Post-modernism’s Worth. 

When we are too close to an event, we talk about it as from a distance. That is, what we say is automatically distanced from the event, a maximum distance. The event is thus, by this occurrence, an object. As opposed to our psychotherapeutic model, the closer we are to an event, the more dishonest we are about its true bearings, that is, the truth of the matter, why it is that the (the wholeness of the) event has occurred the way it has. The impetus and the reaction can be come upon as an included item, a truth in-itself, only when we are distanced from the event. The truth of an object, as opposed to the True Object, can only be viewed in its truth from a distance. The equation is thus of inversion, of ratio.

Here then we may have a basis upon which to properly view foundational post-modern writers, namely, Derrida, Deleuze and Guittari, but others also.  To wit: Their descriptions were from a basis too close to the event, such that they attempted to quickly and finally establish a ground for the event; the event being thus so profound and significant, they were compelled to offer a reason.

They were not wrong, only rash. 

It is analogous to an explosion. We have now the data from the explosion, having encountered it ourselves, but also come across the initial first hand rationalization and fact crunching reports of the explosion itself – with that, subsequent explosions, and now the reports and experience of the aftermath(s) of explosions, we can now safely report upon the truth of the whole event. 

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The Impossible; Part 5. Existence and the Story of Death to Life.

Whew! Those Impossible essays really get thick. So perhaps a rejoining to a more approachable speaking. But hold on! The ride is just getting fun.

I have been interacting through comments and replies with Dave, who writes the blog called “Big Story Guide”. Our conversation is quite wonderful, so, just as I used our conversation for the basis an earlier essay post ( See: Aphilosophy, Convention, Faith and God), I do the same here, and because this latest reply grew to such lengths (even though I think I have posted replies even longer than this one).

The reader can see our extended conversation under the comments of “Issues and Existence”. And please feel free to visit Dave’s blog “Big Story Guide”: http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/2-the-death-to-life-project/

*

We last saw our heros continuing enquiry into each other’s ideas. Dave is curious for a rendition of Lance’s ‘Big Story’, and Lance has been attempting to discover from Dave the significance for the Christian and the non-Christian in the claim of Christ Jesus. Dave (in italics)…

Your notion of “the qualitative motion of history” suggests a bigger story than The Bible tells – a story within which The Bible should be interpreted. So, when you say, “Teaching, method, apprehending or comprehending terms through a particular scheme, is the issue at the heart of the Gospels,” it seems as if you are sort of taking an aerial view of a mansion of reality/truth. You can see Christians entering through one door (scheme) on one side of the mansion while you see Hindus and others entering by other doors (schemes) on other sides of the building
.

The quality of history reflects an essential motion, where as history itself changes with the times. I think the Bible presents a certain correspondence with these ideas, one ironic, one conventional.

“If that is the case, what is the more faithful rendition of our story, told from that larger view?”

You have captured one of the more insightful philosophical rebuttals to some of the existentialist authors here, one that contributed, I feel, to the discarding post-modernist critiques to a particular era, and the movement beyond it. The larger view is entirely existential, that we are humans doing human things, that has no more meaning than the meaning we have of it at the time, that there is no knowing a true history, that anything anyone can say has to do only with present discursive situations. The question would be then, how could they know of this? The rebuttal is something like the accusation that the so-called existentialist (but Laruelle with his non-philosophy likewise) authors set themselves as a sort of ‘omniscient’ or ‘removed’ viewer, as if their view is not likewise conditioned by the existential situation.

But I would say that the ‘death to life’ story, as you describe it of the Bible, is no larger than what the above situation grants. To wit: How would it be possible to step out of existence so as to gain such a view? The answer is excruciatingly ironic, for the one who is ‘stepping out’ is the one who says it cannot be done.

One way to speak about it is to say there is no stepping out of existence, that there is no larger story but the story that is reflected in itself by itself, and that this reflection is based in an apparent separation.

Take for example a story book, a novel. Can the characters step out of the story in order to see the story? No, they cannot. They are determined in and by the story to be the story as it goes. It is only the reader who steps out of the story, but he does this by an interesting move. This is the historical significance of the development of the novel-type writing. The reader starts at the beginning and reads to the end. He thereby can summarize the story, talk about its characters, its plot, the development of tension, climax and such; but this telling is not the story, it is a story of a story. The real state of the reader is removed from the story but in such a way that he views the summary and discussion of the story as referring to the story itself. But his telling is not the story; it is not even a summary. It is the story of the story. This real reader misses the story by staying removed from the story, and it is this assumptive state of removal, of distance enacted by the author as well as the reader in reality, that allows the story of the story to be not the story but its summary. This state of being human corresponds with the state of reality, that which marks a quality of history to the reading of history.

Thus another way to speak about it would be to see that to live ‘in the worldly’ way is to live by separation, and with reference to your ‘Death to Life Story’, is the way ‘of death’, not dissimilar to your Big Story.

Would you say that Abraham, being after the Fall, was likewise ‘living death’? I would say no. I would say the he ‘lives’, but did not need Jesus and so was not ‘restored’ to life, but merely ‘lived in God’ but after the Fall. How did he get that way?

The same with Noah before him; …he “was a just man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God”. How was this so if all men live in a state of death after Adam? How did Noah “[find] grace in the eyes of The Lord”?

Further, the only thing it says of how Abraham got to know God is “Now the Lord said unto Abraham…”

And what of Moses? Did he do anything to bring God to him or chose to meet God? No. God chose him. And I would add that this is the most offensive aspect of the Bible to the reader of its stories: It could have only happened in the past since if God chose someone today, in the same way as Abraham, Noah, Moses or Jesus, it means that God has not chosen me; but where there is irony, this statement, the meaning of Moses, etc, ‘being chosen’, has no contradictory baring upon my relation with God.

