Monday, December 21, 2009

Imagination III

Imagination is borne of the body. It is what is most subtle in it. It indubitably comes from it for it is grounded in our senses (hence the body). Without a body, no imagination. Hey, do you realize "angels" don't have an imagination!? Hard to imagine, huh? :wink:

It's a curious thing because imagination proceeds from the body and at the same time it seeks to separate itself from it.That's what imagination and virtuality are: a world that could exist but doesn't; a world that proceeds from reality but that is not reality.

There is an affective virtuality, a mathematical virtuality, a scientific virtuality, an artistic virtuality. It is because this make believe world, which once more doesn't exist but could exist, proceeds from me that I like it so much and that it often interests me much more than reality itself.

In short, however this subject warrants a much longer development, the body, hence imagination, is terribly limited, but it is positive in as much as it enables the soul to live of sensibility. That will be all for today. At ease! ;-)

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dialogue with God

Dialogue with "God" on

Avatar: ...while I'm at it, ill give you my viewpoint on euthanasia. Given that I cannot stand to see others suffer, I am in favor of local euthanasia dispensed in priority to those who suffer confronted to the suffering of others. Like that it will only be necessary to take care of those who suffer without having to be bothered by those who don't suffer. Me for example, if a family member dies, I have asked for some local euthanasia beforehand... for I do not want to suffer unnecessarily, nor lose my dignity for that matter. It is not only liberty which stops at the moment where that of the others begins, you too may I point out!

God: Only the suffering of those who are close to you make you suffer?

Avatar: It is a question which is absent of you. I suggest the following one. Who is close to you? It is in effect not customary for you to interest yourself in what is measurable and quantity, rather in what is not measurable and quality. It is even the first time I hear "solely" in your mouth. May this serve as a lesson, for now you are diabolically preoccupied by the fact that a suffering does not weigh enough.

God: there is much subjectivity in your words. What do you know of my "morals"? Why should I only be interested in what is not measurable? Why should measure be a quantity?

Avatar: Your morals? How do I know them? Don't be a snob please, as if we did not know each another! Jeepers! Why would you only be interested in what is not measurable? With what you pay me, do you really think you are the right one to ask me this?? Why should measure be quantity? That one is easy, because quantity is measurable. :)

God: hmmmmmm

Avatar: Don't pull that face!! No kidding, I find your strategy consisting in sending the ball back in a backhand crosscourt passing shot with "it is in your head that it is true" undertones a bit short. Short passing shot if you will. If I were in your sandals I would try to have a bit more fun. You have no excuse really! I would help them to a theology of the sea on its natural coulis of metaphysics. If you want my opinion, there is only you to ban religion. Hey, for example we spoke of humility, why didn't you answer: "Humility bores me. It has in common with arrogance that in both cases you speak of yourself." How did you say? Hmmmmmmm. Did I say that right?? :0)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spiritual vs intellectual

"Avatar" answering the question "should one distinguish between spiritual and intellectual...?"

It seems intelligence and spirit have fundamentally the same meaning: one speaks without distinction of human intelligence and human spirit... intelligence signifying what proceeds from human intelligence, and spiritual what comes from the human spirit.

From this objective consideration, and as is often the case when there are two synonymous terms, other meanings have been superimposed. We say intellectual, for example, when we wish to say non-manual, or university professor, or abstract, or someone whose feet are not grounded in reality, or even “mind-aching” (prise de tête). The same diversity exists with the word spiritual, which sometimes means humorous, or religious (this last term is in my view a quite equivocal falsehood), or even divine (“Gods” spirit), to distinguish between divine intelligence and human intelligence, etc.

As far as the distinction made by editors in their “Spirituality” collection, we have here, I think, a mistranslation (which I pointed out) between spiritual and religious. Yet, fundamentally, there is synonymity. I see here on the one hand a type of marketing gimmick which seeks a label which does not ruffle anyones feathers; on the other hand, one must recognize that these collections include everything and its opposite: religious considerations, psychoanalysis, astrology, clairvoyance, and what have you... Therefore, they include what purports to be a rather speculative reflection, which happens to correspond to the first sense of “intellectual”.

I think the term intellectual is not used solely because the connotation is sometimes pejorative or mocking in nature; the same is true for the term “speculation”, which would turn away the clients who claim to be non-intellectual and pragmatic, concrete, with their feet solidly anchored in the ground! Hence “spiritual” is much more consensual, and in any case the term is gratifying. In short, “spiritual” signifies astute and clever, whereas “intellectual” can signify pretentious and pain-in-the-neck, which is evidently not the best pitch.

In brief, spiritual sounds “authentic” whereas intellectual has undertones of “concepts” or “ravings”. It is a bit foolish, but I think that is why it is so; a bit as why red and yellow are associated to biscuits, and why few of them are sold in a blue package. :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fifth round

It’s a classic, at the fifth round of drinks, someone gets up and says “if God knows in advance what I will freely decide, that means in truth that it was planned or written in advance, and this means that I am not free.”

So someone else asks “if "he" whom you call God exists, and if "he" is as you suppose eternal, why would "he" not know in advance what you will decide freely? For that would mean that "he " is not atemporal…”

Obviously, this creates a bit of discomfort, and usually the spotlight swings immediately to “and me, why don’t I know in advance what I will freely decide?”

Which then shows the desire to not be free, putting forward the following dialectic: “If I know ahead of time what I will decide freely later on, then I will freely choose the opposite, or at least something else, just to experience what it will do. Yet I cannot decide to do differently or the contrary of what I ignore!”…

Thus the bloke answers that he would like to freely renounce his freedom, which is a sophism evidently... therefore, we find ourselves in front of the following assertion: “I am not free to not be free”, that is to say in front of two consecutive negations.

But does saying “I am free to be free” make any sense? Not really any more than the preceding double negation, for “I am free” is enough, and we don’t clearly see what “to be free” adds. In consequence, it seems that a freedom which contemplates itself should necessarily and logically lead to its suicide, bogged down in a sort of perverse effect: I request not to be free”. Just as if that was the only choice. Curious isn’t it?

This shows that freedom is not an end in itself, and also that when one seeks to make a transcendental out of it, we kill it. I wonder if that is not what we do when we carry to the rank of transcendental whatever else that is not one, like beauty for example. I mean by this that I wonder if to make a transcendental out of beauty doesn’t also, sooner or later, lead to negate beauty. Finally, instead of creating, that is when one assimilates oneself to "he" whom religious traditions call “God”, what we mostly know what to do, is destroy lol

What characterizes contemporary thought is negation. Aristotle is the friend of wisdom in as much as he starts by admiring, even that which is reputed to be self-evident. Aristotle is the philosopher of admiration. The contemporaries are for the most part the buffoons of doubt and of negation. It is Descartes who pulled the first punch: “I think, therefore I doubt, and therefore I am”… Geez!

