call the Continental tradition of philosophy mainly concerns itself with the issue of transcendence or immanence: Because the contradiction that is come upon by an unproblematized given of thought and thinking (and its step-brother, reason) can only be solved by relying upon the idea, which is merely another name of spirit. Hence, phenomenological idealism and the realist counterpart Harman calls Object Oriented Ontology. Any subjective application of solution (totality) is therefore always denying the validity of the theoretical subject (definition), and that this is the significant theoretical feature that faces us for a philosophy of counseling. Harman, in effect, is saying that the philosophy which we call phenomenalism describes a condition (a totality) whereby thought is contained by itself and thus never reaches the object in-itself, and that this philosophy is but a particular manner (a definition) of thinking about things. This is a radically different take than a philosophy which historically might have typically posited (or denied) a path of itself getting to essence, or even existence. This is the crucial and significant matter at hand, for philosophy and as well, as I propose, for a unified effort for counseling; an object-oriented foundation of counseling concerns the counselor herself – “in-herself,” so to speak, or the in-itself object that is her subjectivity – and not so much the theories or methods she employs. Less how a counselor ‘sees,’ but how that seeing might miss the object: Once a counselor is indeed a counselor, involved with the therapeutic relationship, she is concerned with how the client sees because the client is the object of the subject of the matter at hand.

The Object That is The Subject

Because the distinction brought to light above is not usually made overt but is rather mixed within an idea of a common arena of philosophy, the insinuation by assumption – that a philosophy of counseling must and can only make a statement about what the therapeutic relationship is made of and or what it is supposed to do – works on our emotion, but which is here mainly our sense of want to be included in a valid community. The lack of clarity which is built into the idea of a common arena, whether we call it philosophy or counseling (the category ‘philosophy’ also speaks to a ‘philosophy of…’ counseling, in this case) is what calls for a conversion, or a change in view or orientation upon objects, for it to have any weight. By the conveying of a sense accompanying or beside what we are actually doing in philosophy (or counseling), Harman’s move communicates a norm that we did not know was in operation, which is that in the actuality of philosophy we had

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been dealing only with thought and thinking the whole time and nothing else. Thought is assumed so common that no discussion about it is even suggested outside of the traditional philosophical lineage; we find the only avenues into discussing thought is by avoiding it through speaking of where it is located or what it is made of (neurons, brain) or what it does (traditional psychology and the various theories of counseling). The significance of O.O.P. is that Harman holds this up in front of our face and defines for us this tradition by relying upon it without our explicit consent. We are thus shocked out of the love of wisdom every time we rely upon thought as an assumed philosophical given.

The confusion persists paired with this silent influence and is noticed as the assumption that we have been actually and indeed dealing with a certain kind of phenomenalism but which we did not fully acknowledge or realize we were involved with. We are hit below the belt, not only because as avowed phenomenologists we figured we did not have to be explicit in this (it was assumed a common knowledge by the term), but also because the practitioners of this system, such as within Harman’s brand of philosophy, a species of (speculative) realism as we stay in modern knowledge-cognition, we find a secret motor that reveals Object Oriented Philosophy as another name for a confused stratagem that we have come to know as postmodernism. Despite what Jean- François Lyotard, who is noted for the term, may have indicated by incredulity toward metanarratives, it is possible to view speculative realism and O.O.P. more clearly through the lens of a postmodern rehashing of phenomenalism rewritten in different terms, a central thinking subject secreted into an absolute realism by the magic of misdirection. This is all to say that this is speculative only where everything arises as a type of thought.

Further, a very short version of postmodernism allows for a ground of a thinking subject in her world justified through the ability to manipulate discourse. Harman relies upon a decried yet strangely involved speculative realist interpretation of this ability for intentional manipulation and proclaims it through the assumption as the fair game. In other words, orientation upon knowledge-cognition by simply using different words and a different palate of terms, Harman understands his playing of the game is entirely justified by the arguments that he is able to make, the main or pivotal argument of his Object Oriented Philosophy being the one that he decides needs not to be made; that is, the thinker using discourse gets to choose his topic and thereby intentionally talk about anything one wants by changing the foundational or central term around which a constellation of terms orbit; the center of gravity shifted, the map of the universe and each body within it likewise shifts; the definitional center changed, the definitions of the objects change such that they appear thus different or in a different light; the whole universe changes.

This then goes back to the gut punch which communicates that philosophy was never really about what we think it was, because in a semantic universe terms can be changed arbitrarily and at random. This is the question that Quentin Meillassoux voices concerning how if the universe is indeed discursive, or is merely a phenomenological correlation, then how there is any consistency at all? As he writes: We should then be prepared for waking up one day, or even walking to dinner one evening, to the universe suddenly having completely changed beyond recognition or totally fallen apart. In this light, we might begin to entertain what Cedric Nathaniel ponders of Slavoj Zizek’s exercise; namely, if we are able to change the basis upon which the very notion of change is understood and yet notice this change, then the very discussion of an idea of a universe is found to be about nothing, which is to say, that the only continuity in philosophy is in the argument that one is able to construct successfully. Hence, no one could have thought differently because we are dealing with a ubiquitous essence that we call thought which is able to notice this kind of change. Harman takes what was at one time (note Heidegger) only implicit and makes it explicit as though

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it was always, or should have been, obvious: We are dealing only with thought and not merely its contents. This is the significance of Harman’s extended argument presented in his book “Tool Being.” However, because Harman makes the move there to speak only about the possibility of conceptualizing thought’s contents (in this case, objects) which lay outside of phenomenological omnipresence and omnipotence, through approaching things in opposition to the phenomenological approach which analyzed the inclusivity and correspondence of thinking, he thus left a gaping hole – a conceptual vacuum – into which philosophy disappears (as we see in the recent issues of the end of philosophy, end of history, post-humanism, post-capitalism, etc., which arise after nothing, or after brute existence or after finitude) to thus leave us with the issue of how philosophy is ever suspended as an epistemological foundation by which to look into every activity, event or object that could be or have been, in the first place. This resultant conceptual force arises outside of the phenomenological primacy to point our concern directly toward what is left: Objects in general, but the specific object at the heart of the great philosophical hole, thought itself. It is this philosophical vacancy which brings about the occasion for a new psychological intervention called the discipline of counseling.

Nothing is Substantial to the Universal Object

Nihilism, or the act based in nothing and hence the act which is likewise ontologically empty, the result that is the reduction to absurdity that is called ‘nothing,’ the unproblematized given located at the center of every conventional philosophical issue, is that which is actively and intentionally denied, that which shall not be spoken of due to the embarrassment implemented by someone else making a definitive move upon a meaning which no one wanted to (really) know themselves. When nihilism is spoken, the term is itself is split into either a meaning of something that it is not, i.e. the talk about nihilism, or the embodiment of the ‘tremendous mystery’, the object by which nihilism is knowable. It is the emperor’s new clothes either upheld by the most beautiful outfit that has been made, or revealed for what they are: The new clothes allow Being to be denied through reference to something that we are able to have opinions upon but is not really there, or to be finally admitted, and thus viewable, for what it is.

We call the embarrassment which accompanies the revealing of the truth which lay at the heart of nihilism, offense. We do not know nothing even as we might know of nothing; the embarrassment is shown not by the intellectual argument around embarrassment, but by the reaction that is the intellectualism – because the intellectualized act would always wish to have nothing identify a particular essence which is not itself – to refer out to something else, instead of what it is. The discussion which continues around the topic of nothing is itself an intellectualization of a basic offense in the thinking itself and a quick move to pave over it, to act – ironically – like the problem is moot, like it is nothing. Zizek references this kind of response to the Vichy Government in World War Two; namely, a government in name only which functions but has no effective power. Similarly, philosophy, left in shambles to be a fractured ideal by the foreclosure of Laruelle’s Non-philosophy and powerless to hold itself together on its own, can only be resurrected through the act that disregards the rule which no longer has teeth. No rational act can arise except to act outside of what the argument would denote, and no argument can piece back together what has been torn asunder; the only way to hold it together is to deny that the rational act is something that arises outside of the argument, behave then as though it is inherent and within it, and to assert itself as indeed implicit to the argument. Yet by this notice, the rift is already apparent. Philosophy thereby becomes something other than what we thought it was.

