to Hyperglobalism or Planetarism
Can postmodernism be defined ?
How did modernism evolve ?
Postmodern logic to keepsm a
particular logic ?
Building a hyperglobal system*
The path to hyperglobalism
© Wim van den Dungen
vivant ... Non, je me trompe. Rien d'abord, puis un point vivant ... A ce point
vivant, il s'en applique un autre, encore un autre ; et par ces applications
successives il résulte un être un, car je suis bien un, je n'en saurais douter
(...) Mais comment cette unité s'est-elle faite ... Tenez, philosophe, je vois
bien un agrégat, un tissu de petits êtres sensibles, mais un animal ... un tout
ayant la conscience de son unité. Je ne le vois pas, non, je ne le vois pas.'
Diderot, D. : Le Rêve de d'Alembert,
mid 18th, Gallimard - Paris, 1935, p.677.
'On pourrait donner le nom d'Entelechies à toutes les
substances simples, ou Monades creées, car elles ont en elles une certaine
perfection, il y a une suffisance qui les rend sources de leurs actions internes
et pour ainsi dire, des Automates incorporels.'
Leibniz, G.W. : Monadologie, 1712-1714, § 18.
'... the empirical consciousness of the manifold, given in any
intuition, is subject to a pure self-consciousness a priori, in the same
manner as the empirical intuition is subject to a pure sensuous intuition which
likewise takes place a priori.'
Kant, I. : Critique of Pure Reason,
1787, B:142-146, § 21, Note (translated by M.Müller, 1966).
then, in its majestic sublimity above any specific law and every
content of duty, puts whatever content it pleases into its knowledge and willing. It is
moral genius and originality, which knows the inner voice of its immediate knowledge to be
a voice divine ; and since in such knowledge it directly knows experience as well,
it is divine creative power, which contains living force in its very conception.
It is in itself, too, divine worship, 'service of God', for its action is the
contemplation of this its own proper divinity.'
Hegel, G.W.F. : The Phenomenology of Mind, 1807, chapter 8 (translated by
W.Orynski, 1960), my italics.
' ... because their own civilization hardly goes any further back than the
Graeco-Roman period and derives for the most part from it, Westerners are led to
believe that it must have been the same in every other case and they have
difficulty in conceiving of the existence of entirely different and far more
ancient civilizations ; it might be said that they are mentally incapable of
crossing the Mediterranean.'
Guénon, R. : Introduction to the Study of the Hindu
Doctrines, Luzac - London, 1945.
' ... every apprehension of a
particular empirical thing or specific empirical occurence contains within it an
act of evaluation. What distinguishes empirical reality, the constant
core of objective being, from the mere world of representation or imagination,
is that in it the permanent is more and more clearly differentiated from the
fluid, the constant form the variable. The particular sense impression is not
simply taken for what it is and immediately gives ; instead we ask : will it be
confirmed by experience as a whole ?'
Cassirer, E. : The Philosophy of
Symbolic Form, vol.2, chapter 1 (translated by R.Manheim, 1955).
'The Enlightenment of modern times advanced from the very
beginning under the banner of radicalism ; this distinguishes it
from any of the earlier stages of demythologization.'
Horkheimer, M. & Adorno, Th. : Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944, my italics.
'... whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so
because he had adopted (...) some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour
; an adoption which may be called 'irrational' (...), we may describe it as an
irrational faith in reason'.
Popper, K.R. : The Open Society and Its Enemies, Routledge &
Kegan - London, 1966, vol.II, p.231.
'The reclassification of academic philosophy as one of the
human sciences in this respect has a significance far beyond simply professional concerns.
I do not think that philosophy as legitimation is condemned to disappear, but it
is possible that it will not be able to carry out this work, or at least advance it,
without revising its ties to the university institution.'
Lyotard, J-F. : The Postmodern condition : A Report on Knowledge, footnote 29,
1979, my italics.
'... le vivant fonctionne loin de l'équilibre, dans un domaine où les
conséquences de la croissance de l'entropie ne peuvent plus être
interprétées selon le principe d'ordre de Boltzmann, il fonctionne dans un
domaine où les processus producteurs d'entropie, les processus qui dissipent
l'énergie, jouent un rôle constructif, sont source d'ordre.'
Prigogine, I. & Stengers, I. : La
Nouvelle Alliance, Gallimard - Paris, 1979, p.178, my italics.
'Strange attractors are encountered in many (nonlinear) physical,
chemical and biological systems that are 'not integrable' and therefore show
ultimately unpredictable, chaotic behavior. In fact, the usual 'textbook'
cases, nicely integrable, are now recognised as singular exceptions ; the real
world outside the textbooks, including romantic attraction, remains largely
unforeseeable, moving along strange attractors (...) Strange attractors often do
have structure : like the Sierpinski gasket, they are self-similar or
Schroeder, M. : Fractals, Chaos &
Power Laws, Freeman - New York, 1991, p.28.
'(...) the present movement is
based on the awareness that the continuation of modernity threatens the very survival
of life on our planet. This awareness, combined with the growing
knowledge of the interdependence of the modern worldview and the militarism,
nuclearism, and ecological devastation of the modern world, is providing an
unprecedented impetus for people to see the evidence for a postmodern worldview
and to envisage postmodern ways of relating to each other, the rest of nature,
and the cosmos as a whole.'
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality : A Postmodern Exploration,
State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.xiii-xiv.
'Unfortunately, some critiques go
beyond attacking the worst aspects of science (militarism, sexism, etc.)
and attack its best aspects : the attempt at rationally understanding the world, and
the scientific method, understood broadly as a respect for empirical evidence
and for logic. It is naive to believe that it is not the rational attitude
itself that is really challenged by postmodernism. Moreover, this aspect is
an easy target, because any attack on rationality can find a host of allies :
all those who believe in superstitions, be they traditional ones (e.g. religious
fundamentalism) or New Age.'
Sokal, A. & Brickmont, J. : Fashionable
Nonsense : Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, St.Martin's Press -
New York, 1998, p.203, my italics.
'Non-cellular pluralism, in which various
outlooks are constantly competing with each other, is not an evil that is to be
resisted - that only results in suppression (cf. the totalitarian states). On
the contrary, it forms the medium par excellence in late-modern society ...'
Hellemans, S. : 'The many faces of the world : World
views in agrarian civilisation and in modern societies', in Perspectives
on the World, VUB Press - VUB, 1995, p.101.
'Although, as Joseph points out, temporal
and frontal lobes are admittedly involved in religious symbolism, Joseph locates
the 'abode of God' for each individual within the limbic system. Here also is
the seat of 'limbic-religious blood lust' and 'limbic taboos, such as eating and
sexuality'. Because 'sex and food (along with fear, rage, and aggression) are
probably the most powerful of all limbic emotions,' they are also probably chief
'motivators' of religious ritual. An alternative account of the prominence of
food and sex in religious ritual might be that controlling them is a good way to
keep religion in mind : religion motivated abstinence fires religion-mediated
Atran, S. : 'The neuropsychology of religion.',
in : Joseph, R. : Neurotheology, University Press California -
California, 2002, p.184.
'Speaking paradoxically we may say that
incompetence, having been standardized, has now become an essential part of
professional excellence. We have no longer incompetent professionals, we have
Feyerabend, P. : 'From Incompetent Professionalism to Professionalized
Incompetence', in : Science in a Free Society, 1978, p.183, my italics.
