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Anslem’s Argument for the Proof of the Existence of God, the Disruption of Time, and the Categorization of Philosophical Behavior.

I seem to have found a significance for Anslem’s proof. It may be that it is not significance for whether God might exist, but, as I have said, significance for how I present ideas.

We will start with the rendition from Princeton’s site. I think they have a pretty good rendition there.

Without all the strict logical hoopla, I think the simple way to put Anslem’s idea is that God exists because we can think of It.

The significance of this notion appears to disrupt what we generally consider of time, it’s ‘natural and directional’ progress.

The Princeton site says that Anslem was addressing a particular issue that, actually, we still find totday in atheism. Basically, Anslem is confronting two ideas:

1.He understands the claim that God exists.
2.He does not believe that God exists.

Now, I have done only the most preliminary research into Anslem and his ideas. I am just taking the very popular simple version, and considering these two situations. There is no ‘hidden’; whatever Anslem’s results most probably are quite apparent, and the ones that are not – well, what point am I trying to make here? I have already said in my earlier post that there is no logical argument that sways me in any direction or causes me to believe something I didn’t before. So any extension of argument must be involving something else; perhaps I am attempting to get at what this something could be.

I think the main point Anslem makes is that, as Princeton puts it, this is an inherently unstable condition of being. What we might call the ‘founding essence’ can be understood to be responsible for this instability. Somewhat similar to a ‘thing-in-itself’, this founding essence would be a kind of gravity well, if you will, of mental activity. The instability arises because of the knowledge (the known-ness) of what something is able to be. The question arises: How can I know what something is if it doesn’t exist? The basic assumption in this question, what philosophers tend to lump into the category called ontology, is that existence is, that there is no need to discern what existence is because to argue for or against the being of existence does nothing to displace the argument except as much as it merely denies existence. The point of saying something exists thus should equate with what can be known, and so the instability of the situation is found in the human ability to choose on whether what exists is actually true. In this case, though, Anslem is dealing with the basis of all that exists as a category, namely, God; God, in this sense, as we cannot but apply our modern sense to consideration of it, is merely the name of the category that contains all that can exist as an active element, the element by which all else can be said to be. The extension in time to Heidegger’s ‘Being and Time’ can be understood as a factual description of this situation, and thus, rather than an opening up unto Being, ironically as a closing of Being unto itself and thus a factual description of what human beings do: The identification of the in-itself of human Being. More on that elsewhere.

The resolution that Anslem posits of this unstable situation occurs because of the foundational nature of the knowledge itself. In this Medieval Christian context (which I argue is still a modern context), the resolution (the clarity, the definition) that must be referred to must be understood in a context not so much of mind, but of the essential God-inundated mind that is able to uphold and entertain knowledge, which for our context might be the mind that exists. In short, the condition of knowledge is/was such that all things referred or otherwise are established in existence due to an absolute situation, a situation whereby all things gain their status in the universe, what we usually index by the idea of an absolute ethics, in a manner of speaking. In this condition it thus appears that a reflective mind will naturally be drawn into the the contradiction involved in making a choice as to the (true or false) existence of something that (already) exists (in essence), and will therefore correct (or become the correction) the instability by virtue of their own existence (in the absolute universe, or the universe that is indexed by absolution). The question of whether something actually, or physically, biologically exists, such as a race of human beings that live in the midieval antipodes, e2c1fd0e8fc468d9d55d018231578e47

unicorns, dragons, spirits, extraterrestrial aliens, etcetera, has no baring upon existence because of the absolute reference and access of mind to God (existence). What can be incorrect of knowledge as to what is true of existence finds its resolution in the posited (assumed) basis of existence. 

The Medieval as well as Modern mind is consistent in this ideal of progressive understanding of the universe. What is significant of this orientation upon progress is the mind’s innate access to what is true of the universe with reference to an assumed basis of that truth, what we can say is an assumption of stability unto which all knowledge will inevitably resolve; despite whether we posit that there is no actual resolution or that everything is flux, or whatever conditional conditions we define, the result of any positing is always toward ends, toward a resolution. Even if we say that the universe and the knowledge of that universe is completely and utterly contingent, this contingency must be absolute; hence we say that the effect of such terms within any scheme of knowledge or organization of definitions is what we can call a “founding term”. 

