A Theory of (counseling) Truth

Philosophically speaking, there is a line of sense which understands that there is no common arena to which a philosophy is entirely addressable.

Following along this line, we can begin to understand that philosophy itself, as a name of some thing that arises in the world to knowledge, it’s not always what it proposes itself to be addressing.

Counseling and Mental Health

There are two, and only two ways that knowledge can be understood in the context of counseling.

— There is “mental health” which is the effort to get you back in line (conventional-ideological)…

— there is “mental health” which is coming to terms with who and what you are in the world (existential-philosophical).

Every theory about psychology, mentality, the psyche, thinking, etc. necessarily falls into one of those two categories.

Now, this is not a thought exercise to help anyone towards mental health. It is a statement about the epistemological foundations of what we understand to be mental health.

Usually, especially on blogs, when we tag with “ mental health” we are not talking about counseling, we are giving the regular person, whoever that may be, a “tip“ about how to be “mentally healthy”.

As people may find in my blog, the very idea of mental health is a questionable proposition. For sure, there are better and worse ways to go about anything, whether it is digging a hole, climbing a mountain, or showing up in the world. I think this is what we generally mean when we propose mental health tips, or strategies to have better mental health, positive thinking, things like that. And it’s good, and we have to start somewhere.

Counseling is not necessarily about mental health. Psychotherapy again is usually understood to be a method towards gaining better mental health, but we have to think about what we’re actually doing, both as a counselor and perhaps as a client if they wish to go there. For, what we are really running circles around is validating experience.

The Institution of Trauma

Being a counselor that comes from the standpoint that all mental health issues arise as a response of some sort of basic trauma, The way trauma is relieved and worked with is not to tell the client who is going through trauma that they just “need to get it together”.

I think this is the issue that I Address around mental health and counseling and psychology in general on this blog.

In particular, it is the issue that arises when a person comes into a therapist to get help with their mental health issue, and then the therapist approaches the problem as if something is wrong with the client. This happens by method, which is to say, from the standpoint of psychiatry or psychology. The method states implicitly that anyone coming in with a mental health issue that they want to solve, is necessarily problematic themselves as it is assumed that something is wrong with the client.

Then there is the middle ground, sort of, an irony, of those therapists that work from a theoretical foundation that we need to understand, empathize, and not judge the client.

I am reminded of a client I was talking to, not my own client, but someone who had been to psychotherapy for many years— she brought it up:

There is the fucked up implication that something is wrong with you at the same time the therapist is telling you out of their mouth that you are OK and there’s nothing really wrong with you. It’s like a deception, this person said. And I might add that where this is the case it is an institutionalized or an ideological mechanism that arises as a residuum even often with even most best therapeutic intention. Therapy is supposed to be about being honest, but the method is often based in a foundation of dishonesty.

I suppose the work of this blog is an attempt to recognize this residue and try to work with it. Attempt to try and get rid of it somehow or at least acknowledge that it is there.

More later.

Toward a Unified Philosophy of Counseling: Object Orientation

In case you missed it.

https://epublications.regis.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=cftsr

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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Recommended Citation

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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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

Badiou, A. (2007). Being and event. London and New York: Continuum.

Derrida, J. (1976). On grammatology. (G.C. Spivak, trans.). Baltimore and London: The John

Hopkins University Press.

Derrida, J. (1987). Of spirit: Heidegger and the question. (G. Bennington & R. Bowlby, trans.)

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

Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press.

Harman, G. (2002). Tool-being. Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court.

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

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

Heidegger, M. (1968). What is called thinking. (J.G. Gray trans.) New York: Harper & Row,

Publishers, Inc.

Kant, I. (1998). The critique of pure reason. (P. Guyer & A.W. Woods, eds. and

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

Latour, B. (1988). The pasteurization of France. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Lingis, A. (1998). The imperative. Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Lyotard, J.F. (1984). The postmodern condition. Minnesota University Press.

Meillassoux, Q. (2008) After finitude: an essay on the necessity of contingency.

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

Nathaniel, C. (2018). The philosophical hack: the concluding unscientific postscript to

event. Boulder, Colorado: Od Parcel.

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

Wittgenstein, L. (1999). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. (C.K. Ogden, trans.) Mineola and New

York: Dover Publications, Inc.,

Zizek, Slavoj (2014). Event: a philosophical journey through a concept. Brooklyn and London:

Melville House.

