Wednesday, May 03, 2017

A Theory of Everything (except reality)

One last post before we close the book on Kierkegaard. I'm just finishing a biography that elucidates his project and puts it all in historical perspective. Okay. Still. I don't think I'll be diving into his dozens of books any time soon in order to get all the details.

I think I mentioned this before, but it is apparently impossible to understand Kierkegaard without appreciating the Hegelian elephant in the room, to which much of his writing is a reaction.

Hard for us to understand it today, but for quite awhile there, Hegel was The Man. He dominated philosophy like no one since -- and of course we are still living with the stinking remains of his rotting corpus in the form of end stage Marxism and all its intellectual and spiritual pathologies. (Woody Wilson, our first totally unhinged progressive president, was a huge fanboy.)

So give Kierkegaard credit for seeing through Hegel's truly cosmic self-aggrandizement and trying to take him out before he could do much damage.

This was back when people were a little more clever than, say, Stephen Colbert, in their putdowns. Shopenhauer, for example, never accused Hegel of being Hölderlin's girlfriend. Rather,

always remember that we are in Germany, where we have been able to proclaim as a great mind and profound thinker a mindless, ignorant, nonsense-spreading philosophaster who, through unprecedented, hollow verbiage, thoroughly and permanently disorganizes their brains. I mean our dear Hegel.

Yes,

it was Hegel who ultimately showed the greatest audacity in dishing out pure nonsense, slapping together senseless, raving tangles of verbiage such as had only ever been heard in lunatic asylums; he became the instrument of the most ponderous, universal mystification that the world has ever seen, and this with a degree of success that will seem utterly incredible to posterity and will remain a monument to German foolishness.

That is some fine insultainment. What about his third rate followers?

the minds of the contemporary generation of scholars are jumbled by Hegelian nonsense: incapable of thought, coarse, and stupefied, they become the prey of the vulgar materialism that has crept out of the Basilisk’s egg.

I'm lookin' at you, Karl!

Oh well. Not the last time "an impudent, cocky gasbag" would be "sufficient to blow sand in Germans’ eyes."

Back to our main attractor. It seems that Kierkegaard had a similar reaction to this nightmare masquerading as philosophy. Interestingly, although writing a century or so before Gödel, he rejected Hegel's absolute idealism on grounds that would only later be formalized in Gödel's theorems:

"His fundamental dispute with Hegel was based around Hegel's claim to have developed a fully comprehensive system that could explain the whole of reality. Kierkegaard responded to this with the assertion that reality may well be a system for God, but that it cannot be so for any human being, because both reality and humans are incomplete and all philosophical systems imply completeness" (Watts).

Gödel's Theorems: 1. If the system is consistent, it cannot be complete. 2. The consistency of the axioms cannot be proved within the system. Simple as.

Note how merely remumbling these twenty words not only unknowculates you against Hegelianism (or any other such system) but frees you of the terrible burden actually reading him (except out of curiosity).

More generally, there is only so much one can read in this life. Not only can we never get to all of it, we can only take on a fraction, and assimilate even less. So one must be selective. Selective how? How can we know what to select before we even begin?

Principles, my man, principles -- two of the most important having been permanently downloaded by Gödel. In short, do not fall for any manmade system that pretends to be complete. Don't even think about becoming a materialist, a Darwinist, a Marxist. All nonstarters, because they presume a completeness that is not available to man. Thank God! For the world is a tedious place where Marx is still in charge, as on college campuses.

Of course, this was the rationale behind my approach to Ultimate Reality in the book. Let's get one thing straight at the outset: ultimate reality is O, and O is something you will never, ever contain. Rather, it contains us. End of story. Or beginning, rather. Wait -- it's both.

For, does this mean we can't know anything about O? Not at all. Rather, it is the reason we can know anything at all about anything at all: it is the ground, the vector, the destination of knowledge and truth. It "evolves" in time, but not in the impersonal, dialectical way proposed by HegelMarx.

"[B]ecause Hegel seriously believed he had reached ultimate truth, this rendered his claims comical -- whilst Hegel sought to contain all of reality in the conceptual net of his system, the actual process of existence simply slipped through its meshes" (Watts). You might say that Hegel accounts for everything. Except reality.

