Tuesday, July 31, 2012

"Truth, Goodness, Beauty, and the philosophical sin."

Truth, Goodness, Beauty


                Philosophy commits its characteristic crime when it dissects the frog, to better understand how it functions, and then expects it to hop. The logic chopping and careful definitions of philosophy, properly used, are auxiliaries, but the analytical bent must remind itself of the synthetic purpose: philosophy is a form of love, and love is what puts things together. Love is in action, and the words that clothe those actions, but words without actions are not love, lacking the heart of commitment. In the same way, the intellectual who analyzes a thing, but who does not in his conclusion therefore change the structure of his own life, is not wise.

                We can take an instance of this error, of dissecting a thing and expecting it to function in its dissected form, in the abortive distinction made between truth, goodness, and beauty. These three adjective, or properties, characterize all objects and subjects, in varying degrees, are modes of appreciating and evaluation the same beings. Yet there is no such things a "pure truth" or a "pure beauty" or "pure goodness" that was not also characterized by the other two.

                The art work, a supposed purified form, works also on us, accomplishes its task of audience beautification by converting habits and value systems into a healthier more efficient form. Living is the end of art -- aesthetic appreciation merely gives the conscious sign that such an inner integration is taking place.

                The supposed contrast between beauty and utility is refuted in the instance of a the well-wrought machine. This apparatus, whose major function is clearly utility, answers that function the better the more simple, powerful, and elegant it runs. Beauty is by nature the visible representation of good living.

                The basic act of art is transformation or beautification, but all things are or can be beautiful, just as a physics equation or mathematical proof can be expressed aesthetically, with perfect elegance. All things are by nature formations, they have substance and form, which again are modes of the same thing. Beauty is a form in its optimum conformation, which simplifies a diverse complexity under a balanced system.

                Truth and beauty are goods, no doubt, and are good for human action, and the subjective experience of performing those actions, and are not good beyond it.

                Since all human thought and action is motivated, ultimately, by the system of needs that grounds all life-forms, it follows that all its values are or should be expressions of what best fulfills those needs. We clearly see this in all forms of art, tools of utility, and formulations of truth. Works of art express relationships, and therefore stipulate truths; they inspire conformity in the appreciator, and thus impress goodness on us. Any mode of philosophy that dissects truth from goodness, goodness from beauty, or duty from goodness has only done half its work, letting us carefully inspect the thing from a given perspective, analytically, but the final synthesis marks the goal of philosophy and is what justifies it as a love of wisdom.




\ ~@M@~ /



Monday, July 30, 2012

"Structural Positioning" an essay

As always, the public form of my complex subversion and reversion of accepted world order take on the cheerful and abstract form of philosophical recommendation -- as the very title of the essay indicates. The form of innerdependence I slowly approach through the playful cut of all the ties of society, binding no more, till the subject substantiates himself on that aboriginal infinitude of his innermost being. But I prefer the language of games, play, and structuralism for the task.


Take care, Caretakers

Structural Positioning

                The positioning within a system adds to the intrinsic value of an entity by realizing through relationships some aspect of its infinite possibility. All of life is the positioning and developing of our powers within the world system. Positioning is strategizing, and the game of life is lost or won by knowing where to stand.

                Consciously, however, we understand only basic relationships, and as for what we can express in language relationships take on simplistic sets. We can draw a family tree with lines and names, but as for understanding the relationships between grandparents, parents, and children, perhaps a novel could suggest a few things, but what we fully know below the surface is not the stuff of language. Rather, it is a language of its own, expressed consciously through comparatively simplistic art and story. What is art, after all, but some aspect of life purified, intensified, simplified, and closed off into a neat unit so as to render it an object of contemplation?

                Our myths, and the myths of our myths, what we tell ourselves they are for, guide us on our path, are the basis of culture, in fact are culture, and the rest is repetition and variation; no story lacks archetypal gestures.

                Dante's myth-based Comedy, for instance, offers a hypersimplistic map of heaven and hell, so much neater and cleaner than, say, a map of Italy. In this system, God posits himself as least mortal of the world -- and Dante's geography elucidates this. At dead center, the source of gravity and narrative is the triple-headed beast, Satan; and farthest from that is the tripartite Godhead. Yet at the belly of the beast as its eternal abiding secret is the Exit towards the source, the only path God can take to his own greater apotheosis. As God's heaven becomes less and less tolerable, say a microscopic crack ever thousand years, which adds up to nothing worth sweating over, but nevertheless puts a final timeline on things; after eons and eons he will have to face the accursed beast and be swallowed into the void. Lacking such a bold move, he would be stuck in his mode of perfection, a being without becoming whose skin is slowly starting to itch.

                To speak less mythically but perhaps just as abstrusely, we can say that only when a thing has died and become a completed object does it become eternal. Subjectivity, which is an experience in time, is by its nature mortal. We must make peace with our mortality and also make peace with our immortality; as it is, many fight against their own dual identity, projecting there unease on their wrong-headed enemies whom they then dispute. The West envisions opposites as a cross, a tearing apart and infinite divorce, whereas the East envisions opposites as a circle, as tear drops mutually spinning and mutually impregnating, as an eternal marriage between man and wife. By the logic of the East, the West cannot be dropped off but must also be incorporated into the circles of the world.

                The world is circular; laws are circular. The complete course is the revolution, not just spinning, but spinning outwards in an ever increasing spiral. In this, the Western timeline unites with the Eastern circuit. It balances against its own imbalance. Criticisms of Emerson's Law of Compensation, which describes system after system in nature and society, but especially in moral laws, where excess balances defect and punishment balances crime, prove themselves to be small-minded and unwilling to imagine the reality of the all inclusive circle. The criticisms themselves weigh against a naive take on the Law, but they imagine that though virtue may well be its own reward, vice is not its own punishment, necessitating laws both human and even divine -- which are at least imaginable. But what folly to suppose such a thing extends beyond the same balancing circle! Such criticisms exist only to compensate our frustration at the ugliness of crime and our feeling of impotence against the world's pains; if they were not evoked to answer an imbalance, we would never have heard of them. Balance and its internalized unbalance are basic and there is nothing outside of them, excepting the source of the imbalance, the innermost center of self-increasing logos.

                Emerson's compensation is true because it isn't original. It is everywhere always and without counterexample. A counterexample could only be a counterbalance against the law naively understood, and thus in this way implicate itself. Every morality assumes its truth.

                We find in all moral systems a table of values and a system of evaluation. This is how we understand the things that enter our world. We evaluate ourselves in fresh ways as the game evolves. For instance, it is uncommon for a decent woman to approach whom she knows to be a married man, and this for respect of the institution of marriage, and for fear her own good name will be sullied as a home wreaker, and more to the point, that the man himself would not really respect her. On the other hand, if a decent woman falls in love with whom she only later finds out to be married, the likelihood for her to compromise her morals is exasperated, though the honest married man who approached her did not trick her, and the lying married man did, for unconsciously she would prefer to be tricked, for then she can't be held accountable, and "through love all things are possible." It could even prove to her that the married man respected her integrity more than the straightforward cheater, who would have esteemed her as the type who would willing initiate such a liaison. Deceiving others can be a sign of respect for others, if not ourselves. The thick math of moral placement within the grids of dozen games gives shifting values to each move. We articulate risks of loss to face for the possibility of richer gains.