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The argument that Harman successfully makes, in as much that it was the only one that has to be made for his philosophy to meet success, is that no one is able to call him out on the argument that he feels he does not have to make: It is the argument that he makes anyways, it is the O.O.P. argument. This behavior (in contrast to what it likes to make believe of itself in rationality) then agrees with Victor Frankl’s logotherapeutic assertion that meaning is that capacity of the human being which arises out of situations wherein the human being is subject to determinative powers against which she is completely powerless. Incidentally, it is possible to read Harman’s ontology as the determinative aspect of love involved with gaining wisdom.

This argument, as mentioned a couple times already, is the essence of phenomenological irony; namely, the philosopher is signaled to the embarrassment that she thought philosophy was concerned with something more than asserting the power of thinking and manipulating discourse, and due to this emotional reaction, that which is argumentatively consistent, or, that which we might enjoy seeing in the history of philosophy or the intellectual linage that can be associated with all things philosophical, must turn to some other manner to uphold its cogency. For Harman, it is simply objects. A discussion of objects which includes the human being as an object has no direct link, as yet, no bridge which connects the subject-thinker to the object outside of its thoughtful and reasonable domain. Such a move has relied upon something that exists outside of the traditional or conventional phenomenological method of coming upon the world. Indeed, Harman gives us entrance into a new world.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with having conversations or changing the topic; it happens all the time and wonderful ideas arise from them. One of the things Harman has done, though, is put that orientation upon things which I am calling conventional philosophy on notice that it no longer holds a special place for doing anything; his O.O.P. is the perfect example, i.e., it does nothing: The nothing it does is the conversion. Instead, as Harman suggests here and there, his philosophy, as well as any philosophy – now – can be put to use. Philosophers are historically in the middle of thought that is using things, such as, the use of finding out what a thing is made of or what it does; now we move into how philosophy itself is being used. Nothing, as opposed to another philosophical idea to play with, becomes a foundational substance of things and thus allows for a different kind of view upon the universe—because it is nothing to be concerned with.

Another thing Triple-O does nothing for is modernity and progress. Following Bruno Latour into his networks and time, the drum major Harman with his object-oriented ontology has signaled philosophy to ‘mark time’, or march in place, despite itself, still keeping the locked and stable tempo, but moving nowhere. The philosophical tune still plays, the drums create a sound like the band is moving, the people further along the parade route can hear the band, but the band is not coming. By now, some have gone home, but many of the people just started entertaining themselves, and we can still hear them humming the phenomenological, intentional, speculative philosophical tune with a nice motif of realism. No longer following the band into the center of town, people are forced to do their own thing. The irony inherent to this kind of philosophical presence, as well and thus the postmodern brand of phenomenalism embedded in an Object Ontology, thus allows for some reorganization, albeit vicariously caused, a building of a sort of kinetic energy, but a new kind of energy. The tumbleweeds blow down the street, the children lap their lollipops, the parade parishioners cool themselves with ornate as well as newspaper-folded and handy battery fans while leaning on street signs and light posts glancing at smartphones; some people are happy, some curious, others sad and anxious, some are mad. As well, there is people, there is happiness, there is sadness, there is curiosity, anxiety and madness. Objects begin to appear as if out of nowhere, such as the color of the street and sky, the echoes of the band around the

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corner, the scent of one’s neighbor standing there on the hot day, and the feelings of hope, as well as annoyance and irritation—a whole field of objects never encountered before. All the while the band still marks time, playing the real tune, but not moving, or as Latour might say, standing in still time. All this time, created by the move into realism, allows for things to get done, or, as might be better described, allows for things to fill out the subject that is based, now, on nothing, that is, the subject of Object-Oriented Philosophy, to its objectivity. The subject is brought out of time to be what it is as an object of the universe, or as I say, a universal object.

The Object is Substantial where The Subject is Correlational

We find significance with Harman’s ideas, even if we might disagree with his arguments, for now the question that faces philosophy has to do with how such a simple assumption disrupts what we know to call history. As discussed by Nathaniel, the problem becomes noticeable as realism just before Harman’s proposals appear, concerned with the assumed general philosophical method (the ubiquity, as philosophy is automatically assumed to be inseparable from a particular method) and not so much with any particular arguments, philosophy (the object we can call philosophy) would appear to make. In fact, as we see with Laruelle’s Non-philosophy, it is the method of argument, that which is assumed inherent to the or a ubiquitous method, through which the problem of philosophy itself arises. This is the problem of irony, but the more specific and true manner of discerning a problem located also by Latour, which is, reductionism, the flipside or mirror image of correlationalism; once the last reduction is understood we are left with a vision arising from impasse. In his book Beyond Finitude Quentin Meillassoux coined the term correlationalism to indicate the problem of how philosophy might be able to get outside of its own subjective limits.

The issue that Harman then shows us in relief of his own work is in his attempts to argue (reduce) that we are able to get outside of philosophical correlationalism by simply using different words and phrases. For example, instead of philosophy being at all times an application of the intellect to discern and solve problems of reason, philosophy is now and again the love of wisdom. However, we can also surmise why or how he came to such a solution: Less that he was dissatisfied with so many arguments and more that he was bored with the usual post-modern phenomenological developments, which is to say that he was already in love, so to speak, not alienated from it. Yet the formulation of how he was able to make such a big splash in the philosophical world now should be obvious. Thought is determined in knowledge understood as sacrosanct to philosophy and unimpeachable, and the discourse apparent to thought is allowed to be manipulated by a withdrawn aspect (the thinker) which is the subject inspired through intuition. The key to this kind of magic which occurs right in front of us is found when we understand that philosophy is addressing that which is outside of it already, which is reality itself. Hence, Harman’s philosophical position arises within and without the postmodern phenomenalism; to a fish in water swimming in a medium it cannot discern which is its natural and obvious universe, Triple-O is like a bubble floating up from some never before known ‘beneath’ to a never imagined surface beyond which a new medium can be found; Triple-O reveals not only the water to its being, but also the water to its actual universality, which is to say, as water with a threshold beyond which is air, for example.

Those Speculative philosophers in general, and Harman in particular with his Object- Oriented Philosophy, make their whole claim upon a thought that is able to address things that are not thought, not bound by thoughtful intensions; hence the speculative disclaimer. However,

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where Harman shows himself is in his rejection of what some philosophers have been noticing is more theological than philosophical; that is, in the doubling-down and raising the phenomenological stakes to its spiritual (in the local) sense and religious (in the global) sense. This downplaying of the theological reason to thus make what is ‘other than’ a philosophy appears to restate that reality has to do with communing with a transcendent, and appears rather myopic as much as it might take the theological tact in this way, for it tends toward an advocacy of thought that misses the responsibility to the world it inhabits and makes claims to for the sake of ontological authenticity as it appears to only restate postmodern phenomenalism in new clothes, or new terms, as the case may be. This faux pas is due to the implicit assumption of thought as it is conveyed into history accompanied by a philosophically proper manner of understanding the world. Harman proposes to avoid this fall into transcendence by speaking of objects that are defined as not subject to the thinker of thoughts; though beyond the scope of this essay, where Harman closes off that connection, interestingly enough at least one philosopher, Adam Miller, in his book Speculative Grace, has attempted, with some success, at opening wide this unavoidable conflation of elements.

