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        



Friday, March 20, 2020


"Mr. Flight, I find your posts to be a hash of noise. Your posts are getting worse and worse."

I am all for criticism, I even demand it! There is no better way to progress, but your criticism is just an empty assertion without any content of value. I can only wonder, are you talking about my thought or my style?

I do have a particular style, which is derived from much of the classic philosophy I have read. I do not repent of it. I can indeed respect and understand that it's not to everyone's taste. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is whether we are saying anything of value, whether our knowledge provides explanatory power.

Another interesting point worth mentioning, is the power our thought has when it comes to penetrating concepts and images. Many writers are good at citing material, but the actual content of their thought is woefully lacking. They cannot follow the specifics of thought. Consider, for example, the content of Hegel:

"...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”, translated by A. V. Miller, George Allen & Unwin,1969pg.415 (Analytical Table of Contents Paragraph 878)

Here Hegel is simply referring to the fact that we can make an empirical investigation of the concept of identity, but as he says, this approach would not leave experience, but alter it, which is to say, it would stand above it, not as reality, but as a false abstraction. In other words, experience, in this case, would deceive existence. "For the fact is," says Hegel, experience is not as it appears (experience is not a singularity) but contains a plurality of phenomena which make up its being [identity, unity, difference]. Hegel says, this existing fact stands as an immediate refutation of singular identity (Absolute Identity), which is nothing more than a form of abstract idealism without concrete existence in reality. And the reason this stands as an immediate refutation is precisely because experience is not a singularity, hence this simple impression is obliterated by the concrete plurality of being.   

One must know how to read philosophers. My writing is no different:

'Being is the only reality of the Absolute -- Being is itself the Absolute! That this classification belongs to Concepts or God is a fiction. Only the most abstract, idealistic skeptic, would dare to deny it. Existence is the one premise that is not controversial.' Ibid. The Great Philosophical Anger

All philosophers long to get at the Absolute, but nearly every philosopher distorts the Absolute's essence, attributing it to a Concept or a notion of God. This was Hegel's mistake. The truth of the Absolute is horribly plain and simple, it is nothing more or less than material being. It's astounding, wherever we look as thinkers, there we always find the same premise: that of the authority of existence. No theist denies the existence of the universe, they simply try to add to it or subtract from it. Any thinker that desires to think powerfully must begin with the premise of the authority of being. The problem is that we are easily lured away from this premise. It takes a powerful thinker to remain consistent to this premise as they pass through the cultural layers of thought.

What I have stated, in the above paragraph, is the foundation of all thinking. Our logic must begin with the reality of Being, no matter how much it seems to contradict our notions of logic. This seems simple enough, and we all give lip service to it, but in reality it has brutal psychological ramifications. Hence, we struggle to remain consistent with it, we struggle, not merely to embrace it, but to think about existence from this vantage. Man hates it; raw being terrifies us because we are fragile and this universe is hostile to our fragility.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Where stupidity reigns there hope dies.

[1] Being is the only reality of the Absolute -- Being is itself the Absolute! That this classification belongs to Concepts or God is a fiction. Only the most abstract, idealistic skeptic, would dare to deny it. Existence is the one premise that is not controversial. 

[2] One cannot do philosophy, one must first consider what kind of being is attempting to engage in philosophy. Let us drive the scale back to its most primitive point in existence. It's not merely that a kind of being is attempting to engage in philosophy, but this being is the product of a history, psychologically conditioned, social, biologically evolved. This being is pressured by the society in which it lives (this being is pressured by the substrate of its own mental images). Man is not free to ponder the bare existence of existence itself, and this is because the defenses and fears of his psyche get in the way.

[3] Social being (which includes every individual) calculates value on a cultural scale. This is a problem because the universe is not a social subset of man's environment. Hence, man's evaluation of reality is tainted by culture. Through the social world value is lost to us/ through the social world value is gained.

[4] We do not believe that men tell the truth. We do not believe that men seek the truth. We believe they seek comfort and power, the way of truth is the way to ruin. Only the strongest thinkers, those who must have reality, even at the cost of life itself, these are the one's who stare the abyss in the face. And though they may stand wounded for this feat, it is only they, who from the darkness, bring back real light, hope that is not predicated on delusion, a hope that can deal with reality as it is. 

[5] To be an intellectual, a professor, what does this mean? It means to exist within a linguistic context which functions as a barrier to the tragedy of reality. The academic cannot bear the sight of his own futility. This doesn't mean that life itself is futile, quality is indeed a material reality, it simply means that the academic is engaged in defending himself from reality. What does this mean? It means he cannot bear the sight of his own insignificance and powerlessness.  However, this is no way negates significance or power. Both are a reality of existence.

[6] Those who have truly pondered what matters (those who can keep the focus of value in sight) can be counted on one hand. Most thinkers fall prey to idealism.

[7] Do you see the intellectual offering up his intellectual form, do you know why he does it? Because (among other things) he is trying to deny the reality of his own death. He is trying to align himself with culture, because this makes him feel better about death. And though there is nothing wrong with aligning oneself with culture, by using culture as an escape, one is always trying to outrun reality, as opposed to confront it with thought.   

