Monday, 1 January 2018

New start

       Yesterday, in Glass House Philosopher, I talked about,
...the sense I have that, despite all the fears and dangers, I am safe in 'my' hands. There is someone in charge who is not identical to my conscious self. I wouldn't use Freudian terminology (Superego, Id, Ego) because it doesn't fit. I'm talking about my 'true' self, my 'greater' self. The one who knows where he is going, even when at times fearful I do not.
      On the previous page, I announced the publication of an expanded version of Philosophizer, titled Philosophizer (Black Edition). From the New Preface:
I don't yet know what is possible — in philosophy. But that is why I wrote my book. I am still searching.
      Still searching. But what to do? Waiting isn't enough. Inspiration needs to be provoked, it won't come of its own accord. But this is where I hit the nail on the head:
If you have a point to make, it should be there for anyone with eyes to see. You shouldn t need to argue for it, the way philosophers incessantly feel the need to do.
      That's where I've fallen down. (In my last post in this journal, for example.) But I am clearer now, about how to go forward. Let the 'philosophers' (so-called) do what they do best. I have my 'philosopher's hat' but only for official business (Pathways to Philosophy, Ask a Philosopher).
      Maybe, this could be seen as 'theology' (60s Protestant, 'God is dead' variety). That's the name Aristotle gave to his 'first philosophy' (the neologism 'metaphysics' is the name the librarians at Alexandria used). Levinas calls it 'ethics'. Sometimes, listening to myself, I imagine that I sound a bit like Martin Luther (swearing, crudity, railing against the Devil). — This is, in a way, a project of Reformation, is it not?
      Academic philosophy is on a road to nowhere. The ultimate questions are the only thing a philosopher should be concerned with. Everything else is dispensable. Underlabouring (Locke), logical analysis, methodology, political theory, literary criticism have a place in the architectonic of human knowledge. Determining that place — the precise place — is itself a worthwhile activity if you are into that kind of thing. But it isn't philosophy.
      But never mind, I'm not going to argue over the use of a word. That's what 'philosophers' do, isn't it? And there's too many of them to argue with. So I will just go my own way, not even glancing once to see if anyone is following behind.
      What do I know?
      What do I believe?
      The stuff about my 'greater self' is belief, useful or otherwise. I don't go in for fairy tales or magical thinking. This is about adjusting my mental attitude (YouTube Return of the evil demon). My way of orienting myself to reality, or more accurately, to the task before me.
      What I know is that the the theory of materialism — first promulgated as a metaphysical theory of the the ultimate units of Parmenidean 'Being' by the Atomists Leucippus and Democritus 2,500 years ago — cannot possibly be true. I know this because:
I might not have existed, everything else remaining the same.
      (Remembering, now, that the theory of evolution is not a new idea — it was first put forward by the Presocratic philosopher Empedocles pursuing a similar agenda: making the world safe for physics.)
      There being I in the world, rather than no-I, is a momentous event. Fantastic, inexplicable. How to account for it? Who is even aware of that question?
      Unlike the 'soul substance' of Descartes, my 'I' is  existentially weightless. It's existence is pure contingency. It can go out of existence, or flick back into existence at any time. (In a way, Descartes is committed to this too, because material and mental 'substances' only persist through time by God's pleasure — which led Spinoza to conclude that God is the only true substance, the only thing not dependent on something else for its continued existence.)
      Do I actually know that my 'I' is 'existentially weightless'? Well, no. Of course not. I am speculating, or else drawing conclusions. Maybe the 'I' does refer to something noumenal, but that is speculation too. Or, at least, requires an argument, and I'm not in the business of giving arguments.
      I need to work on myself. Mentally, I am not in the best shape for this. I don't know how it's done, this 'philosophizing', whatever it is. Attending, focusing, remembering, martialling my spirit and my emotions. It's all new to me. Trial and error.
      — That's what these pages are for...

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