Friday, October 16, 2020



Neurobiology, philosophy, sociology, science, psychology and every other established field of knowledge is the result of social privilege. This is quite hard to deny when the material requirements (and this includes psychological/neurobiological requirements) that give one access to these domains must be in place in order to obtain and retain the information. For example, it is unlikely that a child growing up in the tragedy and violence of Syria, is going to have advanced knowledge in philosophy or science, let alone much awareness of itself or the world. Those who have this knowledge, especially in advanced forms, have it only because they had favorable social conditions that allowed them to access and obtain such knowledge. (They have been the beneficiaries of society). What explains the procurement of knowledge is not an effort on the part of the will, but the conditions of the culture and class into which one is born. There is no way around this because the argument is based on the concrete facts of material existence, the very objects and conditions required for high level function to even exist.     

But this tells us something. What does it mean that knowledge is really a product of cultural access and privilege? One thing it means is that humans are not consciously promoting an advanced species because they do not understand that individual quality is the result of social quality, most specifically, universal access to a comprehensive education.

We as philosophers must all move in this direction if we are really serious about thinking, serious about intelligence, because this is precisely where the conclusion of intelligence leads us. If one is a good thinker they assume it to be a trait that is worth emulating, so how do we impart quality of thought to the species? How do we self-consciously create a society of thinkers? The answer is by intelligently creating and directing social conditions that favor the developmental quality of individuals.

The quality of humans is undeniably bound up in their psychological process of development. Thanks to recent work in the field of psychology, specifically Attachment Theory, we now understand how to produce healthy humans, how to avoid individual pathology, which gives us the power (at least in degree) to negate social pathology. Religion has existed for thousands of years and it never figured out, and does not know how, to produce healthy humans. Thanks to methods in science, coupled with the genius of thought, humans have now figured out how to intelligently proceed toward themselves.

Knowing that knowledge is a privileged enterprise empowers us to create a more intelligent species. It is a foolish species that does not seek to extend this vital privilege to every member, the result is a loss of social quality which negatively impacts the whole of the species. To seek to privilege every member with education should be the goal and focus of our species. In an advanced species this would be implicit to the social structure as an attribute of the species' intelligence. But we can neither call man intelligent or advanced, as an animal he is tragically impulsive and short-sighted.

Ignorance is the unnecessary result of class systems and class oppression. This is why it cannot be remedied at the individual level. Nothing less than a comprehensive and qualitative social system of education is required.





Tuesday, October 13, 2020



Competent philosophy presupposes some semblance of competent social or cultural anticipation, where this is lacking one is thwarted when it comes to effective social action. The problem with liberal culture is precisely that it 1) fails to anticipate the sway of culture (usually minimizing significant cultural influences) and 2) only begins to resist after a cultural threat has made itself crudely obvious. The problem is that by this time it's usually too late, the culture has already been captured. Hence, liberal culture is always trying to catch-up because it fails to anticipate the encroaching threat. Even where the threat is anticipated, liberal culture lacks the courage and intelligence to know how to resist. Most liberals are too busy trying not to offend the propagandists who mean to do them violent harm.  

The existence of the Post Hoc response is to blame for a great deal of lost progress. In one sense the game of politics, even before power, is about the ability to anticipate the influence of culture. (There is another sense in which politics is about the ability to influence culture). Where influence can be anticipated, there it can also be resisted, thwarted, countered. In this sense it's not enough merely to influence culture, but philosophy must be able to anticipate some semblance of the tyranny that seeks to realize itself. Anticipating danger offers the greatest advantage when it comes to avoiding it.

I suspect the collapse of the liberal class, in nearly every culture, has always been a matter of anticipatory incompetence. When this is combined with a fear of offense, then decline is almost inevitable. Freedom is the kind of thing that must be actively defended. When the citizens of freedom become naive to the fact that freedom is always under threat (is always being attacked by authoritarian forces) then they stop anticipating the living conspiracy to sabotage freedom. This renders the citizens of freedom powerless against the destruction of freedom. The Post Hoc response is always too late, it never stops the tyranny that has been building an architecture for itself. Once the architecture is in place, one cannot simply remove it by appealing to values that the architecture has supplanted. A new intellectual war begins, regression is realized, all because the liberal class failed to anticipate (and respond to) the architecture that was slowly assembling itself.

The anticipation of tyranny is perhaps the highest vocation of philosophy. Next to this, the praxis of intelligent resistance is required for the existence of freedom. Where liberal culture shuns and shirks this responsibility there liberal culture dies, it gives way to the drawn-out scheme of barbarism, most specifically because it only responds after the architecture has been put in place. This is almost always too late because it means concrete damage has been done.

To remedy this situation it's necessary for liberal philosophers to 1) begin to responsibly use the tools of thought to anticipate authoritarian danger and 2) have the intelligence and courage to engage in active resistance, to strike at the architecture before it gets put in place. It's not enough to complain or merely offer analysis layered on top of analysis, but one must come to comprehend the importance and knowledge of how to engage in active, non-violent, intellectual resistance i.e., polemics. Where this fails to be realized there liberal culture will be lost to the emotional propaganda of barbarism.

The problem with the world is not only that philosophers have merely analyzed it, but that intellectuals have shirked and evaded their social responsibility to defend it. The philosopher is both polemicist and defender or else he is a mere pretender, an intellectual hedonist given over to abstract games.  




Thursday, September 10, 2020



In a skilled thinker the polemic is implicit to the exposition. This also means a skilled reader can draw it out even though it is not explicitly stated. This is exactly the case with the work of Adorno. He does not make so many sweeping, generalized assertions because he is trying to look profound, but because his conclusions are the result of a profound polemical process. Thought that asserts itself without the power of an implicit polemic is merely posturing toward the appearance of its own credibility and power. A skilled thinker is not likely to express himself in the form of polemics, but will communicate in premises that implicitly contain polemical depth (consider the prose of Nietzsche). This is because a skilled thinker has already gone through the polemical process in his mind, it is not necessary for him to write in terms of polemics. This means the thought of polemical thinkers is essentially written for skilled readers, for those who can discern how the premises are supported and sustained, for those who can connect the dots. However, when a thinker is legitimately challenged in his thought, it is not enough to merely assert that his polemic is implicit, there are times when external challenges force him to manifest what is implicit. Sometimes this will result in the negation of his polemic, at other times, it will result in its vindication and strengthening.

The reason implicit polemic is and must be a valid form is because life is exceedingly short, and life is the standard and criteria of itself. Intelligence demands profundity through concision if possible. A thinker with a strong implicit polemic is a thinker capable of forming powerful premises, and this is his value as a thinker. He saves us time, he helps us to get to the heart of the issue, helps us to avoid much irrelevance and unnecessary intellectual labor. He does this by articulating the conclusions of his thought in propositional form, though it is a form that presupposes a powerful polemic.

While it's true that a thinker could attempt to feign this form, it's not true that such posturing would be capable of producing depth at a dialectical level, further, such posturing would be obliterated the moment the external form was challenged at the level of its polemical depth. No thinker should pretend to have quality or depth, we must be honest and allow the power of thought to lead us where it drives us as it shines light on intelligence. The question then is how to obtain a form of thought that contains a powerful polemical depth? (I want to put this in the swiftest possible form, so here then is an example of a simple premise that implicitly contains a powerful polemic): the answer is to learn how to think about things dialectically! 




Sunday, August 9, 2020


It is not death that frightens us, that is, those of us who have not romanticized life. Of course, there is a certain agitation at departing from those we care for, of not being able to finish the vital process of thought. It's as though one were always at the edge of some great discovery, this is how it is for those who are constantly thinking. But so few know how to think.

The question that occupies us is the question of how to proceed beyond paralysis? What we refer to is far more sophisticated than mere hedonism or nihilism. These are traps for little minds. We, as serious thinkers, are concerned with grand narratives, or more importantly, grand values!

Everywhere we look we see exhaustive requirements, life is bogged down by labor in search of quality. We are not so much speaking of sorrow as we are speaking of clarity; this is, after all, the thing that leads to paralysis. What do we mean by paralysis? Everything has become complicated. We are talking about the restriction of the creator, a problem that forms inside. One has something to say, one has even solved a great deal of earthy confusion, but how to say it? How to proceed? There is paralysis. Is it fair to call this paralysis a disaster or is it caused by a disaster?


The man of God loves to exploit the thinker's transparency. From it he attempts to construct an argument for the value and necessity of his delusion. Much of the world has been lost to this nonsense. So it seems a thinker can no longer think, if he does the man of God will seek to exploit the honesty and vulnerability of his thought. There is no trick, the challenge is to keep on facing the truth, to confidently report what one has discovered. However, those who are brave enough to follow this advice will be persecuted by those who fear the truth. Those who are crushed by the truth seek to crush those who speak it.

There is also the heavy burden of the truth itself. One would think it is enough of a sacrifice merely to bear its weight, but added to this is the weight of those who fear it. A thinker is pressed on all sides. 

My real duty as a thinker is to hone in on value. Notice I did not say, my real interest as a thinker? The reason is because I am aware of the difference between social-duty, which implies intellectual responsibility, objectivity, and self-interest, which implies intellectual immaturity, subjectivity. The latter is the way of inferior thinkers. So few ever make it to the point of duty, either they do not care or their ambition is toward social validation. This restricts their thought, it draws a line that their depth cannot pass.