“Pataphysics is for Baudrillard a reservoir of metaphors,
a supply of cheap textual pranks and looks awry (at science in particular). It
is a learned and obscure French institution that travels well, provides
aesthetic atmosphere, and is never below a low blow.”
Drama of Theory
: Vengeful Objects and Wily Props.',
in : Baudrillard,
J. : A Critical Reader,
D. (edit), Blackwell
Cambridge, Mass., 1994, my italics.
“Our school books are outdated, and even university
textbooks tend to reflect only 'well-established' knowledge. Facts and
hypotheses that do not readily fit into the current way of thinking -the
reigning paradigm- are generally ignored, if not supressed. When it comes to pet
theories and cherished opinions, scientists are as human as anyone else. This is
true whether we are considering physics, chemistery, astronomy, archaeology, or
historiography (the description of history). (...) Generalists -scientists or
scholars who attempt to see the larger picture- are few and far between, because
they are generally not encouraged by the academic establishment. Hence we are
left with bits and pieces that seldom fit together, giving rise to anxiety
rather than understanding.”
Feuerstein, G., Kak,
S. & Frawley, D. : In Search of the Cradle of Civilization,
Quest - Madras, 1995, p.xvi.
postmodernism be defined ?
Rejects nihilist belief in the unreality
of this world and seeks the authentic individual 'overman' who embraces life
without mummifying it in Apollinian ideologies.
|'The Madman', in
Gay Science, 1886, section 125.
Modernism is an expansion of instrumental
rationalism, bringing liberty, material well-being, the 'disenchantment of the
world', permanent dissatisfaction & the 'iron cage' of alienation.
|'Science as a
Vocation', lecture, 1918.
Enlightenment's tendencies are
self-negating (or dialectical). Enlightened reason rejects all metaphysical &
religious sources of value, adhering to power & self-interest only. Enlightenment is
the only road to social freedom but this always leads to totalitarianism
|Dialectic of Enlightenment,
TLP '6.54 My propositions serve as
elucidations in the following way : anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them
as nonsensical, when he has used them -as steps- to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to
speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it). He must transcend these
propositions, and then will he see the world aright.
7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.'
Logico-Philosophicus (TLP), 1921.
Science does not proceed by patient
accretion of facts but by revolutionary interpretive shifts in which one
'paradigm' replaces another. It is not clear whether the meanings of the terms
of one paradigm can be translated into the terms of another, suggesting the discontinuity
& incommensurability of scientific progress. The change from one paradigm to another
is not wholly justifiable or rational.
|The Structure of
His careful analysis of language called
attention to the deep paradoxes and undecidable problems implicit in texts. The tradition
of presenting reality in representation (the philosophical tradition) is always maked by
mediation, distance, plurality and uncertainty of meaning ('différance'). This
contrasts with the spoken word, with its apparent immediacy of meaning and connection to
the living presence of the speaker. Through deconstruction he tries to read texts
critically, displaying the self-undermining elements (written down in the magin of the
original text under scrutiny).
Transcendence is a state of separation
opposing itself to the flowing of all that is. There is not first an ego for which the
object is, separated by its transcendence. Rather, subject & object are simultaneous
hypostatizations of interrupted flow. The 'I' lacks all distinctness,
haemorrhaging freely into death, lost in 'immanent immensity', which is without
separations or limits.
|Theory on Religion,
Science is much closer to myth than a
scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. The only principle that does not inhibit
progress is : 'anything goes'. Science may be advanced by proceeding
couterinductively, through the pluralistic proliferation of theories & the use of
irrational methods of support. A new breed of intellectuals rose to power : the
Science in a Free Society,
Our 'language games' no longer
require metanarratives to justify the utterances made in them. No legitimation is
necessary beyond expediency. The production of knowledge is analyzed in terms of
discontinuity, plurality and 'paralogy' (logically unjustified conclusions).
Justification, system, proof & the unity of science do no longer hold.
|The Postmodern Condition :
A Report on Knowledge,
Knorr - Cetina
The anthropological approach of the
knowledge-production in laboratories shows the importance of indeterminacy &
contextual contingency -rather than non-local universality- as inherent in scientific
progress. Scientific change & discovery go hand in hand with an opportunistic logic,
marked by local, contextual, socially situated breeds of action. The idea of the unity of
science should be reconsidered.
|The Manifacture of
The traditional philosophical pursuit of
ultimate, transcendental, foundational knowledge is not a valid or desirable enterprise.
Philosophy can not justify any program of political reform. Philosophy -like rhetorics-
makes different world descriptions only look attractive. Our vocabularies can not be
grounded in an appeal to 'objectivity'. The pragmatic alternative sees
legitimation as 'solidarity' or culture.
|Philosophy and the Mirror
'Solidarity or Objectivity ?', essay, 1985.
provides evidence against the intellectual adequacy of the late modern
worldview, evidence that is particularly dramatic.
This is not to say
that the case against the truth of atheistic materialism rest only, or
even primarily, on the question of the genuineness of the apparent
paranormal interactions investigated by parapsychology. (...)
Nevertheless, parapsychology may turn out to be of decisive importance
in moving our culture from a modern to a postmodern outlook.'
Philosophy and Spirituality,
(§ 1) It was Joseph Hudnut who, at Harvard with modernist Walter Gropius, in an
article published in 1945 spoke of 'the post-modern house'. With his report to the Province of Quebec's Conseil
des Universités called :
The Postmodern Condition : A Report on Knowledge
(1979), Lyotard introduced
this notion into contemporary philosophical discourse, and proposed that his own
commitment to this new and emergent global movement be grasped as a reaffirmation of
the authentic modernism (to be found in Adorno's philosophy for who the Enlightenment
is the only road to social freedom, inevitably leading to totalitarianism).
Can the latter be avoided ? Lyotard was a pro-modernist ! Eco rightly claims postmodernism to be the avant-garde of
the modernism of the 21th century, while others say that by depending too much upon a
subjectivist and non-social conception of rationality, it moves towards irrationalism (Habermas, 1985).
'So one of the key shifts to the Post-Modern world will be a
change in epistemology, the understanding of knowledge and how it grows and relates to
other assumptions. Not only will it emphasise the continuities of nature, but the
time-bound, cultural nature of knowledge. (...) It will not embrace an absolute relativism
and contend that one scientific hypothesis is as good as another, or as Jean-François
Lyotard has argued, a complete scepticism and an end to all master narratives and beliefs.
Rather, it will support relative absolutism, or fragmental holism, which insists
on the developing and jumping nature of scientific growth, and the fact that all
propositions of truth are time- and context-sensitive.'
Jencks, Ch. : 'What is Post-Modernism ?' in Cahoone, L. (edit) : From
Modernism to Postmodernism : an Anthology, Blackwell - Oxford, 1995,
p.478, my italics.
Jencks definition of postmodernism (in Jameson, 1994) as 'double coding' is
interesting. The combination of modern
techniques with 'something else' which does take into account history and
which is able to communicate with its end users in a modular way is indeed typical for the postmodern
approach and its entanglement with art and the
'But no matter what any given Web site specializes in, this
principle will always hold true : The quantity of people visiting is far less important
than the quality of their experience. Contrary to what some people believe, the Web is not
a mass medium. It's a niche medium, a personal medium, and an
Schwartz, E.I. : Webonomics, Penguin - London, 1997, p.27.
Postmodernism is per definition multi-cultural, pluralistic &
eclectical. It challenges the fossilized limitations invoked by societies
embracing the monolith of fossilized modernism and its madness. Each culture has
its right to exist in harmony with other cultures. To foster the differences
between cultures is to cultivate the strength of humanity as a whole.