Harman thus is involved with an intentional denial of the philosophy with which he is implicit for the sake of speaking about objects, and not subjects, and counseling typically does the same thing but subjects not objects. This is the irony at the heart of his move: There is no intellectual argumentative justification for his move beyond the actuality of the move itself. This is to say, the move is determined by emotion, or rather, love; counseling could do as well by getting out of the intellectual justification of the emotional task which is the therapeutic encounter. The intellectualization would then be left to the subject of the particular psychotherapeutic theory, whether it be for the counselor or the client. Perhaps psychology is motivated by the intellect, but we could hope that the desire to help is more motivated by love for the client, or people in general. So, by his decisive move, Harman thus is able to indeed address objects—objects that are typically and regularly understood as common, empirical, physical, “out-there”, non-subjective objects, as well as the object that has been typically assumed in the term subject, i.e. the human being. The problem highlighted by Harman’s move for us is thus indeed the subject. Yet, because Harman, in his career, is involved with a more architectural project of how objects might inscribe spaces of knowing, or how this might be the case, I take up the yoke of the object that we call the subject, or in our case, the object of counseling which is the therapeutic relationship itself.

How can this be? How can Harman actually be talking about the subject? His is called Object Ontology, the being of objects; how can I now say that the significant issue at the heart of his work is the subject? We have already been over this earlier in this essay. It is here that we find the real significance of his move: The object of his object-oriented ontology is the subject of his philosophy. In the final analysis, the analysis which once took philosophical knowledge as getting to something essential, phenomenology was found to be insoluble, which is to say, contradictory to its effort, or as I will say, contradictory to a particular manner of viewing philosophy’s (world- ) historical effort. This conclusion, or the conclusions, of phenomenological investigation such as with Alfred Whitehead, Henri Bergson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, and what can be understood as phenomenological political extensions as we find with Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, was that the phenomenon often enough is a self-justifying effort, and that this kind of philosophical justification is located in the power of the argument to concord with reason as a world-invested manifestation. Not one conventionally understood philosophy that we can label phenomenological has at its root a non-insular, expansive or inclusive justification of the subject itself, whatever that may be. The subject is routinely understood to be infinitely justified by itself including what is knowable of any ‘other’, because, as well, any ‘other-ness’ is mediated

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by the subject. This is the whole of intentional phenomenology and this is why, often enough, any example categorized as phenomenological will do to indicate a belief system, worldview, or rationale of the speaking person for any instance or circumstance. The contradiction though, again as we already have noted, is that somehow every ‘other’ gets to do the same thing. The common theoretical use of phenomenology, or the idea of it, no matter how philosophically imprecise or incorrect in its rendering, means the meaning that an individual person attests to, but without accounting for the contradiction involved in knowing phenomenologically what the other phenomenal subject is meaning; hence the speculative theological gap-stop of theology, spirituality and religion. For how could a subject have a universe of meaning into which everything is mediated and still be able to comprehend or even come across a meaning which is not that subjective meaning? It is a phenomenon, an unexplainable feature that this essay highlights. To recoup the proper phenomenology to the various authors and their own particular arguments is therefore merely to point out the proof of my assertion here; namely that phenomenology as a philosophical foundation has no actual common foundation; before the late 20th century it was called irony, but in truth it is contradictory to the nature of a certain manner of viewing objects. Phenomenology is, most regularly, the analytical attempt to reduce an inherently contradictory condition to something non-contradictory: An idea which then posits itself as involved with something that is the not itself which we regularly call ideology. It is thus by this contradiction that the subject is able to be found in-itself, which is to say, as an object, albeit, irregular to the modern conventional understanding. Triple-O accounts for the contradiction of phenomenology as contradiction itself; in Kierkegaardian terms, the thing in-itself which arises outside of the phenomenological reduction is contradiction cannot be gained through a qualitative leap.

To round back to a philosophy of counseling: The point to be gleaned here is that it is not incumbent upon the client to know about or have any access whatsoever to such philosophical gradations of argument such as their status as a human Being. The point, thus, is exactly a Non- philosophical maxim: The potential of the phenomenological manifestation of any individual, what we could call ‘soul’, is intact and not impinged upon even as conventional philosophical arguments might leave such phenomenology as an ideological residue, a contradiction and its qualia which lay at the heart of a modern ideological subject or what can be correctly called a theological, ideal spirit. In other words, the subject that is a philosophical object is indeed a subject of counseling, however the activity of counseling might proceed into its efforts. We are able to allow what is of spirit (see Derrida’s article on Heidegger called “Of Spirit”) to retain its spirituality without being engulfed by a phenomenological theoretical universe. An object-oriented approach to counseling does not say anything about how such therapy is allowed to occur or what a counselor is supposed to do—what counseling does— within that therapeutic involvement with a client; in this way, every conventionally permitted theoretical activity is not negated but only explained as to a common thing that is the therapeutic relationship.

Phenomenology identifies the space characterized by an inability to come upon the ends of thinking reasonably or even philosophically – phenomenology is the space – and amounts to the conceptual basis for why a philosophical foundation of counseling as an effort or discipline need not pry into the rooms where help can occur. Instead, the object that is counseling is more definitely outlined for what it is (a universal real object) even while it is also able to be understood only as what it is made out of or what it does (a subject of an all-encompassing universe). So far in modern philosophy, we have only entertained the subject of a ubiquitous semantic universe grounded in nothing; this could be contributing to why counseling, psychiatry, psychology, and social work – the disciplines of mental health – and all the various theories have not, in large portion, helped.

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Individual theory addresses particular instances of problem, but we are implicitly confirmed in our (post-)modern phenomenal subjectivity that our inspiration, reason and sense should allow us to apply a particular theory to every issue of mental health that arises.

The short answer to the question of how the subject is an object is usually not realized for what it means, so the long answer is found in the myriads of voluminous treatise of past authors who were concerned with the subject of the universe: The object that is typically called the subject that is regularly associated with the human being is conveyed in those works; the parameters of the subject, its limits and constitution, have been laid before us. Anything further philosophy might propose as to the constitution of the human being as a subject, such as various ways humans deal with any current real manifestation of world, biology, politics, economics, etcetera—what it is through what it is made of or what it does—ultimately has already been outlined to the philosophical possibility of how such doing does. Human creativity is endless. We will always have to deal with ideological ramifications of the subject coming up against oppressive limits, no matter what discourse appears to account for them, or vice-versa; hence the need for counseling but as well a substantial ideal for what it might be. In the end, the call for Harman’s work is the realization of the last instance of subjectivity, where, begun with Ludwig Wittgenstein, as Nathaniel describes, the subject is to be found a universal object. Once the long and the short answers have been taken, the simple answer is the term ‘subject’ is already taken. The subject is found to be contradictory in its essence, which is to say, the philosophical investigation into the essence of the subject showed only the subject and nothing else.

This conclusion of only nothing is intolerable to the knowledge understood by conventional philosophy because it means that any proposal is ultimately self-referential absolutely; as Harman has noted, it does not account for or allow room for change. The philosophical recourse to the finding of this end, then, was historically to typically and simply deny that the investigation was investigating something essential. This was the move Jean-Paul Sartre made. Sartre gave philosophy an essential justification to a subject which is ultimately self-referential, a subject which finds at its ends a freedom which extends into nothingness, into an abyss of limitlessness. His solution was that the individual must then simply deny the truth of the analysis, revolt from it, and assert its own idea of sense within the renewed limits of the common existence as though freedom itself can be redefined in its essence. We find then that the core of subsequent French philosophy simply followed suit by remaining in a silent Hegelian universe of phenomenal synthesis, which is to say, synthesizing what is able to come to mind as though what comes to mind is justified in-itself, but in a manner where the ‘in-itself’ mind stays out of the picture for the purpose of justifying its own inspired intuition, or, something that arises from nothing. With Harman’s move, the conventional philosophical method arises in opposition to staying with the limit that had already proven itself by that mind and its ways; with his move objects are allowed to be various ‘in-itself’ objects, and the human being is allowed to retain the character its philosophy may have argued for the category of the subject to become an object in-itself as well, albeit, a universal object that we can now identify as the human being. Hence, the identity we call human correlates with the condition that Meillassoux coined correlationalism, but also the sure way out of it that no conventional philosophical subject seems to want to grant credence or even notice.