I think that, as a result of your bigger-than-The-Bible-Big-Story, your interaction with the biblical figures Abraham and Jesus becomes pretty highly conceptualized. For example, Abraham experiences “a true ‘before the fall’ covenant, so to speak, with God.”

Are these three people human beings? I would say yes, they are actual human beings who ‘knew’ God. And, in that they did nothing to achieve such a relation with God, that is to say, they did not beckon favor with God, they also did not choose anything about God, at least, not any more than someone else could have; God exactly chose them. In fact, I would say, because they are ‘after the fall’ people, they could not have chosen God; nothing they could do could remove or get beyond their ‘fallen’ condition; only an act of God could do so. In fact, choosing God could only get them as far as their own ‘sinful’ condition was able, which is ‘removed from God’, offended in this state.

This is clearly anachronistic within The Bible’s story, so it would be tremendously helpful to know the bigger big story within which this Abraham event took place. Please, tell me about “the real mistake that began as the Fall.”

Sin can be seen as “the real mistake that began as the Fall.” The mistake of taking an object before God. If this is a signal of human heritage, passed down as a condition or state of being human, then as we are in sin, at some point in the past it would seem there was an original sinner.

In a way, in the story, the ‘fruit’ or ‘apple’ represents the ‘idol’ that comes to stand between Adam and God; it is the worldly object that is seen to be able to make Adam and Eve like God, knowing good and evil: ethics/universe of objects the control of which make humans ‘like God’. The mistake that unfolds in history is the progressive domination of such object, the ‘death’ that ultimately pushes God entirely out of human knowledge and experience. When such ‘worldly saturation’ occurs, then Christ returns to restore life, that is, God.

If this post-fall state is inherited by all humans, then as this is indicated by choice or free will, our state determines thus our ability to know God. This ability, founded in the ‘first significant choice’ – since if there was choice before the Fall then its significance was consistent with God’s will, where ‘everything’ would be significant, thus allowing nothing significant to be punctuated as such – thus likewise conveys the beginning of ethics, since that which is consistent with God’s will has no weight against what could be evil since such a motion in that ‘pre-fall’ state is God’s state and not so much a human state. The post Fall state of humanity, wherein choice upon good and evil resides or is established, is the entirely of what we can know, our knowing being limited by the sinful condition of knowing with choice, can be called the universe, because it consists of or is correspondent with what all humans can possibly know. So it is that Kierkegaard, in “Fear and Trembling” (I believe its this book) begins with “the universe is the ethical”.

It’s worth mentioning again that I think the question, “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical” is an interesting one raised by the Abraham-Isaac story. But, I don’t think it is at the heart of the story. Instead, the issue of humanity’s death and the possibility of resurrection is at the heart of the story.

The question “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?” is Kierkegaard’s primary concern, as I have said, through all his works. This question means: Is there a way of knowing or otherwise communing with God-as-God, meaning, without the ethical doubt that injects one’s humanity in the way of God’s communication with him? In other words: is there a possibility of a God-man?

One of the things I feel like I’m missing in our conversation is how you might see the teleological suspension of the ethical being necessary to some kind of resurrection.

Resurrection, with regards to the ‘death to life story’ of the Bible, is a teleological suspension of the ethical, a breach of universal ‘right-ness’, an actual communion with God ‘as Life’, as opposed to ‘death’. Such communion or communication would not have a possibility of ‘wrong-ness’ since God is above or beyond ethics: God is God, creator of the universe, creator of choice, indetermined by choice. God is righteousness as opposed to nothing else. Hence Kierkegaard considers Abraham and Jesus.

Your questions regarding Jesus’ experiences with faith strike me as also being an interesting aside. I would find them much more compelling if I believed that Jesus represents a God-in-man issue. But, I believe that Jesus is the God-man who came to address the death of humanity through His death and resurrection.

God can only be ‘in man’ as much as man sees God as distanced, or removed, from man; but the movement is that man made that choice to remove himself from God. Hence the significant questions concerning the state of humanity is: What about you is not God? What is resurrection?

This is essential.. This is essential.

[Jesus’s] experiences with the teachability, and learnability of faith, and His personal experiences with doubt strike me as being pretty speculative (but still interesting) and less essential.

I would think these represent his humanity, and, ironically, they are entirely speculative and less essential – and it is interesting how K speaks about ‘the interesting’ as a quality of various worldly topics.

*

The contradiction between the God-man and the God-in-man presents the impossible situation of reality: Would you know if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was standing right in front of you? How would you know? Would everyone know? How do you know?

Reality imposes its maxim, framed or determined by the impossible: You are not God, and, no one can have a personal audience or communion with God as God. A man, though, may have God ‘in him’, and hope to be communicating directly with God, because this is the condition of man after the Fall: He needs a redeemer, a proxy, a go-between. Faith allows for a traversing of the distance that has been created by the sin of not choosing God, or maybe better put, the sin of being able to choose God now that there is a sufficient distinction by which to make a decision. This is the post-Fall universal condition of humanity. Only those of the past can be such God-chosen people, for if I told you that God indeed has spoken to me, has chosen me, in the same way as Abraham and Moses, you would call B.S. or think I’m insane. Because reality has it that we are all equal, all of the same capacity and existential presence in the world, then if this is the case, that I commune and communicate with God as God, it means that God has chosen me and not you. This is offense. This is the evidence of sin. This is impossible.

