I’ve always been turned off by philosophical systems, from ancient to contemporary, preferring maverick, poet-philosophers such as Nietzsche and Camus. This quote from Henri Bergson, from the introduction to The Creative Mind, I believe hits the mark.
“Philosophical systems are not cut to the measure of the reality in which we live… [they] could apply equally well to a world in which neither plants nor animals have existence, only men, and in which men would quite possibly do without eating and drinking, where they would neither sleep nor dream nor let their minds wander; where born decrepit, they would end as babes in arms; where energy would return up the slope of its dispersion; and where everything might just as easily go backwards and be upside down.”
The fact that this makes me laugh out loud also makes me realize what a giant nerd I am 🙂
All theoretical analysis, scientific or otherwise, is wrong from the beginning. It requires a dividing up of a fundamentally indivisible world, creating static entities deprived of their most essential quality of duration* (that is, real time in which they are constantly changing and evolving) then grouping these artificial, frozen fragments based on identifying that which is not identical and differentiating that which is not different**, and finally by positing relationships between these groups, at which point we are so far removed from reality that we enter the realm of the absurd.
That is why all conceptualizing is false. This is not a Nihilism. It is an Everythingism. Where everything presents itself to you so vitally and insistently, brims over inside of you with such strength and life, that you refuse to see violence done to it.
*see Henri Bergson
**see David Bohm
The burning question is: What dark impulse lies behind our invention of mathematics, of logic? Even to ask, is a descent into The Abyss.
“Why go to inordinate lengths to break a man’s spirit if you can mold him so that he has no spirit to begin with?”
From The Illusion of Technique by William Barrett, in reference to Soviet behavioral scientists and their efforts to stop dissent before it starts. But also resonates with eerie familiarity in today’s American pharmaceutical culture…
It is not just a question of looking at the so-called “individual” as an organic unity, but of looking at that organic unity within the larger organic unity of Being. This goes against the entire history of our culture; we are defined by our historical addiction to analysis, looking at phenomenon in artificial isolation, to the detriment of Being and ultimately of ourselves.
“We are the children of an enlightenment, one which we would like to preserve; but we can do so only by making a pact with the old goddess.”
from Irrational Man by William Barrett
“Man masters beings, but Being- the open region in which both subject and object stand out and are thus not divided- is forgotten.”
Irrational Man, William Barrett
“By detaching the figure from the ground the object could be made to emerge into the daylight of human consciousness; but the sense of the ground recedes, becomes invisible, is forgotten.”
Irrational Man, William Barrett
“Thinking only begins at the point where we have come to know that Reason, glorified for centuries, is the most obstinate adversary of thinking.”
It is our destiny as human beings to pose the question of our own meaning, and through this the meaning of all things. I believe this is the will behind evolution itself: this will to evolution is referential to a will beyond ourselves, and this “beyond ourselves” is an arena we have barley begun to set foot in. To get there reason must be used to transcend itself.