Saturday, April 17, 2010

A spectacular firework

After having started by confounding substance and the individual, Descartes explicitly turns his back on Aristotle, followed later on by Hegel... with Hegel came dialectics and the primacy of relation.

We thus have forgotten that substance is the indirect source of relation. One could say that relation is the granddaughter of substance, its daughter being quality. If we truly understood relation we would paddle up to the grandmother - substance - and this would help us to understand its necessity... at least it would be easier to grasp it than in a direct manner. In lieu of which, we have thrown grandmother off the train!

We started with substance and we magnified relation and the relative, setting off a spectacular firework, but we are only left with smoke and an odor of burning. Contemporary philosophy knows no principles; it can't teach us anything; it only carries breezes which give the neuron a cold.

Now relation is literally asinine when it seeks to take the place of substance. Hence the world is an asinine place.

In the last analysis, there are only two ways to go about it, either we start with relation to go to substance, or we start with relation to decapitate substance. There are presently two philosophies on the market, not three, two: to divide philosophy into philosophy of spirit on the one hand and philosophy of relation on the other hand is a delusion, for what does human intelligence do if not abstract, thus produce the universal, and what is the universal if not a relation? Thus there lays the choice, because we well and truly have to start with relation: either one starts with relation to go to substance (and it is not handy for one must paddle counter current and the descending current is quite fierce), or one does as everyone else: you start with relation, you head dunk grannie, and you let yourself drift down the current whilst splashing amongst the corpses.

Well then, we have no choice! We must go back to Aristotle to see how he looks at relation, and also take a peek at Hegel. Between the two there is Descartes, but it doesn't take too long to walk around that diminutive thinker. Conversely, one must absolutely go back to Aristotle and spend a bit of time with Hegel, for he is the father of all contemporary dialectics.
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  1. It's a cliche, I suppose, but a valid position that in art one seeks the universal through the particular. This is my gripe with science as well as philosophy: that they reverse the process, that they try to grasp the particular through the universal, and thus end up valuing ideas and theories more than actual experience. I believe that all wisdom, all knowledge, begins with the senses, with details, and through that and our own receptivity we begin to piece together, however painstakingly, a picture of our world.

  2. At Coffee with the Euthyphro dilemma (RIP):,4065.0.html

  3. Ok. First we throw grannie off the existential-reflux train which is traveling to Hegelston, and we ourselves jump off the train as it approaches the small town of Descartes. You put de cart before the horse and go back to retrieve what's left of grannie, and after dunking her old white head, to apparently revive her, you drift down the current after missing the stream, and try to
    splash around with dead men( and presumably dead women), to arrive at Greekville. And I thought philosophy was nightingale dung! I now realize how important it is. It's time to rethink, reflect and regurgitate. My best.

  4. Just dropping in here from GO! Smell the coffee and your content here intrigues me - I'm living in Dubai at the moment and think you've alot to add to our coffee community!

    Aristotle I'm familiar with but Hegel is another one for me to dig deeper on!

  5. NP,
    Well put, glad to see you on the lush side of realism ;-) Experience through the five senses is the starting point of Aristotle's philosophy - or, better said, realistic thought. It is objective knowledge as it external to each of us. Although it is of interest, with internal knowledge, all we know is ourselves ;-)

    Nice to hear from you. Now that we are in the small town of Greekville, we must be careful of family feuds! Catch you later, at the saloon. ;-)

    Good of you to drop by, from Dubai... Hegel is good to read to understand humanity as it is... in fact, humanity is largely under the idealistic ferula of the 3H's: Hegel, Heidegger and Husserl.

  6. Thank you for a fascinating entry and look at substance and relation. I went straight from Aristotle to Heidegger and missed the Hegelian estuary. I will row back and rethink.


  7. Hi there, DB. Heidegger is an interesting one, as he starts by asking the right question ("What is Being?") but only ends up capturing being in the mind.

  8. "An idea is not so powerless that it cannot make itself into more than an idea." a warning from Hegel...and from Adolph Hitler,"Belief is harder to shake than knowledge."(Mein Kampf) Belief and wisdom both begin with input.

  9. Hegel is most interesting when he speaks of history: "What experience and history teach is this-- that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have learned from it." (Lectures on the Philosophy of World History 1830) G.B. Shaw stole the thought later. But, Hegel goes on in the same piece to argue that..."Only in the state does man have a rational existence...Man owes his entire existence to the state, and has his being within it alone. Whatever worth and spiritual reality he possesses are his solely by virtue of the state..." To be independent, then, of all accepted thought is the first step toward freedom.
    You might even influence society or the state thus imprisioning others with your thoughts.

  10. Out browsing, I was intrigued by the title of your blog. I read your post and found it interesting and very well-written. I particularly liked the delicacy of your phrasing in the first sentence, "Descartes turns his back explicitly to Aristotle,". "To" Aristotle and not "on". Very nice distinction. My interests do not normally lie in this direction, but as Sheryl Crow said, "I've never been there, but the brochure looks nice."

    I did learn one thing from my reading. Prior to this I would have said that Hegel was a beautiful blonde actress. Now I can appear much smarter if I fall into conversation with a philosopher! :-)

  11. Harvey,

    All this is over my head, but I love the picture!

  12. For a pre-deceased philosopher you still seem to have lot of “nifty” ideas…

  13. I never like it Hegal but.. yes, I sustain Aristotle and on of my favourite from all he done is:"General theory of constitutions and citizenship.."

    About your ideas..I agree with some :P you know each person with his theory..
    I love the post btw from up and down, and personaly I keep the past in my soul and look with one eye from time-to-time in the present, and with one eye, in the future.

    Have a splendid week-end!
    (I am too philosopfical to this hour :))))) ]

  14. @Count,
    Interesting quotes by Hegel :-/

    Actually, thanks for pointing that mistake out.... my English has become rusty... do you have a blog? ;-)

    I need to figure out how to insert links to terms... really it's not so complicated, but there is a terminology :)

    Pre-deceased? I translated these musings for a friend a while back (mostly). I answer his comments on his spirit- which is that of realistic thought.

    Thanks for the comment. Realistic thought is not a theory, it is grounded in experience through the five senses... See you :)

  15. Sounds good, keep up the good vibes in the dessert!