This is another form of sane globalisation, incorporating the economic principle, but
largely extending and transcending it into the neo-humanistic domain of
well-being, wellness, health & prosperity, expressed locally, but thought
On the positive side, the multi-cultural, pluralistic & eclectical
characteristics of postmodernism are to be noted. On the negative side, its
relativism, skepticism, irrational atheism and a too subjectivistic take on
rationality are to be avoided. Postmodernism cannot last, for it is defined as
something 'after' modernism. A return to modernism is to be avoided. To hypermodernism
too, except if it is no longer entangled with nationalism and virulent
nihilism. An argument for hyperglobalism is made. This is defined as a planetary
movement, integrating freedom of speech, liberty, democracy, solidarity and
spirituality beyond nationalism and internationalism. It favors a planetary
political & economical system, assimilating the best of ecology, technology and
world-wide communication and interaction.
(§ 2) Perhaps the most important finding of critical modernism
(formulating the possibilities of thought) is the inherent limitations of human
knowledge, both subjectively (the capacity to know) as objectively (the
theory-ladenness of all observation). It took two centuries to relinquish
the foundational intent still present in moderism (cf. Kant's synthetical
propositions a priori). A certain rule of
is temporarily considered to be true by a limited set of highly specialized
sign-interpreters. Their belief in some reasonable conclusion is relative, fallible
& open to refutations (cf.
A more systematic criticism reveals knowledge has no ontological
foundation. This means, contrary to the modern,
approach, postmodernism disposes of a unique tool : the a priori principles
of thought which we have been using all the time and which are conditioned by
the transcendental 'I Think' (of all times) of the subject of
Using our conceptual mind we never know (or have experience of) reality-as-such (which is as an ever escaping horizon). Critical science as final truth is then a regulative idea, but not constituting the possibility of knowlege.
ethics & esthetics are anti-ontological.
The conclusions of these disciplines should
have practical consequences. Indeed, these may (and often do) run against established
habits of thought, such as realism & idealism,
engendering a schism between the logic of science & its sociology (cf. Popper &
Lakatos). Between the idea and the fact falls the shadow, as the poet says ...
A critical philosophy moving beyond counter-intentional modernism & the colonization of knowledge (in the
modern media money, eros
and power) will acknowledge the
importance of the tools given by a strictly nominalistic inquiry into the nature of the human mind in particular and the
reason (cf. Kant's 'Factum Rationis') in general. Aware of the ontological illusion even the untricked,
conceptualizing mind can not avoid, a
moderate postmodern criticism tries to cover the differences between presence & active absence.
'postmodernism' is the prelude of a cultural movement not yet identified
'It is the vote of everyone concerned
that decides fundamental issues such as the teaching methods used, or the truth
of basic beliefs such as the theory of evolution, or the quantum theory, and not
the authority of big-shots hiding behind a non-existent methodology. There is no
need to fear that such a way of arranging society will lead to undesirable
results. Science itself uses the method of ballot, discussion, vote, though
without a clear grasp of its mechanism, and in a heavily biased way. But the
rationality of our beliefs will certainly be considerable increased.'
Feyerabend, P. : Against Method, Verso - London, 1975, p.309.
(§ 3) The distinction between radical postmodernism and mild or
moderate postmodernism (also called 'constructive postmodernism') is justified on
the grounds of the argumentative weakness of both Lyotard's paralogy or Derrida's
Habermas & others are right in pointing out Lyotard's view on
rationality is defunct on logical grounds. For some logical rules are necessary a priori.
Transcendental object & subject (cf. Kant's 'I Think') can not be eliminated
from thought and so they constitute
the empty, groundless ground
Stressing discontinuity does not desolve continuity. Nor is
continuity interesting & revealing without discontinuity. Who will deconstruct
deconstruction ? How did deconstruction emerge ? In Derrida's mind ? A moderate
postmodernist is aware of the necessities implied by transcendental logic, without however
falling into the traps of realism, idealism or a metaphysics of logocentric presence.
'From the point of view of
deconstructive postmodernism, this constructive postmodernism is still hopelessly wedded
to outdated concepts, because it wishes to salvage a positive meaning
not only for the notions of the human self, historical meaning, and truth as
correspondence, which were central to modernity, but also for premodern notions
of a divine reality, cosmic meaning, and an enchanted nature.'
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, State University of
New York Press - New York, 1997, p.xiii., my italics.
How did modernism evolve ?
Historically, modernism has gone through several stages
Regarding the many historical influences
determining the outbreak of the Renaissance, the earliest phase of humanistic modernism,
at the end of Medieval Europe, one should not (as was & is usually done by
Europacentrists to suggest the originality of modernism) underestimate
the major role played by the masters of Arab (Muslim) sciences in general
(their translations of and learned
commentaries on important works of Greek thinkers like Aristotle, neo-Platonists like
Plotinus and Hermetical authors) and great
thinkers like Avicenna & Averroes in particular.
Both continued to be published despite the Christian (read : Roman Catholic)
reaction against Islam & the
Arabic language. From the twelfth century onward, the influence of
Avicenna's medicine can be traced in Salerno & Montpelier, whereas his
philosophy influenced Paris & Oxford. Hence,
the system of Thomas Aquinas (who produced the sum of Medieval scholastic thinking built
on the ideas of Aristotle) would not have been possible if the Arabs who conquered Spain
had not enjoyed translating so much into living European languages (Toledo, Cordoba).
Individual universal scientists like Avicenna influenced William of
Auvergne, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Spain, Duns
Scotus ... Averroes influenced Paris, Bologna, Padua, etc.
Although Gilson doubts the existence of a genuine 'Latin
Avicennianism', he demonstrated the existence of an 'Avicennizing
Augustinism'. In the Arab worldview, both theory & practice are
considered, both the formal reasons (forms) as well as the physical, sensoric data. Avicenna changed the middle term of the syllogism (the
metaphysical cause) into an empirical one, thereby adapting it to the
ends of an inductive science. In his Shifâ,
Avicenna criticized the Aristotelian theory of projectile motion (the
Achilles' heel of peripatetic physics, the grand metaphor of pre-modern
If there is a void in which a body could move, its force
('mail qasrî') would not be dissipated but continue for ever. A
body moved by a given force has a velocity inversely proportional to its
'natural inclination' or weight and the distance traversed with
constant velocity is directely proportional to its weight (cf. Galileo's
'impeto' and the 'momentum' of modern physics, i.e. mass
times velocity). Clearly these insights were being put to paper long
before the cherished founding fathers of the myth of modernity.
'By all accounts the most cultured country in Europe,
al-Andalus possessed and cultivated all the sciences known at that time. (...)
Essentially it was a land where religion and science worked together, and many
visitors were drawn by the extraordinary achievements in agriculture,
irrigation and scientific research. The Moors transformed the Iberian
Peninsula into one of the most successful economies of the time. Cordoba and
Toledo became the western arm of a great cultural explosion : scientific
knowledge which had originated in India, China and the Hellenistic world was
sought out by Arab scholars and translated, refined and augmented in various
centres of learning, starting at the Persian city of Jund-i-Shapur, where
several scholars from Plato's Academy went after the school was closed down in
AD 529, and moving on to Baghdad, Cairo and then Cordoba and Toledo, from
where this knowledge was disseminated into Western Europe.'