I am concerned with concretion, most specifically, swiftness and concision. It's not good enough to wander an aesthetic labyrinth of abstraction, this amounts to mere, intellectual hedonism. An objective thinker must hunt down value. He must always ask the question of relevance. Where he fails to do this, there he is consumed by the vanity of his emotional mind. Soon he finds himself lost in an abyss where he can no longer discern up or down. When this happens he can no longer command the symbol but finds himself commanded by it. And yet the tragedy is that he is not aware of this process. It is played out in automation.

The hardest thing is to speak the truth, perhaps the second hardest thing is to write the truth. One makes too many assumptions about what they must do and what is required in order to produce value. But it is false to presume that meaning is the result of vast architectures. Intelligence tries to capture the universe in a sentence. The answer is to find a place of great vulnerability, and great honesty, tempered with great style, and from that place, proceed toward the truth. 


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Psychological Pain as the Fundamental Process of Negative Dialectics

 It is futile to partake of that which negates life, unless life has lost all value, at which point negation is a necessity of intelligence for the sake of abnegating suffering. Negative dialectics cannot simply be a game or else it fails its own vocation, which is to penetrate reality past the breaking point of psychological pain.

Is the thinker serious about engaging negation? If so one must be prepared to be crushed by negation, but this subtle destruction is not a death, though it implies the experience of a profound wound, a wound that very few have the psychological strength to endure.

What is negative dialectics? It is nothing less and nothing more than thought following reality into the abyss of its own negation, which is to say, comprehending the material horror behind the social facade, which is to say, peering through the psychological frame that seeks to insulate the self from reality.

Above all else negative dialectics require intellectual courage, in addition to this, negative dialectics require psychological maturity. The pursuit of negative dialectics is a pursuit against denial, which means almost no one ventures onto this dark plain. Men have merely played games with thought, they have been altogether too timid to follow thought into the abyss of reality, for there projections collapse and man comes face to face with his own stupidity. The sight of the imbecilic baboon traumatizes the man who thought himself to be something else. And yet, this trauma is necessary to partake of the office of high intelligence. This is the objective value of negative dialectics, that it redeems the species from its delusion, for the first time liberating it toward the cultivation of a real intelligence.

To practice negative dialectics in another form, namely that of theory, is to be deceived by dialectics. Negative dialectics, in order to administer value to the practitioner, must make contact with the thinker's projections. Only then does negative dialectics transport the thinker from inescapable delusions to material comprehension. This transference is a power that allows the thinker, first to comprehend, and then to act against, a natural determinism that sustains itself through a subconscious automation. Negative dialectics rescues the animal from this ignorance, thereby emancipating it from its own psychological cage, for the first time empowering it to labor in the direction of concrete intelligence. Such awareness is absolutely necessary to the cultivation of an advanced species. Where then does negative dialectics direct our attention? To the very conditions that sabotage intelligence: the defense automations of the psychological self. 

The ability of negative dialectics is not merely a theoretical capacity, it is not merely an ability foisted by intelligence, though intelligence can direct its execution, it is above all a psychological capacity and a psychological victory, made possible by social conditions that enable the movement of advanced thought.

The reason negative dialectics imply pain, is precisely because of the Self's projections against negation. It's not that reality is negative per se, but it appears that way, more accurately, feels that way, when pitted against man's psychological desires. Reality is indifferent, our resistance to it is a symptom of our primitive psychology. This ultimately implies that negative dialectics do not merely challenge our sense of reason, but even before the reorientation of reality, they demand the reorientation of our sense of Self.


Friday, August 7, 2020


"I recall how an orderly from the sick barracks once gave me a plate of sweetened grits, which I greedily devoured and thereby reached a state of extraordinary spiritual euphoria. With deep emotion I thought first of the phenomenon of human kindness. That was joined by the image of the good Joachim Ziemssen from Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain. And suddenly my consciousness was chaotically packed to the brim with the content of books, fragments of music I had heard, and—as I could not help but imagine—original philosophic thoughts. A wild longing for things of the spirit took possession of me, accompanied by a penetrating self-pity that brought tears to my eyes. At the same time, in a layer of my consciousness that had remained clear I was fully aware of the pseudoquality of this short-lived mental exaltation. It was a genuine state of intoxication, evoked by physical influences." Jean Amery, writing on his experience at Auschwitz, At the Mind's Limits pg.9, Indiana University Press 1980
Philosophy requires protection. This is no doubt a strange way to speak. What do we mean, philosophy requires protection? We mean that it can only come into being if the instrument of its conveyance is sheltered from danger. The existence of philosophy presupposes favorable conditions, without these conditions philosophy would not exist. Strange as this might seem, it remains the concrete fact of philosophy's being. All philosophy presupposes social conditions more primitive than itself. To subtract these conditions, or to disrupt their uniformity, is to impair philosophy. To be a philosopher one must be born into conditions which, first of all allow the brain to develop, and secondly, allow the brain to exist in the right kind of environment, an environment that nourishes high level cognitive function.

When we see a philosopher we are not beholding a subject of infinite will, we are beholding an organism that has been privileged enough to pass through a stable maturation process, both mental and physical. This concrete component of philosophy completely alters our understanding of what it means to be a skilled philosopher. It doesn't mean, as has been the presumption from ages past, that one possesses a higher capacity of will, it means that one has benefited from a social structure. And because this is the case in which quality emerges, philosophy is compelled to turn its sights on the mass reproduction of these conditions. If philosophy sees itself as a thing of value, if it believes its value should be replicated, then its duty is not to take aim at the will, but to figure out how favorable social conditions can be mass produced. No doubt this will require the uprooting of much cultural superstition and dogmatic confusion.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020


"For instance, if a novice asks 'What is the Idea?', in the hope of receiving a satisfactory answer, the dilemma of the dialectician will then be either to give an answer in one single proposition, deforming more than informing, in the following terms : 'The Idea is a twofold movement of subjectivation and objectivation' ; or to repeat the whole Logic, the latter playing the part of the required definition. At the beginning, then, the novice cannot obtain satisfaction for the 'short way' is too vague, and the 'long way' too complex." Problems of the Hegelian Dialectic, Menahem Rosen pg.151

This comes from a text that purports to critique dialectic, but this criticism is so pathetic. The objection amounts to the fact that a dialectical answer insults, and confuses, the natural disposition, which seeks to primitively navigate reality in terms of static images. But the dialectician does not merely invent his answer for the sake of sophistication! His answer is dictated by the nature of the object, by the dynamic process of reality itself!

The only one attempting to dictate reality, in this case, is the critic. Not content with nature's dynamic process, the critic demands regression to a method that is more palatable to the natural disposition. (Never mind whether or not, this more comfortable way of approaching the diversity of objects, actually distorts the essence of objects). That is not the concern of the critic. The concern of the critic is the psychological satisfaction of the inquiring novice.

Distortion of reality is always a danger with psychological subjectivity. This is as true for the novice as it is for the seasoned thinker. 



"If dialectic intends to be a science in any sense whatsoever, it has to reject that peculiar subjectivity constituted by pure poetic language, despite its attractive richness and depth. For the thinker cannot confine himself to the spontaneous but non critical, creative intuition, however interesting it may be. Entirely turned towards the universal, in principle he has to talk a non poetic universal language, the sensual image being, at best, able to constitute a moment of the representation in its way up to the level of the concept-which is the specific element of philosophy." Ibid. pg.139

This is an interesting approach to the subject, but entirely dogmatic, and as it seems to me, upon critical examination, not thought out.

The demand that dialectic must speak in a universal symbolism of objectivity would seem to be a dogmatic fiction. Is there any language like this in the world? How can dialectic be judged on the basis of such a fantastic standard? Nevertheless, the question of language and dialectic is interesting, but one must be exceedingly careful at this point, lest they fall into analytical obscurity.

Dialectic, like every science, makes use of common symbolic structures. The only problem is when these structures fail in terms of explanation. The question should not be the certainty of the symbolic structure, but the concrete progress that can be made with it. According to this standard, dialectic is nothing short of revolutionary.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020


In striving against the premises of fascism it seems we are forced to curb the intellectual, precisely because the thematic emphasis of fascism is itself a regression. The fascist intellectual (which is a contradiction in terms) is constantly demanding a reply to shallow, authoritarian premises. An analysis and refutation of these premises forces us to depart from intelligence. This is ultimately a loss to society because it allows the stupidity of fascism to control the intellectual emphasis. (When it comes to fascism even the act of refutation amounts to a form of regression).

This is the tragedy of fascism: that its ontology is entirely made up of the primitive, but more importantly, that it never escapes this domain; ontologically fascism is the antithesis of intelligence. Any intelligence it claims to uphold, is itself a caricature of intelligence. What does this mean? It means the intelligence of fascism is merely a form of resignation to the categories of violence. It aims to solve the political and social problems of the world through brute force. It is precisely this commitment to violence, as resolution, that demarcates fascism as an ideology of unintelligence. Hence, a shallow man like Mussolini, "It is blood which moves the wheels of history." Speech in Parma (13 December 1914) quoted in Foreign Affairs, May 1924, p 234 

Such a belief manifests an unfalsifiable metaphysical commitment to violence as the ultimate agent of transformation. But such authoritarian platitudes are mistaken: history is a process of value emphasis! Progress is the result of human cooperation, whether directly or indirectly, it is the grand agent that moves the wheels of history. Further, the psychological preconditions necessary for qualitative cooperation, are the result of civil social structures through which individuals pass. 