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Counseling and Family Therapy Scholarship Review | Regis University
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Post-trauma: Humans as blackboxes, machines as transparent

Humans as blackboxes, machines as transparent

Humans as blackboxes, machines as transparent
— Read on markcarrigan.net/2019/11/11/humans-as-blackboxes-machines-as-transparent/

Interesting problematic.

What might this say about us, that we might look to machines and thier analysis of behavioral data to tell us what’s going inside a human being?

I tend to agree with the impetus of the excerpt; that empathy between human beings is being devalued in this look to machines.

Yet another, less practical view, might see machines as indeed producing nothing larger or extraneous than an ability for humans to perceive one another. Maybe the transhumanists speak similarly, but I think what we are really looking at is the abuse, or disconnection which occurs in the institutional use of data to tell us what humans are, and not really, what we could call, the mere use of machines to tell us about ourselves.

We might then return to a question of what is occurring here. Might we ask what kind of mental picture is being relied upon? Which is to suggest that the view itself, that one would see institutions and machines as something which supplants something which is otherwise human connection, might represent a case of a kind of insanity, an upheld view placed at the extended end of a finger of blame, but then acted upon as the view as if the indictment is indeed indicating something which is wielding power to displace inter-human connection.

For for sure we could point back to the fears of the beginning of the modern industrial era located in the movie METROPOLIS to find a confirmation of a culmination that might come to pass in our present day. But might we stop pointing there and see that there is no culmination which has lead to some great terrible turn to machines, to see that we have already turned over our humanity in the fear itself which misses the event already having occurred? Such that we are merely replaying a trauma in the viewing and thus reenact the products of an event which we have yet to acknowledge ?

The Unconscious Mind, Part 1.

2016-04-07-1460061385-5244312-unconsciousmind-thumb

The other day I had a brief discussion with someone about psychology. In particular, his extended comment was a quasi-semi-theoretical proposal that was based upon the psychological idea of the Unconscious, the notion that there is something “underneath” the common every day experience of being conscious.

I thought his proposal ( I don’t remember what exactly it was) was not very sound, but it dawned on me that the reason was his version of the Unconscious Mind had taken the idea to such extremities. I noticed it wasn’t so much that his proposal was weak, but that his assumption about what the Unconscious Mind is as well as does was so thin. His reasoning had a certain sense, was rational and intellectually coherent, but it was a line of reason to conclusion that was based upon an idea of Unconscious Mind which has become, basically, merely a popular trope with no internal cohesiveness but the subsequent argument about its reasonable extensions.

I am generally nice and I try to be patient to find out what the person is really saying and give them the benefit of doubt that they really are interested in knowledge and learning and not just pronouncing and announcing. However, as often how things go with people who believe themselves to have such excellent thoughts about things (they get haughty and start to imply that you are stupid) after a few exchanges, I could not help but destroy his notion of the Unconscious Mind.

I told him that there is no such thing as the Unconscious Mind. That it is a particular idea that a few people came up with to explain what they were seeing and encountering with mentally disturbed people. In short, the Unconsciousness Mind has no substance outside of a specific solution for a specific problem. And I pointed to one specific psychological therapeutic approach that has no use for the Unconscious Mind. While Gestalt Therapy may use the term ‘unconscious’ as a kind of colloquial term, the therapy itself has no need to bring in a theoretical notion of an unconscious mind in order for it to be effective. Reality therapy is another approach that posits no unconscious mind. Hence, the idea of the Unconscious Mind is merely a sort of cultural phantom that tends to haunt various old conceptual structures.

Our exchange stopped after that comment.

So now I have been stewing in the unconscious mind. Lol. And as I, as a philosopher, have been attempting to come to theoretical terms with how to approach counseling, I have also come to a few tentative ideas around the idea of what the Unconscious is and how it is used.

…as I will write up in a little bit.

Right now, I am going to go and analyze the movie “Precious”. If you haven’t watched this hour and a half movie, I strongly recommend making time to do so.

Friedrich Jacobi and a Philosophy of Philosophy, and thus Counseling.

Friedrich Jacobi’s Wiki page.

Stanford’s page for Jacobi.

I find it interesting that the philosophers of the past who already dealt with some of our current philosophical problems are not commonly discussed. In fact, I have found that either their works have not been translated into English or are somewhat expensive.  Joseph Hamann  is another philosopher who I have come upon who appears to have had significant things to say about our situation but who is generally lost and silent.