Hirtenstein, S. : The
Unlimited Mercifier, Anqa & White Cloud Press - Oxford/Ashland,
Alexandrian Hermetism & Medieval Hermeticism
'mysteries' got integrated into the Greek system of
theosophy, parts of which were later recorded as the Corpus Hermeticum
(ca. 150 BCE - 150 CE - cf. the
Tabula Smaragdina), which relied upon
the correspondence between the small and the very large (at work in cosmology, astrology
& magic - cf. the influence of
Egypt on Greek thought). When asked by their radical Muslim conquerors of
the 'first hour' to which 'prophet' they belonged, some of these texts were invoked by some groups living in Harran
in the 8th CE. In this way,
Hermes became one of the
'prophets' accepted by
Islam (as 'Harranian Sabeans') and the teachings of Hermes
could become part of Islam, especially through
Sufism, mathematics & science.
This could help to explain the change of mentality on the part of the Muslims,
who no longer considered everything Greek as pre-Islamic (ignorant) and hence refuted by
the Koran and the teachings of their prophet of
'Although this complex
of theosophy and practical knowledge of the esoteric arts that we call
Hermeticism does not begin to emerge as a clearly recognizable entity until
the late Hellenistic period, its origins are to be found in the variegated
patterns of antique esoteric throught and religious practice : the ancient
magical and religious traditions of Egypt and Mesopotamia ; the quest of Greek
science for the cosmic glue ; the religious philosophy of Pythagoras and his
disciples, of Plato and his successors, and of the Stoic doctrines of fate and
universal sympatheia ; the rites of the mystery cults of Asia Minor and
beyond ; the astral and planetary worship of the Semites that found a home in
both Greek philosophy and the westernized cult of Mithra, as well as the
dualism of Persian Zoroastrism ; and finally, the figure of the savior-messiah
that emerged within Hellenistic Judaism. The mystical powers of Hermes exerted
themselves far beyond the pagan world of late antiquity, transmuting medieval
Christian and Islamic understanding of the relationship between rational
knowledge and revelation.'
Green, T.M. : The City of the Moon God : Religious Traditions of Harran,
Leiden - Brill, 1982, p.85.
The 'school of Harran' produced the Picatrix (Ghayat al-hikim), a work on
astrological magic which would have such an influence that it became the
ultimate Christian example of the 'forbidden book'. Hence, with the
mathematical & practical aspects of
Egypto-Alexandrian gnosis), came a particular worldview (the 'Orientale Lumen') which was easily assimilated in the context of an absolute monotheism (like
Islam, allowing Allah to have His Most Beautiful Names), but which had to go undercover when it reached the Christian West via
Andalusia, for next to the so-called 'philosophical Hermetica',
Hermetism had a 'technical', magical & occult side.
Muslim scholars studied
and adapted the Hellenistic heritage. Besides (Platonic) philosophy, the
Alexandrian corpus contained a vast storehouse of practical knowledge, ranging
from grammar, logic and rhetorics to irrigation, astronomy (astrology),
medicine, technology and administration (not to mention medicine & magic). This
enabled them to develop their learning. With the translations of the works of
Aristotle, Muslim thought peaked.
However, when after the disappearance of the Alexandrian school, Arab astronomers took
over scientific research there, they overlooked
the extremely important discovery of the heliocentrist Aristarchus of Samos
and accepted Claude Ptolemy's geocentric theory as the last
word in astronomy. We had to wait for the Renaissance and Copernicus to rediscover this major
The Holy Office of the
Another major influence on the rise of modernity was
to develop a sane, constructive & non-defensive attitude regarding
nature and its driving force, sexuality. Modernism did not arise in the
context of Islam, because there the study of
nature is not divorced from
religion or spirituality (the signs of The God, 'Allah' are
everywhere). In Christianity, natural inquiry was disregarded & often
diabolized as a kind of necromancy. Natural study & heresy walked hand in hand. The Catholic
viewpoints on nature were salvic, not scientific. As a result, natural
science was dogmatic, not empirical.
This was not the case in Islam. Indeed, the teachings of the Koran did
not move against man's inclination towards natural
inquiry (knowledge for the sake of knowledge), neither were they exclusive or in
principle directed against other religions & their revelations (as was the
centrist Roman Church). Their concept of heresy also totally differed from
that of the Church (in Islam, a
heretic is someone who attributes a second to The God). Furthermore, the Church militantly defended outdated
cosmological ideas and cherished mistaken beliefs. No intellectual able to
read could be satisfied with such a grotesk situation. By adhering
to irrational beliefs against natural inquiry, Christianity promoted a study
of nature divorced from the religious perspective.
This hastened its own downfall and invited materialism.
It is often repeated that the Renaissance makes use of the 'ad fontes' principle, a return to
the Late Hellenistic Greek & Roman philosophers, authors & poets, deemed
'classical' and interpreted in a particular, reductionist way. Today we teach
this holds true even more than we have realized, for Hermetism and the famous
'Orientale Lumen' expressed the thought-patterns of
Egypt's last millennium & its famous Alexandrian school (dissimated by the early Roman
Church). However, the irrational side of Greek culture (as revealed by its mystery cults, its music,
drama & chorus) was selectively underestimated by our European humanists,
who stressed its Apollinic qualities (cf. Nietzsche). Regarding the many hermetical disciplines which emerged &
flourished in Europe, the same questionable reductionism occurs. Moreover, the
return to the Greek and Roman sources was a return to a specific segment
Late Hellenism. It did not assimilate Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Minoan or
Mycenaean cultures, nor the varieties of religious and philosophical strands
that came to life in Alexandria and later in the Roman Empire (Gnostics,
mystery cults, Christian heretics etc).
Our picture of Antiquity needs to be
reviewed. With it, our view on the European Renaissance will surely change.
The rise of the European Renaissance is unthinkable without :
Egypto-Alexandrian 'pagan' heritage which influenced all
Mediterranean civilizations and beyond ;
Greek & Roman sources ;
scholarship influencing medieval Europe ;
the dogmatism of
the Roman Church, which made her cling to outdated and nonsensical ideas about
nature (and forced West-European intellectuals to reject her so-called Divine
revelations with the same harshness as they were enforced).
The RISE of Modernity :
starting with the Renaissance in 13th century
and reaching the North of Europe around 1650 :
a non-radical, nominalistic
denial of the conceptual realism of scholasticism ;
observation, experiment & a
bricoleur-mentality deriving from the individual ;
a focus on solving practical
In a moderate postmodern
perspective, humanism is one of the 'nuggets of gold' in the dross of
the destructive history of modernism and its co-relatives : 'enlightened'
dogmatism, fanatism, reductionism, militarism, materialism, 'free market' consumerism
etc. Humanism may be called 'possibly' constructive, because
historical humanism was anti-ecological and focused too much on the freedom of the human
individual and too little on the balancing-out of this freedom with responsibility (towards
oneself, the future of humanity and the many other living creatures visible &
invisible). It led to atheism, agnosticism or scepticism.
Neo-humanism has to be truly ecological, global & sharing. Because it does not built its
epistemology on a model of
exclusive presence, consistency & determination, it retains the pre-modern,
relationship with nature, the cosmos and the Divine and is hence able to
reconstruct this pre-modernism with the best tools of the so-called 'modern'
mental operation (cf. Piaget's formal-operatoric phase of cognition pertaining to
empirico-formal object-knowledge - cf.