Kierkegaard thus considers the possibility of Christ. Is it possible that God sent his Son to be here on earth, a human? If this is possible, what does it mean for humanity? Does this meaning exceptionalize meaning to certain qualifiers, such that there are ‘humans’ and then there are ‘human but also something else’? How does the exception also place me in a certain position with reference to God? Does this meaning, the exception, include all humans, regardless of how they are qualified? What does this mean? Where do I exceptionalize myself as human, but not ‘that’ human? What is God? Who is God? Where am I offended? Where do I sin? What stories do I tell myself to qualify myself in the world? What are these stories? What is blasphemy?

Can I know God as God? Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?

For reality, the answer to these questions being the same, is impossible!
But only through faith.

O.M.G.

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Extreme Dialectic: Spinoza and the Term (revisited).

“AS men are accustomed to call Divine the knowledge which transcends human understanding, so also do they style Divine, or the work of God, anything of which the cause is not generally known: for the masses think that the power and providence of God are most clearly displayed by events that are extraordinary and contrary to the conception they have formed of nature, especially if such events bring them any profit or convenience: they think that the clearest possible proof of God’s existence is afforded when nature, as they suppose, breaks her accustomed order, and consequently they believe that those who explain or endeavour to understand phenomena or miracles through their natural causes are doing away with God and His providence. They suppose, forsooth, that God is inactive so long as nature works in her accustomed order, and vice versâ, that the power of nature and natural causes are idle so long as God is acting: thus they imagine two powers distinct one from the other, the power of God and the power of nature, though the latter is in a sense determined by God, or (as most people believe now) created by Him. What they mean by either, and what they understand by God and nature they do not know, except that they imagine the power of God to be like that of some royal potentate, and nature’s power to consist in force and energy.” – Baruch Spinoza.

We do not simply read because we are taught how to do so. If there is an innate ability that merely needs to be awakened in a person then we do not know what it is beyond the Idea. This is because we are creatures that are prone to a type of knowing that I call conventional. As a child we are taught to read but then as we grow into adults we stick with the innately typical, childish orientation upon things and appropriate it into what an adult reality is. We forget that we forgot that we were children, and we remember at some point we remember that we were children; that is, at some point. What do we remember of our being a child? We remember that we were a child, the child that was ‘me’, only through our ability or capacity as adults. We forget that as a child we only behaved, wanted, needed, and appropriated what we were told in whatever manner through our being now being adults. One’s orientation upon the Idea reveals his faith in reality.

Adults then show their children the proper way to read as if it is a way that was innate to being human. What is innate in this way is thus not innate but rather conditioned by a particular manner of coming upon reality. The understanding of this feature of conventional reality is what has allowed conventional method to see and define such terms as ‘ideology’, ‘hegemony’, and the probably most significant term, ‘colonialism’ (please see my previous essays). Similarly for reading (and discussing, for that matter) what has occurred for reality is a colonization of the child by the conventional adult, a colonization that occurs by praising a particular kind of feedback from the child; it is due to this kind of mistake upon reality that perpetuates itself through childish desire for the world, that philosophy is typically misunderstood and misapplied, leading to the marriage of philosophy, ideology and science for the sake of maintaining a particular structure of knowing and power, that is conventional reality. This is the object of history.

We need understand the obstacle created by such a conventional orientation if we are to move beyond the modern-post-modern repetition, as ‘neo-‘ modernism, or whatever new term may be applied to our current philosophical-ideological ‘turn’, is merely a restatement of modernist idealist materialism. Aphilosophy attempts to reveal how this power structure, this particular orientation upon existence, hinders the human being from its actual innate potential.

This essay shows how reading and thus the understanding of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza has been commandeered for the conventional effort.

*

To approach the entry excerpt, we should first see that the functioning or operation of existence is inclusive and consistent at all reaches, but that this is all that can be said of existence itself. Nevertheless, we can extend and explain the meaning of this situation. The statement goes like this: Given a universe, all that exists and is real comprises an effective containment. Every thing, all in its most inclusive meaning, taken together as a totality, is the universe. The universe operates or functions like a grand machine; every element of the universe is interactive with every other element. Nothing is excluded (by definition). Matter is a result, energy is a result, yet if these are not, then they are essential basics. Everything of the universe arises from the same universal substrate. Life arose and or has arisen in concert with every other thing in the universe; no matter how small the linkage, the linking between any separate operations is there, a grand symphony. In this way, distinct objects or elements function of themselves complicitly and intimately with every other object. No essentially segregate object exists. In short, the universe is a closed system. Human beings are also life. Therefore, the activity of human beings likewise exhibits nothing extraneous to the universe’s inherent operation. This represents the basis of the existialist, post-modern dilemma that brought about the late twentieth-century tribulations of angst and crisis; it was a crisis of conventionality, a misreading of the proposed problem that advocated a particular, mistaken, solution.

The problem is just this: what is ‘knowing’? Or more precisely, what is this thing that human beings are capable of doing, that is able to treat and address the universe, that we call thought, concept, problem and solution? The typical answer is the apparent ability. We are capable of analyzing objects or aspects of the universe and discover or uncover true things, if not also basic laws of the operation of the universe.

My answer is another question, which seems an epistemological question but is actually a logistical question: how do you know? By this I mean, how is it possible for you to be or become separated enough from the universe to know these true things, or, the truth of these things?