                We fall into such articulations by accident, or so it seems, but really from a sense of boredom, which at its heart is a dread of death. The poet who wastes his night in revelry has also fed his muse. After all, the poet's poet aims to impress the impressive, not the impressionable. My own exclusive love is unapproachable without my intending it so.

The reverie of revelry admits a fine reality

Dreaming highs at midnight, pleasing teases steadily.

                We choose our values intuitively and only at a slant, but we choose our ostensible values loudly and visibly. This is no hypocrisy because it plays out too naturally to be intentional: we don't know what we actually believe. What we profess to believe is assuredly not it. The surest clue to what we really want is what we finally get, and what we in fact really believe is shown by our actions, not our purported goals or later regrets. The rest is coding through society's norms.

                The anxious and lucrative market of jump-starts and sneak attacks sold for toddlers and such is a fine example, where parents are impressed to teach their children math and phonics a year before the schools teach the same, in hopes that the kid can then dominate their classroom -- but this teaches no lasting advance. Regarding the too soon 2+2 and the preemptive "i before e," the child only learns society's nonsense a breath earlier, which comes to nothing. The true lesson nevertheless is inculcated into the children, and in case they missed it, mom and dad will insist: you must outdo your peers by perpetual study and continual hard work if you are to impress us or even yourself.

                Probably a useful lesson -- could have been useful for a slew of underachievers -- but the precocious 5 minus 4 is not only obnoxious but distracting for the lessons naturally relevant for the formative child: how should I regard myself in relation to others? How shall I desire, hope, dream, love, and seek? What people, what things? Why? These lessons are learned through the parents but not from them, as if the adult's will had any power to bar it. The children will inevitably learn the world, from the parents first and their adolescent peers next, figuring how to view one's self in relation to the rest.

                In this way, they position themselves in the world game. The world, after all, offers a foil by which one can brag to himself, like those IQ tests that give a little ego boost to those who need it, as if the test proved something substantial. Distinctions from the world are an immediate benchmark for personal satisfaction, especially for those who evaluate foolishly, unable to praise one thing without criticizing the other. Once one has cemented his temperamental preference for his place in the world -- "I sit at the front of the class," "I sit at the back," -- one seeks to situate himself in the world to maintain that comfortable role that best fit his repertoire of mental tools. Each person can find some symbol that epitomizes his placement in his roles in the world; all his living roles are analogies of the same.

                The ego is the nothing that moves everything, a filter that by pulling out all objects but one wills it into existence. Underneath this, the instincts provide a universal grammar, since in themselves they are nonhistorical and noncultural. Culture is that thing we build over it, the solid language we put those liquid feelings into. And once we have created those fictional forms, they become our heaven, and fill with the new energy and new instincts of each higher form. Fictions are eternal, history merely passing. Fictions are blanks by which we can shift what is. Position is possibility.

                Position is power, for power is a relationship between a man and his materials. If a man who vaguely knows you learns of your success in life and speaks words of honest admiration, you are cheered -- to a degree. But if your father looks over your work and smiles with pride, this can mean much more to us. That is the peculiar power inherent in the parental role. The admiring man may in fact be a father himself, but that doesn't matter because he is not your father. He may be able to take a paternal role to a degree, but that power is derived from, and in no way added to, the position of the true father, both in the idea of father and what it means, but also by your fleshly father, the blooded abstraction, who takes on the role, plays the role out in his style, never able to escape comparison to the cultural norm. His relationship to all these ideas and standards form the basis of our evaluation, our endless series of evaluations of all things, many of which we make without knowing it.

                Having a child, therefore, metaphysically changes a man or woman's soul. A whole code of being a good parent is imposed on him -- and this for good and necessary reasons -- so that his duty in the world has changed, whether he admits it or not; his purpose has also changed; his purpose must now also emphasize the two decades of careful education of his children, and his lifelong availability to them.

                Such a heavy obligation could only become the norm if it were based on some powerful inborn instincts.

                These impositions characterize most careers as well: one can't act certain ways as a policeman, even if those behaviors weren't against the laws and rules. The open talk and the hidden rumors of the other policemen, both of which are always felt and known even when they seem not to be, as well as the open talk and hidden rumors of his family, and also of the general population would remind him of his indiscretions at all times and with immediate feedback. He can read his value in the eyes of others: and the world is full of eyes. If he deviates he can't but know.

                But we fall into hundreds of such roles and unconsciously adapt to them with ease. We already know all the rules, making a faux pas is exceptional

                This is not true for all people, however. Some seem immune to cultural expectations and can't play along, not from spite, or self-assertion, or intentional perversity, but because their organs of conformity don't work. A man can become conscious of his weirdness and will it, making it into a virtue and a triumph; or he can resist it, ever feeling out of sync with the world, and taking on the guilt as if it were his choice. Both mistakenly posit will as the cause of his temperament, and from that create useful fictions, either pride or guilt, or as is often the case, a peculiar mixture of both. Guilt and pride are energies, giving us a handle over our situation and also giving others a handle over us, which both ingratiates us to them, but also oppresses us with the sort of manipulation that all people do at all the time everywhere in both polite and rude society.

                Spouses, for instance, delight to find consistent flaws in their others by which they can invisibly and unconsciously blackmail them. A famous cry during a fight is "why are you bringing that up now?" But it is brought up from desperation, or opportunism, as the big guns are pulled -- though such a combative logic is a subtle layer of all talk. A perfect spouse would be intolerable. It is the same with our beliefs. We are happy to believe in God so long as we have our inner cynic and doubter hiding in the shadows in case we need him. It seems God also needed such a safety valve when he created Satan, "the accuser," to harass overly moral men and women whom God found intimidating. We must remember that the angel never fell, never was Lucifer (that's a Latin name for the Greek God Phosphorus, a deity from a different pantheon with its own internal logic), remember that Satan was doing his job when he tried the saints. The Catholic holy office of "devil's advocate" provided a similar function.

                We give each other such roles all the time; we are treated as such because we unconsciously instructed others to treat us as such: a man's relationship to the world is mere projection of his relationships to himself. What only you know has the highest worth.

                Because we do such and such in secret, we are able to do these other things in public -- though the connection between the two is unapparent. We build ideas from our private crimes and indulgences, we grasp psychological niceties, and by watching ourselves in our cleverness we can ferret out the secrets of others in their cleverness. It is absolutely necessary to have a hidden side, a private, personal, shameful side. A man fully transparent is a monstrosity -- ugly to know or look upon.

                And so every personality has its bonuses and pitfalls, every character its parasites. We would fool ourselves to envy celebrities who just as often envy the anonymous and free-living fans. Every situation evokes its challenges, its failures and triumphs -- pity and envy are usually naive.

                In the game of life, we create our own tensions, and we convert our emotions into the ones we can do the most with -- the familiar and well understood. Pain is much more tolerable than itch, just as guilt is preferable to anxiety, and depression to guilt. With the depression there is no more stinging consciousness barking its "what is to be done?"

                In all these developments, a relationship slowly immerses one lover to the complicated skin of the other, noting the weaknesses, the strengths, getting into their skin and picking their brain. This intrusive process is called "love"; it begins with an initial exuberance called "romance" that is designed to mask the terrors of such intrusion, just as runner's high masks the suffering of a will-beaten body, and just as the brain releases us into detached pleasure at the moment of our death.

