Husserl’s Philosophy-Science

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In his essay, Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man, Edmund Husserl rightly associated the origins of the spiritual with the scientific investigations of the early Greek philosophers. Philosophy is an all-encompassing discipline and, like spirituality, it is concerned with the whole. In order to highlight this process, which has almost been rendered invisible by Judeo-Christian concepts of duality, demanding a necessary division of the scientific from the spiritual, Husserl coined the term philosophy-science.

For Husserl, philosophy-science is a way of thinking which, if inculcated in society, would create a new historicity. We would add that this historicity would, in effect, be the beginning of an authentic human history as such, for it would be the first time that humanity has propelled itself forward for its own cause and with purely environing, spiritual intentions rather than empirically dominating or acclimatising ones.

Husserl argued that scientific achievements have a different kind of temporality to other cultural commodities:

“They do not wear out, they are imperishable … what scientific activity achieves is not real but ideal.”[1]

Ideal achievements are those that give substance to the environing. But science doesn’t guarantee environing; it is an impulse pushing us toward the creation of the Utopia, but if the impulse isn’t taken up by the organising forces and institutions of society itself, then the achievements of science will remain in the banal field of acclimatisation.

Only by embracing a philosophical-science teleology will scientists truly advance toward Culture (with a capital C, by which we mean an authentically human culture). Once embraced though, validities procured through science will be found as material to feed ideals on an even higher level and progress will unfold through becoming and growing in a snowballing fashion of passive accumulation:

“Thus science designates the idea of an infinity of tasks, of which at any time a finite number have already been accomplished and are retained in their enduring validity.”[2]

An enduring validity that creates a permanence running through the ever-changing, always-developing act of becoming.

Knowledge has a quality of permanence and conservation, while at the same time it is the fuel for imagination and the motor for all progressive, transformative change. The scientific telos streams all radiating tasks in the direction of the simple, all-embracing job. Each demonstration of validity is important, if not essential, in the holistic creation of the whole and in the progress towards the understanding and validation of everything that is needed to transform everything in a positive fashion.

Validation comes through the process of making it valid – validity rests itself, therefore, in becoming rather than in being. The desired end is itself impossible to ever really group because absolute Becoming can never ever Be:

“Scientific truth claims to be unconditioned truth, which involves infinity, giving to each factually guaranteed truth a merely relative character, making it only an approach, oriented … toward the infinite horizon, wherein the truth in itself is, so to speak, looked on as an infinitely distant point.”[3]

The infinitely distant nature of that which really is. Infinitely distant but also always actual. The future must always pass through the present. The end depends on the actual.

“Scientific culture, in accord with the ideas of infinity, means, then, a revolutionising of all culture, a revolution that affects man’s whole manner of being as a creator of culture. It means a revolutionising of historicity, which is now the history of finite humanity’s disappearance, to the extent that it grows into a humanity with infinite tasks.”[4]

This growth began with the beginnings of philosophy, when: “man becomes the disinterested spectator, overseer of the world.”[5] But, in an historical sense, we must ask ourselves if we have actually progressed since the classical age of the Greeks, or are we in a process of retrocession? Environing itself has slid into the quagmire of economical environing, developing elaborate macro theories around abstract actions of exchange that have fashioned a competitive and aggressive world based on production for consumption. A world that has very little benefit for neither humanity as a whole nor the world we are overseers of. In this economic world there is very little place for philosophy or for human Culture. Humanity and the world are suffering because of that. Obviously we have our answer to the above question: historically we are lost in a dangerous process of retrocession. A retrocession that will lead to a point of no-return in which we will drop into an abyss of nihilism if Culture and the philosophy it was born from are not allowed to find an historical impetus to push them back into the significance gained by their involvement in the environing world again.

Our world is acclimatised and environed. It is moulded through our practical needs and through our theoretical impulses. However, when the theoretical itself becomes a pragmatism, then the environing process curls back into acclimatisation, thwarting all human progress. This is what happens when the environing is driven by theories of economics.