It is slightly offensive.  I think there are so many philosophers who are writing today who’s ideas will be summarily set aside if some of these thinkers from hundreds of years ago were to be brought to bear. 😆

{picture of white dude: Jacobi}

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Doesn’t Jacobi have an uncanny resemblance to Panic! at the Disco’s Brenden Urie?

7cc32cc4f82cb2b39ef6f32b77e3c289

or better yet: Micheal Stipe of REM !

Nick Cave, maybe? (Yes; he’s smoking in public.)

or, Cookie Monster and Elmo!

Specific to this phenomenon, Jacobi appears (appears, because I have only read the Wiki and Stanford pieces) to my mind to have already given us a good argument of why, basically, all the philosophy of the past 200 years is kind of pointless. lol.

I stumbled upon him because I was forgetting why I came to the conclusion (outside of popular discourses) that Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were nihilists. I am deep in my counseling studies, so I decided to check online instead of going through my K and N books again (indeed; I will at some point have to revisit those folks). And I found that Jacobi was the first to mention nihilism and that his point is that, what I call, the line of reason which develops unto the centralized subject will lead to a dissolution of the reasoned thought. Isn’t that what we found in the latter half of the 20th century at least? I think Quentin Miellassoux was correct in his question: Why DID philosophy take the way of the central subject instead of the object? We could have avoided 200 years of Bull shit! (I think I have a post somewhere about how we needed to first fully explore the phenomenon of the subject in order to be able to thus realize the truth of the object; this is to say, we had to have something else besides pure reason to show us what is true about reason by itself: reason had to prove itself insufficient. And it took about 200 years. Talk about progress!)

Well; the answer has got to be that people find themselves and their own B.S. more interesting than the truth of things. And, in fact, I think this kind of narcissism (ego-centrism) point to the reason why philosophy itself will have no solution to its own problems: Because, the issue that Jacobi brings up by his critique of Kant and such, is that there are two routes into the world, two orientations upon objects which grant us the whole of the human involvement. One, which is the narcissistic path of the modern popularism, that one which, as Jacobi,

impels understanding towards an endless series of identical propositions, the records of successive comparisons and abstractions.
–WIKI

and one which, as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche both advocated for in their distinct ways, is not based in abstraction, or one that is not based in a mediation of abstractions: That is, one that is entirly abstract with reference to reason’s mediate abstractive mode.

When we really understand Jacobi’s critique, we have laid out before us a kind of roadmap of the continental philosophy of the late 20th century.

I won’t go into all the ins and outs of the extended explanation (since I have not actually read Jacobi’s works) here. But, likewise, he does seem to give us a manner to substantiate counseling within a framework which might accommodate every theory of psychology and counseling method, from the more scientific proposals of brain and chemistry which want to tell us that everything is physical-empirical, to the most transcendental “New Age” religious modes as well.

Because what are we really involved with? (hint: What is a universal object?)

The logic of Two Routes in Application. A Discourse in Freedom.

.

The very interesting thing about this 5G (if not all of modern technology) Is that it means nothing less than volunteered enslavement. It is no mere coincidence that lately the nature of free-will is being commandeered by neurobiology: It is not that we are not or cannot be free, rather, it is that if we want to be free we would actually have to fight for it, and who (in their right mind) would want to argue with Neuroscience? (trick question: the battle does not reduce to a confrontation with neuroscience.)

The keen indication is that the modern free agent is what it has always been: A rare artifact in the imposing consciousness. There has never been a free humanity; on the contrary, there has only been a few free people that speak in such a way that everyone else wants to be and so the “commoners” start to use the language of “the free”, or way a speaking (way of organizing discourse).

We can get a glimpse of what freedom might actually be beyond the relative conventional scientific assertion (conventional philosophy; theological and ideological rhetoric; mistaken ((the weak)) postmodernism) when we think about the various social scientists and psychologist’s developmental models of morality. Very few people, they suppose, reach what we could call the “higher” stages of moralistic thinking (moralistic thinking reflects a kind of intellectual ability or capacity). And yet most everyone likes to think of themselves as though they are of this higher bracket of thinking.