As reconciliation between the problem and the answer above we have the usual possibilities. One can be called the religious reconciliation, or ‘creationism’. It says that we are created ‘first order’ entities, meaning, God created the universe of an established order of things, and human beings are at the top; we have dominion over the universe as decreed and evidenced by free will. Another can be called the ideological reconciliation, called ‘evolutionism’. Here, human beings are at the top of the order that developed through processes of natural selection; human cognitive ability is merely an adaptation to particular pressures exerted in particular environmental niches. Aside from that polemic; a current scientific notion suggests that our knowledge may not reflect anything of a true universe, and that the question of some essential or absolute basis of objective, universal truth is non sequitur with the real question of truth. For these modern thinkers, truth is a man made item, as well ‘universe’ or ‘objective world’, a formulation of the mind inept for grasping any ‘actual’ or ‘objective’ truth, that therefore merely resorts to practical models based upon solving problems that are presented to the mind. Such problems and solutions are particular to the mind’s ability or capacity, or even purpose in the universe. The assertion of any one of these approaches, even the model of the model, is supposed to limit one’s sense of truth to an either it is this or it is that position.

While these three approaches, and maybe more (these just came to mind), appear to argue with each other, when we begin to think critically about the initial question, we must come to but one solution: the answer is all three. It goes something like this: (A) god created the universe accorded to a particular order that is evidenced in the mind coordinating its own manner to achieve a reasonable development of staged priority in reality, itself as the center to top. While this appears to suggest an actual ‘god’, but really only shows that the idea of ‘god’ is a necessary element in our knowing, if only by the fact that we can consider its truth or falsity, here is a possibly better rendition: The implication involved of a mind coming upon its own ability in respect with its view upon the world is one of a certain effective ‘creator’ imperative, a precipitative aspect of a mind developing along lines that validates its apparent prolific survivability as privilege, even if this privilege asserts its own limited ability to exist through models. If we only come by models, then equally such models comprise the totality of the truth of the universe, as these models describe also their lack as ‘unknown’, and so far as we can know, then argues that what we know thereby these models is necessary for the universe, which means, the idea that we merely know by models is itself not a model but an absolute truth of the universe, which is contradictory to its meaning. For this essay, the attempt of the presentation of these statements then is to release one from the insistence of an either/or truth, and to invite a thinker to view the reality that is actually presented to their knowledge.

But such a comprehensive view of the truth of the matter cannot be achieved without establishing the basis that accounts for human knowledge as the manifestation correspondent with the operating of existence. One cannot hold to an apparent ability without compounding the problem the apparent ability beholds to solve. In this there can be no Hegelian ideal historical consciousness nor a subject-agent of it that moves as some sort of evolutionary spearhead. Neither can there be an ideological backlash that can accommodate or mediate the tendency for such big-headedness. At least, but at most, we can not be ‘inspired’ by some ‘intuitive’ element, some intuited transcendence or some immanent moment that is revealed of our selection, and this is to say, we do not learn from the past; the situation of knowing that is these cases informing the decisions of the day result necessarily. They are correspondent, inseparable.

The problem of resting in the apparent ability is thus located in that tendency to want from these situations. This ‘want’ is a determination of ideological truth that claims a true object. The ‘overdetermination’ of meaning that takes from the meaningful category and establishes the true object, finds itself in the determination of tomorrow as it separates itself from the past as meaning ‘the individual agent of free will’. Currently the history of the overdetermination is written as the process of discovering what this ‘freedom’ really means, a process that cannot help but resituate the vulgarities within a progress, but never really accounts for the supposed ‘progress’ that never saw itself as vulgar before the atrocity. There are other ways overdetermination may manifest, but the functioning of it is always the same: progress justifies the overdetermined state, in our case, freedom. This forgetful disposition defines the conventional Idea, and it is the denial that reveals that convention is not a ‘modeling’ of an unknown totality, but rather is an orientation upon the true object; the overdetermination cannot be an accident; it likewise mist be absolutely necessary in the operation of the universe. The question then is less what freedom means, than what freedom is, or is not.

If the universe is a closed system, this then also means, quite counterintuitivly, that if there is anything that is not of the universe then we cannot know of it, we cannot think of it – damn! – we cannot even think it, in fact – damn! damn! – we cannot even know it. We cannot know that there is anything extra-universal, for if we knew it we would be situating the universe as not the universe, but only a universe – which completely shows how terms do not identify any particular true thing, but only reflect momentary conditions of existence.

One so keen might see this idea in practice as a reiteration of a type leading to an absurd theatre. In one sense they would be right: in the conventional sense; in another, more significant sense, they would be wrong. The conventional orientation for reality is thus the issue that is treated aphilosophically; what we have to breach is the insistence of the conventional orientation upon knowledge.

*

To proclaim that such a statement of existence (inclusivity) defines or otherwise implicates a one universe merely adds upon the first statement and does nothing but limit the meaning of that statement to conventional knowledge. Such a move can be called transformation. What otherwise would be truth has been transformed into conventional reality; the process of conventional knowledge coming to positive terms with its own reality is evidenced in history and its philosophical counterpart, and ‘ends’ with non-philosophy. The process of coming to terms with the truth of the matter is called irony; it includes the critique or rebuttal of non-philosophy (as non-philosophy is a critique of philosophy) that will be called aphilosophy, and the appropriation, which is to say literally: an appropriate- tion, of non-philosophical methods accompanied by an aphilosophical response, that which addresses the point of contention as solution, we shall call metalepsis.

This is to say, knowledge manifests always in human consciousness as a complicity of ‘known’ and ‘unknown’, but that conventional knowledge would unite these ideas in a polemical potential that thereby establishes the true (one) universe against what is ‘not the universe’, or what is absolutely false, its physics and theoretical ideas, with all its accompanying parallel or multi-dimensional possibilities, the individual of free will, past and future.

Furthermore, what should be understood as true is due to this very nature of existence. Terms, being but another procedure in the operation of existence, an operation evidenced as human beings are likewise merely an operation, must necessarily reflect only a present existential manifestation, where substantial elements, elements (not to be confused with the Periodic Table of Elements – we will discuss the appropriation of mathematics and philosophy later) that comprise the functioning of existence, of the universe remain constant while the terms, as a loci of meaning, ‘float’ or are transient labels of momentary significance. The route of the conventional static-metamorphic term (see below) that identify particular true objects must be seen as merely one manner of coming upon existence that is also necessary, but in that it asserts its total omnipresence, it thereby lacks.