It is because of Descartes that all of contemporary thought is a saloon-bar philosophy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Never vanquished

Should you ask people around you what truth is, you will mostly be told that it depends on your conception of truth. If you insist and point out that what exists or not is entirely oblivious to any opinion one may have of it as far as being or not being, you will, without more ado, be singled out as sectarian. You will be told that you are trying to impose your ideas, exactly as if reality was an idea. Now then, whether or not you seek to impose what you think neither affects error nor truth, and consequently it is well and truly postulated that reality does not exist outside the idea you make of it. Not to consent to the relativity of reality constitutes in many places a form of raging intolerance. To accept that each and everyone can express his opinion is one thing, something important, for sure, but on the other hand truth also deserves to be upheld. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

A suicide of intelligence

These days you are not understood if you say that the primacy of being has been substituted by nothingness. Most people stare at you with a dazed look. Yet, for anyone who has the slightest inkling of metaphysics, it is obvious that being primes over non-being, and that it is well and truly being which is, before nothingness… despite Jean-Saul Partre and the cortege of logy intellectuals of the 20th century. Thus negation has taken front stage, in all spirits, even those of the blockheads.

In short, if one is no longer understood on a metaphysical level, one can nevertheless clearly distinguish the primacy of negation concerning the human person and freedom. In this day and age, in the person we firstly see someone who is ailing (thanks to the psychocretins & co who have reduced the human person to personality), and in freedom the capacity to say “no”, that is to say the most infantile vision of things.

Thus we find the three poles where lies the solution to any problem (the person, truth, freedom) absolutely poisoned by negation: truth is firstly nothingness, the person is firstly ailing, and freedom is firstly saying “no”. If that is not a suicide of intelligence, it strangely resembles it, for what “falls” first in intelligence is being, not non-being, which figures the absence of being, thus the destruction through despair of intelligence, memory and will. Hence, we claim to fecund the spirit firstly with nothingness, that’s a good one, for it is exactly as hallucinating as a farmer who would sow “nothing” whilst prophesizing an unparalleled crop.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Roots of ideologies

Nietzsche, in my opinion, was an artist bestowed with a prodigious capacity to love and with an … unflinching jealousy, jealousy consisting certainly, in its most speculative and humanely sublime form, in looking for a master over which to dominate.

Ultimately, if we wish to separate the poets from the philosophers, contemporaneous or not, and precisely identify the sources of ideologies, even to hatch a few, it is quite simple. I know three means to go about it.

The first is to consider one of the seven dimensions of man which most of the worldly traditions lay out – the vegetative dimension, the animal dimension, the spiritual dimension, work, friendship, politics and religion – and to isolate one of these dimensions from the other six (one can also take 2 or 3 of them and mix them together, whilst separating them from the others, or even endeavour to exclude one of them and only consider the 6 remaining ones). For example, Marx and Nietzsche exalted (admittedly in quite different ways) work or the artistic activity as being the only acceptable way to save man and humanity. Kant exalted the religious dimension and morals, etc.

The second means consists in taking the three poles at the center of which rests the answer to any problem – Truth, The Human Person and Liberty – and in the same way as in what preceeds, to isolate one of the three. For example, Sartre isolates Liberty and veneers it for its own sake, etc.

The third is even more efficient, as it is more hidden to blunt intelligences. Take the 5 transcendentals (transcendental = notion which is convertible to Being) : Esse (Being), Aliquid (Something), Verum (Truth), Unum (One) and Bonum (Good). I’m showing you the general technique here, without entering into any detail, because we may end up getting spotted! LoL Firstly, note that "beauty" is not a transcendental, even though it has been exalted as such and is still exalted in this manner. Many people do not understand for example how the concentration camp SS could listen to the quatuors of Mozart during their dinner… as if beauty finalizes! Beauty is relative to the transcendentals and can be separated from them.

All right, but even more devious, only Being is an authentic transcendental, it is the keystone, and the four other transcendentals are acolytes of Being. Those who have a metaphysical touch understand this, the others stare blankly, persuaded that all this has no interest at all or is not concrete, even though we are well and truly at the heart of the most real reality.

Therefore, if one seeks to identify the source of all the deliriums and monstrosities that human intelligence is capable of, sometimes with much talent, one only needs to isolate one of the 4 transcendentals relative to Being (Aliquid, Verum, Unum, Bonum) and to consider it as separated from Being. You will have there a formidable tool to manipulate the fools and seduce the intellectuals. This approach is obviously the name of the game, the other two being more immediate and straightforward. :P

Friday, August 21, 2009


In the last analysis, love consists in stooping down whereas art consists in stepping up... and we are no more an artist by stooping down than we love by stepping up, which means, if you are still following, that we do not stoop down by stepping up nor do we step up by stooping down. Evidently, evidently... The most distressing are those who crawl with their head high up, but that's another story. :)


Friday, August 14, 2009

A logical question

A little (pre-arranged) conversation between myself and "Avatar". "I think you" means "you are the subject of my thoughts".

Good day all,

If I write this proposition: I think you, therefore you are. Can I logically deduce the following one : I don't think you, therefore you are not?


The answer is YES, I can logically deduce the second affirmation from the first, but I must add "in my mind" in both cases. The sequence is therefore "I think (of) you, therefore you are (exist) in my mind. Consequently, if I don't think (of) you, you are not (don't exist) in my mind."

However, if one does not precise "in my mind" the first proposition is already false because there is no necessary link between the fact that I think something (necessarily in ones mind) and the existence of this thing elsewere than in ones mind.

If you agree with this cursory analysis, you must conclude that any reality which is not in your mind transcends your mind. If you do not agree, then there is no difference for you between "to exist" and "to exist in your mind".


Your answer has hit me in the face to a point you can not imagine. Now I understand that Descartes in fact said "I think, therefore I am in my head". This changes everything. I now feel freed from my cartesian chains!



I am pleased to hear your Harry Houdini type evasion has been successful. Without a doubt there is something akin to prestidigitation in Descartes formula, which starts in full immanence (I think) and dreams of spewing out a transcendence (therefore I am).


Credit image: Fritz at

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Impromptu online discussion on the subject of the source of modern Western human thought, Aristotle and his metaphysics.

The radical difference between Plato and Aristotle is that the former considers his personal and interior experience to come first, whereas the latter looks firstly at reality which is exterior to him (obviously this is less poetic!). It is fashionable to consider Plato to be a philosopher, even though he is more of a poet of the soul, and to denigrate Aristotle whom we find less amusing, and moreover whose musings are not as easily accessible. In particular, Aristotle is criticized for his theory on the spontaneous generation, his treatise on the heavens which today seems rather infantile, etc., as if this chap were a scientist… but Aristotle was first and foremost a philosopher, and was only interested in science “accidentally”, using the tools of his time!

