Unconcelament (Part One)

1.

Heidegger defined Being as that which is unconcealed or, more accurately, he proposed that what entities are depends on the conditions that allow them to manifest themselves, and it was this dependency that Heidegger called Unconcealment (Unverborgenheit).

Implied in this link between Being and Unconcealment is a dependency on the unconcealed buried in the nature of all Being.

Unconcealment is an important concept for us for three reasons:

Firstly, we believe that the Universe, as an entity, has evolved in a deliberate way that enables Unconcealment to come about.

Secondly, the human, homo sapiens, as an unconcealing entity, finds itself in a central and essential position in the Universe. We are invested with the power to unconceal the Universe; the same Universe that created the conditions allowing for our existence as unconcealers in order to bring forth Being … Being comes from the sapiens’ unconcealing of it.

 Thirdly, the vital role that humanity plays in the Unconcealment and subsequently the very Being of the Universe, creates a positive, moral purposiveness for humanity embedded in Being and the perpetuation of Being through our power to unconceal.

2.

Before Unconcealment, or before the existence of sapiens’ consciousness, there was no awareness of the Universe and no possible context for the Universe to exist in. With the evolution of consciousness that context was created. From a purposive point of view, therefore, we think in order to unconceal. However, paradoxically, the human mind is also proficient at making its own concealments.

We were created to unconceal and yet, ask anyone what truth is, and they will almost undoubtedly struggle to give any semblance of a satisfactory answer. Embedded in our power to unconceal is also a powerful capacity for sceptical reasoning. If there is a struggle in human society between light and darkness, it is contained in our proficiency to conceal and unconceal at the same time. In fact, our very own ability to unconceal is concealed from us. Although the will to unconceal is manifest in all truly creative, artistic and scientific endeavours there is very little in the design of human societies and cultures pushing Unconcealment forward as an essential element of human activity.

In reality, the importance of our unconcealing faculties, which are our true nature, are concealed from us, and this paradoxical fact may be the basic human flaw that allows for the seemingly unavoidable propagation of all crimes against humanity such as war and famine and the deliberate fermentation of ignorance created by anti-Unconcealment, and subsequently anti-human, economic principles.  

3.

It is not hard to understand why Unconcealment as a basic, purposive drive for human beings is concealed. After all, all human purposiveness is in the main part concealed by all human societies. Of course, this seems wrong: the same societies that enmesh our lives are alienating us by obfuscating authentic human purpose from us. Surely, the first thing that a civilisation would want to impart to its communities would be a common, authentic purposiveness, yet, in actual fact, the complete opposite is true. How can this be so?

The answer is simple: the power (Wealth) that organises and runs society is an economically-interested one that reaps more profit by concentrating all our attention on the present rather than any long-term future. Capitalism builds only where profits can be made from that construction, whereas purposiveness demands a different kind of progress.

The concealment of long-term purposiveness is therefore a conscious, anti-human act, dictated by the immediate purpose of making profit. There is no profit to be made out of the long-term.   

From Khaos to Being, via Sapiens

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The original Greek χάος comes from the verb to gape and is therefore the dark emptiness, the black abyss in the yawning mouth of the Universe.

In Greek cosmology this was the word used to describe the state of non-being prior to creation. Our modern cosmology could use the term to describe the state of non-being before the Big Bang, but it doesn’t – probably because the concept is hardly a very scientific assumption; the void of Khaos would imply that there was space before the Big Bang, rather than the more generally held notion of space and time being created by the Big Bang. What’s more, chaos, as it is usually spelt, has come to mean other things, which is why we write it as khaos.

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For us, our interest in Khaos lies in the idea of a moment when non-being became the process of becoming that leads to Being, and an affirmation that such a moment was not the Big Bang. In fact, it took place millions of years after the Big Bang. The shift from a state of non-being to the process of becoming Being was a very quiet development, more like an unheard oozing than any noisy leap or an explosion of light.

Being has always been a slow process of becoming, an evolutionary unfolding, rooted in perception. It began with the first bleeps of perception from the first perceiving micro-organisms, and has developed into those complex life-forms capable of understanding and communicating their awareness, self-consciousness etc., that we call Sapiens.

In the beginning was the word …” The process to Being started with the naming of things. Being is the product of an unveiling. The Creation is not a creation as such, but a discovery or reaffirmation of the existence that would otherwise be pointlessly trapped in the yawning mouth of Khaos.