                All the world loves a lover, but we love his story even better. There is no living in syllogisms. Jokes and stories and anecdotes are the entertaining way the mind consciously represents the thick inscrutable and infinitely complex calculations below. Images and symbols stand in the consciousness for complex programs the way computer icons stand for complicated programs. The philosopher, who tends to complicate things, is after all seeking a deserved and genuine simplicity, not a fraud simplicity which oversimplifies and wrongly stereotypes, thus freezing out interesting truths. Naive simplicity, ignorance, is the start of the journey; experienced simplicity, wisdom, the end, a passless path upon which one reaches his apotheosis. Chaotic complexity lies between.

                We position ourselves upon this path, upon this worldly game board, using the motive in our engine, the instincts in our gut; perfection is not one's proximity to a publicly acclaimed figure, but a relationship of a private man to his own unique potential.

                Easily satisfied is seldom deeply satisfied, lacking the long hunger and increasing need necessary to build a metaheavenly satisfaction. On the other hand, there is the man who says "there was a time I would have killed for this, but that time has passed, and I couldn't have it. Now too late I have too much. What use do I have for it now?" Such a cynic has merely hit a plateau, the journey yet goes on.

You act formal.

You don't mean the forms, yet the forms don't lie.

I accept that you don't mean the forms

But will not accept a forbearance to enunciate those forms.

That other one meant what he said, but had to die to be able to say it.

We repeat what he said, not as he meant them, yet the meaning is preserved, despite us and him.


"I will now prove to you that what you experienced does not exist"

--that was first a religious gesture and now has become an antireligious gesture.


We each give our lives to earn our words, as Odin died on the World Tree to gain the runes,

We transmute our very vitality into swords of truth,

We pour our hearts out and lift the gem of pure refulgent light, the coming of love, the evergiver.




\ ~@M@~ /



Sunday, July 29, 2012

"propogation" a poem



“The proudest oak

Earns heaven’s bolt”

Their weeded prayers sneer.


“Our Easy Mold

Of gospel spores

Triumph everywhere.”



\~ @M@ ~/



Friday, July 20, 2012

"Holding to your own" a short essay


Holding to Your Own



                "If a poet knows more about a horse than he does heaven, he might better stick to the horse, and maybe someday the horse may carry him to heaven." This was perhaps the best bit of advice composer Charles Ive's father gave his son, though the man gave everything to his son, and most of all gave a youth worthy of being eternally grateful for in exactly the way Beethoven could only be forever resentful for his. Hold to your own. Stick to what you know. Flexibility is a fine contrivance, and all forms of exercise can give you strength, but that one thing you were expected by high heaven, glorious Mattria to be and do is forever and only in you -- and is not something you can buy or should shove dollars at.

                A man ought to realize that one thing he must be ungrateful about: his very self. That he owes no man, God, or the All any gratitude for, that at least is his own. The rest, the good things we get along the way -- that's pure bonus. Let us be cheerful when we have that bonus, but limit the bitterness when we lack it. Wherever we are placed and whatever trauma fate has mixed us up with, our innermost self is eternally inviolate: no one and no thing can take that from you. And since you already have the most precious treasure you will ever gain, why waste your time chasing dollars, comforts, and luxuries? Be artists. Artists are driven to recreate their sublime experience through their work; they wish to bestow spiritual gifts on their brothers and sisters. Can he also do this with no sense of debt and gratitude, nor bitter accusations at the world's ingratitude? What I have to give I therefore give cheerfully, and if there is nobody in all the world able to take it, nevertheless I produced it, and that's enough.

                I prefer to be a magnifying mirror before my friends. When I so grandiosely reflect on myself in your presence, as is my way, I am in fact accosting an aspect of you which I happen to share. So much of my nonsense is for our mutual education. I am laughing and ridiculous because life is a hilarity.

                Providence is created by interpretation: a theologian could interpret providence into any possible set of events, and I am no less than a theologian of myself and my own divinity when I take my life as fatefully scripted by my innermost, outside of time. These metaphysical games, like all metaphysical games, act as space of free movement to experiment and make bold new moves. We must be willing to take on the sort of inspiration that Joseph Smith practiced: to have an inner voice of God with all the authority to drive us to our supreme acts, but capable of changing his mind and making mistakes. We might counter that by reminding ourselves that love says much with silence; yet this is only in a silence compounded with presence, and the presence of the inner divine is a certainty that never leaves me.

                "More get, more want," so let's hold to simplicity. When I speak with Ama I never ask for gifts and blessings, but for moral guidance. Mirth heals. We laugh together. And all those moments of folly brood feed their white whimsome cheer into the more sober moments when my soul contracts and I fall into grief and self-doubt. My singing dance is interrupted, I fall into a black noon.

                The days conspire. I ponder my future and the fate of my work. I look at that mirror in the bottom of the well, as dank and reverberating as wombswim, and am faced with Luciana's accusing reflection, her Satanic aspect, which shows everything I would prefer to blind myself from. That is how she protects the divinity's secrets. I press close to the electric mirror, which swells and hollows and glares me down. I close my eyes and walk through and am in my Aria, the private creative place of my sacred dance. Home at last, I utter my joy:

                I give seminal ideas, a verbal vortex, wine from the world cup; I give web nets, blank pages, a centering center; I give you labyrinthine verse, Ariadne's hair, the Socratic Daemon; I give syncopated exuberance, peacock prose, allegorical syntax; I give you amygdalic certainty, digital intuition, packaged chaos; and what's more, I take from you endless things you never thought you could give, enlightened ambiguity, Dionysian generation, Aphroditic commitment, externalized intuitions, emoted infancy, manic modesty; you give patience and gain patience, give time and find time, give attention and find attention; you feel a thousand lovers for your thousands of thoughts, and accumulate daily the trembling weight of greatness.

                Such rich experiences are not bought with money. A modest level of comfort so that the distractions of mortality are banished, and we join the feast, the spiritual feast of being one with the divine, and being deep in the conversation of mankind's greatest men and women.

                "God created man from his own living fluid," the Romans knew, yet the blood of man is knit of self and Mother -- that is our soul.

                My writing is making love with Ama. Perfection is not an ideal, perfection is real, something we have all begun to realize, and when we make the decision to simply do our best, we have arrived and become. I am great, beautiful, perfect, because you also are beautiful, great, perfect -- every teacher feels this way. The man who wishes to be worshipped is no teacher. For true praise is as a mother praises her child.