The problem presented by Spinoza concerns this feature. All men have an idea of what is Divine or transcendent, or not explainable, in relation to what seems natural, or explainable. It follows that what is extraordinary or contrary is deemed to be stemming or otherwise caused by a transcendent. But this is not so much a statement of his times, as if there are,as an absolute category, people who are ignorant, or ‘superstitious’, in a relation to people who are more ‘knowledgeable’, rather, it is a statement that says human beings are only capable of ‘knowing’ in this manner, that what is not explainable is put off into a transcendent category for knowing.

The point to become aware of is of a differend in knowing. Even today our rationale of reality configures knowledge of the explainable into a category of itself to justify our ‘enlightened’ ability to know. In this manner Spinoza’s argument is placed in a temporal category of ‘past’ that confines the term of his theses to particular absolutely true objects, this is to say, the context of historical progress that sees Spinoza as addressing an ideological or religious situation of his time where superstition and irrationality, or even love of power, still held sway against rationality and truth. Indeed, Spinoza was addressing these items, but in so much as the terms themselves are variable momentary identifiers of existential elements, his argument says much more and actually situates eternal truths concerning the existence of human beings.

We can further situate Spinoza’s in the following manner, as we begin to get a grip on the matter at hand:

{from the introduction to the sixth chapter of “Tractatus-Theologico Politicus”, in italics.}

“AS men are accustomed to call Divine the knowledge which transcends human understanding, so also do they style Divine, or the work of God, anything of which the cause is not generally known: for the masses think that the power and providence of God are most clearly displayed by events that are extraordinary and contrary to the conception they have formed of nature, especially if such events bring them any profit or convenience: they think that the clearest possible proof of God’s existence is afforded when nature, as they suppose, breaks her accustomed order, and consequently they believe that those who explain or endeavour to understand phenomena or miracles through their natural causes are doing away with God and His providence…”

For our current ‘enlightened’ atheistic or agnostic temperament of truth, ‘God’, the term, can be seen as or could be called the unquestioned base of, what I call, ‘conventional’ knowledge. But see, this is not to argue that there is a god or God at root under everything; rather, it is to say that conventional knowledge functions upon a given that is put into the impetus of the ‘potential of the future’ to hold that which is only not yet understood by its method (see also my essay “Aphilosophy, convention, God and faith). The method (conventional methodology), in this way, proclaims the truth of the universe by its universal ability to ‘uncover’ truth (the general rational ‘scientifical’ method). Such as this situation is, the truth of conventional knowledge is most clearly displayed as it ‘discovers’, explains or ‘develops’ things that were thought impossible, especially if it brings people profit or convenience, but also, when convention breaks with its accustomed order, for example, when people kill for the sake of killing, or the Law lets a guilty person go or imprisons an innocent. Exceptions to the rules allow the rules to be refined, more efficient and effective, and thereby enforce the reifying of conventional omnipresence and omnipotence.

The juxtaposition to see concerns how convention is oriented for reality. As indicated above, convention founds its truth in a historical progress of absolute categories, where terms of those categories maintain integral meaning to its object through time, and where terms change, the metamorphosis can be traced. This method sees that the categories ‘nature’ and ‘God’ of Spinoza indicate static elements, and that Spinoza’s argument concerns a critique of the God of miracles and by extension, an argument against the more superstitious rendering of God. His argument thus marks a moment of the progress away from religious hypocrisy or superstitious fantasy toward the more true or real scientific inquiry of nature. Conventional method thus sees itself as the motion and path of truth that has foreclosed the need for superstitious belief through open-minded investigating and explaining natural causes of before-seen miracles of God. In this way, though such superstitious belief is still around, convention has basically reduced all reality to a truth that is, can be, and will be found of nature; in the same motion, God has been pushed to the margins of incorporation with conventional reality; the workings of God are put into rational categories that are readily and easily adjusted for what science explains. In the most liberal of ideas, God is the relative unknown that resides into consciousness by the loose ends of science and psychology. As an effective unknown space, God can help, influence or be persuaded to move with a person and their life; God can comfort as well as create purpose out of misfortune, and of course God can be the inexplicable force behind good fortune. Similarly, God can be a sort of universal energy, still unexplained in its essence, but which can be used for a persons benefit; God in this manner is the basis of spiritual practice such as healthy living, meditation, tai chi, yoga, the 12-steps, and the like. Yet through all of these practices and concepts, God is no longer a truly active agent, but is more an involved element, a reason or result of conventional ideas and practices, all of which have a natural and rational basis of explanation that accounts for them. Furthermore, a necessity of God is not demanded, belief is an individual choice, since everything will have a natural explanation. Conventional reality thus accounts for all that can be explained by including within its potential, within its method of operation, that which is unexplained; nature and God are thereby brought under a general theory, so to speak, of methodology, where all that is explained and not explained is included in its dominion by its potential to make everything (at least, eventually) explainable. Nature as a category is inclusive to God, as creation, and God as a category is inclusive to nature as ‘a god’s’ effect concerns natural elements. In sum; convention has brought ‘God’ into itself, it has done away with a need for God by putting itself in that place. Convention, in this way, has encompassed ‘God and nature’ such that it sees its domain as total, as comprising all that is true, real, and existing.