From the original notion of Khaos came the cosmological notion of a primordial state in which our cosmos in potentia is waiting to be formed in the yawning mouth. From this notion came the erroneous assumption that such a formation could only be managed by a Demiurge, the Creator, while in fact that creator is Sapiens. The Creator is all of us. Creation occurred when the yawning mouth of humanity spat out the first word.

The creator is Sapiens, and humanity (homo sapiens) is a part of that Sapiens entanglement with Being itself. Each time we utter or think a word we are taking part in the divine process of becoming that is embedded in all Being. The difference between the Universe and the Void, flows through us.

This placing of Being in the language of Sapiens, means that being is not just what is observed, understood and perceived, it also exists in the language of potential and conditionals. Being is what is, what has been, and what it could and will be. Being rejoices in us: not just in itself reflected in our perception of it, but also in our vision of its own potentials.

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Let us not be mean with Being. Give it all our love – our appreciation, understanding and preservation – and all our desire for the unleashing of its most incredible potentials, guided by our own unlimited imaginations.

The Metaphysics of Evolution

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How far back does natural selection go? Is it just a biological phenomenon or can we attribute natural selection to the creation of the biological itself? Could we even go so far as the first beginning? Was the Big Bang an act of natural selection?

If so, what choice did the sub-atomic-particle intuition behind the Big Bang have when it made that natural selection? Simply choosing between To be, or not to be would have been satisfactory enough to start something. This could have developed into an intuitive but unexpressed sub-atomic longing for Being or Becoming? – implying a choice between the forever static or the always changing – and may have evolved into the particle-affirmation of Becoming into Being Known – the Being which is loved: appreciated, understood and preserved. In other words, an intuition which longs for an evolution into a state of being that is capable of understanding and appreciating that its own existence is the reason for that existence and hence the reason behind everything that it does, which would be a full and purposeful kind of existentialism (intuited at a sub-atomic level of course – despite the profound philosophical consequences of these suggestions, we are envisaging primitive decisions being made here in the same way that primitive DNA makes primitive decisions).

BUT HOW CAN THIS IDEA HELP US?

The inanimate singularity of the Universe, does not know what it does until what it does has succeeded in creating a Sapiens entity within it which is capable of interpreting what is going on. Only with the creation of Sapiens can intuitive forces become real by being known (because Sapiens entities are the only ones capable of knowing).

If this idea of a Sapiens partnership with the Universe were accepted as a truth, and became a purposeful interpretation of reality, then doors would be open for the history of humanity to radically change from an anti-human process to an authentically human historical process, because it would be the first time that human history and human purpose would be projected in a truly omni-human way.

Ingrained in this simple, metaphysical idea, is that knowing is the essential purpose of all life.

Once a human (Sapiens) partnership with the Universe is accepted, it opens the possibility of a new kind of civilisation through the creation of an authentically-human, purposeful driven empire, fuelled by the universal purpose of Becoming into Being Known – i.e. into being loved; i.e. appreciated, understood and preserved.

KNOWING AND BEING KNOWN FOR WHAT WE KNOW

There are two kinds of being: the active being of knowing and the passive being of being known. The human condition, as homo sapiens, is wrapped up in them both. We are what we know and we are also what we are known to be. This is philosophically helpful because from it we can make a measure of human authenticity.

It is not what we have but what we know that is important if we are going to feel authentic fulfilment. It is not what we are known to have but what we are known to know that should be important in a human, Sapiens society.

Of course this is not the case in human praxis. Authenticity is sadly lacking in our nihilistic, consumerist civilisations. Our disassociation with authenticity stems primarily from our illusion of the importance of the “have” and the “have not” against the “know” and “know not”. It could be said that real human progress will not take off until this illusion is rectified. Progress through knowledge rather than through acquisitions.

Of the great “verbs” that describe the drives that create our identity, and through identity our sense of Being, to do, to have and to know, only the latter is truly a Sapiens’ characteristic, being itself rooted in the Cartesian cogito ergo sum. But knowing implies more than the simple thought process. It requires self-consciousness and language.

Knowing is not just thinking. It is a kind of thinking. The kind of thinking that can come to conclusions – that can guard memories and recall things.