                I have aimed in my career, therefore, to support my living, but not to make my living. My living and my life is not something anybody is able to recognize or pay me for. The gifts I give are priceless, but they can't even be recognized by most. I pursue Ama and Allism and the Idius because I am in my deepest being equivalent to them. The many jobs and careers are as natural and as necessary as using the toilet or bathing. They support the values of life, and in that hold a secondary value. But what is best in a man cannot be taught him and when he finds it he requires no secondary testimony. His joy is enough, and faith is proof. The deepest secret of our being is that what we need is real, and what we hope for exists, the universe is as it needs to be -- we need fret no more; uniting our mind with the necessity of it all puts us in the place of power. At the center of every situation is a spring of meaning. Plant yourself there. And at the center of your ultimate situation within the whole is your source, from which you came and to which you will return taking with you the lessons you've gained in life. At that innermost place of utter independence where you self-created your ultimate being, that place of your profoundest destiny and self-atonement: let that be your everlasting vision amidst the confusions and disappointments which sometimes tempt you to despair. That there is always an answer for your deepest requests, that the universe is equal to your most profound longings -- to have such a faith is the same as having faith in yourself. Once you have it, you will realize that you never lacked it. It is basic to man. Love is enough. Power is all. Eternities gestate in your womb. And among those who know us, there are never goodbyes. So hold to your own, and never sell your powers for pleasures nor barter your goals for certain returns. Risk is glory and weakness alone can love. You are what you should be, you know what you need to, and throughout this eternal universe you are never alone. Those are the whispers we hear as we gaze at the glass in the silence of the night. No matter how deep our doubts and our skepticisms, they never sink as deep as these eternal certainties. Omniscience is remembering, omnipotence is realizing your potential. Relax at last in that.



\ ~@M@~ /



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Courage in the Struggle" an essay


Courage in the Struggle



                Never panic: relax and triumph. The ability to relax before opposition takes a cultivated calm achievable through time with mirror meditation or with continual practice in fighting -- boxing is useful, for instance, or working some job or volunteering where hostile confrontations are a regular activity. Costumer service can be useful in this regards, and it is also useful in cultivating both pride and humility -- two plants that grow together.

                There are two approaches to the world we can pattern ourselves upon: the butterfly and the arrow. The butterfly, a sort of clumsy grace of ease and pleasing play while browsing the sweetest things of life characterize the connoisseur, the literary bon vivant, the lover of life, the relaxed freedom of playing over the game board of life -- and we would surely learn the moves and peace of taking life at such a pace. But at times we must have our attack like the flight of the arrow: direct and intentful.

                If there were merely one strategy that won all of life's games, it would be taught by all, known by all. Having mixed strategies, and strategies of anticipation in the world is necessary to adjust not only to wily nature and her madness inspiring chance, but also that fox that has spurned on man's mental evolution from the start as his greatest opponent, and ultimate contender: man himself. Dispute the salesman and he draws you in. He plays on your sense of politeness, and through countless engagements with his commission on the line he has trained his eye to see every chink in your armor. But when facing the store owner over some fault with his product, playing up an unreasonable rage will likely win you what you want, and hot-headed insistence intimidates him more than cool polite requests of redress for his mistake. Different strategies for different situations.

                Through these examples we see what all the world is; the world of people is a set of episodes, of situations centering around problems that require our acumen, our principles, and our relaxed and calm assurance. Panic has its part, panic has its place, but mastering panic is the best bet. We are in a philosowar, and we win not by freezing up, but by moving into the place of greatest control. If your opponent negates what you say, grab on to his not, for a knot is a handlehold. Even where he opposes you he opens himself to attack. No risk, no bliss, as the warrior knows; and gaining the place of greater control means that your mere position gives you the upper hand. I always take the place of undesirability, and feel compromised insofar as I am made to say "I vote this way, I believe that way, I am this person."

                Some are born with a propensity for confidence, and other are instilled with it by a favorable upbringing. Whatever you were granted or whatever you lacked, your ambition is the same: to accrue as much confidence and certainty as you can from your particular situation. There is no need for playing the victim and supposing that some familial or societal set of circumstances or any number of injustices have abrogated you from doing your great duty to yourself: being all that you can be. How to be just to yourself is the basis of all justice. Optimizing your real potential, rather than lamenting that you lack the powers of your neighbor, your friend, or your enemy, is the powerful tone. Every man is in a position to make the most of himself: that transcends circumstance. There is always a best, there is always a way to become confident.

                To develop a strong spirit -- the commanding tone of voice -- be willing to leave this world of causality and fate and flirt your way through the freecoursing world of the unknown. Whether art or religion or personal fantasy, you must make a space to confront your fears, to expose your chains and wrestle against them. You will master this world only when you first master that one.

                Who is more noxious than a failed artist? Sink, therefore, into your art, and overcome those personal faults that are unique to you. We can frame this in traditional language, and say that it is looking into the mirror at our satanic reflection. Lucifer, in the guise of maid Satan, reverts from being simply the trope artist of language to being the accusation against you. I am speaking about a living part of your own psyche, but using mythological terms. This self-reproach, this source of self-doubt is not something simply to deny or kill, but to comprehend and use. It is not as if doubting oneself were bad or to be avoided. It can be highly instructive. And as a clever moralist will show you your situation in some artful disguise, we will face this Satanic image in some way or another. The Christians and the Jews called it he day of judgment, but it doesn't happen on the last day, but some moment in your life when you seem to be pitting yourself against an external thing. We may not see we are wrestling ourselves as we wage our campaign against the world.

                Joseph Smith the founder of the Latter Day Saints, narrated the pivotal moment of the movement to be when he faced the troubled and conflicted world of warring Christian sects, and prayed for a solution to the problem. As he first relates the problem, he gained a sense of peace that none of them were right, and that he would choose his way by his own lights. Later, this episode was redrafted as a visitation by none other than God the Father and God the Son themselves, instructing the young Joseph that he was to reinstate the Christian Church as it was intended to be. There is no need to dispute Smith on his hyperbolizing of the story; the picture language of Father and Son visiting express what the realization came to mean to Smith. It never need happen that God speaks to prophets or does miracles; it is that the ideas that come out of the creative unconscious are so miraculous, that such stories are brought to mind. That Smith could develop an oracular soul and consider it divine was his insight; it became a self-correcting Revelation, one with authority but able to change and even be mistaken. Smith's opposition to every city he confronted merely projected his relation to himself as he battled his own doubts and problems; his destruction of a free press at the end of the life brought on his death, and in that he died for his sin.

                And so we compact our own soul when we gain our intensity of purpose. We externalize our doubts, we put our conflicts into worldly conflicts. The man mirror meditating and the man waging war against his enemies are making the same gesture, one internally, one externally. In that moment after death when the mind is alone with itself, when it faces the truths it suppressed, that telling moment when we tell on ourselves to ourselves, we are merely repeating the events of our lives which said some simple truths amidst complex forms and events.

                In all these things, courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear. Realizing that you have vulnerabilities, weaknesses, wounds, and ignorance helps you plan your attack in the world, and in your relation to yourself. Invincibility has no adventures and there is no glory for omnipotence. The universe as well as your own soul are balancing circles, and as you expand your power and place, you will come to uncertainties, terrors, panics, and doubts; courage is not in lacking these but in mastering them.

                Emerson, when stricken by the death of his beloved wife, fell into doubt and fell into faith -- faith in himself. He quit the church faced with no certain career, and ventured to Europe to reclaim his roots. At this time, his body fell to ruin as he made his decision: "I will remember that after the ruin the resurrection is sure," he said, as surely it happened when he left the ministry. It is as if his muscles and visceral organs had to restructure themselves to become the New Man, the American Adam that his subsequent career would publish in to American consciousness for all time. Even our diseases are philosophical, and in all our struggles, the inward struggle of a growing soul is the meaning.