Nevertheless, only a few people really have the ability or capacity to think about the world in this “higher” kind of moralistic manner. These few people are able to formulate sentences and meanings (structure discourse) of this “higher” manner of being able to perceive the world in what it does, and in so indeed speak of something that is common to the human creature. Those who do not think through this manner (have this moral capacity), though, who reside within a “lower” stage which is basically, for lack of a better term, being law abiding and having a sense of good that comes from absolutes (relativity is an absolute in as much as relativity must mean or indicate a definite quality absolutely and not just relatively) see or otherwise understand that transcendental essences are being expressed in these discourses, such as the topics that the Socratic dialogues entertained, e.g. justice, virtue and such; most people fall into this latter general category of being, to various degrees of ability and development, law-abiding and having essential truths based in good and bad, right and wrong, etc.

After not too long, the appropriation of the “higher” discourse into the law abiding scheme defines a technological space which forbids the delineation of a human being which is not entirely encompassed by the technological ideal of free agency. Nietzsche said as much: Technology equivocates humanity to the lowest common manner, all the while allowing for the “Idols” of equivocation to take control of the common agents. This is Nietzsche’s meaning of enslavement, or the slave mentality. Because the former “higher” order of “moralism”, being communicated in a particular manner, draws their natural attentions to what is good and just (viewed as essential or absolute categories), such people begin to behave in such a manner that these discourses seem to be advocating. They do this unthoughtfully and automatically as part of their critical process; that is, these higher discourses appear to them to be communicating a rationality of the absolute (unrecognized in-self reflection: the view of conventional faith). Yet, such people really do not understand this “other way” of understanding the world through a broadened moralistic intelligence, thus de facto do not have the ability to think through these discourses nor really what these kind of discourses mean or are indicating in themselves, and thus take these discourses as indicating elaborations upon what is right and wrong, good and bad in essence; In short, they take these discourses as being a discussion about absolutes or essences of law.

This is the significance of technology: Two manners of viewing technology inform human beings, or what we could now rightly call, world citizens, as to what is true and real. One manner understands its freedom as an essential tenet of being human given the conditions of free agency to manipulate and develop useful technologies, which then function as a closed system or ideology which supports the ideal of the free agent. Another manner speaks truthfully about what is occurring in the actual relationship with technology that is being human in the world. The latter’s use of discourse thus (sometimes inadvertently, but more often with intension) serves to consolidate the technological authority’s ability and capacity to control agents through refining the ideal of freedom. In other words, most people are enslaved and have no actual ability to enact any effective countermeasures to abort such confining motion because the nature of their intellectual capacity prevents them from truly grasping that situation by which they indeed are being human in the world.

It really is an ignorant bliss disguised by intellectual complexity and sophistication (sophistry).

CFP by 12/15 for Philosophical Engagements with Trauma (March 22-23, 2019)

CFP by 12/15 for Philosophical Engagements with Trauma (March 22-23, 2019)

https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/cfp-by-12-15-for-philosophical-engagements-with-trauma-march-22-23-2019/
— Read on feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2018/10/22/cfp-by-12-15-for-philosophical-engagements-with-trauma-march-22-23-2019/

of course we have there Zizekian post Trumatic modern subject, but as well Malibu critique of that (Take a look thru my past posts).

but there is something to say about the discrepancy between philosophy and psychology. Such historically reductive and pronounce it is such historically reductive and pronouncitive Endeavors have brought us to a place of dis-continuity and no means for connection.

Perhaps this conference is the beginning of a reunion?

An Attempt at Discussing Some ‘Disparities’: Terrorism, Religion, Truth and Belief.

Taking a cue from Amorinblog, I am making an attempt to speak to the notion of disparities. Lets see how is goes.

 

What is terrorism?

When we think about the activities of terrorism, a marginal view might situate terrorism in terms of truth. What we have with the possibility of terrorism is a function of truth, or “true-Being”. In the consideration of what human beings do, we should not ignore or set aside this aspect of truth: Truth is Being truth. To set this function of human consciousness in terms of ‘belief’ merely reifies the Western colonial construct of subjective centrism, a construct that posits free will and choice in an absolute context of the ability for the subject to align itself with a transcendent course, such as we found in the American context “manifest destiny”. This is to say, we ostracize such “pre-terrorists”, people who might not have becomes terrorists yet they did, through the ideological matrix of the self-referential ethics of choice to say that the one who is a terrorist is choosing unethical behavior;  the native tribes of the western northern hemisphere were for most purposes to the early American government, terrorists in every light, even though we understand now how the American “post-colonial” period was an unethical act (still we do very little to repair the wrong). ‘Choice’, and correspondent terms such as ‘free will’, can be understood as a Western liberal code for creating antagonism in the world, an aggravating aspect of Western capitalism and its war machine.