There is truth to the notion of violence as a vehicle for control. But it would be an error to mistake control for social progress. The violence of fascism is a form of violence, which is entirely lacking intelligence! (This is perhaps one of the most devastating facts against the internal integrity of fascism). This is because, within the realm of its own assumptions, it means fascism cannot justify itself in the sphere of violence. In other words, among the ideologies of violence, it stands at the bottom of its own category. Fascism is the antithesis of intelligence!

To be a fascist one merely has to appeal to physical force as a solution for social contradictions.


The ontology of society will always be that of the problem of reconciling unity within diversity. This means society always comes in the form of a problem, society is itself a problem, it presents mankind with paradoxes needing resolution. Fascism attempts to solve these problems by reverting to barbarism: physical force against those who present opposition (resolving contradiction by the illusion of its elimination). The problem (among other things) is that this is not an actual solution to the tensions of society. Such a solution amounts to the negation of diversity, which is the most vital component of social quality. (It is well known among social psychologists that diversity outperforms individual talent). 

To eliminate tension through violence, will not solve the actuality of a contradiction that requires intelligent innovation and dialectical comprehension. In reality it merely produces the illusion of resolution. This is the utter weakness and incompetence of fascism; it is merely trying to convince itself of strength, to create the illusion of stability, intelligence and control. (Here the paradox is that it seeks to realize stability through impulse and chaos). It is totally lacking in higher abstract capacity.

To be a fascist one must begin with metaphysical assumptions about human nature. One must assume that all men are born corrupt. But this is false. Human beings are the historical product of their culture and environment. At the basis of all human action stands the reality of cultural values, moral beliefs that influence the movement of bodies.

It is interesting to note that the two dominant religions of the world (Christianity and Islam) both share fascism's superstitious metaphysical assumptions regarding the nature of man. (Here the premise of man's spiritual corruption leads to the conclusion that man must be controlled). Hence, brute force as justified by the ideology of laws that derive from the erroneous metaphysical claim that man is wicked. Hence, human nature is something to be tamed as opposed to nourished. Behold the tragic error that stands at the root of human destruction! This fatal presupposition poisons the well against mankind's flourishing, it serves the purpose of creating much unnecessary misery and confusion.


At the root of fascism there is fear. It can be said that fascism is an ideology entirely driven by fear. And yet the paradox is that fascism creates a greater hell for man than the one it projects as needing to be escaped. The danger of fascism is that it cannot see itself; it has no awareness of its contradiction or hypocrisy. This is because fascism is the antithesis of intelligence. Intelligence is that substance which continually searches out and becomes aware of its own defect (a kind of metacognition). This conscious discipline is totally lacking in fascism. In this sense fascism is pure impulse, it acts, it doesn't question. In order to consider human activity it must enter the domain of intelligence, instead of the primitive, animal impulse, which it is as a philosophy of pure reaction... reaction to the imaginary, hypothetical projection created from the insecurity of its own fear.

To be a fascist is to be an enemy of civility, which inevitably puts one directly against the possibility of society itself.


The strength of fascism is a false image produced by the application of propaganda. It's important to remember this when it comes to public fascists; their strength is not really strength, but a propagated image of strength. Should this image be put to the test of proving itself against substance, against real strength, it would immediately manifest itself as weakness. This is why intellectuals who care about the quality of culture, must have the courage to go after the public image of fascism.* Essentially, this is how fascism is defeated. It's a matter of showing that the strong man is really weak, which simply means confronting the public image with real intellectual strength. There is more: one must not only confront, but one must repeatedly emphasize the evasion, weakness and overall intellectual incompetence of the fascist. In other words, if a fascist runs away from debate, this evasion must be embellished and pointed out over and over again. The reason is because it exposes the lie of the public image, thereby disillusioning the public of the fascist's strength.



*It should be noted that one does not have to be on the front lines. Not everyone is intellectually prepared to engage fascism in public. And doing so without being prepared, on the basis of pure ego, can actually help to propagate the strength of the fascist's public image. For those who want to defeat fascism, but lack the capacity, the answer is simply to point out the fascist's evasions and failures within the domain of the public sphere. This reinforces and assists in the continued shattering of the public image. Simply point out, and reference over and over again, the actual facts that contradict the propagation of the public image. For example, if Ben Shapiro was challenged to a debate by Glenn Greenwald on the topic of Palestine and Israel, but he completely evaded the challenge, this evasion should be exploited, pointed out over and over again within the public sphere. Ben Shapiro should be repeatedly confronted with it in public.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it." Karl Marx

The critical theorists have merely analyzed the world, but the point is to interact with it, to use theory as a guide to help us intercede intelligently on behalf of the quality of life. The purpose of intellectual mediation is direct action toward the realization and attainment of quality.

Critical theorists have interpreted Marx in such a way that they merely shift the content of philosophy in the direction of society, but this procedure still remains within the morass of analysis. Critical theorists have not escaped theory, they have simply refined it. To them, "changing the world," means analyzing the world with a different emphasis.

To examine critical theory critically is to discover that it's a discipline void of praxis. The praxis of theory is taken to be the activity of theory itself. While theory does contain a necessary revolutionary element, in itself, without direct activity, it remains a mere abstraction. The power of theory doesn't actually begin until theory is realized in social action.   

When we speak of direct activity we are not talking about street protests, we are talking about polemics: direct intellectual engagement with the intelligentsia. We are talking about attacking error, about holding the values of the liberal line from a position of offense, a kind of preventative strike. This strike is not an act of physical violence but an act of intellectual force. If one has not murdered error, then one has not engaged in the direct activity of polemics.

To what end does the thinker think? Merely to produce aesthetic abstraction? Surely not, oppressed life doesn't have the luxury of suspending itself in a matrix of concepts, quite the contrary, life is at every moment confronted with resistance to its essence, assaulted by that which tries to negate its quality. If life wants to thrive it must learn how to fight, and in the intellectual realm, this inevitably drives one in the direction of polemics.

The theorist has begun to occupy the place of the priest in culture; pontificating against revolutionary action in the name of the authority of theory itself. In this regard much is explained by class structure. Most people try to justify the activity of their class, they lack the objectivity of a higher, social context. A good thinker must have the ability to transcend the valuations of culture, where this is lacking the thinker merely replicates what he is taught and what he observes. Uncritical replication is the opposite of thought. Without the capacity to think against culturation one's view of the world is made up of constructs as opposed to reality.  

One must analyze the world before they can change it, but one should not assume that analysis comprises revolutionary totality. While thought is, and must be the axiom of all qualitative revolution, thought must also make contact with the real world. Revolutionary consciousness is that which realizes, not only its oppression, but also the conditions that spawn and sustain its oppression. Revolutionary consciousness comes to comprehend the impulsive nature of human action as it concocts a senseless and disorganized existence of production that ultimately detracts from the well being of society, thus sabotaging the quality of the individual. Thought seeks to rectify this stupidity by mediating with intelligence. Conscious being uses thought to transform reality in the direction of quality. This is the highest purpose of philosophy; a philosophy liberated from the confusions of idealism. The question then becomes, how can we make use of the tool of thought to transcend the mindless impulse of human action? (This is what a proper philosophical question looks like.)

For those of us who are intellectuals, bonafide thinkers, this drives us into the realm of polemics. Polemics, when done vigorously, constitute an authentic form of praxis, a place where theory becomes concrete. It must be noted that it's not enough to engage in theory, theory without polemics would be akin to the knowledge of medicine without doctors to administer it. Though we can treat and cure many diseases, though we may have solved many medical problems, without doctors to bridge the gap between theory and practice, medical science would remain an abstraction, isolated to the pages of academic text books and journals.

If we truly want to transform the world, as intellectuals, then we must acquire the skill of polemics, and more importantly, we must actually practice polemics against the preachers of error and misinformation. There is no way around this conclusion. Truth demands its replication against the falsity which tries to claim the throne of its authority.

We have been specific about the content of revolutionary activity, expounding the concrete side of what it means to change the world. For intellectuals this means engaging in polemic activity. It means going after the purveyors of deception. It means criticism, debate and refutation, the power of argument, it also means attacking error. Polemics are not passive, they work best when they strike out in the offensive. We must not wait until propagandists have captured the world, and only then proceed to refute their error, because then it's too late. Revolutionary intellectuals must go after them the moment they make an appearance on the public stage. The best way to stop a cult is before it even begins. Once a cult obtains a collection of followers those followers are often irrationally committed unto the point of death.

Polemics is a discipline of foresight, it is also a method of reclamation. Polemics seek to defend and prevent the tragic destruction of the non-violent procedures of democratic communication. 

Critical theorists and philosophers have merely analyzed the world in different ways, thereby allowing it to be captured by those who sought to exploit it. By forsaking the practical side of things, critical theorists and philosophers have merely retreated from the world into abstract, idealistic realms, they have failed to make contact with reality, and thereby lost the world to those who sought to exploit it through the practical domain.

