Wednesday, April 19, 2017


People who criticize for the sake of criticizing. That is to say, people who criticize for reasons of vanity, pride, ego. (People who criticize simply because they see a space for criticism). 

Perhaps I can qualify something another thinker says, does this mean my qualification is relevant? What is the nature of my criticism? In what direction does my criticism drive the discourse (toward substance or linguistic jangling)? Academics are taught to give lessons, they are not taught to think; they are taught to re-hash old philosophy, they are not taught to be philosophers, which is a matter of learning how to think.

But we can say more. Academics, in general,  are taught how to summarize positions without actually engaging the propositions of the positions they summarize. This makes them dialectically incompetent. It is also one of the reasons their so-called refutations consist of nothing more than denunciations. In other words, they say to themselves, "that doesn't sound like what I was taught." (From this they conclude the objection must be false). For academics, if the articulation is not familiar, if the criticisms fall outside the authoritarian channels of their mother institutions, if they fall outside an arbitrary historical chain, then the criticism must be false. But this is not the way of argumentation. In argumentation all men and women are equal, degrees, do not matter, abstract summaries, do not matter, the only thing that matters is whether or not one can defend or refute the proposition.

Those who criticize for the sake of vanity often get away with it. This is, in large part, what is wrong with discourse. We do not know how to evaluate the nature of criticism. A pretentious thinker will complain about the style of our discourse, without ever making contact with our substance. But I am warning these thinkers, these kinds of criticism do not matter! So much verbal exchange is nothing more than wasted energy, it is a form of pretentious posturing. "In what does pretentious posturing consist?" Above all else, it consist in name dropping (and the hyper-use of fancy terms), it is a form of authoritarian mimicking. This means a thinker affirms a set of implicit presuppositions, which he uses to measure and gauge his progress. That is to say, he believes he has accomplished something (in intellectual terms) when he satisfies the requirements of these assumptions. His problem is that he has not learned to identify and challenge these presuppositions, in most cases, one is not even aware that they exist! Hence, he is the victim of an authoritarian architecture, which regulates (and fallaciously normalizes) his idea of quality. 

When an independent thinker comes along and challenges this architecture, it is the authoritarian's immediate response, not to refute the premises presented by this thinker, but merely to discredit the thinker! In what then does the academic refutation consist, precisely in this: "you don't know what you're talking about; you lack the credentials to even speak." (This is where the academic wants to give us a lesson in the history of philosophy --- because it means he can evade the direct conversation, which has to do with the integrity and power of propositions).

But why do people go this way; why do we evade discourse? In most cases the answer is because one is seeking power. For these kind of thinkers philosophy is more about reputation than substance. It is an exercise in public display. It's about the image one can create by posturing, not the truth one can discover by thinking! Some of us are driven toward the truth, while others merely strive for power...

A pretentious thinker wants nothing more than to display the skills he learned at the academy (or just to display his skills in general -- he does not have to be part of an academy). His discourse has nothing to do with truth, it is an exercise in vanity. The objections he makes have to do, not with the integrity of propositions, but with their arbitrary locations, that is to say, where they belong in relation to other bodies of knowledge. The academic only knows how to listen for what is familiar, he does not know how to interact, evaluate, or be affected by the propositions which stand before him. He utterly resents this; nothing is more painful to his sense of self-importance (which is usually the reason he does philosophy in the first place)... he is a kind of intellectual tyrant to all those who are ignorant; to all those who begin with an affirmation of his institutional authority.

I forgo this. I don't care where a man or woman stands in life. The only thing I care about, when it comes to ideas, is the power those ideas have in relation to life. I care about the integrity of propositions.

Let me once again warn those who strive toward this kind of vanity... proceed at your own risk! If you engage with a thinker of substance your fight will center around the power of propositions. If you do not know how to interact with these entities you will merely drive yourself to frustration; all your effort will be expended on maintaining your intellectual image, you will be defending yourself, when you should have been defending your ideas.

I have met many of these charlatans in my time, and in every case, they have fallaciously attacked my person (not because I have done something wrong) but because they are incompetent to interact with my propositions. History is very clear, the most powerful thinkers have always been criticized for their character or style, precisely because people have not been able to interact with their ideas.  

What kind of thinker are you? 
What is the nature of your criticism?
Do you interact with the propositions of a text, or do you interact with an abstract summary?
Do you evade propositions through abstraction?
Do you consider what people say or do you merely listen for what is familiar and safe?