Friday, April 29, 2016

Philosophy and "Philosophy"

We left off yesterday with a comment by Josef Pieper about the nature of genuine philosophy, which, more than any other subject, reveals our deiform nature, being that it requires conformity of our totality to the totality of What Is; nothing less has a chance of succeeding.

Again, no individual "branch of the sciences inquires about the world as a whole. But philosophy is concerned precisely with this -- with the totality in all its aspects" (Pieper). It's rather amazing that we can do it at all, being that we know up front that the goal is strictly impossible and that we can never possess or contain the Metacosmic Subject-Object.

Rather, to practice philo-sophy is to be a lover of truth and seeker after wisdom, such that one must be satisfied with the path -- the "Raccoon lifestyle" -- pointing toward the goal, as opposed to actually reaching it. People who imagine they have reached the goal -- such as Marx -- cause most of the problems in the world. He was hardly a lover of Sophia but a possessive and controlling a-hole.

I don't think anyone has said it more pithily than Professor Commentbox, who remarked that "The quest, thus, has no external 'object,' but is reality itself becoming luminous for its movement from the ineffable, through the Cosmos, to the ineffable."

That's what it comes down to, but this luminous moment can be anything from a spark to a conflagration to a wet blanket, like your liberal professor.

Philosophy has no a priori formula or univocal perspective that "limits the openness of its gaze to this object" (Pieper).

Rather, it requires a kind of total receptivity; by way of analogy, instead of staring at a single star in the nighttime sky, you need to relax your vision such that the entire sky comes into view. Or better, it requires a dialectic between the two, the totality and the particular, a constant shifting of perspectives (which is really a kind of ontological metabolism, if you will).

Pieper takes his cue from Plato, whose "one worry is that nothing of the totality be left out, overlooked, concealed, kept quiet about, forgotten."

Misosophic scientism, for example, excises subjectivity at the outset and then wonders how this annoying and inexplicable phenomenon got in here!

But a Raccoon knows there can be no outside without an inside, no object without a subject, no horizontal without a vertical, and ultimately no man without God (however one defines the latter; the point is that man qua man is only comprehensible if regarded as complementary to O; if there is no God there is no man, just another liberal).

"Accordingly," writes Pieper, "it would be unphilosophical formally to exclude any achievable information about reality." If we're going to, for example, express an opinion on man, we need to include biology, anthropology, medicine, psychology, genetics, history, art, myth, religion, and anything else that isn't nailed to the floor.

All truth testifies to the One Truth -- like invisible light refracted through a prism to reveal a rainbow of individual color-disciplines; O is the white light and we are the prismhouse.

This has nothing to do with what the tenured call "philosophy." Any hope of real philosophy "capitulates at the very moment in which it sees itself as an academic subject or discipline" (Pieper). There can be no "final exam" in philosophy; or rather, the exam never ends. It's called your life. And the unexamined one is not worth living, since it is less than fully human.

That's a bit harsh. Let's just say that for the born philosopher the unexamined life isn't worth living. For the multitude, the examined life causes too much anxiety. (Pascal really eviscerates these oblivious folkers, but I don't want to get snidetracked.)

Note that in order to see, three things are required: an eye, an object, and the light to illuminate the latter and enter the former. As above, so below (and vice versa): "in exactly the same way, a divine light is required for the eye of the soul" to take in the nonlocal landscape. Again, this seeing is more diffuse and receptive, more right-brained than left, more holistic than analytic.

God is analogous to the sun. The sun illuminates everything, but if we try to stare directly into it we end up blinded. Thus -- and this is an important point -- many religious concepts are "that with which we look," so to speak, as opposed to being that which we stare at. Think, for example, of Genesis. If we take a nitwit lit-crit approach, don't be surprised if it starts to break down at the edges.

But if we deploy it as our nonlocal spooktacles with which to look, see how much comes into view! Thus, if I'm honest, I can't really say exactly why man is fallen. I mean, I have my ideas, but they tend not to speak to the head as powerfully as mythology speaks to the heart.

However, I can affirm with 100% certainty with Don Colacho that (paraphrasing from memory) There are two kinds of men: those who believe mankind is fallen, and idiots.

The philosopher does not demonstrate; he shows. He says nothing to someone who doesn't see. --Don Colacho

8 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

People who imagine they have reached the goal -- such as Marx -- cause most of the problems in the world. He was hardly a lover of Sophia but a possessive and controlling a-hole.

There's a photo going around of some guy's attempt to troll Cruz by getting him to sign a copy of the Communist Manifesto. Cruz did sign, after writing "millions have suffered because of this." A decent response, but didn't go far enough. He should have written, "millions upon millions have died because of this."

4/29/2016 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But if we deploy it as our nonlocal spooktacles with which to look, see how much comes into view!

I'm reminded of the recent development of glasses that help people with some types of colorblindness to see color.

4/29/2016 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Allena said...

But a Raccoon knows there can be no outside without an inside, no object without a subject, no horizontal without a vertical, and ultimately no man without God (however one defines the latter; the point is that man qua man is only comprehensible if regarded as complementary to O; if there is no God there is no man, just another liberal)."

Amen! ☺️

4/29/2016 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I was struck by the same sentence as Julie. It is a form of insanity to think you know all the answers when you don't even know all the questions.

4/29/2016 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "It is a form of insanity to think you know all the answers when you don't even know all the questions."


That's a good one right there.

5/01/2016 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous It's the culture said...

Isn’t “knowing all the answers” a form of defense mechanism? Hitting that one directly usually just instigates more defense mechanisms. How does one ask the questions so the other thinks differently?

(I'm not being a smart ass, just looking for advice.)

5/02/2016 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

"(I'm not trying to be a smart ass, just looking for advice.)"

Well, being a smart ass is better than being a dumb ass. Jest saying. :)

5/02/2016 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

nonlocal spooktacles is just awesome.

Meant to leave this little tidbit about Marshall McLuhan here: "He once said LSD was the lazy man’s form of Finnegans Wake."

5/02/2016 04:35:00 PM  

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