Reality is not an idea -- certainly not an idea in or of man. You could really take this back to the wrong turn of any philosophy that starts with ideas instead of the world -- with the subject instead of objects. Doing so is yet one more iteration of Genesis 3, and it is still very much with us today. It happens, for example, any time the left pretends it has successfully modeled the global climate, or can direct the economy from above, or inflict annoying new genders on the restavus.

Well, I suppose this means we haven't heard the last of Kierkegaard. To be continued...

23 comments:

ted said...

Kierkegaard responded to this with the assertion that reality may well be a system for God, but that it cannot be so for any human being, because both reality and humans are incomplete and all philosophical systems imply completeness.

Speaking of system builders, our old buddy Ken has a new book out. He's convinced he knows the religion of tomorrow ... as a system. New boss same as the old boss.

Gagdad Bob said...

I read some samples. He sure has gone off the rails. I am suspicious of anyone who presumes to be enlightened and yet writes with such leaden prose. I mean, one doesn't have to be Shakespeare, but truth and beauty shouldn't be completely estranged.

ted said...

I agree. But I expect a deepakin book endorsement!

Gagdad Bob said...

I read somewhere that he won't allow anyone to edit a single word. Okay. Have it your way.

ted said...

This has always been my issue with Ken. He's never been good with critics or allowed himself to be part of any peer review. I understand part of his appeal is he never was part of the academy, but you can't come up with a comprehensive philosophical system and not be open to input from others.

Gagdad Bob said...

Humility: if you think you have a new idea, you can usually be sure it's wrong or someone smarter than you thought of it before.

Gagdad Bob said...

It explains how Aquinas stole some of my best ideas in a brazen act of anticipatory plagiarism.

ted said...

If only he had a blog. Of course, he would have to call it "Like Straw".

Gagdad Bob said...

Strawman Arguments.

Van Harvey said...

""[B]ecause Hegel seriously believed he had reached ultimate truth, this rendered his claims comical -- whilst Hegel sought to contain all of reality in the conceptual net of his system, the actual process of existence simply slipped through its meshes" (Watts). You might say that Hegel accounts for everything. Except reality.

Reality is not an idea -- certainly not an idea in or of man. You could really take this back to the wrong turn of any philosophy that starts with ideas instead of the world -- with the subject instead of objects. ..."

And with an assist from his fellow misosopher Kant, those who knew best, agreed to believe that reality could not be known. And as befuddled as the Germans willingly became, remember that a few overheated American Hegelians, Pierce, James and Dewey, came up with the distinctively American response of Pragmatism: "Hey, fuhgehedaboud dat deep Metaphysical stuff - who can possibly know what's real? And 'Truth'? Pshaw, if it works, it's 'true' enough. For the moment. That's just common sense."

Beware the hidden Hegel.

Van Harvey said...

"That is some fine insultainment."

Yes indeedy. Nicely done, Schopenhauer, nicely done.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, his tentacles have a long reach. You can trace the whole repulsive idea of an evolving constitution back to him.

Nothing kills liberty like a living constitution.

Gagdad Bob said...

It basically enables the omnipotence of the state. Which I guess is the point.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

re: wilber

Whenever someone says the religion of tomorrow I always think of this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Orthodoxy-Religion-Future-Seraphim-Rose/dp/188790400X?SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q

Also, a buddy of mine has been delving into some Schoun recently, results seem pretty good:

https://citadelfoundations.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/schuon-luther-and-the-eternal-calvinist/

MoTT even gets a mention in the comments!

Gagdad Bob said...

I wonder what Schuon would say about Hegel?

The desire to enclose universal Reality in an exclusive and exhaustive “explanation” brings with it a permanent disequilibrium... moreover it is just this disequilibrium and this anxiety that are the life of modem philosophy.... [It] condemns philosophy “according to the flesh” (St. Paul) to a vicious circle and finally to suicide...

The Real "will no more allow itself to be imprisoned by blind ratiocinations than will our sensorial faculties allow themselves to be perceived by our senses.... the intention is to "demystify" the universe by explaining it once and for all.... Thought is then all that language expresses and nothing more.

mushroom said...