This preference for Plato is linked to the poetry of his discourse, to the exaltation of intimacy and interiority (immanent and immediate experience), to his explanations which are often metaphorical… He has always exerted a great seduction, which is normal as he is a poet, whereas Aristotle is hardly poetic, and is sometimes lacking in humor! William of Ockam, in the 14th century, gave a new life to Plato; later Descartes brought him to the forefront, and practically permanently! Later still, some mystics like Simone Weil expressed their love of Plato and their aversion for Aristotle. It is too bad really, and this probably proceeds more from ignorance than discernment. In particular, Plato held women to be slightly more evolved than animals, and without a soul. It is Aristotle who was the first in Ancient Greece to speak of friendship – philia – between man and woman, returning dignity to women by elevating them to the rank of human beings, on an equal footing to men… I’m not certain Simone Weil knew that, and even less so for many unconditional contemporary admirers of Plato!

So one must read “Nicomacian Ethics… which is a simple book, much more so than the treatise on the soul or the treatise on metaphysics. Aristotle is the first to have given a real metaphysics to the Western world, i.e. a science beyond physics, what he called “first philosophy”, but what was later named meta-physics (beyond physics) for this treatise was found, after his death, on his bookshelves, just after his book on physics. Today one must speak of “first philosophy”... if you speak of metaphysics, you get penalty points… even if they are one and the same thing! Being that we have celebrated the death of metaphysics, this shouldn't come as that much of a surprise! :)

So, in two words if possible, what is Aristotle’s metaphysics? Precisely because he distinguishes himself from his master Plato (whom he followed for 15 years, in silence), who set thought before reality, Aristotle sets reality before the idea he makes of it, and he does this through what some call the judgement of existence”: THIS IS. One must note that in the fundamental assertion “This is”, the “this” is not “me”… !!! This is the radical difference with the notorious “I think, therefore I am” of Descartes, who sets the “I” before the “this”, or the internal experience before the perceived external reality, in other words sincerity before truth.

Consequently, Aristotle seeks foremost reality as it is other than himself and which is unmindful of the idea he makes of it to be what it is. He then looks at what intelligence is, where it comes from, what it is made of, according to what model and in view of what, five interrogations which can be associated to his five senses: what it is (sight); where it comes from (hearing); what it is made of (touch), according to which model (taste), and in view of what it is (smell). To answer your question more concretely, it is obvious that seeking what is true entails a constant back and forth between our sensible touch of reality and intelligence, in other words a perpetual round trip between the abstraction of reality through the senses, delivering the observation to intelligence, and reinjecting into reality what I understand of it, to verify the adequacy between my intelligence and reality. Thus, for Aristotle, truth is the adequacy between intelligence and reality. Well, it isn’t easy to speak of these “things” in a few lines… We’ll speak again, hopefully… and it is important to have fun around this neck of the woods, is it not? :))

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Thursday, July 23, 2009


The word aesthetics is not so old. I believe it was coined by Kant, borrowing on the the Greek eitésis, which signifies sensation. We find the same root in other words, like "an-esthesia", which means absence of sensation.

Consequently, aesthetics, in the first instance, is what procures a sensation. Now, many impute to beauty or aesthetics a moral value. In other words, they persuade themselves that beauty is necessarily concomitantly good. It is not very difficult to show that they err. If beauty is in effect what procures a sensation, there have been for example many an aestheticism linked to perverse ideologies or frightful dictatorships. Moreover, aesthetics seems in those cases to carry more importance: colossal architecture, apocalyptic music, magnificent uniforms, quite spectacular ceremonies and public reunions, solemn literature, etc.

Hence, beauty has no finality of itself. In other words, it is not sufficient or capable of itself to lead to the completion of the human person. It is ordered to something other than itself. Without redeveloping here an entire metaphysics, some would hang the phone up, lol, we can nevertheless try to look at that towards which beauty is ordered.

In Greek philosophy, but also in other philosophies, like Hindu metaphysics for example, there are 5 recognized transcendentals. A transcendental is what suffices to itself, or what does not have any cause other than itself, or again what is finalized by itself and attracts the rest in as much as it is precisely first cause and final cause (which is absolutely not the case of beauty, and this well and truly constitutes one of the major errors of the contemporaries who elevate beauty to the rank of transcendental. Beauty is an errant cause of sorts, neither good nor bad of itself, it all depends on what it is associated to…).

In reality, Being is THE transcendental par excellence, but since Being is also aliquid (something), and since Being is true, and since Being is one (indivisible), and finally since Being is good, we turned aliquid, truth, one and good into four other full-fledged transcendentals, which isn’t wrong, but those four are in reality more like acolytes of Being. In other words, they are four other ways of naming Being.

Furthermore, as we quite rapidly ceased to understand what One is, we substituted it by Beauty, which is a singularly toxic error, the consequences of which are massive. This has lead including to physical massacres... for beauty ultimately substituted itself to good by veiling it and by sometimes justifying the most horrifying acts (not always, let's not exaggerate either).

Nonetheless, we must recognize that beauty is typically human. Animals do not make art or craft. Art and craft are one of the ways of differentiating man from beast. The animal does not wear ornaments, or clothes, which confers to clothing a foremost value of aestheticism, maybe even before any notion of moral value or modesty. :)

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Saturday, July 18, 2009


What is a symbol? There are a good few who revel in the word with a knowing air, and who make it a speciality of theirs or even consider themselves to be a quasi occult elite.

The root of the word is strong, it is the same as in the word symbiosis, sympathetic, etc. All right, let's cut the chase, a symbol is something that unites the visible and the invisible. Well I think it's time we said something about it that is not solely idiotic. It is not easy to pinpoint what a symbol is. As we practically only have the root to move forward with, it is tempting to seek its inverse or contrary. Now the contrary of “sym” is “dia”, as in dialysis. Now pay attention, this is where it gets amusing, watch: therefore, what is the strict contrary of symbolic (symbolique)? Yep, you got that right: diabolical (diabolique). On the one hand we have something that unites, and on the other something that divides.

So let us imagine your friend is sick, and just before the big jump, he gives you a present, with no monetary value, which he is holding in his outstretched hand. You have thus inherited something without value yet which is eminently symbolic, thus precious. Hence, the value of the object you have inherited lays not in its price but in what it represents - i.e. in its capacity to manifest a link between the visible and the invisible. Besides, if your friend had given you an expensive gift, what would make it foremost valuable would be no more its price, but what it represents, in other words its capacity to manifest a link between the visible and the invisible.