Consequently, the conventional agent believes that those who explain or endeavor to understand phenomena through their ‘non-conventional’ causes, are doing away with the conventional methodology and its providence. The fact is, though, conventionalists have really no idea what it is to propose true and false, and has no standards but its own arbitrarity by which to place its standards. The nature of this method then corresponds with the next clause of Spinoza:

…They suppose, forsooth, that God is inactive so long as nature works in her accustomed order, and vice versâ, that the power of nature and natural causes are idle so long as God is acting: thus they imagine two powers distinct one from the other, the power of God and the power of nature, though the latter is in a sense determined by God, or (as most people believe now) created by Him. What they mean by either, and what they understand by God and nature they do not know, except that they imagine the power of God to be like that of some royal potentate, and nature’s power to consist in force and energy.

The point Spinoza is making, though he could not know it for the terms of our time, only his, is that the stasis of conventional terms prevents convention itself from falling prey to Spinoza’s formula; such conventional method typically distances itself from Spinoza by calling his position ‘pantheist’. in this way, through conventional progress, reality is presented to have included previously excluded ideas; for example, whereas resort to superstition used to be usual and accepted, now superstition has been debunked. To reiterate; convention thus disclaims God by its rationale, and affirms God so far a conventional method is activated in its considering of the possibility of God. The problem is revealed when what is ‘outside’ or ‘unaccounted by’ conventional reality is brought to bare upon conventional truths of method. The conventional response to this addressing, of elements devoted to the ‘God-ness’ of conventional reality, the ‘unknown’ outside conventional domain of the conventional ‘soon-to-be-known’ method, the effectively ‘miraculous’ or incredible aspect of conventional reality, is to view such non-conventional endeavors to be “doing away with”, what has now to be seen as, conventional ‘God-and-nature’ truth and its providence. Conventional method, offended by the revealing of what it cannot account for, sees the non-conventional or aphilosophical explanation as doing away with what is true, and thus reacts, as methodology usurps or commandeers what should be its true meaning, thereby making it a part of the conventional reality, for ideological, political or religious agendas, or plain calls it non-sense or false.

These are the facts of the matter, the discussion upon the point of contention, aphilosophy, and how it relates to conventional reality; it is the attempt to explain “phenomena” or “miracles” of conventional reality that is and or has been supposed within or by the conventional methodology to be natural, which is to say for much of it, sought in psychology. The irony is in the conventional orientation of itself dealing with nature, when it now must be seen, due to the aphilosophical explanation, that conventional reality is really a religious cosmology, a reality “formed in the mind of its God” that avoids what is natural existence by its very nature of avoiding is own existence. It is the conventional offense, its instilled fear of losing power, that reacts by redistributing true existential meaning onto the real map that is the conventional scheme of meaning that designates and corresponds true objects and their terms. Such conventional methodology would then place aphilosophical description in a particular category of either/or to for the truth of its faith in its own objects. And it is this feature of human existence that then speaks polemically, not relatively, of a universal ethical situation as existentially necessary – a discourse that modern theoretics will find quite distasteful.

Non-Philosophy and Aphilosophy: Departure. An Exercise of Metalepsis; Spinoza and the term part 2; Laruelle and the Quadripartite.

If we are steadfast in our undertaking we will not labor our attitude of righteousness. Yet, we likewise must not fall back into the comfort of the easy way. The challenge is to indeed be challenged, and not to again be presented with another variation of puzzle, for by now the puzzles are seen to be transient extensions of our own process. Where they are not seen as transient, there what is critical is merely somewhat important, or at least the importance that makes for another puzzle. Let the big minds remain big, their importance emphasizing how important they are -how great their problems are! The purpose of critical thinking is to reach beyond what we believe, to question that which we are represented by, to not flinch when our status as an individual is threatened, go headlong into that heart of darkness, willing to give all unto the unknown.

Do I ask too much? Too often, I think so. The beginning of the Constructive Undoing admitted that barely anyone if no one will be up to the task of challenging reality, the nobility of individuality, that common of the hoard. Maybe it will take another two thousand years, but maybe only 150, maybe only 30. It is not for me to say. Maybe it will take no time at all. But how we love to have so little time.

The nonsense that appears to have been represented here and in the previous essays (Extreme Dialectic, in particular) either invites or it mocks. I am sure most everyone will have felt mocked; and many will suffice it to think that it has already been said and disproven. They have the next problem to solve. It is easy thus to tell one who has been mocked: they put up a defense, and assert their problematic identity. Indeed, I am talking about them but I am not talking to them. I am talking to you, you who have been thus invited. We thus depart.

Though this departure may be a bit sudden and crass manner, metalepsis is just this feature of communication that departs to leave parted and not to rejoin but to offer. Sudden, crass as a hit to our sensibility but delightfully ironic, the individual is challenged where the distance that typically intervenes for reading, between the author and reader, suddenly loses its quality; the boundary that flies up is noticed as the fault that it is, and fades. The words no longer are seen as coming from some ‘other’ human being, offending us, but are come upon as arising to your experience. What was unknowingly held as precious has been obtruded upon. Your will has been superseded.

Some may wish to classify this perceptive move a type of poetic mechanics, and perhaps, in the end, this is what ultimately we are involved with, a bringing about the function of poetry but without all the subjective interpretation, that is, without the need to bring what may be poetical (aside from the lyric) or metaphorical into the conventional definite; a specific intention apart from the material science. If I have found something to show you, and I want you to know of it, do I need to tell you of all the details about it when you are here? I can paint you a picture, even if it is with words, and you can see it how I see it. Can you not know what it is when I show it to you and smile with you in that coupling of mutual recognition? But when I show you, will you know it like I know it? How do you know? But I know. Barring all the conventional possibilities, the only problem that remains is then how to speak of it.

