Thursday, July 25, 2019


"...that in point of time the mind makes general images of objects, long before it makes notions of them, and that it is only through these mental images, and by recourse to them, that the thinking mind rises to know and comprehend thinkingly." Hegel, Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences, Introduction, Paragraph.1

Here Hegel has accurately explicated the linear order of thought's cognition. Images are the foundation of thought's ascent to understanding. Thought is the thing that develops our understanding of the image. To rise to the stage of knowing something, "thinkingly," is to exercise the criticism of thought against the simplicity of the image. This entails a kind of deconstruction and contextualization of the object. Almost nothing is as important as context. The more shallow this stream the more pollutants one will draw from the water, which is to say, thought will fail to comprehend the object which stands before it. This failure will result in the stultification of thought's power against the tyranny, and confused force, of the object. We say, 'confused force of the object,' as a reference to the object's motion, undirected by intelligence. Shallow context is the secret to idealism's abstract supremacy. Dialectical Context, which is historically broad, striving to function outside the boundaries of space and time, is by its nature comprehensive, not desiring to be deceived by the object's appearance and fictional isolation. Dialectical Context is the force which shatters the abstract tyranny of idealism.

"... with the rise of this thinking study of things, it soon becomes evident that thought will be satisfied with nothing short of showing the necessity of its facts, of demonstrating the existence of its objects, as well as their nature and qualities." Ibid.

This implies that polemics is the need of thought, without polemics thought is incomplete. Polemics is the consummation of thought's labor against the error of the image, the point at which it crystallizes itself against the lie of appearance. The satisfaction of thought is not merely to declare itself, as is the contentment of error, but to distinguish itself from that which is false, from that which tries to assert itself as the authority of being. Polemics seek to recover this authority, to align it with its proper object, to expose the emptiness of the claim where it lacks substance. In short, thought seeks to comprehend the objects that come before it. Polemics seek, not only to shatter the false image, but also to liberate understanding from delusive impressions induced by the image. The true force of Polemics is the concretion of Dialectical Context. Polemics wield this context against the force of the lie, through polemics, the tyranny of the moment and error of the image, are liberated from their confinement and stagnation. The result is not only greater comprehension, but a greater power of resolution.


Monday, July 15, 2019


In most cases intellectual evasion is an admission that one knows their beliefs are indefensible, it's a manifestation that the ego is working to prevent the refutation of cherished delusions. Rare is the seeker who wants to know the truth, most are merely seeking comfort.

I have never quite understood the authenticity of the thinker who establishes a world of theories and then refuses to discuss them with other competent thinkers. In the sphere of academia competence in dialogue is lacking, there it has morphed into a conversation about specialized abstractions that pertain to the emphasis of the academy. The academic ego is always trying to outdo the past and present, to surpass one's colleagues so as to prove one's value. This competition is pathological, and largely played out in terms of the subconscious, nevertheless it detracts from the quality of dialogue. No academic will admit to this defect. In the first instance, an institutional scholar loves the feeling of being able to go over the common man's head; specialized abstraction makes him feel superior, more important, because of this, "his life matters." How could he possibly allow the concepts which provide him with existential security, and a feeling of superiority, to come into collision with hostile polemics? (Never mind the fact that refutation rids us of error and often increases our existential power). But the academic cannot see through the fog of his own psychological neediness. He is altogether lacking integrity and courage as a thinker. This is why he merely stays within the boundaries of those structures that have been culturally fused with value.

On many occasion I have tried to engage academics, and in almost every instance, they have hid behind their credentials, behind superficial summaries. Seldom, if ever, have I met a man or woman of the institution that was actually capable of thought. They are capable of giving summaries, this is the extent of their power, but ask them to engage in thoughtful dialogue and they fall apart, they quickly seek to evade. (In the most disappointing cases they contrive an ad hominem against the challenger, telling themselves that he or she has nothing relevant to say because he or she is not established by, and in, the institution). Of course, they are never conscious that this maneuver is a fallacy, they are not conscious that it functions to shield them from truths that might shatter their delusions. Like all primitive psychology, it's a defense mechanism employed to avoid the pain of reality.

When a man or woman makes a valid point, there is no way a thinker concerned with quality, will be able to suppress it. An honest thinker is always looking for greater clarification, for a deeper understanding of reality. A thinker concerned with quality is not merely after social validation, he's after existential quality. This distinction matters. Existential progress is important because the conditions of life are inherently oppressive, they are literally hostile to the quality of life itself.

The act of evading the probability of a refutation is a form of psychological defense. If one desires to be a thinker of quality, evasion itself must be overcome and refuted. How can we not be suspicious of the man or woman who desires to suppress the opposition, insisting that their one-sided-picture tells the whole story? The fact that we fear the legitimate contrary is merely proof that we are insecure about our own position, but more than this, it means we adopt it and assert it for reasons of power, the psychological need to feel important, a craving for authority. ...and what lies behind this fragile psychology, which gives itself away through its insecurity toward dialogue? indeed, it must demonize dialogue precisely because it fears its fragility will be discovered in the contradiction. All in all the thinker fears the death of his beloved thought, but if he desires truth above power, then he must let it die. 

However, there is also a context in which evasion, so far from being anti-intellectual, is in fact, an affirmation of intelligence. We do not have the time to heed every objection, and we must face reality, some objections are ignorant and foolish. Those objections which are not competent enough to understand themselves are very likely to amount to a waste of time for the honest thinker. They are striving to validate some craving in their psychology, as opposed to a more comprehensive understanding of reality. In the case where the thinker is rejecting stupidity, here he cannot rightly be charged with evasion. Questions that cannot legitimate their existential value, pedantic exercises in formality, do not warrant serious consideration. To engage some objections is to manifest that one is lacking intelligence. This is precisely because value is not equal. There are indeed degrees of value. This is the unspoken existential commitment of every human that has ever lived. To deny it is merely to be ignorant.