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Oddly enough, we are able to find purchase into understanding what human beings do by looking at what philosophy does. Not, as Graham Harman might have it, that everything we might do automatically falls into a subjective appropriation of semantics that defies our attempt to locate such philosophical behavior. Rather, at some point we should be able to locate a mark by which we are able to be dismissed from this correlational philosophy that wants to avoid any critical gaze upon its method.

Once we find this mark (which I do not go into here), we can extend this situation (of existence and deferment) to apply to everything that might exist: Within this situation, a person can understand and then decide upon it. There is no thing that escapes this formula, and Anslem is making an accusation about it: It is unstable, and it will eventually resolve itself to the conclusion that the thing in question exists, in his Medieval case, God, and in our Modern case, perhaps, the object of empirical physics.

The point he relies upon is the idea that God is the greatest being or thing that can exist, for, so long as we can conceive of something greater, then that is not God. Similarly, we can use this conversely and say that because we can conceive of ‘that which nothing is greater’, this greatest thing exists as a foundational ontological ground of Modern effort as well: The ‘greatest’ thing is the most substantial. 

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What interests me is that this simple notice occurred late in the 11th century. Here, already, is a situation made notice that no one noticed until very recently, like 10-20 years ago with the philosophers such as Alain Badou, Francois Laruelle, an then for the younger folks (of the time), of the Speculative Realist Conference. In particular, the idea is that there may be something that exists outside of our knowledge (not necessarily our ability to know), and as for in this situation, that which is greater than the greatest thing we can know. This category has brought modern philosophy (again) to consider things like voidnothingnesschaos and such things, and the corresponding ideal that whatever works to create identity is all good. But if we are honest, we might be able to glimpse the same ruminations of Scholasticism (St. Anslem is said to be one of the founders of the Medieval Scholasticism), occurring in our Modern philosophies, but under different terms. Indeed; I argue (along with Jean-Francois Lyotard apparently) elsewhere that Postmodern scholarship is really a religious apology for Modernity.

In this post I confront the veracity of some of our current philosophical modes and arguments by asking what seems to me to be a most obvious and significant question, a similar question that Graham Harman asks of Heidegger’s “tools“: Why did no-one  notice what Anslem had opened up until now, some 1000 years later? We are able to understand Anslem’s argument to this day; no one proposes that the thinkers 1000 years ago were any less astute than our thinkers today. Why is it only now that we are addressing the possibility of what might be ‘beyond’ or ‘at root but not part of’ (Badou’s consideration of set theory) knowledge? And then we might even ask more confounding question if we find that philosophers during the interim of the thousand years also considered the same question over and over. 

I submit for consideration that we have gotten not very far in philosophy. We might begin to understand the vastness of time and how slowly and incrementally human beings, as a group, accomplish knowledge, and how it is much more like a science than philosophers are capable of arguing. Indeed, if we think into this situation, we can then find often the situation that we have already come across elsewhere; namely, that on one hand philosophy is the way we situate the conditions of our times, how we work out logistical problems of being in a semantic world, and on the other, merely reflections of people (the authors) in-themselves. But if this is all philosophy does and is doing, then we also might see that we are actually merely re-contextualizing not what what has already been contextualized (as thus a re-contextualization), but in actually what we’ve already done, making the same arguments over and over but under different terms. We are reminded of Shakespeare’s “a rose by any other word…“.