So what are we doing when we hold this object to be a trinket, or when we sell it because we can get some money for it? Well we disunite and divide, that is all, nothing more, but one should be honest and not hesitate to say it. We therefore radically trample a link. What good could we then expect for he who is at the other end of the link? When you knock your Hi-Fi with a hammer, are you surprised when it doesn't work as well? Well, some are surprised... Yes, positively, I assure you! Naturally, I do not speak of a case of force majeure, as when one is forced to sell an object laden with symbol because of a food shortage. In that case, in my view, the symbol would be even stronger, even without the object. :)

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The moderns

Tolstoi in 1868

A modern is someone who does not distinguish the past, the present and the future. It seems silly to say this, yet it is true. What interests a modern
in the past is the present; what interests him in the present is the future; and even, what interests him in the future is the present. This is why a modern has no chance of being understood or taken seriously. But he doesn't care, his public are the angels, some crazies of his time too, but mostly the angels.

A modern has nothing in common with a contemporary; he is quite incidentally contemporary. He borrows from his epoch, whereas a contemporary is borrowed by his epoch. A modern could be from any place at any period. Everyone has got that wrong. The contemporary cannot last: he is current news, burned by the moment, greased on the summer sand, the buzz of the town back from the beaches. In fact, a modern always gets on the wrong side of a contemporary, even if unwittingly, not surprisingly.

There are a few exceptions, like Frédéric Dard, who was clever enough to disguise himself as a yokel, made up as a jester. Dard was a mystic. Other than that, who are the moderns in literature for example? Artaud, Céline, Nietzsche, Bloy, Tolstoï, Dostoïevski, Shakespeare, maybe Cioran, there will be a handful in a few centuries. Sartre, Freud, Kant, Marx, for example, in two centuries we will come across them by mistake, and we will take them for the popular stand-up comedian of the moment, and vice versa.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Literary figures

One of my late friends knew Emile Cioran as a young man. I was not so fortunate: when I read him for the first time, not so long ago, I decided to ring at his doorbell, before learning he had committed suicide a short time before. He had an incurable disease. A cancer I believe.

Cioran never asked the why of things, which he shied away from like the pest for a simple reason, and which I think is common to a good number of artists: he was terrified of losing himself if he became truly contemplative.

It is a false alternative, at least it seems to me to be a false alternative. We imagine that art is necessarily a revolt; I do not think this to be true. Revolt or bitterness are tempting from the standpoint of inspiration, as conflict fecunds imagination. However, I do not believe in this obsession with negation from the viewpoint of artistic creation. Obviously, to not believe in it is more comfortable: it is always easier to lean on asinity to create, if only because it is without limit... whereas to lean on nothing can be daunting, and even scary. I think Cioran was frightened of that. He preferred his talent to truth. He loved his talent above all.

This is not, for example, the case of Frederic Dard, who was a delicious and tender person. Dard didn't care much for his talent. He had read Louis-Ferdinand Céline and decided there was nothing serious to be done in literature; he had wanted to do what Céline had done, and it was done. I like Dard, the writer and the man. He touches me deeply. Through his SanAntonian deliriums seeps a rare person, moving, very cultivated, a subtle soul.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


In reality, what Aristotle showed, and what few have since understood, is that ethics hinges on friendship! The main stages of ethics, which are hardly a “concept” or “customs” relative to a culture, but positively something that is universally human and natural:

1) Firstly I fall in love. At this stage, no one can do anything for me, not even me! I can not ask (myself) advice… That would mean whatever I was told “Hey Avatar, no, you’ve got it wrong, stop falling in love, come now, what are you doing?!!” No, at this stage, I undergo and I withstand.

2) Then I ask myself what is happening, and I judge if I should take it a step further or if it is best to make a run for it. Is this person “married”? I am “married”? What are the chances that this friendship can be long lasting? In short, I confer with myself ad I consider whether what attracts me is accessible or if I am taking a one way ticket to unhappiness or despair.

3) Further I ask myself if (to the extent that I have decided to take it a step ahead) what are the most appropriate means to attain my good, for the person that I love is MY good (I don’t delve here into the attitude of the other person, because obviously, in love, the vice versa is a requisite, and no one can be forced to love).

4) Then I step into action. It is the imperium, as when I decided to get up at 5 a.m. and that I prepared everything, and the alarm bell rings and I have to get up: now I must take action.

5) It is only at this stage that ethics spring up as a formalisation of PERSONAL behaviours in view of attaining a PERSONAL good as a sort of safeguard in view of taking action, i.e. of attaining MY good. Thus, Kant (for example) has ignored the first 4 stages, for it is only at this stage that the categorical moral imperative should appear, imperative which assails us. In truth, let’s be clear, 98% of good Catholics are Kantian as are 110% of Protestants!

6) It is only at this stage that justice appears, which is a universalization of individual morals, thus a moral extended to everyone else in as much as we recognize for them the possibility of living the same story as us. Moreover, and this is a parentesis, Muslims start here, at the 6th stage, for it is definitively justice which primes for them.

This begets the question, can we move from a common good to a personal good. The answer is no - at least that’s my opinion. That is also why I am dubious when I see that children in “personal difficulty” are “treated” by imposing a common good on them, presented as an individual good, even though they are devastated on a personal level. This is the same error that totalitarian ideologies such as communism make. We claim to save the person by diluting him in an encompassing whole… but we can not have a sense of the common good without one of our personal good. It’s impossible, lest we become a zombie, that is to say a living dead being.

Credit drawing: Fritz at

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The metaphysical touch

The metaphysical touch is to reality what an absolute ear is to music. If for example you strike a glass and you correctly recognize the sound as a B flat, you have an absolute touch. Those who do not have an absolute touch have a relative touch, and they consequently perceive essentially the intervals between the notes. For example, they hear in the same manner the series of three notes “do re mi” and the series of three notes “sol la si”: in both cases the intervals between the notes are the same. A metaphysical touch is therefore a type of absolute ear in the order of being, whereas a relative ear captures mostly modes, accidents and relations.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009


Question: in the act of knowledge, intelligence only grasping form, can we not deduct that substance is irreducibly inaccessible to it?

Answer: You write: “in the act of knowledge, intelligence only grasping form...”

Do we agree on what form is? A quick reminder on what is meant by “form”.. A form answers the question of “what is it”, or again “that by which what is exists as it exists”, and can thus beget diverse answers according to the order in which we interrogate this reality. For example, if I look at you in the order of intelligibility and ask myself what determines you firstly, I will say you are a human being. “Human being” is a form abstracted by intelligence which seeks what is most intelligible in you, what is most significant, determining. In fact, I have never met “human being”, only such and such concrete human; I thus abstract this form “human being” from a multitude of singular people I have crossed. It is very difficult to describe “human being”... I could describe you if I met you, and even take a picture of you, but “human being” is not as easy to describe as one would think! Yet Everyman understands what I signify by “human being”.