Yet see that the question is not one about an essence of choice. It is practically nonsense to suggest that we do not have choice. But at the same time, if we do not recognize a dual aspect of consciousness, then we always stay within the ideological paradigm of an absolute ethics despite how we might want to situate or define any other liberal ethics of inclusion; we will routinely stay in the unity of consciousness that is able to consider parts of itself, parts it conceives, the unity that appropriates plurality to its uses. Reflection, in this way, is misunderstood axiomatically to be witnessing something outside of itself. As part of the liberal ethical front (and I mean this to describe a kind of Western impetus, a certain manner of coming upon reality) we should not worry so much about what others are doing, in fact, we are only able to understand such ‘other’ through this antagonistic orientation that is first and foremost based in worry, fear, and philosophical resentimentOurs is based in a contradicting antagonism, and our plight, as well as our ability to act, is based upon a cognitive platform of reconciliation in knowledge. We have then, as we are, to deal with our own BS if we are to ever stop jutting forth to then recoil in the usual modern oscillation of the war solution. In an odd sort of reprimand, the very idea of enlightenment typically does not translate into domination through war; no wonder colonial-exploratory Europe had to see other non-Europeans as ‘less than human’.

Two things here: This is not a argument against war or that we should not have war; this is not an argument for pacifism. Neither is this a suggestion that we should (somehow) withdraw from interacting with others; the point is toward an ability to be honest with ourselves about the situation at hand. As part of an ideological situation, we indeed have a front line; we cannot but be involved with a partition, of sorts, whereby we face and have confrontation with those aspects of the world in which we find ourselves. To move this understanding into any sort of utopian theme of ‘universal peace’ would then be to set aside our moment, our modernity, to basically negate our moment into a whole past to say then that all wars and conflict in history arose due to these constraints, whereas the truth of the matter is that which arrives only within our modern situation as wars stemming from these defined antagonisms: Basically we identify our moment by establishing the contradiction in this context. If we are ever to realize (which is to say, understand the truth of) our situation, then it seems the manner must take place within as the contradiction that is outside of the ideological or mythological construct, a situation that is not accorded to the construct to be thereby abstract (it is indeed occurring within the norm) but, is rather marginalized to the extreme, actively being withheld for the purposes of maintaining a particular kind of reality (ethics).

This is no longer a critique of meta-narratives; such a critique was still occurring in the antagonistic space, a space that could only be resolved through various ‘faiths’ that resolve the modern contradiction (the Deleuzian “Zen”, the New Age Spirituality, the Eastern Karmic cosmos, the “Christian” denominations that are not properly Protestant nor Catholic, and other discourses that take place in ironic suspensions). We have found that the critique of meta-narratives was how a particular ideological state perpetuates itself through ulterior colonialist motions. The Postmodern (but particularly the subsequent ‘method’) thought itself as an exception to the metanarrative, and used irony to suggest its difference, but we found that it merely supplied the ‘final’ narrative to substantiate Capitalism as the ground of real discourse (the “postmodern methodological platform”; see Lyotard “The postmodern condition”, and “The Differend”: The demand for a ground of real veracity, a limiting of irony, calls forth the criterion of ‘efficiency’ that brings about ‘experts’ to define what knowledge is valid, which knowledge is allowed to be considered as true, as well as the reparations that will be made to that aspect of knowledge that was excluded in the interest of efficiency.) But we were not done with irony, that is why definition is insufficient to bring about decisive changes in ideology; hence the various philosophical reconciliations for identity that we find all over the internet, and hence the instigation of a divergence in philosophy.

