THINKING

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That we all think: this is what unites us and separates us. We all think – we are the same. But, how we think and what we think about – that is what separates us. However, while we are thinking, we are human; and when we stop thinking and act on instinct or by muddled logic, we are not acting in a completely human way.

The quality of humanity depends on the quality of our thinking.

Can we imagine, therefore, a quality of life based on quality of thought? For example: this place is good because it is conducive to clear thinking; that job is bad, for it does not allow us time to think; this other activity is good because it clears the muddled mind and opens spaces to think deeply in again. In such a quality-of-thought world, we would look for, and create, climates that are conducive to thinking; design cities that help us think.

The leaders of such a society would be chosen according to their merits as capable and clear thinkers who develop other thinkers and create a thoughtful society via their own thoughts. If we as a species are the animals that know; the homo sapiens; because we think; then having a world leader who makes decisions without thinking them through, is an absurdity. That this occurs, is a perversion of humanity that demonstrates that our present human condition is an anti-sapiens one, and, therefore anti-human. Humanity can only be rediscovered and societies can only become human again by thinking clearly about what we are and where we are going.

Thinking is an active way out of the decadent cycle of the simulacra culture in which we are immersed.[1]

How many of our best thoughts do we ourselves strangle or, at best, keep tightly locked away. Now, it’s time to let our good thoughts breathe, driven by human purposiveness itself rooted in thinking. It’s time to make thinking synonymous with an affirmation of the human and a negation of the anti-human.

What do you think?

[1] See our previous article DECADENCE AND STAGNATION: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/decadence-stagnation/

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JIGSAW PUZZLES – THINKING ABOUT THINKING

If the purpose of thinking is to uncover the hiddenness of Being, how does thinking about thinking help in fulfilling the deepest aims of the human condition as Sapiens? Thinking about thinking can uncover the traps that thinking plays on us when it convinces us that we know. Thinking about thinking is necessary in order to objectify our thought, to objectify the way we objectify reality. This objectification is necessary for all learning which is primarily subjective: the first relationship we have with the word is as an appropriation of that world through the entrapment of reality that takes place as soon as we frame it within our own perception. So, thinking about thinking has to take into account the limits of that framing in order to conceive of a greater enframing[i].

This could be explained through the metaphor of the jigsaw puzzle. A subjective experience that is not deeply thought about can create a piece of the jigsaw, but it has no idea of the larger frame into which that piece can be purposefully slotted if we want to complete the puzzle. Or in other words, without deep thought about life and about how our lives are or should be conceived, we throw ourselves into the game, but without the box to guide us. We have the pieces but no idea of how the finished product should look. So, in order to complete the puzzle we need to first of all try and create a mental construct from the pieces of what the overall picture could be. If there is a lot of sky blue, then the picture is probably an outdoor scene. Can we find any grass, or rocks? Etc..

Having the pieces of the jigsaw is not enough. We need to look for the bigger picture before we can hope to slot it all together. And in order to do that we need to think about what we are thinking about.

[i] One of Martin Heidegger’s terms. See especially his essays from the The Question Concerning Technology

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.

BETWEEN BIRTH AND DEATH

penrose_prison

Where is the freedom

Between birth and death

In the illumination between birth and death

Where is the freedom?

 

Open your eyes into the light

Close them and blackness fills

 

Our prisons are walls, or bars, or desert island insulations

Cells can be cages, or boxes, or bags, or homes

We are trapped in tunnels, or caves, on roads or rivers

Prisons can be of flesh

Or they can be of families

The tyrant gaoler father mother sister brother teacher boss

Ruler or friend, lover or foe

Prison is an isolation or a multitude

Retard movement in a restricting suit

With rope or chains or behind a steel locked door

Prisons impede

Impede your progress

Your ability to leave

Only mentally can you escape

 

Homo Sapiens: I think therefore I know

I know therefore I’m free

 

But the multitude is a different prison

A lobotomising gaol that dresses you

In the way it wants you to be dressed

That nourishes you

With the junk it wants you to have

 

The multitude is a prison of thinkers that do not know

Ostrich-head minds that do not want to see

Anti-sensory sapiens that refuse wisdom

 