[8] All true philosophy is, and must be, about acquiring the strength and intelligence to know when and how to die. This is true because death, in contrast to life, is a kind of negative eternity. Death is the most important decision of life, its calculation, and humane execution, stand as the highest praxis of philosophy. Those who deny it distort the value of life (inflating it where inflation is not warranted) and impose a false, moral idealism on the act of death, declaring it to be the greatest evil.  

[9] All that matters to life is that it can obtain unto quality, without this attribute it cannot justify itself as existence. He that denies this becomes the victim of romanticism, which is to say, he endures tremendous suffering, merely because he asserts life's value in the absence of quality, which amounts to a form of superstition. He that embraces romanticism, fails to terminate existence at the point of anguish, maximum suffering, because he groundlessly presupposes life's absolute value, even in the context of absolute suffering. 

[10] Almost no one judges the speaker on the basis of his content. Most judge on the basis of credentials that are constructed by society. To speak the truth is not enough, one must also be endorsed by culture. This is a defect of culture because it robs culture of truth. A wise thinker must refuse to replicate this same formality in himself. Thinkers should judge on the basis of substance, not mere appearance or presentation.   

[11] He that is wise knows his time is short, and this means he rejects the emphasis of culture where he knows the emphasis of culture departs from the relevance of life.

[12] More often than not, men create concepts as an escape from life, thus do they demand that we envelope ourselves within the context of an abstract web, seldom do men pursue concepts as a concrete liberation of life, and this is because abstraction convinces them of transcendence, deceives them into mistaking it for value, even though the idea never actually emancipates them from the material oppression of their systemic being.

[13] If one would be free one must change the oppression of the system into which they are born. This requires nothing less than revolutionary consciousness, which is the most developed form of consciousness. This is true because revolutionary awareness presupposes a comprehension of 1) the raw movement of being, which is existence itself, 2) class structure and 3) the automated, mindlessness of social production, which explains the oppression of the social system. Further, revolutionary consciousness does not exists in a state of paralysis or romantic delusion (social idealism), but has come to the sober understanding that the agent of oppression must actively strive (resist) if he is ever to be a partaker of freedom. Revolutionary consciousness amounts to a systematic comprehension of being, which is to say, it comprehends being within the structure of its social context, understanding how context is shaped by being and how being is shaped by context. Revolutionary consciousness is the rarest achievement of the philosophical life.   

[14] He that believes himself to have attained to the highest awareness of freedom, and yet has no consciousnesses of class structure, is nothing more than an ignorant slave.

[15] Those who want freedom must have the capacity to fight for it. Theory without the concrete act of resistance has no power to realize itself, which is to say, all theory is inescapably determined in the direction of freedom. Those who comprehend freedom must have the courage, and ability, to defend it against those who fear it.


Monday, March 9, 2020


“To evaluate Hegel’s logic against the conventional standards of formal logic begs the question. For Hegel is asking about the grounds of all logical validity.” 
–Burbidge, On Hegel’s Logic: Fragments of a Commentary (1981)

What seems clear to me, in regards to dialectics, is that the demand for formal justification is a loaded demand. In other words, one is being asked to squeeze an ocean into an acorn. Of course, dialectics cannot be contained within the formal presuppositions of logic, precisely because dialectics transcends the limitations of formalism; how then could dialectic be expected to justify itself within the confines of formalism? Can one deduce science from the presuppositions of religion? I think not. To demand the reverse of science in the case of religion, would be to level a loaded demand against science, entirely in favor of the primitive. It's the old world's desperate attempt to kill off the authority of the new. It's no different in the case of dialectics. Men fear the loss of their power, through the loss of the narrow logical medium, they have come to know so well. Why change it and risk losing mastery of a form that works against the majority of the species? The answer, of course, is because one is trying to get at something more than social power or recognition, one is trying to get at reality!


Friday, March 6, 2020

MAN AND LOGIC - Jersey Flight

"The starting point of analysis of knowledge is not taken to be the study of the relation of the individual subject (whether it be organism or consciousness) to the opposing object but the study of the functioning and development of systems of collective, inter-subject activity based on practical transformation of external objects." V. A. Lektorsky, Subject Object Cognition, Conclusion, 1980


As per the ramifications this has for logic, the conclusion should be obvious. Who ever heard of logic apart from society? Logic is a representation we make to ourselves of the real world. This is not to say that objects outside us have no existence, quite the contrary, logic seeks to comprehend that existence in its objectivity. What then, do we mean here by objectivity? We mean the closest representation we can construct, given the limitations of our perception and conceptual capacities. In truth, all knowledge is and must be an approximation, but this in no way robs it of its authority. That it does, is the great lie and technique of the idealist. Exactitude functions as its own ideology in the domain of being, which is to say, when it's used to negate approximation, for failing to meet absolute standards. This false criterion is used to poison the value of knowledge in general, to rob life of its living authority.