(Note: The question for divergence seems to be noticed. What others have been trying to do with ‘non-standard’ ideas and such, I simply address directly and say I am a philosopher and this ‘other’ manner of philosophy is still true as it can be identified thus conventional because the orientation upon objects by which it addresses things to gain its veracity. We do not speak from the unitive philosophical paradigm but rather admit that such a paradigm exists at least in parallel. Only one kind of argumentation exists which can reduce all signals to a single matrix, and that is the conventional philosophical route; it does not propose that it is capable of doing this, and that is why we are able to identify its mode with nothing. As I have said elsewhere, we are dealing with the instance of what stays static while something else changes, a calculus, of philosophical reckoning. What has withdrawn has indeed withdrawn beyond all argumentation: It has already been established. As well, any further argumentation is superfluous, redundant but indeed real and valid.)

So this is also not a critique of such identities. It is a describing of how humanity functions; we should not expect such understanding will change our behavior. It indeed will bring about or be involved with some sort of change, but the change will be related in a particularly real manner that seems to be able to avoid the truth of statements and yet likewise be able to argue effectively for how the truth is not what originally was there (a mistaken intension of intentionality). Neither is this a pragmatics, nor a promotion of a way into praxis. This is analysis, a possibility into a beginning of a science that has been brewing for some time (time is not the issue). The fact of atomic interactions is related to the war machine only through incidental, circumstantial yet real discussion, negotiation and argument; the science itself dealt only with the interrelating of factual situations, itself as a founding term that actually departs (instead of merely feigning departure). When we rely only upon a determination of human activity through this former method (of the circumstantial discussion) we arrive at never having the bomb built in the first place, no nuclear energy, no astrophysics, no understanding of our sun or the solar system, etc. No wonder there has been an effort to get back to the “pre-modern” Real thing.

We thus have now reached that point of discernment, an ability to deal with the being of human without recourse to incessant mythological justifying defaults that reify the free intuiting agent of transcendence. Thus far, we have not had a scientifically philosophical way to gain access into what human beings do because we were too busy doing it, busy using the manner; as an analogy, we’ve been like astronomers who have been looking at ourselves looking at the stars thinking we were actually looking at and discussing the stars: Through this approach we can only get so much information about the stars. The most recent of this manner is what we could generalize into a category of ‘Enlightenment’, but other categories that need be sorted are ‘State’ and ‘Capitalism’, among others, and “Neurophysiology” is not one of these primary aspects at this moment. We do not know yet how these function for human beings; we have only been using such categories in a proposal to find out how we might Be, indeed, using them to Be. In our finding this out, then, we have reached a kind of apogee in mythological function: Coming upon such self-reflection there by understands such knowledge as a means to enact, what is now/then seen, as a Truth. Only when this occurs does a moment arise by which to view through a larger frame of what has occurred. It does not occur through any choice in the matter, but indeed functions to begin to detract from itself.

From this moment we might be able to understand what ‘Terrorism’ might be. The first order of business, though, is to dismiss oneself from the reflection of identity, and this does not occur through any choice of free will. As I noted above, this is not a suggestion to indicate that terrible things have not occurred throughout human history, or that we can identify some essential human attribute or psychology to thereby alleviate us from such terrible occurrences. This is a description of what role Terrorism is playing in the reality of being human: Terrorism, in a large sense, is the antithesis of free will and choice; quite terrible. Psychology, at this moment, is too overdetermined in solution to be able to ponder a fact that does not move toward choices of human solutions; there are too many human issues in the world for an institution to consider bare facts; all such facts are ideological and political arguments that function as platforms by which to enact a possibility of real solution. It does no discredit to such psychological method to point out what it does, though, but the reaction that would take such a description as indicating a fault of psychology, or as suggesting that psychology is incorrect or wrong, is missing the point of fact for the sake of its ideological purpose, which is to rely upon the self-evidence of its teleology of real solution. Science concerns facts; real solutions are of a different order, of a different moment. And such moments are not, or at least do not have to be, at odds.

We thus make a proposal that seems almost a truism: Terrorism is the act that takes place from an ideological point of exclusion; terrorism exploits points of access.