The point of thought is to guide action in the direction of intelligence for the purpose of quality. All life that deviates from this objective has deviated from the authority and clarity of itself within the context of the universe. In short, it has begun to act in the service of its own negation.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020


There are those who complain. There are those who shame. And by so doing they believe themselves to be powerful. But the question must be asked, at what point are we actually impacting the world with our criticism? This question is vital to intellectuals. It's not enough to retreat to the subjective corner of self validation, to make ourselves feel better about the proliferation of authoritarian rule. Our criticism, in order to contain objective power, must go out into the social world and impact the narrative of the object it seeks to criticize. What does this mean? It means our polemic should deliver a blow to the object at which it is direct, and not merely in a subjective sense, not simply as a disruption of the person's image of themselves, but as a social disruption in the way the person and their ideas are viewed. This is a vital act of polemics, and it is one that is necessary to thwart tyranny from rising to power.

What do we mean, 'it should disrupt the way the person is viewed?' To be more precise, it should shatter the social respect of the person and their views. When a thinker fails to do this it means they have not risen above the level of their subjective complaint, they are still trapped in the psychology of self-validation. This polemical procedure is required because people fall into belief, not through evidence and reason, but as is most common, through emotion, through impression, through surface representation. Convictions are usually not the result of careful deliberation and evaluation, but emotion and implicit bias. No thinker is safe from this defect, which is why intellectual standards must be applied when it comes to the evaluation of information, when it comes to the procedures of thought itself.

The concrete form of criticism implies a shift in the social narrative. Where the strong man shows himself there he must be intellectually defeated, or else the masses will gravitate toward his ideology. Assertiveness comes natural to barbarians, albeit shallow and naive, but those who walk the path of careful thought have yet to learn it. We cannot permit the strong man to deceive the people with the shallow representation of his strength, it is the duty of the polemicist to shatter this false image, to explode the facade of his intellectual strength. There is only a short time to fight fascism in this way, if the window of opportunity is lost the intellectual will also lose the freedom of democratic communication, democratic resistance. And once this humane procedure of communication is lost, violence becomes the rule of the day, the means of eliminating opposition. Once power escapes the democratic realm it cannot simply be restored, when this happens the world is reduced to its most primitive state: that of physical violence. This means the power of the intellect, intelligence, has been subverted and suppressed by that which is primitive, impulsive, emotive, in every case this constitutes a regression of the species.

The duty of the intellectual is to demolish the image projected by the strong man. But this is not merely a duty, this is the requirement of intelligence. There is no way around it, precisely because intelligence discerns the danger of what happens when the strong-man's power becomes absolute, thereby suppressing all intellectual dissent.

It is a sober reality that the quality of life hinges on the power of polemics. There are those who would deny it, saying that raw power trumps polemics. Their thinking is false for one simple reason: the strong man is not a blank actor unmoved by ideas, quite the contrary, he is motivated by an ideology. And it is this intellectual domain that drives his actions in the domain of power.

A King is good or bad depending on what he believes, because his beliefs motivate his actions. If one can change the beliefs of a King, one can change the tyranny of his rule, but to do so one must win the war of ideas, one must be able to influence the thought of the King.

It's not enough to complain, our complaints must have an impact in the realm of ideas. Polemical power consists, not only in refuting error, which presupposes dialectical ability, but also in altering the public image of the strong man. Polemics are never passive, which assumes their foresight, they are deployed in the service of trying to prevent catastrophe, which is to say, social destruction and tyranny. To be a polemicist of power, as opposed to a mere, subjective complainer, one must have the ability to land a blow that reduces the social credibility of a given narrative, as well as diminish the public image of the man or woman who propagates it. To not even attempt this is simply to prove (among other things) that one is a coward. To escape into the land of theory is to evade one's responsibility as an intellectual. To never rise to this level of skill is merely to wallow in the self-delusional realm of the complainer, one proves they are lacking!

No my friends, if we want a world without physical violence, then we must use intellectual violence to destroy it before it can even begin... which is to say, we must win the war of ideas. Intellectuals who do not engage in polemics, not only abandon the hope of democratic procedure, standing idly by as it gets obliterated, but they fail to embody what it means to be an intellectual, never becoming a practitioner of its further totality. An intellectual without polemics is like a star without light.


Wednesday, April 1, 2020


"The single individual must also pass through the formative stages of universal Spirit so far as their content is concerned, but as shapes which Spirit has already left behind, as stages on a way that has been made level with toil. Thus, as far as factual information is concerned, we find that what in former ages engaged the attention of men of mature mind, has been reduced to the level of facts, exercises, and even games for children; and, in the child's progress through school, we shall recognize the history of the cultural development of the world traced, as it were, in a silhouette. This past existence is the already acquired property of universal Spirit which constitutes the Substance of the individual, and hence appears externally to him as his inorganic nature. In this respect formative education, regarded from the side of the individual, consists in his acquiring what thus lies at hand, devouring his inorganic nature, and taking possession of it for himself." Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface pg.16 (para.28), translated by A. V. Miller, Oxford University Press 1977

That this consciousness is "inorganic" is a reference to consciousness being aware of itself in contrast to external influence. In other words, this is the point where a human being becomes conscious of the fact that his being, is in large part, a product of historical culture. The most interesting question is the question of the power of this consciousness, which stands outside this cultural process. In other words, if we comprehend our unconscious integration, does this mean we have the power to defy it, or more importantly, to radically transcend it? This is a question of utmost excitement, it's also a question of philosophical revolution.

Why do we have to replicate the past? Why should we replicate it? Hegel says, in this replication consists the form of our education, and in some sense we must adhere it to, or else we will not be able to transcend it (as without culture man would have no content, being but a blank slate). So we attempt to acquire as much of culture as possible, and no doubt, there is a certain amount of necessary intelligence in this act, but I am far more interested in the point where it becomes a form of foolish conformity, restricting the potential of the development of the spirit. I, as a philosopher, am speaking of new forms! I am speaking of originality from the basis of reality's comprehension, not merely that of culture. I am talking about phenomenology, pure being coupled with intelligence, aligned toward the cultivation of quality. I am talking about liberating oneself as a conscious Creator, which is no small feat!

Hegel gives us an accurate picture of the process of social reality, but the revolutionary must think in terms of how to transcend these limitations in the name of intelligence. Above all else, is there a quicker way to obtain knowledge, to integrate just enough to transcend? The question, is how to proceed into the future, in such a way, that one escapes the burden of time-consuming-replication, without compromising quality. This is a question that must be asked. It's strange that many will not ask it; they would never even consider it; but why would they not allow the power of thought to penetrate beyond the very architecture it discerns? Further, there are those who think they ask it, but they do not take it far enough, thus it is like they never asked it at all.

We are mindless, replicating machines. This is not the secret to quality, this is the path to slow progress. I believe there is a way to proceed swiftly, and this is because the conditions of life are both contingent and absolute. In truth, idealism is the great enemy of intelligence because it distorts our perception of reality, causing unnecessary complication and confusion . And once our perception of reality is distorted, being marred by fanciful fictions and romantic ideals, man loses his ability to act intelligently toward the cultivation of his own being. This means the value of society, and the role it plays in the formation of the individual, is rejected and misunderstood. The myth of singularity circulates through the species, thereby destroying the qualitative lives of individuals.

You would be a qualitative individual? Then you must be the passive recipient of social quality, which can only come through the plurality of community. Do we want a world full of qualitative individuals? Then we must learn how to create and sustain a society that can produce qualitative individuals. The quality of the individual, and the quality of society, are bound up in each other. You cannot have one without the other, and man must have both, if he truly desires an existence of quality. 


"Impatience demands the impossible, to wit, the attainment of the end without the means. But the length of this path has to be endured, because, for one thing, each moment is necessary; and further, each moment has to be lingered over, because each is itself a complete individual shape, and one is only viewed in absolute perspective when its determinateness is regarded as a concrete whole, or the whole is regarded as uniquely qualified by that determination. Since the Substance of the individual, the World-Spirit itself, has had the patience to pass through these shapes over the long passage of time, and to take upon itself the enormous labour of world-history, in which it embodied in each shape as much of its entire content as that shape was capable of holding, and since it could not have attained consciousness of itself by any lesser effort, the individual certainly cannot by the nature of the case comprehend his own substance more easily." Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface pg.17 (para.29), translated by A. V. Miller, Oxford University Press 1977


It is not mere "impatience" that demands swifter integration, it is the cry and determination of an intelligence that comprehends its own brevity and stricture of divided energy. Hegel simply declares this to be "impossible," but is this actually the case? Hegel tells us that "the length of this path must be endured." That there is a path is not contested, but that one must pass through all the rituals of culture in order to arrive at value, is false. Intelligence has a duty to make ingenious use of time. Each moment is not "necessary," this would fallaciously presupposes that each moment has equal value. Further, it is a mistake to linger over each moment, this edict becomes its own metaphysical folly. The genius toward some moments is contained in our ability to bypass them or brush aside their ploys for attention. A wise man knows where to deploy his emphasis, which means he knows where not to apply it. It would be impossible to defend the notion that every moment contains equal value. Some things serve no other purpose than to waste the time and energy of life.