If I look at you in the order of life, after having come across a multitude of living beings, I will say what firstly determines you is your soul. Thus the soul is the form of the living.


But contrary to what you write, intelligence does not solely know through forms, it also knows via the sensibles, for it never ceases to cooperate with the five senses, to an extent that we would know nothing of reality without them. Further, the abstract wouldn't exist, since the abstract proceeds form the concrete... it is One from the Multiple. In short, there are two ways intelligence can acquire knowledge: the abstract mode and the concrete mode... there are no others!

Now then, in the order of what exists, thus of the concrete, you are what comes first, and realist philosophers call that the first substance, in other words the subject, you, Veritas, whereas “human being” is first in the order of intelligibility, and we call that second substance or “quiddity”.

We thus have a first substance, Veritas, and a second substance: “human being”.

The substance which you are thinking of, which we can call substance-principle, is neither the first substance nor the second substance. It is what explains that Veritas is first in his order, and that “human being” is first in its order. In other words the substance-principle which you are seeking is what explains that the concrete is concrete and the abstract is abstract, that first substance is first substance and that second substance is second substance, thus it is neither one nor the other, neither concrete nor abstract... It is in fact because it has something to do with first substance and second substance that it is neither one nor the other... for if it were abstract, the concrete wouldn't exist, and vice versa. It is thus necessary, with regards to these two correlatives – the concrete and the abstract – that there be a reality that is present in both but at the same time beyond both.

Thus when you write: “can we not deduct that substance is irreducibly inaccessible to it?”... are right in the sense that one can not concretely touch nor abstract substance-principle according to the form of what is! For substance-principle is neither concrete, else we could touch it, nor abstract, else it would only exist in our intelligence. So how can we be certain it is a reality since we can only know in a concrete or abstract mode? We must induce it... it is only through induction that one can find substance, principle according to the form of what is, for if substance-principle is neither concrete nor abstract, it nevertheless exists; in fact, it is!

You are thus right in expressing a doubt concerning the abstract mode of knowledge, since intelligence must simultaneously renounce the concrete and the abstract. You can neither take a picture of substance-principle, nor abstract it, nor describe it, nor figure it, not even imagine it... and that is precisely why many deny it exists, for no one has ever made a full circle around substance-principle, to the extent that if anyone tells you one day “that's it, I have seen precisely what substance-principle is”, you can rest assured that either that person is joking or he is clueless. In fact, it would be just as silly as another who would profess “that's it, I love my wife, I have gone full circle around her, I don't need to see her anymore”, for we never go full circle around a person, something always escapes us, which possibly proceeds from the substance of that person!

One must thus think about what an induction is. For the moderns an induction is often Baconian – i.e. quantitative – whereas for Aristotle an induction is qualitative... Now then, substance-principle is a reality in the order of being, thus is qualitative, not at all quantitative! The induction of substance-principle is quite poor! It hardly has the brilliance of a mathematical demonstration... which may explain why this necessary meagerness of intelligence to induce substance-principle, in other words this aspect of us which begs for what is at the heart of reality, does not go down well with a self-important spirit. Metaphysics is for the poor.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The gift

There is a link between naivete and the present, that is to say between intelligence and eternity - and not between inaneness and the undetermined.

Intelligence is naive attention, and even tension, mark my word. It is the string
of the bow in tension, the soul as a hunting dog still in its tracks, the sail of a schooner. One must be naive to navigate with a sail, naive not to get oneself an internal combustion engine.

At the beginning the wind was and it blows where and when it wants, no one knows where it orginates nor its destination. So you see, only intelligence limits inaneness, exactly as the infinite limits the unlimited, or as only solitude limits isolation. The present is where one enters into eternity. The present is the gift.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ideological tyrannies

Aristotle was quite careful in not mistaking his way of knowing with what he knew; this is why he used the approach of analogy with art (art is closer to our psychological conditioning). Many have not understood this, thinking he was projecting his artistic analysis on other realities.

I am under the impression that the modern mistake (but it must be there since the beginning of humankind), the most universal and the most pernicious, is to mistake the conditionning of intelligence - in other words our way of knowing - with what determines intelligence - being - then do deny being exists outside of becoming, or outside of what is measurable, which comes down to a materialization of being: only what is concrete or abstract exists. Imo, there is certainly a link there with the self-importance of an intelligence which only considers that over which it can dominate, in other words either the concrete or the abstract. Yet being is neither concrete nor abstract, it is, and intelligence only starts to lift off when it accepts to let itself be measured by this fundamental evidence. We can dominate over everything, not over being.

Thus the two major modern ideological tyrannies are on the one hand a materialization of everything (only the concrete, what I can measure and weigh, exists) and on the other hand immanence of thought (only the abstract, what I conceive of, exists). We can be subjugated by one of these tyrannies or by both of them at the same time, even though being is what falls first in intelligence (like the other person, is what falls first in the order of friendship/love), but also what reveals its profoundness. Consequently, it is metaphysics/first philosophy which makes us intelligent, or more precisely which ploughs intelligence.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mundane babble

Scribitur ad narrandum, non ad probandum.

This is yet again a dialectic... lol

I'm dead serious, a dialectic consists in opposing two things which are not of the same order.

On the one hand I can write and relate without proving anything, and on the other hand I can write and prove whilst relating.

So, granted, I know one can also write without relating nor proving anything, but in that case, you head straight out the door, you take the first left beyond the traffic light, and you can't miss it, under the lime tree, the tables outside, yes, the people who speak loudly, it's written in plain letters at the top of the entrance: "Mundane Babble". Hum, no, don't tell them I sent you, you would not get a welcome drink! lol

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Global civilization of zombies

A few years ago, I regularly accompanied a friend to the hospital, who had to undergo a bone puncture every three or four months. As this took place in the capital city, there was no anaesthesia so as to free a room as quickly as possible. I found the session absolutely unbearable, even for the simple spectator I was. The operation consisted in extracting a bit of bone with a syringe mounted with a very large needle at the end of which was something resembling a small sugar pincer.

Make a long story short, I sought to know if there existed a powerful antalgic with immediate effect. Nothing. So I asked a doctor friend to prescribe ampoules of valium with the idea of administering an entire ampoule to my friend before her next session. My doctor buddy said: “All right, I will prescribe this to you, but valium is not at all an antalgic, it won’t do much for your friend”. “No matter, I’ll try it nevertheless.”