It is not necessarily a sales commercial or an advertisement like on the TV and magazines that invite you. Too much, perhaps, now do we take the you at a distance, so keen and suspecting we are, so witty and defensive. It is not ‘me’ it is speaking to, or if it is me, it is because I just happen for that need; I have been called, but not called upon. I have needed before, but such a call is beyond suspect; everything else becomes suspect. I have not heard myself in you. Not in collapse of reality but a restating of reality.

More may want to call this unto a type of spiritual-ness, and perhaps it is a type of spirit that arises, but the one who hears that ‘spiritual’-ness has done so only ‘in the spirit’ of spirit, so to speak. Who then will fall back into what they already know, and at this, for the sake of keeping us independent, individuals, common only in our strife? And not question it? Spirituality and thingFs of the spirit are so routinely spoken to be transformed into a type of feeling that one attempts to achieve, it is no wonder intoxicants are the way of the world; it is no wonder we behave so selfishly. No one really wants to work for it, but we are lead to believe that one must do just that: work to achieve a spiritual feeling to life. Perhaps, in such a discussion, we should speak of two kinds of work. This is not to say that the spirit may not be moved in that way, of a spiritual feeling; it is only to say that too often what is called ‘of the spirit’ is merely a feature of being human that allows for a plausible denial of the truth of human existence. Of the spirit should not push us back into our individual strife to hope, and we should not be forced to define ourselves in any manner. Call it ‘synchronicity’ ? But how much, even in our situating an experience in that way by that term, do we passively settle back into some unknown that only included us for a moment, to be defined. Or if we take it to heart, what of this heart isolates us? Deja vu? How do we still observe this moment? And hope? Even if we have a sort of spiritual center that takes such moments in stride as a part of the greater spiritual universe, how often do we still speak of gods and goddesses, elements, energies that define us for the world against which we can thereby be righteous and proper, maybe even the teacher of those seeking fulfillment? Again, it is not so much that such moments lack significance, but rather how we situate the significance in a difficult dialectic. Here then we might have gotten a clue.

Far too easy do most live. Yet, the other type of easiness, so usually missed, is then put into a derogatory difficulty or category of apathy or laziness, a defensive assertion perpetrated by those who have no clue. Everyone wants to be extreme except in the very activity by which they are even able to be extreme. We stop when the extreme just begins to get difficult. Everyone wants to work hard but everything in moderation. No one really wants to work, but they do want to call it work, to say they worked hard, especially when they are just playing around; when one really has to work, there is no calling it anything but doing – at least, the work that accomplishes anything. So we have those complacent who calculate risk and work at it so that everyone knows, and those who actually do risk, as their work is nothing more then they must do, that most everyone cannot help but being offended by because they do not say “I worked so hard”, even though it was the hardest work anyone could ever do.

“He who works, gets the bread.” But as we already know, this is not usually the case. Often it is he who does nothing, or he who takes the easy way, or he who scams another who gets the bread. Basically, he who loves deception and its conventional method typically gets the bread; the rest of us blindly uphold the goodness of humanity and maybe we get some bread and maybe we don’t – so is there really a difference? It seems just as well that we join them because we cant beat them.

In the world of the spirit, the spirit that is not spirit, though, Master Kierkegaard tells us, he who works gets the bread every time. So why is it that we work so hard for the spirit and only sometimes get the bread? Well; what bread are you after? Probably you are not merely wanting bread, but a specific kind of bread, or you already have an idea of what the bread is or supposed to be. This latter is what causes all the trouble, for usually we are not looking for the spirit, but merely what everyone seems to be meaning when they speak of the spirit. But not only this; because we are taking on faith what this spirit is from what everyone seems to be saying about it, we inevitably figure if we do what they do then perhaps we will get some bread. So we prod them for their method, practice it, yet still it comes at times and other times not. Then we work still harder for it, and the results are the same. Soon we just compensate for the inconsistency, the apparent failure, and the spirit becomes the method, a real practice of life. Like working out some spiritual muscle, we figure over time we will gain, most likely in retrospect, something along the lines of spiritual food. What we have actually done is given into the con game of those who would scam us so we can get the bread for ourselves – but the joke is that the method doesn’t work for them either – to get the true spiritual food: the bread of life – so we gain what we can and resort to calling it spiritual; we degrade (downgrade) the spirit into the mundane. For the truth is, he who works, gets the bread, every time. And what it means to work has been falsified: it should rather be said of it, “he for whom functions the spirit, gets the spiritual food”. If I am practicing a method, I have not allowed the spirit to function, but have only allowed the idea of spirit to behave as a thing to be had. One cannot be so timid; one must ‘go big’, as they say, and going big is to risk all that would create me from the methods of spirit, which is to say, the methods of men who have great ideas of how to achieve the spirit.

For those who do risk, we cannot balk at anything, even our own destruction. We are not satisfied with spiritual platitudes. You who are here now for this have just risked it all without even knowing it. The object has been compromised, and the subject has been blurred. The words become occasions for experience. Now, we just might be communicating. If not, well, you can keep reading too.

We continue beyond the tape – to hell with the safety protocols, the standing back – so that the aphilosophical discussion of non-philosophy may come about for their truth. It is a vacillation that occurs of being one then the other, of opening rather than fixating.

*

From here, we can begin to see how the usual configuration of duality, the subject and object, and or the one and the other, the one and the many, is disrupted and a more basic duality precipitates out of a necessary matrix of meaning; I have called this a situation of ‘conventional’ and ‘ironic’. This motion is similar to how Francois Laruelle’s non-philosophical quadripartite actually comes into play for aphilosophy. This can be formulated in the following manner: (1) subject-object basic duality; (2) reduction of duality to knowledge, which yields a ‘subsequent’ duality, the ‘subject-object’ reality in contrast to the reality determined in knowledge: the elimination of the objective; (3) the elimination of the subjective; (4) the radical and non-philosophical or the aphilosophical: the result of existence removed of the subject and object yet retaining effective human presence on the scene. The fourth move is an extension of the third but it should not be seen, as Laruelle seems to see, to be necessary; indeed, the secondary duality emerges in this restated duality as significant rather than radical. Hence, the first move is a non-philosophical repetition of convention, the second an aphilosophical reiteration of it.