While it's true that context is vital to understanding, this fact does not condemn us to giving heed to every detail. In culture there are many confused and foolish values, many strict priorities enforced by the culture itself, rituals which are not conscious of themselves, these unconscious stupidities should be rejected in the name of intelligence. To replicate them, because idealism dictates we must, is merely to be the practitioner of mindless superstition.

Obtaining critical consciousness is, in one sense, the goal of existence. This is because life has not arrived at an ideal state, but must continue to make improvements for itself. Here progress requires critical consciousness as the key to quality. The question then, is how man can swiftly obtain unto critical consciousness? In the first place, this consciousness, above all else, entails an awareness of man's being and place in the cosmos. This truly is the vital key to quality, and the reason it's the key to quality, is because it enables man to demarcate value irrespective of the influence of culture, which is to say, in an objective sense.

What has value is the thing that increases life's quality. This fact not only drives one in the direction of community, but it also helps man to find his way through a maze of abstract confusion. Not allowing the image of life's primitive plight to dim before the comforts and ideals of culture, is vital to the persistence and survival of critical consciousness. Once this light dims man gets lost in an abstract web of cultural values. To have and keep a critical eye one must not allow the primitive context to slip; the intelligent judgment of value depends on it.

How can man swiftly obtain unto critical awareness? One must first comprehend the raw, primitive context in which life exists. (It's true that this requires a comprehension of advances in cultural knowledge, specifically cosmology, biology, neurobiology, psychology and sociology). Man must see his insignificance in contrast to the cosmos. But this should not cause him to despair, this should cause him to flee in the direction of quality, to act for himself against the indifference of the universe.

Once man has this primitive image in sight, he should use it as a criterion, as an ontology to discern value. What is necessary is the ability to be critical; what is necessary is the ability to discern value within the primitive context. This sounds abstract, but I am speaking of what is most concrete, I am trying to articulate the material foundation of non-idealistic, critical consciousness. The way to be swift in intelligence, is to learn to make use of tools; is to think by making use of primitive images, even as these images are a kind of conceptual tool.  

Hegel tells us that being cannot attain consciousness of itself by any lesser effort than to meticulously pass through culture. He tells us that the individual cannot do better than the World-Spirit. What the Spirit had to pass through, Hegel assumes the individual must pass through, but we deny it. If the point is to comprehend the substance of one's being; if the point is to obtain unto a glimpse of reality, the details of consciousness, it is true that some things must be assimilated, but it is false that all things must be assimilated. In truth, existence is a harsh reality, because the universe is contrary and hostile to life, this is a fact. However, knowledge of this indifference, and hostility, plays a large part in man's concrete integration. The problem is that man is always seeking delusion, precisely because man is always seeking comfort against the harshness of reality. But we must learn not to resist what is unpleasant, if we would obtain unto swift integration, then we must learn to embrace it. Though it seems simplistic, the ability to hold this reality forth as an image by which to judge the ideals that proceed from the desires of life, is the key to acting intelligently toward life... in this, my friends, is contained the hidden power of critical philosophy. 


Sunday, March 29, 2020

INTELLECTUAL CONFESSION NO.1 - Contra Critical Theory - Against the Intellectuals

"If negative dialectics calls for the self-reflection of thinking, the tangible implication is that if thinking is to be true—if it is to be true today, in any case— it must also be a thinking against itself." Adorno, Negative Dialectics, Meditation on Metaphysics, After Auschwitz

The present form is one I feel I've been reduced to, precisely because I find a tragic deficit in the discourse-ability of intellectuals. Too many of them are psychologically defensive, desperately trying to hold onto, as opposed to transcend, the theory they comprehend, which gives them a sense of safety and authority. Commitment to these needs consumes their intellectual energy and cancels out the prospect of multiplying intellectual power. This is a pit that no intellectual is immune from.

I find it utterly shocking that so many theorists have fallen into the trap of worshiping theory, which is to say, they are blind to its irrelevance and abstraction. Theory matters, but at some point it reaches a level of abstraction that negates its tangible value. When this happens the theorist is doing little more than playing academic games.

I believe the worship of theory results from an insecure need for authority and validation. This is something the juvenile ego craves. The worshiper of theory cannot see himself, he fails to realize that he's merely conforming to an intellectual emphasis, he lacks the ability to stand outside this emphasis, to ask the question of value in terms of raw, existential relevance. Take, for example, the problem of class struggle, here theorists propose to solve the problem through quantity, which is to say, unifying those who are exploited by class oppression.* These theorists fallaciously assume that unification, in and of itself, will automatically result in qualitative social transformation. The lack of quality, in such a unity, will ultimately, as it has done many times throughout history, result in tyranny.  

In order to achieve qualitative social transformation, one must be able to achieve quality, within the psychological domain of the individual. This is because class struggle has a psychological impact on society, which results in the loss of individual quality. In order to achieve a quality revolution, individual quality must be optimized and restored. Critical Theorists and Marxists know nothing about this process, it properly belongs to the vital domain of psychology.

 Critical theorists, though they wouldn't admit it, tend to presuppose that social quality is a matter of knowledge, when in fact, it's a matter of the individual's maturation process within the social environment, and this makes it a property of psychological reclamation. This presupposition exposes a fatal flaw in Critical Theory, it condemns it to the realm of idealism. Qualitative human development, which has been clarified through the field of developmental psychology, is axiomatic to knowledge itself. This is because the ability to comprehend, as well as act at a high level, requires psychological maturity, which is a property that is fostered by stable social conditions.

I find it utterly shocking that theorists fail to recognize the superior value of psychology when it comes to concrete social transformation. Talking to a Critical Theorist is similar to talking with an Analytical Philosopher, both are concerned with their own pedantic abstractions, which is to say, they spend their time on issues that have little bearing on social development. In so many instances, theory has become a mark of elitist inheritance, comprehension of its esoteric premisses (more often than not) proves that one has lived a privilege existence, sheltered from the hardships of class oppression. What drives its emphasis is the academic ego, an entity that has little concern for existential quality or relevance, but strives for social and self-validation, to bask in the affirmation of its own brilliance, seeking praise among the specialized conceit of its peers, often succumbing to the authority of institutional fundamentalism. This is a great lament to me, as I have so often tried to converse with intellectuals, only to find them chasing vain shadows, arrogant and self-inflated, unconcerned about achieving qualitative solutions to real world problems. They want to prove their superior memory, parading their recall of irrelevant details of history and eccentric academic concepts, but so few have the motive of driving knowledge toward concrete solutions. They work to protect the theory that gives them feelings of safety, authority and institutional recognition. They neither ask the question of relevance, nor scrutinize the abstract nature of their emphasis. I do not understand this, my desire as a thinker, is to use thought to continually expand the concrete power of thought itself. I am not interested in being the founder or originator of anything, I am interested in validating and discovering knowledge that produces substantial social transformation in the direction of intelligence. Why waste energy reinventing the wheel when you can use it to travel a further distance? I do not want to defend that which serves my juvenile, psychological needs, I want to defend that which is necessary for quality; my desire is to expand knowledge, not protect self-serving premisses.

Another thing that drives individuals to abstraction, is their desire to evade psychological pain. In this sense ideas become a way of evading the emotional sphere, which is to say, they assist in the survival of pathology. To get lost in the details of the idealistic realm, that which floats above life, has long been a way for man to cope with his existential terror. This has chiefly been the function of religion, but this psychological defense mechanism is not confined to crude mythology, it also applies to the abstractions of philosophy, or just abstraction in general.

The problem is that social pathology, like individual pathology, is hardly ever conscious of itself. It's destructive actions are carried out in automation, a defense mechanism of survival, as the ego seeks to shelter itself from pain. In order to counter it one must first become conscious of it, one must have the ability to confront it, and the psychological knowledge to know how to change it. The tools of psychology work in the service of self-regulation, thus social pacification, social stability, thereby increasing the individual's capacity to cultivate intelligence, and hence, quality. The social benefits are the fruits of a more stable civilization.             

Psychology goes out into the world and transforms social dysregulation into social function. This is because it actually targets the effects of class struggle, which can be accurately described as the inheritance of complex trauma, or psychopathology in general. Class struggle affects individuals, but how does it affect them? It creates impoverished material conditions, which lead to impoverished psychological conditions. (This is no more true than in the case of education). A fact of class struggle is that it creates trauma which gets passed down from generation to generation. This is the real explanation as to why democratic movements fail, they fail when the individuals, who are vital to their quality, are lacking quality themselves.

Psychology is a kind of master science because knowledge cannot function humanely, maturely, intelligently, without the aid of a humane psychology -- healthy psychology is the axiom of healthy function, it is the true force behind qualitative existence. However, the psychologists have not yet caught up to the reality of class struggle, and the role it plays in impairing mental health, while critical theorists, have not yet caught up to the advances in psychology, and the role these discoveries must play, when it comes to transforming society.** The two have need of each other.

How can it be that so many intellectuals spend their mental life striving for social validation as opposed to social quality? Is this, not itself, explained by psychology? Many intellectuals are authoritarians, which is to say, they like to occupy a place of authority. This is a psychological problem, it results from a defect in the self as well as an inability to discern value. (One of the intellectual's tragic defects, is that he longs to see himself as an intellectual, and thus labors to propagate this self-image).