                It might be reasonable to be discouraged, but triumph is unreasonable, insists till the end, is seldom daunted, but bounces back from every defeat and just when wise and mild voices tell him enough is enough, he plows forth all the more. After his success, people say it was inevitable, and can't imagine it having gone differently. That is also part of his triumph, he so changed the parameters of the game that his besting of chance takes the face of fatal certainty. He is God because he has faith in himself.

                The next worlds are already in us: at death we give birth to our heaven. Our sunny self-assurance is never naive, but wary of jealous and vicious attacks by all the self-doubters of the world. They would murder our confidence if only to feel that lick of power so lacking when faced with our certainty. If grandiosity secretly fears it is worthless, let us likewise harness our self-doubt and set them in forwarding the system, as a propulsion, the way we use vile oils and petroleum to fuel our cars. Nobody can stop you from being a success if you refuse to be discouraged.

                This is why we take study as one of our basic eight virtues. We seek to develop our idiolect. A man's language is his desire, his solvent. With every interaction, we seek to wrap our language around the other's, to comprehend him and not be comprehended by him, not to be anticipated, planned for, or tripped up.

                To have a language that accounts for all the insights and truths of an opponent and to be able to predict all his innovations is to have gained his spirit. Where the spirit truly lives and creates, nobody can predict. The enemy who repeats himself is already dead.

                The mind sees the world in terms of meaning. Even "meaningless" is a meaningful judgment. A depressed affect inspires nihilistic philosophy, uses science to justify itself. Not facts but an attitude moves the system. A few controlling images set the language and attendant actions into place. These images may be unconscious but nonetheless formative. They are eidolons. Our study is ever to equip us with powerful images and words to settle our frame at the position of power.

                And so we struggle on, content in life yet ever prodded with the returning edge of anxiety. How often we fail to realize we were seeking until we have obtained. We are unhappy because we don't know where we are struggling. And just as sustained politeness only builds resentment, it comes as a relief when we realize that we are in fact upset over a thing. War is the father of all things, peace the mother. To gain the courage and the calm to face all realities requires an honest appraisal of our powers and potentials. To wish for powers that are beyond our potential invites wasteful frustration. To hold to your own and maximize your gain -- that is all a man ought to aim for. More would be less.



\ ~@M@~ /



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Closing the circle" a dream

this little essay begins with my typical play of ideas over the usual topics before falling into a dream --


Closing The Circle


            Mastery of the Game of Life means knowing how to close the circle. The circle of delusion, the illusions we choose as our interface to reality -- the language and the metaphors we choose to live by -- must be finally closed off, and not publicly insisted on like the evangelicals who try to convert all the world in order to finally convert themselves. Their worm of doubt is ever biting at their heart, but what is doubt to us?

            Beethoven, amidst his regular panic attacks and bipolar lamentations filled in the void of his loss of hearing with this advice to himself: "Live only in your art." The discouraging plateaus and maddening regresses don't seem like progress, but they are. We're like corn, we grow in spurts. Grounded in necessity, we nevertheless know how to set all the habits in place to manage life as a game, a quest, a journey -- ultimately as a triumph. As animals, we work, as humans, we love, and as gods, we create.

            Man has but one mouth, and that is doubt. Our teeth are skeptics, they analyze the world; with astringent words we scrub and clean the claims of the world. Amidst all these saints and strangers, we create gists and piths, for what lacks divinity deserves no respect: if it can't inspire you, why pursue it? The world drama is propped on inconsistencies, and the grand spinning of the earth, which is driven by money, driven by love, driven by workers who are chasing after dreams when the truth stands right before them. The layering of games is what makes the world the world, the heteroglossia of languages, each evoking its own world, so that we come together and share worlds, or fall apart and abandon worlds. Do we not define an attitude for ourselves of feelings and mood tones? A Belief for ourselves, the types of things we think about? A personality for ourselves, the style of our communication? A character for ourselves, or patterns of behavior? If we are so apt in creating a self for ourselves, many personas and at their core a unique I, then why should we be shy at finally closing the circle and giving ourselves fully to the game? Why remain so amphibious, going from one world to the next, from the world of work to the family sphere to the world of politics, to the circle of friends? Can we not reduce all these to one overarching game, a game that feeds all our goals into the same dynamic of play? For our games are like our moods. Moods are arteries -- different moods go to different organs, though the same psychic energy is the blood of all. In the same way, the ground of all games remains the same for each person: at his heart of hearts and core of cores, he is a unique Necessity; and all the universe satellites that.

            The options are determined. The choice is free. We find as we kneel and pray to our God a higher divine whispers a jest into our ear; we wash our face and look into the mirror only to see our reflection winking at us. We doubt or rage or plod along like good citizens, paying our taxes, mowing our yards, raising our kids, and pretending our petty shortcomings disqualify us from the best -- but there is a part of us that never believes this sort of thinking. In your most secret place, in the abyss of the abyss of your innermost hide; there she is. Ama tempts us to good.

            Stupidity finds it comfortable to obey; and the pious everywhere command us to obey. But there are rumors among us, and stories. The bad men from the past were redeemed by posterity. And we say among our intimates and enemies that what a man professes to believe before men is nothing, especially where mere believing counts already as a virtue, but when a man reveals his true beliefs, he himself doesn't recognize them or own them. They are the dream unknown behind the dreams he owns.

            "Silence and soft feet" are American Indian virtues -- and I think they would be useful in catching this dream. Little hints we didn't want to believe, little voices such that the pastors warned us were the whispering of demons, but they sound to us not only a bit impish, but ... like our own childhood voices. These dancing pixies have the voice of our own ages of childhood, of our friends, and our imaginations. They tell us that the pious are the greatest deceivers. They say that what is easiest, not what is best, will always be most popular. They tell us to prize the grateful lover and warn us that anarchists are easy to herd. They point out those others who are always preparing to live, and chide us that excessive preparation is the dragging of feet. They agree with the world that frenzy cures depression, but they ask us what wisdom is in that depression. Work makes worth, the world insists, but its oh so dull, is it not? You wonder at what these pixy whisps are up to, in their vague tittering. Vagueness is open to any interpretation: will you brush them away or follow them down?

            Figuring you are probably half mad by now anyway, you follow them down. Only on stolen time is intensity white hot, and you are all eyes for the darkness and all ears for the silence. "Dark as the bottom of a well is that dream I face in the mirror," you murmur as the craggy path bottoms out over a limpid pool. You look in its surface as if looking over a great womb, and are hypnotized by the ripples of its water, ripples moving much slower than they should. The pixy lights are in the trees now, watching down as your own thoughts start bubbling up. You see now why the great philosophers were bachelors. You know now that the bigger the picture, the harder it is to see. Your forgot that divinity is in solitude.

            There is a tickling of déjà vu in your shadowy reflection in the limpid pool. You realize now that you've been here before, countless times, many a night, only to wake up and remember some nonsense instead. You wonder idly if you will forget the vision again, but some assurance in your heart knows that what is learned is never forgotten, even if it is only the guts that recall. "Faith is evidence" you say, and realize that all the faith in the world was only an indirect troping at the true faith of faith in yourself. You ponder over the mystery that in the end we all get what we want, and through that we also get what we deserve. All the strings you had sighted, leading up to Providence, Chance, Fate, and History, you see falling inward as intertwining cables to some umbilical cord. You think of what infinite infant could lie in these words, and your skin chills with the realization that you are speaking about yourself.