Money is an abstraction which we cannot seem to live without, and though its inception was to simplify the complexities of exchange it has become something far more important, becoming the a priori of all possible exchanges and hence the a priori of all possible activities. Now, before anything can be done, it seems, money must be taken into consideration.

Because of this, we believe that a successful implementation of Culture can only be possible if we are capable of rethinking our relationship with money: analysing the dictatorial role it plays on our lives and liberating arms that are stifled by that dictatorship in order to allow Humanity to flourish. To achieve this, philosophy-science needs to be applied to the economy in order to create an economic system that is humanly ethical.

[1] Edmund Husserl, PHILOSOPHY AND THE CRISIS OF EUROPEAN MAN, 1935, p.6

[2] Ibid, p.7

[3] ibid

[4] Ibid, p.8

[5] Ibid

LAW AND DESIRE

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Law represses desire. But how could such a thing come about? What must the society fear in order to control precisely what we crave for? Is it a fear of the desire, or of what the desire consumes? Isn’t the negative force of desire this power to burn up everything that gets in its way?

It is what can be destroyed by desire that makes it so feared, and we need to remind ourselves of that. We, who have bent all laws for the spirit of freedom, for the unshackling and unleashing of desires. We must now contemplate what might be the real price to pay for our daring. We consume the world that engenders and supports us. We consume more than we need, with the simple justification that we are feeding our emancipation. However, liberation from necessity can only create a greater necessity.

Law does not repress desire enough. The definition of vice has to be amplified to include the unnecessary consumption, exploitation or degradation of anything which is necessary for human well-being or survival. Natural resources are obvious candidates for protection against their over-exploitation, but it’s time now to nip the canker at the bud. It’s time to declare the abuse of money as a vice.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE STATE THROUGH SCIENCE

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We know from biology that states do not evolve into a better form either consciously or through an internal logic, but that natural selection is determined by exterior, environmental needs. If there is no environmental need to evolve, there is no need for natural selection. If the species’ existence is not threatened there is no need for it to change in any radical way, let alone improve itself. So, evolution is a question of need.

We think this same observation can be applied to social change. It is the environmental crisis which will necessitate a social evolution that will pull us away from the militaristic industrial and theological society we are dominated by now toward a kind of society that is equipped to deal with the current ecological crisis that threatens us with extinction.

If society is to evolve toward something that can adapt to ecological imperatives without regressing culturally and technologically, that evolution has to be led by a force that understands the imperatives we are adapting to. And what force is that? Science, of course.

The ecological nature of the crisis implies a revolution towards the moral authority of science. The moral authority of science? What is that? Doesn’t experience tell us that the “truth” of science is easily manipulated? We have seen how easy it is to make scientific arguments pale into the white background of relativity when economic or political motives need to be sceptical about certain scientific information. For a scientific morality to exist it must be equally vigilant of its own truths as it is of its grasp of the laws of the universe.

Science has always been a driving force behind all intellectual revolutions and only through its absence and/or manipulation have regimes been able to perpetuate their horrendous crimes and anti-humanitarian practices. Sure science is used by the military to advance their weaponry and authority. Likewise it has been used to exterminate the enemies of intransigent regimes and to spy on and control the citizens of those regimes. Any revolution through science, therefore, would have to be an un-anchoring of science from the military and industrial-theological powers that those militaries protect.

But, how could that be? To imagine a military without technology is absurd. Why would power give up what it needs to protect itself? So, we reason, if we are going to achieve this un-anchoring, we have to take it by force –and so the perverse cycle seems to be maintained. The only way to dislodge power is by force, creating a military substitute for the industrial-theological-military regime that we had. Naturally, this cannot be a solution.

The only way we can imagine an evolution to take place, rather than a violent revolution which would basically be a conservative return to the same, will be through a morally maturing process of the scientists themselves. Only when scientists have become a moral class will science be able to evolve the state, society, and hence, humanity.