No intellectual will tell you that they fear discourse, but this is precisely the fear of those intellectuals who are motivated by authority, and it's also why their theory, never rises to the high level of revolutionary praxis or dialectical comprehension. What are these kind of intellectuals seeking? The answer is, feelings of authority, social validation, praise, fame, respect, academic approval, peer acknowledgement, intellectual affirmation. These are the wrong motivations. Authority is inferior as a psychological disposition of inquiry, and guarantees, that those moved by it, will stop their inquiry when they achieve the consummation of this feeling, or when the inquiry threatens to extinguish this feeling. 

Courage is required for the realization of quality thought, but there is another requirement, one must be capable of suffering! People love the comfort of delusion and use it to evade the discomfort of truth. History teaches us that society persecutes those who have the courage to seek and defend the truth.

To be an intellectual is to be both alienated and isolated. One should not be deluded about the reclusive environment to which one is sequestered, if one dares to engage in vigorous and courageous thinking. Thought segregates the thinker from those who fear it.



* "Combating White Nationalism: Lessons from Marx," Andrew Kliman 2017. In this paper Kliman suggests that Marx's technique to keep on uniting workers is the solution to the problems we face in society. It amounts to a tautology for blank unity.

**Here there are two major areas of development, the study and treatment of complex trauma, and the earth shattering discovery of Attachment Theory, which may, in fact, be the greatest discovery of our species. Knowledge of these two areas completely alters the entire foundation of man's knowledge of himself and his world. Both these discoveries promise to bring sweeping transformations to critical theory.


Friday, March 27, 2020

Hegel's Dialectical Formation of Logic

The Law of Diversity coupled with The Law of Identity

"The law of diversity, on the other hand, asserts that things are different from one another through unlikeness, that the determination of unlikeness belongs to them just as much as that of likeness, for determinate difference is constituted only by both together... We have found that diversity or external difference is, in truth, reflected into itself, is difference in its own self, that the indifferent subsistence of the diverse is a mere positedness and therefore not an external, indifferent difference, but a single relation of the two moments.This involves the dissolution and nullity of the law of diversity. Two things are not perfectly alike; so they are at once alike and unlike; alike, simply because they are things, or just two, without further qualification — for each is a thing and a one, no less than the other — but they are unlike ex hypothesi*. We are therefore presented with this determination, that both moments, likeness and unlikeness, are different in one and the same thing, or that the difference, while falling asunder, is at the same time one and the same relation. This has therefore passed over into opposition." Hegel’s "Science of Logic”, translated by A. V. Miller, George Allen & Unwin, 1969 pg.422 (Analytical Table of Contents, Paragraph. 904-905-906)

*According to this hypothesis


Sunday, March 22, 2020


When a celebrated class of intellectuals leaves an example of pure theory as the highest virtue of revolution, is it any wonder if the intellectuals who follow thereafter, should embrace theory to the detriment of action?

The philosopher, Theodore Adorno, was correct when he sought to criticize mindless revolution.* One should not simply assume that physical action is the highest virtue of revolution. But tragically, Adorno's criticisms of revolutionary activity, end up becoming an ideology of evasion, a place for cowards and elites to hide away from the real world. It is a false metaphysical declaration, that tries to establish the absolute place of theory, as once and for all set, as the authentic praxis of revolution. Eventually the relevance and time for theory gives way to the relevance and time for praxis. To claim that theory is always the thing to do, and that as long as one is engaged in theory, one is in engaged in resistance, becomes mere tautology.

"Whoever only thinks, removes himself, is considered weak, cowardly, virtually a traitor. The hostile cliché of the intellectual works its way deeply into that oppositional group, without them having noticed it, and who in turn are slandered as “intellectuals." Thinking actionists answer: among the things to be changed include precisely the present conditions of the separation of theory and praxis. Praxis is needed, they say, precisely in order to do away with the domination by practical people and the practical ideal. But then this is quickly transformed into a prohibition on thinking."
Adorno, Theodor W. “Resignation”, in Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords, translated by Henry W. Pickford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), pg. 290.

I am in no way advocating mindlessness in place of thought. All qualitative action presupposes qualitative thought. The same is true when it comes to revolution. Adorno cannot justify himself, or any other theorist, merely by stating the charge in advance. One can indeed, be rightly accused of being an intellectual, in the most negative sense of the term. There is a point in time, after thought has transpired, clearing the path from the abstract to the concrete, that withdrawal from praxis, does indeed signify cowardice, as a shirking of intellectual responsibility.     

Critical theory is polemically powerful, it presupposes sweeping philosophical comprehension; critical theorists are skilled at analyzing the world, but they are dunces when it comes to actually changing it.

Look around at the literature produced by critical theorists. This literature is not written for the masses, it isn't even written for the well educated lay person, it's written for other critical theorists, those who teach and practice in institutions; it's written to one's peers in hopes that one will be congratulated and celebrated as "a brilliant theorist." This ought to disgust anyone with real world consciousness. Everywhere we look we see the proliferation of suffering, and all that contemporary critical theorists do to engage that suffering, is to hide away in their ivory towers, drinking fine wine and eating good food, writing books and articles on abstract theory. They shout down at the masses from the safety of their towers; and should one try to connect with these elites, merely to discern the thought behind their reasoning, they are looked down on and discriminated against for not knowing all the latest abstract trends that circulate within the donnish academy. Woe to those who dare to approach the academic throne! These elites celebrate themselves among themselves, but what's worse, they expect the masses to celebrate them as well.          

My friends, we have been sold out by the intellectual class. This class has begun to function as a new elite that stands above the rest of society. Most critical theorists come from a higher, social status of wealth, they are able to focus on their education, which gives them a social advantage. In contrast, most people born into working class households face serious adversity, not only in the schools they attend, but in the structure of their family life. This puts them at a disadvantage.

Theorist after theorist critiques society from a vantage of safety, protected by the one-sided validation of their peers, tucked away, sheltered from the world by their institutions. These theorists will criticize anything or anyone just so long as they don't have to face it in person. For example, I don't know of a single critical theorist that has anything but contempt for the ideology of Libertarianism, but never would one of these intellectuals dare to engage a Libertarian in person! The same is also true of the cult of Ayn Rand. Critical theorists know her work is bankrupt, but never would they dare have it out with her defenders in person. I believe this is because Left intellectuals, in general, are cowards. They are afraid of confrontation. Instead of taking the fight to the enemy, they write books and eccentric articles to entrained themselves and their peers, deceiving themselves about the concrete nature of their work in relation to the real world.

It's a rather strange paradox, critical theory is an exceedingly powerful form of thought, it has a sweeping polemic, but Left intellectuals are woefully incompetent when it comes to polemics in general. I believe that deep down most of them know this about themselves, and that is why they do everything in their power to avoid having to defend their ideas, or refute those of the opposition. Public intellectuals matter a great deal. This is easily proven. The present economic climate of American society was consciously shaped by public intellectuals, specifically, the likes of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand; both of them were influenced by the work of Frederich Hayek. Between these three people one can account for every backward economic value in American society.

We have been abandoned by the intellectual class. Long ago they retreated into their ivory towers. Instead or refuting false facts, and the shallow ideology that assaults the public sphere, Left intellectuals write academic books, further expanding the categories of their abstraction. They take great pleasure in communicating with each other in their specialized, esoteric language. What this means is that the common citizen, who implicitly rejects fascist values, is left to fight a war that he is unprepared for and untrained for. He lacks the intellectual weapons to counter the ideology that assaults him, and yet he has been abandoned by the intellectual class, thrust to the front of the line in the cultural war. Is it any wonder that he is daily defeated by pundits; is it any wonder that the masses eventually come to embrace ruling class ideology, insofar as they have no defense against it? 

If it's not the role of the intellectual, to refute the ideology that assaults the common citizen, then what role do intellectuals play in the context of revolution? Have they become another oppressive class? Instead of going after the proponents of ruling ideology, these intellectuals target the common citizen by blocking his path to revolution, by confounding, rather than clarifying, his thought. The intellectual class cannot preach to the proponents of ideology, so instead, they complain to the oppressed citizen, increasing the weight of his already crushing social burden. This is disgusting and worthy of contempt, it amounts to a form of elitism.

Every time I attempt to point out a popular Right wing intellectual, those on the Left simply throw out an ad hominem, "no one takes that person serious, that persons an idiot." True enough, many of them are ignorant, offering up shallow platitudes in place of knowledge. But this fallacious maneuver does not amount to a refutation! And this is precisely the problem: shallow, intellectual arrogance, that congratulates itself as superior. I don't know how many times I have had to explain this to intellectuals on the Left. Just because their peers all know the person to be ignorant, purveyors of misinformation, doesn't mean the public knows it! What should happen in place of this arrogance, is that Left intellectuals should see the danger and take it serious, formulating a rational refutation. Instead of offering an ad hominem, to make oneself feel better, or retreating to one's ivory tower, intellectuals should take the fight to the enemy, not simply complain to their fellow citizens. This is a serious problem, and it's one of the reasons American culture has drifted in the direction of fascism. What these intellectuals are doing is passing off their responsibility to the unequipped citizen. Because they're afraid of the confidence of Right wing intellectuals, because they don't want to disrupt their fairy tale world of academia, therefore they allow those with less knowledge to take the brunt, eventually this leads to violence in society because the democratic procedure of communication fails. The more progress the Right makes in eroding democratic communication, the harder it becomes to resolve conflicts through the medium of words.    