Upon this conclusion, we are careful to not move too fast as we might then jump to the conclusion that such an idea should negate the ontological status of what I am calling conventional philosophy, as though such a proposal should then move beyond what we have and what we get through philosophical method. This is not the case. It seems near ridiculousness to figure that we can commandeer reality by a stroke of the pen (or a keystroke) except that we might be involved in such philosophical endorsement; we should then ask how is it that am I to get beyond it merely saying something in a particular manner? No. We cannot ‘turn’ the truth of the matter; we have but to see the power that is invested in the leviathan of religious interests, of maintaining a particular formation and method to know that, as the philosophers have argued, I cannot escape it unless I wish to perform some magic, perhaps some discursive slight of hand. We should ask if we can be done with all this trickery of the ontological police. Then, all we have to do is speak of facts instead of the essential Being of things, to speak teleologically instead of ontologically. We can argue the conditional nature of real essence for the rest of eternity and never get anywhere further than circling back and forth away from and back into Medieval type scholarship. And thats fine, and thats the point: This is the factual nature of reality, the impossible aspect of what we have to deal with in reality. Of course there will be those who will argue that what the philosophers are doing now days is not Scholasticism and who will produce all sorts of argumentative and ultimately circumstantial evidence to support their claim. Great! Perfect! Does this sway me to believe something that I don’t already know?  The proper response, in this case then, is that this is not a proposal toward any popular or social change, and in fact it has little to do with how political ideology might be at any moment; we can of course use it for such purposes (identifying our moment from the past conditional moments of history, for example, etcetera…), thats what Badiou and Zizek tell us…

We are not so much learning anything new as much as we are justifying our limited manner of Being in the world, and this is an end in itself that should be heeded but not as a call for change, as though we can somehow transcend what we are — we can only transcend was we identify with as political and ideological subjects. Rather, we should see this situation as a mark of what is true of being human, as a mark of significance, which is to say, a mark of fact. So another of my indictments of philosophy: Despite all the great discursive gymnastics and the twistings of subtle argumentative semantic juxtapositions, philosophy works to avoid having to look at itself as a human behavior. Conventional philosophy refuses to allow itself to be seen as an indicator of behavior, perpetually argues itself as an exceptional incarnation of divine intuition and inspiration, a blank spot of Being, and then uses this fact as a means to absorb all activity under its purview back into the real political and ideological limit — to say that this is all there is. I see the constant and basically automatic referral of all things ‘thought’ back into this kind of philosophical pond is self defeating to the effort of progress, even as progress itself is routed back into this (touted) ‘speculative’, or ‘realist’, or  ‘post-post-modern’ maxim. It is no wonder outside of capitalism is so difficult to think!

As Amoreinblog has argued somewhere, perhaps anthropology is the way out of this philosophical conundrum; despite all the philosophical misappropriations of ideas involved with the AIME (An Investigation into Modes of Existence) project of Bruno Latour (even by Latour himself, lol), his book can be read as an argument for the need to open up a space (perhaps, in his terms, create a pass) whereby we can avoid this modern philosophical whirlpool that we have been involved with for at least 1000 years. It seems that only now, with Postmodernism, but as of late Post-postmodnerism (must we find a Post-Post-Postmodernism also?) do we really get an idea, but also an actual way to understand and realize what human beings are doing.

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Time itself may be the issue that is involved with Modernity invading as it usurps all discourse into its machinery. The issue that opens up after Postmodernism (but is not itself Postmodern scholarship) is the break from Enlightenment Ontology. So it may not be so much that we have to philosophically get out of this temporal mode — that kind of move would be philosophy attempting to avoid itself through arguing itself out of itself, redundantly, establishing as it maintains reality for everyone. It may be as simple as admitting that there is no escaping the philosophical limit, and realizing a kind of anti-Husserlian manner: Of finding the independent object in the bare fact that we know that there is an independent object, and perhaps that we need not speculate about how it can be so in order for it to be so. Of course we can discuss how it can be so…and indeed we will, but that does not mean that we cannot stay where we are at and let the pagan-Christian rollercoaster come around again and again.

Maybe we need to make a clean break.

the Divergent Proposal.

The other week I read a post that I believe was by Donna Haraway ( I could ne wrong) that was addressing something to the effect that was “the cresting and crashing of the Speculative Realism wave”, and again I was left in an odd sort of state. I don’t remember just what exactly her point was – probably due to the lurch I find myself in when I read about the philosophical turns and phases; but it doesn’t matter. The significance of coming across the essay has been an occasion to speak: What, exactly, ‘crested and crashed’?