Laruelle’s non-philosophical contribution can be seen as the last, or the ‘most minimal’ type of conventional overdetermination that can be permitted by convention, thus he determines his, what could be called, ‘passive-activism’, or maybe ‘active-passive-not-to-be-confused-with-passivity’, his radical unilateral duality, as the ‘end’ of philosophy. His terming of ‘radical’ this and that further shows this effort most poignantly; that it is an attempt to reconcile ironic and conventional realities but without acknowledging irony.

To appeal to the conventional methodology so as not to offend the conventional reality; most everyone is looking for or enjoys an Idea of a ‘more real’ reality, and Laruelle offers just that. Instead of the philosophical decision, which is argued, that informs philosophy, philosophical reality, or what I call conventional reality, that founded upon a dyadic structure, this base a methodological cision, Laruelle offers a ‘joining’, so to speak, a radical unity that he situates through destabilizing terms, succeeded through his much labors of hyphenation (See my Direct Tangent 6.9). By his situating ‘radical’ as the basis of his proposed coming to terms with what he ventures is Real, that is, of a more fundamental or more true reality, he evidences his position in conventional reality, having missed the ironic for the ‘vision-in-one’. Where the quadripartite misses the mark is by that which is polemical to the first, or usual subject-object duality, which thereby indicating a tripartite thus moves to a fourth. These then are upheld in an asserted more true reality that is described by him through a giving and then taking away, a, as I have said, disruption of usual conventional definition, as this is all proposed as a method of thinking or coming upon reality so as to be able to teach or otherwise make one aware of the more real Real, the true Reality. Irony is the complete and not repeated cision (aphilosophy reiterates the decision) of philosophy that conventional philosophy as well as non-philosophy refuses to respect. Irony is exactly the iteration of what is not conventionally real; it is the instatement of the Truth of unequal citizens in the world, where each is empowered to their own existence, as opposed to the universal Law of equality where each is disempowered to another’s reality. Where non-philosophy fails, as method, is in the teaching of inequality through a method implicit in equality: a ‘democracy of strangers’. Perhaps aphilosophy is more analogous to a republic.

Aphilosophy accepts the existential maxim of basic duality that resolves non-philosophically in unilateral duality: two truths at play that do not resolve in the other, but the one accounts for the other where the one excludes the other. Aphilosophy reiterates the conventional history; it speaks the same under a different rubric. The irony of a critique of non-philosophy should not be missed; there is no Real opposed to reality, but what is Real is indeed reality as they are different. Having missed it within the method of non-philosophy, the reader should not believe that non-philosophy ends anything, but rather announces aphilosophy – unless the ending and the announcement indicate the ‘poles’ of the unilateral duality. The ‘Future Christ’ of non-philosophy, itself a vision or conclusion of philosophy as utopia, the ‘man-in-man’, has all too conventionally taken the risk of offering the view of the ‘remainder of the term’ (see my essay “Aphilosophy, Convention, Faith and God”) yet from the quite secure position that is set in the last vestiges of the conventional boarderlands. To use an adage: Laruelle has not thrown away the ladder, but has stepped to the second from the top rung and from there is looking out beyond; but, of course, he should then only be able to see the ‘last’ true (subject-) object: the Future Christ. The irony comes when one understands that the proposed method is an effort of faith, of hope in the promise of humanity coming to terms with itself in existence; this is evidenced, as I have repeatedly said, in Laruelle’s statement or rhetorical question: “should humanity be saved”, for only a conventional methodologist would frame any meaning in such a manner, but likewise, it is evidenced by those non-philosophers who believe in the proposal of method as they attempt to stick to the method and end up speaking a poetry that they see as substantial and not metaphorical. The irony sets in when one sees that non-philosophy has merely used the wrong terms to situate the point of contention, but has indeed situated it due to its complete description of the issue and its proposed method; non-philosophy thus necessitates the ironic move that cannot contain nor is capable of presenting a method beyond its necessary re-presentation in conventional reality.

The Future Christ is thus the situation of meaning that stays in line with Spinoza speaking about God, miracles and nature as if he was simply addressing universal static situations of historical true objects. In contrast; when Spinoza is seen to be addressing a basic feature of the existing human being, then we can also see that Laruelle’s Future Christ is a term that gains reference from conventional reality, a particular scheme of meaning, an intrinsic mythology(we will discuss intrinsic and extrinsic mythology later), and that such a Christ is really an inevitable future manifestation or organization of humanity that is only Christ-like from the perspective of the conventional orientation upon the true object, progressive temporality, and that such a perspective is inherently unsuited to view the truth that stems from the point of contention, which is ironic, to say the least. 

 *

I can never say enough of my belief, but I can say that when I have said enough I will no longer have any beliefs except so much as I might need to still refer my daily decisions. Am I Christ, the Future? I don’t think so, but some might take it to mean an analogy, so they could be that Future Christ – oh – but only in a figurative way, here, let me describe to you the many intellectualized facets of non-philosophy. Ridiculous. Life goes on; human life goes on. We should not get too caught up in our Christlinesses of metaphor. Once you know you will never forget and you will begin to do only that which you do, though you may speak of it. But then, then again; how many will speak of it as if they do more than just do?