As a thinker I reserve the right to ignore and reject the presumption of value where value is lacking. And to those who want to play a game of semantics, let them try to forgo the charge of stupidity, for this is something none can do. He that denies the existence of stupidity has forfeited his right to protest or complain, he has forfeited the discernment whereby he might demarcate value. If nothing is stupid then all things must be equal. However, this is an impossible premise by which to live, and those who claim it for themselves are nothing more than ignorant hypocrites. Some things are stupid! Some things are foolish! Try to deny it and the thinker merely destroys himself. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Thought as the Negative: A Commentary on Adorno's Negative Dialectics

"To think, is, already in itself, and above all particular content, negation, resistance against what is imposed on it... If ideology encourages thought more than ever to wax in positivity, then it slyly registers the fact that precisely this would be contrary to thinking and that it requires the friendly word of advice from social authority, in order to accustom it to positivity. The effort which is implied in the concept of thinking itself, as the counterpart to the passive intuition, is already negative, the rejection of the overweening demand of bowing to everything immediate." Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Introduction, Portrayal [Darstellung] pg. 29-31, Translation Dennis Redmond 2001

Adorno is here dealing with the presuppositions which make up the substance of thought. The effort which comes before thought has already committed itself to a particular disposition regarding its investigation of conceptual and material content. That is to say, it launches out in an attempt at understanding (not merely validating what appears). Thought, as a form of resistance, has already assumed to itself the value of negativity against the facade of the positive. We say facade because the positive imposes itself on the subject, it demands validation for its appearance-summary-of-reality, and always on its own terms.

Controlling the conditions that control the quality of thought is the secret to rendering thought powerless. Ideology knows this intuitively. What thought knows intuitively is the tyranny and danger of the positive.     

The fact that ideology "encourages thought to positivity" (it would be difficult to evidence examples of ideology encouraging its own self-negation through an exercise of the negative) is itself proof of the nature of thought (i.e. negativity). And here we can almost think of it as the antithesis to ideology, which amounts to a form of control through the proliferation of mindlessness; ideology is a culture of mindlessness.

That ideology cannot establish its own commands to positivity, because it lacks the tool of thinking, because it's contrary to the procedure of thought, is the reason why ideology must make use of authority. How then is positivity, which is intellectually stultifying, injected into culture, into the individual: by means of authority, both blunt and sly. This means thwarting the qualitative nature of education. Through this process of intellectual weakening and oppression the masses are deprived of the ability to think, zero development and zero realization, only the automated, mindless self, is allowed to exist. Obedience, passed off as intelligence and moral accomplishment, becomes the atmosphere that results from educational deprivation. Dialectical consciousness, taught liberally among the masses, is the only guarantee for a qualitative democracy. It alone should be the emphasis of revolution.

The desire which motivates the effort for thought is precisely a desire for freedom. "Passive intuition" is the enemy of freedom insofar as it lacks dialectical reflection on all it feels itself to comprehend. What appears, though crude and incomplete, echos in our psyche as totality. Passive intuition lacks the resources to emancipate itself from the tyranny and error of the immediate. It's only when thought inserts itself between the blades of consciousness that the self is liberated from the error of its own impressions and automations.

To move in the direction of thought is to call on the value of the negative to save one from the tyranny of the positive. But this is precisely the tyranny we cannot detect; the positive does not present itself as the enemy, it reflects no peril, it's only when we probe beyond the surface that we discover its oppression as a form of subconscious stupidity, as a form of bondage, fallaciously interpreted as freedom.

The fact that we resist the negative so vehemently is partly motivated from a psychological need and craving for power, for social validation. The positive offers a swift but shallow reward, and yet, it cannot stand on its own feet. In material reality it takes the form of authoritarian assertion, rootless slogans, precisely because more thoughtful articulation, intellectual resistance, would shatter its image. If the subject wants to retain the power he inherits from this facade, he must not allow it to be cross examined. Thought is the enemy of the self without substance, a demon to those who fear the face of reality, a light to those whose power comes from darkness.

Passage through the turmoil of thought, against the fabrication of administered reality, while it destroys the comfort generated by the social matrix of artificial being, it offers hope in the probability of solutions, most specifically, human suffering caused by social ignorance, precisely because it deals with reality as opposed to suppressing it behind a wall of wishful projections (the legacy of idealism). The monological world of the positive cannot pass through contradiction, it cannot extend itself beyond its own assertions (which amount to fairy-tale-yearning-delusions seeking relief at any cost), any hope it finds is a lie it manufactures for itself in the name of comfort. To stand against comfort is both the discipline and integrity of the thinker. At first sight this seems counterproductive, self obliterating, but eventually one learns to create light in the darkness, one learns to see where confusion has sabotaged quality, one gains the ability to self correct (one learns where not to place one's emphasis); one learns how to use thought against the horrors and blunders of stupidity, but above all, if there is hope to be found, one learns not only to see it, to locate it within the context of material existence, but also to produce it. Thought is not in and of itself totality, it is not magic, but it is the closest thing we have to magic, and further, it's the only tool we possess which can truly offer a probability of quality, the only tool which carries the promise of transcendence.

Let this serve as the summary for Negative Dialectics: man cannot see himself by looking in the mirror.

Appearance, more often than not, serves to mask reality, to insulate us from its horror, to protect us from the thing our psyche fears. We are fragile creatures floating on a hostile sphere in the middle of space. And yet we face no greater danger than the danger we pose to ourselves. "Fear not the beast of the field, fear the beast in man!" If our problems will be corrected they must be corrected at the same point they're generated, man's stupidity, is psychological.