A mature version of historical humanism preluding modern rationalism can be found in
the writings of Michel de Montaigne, who, in order to escape arrogant dogmatism,
embraced classical scepticism (cf. his Apology of Raimond Sebond). The
move of humanism to rationalism (cf. Descartes' Discours of Method) was
intepreted by Toulmin as rationalism's answer to the initiating force of
humanism (cf. Cosmopolis : The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, 1990), for in
his Apology, Montaigne wrote that we can not be sure of anything unless we
find the one thing which is absolutely certain.
Rationalism of Nature :
starting in the first quater of the 17th century :
mathematics of the final
foundation of knowledge in a clear, distinct, continuous, certain & absolute
sufficient ground, the final truth of which is to be intuitively grasped ;
- systematic observation & formalization of
- focused on a closed, knowledge-founding &
dualistic worldview & anthropology.
3. Empirism of Nature
in the 18th century :
- mathematical certainty & impressions are the
foundation of knowledge (phenomenism) ;
- systematic observation & its formalization
- sceptic agnosticism which undermines positive
science, scholastic & natural metaphysics.
Undoubtedly, since the 17th century,
European intellectuals had been discussing theoretical problems from the
sideline. No practical consideration motivated them. Nor was there any longer a
strict clerical approach. But conflicting 'systems' emerged like mushrooms.
The three main protagonists were 'God' (the unknown absolute thing), 'res extensa'
(the extended thing, i.e. physical reality) and 'res cogitans' (the
thinking thing, i.e. the subject, 'l'être conscient').
In rationalism, there always remained unexplained differences between the
'ideal' and the empirical 'real'. In empirism, the origin of mathematical truth
is unexplained and empirical comparisons ask for a non-empirical standard or law, which brings us back to rationalism. Because of the cultural weight of the
churches, God was not eliminated, but underwent a transformation. The Biblical
God was replaced by the 'God of the philosophers'. God became the
light of the intellect of the rationalists (denied by Kant without eliminating
the notion of a priori ideas of reason) or the universal observant (cf.
Berkeley's 'esse est percipi').
The ZENITH of Modernity :
at the end of the 18th century :
a systematic, transcendental
investigation of the objective boundaries of 'Verstand' (mind) & 'Vernunft'
(reason) operating in the subject of knowledge and the elimination of the
ideas of God, Soul & World as the constitutive cornerstones of knowledge
Copernican Revolution : man
imposes Nature his own a priori categories ;
focused on a new, scientific
(immanent) metaphysics which does not move beyond the boundaries necessary
for mind & reason to function properly.
The influence of Kant is so vast, that Western philosophy
may be divided into pre-Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy ! The
first task of philosophy is to ask : 'What can I know ?' or 'What
are the limits of my possible knowledge ?' The re- & deconstruction of the
'Transcendental Doctrine of Elements' of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1787)
is probably the most valuable jewel in the chest of a moderate postmodernism.
Reducing Kant's philosophy to the
Kritik der reinen Vernunft would be
misunderstanding him (although it is his greatest work). Recent studies show how
Kant was preoccupied with an 'immanent' metaphyics, i.e. one not trespassing the boundaries of reason. He did not develop such a
speculative science, but (as his
Opus postumum shows) was aware of its
possibility. How strong was the influence of Protestantism on his distinction
between 'pure' and 'practical' reason ?
from 1850 till Worldwar II :
metaphysics & theology are
negative values, facts are positive (Comte) and science is able to work in a
way which does not involve subjectivity at all (Weber) ;
sense-data are the foundation
of knowledge & the emergent technological materialism ;
a definite movement towards a
new, secular scientific class fashioning their logical-positivist monolith
which dictates atheism or agnosticism and reductionist humanism.
The emergence of idealism shows how the modern, analytical approach and its
intellectual criticism were rejected by those romantics who stressed their
intuitions & creative imaginations and who described Nature as a living
organism. Hegel (the Augustine of the romantics) returned to a pre-Thomistic
epistemology which gave him the unrightful right to attain absolute knowledge.
This giganto-brontosauric system is proof of the small error needed to create
massive redundancy and nonsense (cf. Ockham's Raizor).
'Hegelian science' was (of course)
not able to maintain itself or withold the rise of materialism, scientism &
the Europacentric secular 'barons of science', serving capital &
industry. With technology, science found its idol (golem or monster) and got
more and more compromized by the many offerings made to it by the higher &
middle classes living in the crystal palace of their belief in linear growth.
The materialist monolith took shape.
Victorian age, modernism was at last made 'fashionable sense' for
everybody, except for the exploited classes, i.e. the silent majority. Science
began to play its dirty, so-called objective role. It
did not bring into effect the principles of truth, but justified the media power and
money, and their degenerating consumerism. Science was so-called without
'values' and 'interpretations'. It became what it had
rejected : a vain dogma of vulgar objectivity (instead of a dogma regarding God).
Scientists were the new priests. Amen.
The miracles of old re-emerged in
the world of machines & mathematics. Except for two dark clouds (the speed of light and the
ultraviolet-catastroph), Lord Kelvin described how blue the skies of physics were. At the
end of the 19th century, scientists had been able to put some of their (in fact
conflicting & incomplete) empirico-formal equations regarding Nature into
practice. Some of the 'closed system' or 'black box' machines they invented worked, as did their many negative
side-effects, considered as unimportant or limited, and this to their own peril and that
of many generations to come ...
Indeed, eventually, the side-effects of
these 'nature mortes' heat the world in the name of freedom and
prosperity. Idle glory ! Thermodynamics confusing 'energy' with 'heat'. Energy being a difference between potentials and
not a movement of molecules causing friction to make steam ...
Two distinct periods spring to the fore : one in which a 'Newtonian'
paradigm still dominated and another characterized by amazing (instrumental,
functional) discoveries in the absence of a grand physical theory at
least able to reconcile the two rivals at hand : relativity (the very
large) and its envisioned determinism and quantum (the extremely small)
and its probabilism.
How do we act when we know something is wrong ? Institutionalized science
retained the oldest trick on record : put your head in the sand and hope things
go away !
DUSK and FALL of Modernity :
from 1945 till early 70 :
rapid, massive global
divulgation of the black box-model (closed Carnot systems) ;
valid knowledge is tested & consensual : a scientific elitism with
its given discourses, conventions, parlances and local logics - science as
the servant of industry, the military, the
'powers that be' ... ;
focused on the illusionary
metaphysics of permanent scientific discovery & material growth ;
repression of the first
person perspective, of creativity, inventivity & humanity ;
negation of the results of
observational psychology and the cult of sense-data, instrumentalism and
the rise of the 'postmodern avant-garde'
from oilcrisis till 2000 ?
globalization of egology,
destruction of ecosystems & social depravity ;
rapid moral degeneration,
corrupt status quo, the rise of counter & anti-cultural movements, the
institutionalization of incompetence, massive global squandering of material
virulent nihilism, death-art,
the cult of irrationalism & the rise of posthumous modernism, technocratic
science, militarism, narcissism & consumerism ;
total misunderstanding of the
needs of humanity & its survival ;
collective forms of psychosis
& hysteria, rise of violence, insecurity & global ecological catastrophes
fall of communism and the
assimilation of socialism and ecology into late capitalism and its inherent
Plutocracy : enlightened egoism.
The end of the worst century of
to be as dark as its beginning. This despite techology, 'modern' this-and-that
and the cynical display of hollow Lunar grandure and achievement (growth) the
posthumous modernists (scientists & politicians alike) enjoy. These are great
times for pessimists, cynics, sceptics and doomsday thinkers.