Intellectuals have responsibilities; once theory is established, the next step is to put it into practice. Adorno's complaint was that activists tend to act without thinking, and he was correct, but once we know we can take action that will be "effective," that will lead to positive, social transformation, this is where theory ends and the responsibility of social action begins! This is indeed a real point beyond the abstract horizon.

The real duty of intellectuals, is not simply to sharpen the power of theory, but to refute ideology, to go after the scepters of idealism, to destroy public propaganda, even to make a spectacle of those who try to deceive the masses. The intellectuals must not abandon the working class, but must learn to fight for their intellectual freedom against the bold ideology of fascism. This is their duty and responsibility as intellectuals.            

Let us, The Thinkers, rebuke the intellectuals of our time, because they have left us to the ideological wolves, while they retreat to the leisure of their ivory towers. Let us call them out: stop preaching to the congregation, it's time to take the fight to the enemy! Refute, refute, refute, the ideology that stands in the way of the people's liberation! This is your duty. Your duty is not to seek praise among your peers, but to protect the masses from ideological thugs that seek to enslave them, and thereby destroy the social quality of the democratic world. Society is a fragile organism that must be defended. 

NOTES ----------------------------------------------------------------------

* "...a practice that simply frees itself from the shackles of theory and rejects thought as such on the grounds of its own supposed superiority will sink to the level of activity for its own sake. Such a practice remains stuck fast within the given reality. It leads to the production of people who like organizing things and who imagine that once you have organized something, once you have arranged for some rally or other, you have achieved something of importance, without pondering for a moment whether such activities have any chance at all of effectively impinging on reality." Adorno, Problems of Moral Philosophy, edited by Thomas Schröder, translated by Rodney Livingstone (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001) pg.6


Saturday, March 21, 2020


{The present essay was produced for The New School of Polemics}

PREFATORY NOTE: If the reader truly desires to understand the concept of identity, and logical principles in general, he is encouraged to read Hegel's revolutionary work, The Science of Logic, specifically, Book II, Chapter 2, The Determinations of Reflection, as the present polemic is directly derived from it.

 "...Identity is only the determination of simple immediacy, of inert being, whereas contradiction is the root of all movement and life..." Hegel, The Science of Logic pg. 381-382, translated by George di Giovanni, Cambridge University Press 2010 


“Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Logic has a single law, the Law of Identity, and its various corollaries. If logic has nothing to do with reality, it means that the Law of Identity is inapplicable to reality. If so, then: a.things are not what they are; b. things can be and not be at the same time, in the same respect, i.e., reality is made up of contradictions. If so, by what means did anyone discover it? By illogical means. (This last is for sure.) The purpose of that notion is crudely obvious. Its actual meaning is not: “Logic has nothing to do with reality,” but: “I, the speaker, have nothing to do with logic (or with reality).” When people use that catch phrase, they mean either:“It’s logical, but I don’t choose to be logical” or: “It’s logical, but people are not logical, they don’t think—and I intend to pander to their irrationality.” Ayn Rand, Philosophy Who Needs It?, Chapter 2, Philosophical Detection


One must read carefully, Miss Rand is not saying that logic is a concept, though this is her actual position, but a "skill."* If one is lacking this "skill," and clearly many are and have been throughout the history of our species, then no matter how valuable logic is, it will have no value to those who lack its skill. In what sense then, can logic be said to exist? Is logic a transcendent concept or a cognitive skill? It's hard to see how Miss Rand can have it both ways, logic as concept and logic as skill? Is this not, from the very outset, a contradiction of her concept of identity?

How can logic have a "single law" ---"and corollaries?" This, on Miss Rand's part, is an admission of plurality, not singularity.  

Does logic have "a single law" or a single concept? Is logic a law or is it based on a law? Is logic a concept or is it based on a concept? Are concepts and laws the same thing? Could Miss Rand, if she was still among the living, give us an example of two identical things? Perhaps she would claim this doesn't matter? What matters is that things are identical to themselves.** But this concept hinges on several qualifications that are fatal to identity:

"If logic has nothing to do with reality...things can be and not be at the same time, in the same respect..."

The first fatality is that of the qualification of time. This is exceedingly problematic because we are asking time to deny itself, to stop itself, we are demanding thought to attach itself to the past notion of an instance, as though that instance, represented the totality of being. But as reality will have it, time is not stagnant, every instance of time (as we observe it in thought) would seem to be an instance of the past, and the past is not the reality of the present.  

The second fatal qualification is the delusion of static being, which is in fact, only an image of being, it is not being itself. Being is not static, but remains in a constant state of flux. In order to demand this of any object, one must deny the variable reality of the object. By not letting the object speak for itself, one distorts it with a concept. To demand therefore, that thought should isolate the moment, in order to deal more easily with the divergence and movement of being, is not only a betrayal of reality's active being, but also a suppression of thought's ability. 

The qualifications needed for identity: a static moment in time, coupled with static being, are quite telling. Why these qualifications? Why must the identity-thinker throw in the phrase, "at the same time in the same respect?" Imagine a man who claimed to be the world's greatest swordsman, one who claimed to be "totality invincible," but then said, "I am only invincible if you fight me at an exact instance in time, and you must remain in a perfectly static pose." Is this not laughable? Then how do we not mock at the qualifications of the so-called law of identity, this most powerful and irrefutable of all laws -- just as long as we add the fictional qualification of frozen time, coupled with the special pleading of static being. My dear reader, is this not laughable?

There are indeed, other qualifications needed to make sense of identity, such as unity and difference, and these qualifications are not identity, but that which makes identity intelligible. The necessity of these qualifications are exceedingly easy to prove. When we say A = A, for example, we are in fact, using three different symbols, we are also presupposing their unity. Hence, the concept of identity requires more than itself to make sense of itself. The concept, is in fact, a tautology of itself. This is because identity is not identical to itself, but presupposes the necessity of other concepts in order to make sense of itself.***        

"If so," says Miss Rand, "then reality is made up of contradictions. If so, by what means did anyone discover it? By illogical means. (This last is for sure.)"

We do not get to choose the nature of reality, we are simply born into it, and if reality is full of contradiction, then this doesn't mean reality ceases to be real! Further, it doesn't mean we have to forgo logic as a tool of value by which to understand and navigate reality. Those who claim it does, confuse the ontology of logic with the value of its function. (Here Miss Rand also commits the either or fallacy, precluding any other options apart from her logical idealism, as the only method by which to approach reality). Case and point, Miss Rand's logic is not comprehensive enough to comprehend reality, so there is a real sense in which our comprehension of reality, does indeed go beyond her logical idealism, hence, she would call it "illogical," not because it actually is, but because it contradicts her idealism. Dialectical logic is not the same as idealistic logic. The former attempts to grasp being within the circumference of its movement, while the latter deceives itself with static images, what it calls "logical," is nothing more than a dead image which it tries to pass off as living reality.   

(It should be noted that contradiction, as absolute negativity, is entirely idealistic, meaning, we are imposing this concept on the object, if the object defies it, it doesn't mean that reality collapses into some kind of nihilism or abject incoherence. This is the false declaration, made by the cult of idealism, in the absence of the authority of its ideals. In other words, what does it really mean to say, that reality is contradictory, according to my idealism -- one then passes sentence against reality. But is the problem my idealism or reality? The nihilistic claim that follows after this idealist declaration is a farce, precisely because it is dictated by one's idealism! Here the idealist is the one attaching nihilism (negativity) to contradiction, which is to say, because he views it through the lens of his idealism he concludes, "that reality is made up of absolute negativity; that intelligence and order come to an end," hence "nihilism." In the absence of idealism he would say, "we observe that being is in motion and contains diversity within itself," he would not call it contradiction, but reality itself. The negativity of contradiction is a derivative of idealism.****)
Did we discover the contradictory nature of reality by logical means, specifically by utilizing the concept of identity? This is a question of method, and the first answer is, that we discovered it by observing the motions of bodies in existence, and this observation is never a singularity but always a process of plurality. But Miss Rand, is perhaps, asking about the kind of logic we utilized in the process of this observation? Could it be the concept of identity? Surely not, because the dogma of this tautology asserts that being is a static image, as opposed to a process of becoming, as opposed to matter in motion. This would imply that identity would always discriminate (from the outset) against the non-image of being's inconstant essence. To put it in other terms, this concept dictates that being must be understood as an image, while its becoming and absolute movement, must be rejected in favor of the ideology of the concept which contradicts it.

Here Miss Rand tries to make the same point more directly:

"They proclaim that there is no law of identity, that nothing exists but change, and blank out the fact that change presupposes the concepts of what changes, from what and to what, that without the law of identity no such concept as“change” is possible." Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual, from Galt's Speech pg.127, Signet Edition 1963

Is it true that without the concept of identity no concept of change is possible? This would imply that change was merely an idea, which it is not, change, movement, is first and foremost, the material reality of being, only after this does it become a concept. Further, does my concept of change arise from a concept that precludes its existence? We would be most fascinated to hear how identity stands as the axiom of the concept of change? 