            Don't let selfishness get in the way of your own self interest, you think, and with that the other players in your life for a minute dance over the surface of the pool. Muzzle your love and hold your tongue. Do not call out to them. You are speaking only to yourself, before this intrepid mirror. Do as you will, your reflection advises. You wonder at what your will is really after in all the world. World systems, they fritter away above. You had slipped into the affect systems, and they gave you layers of moods and energy -- just as a man feels elated that his sports team won, feels proud of his job, feels tense over his marriage, feels angry at the president -- all those games and worlds of games going on simultaneously as layers in his heart.

            And then she is before you, Ama, as your projection of her, the full divine as best your mind can represent it, an image terribly personal and uniquely undeniable, and very anciently known in ways that scares you. She says that dreams and gods alarm the superstitious but the fantastic nevertheless gives you a space to think. She is behind you in your reflection, and you don't turn around. It is as if she were underwater. She shows you your potential -- the cosmic infinitude of your growth. But you are lulling like an infant. She shows you the unlimited triumphs and worlds of creation your mind and soul are capable of. She says that in the mansion of ideas, she has left some doors open for you. She will wink at you in your studies. You at last murmur, "I'm a hundred people and a hundred creative jisms -- each swelling and ready to burst at its time, so that life is ever one thing to the next, and me occupied and fascinated through it all!"

            As you drown in those waters, you feel you are within a chrysalis, your body transfigured. You break your bonds, and spread your psychic wings; you flaunt the skies, you call to the earth and say "I have avoided your disciplines -- butterfleight is my joy! -- I eat the sweetness of every flower!"

            But in the distance your hear Ama's everywhere voice cooing "The rose has risen, the height of the dawn!" and with that you awake. You try to remember what you were dreaming, for it feels as if it were infinitely important, but come up with shards unrelated to any of this.

            The circle completes -- eternity is born. Your life is the same as it ever was, every day the same, the duties and the chores the same, but behind that, everything is gloriously -- different!




\ ~@M@~ /



Friday, July 6, 2012


This is perhaps one of my most autobiographical allays




            There is exactly one well known story about Kant, and beyond that, there's no more to say: his neighbors would set their clocks by his routine walks. Apparently virginal, this bachelor philosopher epitomized the station of all great philosophers: free from the sexual economy and so able to devote his mind to truth.

            Philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche lived insulated lives, ascetic by nature not by discipline. What men like even the ubiquitous Emerson felt as a distance from their fellow man comes from an intellectual difference. That difference is never settled when set with the others. It must always stand apart. It is perhaps characteristic of the aryans and the anglosaxons to love privacy and solitude -- and in this none is more characteristic of the solitary species than the philosopher.

            And so we insulate ourselves. Just as the Obsessive Compulsive will make rituals in her life to give the illusion of control over the unknown, so the great thinkers actually structure their life to be what in the eyes of any child might seem boring. The adventures of the body that characterize the hero are not the adventures of the mind that characterize the philosopher, thoughout wars and history it was the ideal creations of the philosopher that externalized into the muscle-based struggles of the heroes. History was always the articulation of certain insistent ideas, hatched in the minds of a few great men who like the hen on her nest preferred lives unruffled by the petty nuisances that keep most people amused.

            We all, after all, seek a certain amount of stress. For stress is interest, and if life weren't interesting -- riddled with problems -- then we'd be bored, and that's a bigger problem, for that certain deadly form of boredom we call depression can come to a point where it can't even imagine anything it would want to do. Such a state of mind is characteristic of most people when they are cut off from society. They do not need the sort of insulation certain philosophers and poets need, because their nerves aren't as raw and sensitive.

            Like Kant, I insulate my world from too much activity that would require energy to process. The cast of characters in my daily life is limited to my wife and children, mother in law, and sometimes sister in law. The permutations between these people are relatively static. When my well of friendship fills with energy, I erupt unpredictably and grab a friend. Some online personality is best for this. But I often lose those friends after a few months, and it seems those good times never want to stay. I lose interest but experience it as if they lost interest. A few friends stay on -- and they are dear to me.

            Meanwhile, I fly in the logosphere on the winds of books, and I play in the mythosphere where Ama is my dearest friend; but as for the outer world, I would consider myself boring -- or at least not dramatic.

            Life is in the living. With family, be fully present. With work, never be rushed. With passion, give your full heart. Our struggles are our assets, in this life and in the next.

            We must remember when we organize our lives to protect our dynamic. What we assume from the world, what we take at face value -- this is the gift the world gives to us, and the world is very generous. But those few issues that rankle us are meant to rankle us, that's our dynamic. What we dwell on we concerns us for a reason. We are building assumptions, we are building ideas.

            Systems of assumptions are like buildings that house the activity of habits. The inner city uses all the world's ideas, and within that place is the innermost sacrosanct garden of our intimate hearts. The ideas that anchor our habits, if attacked, can undermine our confidence in those habits. When they are doubted and ridiculed, we can become demoralized. Immunizing yourself from attack through graded levels of exposure can protect against wrongful disillusionment. After all, we protect our children from the world, but over the years, grant more freedom, after certain precautions are comprehended. The successful parent is he who can give full freedom to his grow children.

            Maturity dances through the world, skirting its dangers and abiding its light. Amidst different schools of thought, I am a butterfly dodging nets. I seek to learn all the moves, but I will never be pinned down to one system.

            I too play the game of life, but cerebrally. To maximize agency and presence is the imperative of every game of life. Agency, or power, is the ability to affect the actions of others; presence is the ability to impress yourself on their hearts and imaginations.

            Perhaps it seems strange to my friends that my worst and best moods come from reading books. I read passionately. I read foreign works to arrogate the soil, but the wells dug by foreign logic are reinforced with American clay and fill with aboriginal energy. I feel a kinship to a few authors, and the rest I must read with a hyperactive criticism.

            Ever since in my college years when I would bring a book with me as my brother dragged me to the bar I have preferred the disconnect from my immediate world. I am different, and I can't feel comfortable trying to fit in. Anxiety is the opposite of sexiness, and in the world I have no sex appeal. My love, my eros, is a quiet matter. I get my experience but I could never let myself go in the world.

            Experience is education. It comes in two forms, natural experiences derived from real life situations, and artificial experiences framed to teach lessons. The latter we call schooling, and it is able to teach things that could never be learned from natural experience, from the "school of life," but once learned, change that school of life, change all of life. A college graduate lives in a different world than a mere highschool graduate. The median point between this is art, which is of course artificial, but often doesn't give so narrow an experience as to teach only one lesson, but like life gives rich experiences capable of inspiring limitless lessons. Two men, opposite in many ways, could share a favorite author. Though learned in the artificial life of schooling, philosopher and literary criticism, the two approaches to information, can be applied to real life events -- and every man adds a unique intelligence into the world.

            My poetic antennae, my feelers, are not such that can be brushed with callous hands. The popular writers gain a popular audience -- they have that popular inflection. They write for the many because they are of the many, and are loved by the many. I write for the few, and not by choice but by necessity.