After the next session of prehistoric medicine, whilst I was driving my friend back to her place, who was completely out of it, I asked if the valium had relieved her somewhat. She mumbled “it’s curious, I felt the pain as usual, but it’s as if I didn’t care. I was thinking to myself, “Hey? It hurts a lot! I don’t care…” It seems that some have a similar biological capacity to secrete a natural valium of sorts which enables them to observe in the same way not so much pain as emotion: “Hey, I am roused! I don’t care…” Thus, emotion is considered for itself, as if it were on the side, isolated, and it gives fruit to nothing nor does it entail an action.

Extrapolating on the principle, I realized that those people are spectators of reality, and thus spectators of themselves! For example, in light of a distressing scene, not a problem, they like the emotion it procures them before anything else. They look at themselves as experiencing an emotion and they please themselves in this manner. You think I am exaggerating? I fear not. There is for that matter quite a bit to see here, the word aesthetics having the same root as eisthésis: sensation. Thus emotion is a sensation, and its provenance matters little since we can live it separately, for itself, without consequences. I assure you, there is a lot there that enables to better view the global civilization of zombies which is putting itself in place. As a matter of fact, that is how one sets shackles to a soul, by making it limp and by causing it to collapse unto itself. Moreover, this can be achieved quite easily, whilst announcing the best of intentions: who would reproach anyone of giving emotion to the largest number? Hmmmm? No one.

In the near future, I “prophesize” the birth of supermarkets of emotions. On sale: massacre of infancy as if you were there. In the mystery department, treat yourself to a Tibetan genocide. Promotion on the ground floor: the last Don Quixote’s of humanity having had faith in man… Christmas week: 50% off sundry obscenities, barbarities and massacres.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Imagination II

I was saying that imagination is intermediary between the sensible realities and intelligence, i.e. between our experience of reality and our spirit. Yet we take our imagination for experience, even though a purely "imaginary being" has no experience of anything more than himself. For imagination is grounded in reality, that's for sure, but viewed on its own it comes from itself, whereas experience embraces reality in a direct manner, i.e. something that is not us. Imagination is therefore always idealizing. It enables us to take some short trips for free, sometimes lovely ones, other times not as much. Imagination thus never comes first, it is always second, and above all it has no end, it is an errant cause, even autistic, for it may have no other purpose than itself and separates itself at the same time from reality and intelligence. Someone who is completely taken by his imagination does not have a clear direction of where he is headed, especially if for that person, more or less consciously what's more, imagination has become his whole life, that is to say has taken over.

One must acknowledge that we all more or less have a proclivity to be like this, and if we had a thermometer to take our imaginative temperature, an imaginativometer, we would imo be rather surprised at the result. Ultimately, our imagination wrestles constantly with experience, and this is quite understandable since it enables the first step back... face to face with reality.

Incidentally, people who are engulfed by imagination cannot love, simply put because the other person is a reality, not a character of a virtual short story or of a cartoon. Imaginary friendship is quite meagre!

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Someone recently pointed out to me that intelligence is intimately mixed with imagination. This assertion bothered me and I pondered over it for a few days.

Imagination is not mixed with intelligence, it is "metaxu", that is to say intermediary (in Greek metaxu means "in between"). Imagination is intermediary between intelligence and the senses. When we perceive something of reality, through one of our 5 senses (and we know nothing without them, nor can we imagine anything), imagination depicts sensations before handing them over to intelligence. Then memory stocks these images, and imagination can work and "play" with what it has at hand, but it must firstly constitute a stock from our sensations.

Thus, imagination is linked to intelligence, all right, but in a very precise manner, not indistinctively mixed with it, but as an intermediary between the sensible reality and with it, at least normally and most of the time, because some live with their imagination cut off from reality almost all of their waking hours, and, one might say, from their intelligence.

So this interested me, because after having rethought about what precedes, I realized more distinctly that imagination is neither good nor bad. It does not and it cannot distinguish between what is good and what is bad. It is amoral. Why? Quite simply because goodness and malignity are not imaginary... they are real! Yet with imagination we find ourselves in a place which is truly... imaginary.

This begets a question: what is psyche? Well it is simply imagination... a place which I create myself, situated beyond good and bad in as much as it is precisely imaginary. Consequently, here is a simple demonstration that psychologists can do nothing else but describe and in no way can see the end, that is to say what is good and what is bad. They can only describe what is pleasant and what is not, which is not at all the same!

That's all for now folks, but there are many things to see from this viewpoint. I am even under the impression that this is a very good angle of approach to see almost anything that is worth seeing. :-)

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Monday, May 4, 2009

What I wanted to say

To a certain extent, faithfulness is to love what metaphysics is to intelligence, yes, that's what I wanted to say. I saw this in a very distinct manner, a few years back, and that's it. Yet I had never quite said it like that before, although one could very well say it like that. Lol

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Conviction vs intolerance

Is a conviction, whatever it may be, or even a philosophical thought, or an experience, or their opposites (a non conviction, a non philosophical thought, a non experience) like a synonym of intolerance?

The answer is simple, it is no, and here is the proof : one can have a conviction of tolerance!

It is thus not the conviction which produces intolerance, but the object of a conviction. This demonstration looks quite straightforward, but I only thought it through recently, after being asked a specific question.

I will add something else, which I discover progressively, and more and more. It is, I think, when we don't have a conviction that we are the most susceptible of being violent. Why? Quite simply because if you are convinced of something (or convinced of not being convinced), it is because you have experienced it, either internally or through your senses, and therefore it is not the opinion of your neighbour that can diminish in any way your experience or your non experience. Therefore, and this is the by-product of the aforementionned, many mistake intolerance (or excessive behavior) and conviction. This explains why so many are violently against or in favor of something, for it plays the role of a conviction, since they affirm and are undoubting. Yet, quite curiously, doubt is in a certain sense the only reliable proof of a conviction. This is quite tricky! lol

Now the question takes on a quite paradoxical allure, and it is its genuine allure, for it is those without a conviction who are the most often intolerant, affirming violently to convince themselves of something, whilst at the same time the ones who are truly convinced do not cease to doubt!

So how do you extirpate yourself from there? For once again we have scraped the surface and we find ourselves mired in a good old dialectic. I only know one way to pass the obstacle: the difference lies in if one seeks the truth or not. And there, now that we have gone beyond the dialectic, we can clearly distinguish the two ways of doubting: the blockheads are wary of truth, whereas the others are prudent with relation to what is false. LoL!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bending it like Beckham

Uncertainty is an experience of the future, certainty a prophecy of the past. In both cases one is not on the ball. What is left if you can be neither certain nor uncertain? Well, precisely, that's where you put your foot on the ball, but you'll have to get up rather early if you hope to bend it like Beckham. :-)

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Sunday, April 26, 2009


The more I look at it, the more I realize that intuition, thus a good part of the artistic approach (and the mathematical approach) consists in finding and imagining relations between things.