I have suggested above that the idea (ideal) of human ‘belief’ is a manifestation of an ideological lack, a founding term that is supposed by the constituents of the ideology to account for what lay outside its purview. It is a colonizing ideal: Belief. Again, in this conceptual moment, we need separate ourselves from the notion that human beings all throughout history have been having beliefs. We are not concerned with what history might have to say about what human beings might “have been” believing (for indeed they were); that is of a different order of analysis. What occurs in terrorism is that the open door, that is supposed to be welcoming and inclusive of various human capacities and manifestations of belief, is not being taken. There is something about the welcome that is understood intuitively and innately to not be welcoming; to wit, the sensible response: My belief is not a belief, it is the Truth. Regardless of how we wish to emphasize our open ideal, in the case of terrorism, it has not worked, that’s why such acts are “terrible”, because they make no sense, they occur outside of our sensibility, our ability to make sense. Our sense of it is 1)that it is terrible, 2)unethical, 4)insane, 5) inhuman,6)of a ‘bad’ sort of religious fundamentalism. Perhaps we even make sense of the people’s acts patronizingly; they are ignorant, they are delusional, they are uneducated, they have been raised in an intolerant culture, they are the product of ‘bad’ ideology or psychology, they have been brainwashed. We cannot dismiss that any of these disclaimers may be the case, but for the act itself, especially individuals who willingly and with intent sacrifice their own lives in the act of terrorism – how else are we to make sense of such acts but through the unitive aspect of consciousness and its humanity that has good and bad psychologies accompanied by ethical mandates ? One cannot choose to escape their reality.

In these kind of reckonings there is no consideration of, as Alain Badiou has said, “difference as indeed different”, in other words, there is no considering their position for what it is in actuality, which is to say, as indeed a Truth that does not reconcile or fit snugly and comfortably in ‘our’ ideological nest. Indeed; I recently heard of how Donald Trump approaches foreign policy in a way that is different than what America has historically: Instead of attempting to defeat authoritarian regimes or dictatorships, reprimanding them with trade and alliance penalties, like the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, Trump approaches other nations on their own ground, allowing their political organization to function in whatever way it does so long as it does not interfere with American interests specifically. This appears very much like a situation where what is different is engaged with in its difference. How ironic that the person who so many in America see as contrary to American interests would be the person who would take an approach that can appear philosophically sound? I doubt Trump is that smart or educated, but it goes to show that we are not speaking about practical reconciliations of thought and action, but indeed a scientific description of the situation at hand. Could this be an indication of a possible beginning of a philosophical science that does not answer to conventional philosophical method?

Terrorism occurs at points of access. (Side note: The paranoia that often arises out of the consideration of an actual Artificial Intelligence develops the very point of access that an A.I. would be able to take advantage.) Terrorism is the revealing that access is not automatic nor guaranteed by any sort of discursive item, and that access now must be authorized (by experts). This is not homicide or murder, in as much as those events target individual people for specific identifiable reasons; e.g. Sam hates Pablo. Of course, we could see some similarities breaching this codification in the U.S. legalizing the corporation as an individual person: The experts tell us now that the human being is an incorporation, and not the other way around. It is not that corporations have become people, its that people must be incorporated to have ‘free’ access. In this sense, then, “in the name of (the True) Islam, I kill a number of symbolic representatives of the Christian West” is murder because this individual is incorporated (with an institution called ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-kaeda, Neo-Nazi, Free-Speech Movements, Pro-life, Black Lives Matter, whatever.. ). The irony, and the evidence that such terrorist groups see themselves through the lens they wish to destroy, is that they are asserting their freedom of access, pointing out the contradiction inherent in the (Western Liberal Capitalist) liberal mind set. This is the divine beauty of Capitalism: Its apparent omnipotence. Those who are not terrorists are those who are definably and axiomatically free to access: They are born incorporated: Nationalism has ‘bred’ itself into an offspring. Of course terrorism is insensible: How does one make sense of an act of assertion that positions itself against something that is already inherent to the act itself? This is the contradiction as well as the blind spot we find also involved in the critique of race relations. How much more non-sensible can it be for those who must behave through such ideological mechanisms? But this is not an issue of knowledge and education as much as it is what is occurring. The fact that such marginalized groups would have to speak about how to gain for themselves basic and inalienable rights is just about the most ridiculous thing that could occur given our ideological ground. Might the ‘terrorist’ actually be more sane??

This is not my position, necessarily, by the way, nor am I arguing anything about what sanity might be. But, an analysis of a situation must be able to point out facts about the situation if we are to get anywhere: Speaking about or describing what is offensive should not be taken as an argument for that which offends. A person of color is not asking me to change my skin color, reject my heritage nor deny myself as a human being in the world; she just asks me to be open to facing some harsh truths that come from outside of my ability to reckon on my own.