The Entry into Discourse (the very first posting of Constructive Undoing) and the subsequent essays of the Direct Tangents concerned one thing: Why is Francois Laruelle using such complex and verbose language to express such a simple idea? Why did he have to have a “Dictionary of Non-Philosophy”? A better question now, one that goes to the point of this essay here, one that answers the obviousness of the mistake inherent of Haraway’s proclamation, is why would readers need such a dictionary?

It seems obvious that what prompted the Dictionary (of NP) is people did not understand what he was saying, or maybe that it was difficult to keep his definitions in order to be able to make sense of it, to thereby understand what he is saying. It is this that indicates that indeed a divergence in the estimation of occurrences is needed. My position has always been that I understood him at first read. Now, of course, those who need the Dictionary, those who in this specific case feel that NP is/was something really cool, but also those who delve and delineate and smash and ponder others’ ideas to get to what that other is actually saying, but as in this case with Laruelle, will say that I do not understand him. The same with Alain Badiou. I will not go into the whole of my dealings that are the first half of the Constructive Undoing posts; suffice it to say that no matter what I might say to paraphrase in the attempt to describe how I understand Laruelle, those so well read and versed in the Dictionary will always retort with the the definitions. In fact, they have learned the definitions so well (probably better than Laruelle himself) that they will string together Laruelle’s terms into sentences that propose to describe to me what he is saying, or what Non-Philosophy really is, or is really saying, to tell me how I am wrong in what I have gleaned and understand of Non-Philosophy. My question back is what exactly do these definitions they are flouting mean; just what are those definitions referring to? Invariably I get in response more of Laruelle’s Non-philosophical definitions. In other words, they offer me no substantial nor tangible meaning, no basis from which or for which the terms they are using have any meaning for me that says they understand what he is saying. They are incapable of telling me ‘straight’, for a colloquialism, but constantly refer to terms that have a meaning of which one needs to be informed as to a particular meaning that further has no meaning without again referencing terms that occur to meaning along a line a clausal order that lay, some how, outside regular experience. What they do use in place of this substance I seek, this relation to my direct and very real everyday experience, is more philosophical jargon, referencing various other philosophers as to their usage of terms that relate to Laruelle’s usage either through some academic and or traditional lineage, or philosophically historical lineage of ideas.

Their defense can come from an equivalence they see of their philosophy and physics. Specifically, they take the presentation of thesis measured against a common human’s informed ability to reason, as this ability is gained through the learning of just what it is to be informed to the issues of the reasoning. In short, it claims the same type of privilege that physicists claim. They call their philosophical ‘science’ metaphysics, as if to emphasize not only the ability of reason to create a path, as well as potential for development of a method, but also the ability to apprehend a truth, much like physics, that goes beyond, deeper or higher than pedestrian or regular everyday reasoning. The difference, though, between physics and metaphysics is that physics holds its claim as a science because it only gains and proceeds by what is offered of objects. The scientific tradition is verified due to its offering nothing, but only that which is offered to its method. The problem with the supposed philosophical science of metaphysics is located in the fact that what is offered to the supposed philosophical reason has no common object, but rather the assertion of such a common object occurs only within the assertion itself, of the supposed reason that is proposing to be come upon by what is offered of the common object. This is to say, there is no object that is offered to philosophy but what philosophy makes for itself. Whereas physics developed its method through response to what was and is given by the common object, philosophy problematizes this very same object through an assertion, but then justifies its method by avoiding this very fact, as if the object treated by physics and metaphysics is indeed the same object. This move is why we can attempt to identify what is or was ‘modern’; modernism has been identified as having to do or otherwise concerning a number of ideas that can tend to appear similar or of a common type. This type has been ‘of ends’, teleology, concerned with oneness, involved with meta-discourses that propose upon a proper and correct manner of the universe.