Coming to Present

We have only what is presented before us, obviously and apparently. For a thing to be true, to be found in-itself, we do not have to find predecessors nor make an argument of how this may

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be the case for it indeed to be the case. The argument (any argument) that is made in this regard (that no one else, including myself in the debate, has formulated or is able to formulate a reason which proves that what is before us is universally accessible) arises in the conditions available to everyone under particular conditions; the phenomenal subject with its various personal constructions, representations and qualia of worlds and realties need only to look at the fact of its own world-constructing ability and limit to understand the subject as an object, hence, where the therapeutic relationship is the object that arises of the subject in a direct encounter with itself thus the other.

The object that is a tree is always a tree no matter what meaning we attach to it or term we use to designate it; the bat made from its wood still will break noses, the noses will always be noses and blood will spill. The meaning we make from such objects, that is, the subject, is some thing different; in coming upon this difference one either revolts or accepts, there is no middle ground. One either changes or not. Yet, the stranglehold of the existential revolt of the modern individual into a theology of subjective correlational and conventional phenomenological ubiquity can be loosened by an empathic view of one’s self. The self is where all subjects and objects reside exclusive from one another. The issue, then, is less how to get out of the infinite regression of subjective meaning, the philosophical condition wherein a counselor will never be able to encounter a client or vice versa and where theory is hopefully applied, and more to simply to see that meaning itself grants an egress by the fact that there is a specific instance of meaning which understands itself through contradiction, as contradiction, which is, that there is another subject which is doing the same thing of being eternally correlated to its own semantics (aka, Derrida’s difference). The relation to be noticed then less concerns knowledge than emotion. Rather than a soft plying of phenomenological community upon either/or reductionism and denied contradiction, the significance here is a hardline philosophical conversion; the universe fills what ideology flattens. The universe is not simply meaning made from the intentional subject, but also the meaning gained through intention offered through the universal object, which Alphonso Lingis may have liked to call a universal imperative. In session, by ethical definition, the opening is made by the counselor just as it is the counselor who establishes the therapeutic environment; the confidence implied of the encounter now gains an added measure of integrity because the counselor’s activity is grounded in a universal philosophical substance which supports her own theory of knowing, being and intervening, in contrast to a mere intellectual assertion that every Being be subject to an exclusive practical theory.

Plurality is now epistemologically permitted to actually be plural, for Being to be in its plurality considerate of multiplicity. Now open and expanding, one simply draws upon the network of objects which occur regardless of what argument one would want to make; subjective relativity now adheres to the rules which have established its justification for sensible pell-mell meaning- making instead of reifying the simple intuitive capriciousness by which it justifies the random pulling of reasonable meaning out of a transcendentally justified magic hat. The argument, instead of witnessing an eternally inspired phenomenal subjectivity, now becomes the transparent evidence of its own objectivity. This is the move from a hypothetically suspended justification of universal subjective semantic relativity (subjective praxis suspended in an essential unknown) into a substantial and categorically philosophical ground for such relation (a ground of praxis from which unknowns may be encountered in-themselves and the subject thus investigated).

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Kair: An Essay Concerning the Possibility of a Unified Theory of Counse

Moving Forward: Intension Evidences the Orientation of Sense

Within this field, now defined, we have the condition described so far, of Harman’s business, the reasons for it, the repercussions of it, the ontological basis for it, as well a basis for its practical application to the discipline of counseling; i.e. an object-oriented ontology of counseling. Yet, it is this last which shows that the argument that Harman is making does and does not follow his intension. It follows his intension in as much as he mainly uses arguments to establish a cognitive position for himself in a field of objects which have nothing to do with subjects except as a philosophical counterpart and platform from which to move onward to assert the ideas of his mind. He is able to do this and we are able to understand intuitively what he is doing due to a view upon philosophy which has thought as its impetus and foundation, a view which holds history in place and the thinker as central such that the thinker is able and validated in redefining terms and discourse to his liking, even to the extent that the thinker need no longer be confined by that historical lineage but can indeed use it to justify a flight from it, all the while remaining true to such linage.

Strangely enough, the intention appearing above makes no room for a commonality of human interaction called counseling because the ontological basis of counseling and Harman’s philosophical intention are thus equivocal, that is, both arise as phenomenologically real items (subjects of ideology and therefore argumentative); the ground is lifted again. Nevertheless, the ability to locate and describe what Harman is doing phenomenologically thus allows us to identify the objectivity involved and say that it reflects a particular orientation upon things; I submit that where Harman’s O.O.P. argues and deals with a particular and real ontology of objects, by contrast, a true philosophical effort as might imply activity (in-itself) in contrast to having been derived from activity (philosophical or phenomenological reason) concerns orientation upon objects. This concern is quantitative in the Kierkegaardian sense (faith is that which is already a leap, as opposed to the basis from which we leap in hoping); from this position we now move into an object orientation of counseling. It is a true effort because the effort does not attempt to isolate intension to a singular thinker or thought such as concerns real agency. Rather, the effort merely moves to describe the sensible situation of a particular object, albeit, one that is doing its ontological activity, or its teleology, such as the object of the therapeutic encounter. The truth of this effort allows for the objects of philosophy, which are, the central thinking subject of mind and or spirit (phenomenological, ideological or power derived, narrative, existential, cognitive, and neurological, amongst others), and the object of the subject, to rest together with equity in a very real and responsive non-philosophical, unilaterally dual space and which occur together and simultaneously, interactively and intentionally of a universe, while not necessarily reducing to one or the other, not making claims upon the other’s veracity and effectiveness, in what can be called an asymmetrical, non-zero-sum, ontological state. Here, on one hand, phenomenological Being must by its analytically synthetical (or synthetically analytical) nature, begin in knowledge to reduce all phenomenon to contradiction, and then in order to retain its real identity, anticipatorily revolt from the ideological collapse which would develop if it were not for the premature rejection/revolt: This is the subject retained in its ontological activity, of intuitively generating meaning and intentionality enacting its world through it, which is, of the subject finding itself in a meaningful field of subjects of that meaning (correlation).

Then also, yet on the other hand, there is the Being which is involved with the integrity of, what Harman calls real objects, which includes the subject itself without falling into its dominion, without reducing to a totalizing subjective semantic (which is contradictory when coupled with

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another subject). In other words, allowing for the conventional philosophical or cognitive center and the intentional subject, and due to the noticeable limits which constrain the subject as well as nullify its own essential substance (alienation), the object which arises as the subject of intension is able to be viewed, understood, analyzed and put to use without having to answer to the contradiction of reduction toward ideological unity into which its phenomenon perpetually falls and out of which the existential revolt conveniently saves. I call this the situation wherein the phenomenology of the subject is able to be an object the Two Routes upon things.