For example, in mathematics, you take your house and you say the length at floor level is so many yards; what does this mean in the absolute? It only means there is a yardstick somewhere, in this case the yard, and that we have created a link between this decreed measure and the length in question containing X times the yardstick. Thus essentially a decreed relation between a human invention and reality.

Other examples of relation, this time in terms of proportions. The well known golden number is a measure that architects used, as well as painters and musicians. Gothic relative to Roman, quickly said, is the passage between a proportion of one to one, and a proportion of one to two or three or four. In painting, someone like Modigliani multiplied vertical proportions by two.

Better still, in music, consider a prelude of Bach, prelude n°1 for example of the Das wohltemperirte Clavier, in do major. Consider the first note, Do, as axis and base tonic, and multiply each interval by two. The prelude sounds as if it was written by Debussy. By multiplying by two any interval between this base Do and the other notes, we have obviously eliminated all half-tones, and it sounds "gamut by tone", yet the harmony remains, and continues to ring, for we have merely multiplied by two the harmonic rapport with the tonic. For that matter, if we multiply the same intervals by 5 or 7 (modulo 12), the prelude sounds like Berg and Webern.

Imo, mathematics is essentially about the establishment of relations, in as much as it is radically a non metaphysical viewpoint. From the metaphysical standpoint, relation, one of the 10 categories of substance, is considered as "flimsy" by Aristotle. He is right! From a metaphysical viewpoint he is right, for from the point of view of being, relation is last in line! In that sense, to consider mathematics to be a first principle (i.e. to substitute it to being) is even more "flimsy"! Yet that is what the average (and advanced) modern day person does, since, before anything else, nowadays everything is becoming and relations.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Roots are for salad plants

When all is said and done, the most difficult thing in metaphysics is to grasp substance. After all maybe it's not a bad idea to grasp it indirectly first, through individuation, or even through relation, in short to understand its necessity before examining it per se. It's curious, sometimes we see things better for what they support, rather than directly for themselves.

Thus, with individuation, matter is introduced into being. The individual is the place where conditioning and being meet, and the individual becomes through this process a unique happening. It is rather satisfying for the ego to know oneself different from the others and irreplaceable. But where does this originality come from? For the soul founds originality, but does not make it more explicit. Since my feet are touching ground, as I speak, I can only notice that it is firstly matter which specifies my concrete originality, my "difference" as is commonly overheard. Personally, I find this not so amusing. Each of us has intelligence and will, so these cannot explain my otherness. I can only recognize that what first determines my originality is matter. Not only does this roll out the red carpet for materialism, but moreover it is rather humiliating. Only the blockheads don't feel humiliated, and in parenthesis, one can grasp here the small link between intelligence and humility, hi hi. Even more interesting, if I seek originality first and foremost, I leave finality to the wayside: this originality pertains to matter and quantity, to physiognomy also, but firstly to matter and quantity. Now matter has no finality - it is undetermined.

Consequently, if one no longer seeks finality, only the roots remain: archaeology, genealogy, the ancestors etc. We turn ourselves towards the past, we are scared of the future and of death, because the term of our future is death, this inevitable gap in the clouds; we look at the foundation, we stay seated on our rear end. The world is tired, so it sits on its foundation, on the ground, on matter and on quantity. It is the death of the spirit and of the person, and we thus fall back on the individual. Even though I am fundamentally different by my spirit, even if I don't know it yet, it is the body and conditioning which have taken front stage. We are thus under the ferula of psychology, origins and atavism. We are spellbound by our conditioning, and there is no more love, for finality is love, obviously. We hence replace this by the pleasures of the body under all forms, what exalts the individual by his individual originality. How many actors do you hear, sports stars, and sundry VIPs who speak of their roots, their inner circle, their look, their power, their efficiency, their pleasure? All conditionings put down roots in matter, thus in the body, to the point that when tiredness, hunger, sickness, poverty come into play, conditioning takes front stage and substitutes itself to spirit, thus to finality.

It is around the 14th century that conditioning took the seat of substance, notably with William of Ockham, and the diversion having the advantage of originality, it obviously seduced the largest crowd. In parallel to this, instead of distinguishing things, we separated them - that is what the contemporary dialectics are - and we put what we separated in opposition and in rivalry. The final cause (finality) then became metaphoric, symbolic and poetic, which maimed it, let's be honest. Thus the exemplary cause is put to the fore, i.e. thought is put in front of reality, to the point where it masks it and even mutilates it, for that is well and truly what ideologies amount to: to cut out from reality what does not enter in the idea we make of it.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How vs why?

The scientist seeks the HOW whereas the (realist) philosopher seeks the WHY. Never will the scientist find the whys, only the hows of the whys. One discovery leads to another discovery, which leads to other discoveries, and again to more discoveries. Nothing to write home about because matter is fundamentally undetermined (from the point of view of finality) and says nothing about quality. Quality is simply beyond its' reach. Science studies matter and quantity, enlarging only what it knows, thus quantity, never quality, and the end focusses on quality. One can only measure the effects of quality.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

A critical juncture

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Thanks to all who participated in the blogpoll "what comes first white or whiteness?" I trust those who said white didn't say so because it appeared before whiteness in the poll ;D Actually, both answers are correct depending on the order under consideration (existence or intelligibility). In the last analysis though, the question to be answered is what comes first, existence or signification? No prizes, but a good brushing for the neuron. Please read on... :-)

The dictionary states that whiteness is the quality of being white, and sees in it a principle (what comes first) of sorts. Yet it is when we see a white wall, snow, milk, a white cat, that intelligence abstracts the noun whiteness. Yet once you abstract the "universal" whiteness it seems that you see the singular whites differently, under the light of whiteness. If you had never seen white you wouldn't ask yourself what whiteness is, and if you did not understand what whiteness is you wouldn`t recognize white so easily. But you have never seen whiteness on your daily walk. White is what you experience in the first instance, before whiteness appears in the intellect. White depends on a thing (eg wall) for its existence, but it must be isolated from the wall to extract it's meaning, through the question, "what is whiteness"? Consequently, white comes first in the order of existence, but whiteness comes first in the order of intelligibility. The crucial question is therefore what comes first, what exists or it's signification? This is where Descartes turns his back to Aristotle, for whom the first question is "does this exist?" and the second is "what is this?". For Descartes like Plato, ideas are innate...

If you understand that whiteness is the fruit of your different experiences of white, the signification of whiteness and white are one and the same, on an abstract basis for the first and a concrete basis for the second. In parenthesis, the reason why placing the idea before the concrete reality is so tempting is because the abstract mode is pure (whiteness) whereas the concrete mode is impure (a white wall).

