Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Philosophy facilitates the wayfarer’s subsistence

[In order to survive their crushing defeat in the Cold War, the remnants of Soviet communism, along with failed Marxist, socialists and communists around the globe had to evolve and mutate into a form that would not be easily recognized; but the fundamental toxicity of their ideology remained as potent as ever. And it is these various mutations that are truly the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. In postmodern philosophy and rhetoric, they found the perfect epistemological, ethical and political vessel to reassert their poison. And that is why, despite the untold misery and the millions of dead that were the result of the implementation of their political policies, their ideology never quite made it to the garbage dump of history.The politically useful concept of "social justice" is now the dominant philosophy forced down the throats of teachers, who obediently spoon feed it to their students from kindergarden through college; while in academia they use "science" to demonize their enemies. Additionally, it is postmodern philosophy which is at the heart of such irrational concepts as political correctness, multiculturalism and radical environmentalism, three of the four pillars of the socialist/communist--or, more accurately, the neo-Marxist--revival that has been staged in this first decade of the 21st century. Remember that postmodernism eschews truth and those who adhere to its ideas prefer to exercise power to force social change. They live in a world of contradiction and emotion. Their strategy is not to persuade people to accept their ideas, but to confuse them; to distort the truth, propagate lies and smears; and to use whatever rhetoric is necessary to accomplish their purposes. Since rhetorical skill is essential to accomplish their purposes, it is little wonder that a trancendently inexperienced but rhetorically gifted nobody like Barack Obama would rise to the top of the [garbage] heap. His career has been meteoric, and is based entirely on words, not deeds or accomplishments. In truth, he is the quintessential political postmodern demagogue; skilled in the neo-Marxist/fascist talking points and easily able to convince all who hear him of his passionate committment to "social justice," (better understood as the redistribution of wealth) and universal peace and brotherhood (better known as the appeasement and enabling of evil). Nothing that is going on now makes any sense, unless you understand that "sense" is not a useful concept when one is talking about postmodernism. POSTMODERNISM, THE CORRUPTION OF TRUTH, AND THE COMING GLOBAL TRAGEDY
from Dr. Sanity by Dr. Sanity]

[Philosophy suffered a major blow towards the end of the 19th century when natural philosophy became natural science (in Greek, of course, science is one of the words for knowledge), effectively detaching itself from the philosophers, asserting its autonomy, and succeeding remarkably. Philosophers, no doubt, were miffed that this new breed of beasts, the natural scientists, did not seem to place much stock in their questions or epistemological conditions, but had their own “crass” epistemology and rough and ready methodology. From there legions of students that were spawned, birthed on the halycion memory of the golden age where they were “knowledge”, and have been bitter ever since. The phenomenologists, for example, came to code the term “science” as synonymous with “dogmatism”, and consoled themselves in the belief that they knew the “truth behind truth” or the ultimate grounds in consciousness or the transcendental subject and intentional lived experience prior to any empirical investigation. This would lead Husserl to claim that the natural world cannot be a condition for consciousness as consciousness is a condition for nature, thereby revealing his dualistic and idealistic superstitions or his crypto-theology. In the meantime, those descended from Kant, the so-called “Critical Theorists” (who were anything but critical but who were certainly reactionary) would talk endlessly about how concepts precede any investigation of the world, while the rest of us, having learned our lessons well from Husserl who was right about some things, would scratch our heads wondering just what the hell a concept is and how one could possibly arrive at the idea that we think conceptually. In the meantime, being too polite to be argumentative, we would conclude that all this talk of concepts and whatnot was like trying to do neurosurgery with a butter knife, giving us a folk-psychology about as accurate as explaining a tsunami by reference to Poseidon. In other words, “concepts”, “conditions”, the “transcendental”, had become the new Zeus and Dionysius, explaining respectively lightning and the harvest. But it certainly sounded impressive! Epistemology
from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects]

[For Badiou, then, the vocation of philosophy is to make what is implicit, explicit, or to accomplish the self-reflexivity, the self-awareness, of these truths. For example, one of the burning questions of Marxist thought is that of how the proletariat can be made aware of its key historical role. Marx’s work can be seen as registering the truth of this role through his analysis of the social structure. However, for Badiou, it is not simply a question of registering the truth of these praxis, but rather of thinking the compossibility of these truths in a historical present. Where for Leibniz compossibility refers to the interdependence of all events in the unity of a universe, for Badiou compossibility refers to the unity of truths in the eternity of the present (shades of Kierkegaard’s notion of the present, here). This compossibility of truths is essentially a fractal concept. A fractal is a geometry that reflects self-similarity at all levels of scale. Thus, for example, a fractal triangle would have triangles along all of its three sides and then triangles along the sides of these sides and then triangles along the sides of these sides of these sides, and so on to infinity. To think the compossibility of truths is to think this fractal pattern within truths across heterogeneous domains of praxis. Thinking the Present– What is Philosophy?
from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects]

[Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God?
March 27, 2009 / Volume CXXXVI, Number 6 ARTICLE Culture & Barbarism
Metaphysics in a Time of Terrorism Terry Eagleton
Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God? Who would have expected theology to rear its head once more in the technocratic twenty-first century, almost as surprisingly as some mass revival of Zoroastrianism?... If Marxism once held out a promise of reconciling culture and civilization, it is partly because its founder was both a Romantic humanist and an heir of Enlightenment rationalism. Marxism is about culture and civilization together-sensuous particularity and universality, worker and citizen of the world, local allegiances and international solidarity, the free self-realization of flesh-and-blood individuals and a global cooperative commonwealth of them. But Marxism has suffered in our time a staggering political rebuff; and one of the places to which those radical impulses have migrated is-of all things-theology. In theology nowadays, one can find some of the most informed and animated discussions of Deleuze and Badiou, Foucault and feminism, Marx and Heidegger. That is not entirely surprising, since theology, however implausible many of its truth claims, is one of the most ambitious theoretical arenas left in an increasingly specialized world-one whose subject is nothing less than the nature and transcendental destiny of humanity itself. These are not issues easily raised in analytic philosophy or political science. Theology’s remoteness from pragmatic questions is an advantage in this respect. We find ourselves, then, in a most curious situation. In a world in which theology is increasingly part of the problem, it is also fostering the kind of critical reflection which might contribute to some of the answers. There are lessons that the secular Left can learn from religion, for all its atrocities and absurdities; and the Left is not so flush with ideas that it can afford to look such a gift horse in the mouth. But will either side listen to the other at present? Commonweal Foundation
6:42 PM]

Philosophy is the other name of Jnana yoga which facilitates the wayfarer’s subsistence and hence the insistence that it beget truth is absurd. Condemning theory because it lends itself to certain political doctrines is also inappropriate as binding it to a particular contingence is violence to it. [TNM]

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