Suffering remains a fact despite more than half a century of serious institutional
globalization and the rise of expensive international organizations, NGO's and so-called
democratic peace-keeping forces. Instead of helping the poor not to fall in the same ecological
& social abyss, the West has divulgated materialism, negativism, nihilism
& consumerism. It has given knowledge, but no tools. The rich became and still become richer every day. The poorer
ever more wretched. In this way the rich squander the wealth of the future. The
'lost generations' do not want to be responsible for the damage caused
by their parents. The link with the past is often broken.
The modern human seem to be afraid
to live his or her life without the illusionary securities of the material
operator and is stuck with an uneasy security. The structural deficiencies of latter day modernist societies
(democratic, dictatorial or savage) are such that helping is sometimes
ineffective. A global solution is the only way out. A fair redistribution of
wealth the moral of this tragic human story.
The 'idealist' version of posthumous modernism (the point of
reference constructive postmodernism has to assimilate without its ontological
The pessimism of Adorno
& Horkheimer is the result of an instrumental interpretation of
rationality leading to the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment'.
communicative or inherently linguistic & argumentative (social). Each
communicative discourse is based on the assumption that power &
self-intrest do not rule supreme. A sincere, truth-governed speech is
possible because 'a moment of unconditionality' of truth & freedom can
not be excluded, despite money & power, which may colonize knowledge.
The 'realist' version of
posthumous modernism is the connection with the principle of reality which
constructive postmodernism needs to maintain in order to think anything as real,
however not without first bracketing the ontology of the real in the domain of
epistemology and the other normative discipline, such as ethics and esthetics :
The real world exists independent of
ourselves and touches us each time we experience something (to kick and
to be kicked). Scientific theories are not to
be justified by means of induction. A scientific theory explains how it may fail. If it
does, it lost correspondence with reality and can no longer be true. Theories are built on
piles driven down from above into the swamp, not down to any given base, although they are
really firm enough to carry the structure.
|The Logic of Scientific
1951 - 1956.
Hyperglobalism or Planetarism :
world wide communication
between peoples ;
strong popular movements
reacting against the status quo ;
inability to keep problems
hidden and localized ;
power of the anonymous
reflex, international networks of activists, mass reactions against
destruction of the ecological, social, economical and political balances.
integration of perspectivism, faillibilism
and criticism of science, ending the dogmatism of materialism and virulent
atheism & nihilism ;
increased consumer awareness
and the power to manipulate supply by drastically changing demand
genuine power given to the United Nations
end of capitalistic globalism and birth of
planetarism, the responsible leadership of spaceship Earth ;
awareness the problems facing humanity can
no longer be solved by nationalism & internationalism, but only on a
planetary level, prompting a Global Economical, Political & Ecological
System or planetarism.
Postmodern logic to keep.
(§ 1) The
'logic' of postmodernism may be discovered in the texts of Lyotard, Rorty,
Foucault, Derrida, although the latter (often called a poststructuralist) does not use the
term to define his views. Are these but semantical futilities ? The 'logic'
of postmodernism is binary, often non-Fregean and a-formal but often analytically
sharp, simultaneously refined & grotesque.
Derrida introduced so-called
'deconstruction' into Western philosophical thought. According to Derrida,
Western thought as a whole is a philosophy of presence.
Socrates, who inspired Plato when the latter wrote the first texts of Western philosophy, did
not write. However, because Plato listened to Socrates and textualized his words,
Socrates is said to be present in our minds when we read Plato's text (we, not present
when Socrates was uttering his own words !). The text is said to refer to something outside the
'Ce renversement cohérent, soumettant la sémiologie à une
'trans-linguistique', conduit à sa pleine explication une linguistique historiquement
dominée par la métaphysique logocentrique, pour laquelle en effet il n'y a, il ne
devrait y avoir 'de sense que nommé'. Dominée par la soi-disant 'civilisation de
l'écriture' que nous habitons, civilisation de l'écriture soi-disant phonétique,
c'est-à-dire du logos où le sens de l'être est, en son telos, déterminé comme
Derrida, J. : De la Grammatologie, Minuit - Paris, 1967, p.75, my italics.
This presence is summoned up by the text to sustain a mental mechanism through which a
certain conscious unity of the text and the presence outside the text is
words are considered to be symbols of mental experiences and written words are the symbols
of spoken words (cf. Aristotle).
'It is impossible for the same attribute at once to
belong and not to belong to the same thing and in the same relation. (...)
Hence, all men who are demonstrating anything refer back to this as an
ultimate belief ; for it is by nature the starting-point of all the other
axioms as well. (...) Even in the case of this law, however, we can
demonstrate the impossibility by refutation, if only our opponent makes some
Aristotle : Metaphysics, IV, iii 9, 12 & iv 3-4.
This logocentrism is also a phonocentrism : absolute proximity of voice and
being (through text), of
voice and meaning of being in words, of voice and the ideality of the
meaning of the text. Derrida does not reject
this ongoing philosophy of presence and
'coming out by day'. Because his deconstruction takes
place 'in the margin' of the presented texts, it seems that presence
& absence form a pair.
This is the crucial insight. We
should not deny absence its meaning. We should criticize and demolish the
walls of signs enslaving the logos to phonemes 'in the margin'. In a
constructive perspective, deconstruction is a continuous movement, a 'perpetuum mobile' within thought, allowing the endless creation of
new perspectives on both texts and words spoken in the presence of
interiority (sense of identity) and alteriority (sense of difference).
Postmodern thought is unsettling in the isthmus between the philosophy of
appearance (of 'phusis') and that of the eveningland (of the
hiddenness of the nocturnal, of mystery, of death, of ghosts, of the wide
expanses of the multiverse).
Deconstruction takes place in a consciousness aware of the pair and of this formidable
difference between the so-called presence of being in texts and the absence of the being
of the man Plato knew, Socrates. Derrida claims that there is nothing outside the
text, but this is clearly an idealistic overstatement.
Modernism (in its many variations, both as a method and as a cultural meanstream) may
hence be understood as an exclusivism of presence, or, in the
language of Jung, it is Animus-obsessed (paternalistic, authoritarian,
phallic, dogmatic, inconsiderate and unrefined).
(§ 2) Logocentrism is the (symbolical) determination of the being of
an object as presence. In this way, linguistics remains
completely enclosed within a classical conceptuality in which false doors, i.e. a transcendental signified, occur. By marking these in a text (for example
by adding an asterix*) one menaces the history and the life of the spirit of
self-presence, one menaces substantiality. For by allowing the text to summon a
presence outside the text we delude ourselves by creating a fiction through the
medium of that book, programme, film or file. So although deconstruction does not
interfere with the summoning of the spirit of identity, it adds little
destructive notes in the margin
of the text. These openings are the ones camouflaged by our foundational
intellectuals, those who think that thought has to rest on a sufficient
ground (i.e. ideality or reality) and a logic of identity (cf. Leibniz).
The comments in the margin unveil the hidden escape-roads present in the text.
Indeed, many passages in a text suggest a meta-level of meaning delimitation, unnoticed strands of
hidden variables, which -after analysis- prove to contain infinite reiterations, with
unexpected & unparalleled complexities. Has Heidegger's conception of truth after
'die Kehre' as 'a-lethèia', i.e. both unhidden & hidden inspired
Derrida ? Truth as both presence and absence. Western philosophy and the
sciences have tried in vain to reduce truth to the sole presence of facts and/or
discourse. It is impossible to know reality-as-it-is. No empirico-formal
statement can be made about the essence of being. All this belongs to the
realm of absence. A metaphysics of absence starts by investigating the
possible intrusions of absence once its domain has been established
(by the negation of the presences of being).