Our boots are heavy with the mud of life

As we wade through the stress filled swamp of an imaginary illumination

There is no freedom there

 

Prisoners to the techno monsters that master us

We struggle so hard to buy our way in to the gaol

 

There is no freedom there

Unless you find the door

 

Everyone has a door to open

Hidden from them by the multitude

Under its thick curtain of economy

And the culture of money

But the exit is there if you are capable of uncovering it

 

You are Homo Sapiens: You think therefore you know

You know therefore you’re free

 

Imagine Rodin’s statuesque Thinker

Sitting on a backdoor key

That will unlock the exit and free him from the trap that

Is this ridiculous anti-human space

Between birth and death

THE IMPORTANCE OF METAPHYSICS


Multiverse

We’ve had a century in which philosophy and its life-long partner, metaphysics, have been divorced. The result has been an abandoning of the big questions and the age of nihilism that had to be a necessary consequence of such a rupture. In fact we could define nihilism as a condition in which the big questions are not allowed to be asked. What we gain from this separation is a certain liberation from theological speculations and so many of the absurd dogmas and superstitions that religions propagate, but- what we lose is a serious vision of existence and our direction forward. In short, we lose our meaningfulness in the deep sense. “Vanity of vanities” was the great nihilistic statement.

Nevertheless, metaphysical thinking hasn’t ceased, in fact it’s healthier than ever in what are the most unlikely places: in the halls of science. It is the scientists – the quantum physicists and cosmologists – who are now speculating on the origin of things and all the multiplicity that has grown from that origin like never before. An example of this can be seen in this TED talk by Brian Greene:

 

or this other by Martin Rees:

It is this scientific community now who are obsessed with the big questions: what are we?; where have we come from?; where are we going? Ideas of fine tuning in the universe, or multiverse, leave fertile ground for religious thought, but the new ideas are usually coming forward from atheists who see no real, scientific reason for wavering from their godless universe conceptions. A multiverse idea implies that if there have been endless amounts of universes, eventually one of them will have to work. In an infinity, our existence is a mathematically certainty.

But this reduction, or expansion, of our necessary reality created by the mathematical necessities of infinity doesn’t have to diminish the meaningfulness of our existence. Even if purpose is accidentally formed, when we find it we must not only acknowledge it, but embrace it and rejoice in it.

Real purpose may lie in something as simple as: Being is in our perception of it. Philosophy has always hovered around this point: a point that became quickly confused and obfuscated by the idea of God.

For philosophy to be able to think metaphysically again God had to be removed from the equation. Metaphysics had to be separated from God not annihilated along with God’s elimination.

However, it seems that metaphysics is a stronger element than 20th century philosophy credited it to be and new metaphysical and teleological theories are being born in quantum and cosmological discoveries. This metaphysical renaissance of meaning into the fabric of science must bring about a return to the idea of philosophy in its purest form… the pre-Socratic purity of the big questions.

POST DATA:

Kant’s idea of Metaphysics, as expressed in his Critique of Pure Reason, is quite interesting to consider in this context. In the penultimate chapter of the second edition he wrote :

Metaphysic is divided into that of the speculative and that of the practical use of pure reason, and is, accordingly, either the metaphysic of nature, or the metaphysic of ethics. The former contains all the pure rational principles—based upon conceptions alone (and thus excluding mathematics)—of all theoretical cognition; the latter, the principles which determine and necessitate a priori all action. Now moral philosophy alone contains a code of laws—for the regulation of our actions—which are deduced from principles entirely a priori. Hence the metaphysic of ethics is the only pure moral philosophy, as it is not based upon anthropological or other empirical considerations. The metaphysic of speculative reason is what is commonly called metaphysic in the more limited sense. But as pure moral philosophy properly forms a part of this system of cognition, we must allow it to retain the name of metaphysic, although it is not requisite that we should insist on so terming it in our present discussion.

The metaphysics of nature is investigated in the sciences, in particular in cosmology and quantum physics. But from the discoveries made by that cosmology there needs to be a philosophical investigation, a Metaphysics of Ethics, in order to point to what the end-goals of humanity should be by investigating what humanity ought to be, and thereby, where we ought to be going.