With regards to being, the transition from "this is" (judgement of existence) to "what is being?" is analogous to the transition from "this wall is white" to "what is whiteness?". In both cases, we move from the visible to the invisible. This adjustment seems almost innocuous, quite the contrary: either metaphysics connects with the radical structure of intelligence, or intelligence haughtily turns its back to it!

White and whiteness (2)

Credit image: pareeerica (CC)

Thank you for this interesting little story. Very instructive! What is cute, in those cases, is that it is through negation that one purports to demonstrate: “I will demonstrate to you that this ceiling is not white”. Why does not one demonstrate that this ceiling is such or such a color?? For me, this is one of the most significant manias of contemporary Western thought: to start with negation.

Further, there is a confusion between “white” and “whiteness”, i.e. between the real being and the universal (or being of reason). In this case, being of reason is taken as measure of reality, and even substitutes itself to it. “Whiteness” (which is called “white” in your story) does not exist as a color of itself, but only as an abstraction proceeding from one's intelligence. It is one from the multiple, in a triple relation, either "unum ex-multis", "unum ad-multa" or "unum in-multis". It is interesting to seek the three nuances, because the person you spoke to lined up three mistakes in his development. Mistakes which correspond rigorously to the negation of these three nuances of the universal. The first is that he denies that the abstraction of the one proceeds from the multitude of singulars (ex); then he refuses to see that this one is ordered to the diversity from which it proceeds (ad); finally, he concludes with a denial that this one (the white) can, as a being of reason, identify itself to such or such a singular from which it proceeds.

In other words, he starts with a being of reason as if he took it out of a hat (he should have been stopped in his tracks with the question: what is "white"?). Then he intentionally separates this white that he has nonetheless abstracted. Finally, he denies that the singular is identifiable to the abstraction, which he brandishes as unique measure and absolutely separated from any reality other than his intelligence. It is thus gobbledygook.

As a side note, this problem of the One and the Multiple crops up everywhere these days. It is a favorite of contemporary thought, which in the last analysis replaces Being by One, and even places Being in dependence to One. At the end of the day, this leads to substituting logic to metaphysics, which is quite seducing and even ecumenical, since only logic reconciles the one and the multiple! Whereas metaphysics distinguishes them, and shows that one is a property of being, in other words that Being is first.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

On white and whiteness

Next post will be the response to this OP.

Madame Y,

Over lunch someone asked me, what is to believe?
I did not know what to answer.
He said: "I can prove to you that ceiling there is not white".
In truth, the ceiling was white.
His proof, the table cloth is even whiter.
This was also true.
I could have said: "Yes that's true, but both are white, and one is more white."
He would have said: "No that's untrue, there is only one color which can be qualified as white."

I was not too tempted to enter into this discussion given his personality.

What is reality? The perception of white?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Playing the partition

Credit drawing: Leander Lenz (

I oft hear the objection towards a true philosophical approach, that it suffices to love and that there is no need to understand, nor even to try to understand. There is seemingly some truth to this assertion, so much as we sometimes manage to make intelligence the rival of will, thus of the heart. Since it is not I who invented myself, in other words I have not chosen to be made to love, and on the other hand to be "stupid" does not preclude anyone from loving, well all there is left for me to do is to love, and that's all folks, like a plant or an animal! We do tend to take animals as a reference these days: do THEY get wound up over things!?

All right, I agree, we are in the last analysis interpreters of our nature, and it seems it is not necessary to try to understand, all we need to do is to play the partition, easy peasy. Well that's not the case precisely, I know high level interpreters, some of them international in scope, and they play what is written on the sheet, with emotion, panache, brio, even with their guts, as the saying goes... yet if we stop them in the middle of their performance, or if they are bothered by any given incident, they have to start anew because they have no idea what a modulation is. I promise that some interpreters and instrumentalists play what is written on the sheet, even if a fly has just landed on it, and understand diddly-squat of the intelligence of the composition. For them it boils down to a movement of fingers, a physical training, and that's precisely what the expression “learned dog” means.

Well I say that an interpreter who seeks to understand the thought of the composer, and the harmonic, rhythmic and melodic intelligence of what he is playing is concretely better than a musician who moves his fingers without having a clue of what's going on. And let's not even speak of those who embark on a piece which is clearly unplayable because it is not written by a real composer or because it doesn't correspond to the tessitura of their instrument, and who run backstage sobbing because they have received a swarm of tomatoes, and there are a stack like that... Or who trumpet they will cross the Atlantic in a bathtub, everything is fine, the sea is calm this morning, you can go see for yourself if you don't believe me, and who plan to stick their finger in the tap hole to stay afloat, and in general finish off with a “In any case, such and such famous sailor drowned at the end of his career, which proves if need be that one must not ponder too hard over these things.”

What can you respond to that!? All that you can do is wait and hope that, in case there is a problem, they will come back swimming, albeit blue all over, but at least that they will come back, because sometimes they don't come back, or without the children... and if they do come back, then you have to patiently wait that they cease to be stunned by the fact that you are not solely and completely surprised by their wreckage! I'm not saying that to ponder over these things will preclude any incident, and maybe not even a wreckage, but it can be of some assistance. :-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Categories

*clears throat*, "Harvey" (translator) here. Just thought I'd do a quick post on Aristotle's ten categories.

In the Categories (a section of his works on Logic - Aristotle is the father of Logic), Aristotle lays out ten categories (or predicaments) of being which are a metaphysical identity card of sorts of man. They are secondary attributes of the subject or first substance (eg Count Sneaky).

1) Second substance: the intelligibility or quiddity of Count Sneaky (man)
2) quality: Count Sneaky has visible qualities (brown hair, brown eyes) and invisible qualities (intelligence, artistic sense, virtues...)
3) quantity: Count sneaky is x feet tall
4) relation: CS is as tall or taller than "Harvey"
5) action: CS is reading
6) passion: CS is happy
7) time: any physical movement implies time and place
8) place: CS is in Twitterville (or somewhere else)
9) position: CS is sitting
10) state: CS is holding the phone

From another realistic thinker (GD): "the ten categories will always remain imo one of the signs of Aristotle's superior intelligence.

It is probable that this list proceeds from the sole and pure intuition of the Philospher, after having meditated on the being of things. It is the fruit of an absolute vision of intelligence, no doubt at the term of a long inductive observation of beings and things, where each time (10 times) a trigger mechanism was produced in his intuitive intelligence, distinct from and prior to reason. In this manner, it can be said the "Categories" are the doorway to reasoning."

The categories have a quiddity, ie their own "form" and intelligibility. They express the modalities of being but are relative to substance (what unites first substance - CS - and second subtance - man.)

My substance is my soul but substance is not soul, else all that would be would live. :-)

Dear readers, do not ponder over this too long and hard, else you will get a headache, but as we will be speaking of substance (the source of all determinations) and categories, I thought it useful to lay this out. ;-)