Only through knowing can we be creative. Only through knowing can humanity have its greatest hallmarks – art and technology.

THE PROBLEM WITH HUMANITY

What is the measure of man? This question has absorbed humanity for millennia and is responsible for the competitive, dog eat dog quality of our internecine societies and cultures. In fact our measuring of ourselves against one another is so great that we have lost touch with what humanity itself is. We cannot see the forest for the trees. The sum total of the achievements of all human individuals does not actually add up to humanity. In fact, if we carried out such an equation we would find that most human activity, especially that which competes with others in the day to day process of envious measuring oneself against others, actually subtracts from human achievement as a whole.

Heidegger said that contemporary man’s destiny is still “but little experienced with respect to the truth.”[i] In this idea, instead of a Measure of Man, we get a Measure of the Human in which the quality of human experience is calculated in respect to its truth. For humans, the human truth has to be found in the human quality of being essentially Sapiens, and the integrated relationship that Sapiens has with Being as creators and custodians of Being, as well as the children of Being. Human truth has to be found in this Sapiens/Being partnership. We depend on the world and the world depends on us – any meaningful measure of our fulfilment must take this partnership into consideration. The real worth of our cultures and technologies, and the of the civilisations which are made up of those cultures and technologies, has to be estimated according to how much they have contributed to furthering human fulfilment, which is the furthering of the relationship between Sapiens and Being.

[i] Martin Heidegger, THE QUESTION CONCERNING TECHNOLOGY AND OTHER ESSAYS, p. 54

The Dangers of Framing and Anthropocentrism

Idealism tells us that our reality is a result of anthropocentric framing. There are inherent dangers in both of these reality forming processes.

Framing creates a false sense of completion and threatens to create the lethargy of there’s nothing left to learn. This problem requires creativity in order to turn the framing process into an eternal search beyond the frame itself, even before the frame has been established. It is useful here to inculcate the idea of the Infinite Universe, and that the real/impossible task of framing is to frame the infinite.

As for anthropocentricism, there is a danger of perceiving ourselves as lords of the Earth, as if the Earth were created for us, rather than the exact opposite. We were created for the universe. As such, the idea of seeing humans as Sapiens is not an anthropocentric one. Quite the opposite, humanity as Sapiens becomes a necessary ingredient for allowing Being to come about in the universe. But this does not mean that the universe exists for us, rather we exist to take care of it.

BEING AND MEANING

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Knowledge is a metaphysical element, for knowing and being-known are immanent in the Universe’s being-here – or in other words, knowledge is immanent in Being. Because of its relation to knowledge, Being is not that which is, but is constantly becoming as knowledge advances. Knowledge provides clues for meaning, but it also springs from a primordial need to find meaning. Meaning, as such, is the Alpha and Omega of knowledge. It encircles knowledge. This also means that Being and Meaning are entwined, Meaning being the prime mover. Through knowledge, Being and Meaning are also wrapped up in Sapiens organisms and Sapiens can only be fulfilled through this fulfilment of Meaning by uncovering knowledge. Likewise, humanity as a Sapiens entity, can only be fulfilled by the uncovering of knowledge as well.

Epistemology should be an elementary subject of study in a Sapiens’ education system, which sounds absurd. Yet, does that absurdity not merely indicate how deeply disconnected we are from our Sapiens nature?

The three pillars of traditional epistemology: 1) know that; 2) know how, and 3) become acquainted with something – by gaining knowledge of it. But before we can really know, perhaps the wisest course is to discover “why?”. To do that we must firstly search for the meaning of Meaning.

NOTES ON HEIDEGGER, BEING, AND THINKING

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For Heidegger, the human is used by Being through its thinking. The human essence is therefore reflected through genuine thinking (as homo sapiens), which is what connects the human with Being.

Our idea is that life originates from non-Being in a wilful or meaningful way in order to make Being out of a universe perceived. In this way the Sapiens enriches Being through perceiving, knowing and understanding it.

Heidegger associated this with the concept of the caretaker, or the caretaking hand that shapes Being through its perception and understanding of it. This care of Being is carried out through the Sapiens’ technology of language.