Yet, when we begin to look at philosophy we begin to see there is an insidious persistence about its presence on the scene, so to speak. For example, it is not difficult to see that any move that proposes to be done with such meta-discourses is itself an assertion toward an encompassing meta-discourse. What we can see, and say, then, is that the only thing that happened with the exposure of the ‘modern’ philosophical problem, in so much as this problem may have been already exposed, at that, by the post-modernists, is that we now have a situation of many people proposing meta-discourses who are hoping to propose the meta-discourse that ‘wins’. In short, we see that the post-modern proposals went heard but unapplied, unrecognized as to their meaning and or the origin of their meaning; rather, the application was upon a mistaken appropriation of the meaning. This is to say that despite the post-moderns’ supposedly exposing some ‘problem’ with some ‘previous manner’ of coming upon World, it appears that in response to this exposure, ‘philosophy’, or the designation of the operator of the modern philosophical metaphysical method, is still occurring, still behaving in the same manner only now ‘hiding’ it, or at least attempting to obscure the fact that indeed nothing has changed in how the modern philosophical method functions, and whether it is realized or not, the philosophical operator is still involved with the attempt to establish a true object through an investment in the fetishized commodity; which is to say, concerned with establishing identity through capital marketing. What we have now, of this situation, is what we may call a “pass”; part of our effort is to look into what is occurring with these ‘passes’. It is the description of the event of Being that even reveals Being unto itself, and the movement that occurs with the description in hand evidences such passes.

When one looks at this, it is not difficult to see that such ‘philosophers’ (the ones I’m in a discussion with, the ones who ‘know’ about Non-Philosophy, but also many modern philosophers) are lost in dialogue, what I’ve noticed has been categorized as an intellectualism. They are caught up in terms, in complex ideas, in historical schemes of sense, in lineages of meaning that are supposed and proposed to be talking about fundamental, basic and or essential ‘Truths’ of reality. In fact, when you discuss anything with such heady philosophers, it is rare that you can get them to admit anything that can relate to everyday experience. They are incapable of speaking to reality without recurring disclaimers and conditional terms on one hand, and then without constant referral to what other people think or have thought or said. This is the overt aspect of the conventional route. They are ready to announce their prodigious intellect and memory of various authors and their individual contributions and how these ideas relate to other authors and their ideas. Papers and book are written which are nothing more than comparisons, proposals of established and novel ways such ideas might intertwine and make distinction, which end in the authors offering their great syntheses of their opinion of what ideas might be better or worse, and or how various ideas might be applied to various social and political occurrences and events. This overt conventional manner is quite analytical as opposed to what has been coined as its philosophical counterpart, continental philosophy. Thus it is really the continental school that offers the greater obstacle to the overcoming of conventional route, for one’s interest is often insufficient to find what they are looking for in the continental library, especially if they are busy colliding ideas to see what comes out.

The question concerns the view by which such modern practices, as an embodiment of what is modern, are able to be questioned, since if we understand Zizek we should not be able to have such a view, that the view itself is a symptom of that which it is viewing. What we are seeing, though, or beginning to see, what the post-post moderns (Laruelle, Badiou; I feel Zizek and Latour deserve their own catagory) revealed by their descriptions, now that certain philosophers are offering their own estimation of what is ‘new’ (Brassier, Harman, Meillassoux, Bryant, to name a few) is that the historical traditional philosophical designations fail in their conventional estimations: That the speculative and practical designations fail, and are unsuited anymore to any precise discussion of what is occurring. The aggregate of philosophical wisdom has been reduced to a discursive fashion, of sorts, such that we need now diverge from the philosophical fad that obscures the truth of the matter as it asserts the proper manner of coming upon the situation by the mere over-concern (what has been called in certain circles overdetermination) that people have with establishing themselves as an identity. What we are calling out is just this reflexivity of the Zizek sort: Zizek should be properly classified with the identity he presents by the presentation of his ideas; namely, he argues the exact position he exhibits through his proposals, and that what is occurring is not as much what he proposes except in as much as he occupies a particular historical niche, so to speak, a historical position that coincides with the post-post-modern. It is once this is acknowledged that what is divergent can be revealed as to its own presence, which is to say, its own ontological basis. This is the difference that is always negated in the conventional determination, by its assertion of omniscience and omnipotence.

The essential question one needs ask is: What about such over-reaching philosophical assertions is apparent in my daily life?