We should be careful to note such routes do not fall neatly into conventional categories of scientific and phenomenalistic; rather the two routes allow for the infinitely inclusive phenomenological subject of story and meaning to be retained while a multiplicity of such subjects likewise remain real and individual things to be encountered in-themselves. Before this distinction, philosophy and science were at odds, counted up as two of a number of human abilities, thoughts or cognitions that stem, we are to suppose, from some unknowable but arguable difference which arises spontaneously in the universe through the human being. The model of the Two Routes is suited to philosophically ground the practice of counseling in the reality of both a specific theoretical conservative ideal, such as the science of psychology, as well as a liberal integrative approach, which can likewise adhere or otherwise appropriate to various degrees—or not— scientific ideals. For example; the medical-scientific disease model which sees the psyche and mental health as a problem contained entirely by empirical science (the brain and body), the various systematic theories which suppose to explain an inclusive universe of therapeutic praxis (examples such as Psychodynamic, Cognitive and Behavioral therapies, Systems theory as well as Gestalt therapy) , and the integrative approach which tends to issues with solutions which accord with various minutiae of the therapeutic encounter, all can be specifically accounted for and retained in their unique validity through the ontological concern founded in the Two Routes, or an object oriented ontology for the discipline of counseling.

Bibliography

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Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Frankl, V. E. (1992). Man’s search for meaning. (I. Lasche, trans.)

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Harman, G. (2005). Guerrilla metaphysics. Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court.

Harman, G. (2007). On Vicarious causation. Collapse, 2. 171-206

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Trans.) Cambridge University Press.

Kierkegaard, S. (1983). Fear and trembling; repetition. (H. Hong & E. Hong, eds. and

Trans.) Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Kierkegaard, S. (1989). The concept of irony. (H. Hong & E. Hong, eds. and trans.) Princeton,

New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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Kair: An Essay Concerning the Possibility of a Unified Theory of Counse

Laruelle, F. (2013). Principles of nonphilosophy. (N. Rubczak & A.P. Smith, eds. and trans.) Harvard University Press.

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(R. Brassier, trans.) London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney: Bloomsbury Academic, Miller, A. S. (2013). Speculative grace. New York: Fordham University Press.

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event. Boulder, Colorado: Od Parcel.

Sartre, J. (1978). Being and nothingness: a phenomenological essay on ontology. (H. E. Barnes, trans.) Pocket Books.

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Melville House.

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The Real Analogy

This post will be about philosophy and the analogy of the real. Some things first.

My journey concerns and moves along the interface between, what I call, Self and the World. I am beginning to see that all my work involves the various aspects of coming to terms with an Absolute Separation in relationship with an Absolute Community.

In oder the establish how such Absolutes combine, we first have to establish what the absolutes are. Of course, though, we should see that there is no argument which can overcome absolute Being, for any argument which would propose to do so, would, in itself be arguing from a position which understands itself qua its being as an absolute marker of where the absolute might be compromised. Hence, my discussion here. This discussion is thus not accomplished successfully through an endless assertion of systemic definition as it is through analogy. Again: Hence, my discussion. We call upon the author to explain. The locale between which definition and analogy mix.

Now, because Word press had established the Block Editor as the default platform for this blog, you will not be reading the rest of this post here. Instead, which I think is probably better, I will publish this as a paper. and will post it when Im finished.

So, listen to Nick Cave instead, an exemplary of novel thought and new creation. While I write my essay somewhere else.

Fucking WP.

Post-nihilist praxis and pessimism: rehashing some old ground

In the last few months I have begun to explore philosophical pessimism, although not in writing and not on syntheticzero. It might seem strange to do…

Post-nihilist praxis and pessimism: rehashing some old ground

—- I appreciate this writer’s sense of calmness and work towards clarity of his thought.

Although I tend to move away from the ideas of the writers who present in synthetic zero, I do sympathize with their plight and expression, if simply because — And I do not mean to sound better than or to devalue such intellectual synthesis — I went through that. Where my ideas indeed resonated with everything that they talk about in this blog.

My blog is called “the philosophical hack”, and this name and project came out of its original name called “constructive undoing”, and “constructive undoing” came about after this period that I see synthetic zero reflecting for me.

🧑🏾‍🚀

This post was very, very long, and so I didn’t quite get more than about a third of the way before I had to start skipping down the essay and read various paragraphs to get an idea of where it was headed and what he might be saying.  

This author expresses a key idea that I could associate the project of synthetic zero with. This idea is trauma.

One of the issues that I have with philosophy, and indeed the issue that brought a head to me the ability to move upon what we could say was my initial trauma, but then also that post traumatic space in which and through which I attempted to dissolve that traumatic element which remained in me to be able to attempt to argue against it, is the refusal or inability to get over itself. See, I was attempting to carve out my own legitimate space in the midst of a trauma which would not go away.  My ideas were indeed “trauma informed” in the sense that they indeed were sculpted out of the traumatic environment for which I was invested despite my best interest.

And so one could say that what happened to me was that I gave up on that project. For I realized in the end of that approach to philosophy all I was doing was reifying and maintaining the initial trauma in the attempt to get rid of it. For, philosophy tends to take real things and turn them into intellectualization and then argue itself within a Kantian Sort of a priori To find its various discursive categories and areas within it. It takes the very real fact, the very visceral and encompassing effect of trauma in places it into An intellectual category to dissect as if trauma itself is nothing but an intellectual category, a definition.

Ironically, philosophy itself does this to reality itself. To me, this is what Nietzsche was saying, and other authors, and this is why capitalism is nihilistic: because it places everything in a reductive motion where philosophy is intimately bound up with rationality, such that such association becomes the supposed ground of all things that are real, such that “nothing” becomes the foundation of reality. This is the ironic manifestation of our current ideological paradigm. And this is to say that the reductive method of a particular orientation upon reality, one which usurps reason itself onto its own resources Such that it has no recourse from which reason could arise except to say reason itself, which is the synthetical a priori — Every time what is actually real encounters this assumption, the trauma is reified, and that argued limit for a reason just pulls further back into itself to look for a way to get rid of that automatic traumatic response. 

🌈

When we understand that the current modern ideal of a reason is it self a disassociation from reality, then the transformation which can arise is one that begins to understand that reason indeed has a real ground and that 20th century existentialism and indeed postmodernism, was just a further attempt to own the traumatic situation of the prior trauma of that particular category, or for that particular orientation, upon reason.

Once someone divests oneself from that ideal category, Then what is left is not a world that is going to bring it self to destruction because of the post traumatic response of “rationality”; rather, It is a seeing the world for what it really is, where human beings are merely a part of the world and not the container of the world.

Discourses of power are only against what is ultimately functioning as the trauma. In that particular paradigm, the human being sees itself as destroying the world at every turn, ultimately destroying its own body, eating itself away, hurting itself, self harming, suicidal, nihilistic.

Once that trauma is healed, then we find the actual reality of the situation: It it’s not “the world” which we are hurting, rather, it is how we are viewing what the world is that is the significant philosophical issue.

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Objects and Encyclopedias

My second article in the Encyclopedia just posted, though it’s behind a payment firewall, HERE. The previously commissioned article, published last …

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature

It is interesting to me how philosophers neatly and discreetly avoid the basis of their arguments, to rely upon a paradigm that is already been established to thereby argue something that it is not.

I think there is a basic problem with Most of the philosophies that we call realist that talk about objects, such as my hero Graham Harman , also Levi Bryant, but Ray Brassier as well.

The basic fault in all of their approaches, or I should say, the basic fault in what has developed Out of their approaches, is that their initial realization by which they have become known for talking about real objects seems to go by the wayside as their careers advance. And this is to indicate a coincidence in the advancement of careers and the necessity to develop what was once a significant into a regular and mundane and discourse of postmodern dimensions.

In short, the discussion about objects is a discussion that keeps philosophy in place. Stable in one moment of time. And indeed, if we are going to find out the truth of some thing, we want to look at it from a stationary position for a long time. We can’t have everything moving about, or trying to get somewhere. Lol. 