Heidegger called language: the House of Being, and it is through language that the Universe is known and understood. It is through language that Sapiens has become Sapiens, and it would be impossible to imagine Sapiens without a properly functional language. Being, then, is caught up with being-described: described after it has been uncovered. An unveiling that takes place through perception or intuition – through presencing or through imagination. The tremendous importance of Sapiens’ relationship to Being and hence to the Universe, depends on Sapiens’ objectivity and, subsequently, its alienation from reality. In order for Sapiens to fulfil itself, it must step aside from reality and its natural drives in order to preserve it and imagine it from all angles.

It is therefore a Sapiens delusion to see ourselves as the protagonists here. Nevertheless, we are the creators of the Reason for Being of the Universe, created by the Universe to instil and guarantee that reason. Sapiens is the centre of reality that is standing aside, slightly askew from reality, and will have to position itself at a further obliquity if it is to properly uncover and describe everything and shape reality accordingly.

The Sublime

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The sublime experience is one which is elevated and inspires awe. Some would say, an experience that touches us or moves us deeply. Many would say that the experience of the sublime is a feeling that behind the phenomena lies some substantial but inaccessible thing – like God, for instance. Because of this the sublime is often put forward as an example to demonstrate the presence of God in our lives. But, we think this is a total misreading of the sublime.

In fact, the experience of the sublime is not that which points toward the inaccessible at all. The experience of the sublime is really a discovery of the real substantiality of things. What the sublime experience tells us is that there is a substantiality in all things, but habit and closeness have robbed us of the magic of it. A magic which is really based in the simple fact that we are perceiving it.

The first great miracle of the Universe is that it exists. The second great miracle – almost more miraculous still – is that we can perceive it. And the greatest miracle of all is that we know we perceive it. The sublime is the experience of knowing that we perceive existence, and that that is a miracle. It has nothing to do with God.

When we see the light behind the grotesque or the beauty in the monster’s interior, we are making a leap from our subjective prejudice to the universal perception. All sublime feeling is an immersion in the universal, whether that be the universality of our species or the universality of the Universe itself. The sublime is a perceiving that suddenly blasts out of a state of not-perceiving. A great work of art can move us in a sublime way on repeated occasions because it is always opening up different doors for us to perceive things from. However, the sublime sensation of the work will not be generated if we have it hanging on our living room wall or if it is a recording that we listen to every day. The sublime has to be a surprise, a way of snapping us out of our subjectivity. Sometimes it can be an absolute shock, as if we were suddenly pushed under water at a moment of complete lethargy when we had practically forgotten we were even floating.

NEUROSIS: OUR PARODIXICAL REALITY

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The power and meaningfulness of paradox is embedded in the unity of its own greatest contradiction: Paradox is something that reveals and conceals at the same time. But this could also be a definition of reality itself. Reality is something that reveals and conceals and hence, reality has a paradoxical nature.

It is certainly true of the reality propagated by the System. The System reveals and conceals. Watch the nightly news and that which is unveiled is at the same time concealing just as much information, if not more. In the same way, at the same time that we discover things we also repress our awareness of other things. Concentration opens our eyes to minute details by blurring the forms around it. This is not a contradiction but rather a paradoxical reality.

To find another example let us examine the psychological or psycho-pathological state of our society and consider the existence of neurosis. At the subjective level, neurosis is a removal of the individual’s narrative from public communication. However, on the social or macro-psychological level, it is the public communication that has become senseless to the individual. Alienation is the cause of neurosis and an alienating society will breed neurotics. Nevertheless, in the case of neurotic illness quite the opposite takes place: society sees the neurotic as ill and the neurotics will see that “illness” in themselves because the  society reflects it at them. But whose fault is it when someone feels disconnected from society: the fault of the neurotic or of the system that creates neurosis? In our System, it is a neurotic splitting of discourse from meaning that alienates the individual, not a particular moral weakness or infirm nervous system in the neurotics themselves. Nevertheless, the fact that society creates neurotics is not considered an important criticism of the structure of society itself. There are no political party agendas dedicated to the eradication of neurosis, because, in order to do such a thing a complete rethinking and restructuring of the fabric of society would be required. The existence of neurotics condemns the failures of society and yet the condemnation is covered up and loaded upon the victim. The truth concerning neurosis is therefore embedded in the mystification of its paradoxical nature and only by looking for the paradox that encloses the problem are we really able to see it.

It is the discovery of the paradox that allows for the unveiling of the real. Always search for the paradoxical nature of things, even when, or especially when, things seem perfectly straight forward.