            Even what I choose to read is fated by my inner goals. I chew a lot of continental philosophy, but the American stones are forever in my gizzards. I slowly build my powers. My will is in fact a weak thing -- it only slowly builds up. My feelers, which come from my sensitive ego, ever protect myself and cushion me. I set up a world free from noise and excitement. My flights through the logosphere and mythosphere are kept from too much mundane adventure, and the inevitable trauma of life on earth is given reflection time to digest and comprehend.

            Perhaps that has made me slow in my development, and I've always been slow to develop -- but isn't that American? Emerson, Whitman, Melville, Hawthorn, were slow to develop, published their most important works only after the middle of their lives. I scarcely feel adult -- I feel permanently adolescent. I never have gained that sense of maturity.

            Frank Lloyd Wright had spoken of father hood, "The architect absorbed the father in me -- perhaps - because I never got used to the word nor the idea of being one as I saw them all around the block and met them among my friends. I hated the sound of the word papa. Is it a quality? Fatherhood? If so, I seemed born without it. And yet a building was a child. I have had the father-feeling, I am sure, when coming back after a long time to one of my buildings. That must be the true feeling of fatherhood. But I never had it for my children. I had affection for them." While I myself adore being called daddy by my daughter, and do have a fatherly affection for both my daughters and my upcoming son -- I have never been able to feel adult, like a father, like a responsible figure. I seem so lost in thought and constant thinking all the time that I lack the paternal initiative that my wife so excels at. I feel guilty about this, but I feel there is no changing it, at least not by willful resolve. I assume I will feel more properly fatherly over time.

            A father is not insulated from his family -- or at least I am not. To secure their loving affection, I must keep them safe, healthy, and happy. I care endlessly for them. They preoccupy much of my mental energy and inspire much of my writing. When one is in with a group, there is an intimacy, a shared artery of blood between them all, so that you must keep in constant contact, constant conversation, and you act as one, think as one, feel right only when surrounded by those people -- union is conversation and presence. Unlike Thoreau, Emerson, and Nietzsche, I am tender and affectionate. For this reason, I have insulated myself even from being called a philosopher. I am an allist and I write allays. By inventing terms and jargon that is of my own creation, nobody has the moral right to tell me how to use my terms or live my life. "Life on my own terms," seems an apt way to express what makes me so happy, daily grateful, and makes me cry a little bit each night for how fortunate I am to be able to have and to hold my wife.

            Nobody knows what's best for a person better than that person, once he has self-reflected. No manner of angel or deity could tell him how to live or what to do -- not even omniscience can guess the immortal truths yet to be born of out the private soul of the individual, who in is innermost is fully alone and full beauty: his walking in the world is a perpetual gift to the universe. What comes out of a man could never be predicted: it is a perpetual melody improving the universe.



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-- perfectidius.com --


Sunday, July 1, 2012

"The mirror and the Wand" an essay

Obviously in my criticisms of religions and sects, I see our beliefs in need of correction; yet at the level of the all, a mindset I aspire to ascend to more often, I see the interrelation of perspectives, how they anticipate, create, and react to each other. With a vision of the all I beat my brains out trying to formulate its workings into a logic. Essays like this are approximations, they do not represent my final formulation, but they show the process by which I am getting there, at comprehending and expressing the all-logic.






The Mirror and the Wand



            Allism is not the terms used to describe it. It is not such a thing you could say characterizes one system and not another. It is already part of each individual system is in all systems in dynamic relationship, and is the all over all systems. Allism is not something we could choose to practice or not to practice, as it characterizes each practice in relation to all practices. The terms representing Allism are not arbitrary but they are replaceable, as Allism is the apotheosis of every system, the logic of the systematic itself. And the idea of the all, the absolute, the universe, the divine, all these words that denote the most comprehensive importance mean the same ultimate reality; and since we quarrel endlessly on the charges that they don’t, then we must conclude that the allistic relationship is something that is in each system while also being above them, something, in other words, that depends on endless disputes, harmonized with agreements, collusions, schisms, unifications, revivals, and extinctions -- in other words, just things have always been -- but its overall unity need not be consciously experienced by any one participant.

            The language of Allism is Language: it is the structure of the laws of the universe that evolved the structure of our brains to create a society based on a structure of competing ideologies and the production of the individual cultures with their interlacing languages. The entire universe participates in our language, and through us, it thinks.

            Since all truths and all subjects are already the incidental and particular aspects of the all, any deep thought is already a practice of Allism. We only consciously regard it as so as we as individuals serve as the double mirror of the life we are (the self) and the universe we inhabit (the world).

            What philosophy does abstractly, day to day relationships do concretely; they manifest the conversation of ideas, the plays of logic that are thickly embedded in all our actions and conversation. Just as the book-read librarian may be a fool and the art connoisseur unappreciative of life itself, we succeed not merely by excelling at one thing, but in applying it by analogy to all else. Each to all honors each and all. The mirror and the wand are our emblems.

            Two mental characteristics reveal themselves in any discipline, when it reflects back on itself. First, the nature of reflection is made prominent, as a matter of course, and also the matter of analogy, to be able to adapt the experience of one thing and put it in terms another thing is the basis of all thought, all truth, which is meant to stand for itself and also realities outside itself. Reflection and representation are the basic operations of Allism, Allism not as the implicit practice in each manner of thinking, but in the self-conscious and deliberate practice of the Students of Life -- the part reflecting on its allness and its subordinate relation to the over-all.

            “Individuality outruns all classification,” said William James, in a curious classification of individuality, given in a lecture meant for the general public, put in terms that to an unreflective mind seem straightforward and simple, but to the reflective mind are the opposite of the “simple thinking” that James in the same essay praises. This essay on the generic nature of philosophy begins these series of lectures regarding the nature of the Universe; he calls the universe the pluralverse or multiverse. A run of a mirror reveals hidden complications in the otherwise  easy and simple formulas.

            “No philosophy can ever be anything but a summary sketch, a picture of the world in abridgment, a foreshortened bird’s-eye view of the perspective of events.” From what perch do we spy "the bird’s eye view"  itself? Is this said from any given perspective? If this characterizing of all philosophies is itself a truth of every individual philosophy, could we not just as well say that it is also true for each individual philosophy, that no philosophy could deny it, or should deny it? And if it is not true for each philosophy individually – clearly some at least think they are the only valid game in town – then how can it be true of all of them together? A summary sketch about summary sketches is confusing enough. A summary sketch claiming to be definitive of all sketches is incredible.

            “All philosophers, accordingly, have conceived of the whole world after the analogy of some particular feature of it which has particularly captured their attention. Thus, the theists take their cue from manufacturing, the pantheists from growth….All follow one analogy or another, and all the analogies are with some one or other of the universe’s subdivisions…They are all the while, at bottom, accidentally more or less of personal vision which had for better be avowed as such.” But it is unclear by what universal sense of justice any private view has to answer for itself, why it would be "better." The view given is merely another analogy. If we care to make more of a picture of it than James does, we could say that the Universe is like an uncharted map, and every analogy we have of it is a given path through it. What the universe is in itself is not so much unknown but unknowable … but James will spend the rest of the articles flirting with various systems till he gives the sense that there is no big picture, no all-form, no common ground shared by all.