I feel that if we are going to get anywhere then I have toI have to place this as a personal attack. It has really nothing to do with the content of their philosophy. The significance of a philosophy about objects is that is it it is a discussion about things that exist outside of human thinking. Which is to say, that it is not ‘thought’ that contains or otherwise only knows of objects, such that we enter enter into and stay within Kantian space.

The only way that the Real Object philosophers can say that they are now talking about objects, is to say that thought has nothing to do with what they are now talking about. And the only way to do that is to rely upon Wittgenstien Shift to language, and then all of the 20th century discussions that really comes down to how we use discourse. Which is to say here, that all we need to do is merely redefine any particular term and then we’re talking about something else.

In my mind, this really just says that they are really not talking about objects in themselves at all except in as much as we have been able to re-define what any set of terms may indicate. But what does that say about the supposed objects that they are talking about then? 

It also makes me wonder why they call this “realism”, when indeed no matter where I go in the world, if I say and I’m talking about a car, everyone knows what I’m talking about no matter what language I translate it into.

It seems to me, these philosophers are either only talking about language, or they are being dishonest and what they are doing, or they are relying upon a conventional and assumed understanding of philosophy in order to make careers for themselves.

*

Now, I’m not saying they are wrong by doing this, somehow they’re ethically wrong. But I am saying something about the nature of the philosophy that they’re doing. And this is why I say, for anyone that wants to start talking philosophically with me about things, then a fundamental and initial question has to be “what are we trying to do in this philosophical discussion?”

Sure it’s great if all sorts of people can make a living and stimulate discussions by talking about anything anyway we want to talk about anything. Sure there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with saying like, hey, we live in a capitalistic world where people want to make a living, and I really enjoy mixing up thinking and thoughts and considering various arguments and whatever, and so I’m going to spend all this time and do all this work around learning how all these concepts and thinking and thoughts mixed together in language, and then I’m going to produce my own mixture of terms and words and concepts and make a name for myself. Nothing inherently wrong with that.

However, it merely argues or it shows me that they have not moved anywhere philosophically from the 20th century, or maybe perhaps phenomenalism in general.

It just shows me that they are going to produce an argument which justifies what they’re doing. Basically, they are going to produce arguments which describes how what they are doing is the only justification for philosophy itself, that indeed that is all philosophy is in itself as an object that has nothing to do with thinking. But by now, the institutionalization of philosophy serves to make the argument that significant philosophy assumes that one wants to make a living from it, and the proof of the significance is that money has been invested and been made from the activity, for them. It establishes the argument that everything is based in the use of language axiomatically. So then, like I said, I’m not sure how people can then talk about objects that exist outside of human thought if we associate human thought with language in anyway.

Are you picking up what I am laying down? 

It makes me think that maybe at one point the Realists were actually talking about and taking seriously this quest for real objects, but then somewhere along the line they got sidetracked. But because they are already in the limelight, because now they are “being supported by various other discourses”, or maybe Form the foundation upon which a whole network of new discourses are being formed, they are thus caught in a web of language and discourses that are not now talking about objects in themselves at all, but ultimately objects that are manifested Entirely in discourse, and thought for that matter.

I’m

Not sure How anyone could make any sort of argument that could escape this fundamental facet of modern conventional philosophy that I just described in the last few paragraphs.

Can you?

*

For me it all comes back to Laurellian Nonphilosophy. If we are really going to own and take hold of this project about objects that has nothing to do with what definition I might have to philosophically put forth — and I mean this in the sense Contrary to how people want to say that non-philosophy is either some sort of religious position, or it is some sort of radical non-Buddhism position. Because then what they are really saying is that these philosophers that are talking and thinking about objects that arise outside of the human center, are avoiding the issue that Laurelle puts right in front of their faces.

Hence, again: What are we trying to accomplish in our philosophical discussions?

So,

Before we start down the rabbit hole of making definition of definitions, reference upon another horse historical reference, develop my philosophy amidst the field of other discourses of philosophical weight — now, if we are to be responsible to what philosophy is in-itself , and not merely another discourse by which to make careers and names for ourselves…and again, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong at all with people making a career out of philosophy…

…I am saying that if we are going to take philosophy and things that we call philosophical seriously, for example, a realist philosophy about objects in-themselves, and for-themselves, then the first thing we have to do is be honest about what we are trying to accomplish in our particular philosophical discussions.

For, it seems to me that the assumption is that any serious philosopher must be first concerned with making a name for themselves and having a house over their head through doing philosophy.

And if that’s what it is, then let’s just call a horse a horse! Let’s say that that is what philosophy is: it is a way to make a living. And that’s it. And if that is indeed what it is, then let’s just be honest about it. Let’s look at what we are doing in philosophy and be honest about what we are doing.

Perhaps if we can be honest about that, then there might be some substance to philosophy after all. whatever it is.

But then, I would have to wonder about philosophy that is going on where people are not trying to make a living being a philosopher.

It seems like there’s something else going on…philosophically…That the philosophers that wish to talk about objects that are not human thought centered are not being able to see, grasp, or even consider.

Maybe. There are two things occurring. Two kinds of real objects.

🧑🏾‍🚀

Wait! Isn’t this what Harmon says in his ontology ??

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The solution to the modern human being

This is purely hypothetical; and a little bit tongue-in-cheek. But I feel like if I would’ve done life all over with the knowledge that I have now, my number one priority would’ve been to make as much money as possible As quickly as possible.

Let me say right off, I don’t think that most people should do this. Greed is not good. Let me just leave it at that until the end of this post. 

So let me qualify this.

As a person in this modern world, a philosopher and a counselor, I am more concerned with what actually is as opposed to what ought to be. I cannot be sure what someone else is supposed to do. As well, I’m not really sure what the world is supposed to do either. I have very little comprehension of what the universe is supposed to do.

I think the basic and fundamental problem of all mental issues, the foundation of modern mental health, is the inability to see things as they are. Mental health, just as a loose definition of working definition right here, has to do with the discrepancy between what a person thinks, and feels and behaves, compared to what they ought to, which is to say in comparison to what they think the world appears as.  and most often what a person thinks the world actually is is really shaded and distorted by what they think it ought to be.

My philosopher joins up with my counselor by saying before we even get to that kind of formula, before I even begin to try and figure out what this person in front of me thinks that ought to occur or how they be, or how the world is supposed to be, one of the first priorities is to begin to get them to notice what is actually occurring, Be aware of things how they actually are before We start making judgments upon them.

Now I weight my philosopher by my counselor. I do not think that philosophy by itself gets very far. That’s just my personal solution to the problem of philosophy. And if you want to try and understand how I see philosophy as indeed an identifiable object of the universe, you can start looking back at the posts I’ve been writingfor the past, I don’t know how long it’s been, six years eight years? or maybe you could look at a couple books I wrote and maybe. Or maybe a few of the papers that I’ve put on academia EDU and stuff.

Anyways. I don’t mean to get into all the ins and outs of mental health. Here.

I mean to give context to why I say if I could begin my life all over again Knowing what I know now, I would have made it my number one priority to make as much money as possible. Of course the close second would be human compassion. But I wouldn’t let my individual relationships with people interfere in me making as much money as possible as quickly as possible. But neither would I let the act of making money, nor the glamour that money tends to enslave people through, dictate my sense of self in the world. and I mean this in the way that would I would instruct my past self to do would be to make as much money as possible, invest that money. And then stop worrying about making money and then concern myself with Being and giving back to the world. if you have enough money, you can do anything that you want to do, whether it is water ski for the rest your life, become a successful academic, run for president, or just travel the world being homeless.

Like I said this is a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek hypothetical simulation. But I believe it has some merits.