Kind along these lines, I ran across something about Einstein referring to Newtonian physics as an approximation. Some approximations are better than others, but they are all approximations. The limits of physics are not shared by reality.

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "Nothing kills liberty like a living constitution."

Now that's a good line.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

When I dealt with time travel I decided on something of this sort; time travel in novels generally relies on a kind of meta-conception of space-time (like Quantum Leap) or at least some concept of "reality" as some kind of multi-dimensional line. Those all box up reality in some fashion.

I kind of took Lovecraft's method and thought, "what would be the most unnerving kind of way for it to work in a given situation?" This inconsistency (or at least, uncertainty or incompleteness of the methods) satisfies disbelief on "why does it not happen that I know of"; and at the same time has enough consistency to be a limited mechanic.

If such stories ever become famous, I will be delighted to see the guesses as to 'how it all works'. Answer: the two mechanics of travel (correspondence between non-local forms via projection and depiction) are consistent, but the results are not. "What is the law underlying the difference in results?" "That the user of it, being contained within it, cannot determine the results."

They're gonna kill me!

julie said...

Re. nothing kills liberty, it's much like what happens when progressives take over a church. They start thinking that the Commandments don't really apply to them, and neither do most of the instructions put forth by the early Christians. Thus we have atheist lesbian Methodist bishops crying foul when other Christians try to live according to a more traditional - and thus genuinely liberating - faith.

Abdulmonem Othman said...

Metaphysics is the only concern I have in this few years left for me on this polluted sinking ship of ours. The search for the real that can not be captured without the help of the real, and the devotional meditation with the help of the rhythmic vibrational intonation of the frequencies of his alphabetical formations is our door to his presence, to the understanding of our message in this transitory floating life and to remember that the only basic divine qualities that are required in this life journey are goodness, truth, beauty and justice before our movement to the real life which we are trying to understand before it is too late. Whitehead said the real message of education is to be good. Actual awareness of the evil musical tone and how it can imprison the human attention and thus prevent him from listening to the divine tones that are not only the source of our biological existence but our spiritual existence which is the mean target of our biological existence. Claims to understand the over all picture of the divine march in both nis physical manifestations and his non-physical manifestation is never a mystical claims that run contrary to their humility and their knowledge that no one can encompass the incompassable. This is the claims of those who have missed the metaphysical ship the only true ship in this life journey. If only they realised how thoughts feeling and experience is imbued in the human together with the ability to express these descending different vibrations. The energy vibration that materializes only to de-materialize again and returns to its source. From Him we started and to Him we return, taking so many forms in both realms utilizing the never ending possibilities available that can not be expressed but in the limited vessel of the human.

Anonymous said...

Abdulmonem, have you only a few years left on this "polluted, sinking ship of ours?" Perhaps you are of advanced years?

The blog author, in a similar vein, referred to the "rotting corpus" of what is left of Hegelianism, and Marxism as playing out its final gasps on the world stage.

My question is, why all the negativity, when we know the Commander is firmly at the helm of our ship? Where is the trust? Where is the the certainty in Divine Providence? Where is the faith in the leadership we know flows inexhaustibly from God?

How can we be certain Hegelianism does not serve some Godly purpose? How can we judge Marxism and all that followed a mistake?

Reflect: Did not the world first exist as an Idea in the Mind of God? Do we not continue to observe the dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis play out in countless ways? Can we doubt Production as a prime mover of human history, and that it will continue to be so? Since this is a material world, can we deny materialism is valid?

What is wrong with "from each according to ability, and to each according to need?" Is there any more elegant and rational formula for sharing the products of a world? And if so, what would that be?

Fear and loathing; these are errata. There is no justification to throw Hegel and Marx under a bus.

rachael roberts said...

Thanks for sharing this information. Mask your car door, hood, or trunk fast & easily by tube tape Automotive Masking Solution.

Van Harvey said...

aninnymouse said "How can we be certain Hegelianism does not serve some Godly purpose?" How can you be certain that my calling you a moron, isn't part of God's plan? Ann's if so, how dare you feel even the least annoyance at the unfolding of God's will - HERETIC!

Twit.