            “Different men find their minds more at home in very different fragments of the world,” but can psychologizing why people get into philosophy really annul any truth claims that one philosopher might be accurate and the other inaccurate? Can we undermind ontology with psychology? After all, even if this were successful, we would still necessarily be making ultimate absolute statements about ontology, namely: that the universe is such a thing that we need to relate to, but that the human mind can only relate to through analogy. This is hardly something to pass over without comment. If the universe is in some sense unknowable – can’t we bring the allegations against agnosticism against this mysterious ontology, that agnosticism cheats? That rather than claiming something about an individual self, “I don’t happen to know something,” one is saying two other things: “the something we are referring to is itself unknowable,” and also “we know that anybody claiming that the something is knowable is either lying or mistaken.” If the French philosopher was able to prove an entire universe from the dictum “I think, therefore I am,” what universe could we generate with these universal truths?

            James does project a unity, a shared project, amidst these various perspectives which he characterizes as the poles of the field. Our unity is that we all seek the same thing … “we are all parts of the universe and share the same one deep concern in its destinies” – again, a psychological basis for ontology – but tipping us towards the centering center of reflective Allism: needs. It may be too much to say “we are all parts of the universe,” if, like James, we do not define the universe as a whole, but surely the psychological project behind every system represents self-evident facts that in themselves show us the sort of thing a system can be and why.

            James tosses all arguments out the door in this first essay, giving us the psychological root for the compulsion to seek reasons. Great men have a vision, that vision is the most important part about him and his philosophy, and the arguments exist only to somehow inspire another in sampling that vision. Whether he ultimately accepts those arguments depends on his temperament, if it’s the sort of thing that vision would speak to. James in his pragmatic basis of truth is willing to argue for and affirm any system that satisfies certain human needs, the needs of love and importance, which have well been fed by the idea of spontaneity of thought and intimacy with the universe -- freedom and God. Ontology must give us love and freedom – so naturally enough, he freezes out “cynical materialism” from the get go. German jargon also won’t do. Instead, “A man’s vision is the great fact about him,” even behind the infamous inscrutability of Hegel’s prose. “A philosophy is the expression of a man’s intimate character."

            And so James gives us a vision about visions. They must all be man-centered and man-focused. In his subsequent sections, in which James will express his talents as a summarizer and a writer of digests he will play different systems against each other – in an overall shape parallel with his universe of the mixed universe -- but with a curious logic. Fechner, who identifies both the layer of each-forms and the ultimate all-form, will be accepted all the way up, but excluding the all form, which James can see only in terms of a Hegelian or Spinozian monolith –not the sort of thing a man can be intimate with. The idea that it could be different than yet guessed by continental philosophy is not something James will face head on.

            “The philosophical attempt to define so that no one’s business is left out, so that no one lies outside the door saying, ‘Where do I come in?’ is sure in advance to fail.” – This bit of relativism fails the mirror test, for the very conclusion that philosophy always leaves somebody out would assuredly be a universal philosophical fact that all systems could share and build upon. A few basic thickeners could take any of these strands of absolute truth and make a foundation from them, a universal philosophy.


“But when as absolutism thinks that the said substance become fully divine only in the form of totality, and is not its real self in any form but the all form, the pluralistic view which I prefer to adopt is willing to believe that there may ultimately never have been an all-form at all, that the substance of reality may never get totally collected, that some of it may remain outside the largest combination of it ever made, and that a distributive form of reality, the each-form, is logically as acceptable and empirically as probable as the all-form, commonly acquiesced in as so obviously the self-evident thing.”


            It is the smugness of that "self-evident" assertion which most deeply offends James, that we must be monists, and his goal in all these lectures amounts to the rather modest conclusion that "it may not be self-evident after all." The confusion of imagining an aggregates without totality defies the imagination: we can imagine any assortment of things with a circle around it. Will we really deny ourselves the natural satisfaction of an all-form merely because certain Germans made it monstrous?

            “A philosopher may be a supreme reaction of the universe upon itself by which it rises to self-comprehension. It may handle itself differently in consequences of this event” – but surely the universe doesn’t consider just one conclusion, or the many other disputants would be silenced. The theists, the monists, the pluralists –such men must all contribute to some view that combines the views into a rich all form?

            “When we speak of the absolute, we take the one universal known material collectively or integrally; when we speak of objects of our finite selves, etc. we take that some identical material distributively and separately. But what is the use of a thing’s being any only once if it can be taken twice over, and if being taken in different ways makes different things true of it?” If ever we should take a rhetorical question ironically, at face value, it is now. Indeed, James, and why not let a thing experience itself as a whole different than it does in each part? Surely we could imagine each of our own human cells living a happy existence, with their own thoughts and feelings, that both differ from the unified consciousness of our brain, and yet are somehow related to it as well. A thing can indeed be taken two ways, and why not?

            “…The absolute knows me and my suffering but it doesn’t itself suffer,” he complains, taking Spinoza as the final word. “…We humans are incurably rooted in the temporal point of view. The eternal’s ways are utterly unlike our own” --how we ourselves could ever know such a thing is never explained. There is nothing stopping us from taking the universe as a whole as a limited, learning, growing entity similar to ourselves: after all, aren't all things that way? Only the Universe is not a part, but a whole, with us within it; parts of its growth are dependent on our growth as individuals, and parts are independent of anything we do. It seems James was faced with such a strict and insistent bit of Hegelian dogma that he could only think in terms of it, if only to oppose it. He seems to miss the clues from his own Fechner quotes about layers of consciousness as being parts of the all form.

            But with a bit of reflection and analogy, we can easily confound an either / or with many options, some which can even be taken in combination. Reality is thick, reality is layered, and every unit is conscious of itself as a unit; and the larger units built on the smaller units are conscious of themselves as larger units, in part through the smaller units, and in part aside from them. We see this all the time. A government, a State, is filled with human beings who act from individual perspectives, not seeing the big picture, but believing they do, having some theory about what it’s about, and doing a lot of good with that theory though the whole has another theory, good for it, bad for the smaller units, so that all the theories come down to various guides for the action each part is called for – and the unity of a thing is a whole that is filled with things it is not even conscious of, such as the government not knowing, never being able to know, what all goes on in the heads of its constituents.

            Getting this final image in our head, this eidolon of the all, is the basic aim of Allism as a philosophy; this one image, this one philosophical shape expresses every other idea.

            And as we said, it exists already in every system, one can start anywhere; one can be a good atheist or a good Christian, a good Muslim or a good Hindu, a good Buddhist or a good Taoist; and though these systems are intentionally structured to freeze each other out, purposely making what the others believe to be sinful or off limits for themselves, yet those blind spots in the individuals are not felt at the level of the all-mind, a level each of us to some degree can participate in. Ignorance characterizes each man, and it characterizes the all's mind; our minds can know things the all doesn't, and it can know things ours don't; though the all has for its body and nerves everything existing, unlike you or me, though we too are wholes. All that is known in the universe is never known by any one individual -- and blindness is part of what makes the engine run. We each strive in this game to make our values universal, and by honestly believing they can be, they instead fall in to what they need to be, the absolute convictions of a minority of people.  Only in a system of parts that each aspire to be universal, and in that aspiration balance each other out, is the law of compensation and the nature of the self-correcting circle able to spiral to higher and higher greatness – the apotheosis of each and all.



\~ @M@ ~/