'The power that manifests itself stands in
unconcealment. In showing itself, the unconcealed as such comes to stand.
Truth as un-concealment is not an appendage to being. (...) Since being
means emerging, appearing, to issue forth from concealment - concealment,
its origin in concealment, belongs to it essentially. This origin lies in
the essence of being, of the manifest as such. Being inclines back toward
it, both in great silence and mystery and in banal distortion and
Heidegger, M. : An Introduction to Metaphysics, Yale University Press - Yale, 1959
(translated by R.Manheim), p.102 & p.114.
(§ 3) The first step involves a critical inquiry of the
boundaries of reason, mind and their cognitive mechanisms,
mental operators, systems & models. Reason (cf. Kant's 'Vernunft') is a higher
faculty involved with the extension & unity of all operations & activities of
the mind (cf. Kant's 'Verstand'). Its logic is monadic.
Kant tried to avoid the consequences of the possibility of reason to perceive its own activity in a purely intellectual way (cf. contemplation). The step from a imaginary, regulative focus to the
transformation of reason under the influence of the intellect is not taken, although the necessity of unification is
clearly seen. Kant's modernism did not allow him to perceive the gross
contradiction built in his grand intellectual monument. How does Kant know
intellectual perception is impossible ?
A theory on transcendental unity should satisfy the need for a harmony between reason & intuition. The study of
Fichte, Schelling & Husserl is rewarding. The human mind, ruled by reason, is
characterized by an 'essential tension' (cf. Kuhn) between idealism &
realism, the metaphysical outposts of erroneous empirico-formal mental activity caught in an ontological illusion (erecting a theory of knowledge on the dogma of either subjectivism or objectivism). Both
possibilities have to be superceded.
A trichotomic logic is able to avoid the problem of the justification of knowledge.
|object of knowledge
equals reality & facts
||subject of knowledge
equals mind & theories
Only when knowledge is justified should it be used in social formations & taught as a
fact able to influence the sustainable harmonization of life on Earth. This
justification is never final and therefore more than a linear 'calculus' of
mentals is necessary to understand the cognitive mechanism of reason and its inclination
towards the unconditional ('das Unbedingte' - cf. Kant). Wisdom becomes possible
by allowing all possible interactions between both approaches of our physical brain, i.e.
digital, linear, sequential & verbal versus analogous, chaotic, parallel &
non-verbal. Philosophy starts with mentals and is optimized by the stern training of the
rational mind focused on the global, universal, cosmic meaning of humanity. Logic
& epistemology formulating the norms of thought & knowledge. Next the
intellect may join.
See also :
Prolegomena or the
Rules of the Game of 'True' Knowledge (1994, Dutch),
Clearings : On Critical Epistemology
Intelligent Wisdom : from Myth to
Nondual Thought (2007),
Neurophilosophy of Sensation
Critique of a Metaphysics of Process
(2010 - 2012),
Book of Lemmas (2014),
The End of Materialism
(§ 5) A second step implies the study of those mental operators involved
in the process of emancipation of the mind after
formal-operatoric phase has been implemented. This state of wonder, awe, perplexity,
sheer suddenness comes natural when consciousness is daily engaged in
spiritual activity and the mind is given over completely to the
will to love wisdom. So wisdom is a spiritual marriage, a free state (cf.
Chockmah-consciousness in qabalah) arrived at when the monad is
permanently present in the now of clear awareness. When -in Husserl's words- the natural
state has completely, through the method of bracketing, been put out of action,
i.e. all possible concerns for spatio-temporal existence have been
thoroughly eliminated, then and only then a new sense or region
of 'Being' may by won. Wisdom implies abstention,
negation, restriction. For
what remains when the world, we & our thinking have been bracketed ? Where does
consciousness abide when Seen & Seer are absolutely divided (cf. the Western theory on
contemplation & the Eastern
Dutch readers may consult :
en Minne-Mystiek (1994)
For English readers :
a Spiritual Brainmind (2003 - 2007),
Does the Divine
exist ? (2006),
(§ 6) The postmodern distinction between presence & absence initiates a postmodern spectrology, or a revision
of the modern postulate affirming certain texts to be omnipotent when
Modern conditioning limits our sense-organs (through the
lateralization of the neo-cortex), blocking the direct experience of the meta-nominal. Postmodern philosophy should help to unleash these potentials.
Moreover, besides the logocentric reality-for-us, importance should be given to
reality-for-me and the phenomena of (auto)suggestion (placebo & nocebo), fiction,
imagination and peripheral events, such as parapsychological facts (telekinesis,
telepathy, clairvoyance), visionary experience, magical, prophetic & mystical states
The relationships between reality-for-me and reality-as-such may allow for a non-verbal
understanding of the subtle, invisible, seemingly absent fields, currents &
interactions between the solitary individual, mostly unconscious about them, and
reality-as-such. A postmodern spectrology is not Europacentric and so is able to
incorporate elements of
African philosophy (cf. the elaborated power-ontology of spirits & the spirit-world), Indian Hinduism (with
its multitudes of devas & gods) and the Western belief in 'pure spiritual
entities' like angels (with or against the order of things). Instead of discarding
these signals of a veiled, shadow-world as mythological, fantastic, unreal, imaginary and
of no real importance to existence of humans on Earth, moderate postmodernism should be aware
of the impact of the invisible, intangible, hidden, occult layers of reality.
Significance and relevance should be distinguised and applied.
'As we saw, a comparison of the
evidence for telepathy and that for clairvoyance suggests that the mind-mind
relation and the mind-matter relation are the same kind of relation. This
suggests in turn that what we know from within as 'mind' and what we know from
without as 'matter' are not, in themselves, different in kind. The fact that the
mind's outgoing paranormal causal influence includes both thought-transference
and psychokinetic changes in 'inanimate matter' suggest the same thing.'
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, State University of
New York Press - New York, 1997, p.277.
The categories of a possible postmodern spectrology are primordial to understand
the spiritual experience of the majority of our fellow human
beings (alone, in magical groups, sects, churches, religions or mystical movements). These
considerations also change our speculative perspective on pre- and postlife conditions
(death no more than a one-way gate between visible & invisible ?) and the way to deal
with (the angel of) death ...
Dutch readers may consult : Kennis
& Minne-Mystiek (1994) &
De Mystieke Theologie (1996)
For English readers : the Jesus-people,
Ancient Egypt and
These 'pre-modern' interests of postmodernism are not a return to irrationality
(superstition) confusing knowledge (cf. Sokal & Brickmont, 1998) but
acknowledge a valid & arguable metaphysics has more than a heuristic
(inspirational) value for the sciences. Indeed, metaphysics is the inevitable
origin of all possible scientific activity (cf. the Popper & his
'theory-ladenness of observation', 'metaphysical research
programmes' and the inability to banish metaphysics). Instead of
criticizing the so-called 'abuse of science' by postmodern
philosophers, physicists should (to say the least) elucidate their own subject
matters. They should not trust their naive, childish 'solid state' realisms for
they lead to a 'perverse reason' (cf.Kant on the 'transcendental
illusion'). The discovery of a new kind of language (transposing the
mathematical 'reality' as precisely as possible) will be
necessary to accomplish this. However, if too much specialization does not leave
them with enough free study to acquire a grand historical perspective on the
activity of knowledge, then surely they are not very well placed to understand
those philosophers who dare to speculate (yes, often in vain) and share
their regulating universal possibilities to the collective consciousness of
critique est aisée et l'Art est difficule.'
