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.