Because the fact of the matter is that if you have enough money then 70% of your problems are eliminated, at least as much as they Can be. What we don’t realize when we’re children, most of us, is that old Hebrew kind of saying, “if you don’t have your health, what have you got?”

One only realize this as they get older. Because it’s been my personal experience that my mind really doesn’t change very much. The person that I feel that I am and think that I am and believe that I am really hasn’t changed very much since probably my late 20s. yes, life experiences has caused me to alter perhaps how I view the world, and how I view the situation in various situations, but who I inherently feel that I am and how I think how I approach the world really has not changed hardly at all.

But what has changed is my body stops functioning the way that it used to, the way that my mind think it should the way it Ott. So, the people that are very wealthy have that one in the pocket. For sure we don’t know everything, but money is the golden door to whatever sort of healthcare, the best healthcare that, literally, money can buy. Even if it’s some sort of holistic healthcare that doesn’t require any money. At least you have the money if you need it!

Also if you have enough money you don’t ever have to worry about a place to live, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat.

The only thing left after having plenty of money is whether or not I feel comfortable with myself in The world.

And I would argue that this is the preoccupation with most people, and is the reason why most people don’t make money their main interest, because there’s like 80% of what else is going on Hass to do with how they feel about themselves in the world. And then this preoccupation with self just makes people kind of make whatever money that they think they should and we have the basically 90% of the worlds population right there, weather poverty stricken or upper class.

And I do not think it is proper to resort to modern statistics topointto the majority of say poverty stricken people who can’t get out of poverty. Because that view is an “ought” view.

Reality and truth of the matter is that some people do indeed see poverty as something that they are attempting to get out of and then they do.

Now I’m not making judgments to say that the people who don’t, like, somethings wrong with them. Because again that is an ought, that is a judgment. I’m not making judgments here. Of course there’s a huge problem with poverty and power in the world. Of course. I’m not making an argument that that is not the case or that somethings wrong with them.

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I like to bring up something that Bono from the band U2 said Back in the 1990s.

Now, people probably don’t understand it nowadays, but if you were there back in the 90s, you would understand.

I think it was an interview with MTV or Rolling Stone magazine or something, and he said that Americans are the only ones who play rock ‘n’ roll and then don’t wanna make money from it or don’t want to be famous, Have some issue about being popular.. I forget the exact quote. But what he was saying for the time was very true. Because punk rock and what had become popular then known as “grunge”, which was really punk rock starting to make money, somehow the American culture –at least on the one side you have the hippie Grateful Dead culture revival, and then on the other side you have the grunge punk rock starting to make money –both of the sides had issues with capitalism. Both sides had issues between what is authentic art and then making money from it.

Innoway, I think that pervades our sense of modern identity even today. Because somehow we feel guilty if I point out the exception of people in poverty who actually make it their life’s goal to get out of poverty, whereas I don’t so much in this case, in this post right here, rely on the fact that the overwhelming number of people in poverty have no way of getting out of it .

So it seems to me that money really has nothing to do with how one feels about oneself in the world because ultimately everyone is concerned about how they feel about themselves in the world regardless of their situation. Most people are preoccupied with feeling OK. We can bring in Maslow hierarchy of needs if you want to kind of measure this up, but I would figure in our actual current society, aside from what “should be ethically”, all of those needs have do with money, except maybe the highest one of self-actualization, which really then doesn’t matter how much money you make. But the rest of the needs can be solved by having enough money. That’s just a fact of our modern day.

The caveat is that I would not recommend this to most people in the world. I would not say that everyone just needs to concentrate on making as much money as possible, For the fact that most people generally live their lives unaware and are motivated and guided by this unawareness. And it is this unawareness of self and the world for what it is, which allows greed and the power fetish of money to overcome peoples activity.

So what do you guys think? 

And as I will say at the end, again, most people should not do this. Yeah idea that everyone should pursue as much money as possible is probably the most disgusting thing I’ve ever imagIne.

Lol 😝

More on (Moron ?) reference.

Another thing that I struggle with is the idea of having to refer to someone to gain validity or credence in what I might say.

Typically we refer to other authors of the modern era Or contemporary authors, because we are in the process of developing a kind of argumentative community, towards some sort of theoretical ground upon which we can implement some sort of activity that we all generally direct as a solution.

But the a epitome of reference is when we refer to ancient authors, other languages, for example and especially, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

What perplexes me is why I would need to refer what I’m saying to some originaria Greek term.

And I don’t necessarily mean this in the sense that it doesn’t help with the clarity that I am trying to communicate; I mean it in the sense of why don’t we refer even further back to what the Greek word might have its roots in?

And then also I don’t even mean to suggest that the people prior to the Greeks or prior to the Hebrews etc.. might have had a better way of putting things into terms.

What I mean is what is happening with me, and what is happening to the person that is reading what I’m writing? In so much is I might refer to Greek, say, or even it’s Proto languages, what is really striking me that I might route my discourse is in these Proto languages?

And I think the most basic question that I come to in this Perplexity of why, is do these Proto languages have a more substantial or original airy position with reference to what it is to be human or what it is we might be talking about in actuality?

Because I tend to think that this thing that’s going on inside of me, and I feel that is going on inside the reader, in so much as we both feel really great about being able to bring up these Greek, Latin, or Proto Greek or Proto Latin terms which mean something original, I guess, is that somehow when I do this I feel I’m getting more closer to some “natural” way that the human being actually should or actually does exist in the world.

What do you think?

Philosophy of Reference, part 1.

references check mark sign concept

I have brought this up in another post somewhere. Please put your answers in the comments.

I am going to give you the thoughts coming up right now …

In philosophy, why is knowledge based in referring to what past authors said or wrote?

For example, what is the value, say, for what purpose am I referring to another author if I came up with cause as evidencing four aspects which constitute the Being of a thing?

All Beings have a form. What the reason is for this thing to exist is the form that it is. The cause of a Being is its formal sense.

All Beings have, or are, matter. What the reason is for this thing to exist is that it matters; the material which constitutes a thing is the cause of its existence. The tree is the cause of the table, for example.  Or electricity is the cause of the internet.  Of course, because there is plenty of material, the essential Being of a thing can have various material causes.  The cause of a universal thing, a Being, matters, or is derived from material.

All Beings have, or are, motion. What we as philosophers generally know as an efficient cause.  What the reason is for this thing to exist is the motion that it evidences.  The agency which is the thing is that which it does, the motion it is involved with.

All Beings have and end, or what we know as telos, in the ancient Greek.  What the reason is for a thing to exist is that it evidences its own end, or as I say here and there, parameter. 

All of these causes interrelate and confirm one another to arrive at modern idealism.

— Cid Nate.

Now, a significant modern philosophical question is:  With what purpose I am involved in comparing, say, what I came up with here out of the blue, through sheer observation and its resultant description, to Aristotle’s causes?

(comment now, please)

I wonder, because I have to ask myself why a reference to someone from a long time ago is required to give my ideas credence and validity?

What am I doing when I reference someone who is dead?

I can understand referencing someone who is alive because we are involved with global capitalism. But to place all knowledge on a level field to say that the books of the dead people are equal to the comments from people living — I ponder if that is a valid proposition. But then moreso, what exactly is the purpose I am involved with in understanding that knowledge in this way? 

My formulation, the reason I come upon with goes to that in early human history:

Somehow, words had more substance somehow.  Somehow, if I quote an ancient Greek meaning, what I am writing gains more substance.  And, I imagine, that the reason why I believe and feel ancient philosophers have more substance contained in their words is because (again) those people were closer to some essential truth of existence due to their Being closer to the arrival of consciousness from our of prehuman and prehistorical “non-consciousness”.  

Which is to say, then, that the universe was informing them and their terms to a more true situation of Being. 

Why would this be the case?