Destouches : Le Glorieux, 2.2
Building a Hyperglobal system* ?
ALL TEXTS l
(§ 1) No text makes absence present. The
longing for a systematical approach can not be eradicated (for -as Kant put it- our minds
need architecture). However, no system is without false doors,
paradoxes, incompleteness & indeterminisms.
The conceptual mind is not equipped to merge the dyad
in the monad and survive. The logic of mind is based on a fundamental dualism
is unable to escape or transcend.
This discursive mind can only articulate, define, postulate, verbalize facts,
i.e. the result of the combined activity of subjectivity (its theory, frame, view,
perspective) and the presupposed stimuli of reality-as-such.
The insurmountability of
the norms of knowledge
In Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies we
find this curious thought : '...whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so
because he had adopted (... ) some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour; an
adoption which may be called 'irrational' (... ), we may describe it as an irrational
faith in reason'.
In order to understand man's activity of acquiring
knowledge and moreover, to consolidate it in a ground outside knowledge, Popper
seeks -by a decisionistic strategy- to put the choice for rationality in the domain of
irrationality. The question remains whether it is possible to choose for reason starting
with the irrational ? This is contra-intuitive. If epistemology has to answer the question
of the possibility of knowledge, then we expect it to work out a set of necessary categories.
The choice for reason is not irrational, but is the result of reason's self-reflections
and reason's praxis.
Because the grounding activity of reason shamefully contaminates epistemology, we shall
have to leave the above mentioned strategy and opt for a set of basic norms that are
not to be justified. This changes the descriptive problem into the normative. We will
call this basic system like Kant a 'Factum', more precisely a 'fact of reason
(of ratio)'. In his
Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, Kant refers in his discussion
of the statute of the moral law to a primitive, undeniable fact that cannot be justified
from earlier grounds and therefore is inexplicable.
Norms are the baseless foundation of knowledge.
Kant writes that the moral law is 'das einzige Faktum der reinen Vernunft'. The
normative basic system of knowledge appears -in a consciousness thinking on a reflective
level- as a 'collection' (of set) of norms which can not be proved by reasoning, but which
are inevitable presupposed in each cognitive act. They form the ungroundable
basis of knowledge. In other words they are the rules of the game of true knowledge we
have been using all the time.
In this way a circle appears : starting from human cognition, the conditions of the
possibility of knowledge need to be examined (so that we may indicate the limitations of
this cognitive power). So, talking about knowledge, we come across norms that have to
be presupposed in each action of cognition. Afterwards it is discovered that the
'Factum Rationis' was the necessary inalienable condition for this conceptual
self-exploration of thinking ; a conditon that cannot be grounded by itself, but which
already supports the building of knowledge.
These norms clarify the notion 'rationality'. The
relationship 'rationality' versus 'irrationality' can indeed be worked out
epistemologically in the light of a possible demarcation between science (true knowledge)
and metaphysics (speculative knowledge). In this way, the 'Factum Rationis' is
the primitive term of the wanted epistemology (compare it with the notion 'person' in
'How is knowledge and the progress of knowledge possible ?'
This question is often answered by grounding the possibility of knowledge in a
sufficient ground that tries to exceed (or move beyond) knowledge and hence is no
knowledge anymore. This foundational, sufficient ground (or base) -which is 'knowing'
besides the knowledge it tries to ground- can only support the possibility of knowledge if
this 'non-knowing' point of view would be able to give a justification of the
possibility of knowledge. Such a 'non-knowing' point of view is however completely
dogmatic (as will appear from the discussion with the intuitionists), and knowledge -if
epistemology wants to stay free from internal contradictions- can not be justified by a
'knowing' that has to be understood as 'non-knowing'. Hence, the grounding
strategy has to be rejected. Indeed, a preceding non-knowing point of view isn't possible
as it is this selfsame knowing caught in an illusion.
The question of the conditions relating to the possibility and the progress of knowledge
can on the other hand also be answered by finding a normative system of basic
principles or basic categories (cf. the neo-Kantians and Strawson). Norms that
determine how to think about 'knowledge'. Norms that indicate how progress of this
'knowledge' has to be understood (and has already been understood). In what follows, we
are going to search for this
system of basic principles.
The fact that these basic norms -indicative of how we must think 'knowledge'- in their
turn cannot be justified by means of knowledge (cf. the circle-reasoning) could be
interpreted as to imply that the decision to well or not use these norms is an
irresponsible (because unjustified) one. This is what Popper suggests. Wrongly. Analogous
to Kant who wrote about moral basic norms, we will show that it is inevitable that some
norms of knowledge have to be presupposed (if we want to think 'knowledge').
It is evident that each cognitive act presupposes a cognitive object (the known), a
cognitive subject or subjects (the knower(s)) and knowledge (about the object as
experienced by one or more subjects).
Without a cognitive object there is no 'knowledge' as the knower (cognitive subject)
cannot put something 'before him', while whithout a cognitive subject the same goes (there
is no instance that 'knows' the known). This obvious fact cannot be grounded in proceeding
knowledge, and also cannot be alienated from the process of cognition.
Hence, cognitive object & subject are the limiting conditions of the possibility of
knowledge. If denied, a circle-reasoning appears : what is being denied (the fact of
reason), has to be presupposed in the denial itself (the denial is the object, the negator
Taking knowledge as fallible means giving up all attempts of grounding knowledge. This
break with the classical model of rationality also implies abandoning the closed Cartesian
subject, in which a lonely, almost solipsistic cognitive subject is confronted with the
cognitive object. 'My knowledge' can only be 'my' knowledge if put within the framework of
intersubjectivity (the open subject-model).
Just as the 'Factum Rationis' cannot be grounded in a preceding 'non-knowing'
point of view, but can be explained in reflection, so the cognitive subject and the
cognitive object have to function as the two ends of the yoke (or cross-beam) on which the
'limiting framework' may be hanged. Grounding these notions means that this system of
basic norms becomes exceeded so far as these be thought as structural elements of the
cognitive subject (cf. idealism) or as ideas that indicate the
minimum basic structure of reality and by which the possibility of knowledge of this
reality can be understood (cf. realism).
(§ 2) A systematical
approach allowing for deconstruction generates a system* which is catalytic, creating
catharsis. This means it offers to its readers models of growth (modules) without imposing itself as
a dogmatic or complete design of existence.
It also implies deconstruction of all important false exits to
How to structure contemporary philosophy ?
I. THEORETICAL PHILOSOPHY
A) HISTORICAL Philosophy :
Logistics of philosophy on the basis of past facts.
B) SYSTEMATIC Philosophy :
Topology of philosophy on the basis of different objects of investigation :
- Normative Philosophy : the rules man should mind in following
(1) logic : order, meaning & symbolisation : true/false
(2) epistemology : theory on knowledge & method :
(3) aesthetics : the exemplar & emancipation :
(4) ethics : theory on just change & geo-politics :
- Descriptive Philosophy or
Metaphysics : philosophical investigations into psychology,
economics, sociology, politicology, religion, mysticism & other areas.
In a traditional sense, metaphysics
implies nominal (rational) & meta-nominal (intuitional) speculations on nature (natural philosophy), humanity (philosophical
being (ontology), God (theology), language, history, religion, etc.
II. THE PRACTICE OF
Study of the integration of the philosopher in his or her society.