That we discern motion, is not because of identity, but because identity goes beyond itself, entering into the superior realm of dialectics. In other words, the concrete being of identity, which stands as a living plurality, is itself a contradiction of the concept of identity. There is no such thing as singularity in logic; there is no such thing as singular identity, but all identity contains within itself, a diversity of components which contradict the idealist conception of identity.   

Sadly, Miss Rand is not concerned with reality, but with the consistency of her ideas about reality, which is precisely the theological procedure of idealism.

In contrast to Miss Rand, we are not claiming there is no such thing as identity, we are calming, with so many other dialecticians, that identity is not a pure concept without its own presuppositions, most specifically, that of unity and difference. We are also claiming that the object is superior to its concept, and ought to inform the concept by the concrete nature of its being. The concept proceeds from being, even as the concept is directed back at being. As Hegel says, "truth is complete only in the unity of identity with difference, and hence consists only in this unity." Hegel’s Science of Logic pg.414, translated by A. V. Miller, George Allen & Unwin,1969 (Analytical Table of Contents: paragraph.876)

Is there such a thing as static being or an object not in motion?

Does change presuppose the concepts of what changes, "from what and to what"? Change presupposes the actual existence of change, not a mere concept! But perhaps Miss Rand is asking about our comprehension of this change? Change is not just a concept, it is first and foremost a reality. 

To use identity is to presuppose concepts more primitive than identity itself. If we say, 'the acorn grew into a tree,' it's not simply that we presuppose identity, but we presuppose the presuppositions which make identity possible in the first place. Miss Rand is claiming that identity is the concept by which all other concepts are made intelligible. It seems we could only say this if identity, did not, presuppose concepts beyond itself, we could only say this if identity, was in fact, a singularity. 

If the intelligibility of a concept (such as change) is informed by a plurality of concepts, and if Miss Rand is claiming that all these concepts demonstrate identity, then why do these concepts paint a picture of reality that is contrary to identity? What does it mean, if the negation of identity, is the conclusion of identity? Further, how can identity be the axiom of the concept of change, when it's not even the concept of itself? 

The formation of concepts is not the result of the concept of identity, but the result of many factors (and concepts) working together to comprehend being within the motions of its existence. In order to comprehend the motions of being, it is necessary for identity to go beyond itself, which means it is necessary for identity to begin beyond itself! 

Miss Rand is trying to demonstrate, that a rejection of her concept of identity, must entail its use. Her argument is that change is a concept, which is a product of individual concepts, only made possible by the concept of identity, which then produces the concept of change. But if reality is, from this to that, then clearly the object is not identical to itself, even as this view goes beyond identity's qualification of time, even as this consciousness goes beyond identity itself. The answer is that comprehension of reality, of being, is not a tautological matter of identity, but a concrete matter of dialectics, of the movement of being itself. This is proven by the fact that bare identity distorts reality. In short, the real problem is that Miss Rand is trying to get us to validate the universality of an instance in time, of a static object that doesn't exist, except as an image, as though this dead image comprised living reality. As we have already said, this is a form of abstract idealism. 

There is no such thing as a singular concept, all concepts are made up and constructed from the concrete basis of plural being. This is not mere abstraction. A concept is not one thing, and neither is it the result of one thing. Identity is not one thing, and neither is it the result of one thing. All being is in a constant state of flux, all being contains diversity within itself. 

If we allow ourselves to be deceived by a static image, when being is in a constant state of movement, then we will both begin and end by distorting reality. To say that the comprehension of change is the result of identity, is simply to manifest that one is confused about the nature of reality. Any act of comprehension is itself a plurality, and to claim that two static images of being, brought together, is what accounts for our understanding of change, is to be ignorant of the plural nature of identity itself. 

It's not that identity presupposes unity and difference, per se, but that identity contains unity and difference within itself, within the circumference of its very being! This is why Hegel said, "From the concrete itself or its synthetic proposition, abstraction could indeed extract by analysis the proposition of identity; but then, in fact, it would not have left experience as it is, but altered it; for the fact is that experience contains identity in unity with difference and is the immediate refutation of the assertion that abstract identity as such is something true, for the exact opposite, namely, identity only in union with difference, occurs in every experience." Hegel’s Science of Logic pg.415, translated by A. V. Miller, George Allen & Unwin,1969 (Paragraph. 878 Analytical Table of Contents)

Here Hegel shatters the myth of singular experience, by noting that experience is always, at every moment, made up of a diversity of components. However, the superstition of the singularity of experience, is the very thing Ayn Rand appeals to in order to justify her idealistic conception of identity. The only thing this proves, is that she's ignorant. Miss Rand goes so far as to repudiate the idea of everything being in a constant state of flux, which puts her directly at odds with the concrete nature of reality. Miss Rand is not explicating reality in her thought, she is using abstract idealism to fight against it.                                

"The purpose of that notion is crudely obvious. Its actual meaning is not: “Logic has nothing to do with reality,” but: “I, the speaker, have nothing to do with logic (or with reality).”

But if logic, the principle of identity, as Miss Rand articulates it, rejects the possibility of a reality of motion and contradiction from the outset, then clearly her syllogism is reversed! It's actual meaning is, "reality has nothing to do with my concepts," but: "I, the speaker, Miss Rand, impose my concepts on reality." And this is precisely the ontological reality of Miss Rand's concept of identity, it functions as an a priory construct, distorting one's comprehension of reality. Those who follow it, believing it to be a profound form of thought, have yet to be introduced to the genius of dialectics.

To attempt to simplify all we have argued for polemically: the problem with identity is that it is essentially 1) a contradiction of itself and 2) a concept that is pitted against reality to the detriment of comprehension. The concept ends up dictating a false view of reality, deceiving those who wield it as an absolute totality. And this is precisely what it did in the case of Ayn Rand. As Hegel clarified so very long ago:

"This proposition in its positive expression A = A is, in the first instance, nothing more than the expression of an empty tautology. It has therefore been rightly remarked that this law of thought has no content and leads no further. It is thus the empty identity that is rigidly adhered to by those who take it, as such, to be something true and are given to saying that identity is not difference, but that identity and difference are different. They do not see that in this very assertion they are themselves saying that identity is different; for they are saying that identity is different from difference; since this must at the same time be admitted to be the nature of identity, their assertion implies that identity, not externally, but in its own self, in its very nature, is this, to be different.But further, they do not see that, by clinging to this unmoved identity which has its opposite in difference, they thereby convert it into a one-sided determinateness which, as such, has no truth." Hegel’s Science of Logic pg.413-414, translated by A. V. Miller, George Allen & Unwin,1969 (Analytical Table of Contents: paragraph. 875-876)


*Ayn Rand is correct, logic is first and foremost a cognitive skill. This is the material foundation of all logic. Without this foundation there would be no such thing as logic. Logic is a contingent skill long before it's a concept. All concepts presuppose the material foundation of cognition. Further, cognition itself presupposes a material, historical process of knowledge-transference and progress within the species. To remove this process would be to negate the existence of the cognitive skills that bring forth logic, it would be to negate logic itself. The foundations of logic are inescapably material. The point however, is that this stands in hostile tension to Miss Rand's idealistic notion of logic.

** "The principle of identity does not reveal its one-sidedness or its logical limitation only in the consequences of its application, but already in its immediate form. One says, initially not without reason, that the principle of identity is a tautology, which itself is clearly a tautological statement, for without the principle of identity we would have no concept of tautology at all. What this really means is that the principle of identity alone does not allow us to move on from it to any other content beyond identity. In identifying thinking reflection does not refer to anything else beyond itself; it is not authorized by anything outside itself to think these thoughts and nothing outside it can lead it astray when thinking them. This is equivalent to saying that identity in this initial meaning does not possess determinate being. There exists nothing at all that simply is so determined as the principle of identity prescribes. Leibniz demonstrated this by setting the princesses of Hanover in the Herrenhausen park the problem of finding two leaves that were completely identical to each other. The astonished princesses had to concede that even in all the hedges and trees of such a large park as Herrenhausen, there were no two leaves identical to each other. They were persuaded in this empirical manner that identity belongs wholly in the realm of thought, of ideality and that everything that exists on this earth is not only one but also another. This is why the principle of identity in fact can only be indirectly expressed and illustrated." “Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, A Propaedeutic,” pg.251-252, Thomas Hoffmann, translated by David Healan, Brill 2015

***"Identity and difference are thus not two distinct categorical terms of thinking but one and the same: they are ‘identical’ functions of reflection. You cannot identify without differentiating just as you cannot differentiate without identifying. This is why everything determined to be identical is also determined as being different and vice versa—Peter is Peter already to the extent that he is not Paul and the principle of identity itself is what it immediately is to the extent that it is not the principle of, for instance, plurality; to be an identical function of reflection means to be a function of the plurality of reflection.” Ibid. Hoffmann pg.253

**** "…identificational thinking itself is a tremendous abstraction. We have recently begun to become painfully aware of the artificial world man has constructed and imposed on the natural immediacy of the planet earth by force of identificational thinking in its abstractness and its nihilism— for everything built by reflection is built on negation." Ibid. Hoffmann pg.251