(please comment :|)

The New Philosophy

The Moment of Decisive Significance took more than 4 years to write and publish, and it still needs edits. The Philosophical Hack the first and second parts took a little less time, partly because of how Nathaniel approached it.  Actually, The Philosophical Hack is not yet complete, so all and all, for all 6 parts, will probably take even longer than 4 years — and being that Nathaniel undertakes other projects, the last 4 parts will probably come out perhaps in 2030. 🙂

This is true philosophy to me.  Yes, philosophy can be understood as a commodity, a product, a piece of consumer good, but that is not what I think good philosophy does and is in truth.  In reality maybe it appears as something different…

Philosophy takes time, it is out of time, and it is thus timeless. 

It arises in time and out of time, but through arising in this manner, it is essentially of two ontological natures.

One of the points the Kierkegaard makes in his book “Fear and Trembling” is that Abraham had a faith that is beyond him; Kierkegaard says that he could never make the move of Abraham and, basically, this is why a person is in despair, sinful, as he says, in despair to will to be oneself.  Kierkegaard thus uses the literary figure of the Biblical Abraham to show the irony involved of Being a Knight of Faith.

His point is that when one is willing to be oneself never does she have the faith of Abraham, and thus, for those who might be so inclined (but not everyone), the best someone who is willing can do is live as a knight of infinite resignation. His point is so long as one is willing, that is, is open to the possibility of being oneself, as opposed to actually being oneself, then that person lives in despair.

Indeed this is the modern dilemma of the individual.

Time Spiral

 

My point is that so long as one is in time, they have faith in themselves and are working towards an end which is always ethically compromised: They have faith (hope) that the world holds a place for them to Be, but they never are quite sure how they are supposed to be (how am I proposed in context is the quandary of modern mental health).  The irony, though, is that one must indeed live in time and be ethical (in the sense of Being involved with ethics), but that that this is not all that one is and does.  One does not live in a condition where she must always choose upon ethics.  This is the point that Kierkegaard makes of Abraham.

Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical? 

We find the answer through his books, and the answer is yes.  The reason for this is that Abraham’s activity was not for his time, and yet in that he was indeed there, a human being doing actions, his actions were not ethical. Indeed, the point that Kierkegaard makes is that the ethics of Abraham were vested in God, and that God thus makes the world ethical by virtue of the absurdity that is not acting in time: Abraham has faith by virtue of the absurd.

Ironically, Slavoj Zizek, a contemporary social critic and philosopher, makes the same point when he says that the subject always acts too late, that by the very ontological nature of the modern subject of ideology, action is always reactionary.  Similarly Alain Badiou says the best political move is to not act politically, to abstain from politics. The revolutionary move is thus to move out of time, and to bring Kierkegaard back in, to act by virtue of the absurd such that what is ethical arises out of the act, as opposed to the ontological act Being involved with an attempt to act ethically.

The condition which evidences this ontological contradiction is what Kierkegaard and Nietzsche as well, call angst, which was first translated into English, by Walter Lawrie, I think, as dread, but then later authors (Hong and Hong, May) call anxiety.  The philosopher who arises out of time to act finds herself in a state of anxiety because she still appears on the scene within the ethical universe, albeit, one that is being manifested by the absurd situation of her being out of time. This is particularly salient in our 21st century because we find that this is a condition of knowledge, and not a condition of every human being who thinks thoughts.

  • The question that I have been grappling with is how does one who is so out of time do the work of art (or of love, Heidegger, Kierkegaard) which is motivated through the state of anxiety? (Also see Harman’s Dante’s Broken Hammer.)
  • How does one arise in time out of time?

My next project will thus be to produce a work of philosophy which covers the whole breadth of philosophical knowledge while at once mentioning neither a known philosopher or author, nor conceptual philosophical tropes, that is, terms which have assumed (privileged) dense philosophical definition.

That is what I am going to attempt, anyways.  🙂

Good luck!

 

Freedom is the element of love

Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher and so-called “father” of existentialism was born today, May 5 in 1813. To celebrate, I share this essay …

Freedom is the element of love

————- After speaking with a coworker about how to deal with a patient, he replies “Is love a thing?”

Happy Birthday S.K. !

The Simplicity of Substance and the Lengthy Post

I have been re-approaching philosophical ideas that have long held a deep significance for me. Because my life has been basically informed by an incessant and consistent questioning of what I am coming up on, I am finding that I am merely continuing to be what I am, which is, for a term, in motion.

I think this last round of doubting comes about because I am realizing that I am more concerned with actual people than I am with my ability to think great thoughts.

Now, what is strange about this is I am intensely antisocial in general while at the same time at ease with being social in a certain context or a certain framework. I generally hate people (groups) but I love and am very concerned with people (individuals). 🌏

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This is very Zizekian, from the Zizekian standpoint of media/ideological primacy:

“I do not love the world….I pick and choose who and what I love.”

So far as “the world” might be an ideological fantasy established through magical symbols, Zizek, the critical theorist/media critic-turn-philosopher states unequivocally that “love is evil.”

What he means by this is that we are persuaded by an existential anxiety which pervades the maintenance of the fantasy– that is, due to our investment in the truth-value of the fantasy (the value is gained because it prevents us from having to encounter that which we are most of afraid of: the dissolution of the fantasy, or death) — to love the world, to extend an ideological hand out into the grandiose narcissist world because the idealism inherent of the fantasy is we are ‘in this together’, so to speak, individually yet identically.

The modern individual is ethically bound to, at least, trying to love the world. But in the whole, he doesn’t have a clue how to actually love his sisters and brothers around him. The imaginary world establishes intuitive subjective barriers which serve to maintain the ideological modern identity at all costs against his neighbors, while extending out ideals to the “universe” or “the world” where we all must try to get along.

So; yet in truth he denies what is really occurring; which is, we are all being selfish and choosing certain universal things and people to love, and not really loving the world.

It is this tension of modern subjectivity we deny through the institutionally normalized and sanctioned “state of” anxiety which then in relief shows our ultimately ‘sinful’ nature: “In despair to will to be oneself” (as Kierkegaard puts it) is the condition of the modern man concept of love which avoids its true nature: hence, it is evil because it is an ideologically sanctioned “global” love that misses the intimacy that we generally misconstrue in the notion of agape, or man’s love for God. Since, God in this modern sense, is indeed a “usurper” god which takes the place of brotherly love to which agape would otherwise return to reflect in God itself, that is, in the world.

Zizek is, of course, referring to the modern ideal of love by which humanity defers itself and by which humanity is regulated to its conceptual ability.

Beyond the ideological love, by reflection, any love of a transcendent world is a narcissism, a pathological version of the human being. While within the fantasy, the narcissism is justified through the fantasy erected by trauma and told or narrated as “just human” , the “all too human” who takes on little responsibility for his actions, while erecting layers of intellectual and ideological facades in grandiose defense of them. Hence, the love that is evil is indeed, on one hand, a carnal love based in the libidinal control of the ego which then moves to impose or identify itself with the super-ego material norms: the subjective ideological identity.

Yet on the other, love is evil from the transcendent standpoint because the love I would have for the world that is my sisters and brothers, that is, not put off to a mere grand idea, is an evil and absurd activity.

So ironically, items that I pick and choose to love are in or of the reality that I cannot but be involved with– this is an evil manner of doing things. Hence, I do not love the world from Zizek’s standpoint of an ideological (media critique) analysis.

But indeed. I should not love the world in this way, so I don’t. Instead, I pick and choose to thus remain consistent and cohered to that which is the fantastic manner by which I must apprehend the ideological world.

The true love I profess is not modern, thus from the modern ideological standpoint, it is evil.

I won’t go on.

(Please don’t) 👨🏽‍🚀

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