Identity has been taken to a further extreme, perhaps as a counterpoint to the extreme absence of sense that the act of terrorism evidences. I am not going to make an argument against that kind of reckoning, but only point out that such situations are about the political order. As to facts, if I may take the Islamic Terrorists as a case example (though we could put this analysis to any so called Terrorist), the suicide bomber is not targeting specific people, in fact, the hatred is entirely ideological (as I said): It is not Burt that I hate but that Burt is American, and he is not so much an American, as I reestablish the Truth of my sense, the sense of Truth, and re-appropriate to assert the Truth, as much as he is an Infidel. The point of access is a symbolic act against symbols, the scheme of which, on the part of the Terrorist, functions to reclaim conceptual territory (see my REBLOG post about conceptual territory) through lumping the antagonist into the counter-partial founding category by which a closing is understood as an opening (an act of faith); the corresponding ideal of the West is ‘belief’. The point of access is exactly the gap that opens up with murder without personal motive; the personal motive is the successful attack upon Truth. It is no secret that the opening for belief allows for all sorts of ethical compromises that brings into question every ‘belief system’ that functions under its umbrella. Only in the “blasé” attitude (Walter Benjamin ?) that accompanies the pursuit of real identity may someone have a valid ‘belief’; one must suspend their ideals in ‘nothing’ in order to ‘really believe’ (or to have faith). It is this kind of nihilism that is terrified by someone who is willing to die to destroy even the smallest piece of the antagonizing ideological leviathan; the transcendence that accompanies the modern nihilism is of a different sort than that usual Western ideal that places religious thinking in the category of concern with a transcendent ‘creator’. The Western religion of nihilism (the state of belief) cannot bring itself to have any sort of passion strong enough that would allow itself to willingly kill itself; how ironic. Here we even have the beginnings of a philosophical explanation of addiction, as well as the reason why it has reached epidemic proportions in America; but as well, a possible explanation of China and how it becomes present in the West.

The point of the terrorist act is to destroy the antagonistic state, the state that directly confronts the Truth through the ideal of human belief (the ideal of ‘belief’ is a singular ideological Truth). The terrorist act thus is an act that is already admitting what it is losing; like the Kamikaze fighters of World War 2 Japan, Japan had already lost the war, but would not admit it. Slavoj Zizek speaks of this kind of ideological instance in the analogy of the cartoon character, say, Wile E. Coyote, chasing the road runner off a cliff, running out into the air. Coyote does not fall until he looks down and realizes that he is standing on nothing, and even then, he has time to wave good-bye to the camera. The interesting part of this, though, is that the terrorists are already a part of the ideology that they are terrorizing, because they are already admitting that this antagonistic state has a claim in their Truth: They are fighting against the ideal of belief, an ideal concept –like that which is unstable within Anslem’s argument for the proof of the existence of God, — that they already and inherently understand; we might see the contradiction suspended in the terrorist act in as much as they destroy their own lives in the process of attempting to destroy the whole of the antagonistic state: A ‘not-life’ for a ‘life’.  Likewise, they know that their act will not actually destroy the whole of the infidel’s kingdom, but perhaps (who really knows) they ‘believe/know’ that their act will cause some sort of cascading event of collapse, as their disruption in concert with the ongoing series of disruptions will inevitably achieve their ideological goal, which is to dispense with ideology (as belief). We might see again a similar ideological activity in the events of Helter Skelter, ,where the murders of Hollywood celebrities would instigate a race war. Such antagonisms supply the fodder that ironically sustains the Capitalist ideology.

Terrorism could be marking that point when Capitalism has run out in to the air; perhaps it is now waving to us, but I doubt it. If I have to summarize the point of this essay on terrorism, perhaps it is that terrorism is an ideological construct that has its basis in nothing, an irony, because while it destroys people, actual lives, it is already serving Capitalism as a source of capital, of “magic”, of supplying energy to the ideological fetishized commodity that is identity: Terrorism is understood effectively, axiomatically, automatically to be identifying a real-true thing. Disgusting ethical juxtaposition really, but again this is why Capitalism could be said to be the umbrella Religion of Nothing, because people have to have faith in order to be able to ignore the incredible depth of the nothingness in which such events, and their labels, induce.

It is within such determinations that we find necessarily that I am not speaking of a unitive situation, but indeed, I am speaking about how such a unitive situation operates.

 

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I could go on, and there is a further bit having to do with explosions, but Ill leave it here for now.