22-09-09

Widerlegung des Idealismus

"Das blosse, aber empirisch bestimmte, Bewusstsein meiner eigenen Daseins beweiset das Dasein der Gegenstände im Raum ausser mir." I. Kant, Kritik der Reinen Vernunft, Reklam, 1966, p. 304.

(amateuristic English translation below - but an official one won't be that hard to find!)


I mean: "Ha!" & "Do you believe it now?". Kidding aside, it is a bit of a coincidence I found this back. I didn't even mark the page when I first read it. But it's timely. Now I am finally developing a taste for a severe form of scepticism, I need the strongest of antidotes in order not to loose myself (and maybe yourselves) in mysticism, or, & worse, relativism.

(The reason, by the way, that I didn't mark the page is because my younger me did not appreciate yet that everything else comes first and only then comes your self. It is not the strongest juvenile intuition to relativize; let alone to relativize one's self. I have to be honest here, and add to this rather poetical reason this prosaic matter of fact: I don't buy the proof the great man gives of this theorem. I simply don't see a sustainable sense in all this time-space stuff; it's of a naïve physicalism that got ad nauseam repetition in the 20th century.)

So with this 'between brackets' out of the way I can link the truth of the statement in with a more proper basis for it. A basis that leaves much more room for scepticism & the like than an overly realist physical interpretation of the above - in a sense it is a closure of some sort to what I've written here to date. It's a closure of the type which fixes one point for sure and thereby leaves the rest of the field as open as possible, as open as I intuitively think it is (& not just 'is' but 'has to be', precisely because of the point that is fiwed).

It's as remarked of Carnap here before (click the tag 'Carnap', then take the 1 entry that has been written before this entry): in order to have a psychology of self, one is to start with the psychology of others (yes!, behaviorism and all that). Where I don't know about time and space, and all of those other handy notions for the analytically minded, I do know it's simply inconceivable to talk of myself without first witnessing, and witnessing the talking, of others that are definitely not myself. More extremely: it's inconceivable to imagine talking without first witnessing someone else talking to yet another someone else (even if the latter someone else, on reflection, turns out to be yourself). Let me venture this: the existence of others (implying other things, by a very flexible standard of thing-ness) is a synthetic a priori, whether analytically minded dominant cultures like that or not (the basis of any purely rational systems of thought are, indeed, necessarily arbitrary or, with another word, mystical).

So that's my programme: find a reason to deprogram the many religious and quasi-religious systems of convictions about many minute details and replace it with fuzzy, but absolutely certain, foundations; then establish on this foundation a morality that only assumes that it is good to try to further the firmness, universality and extent of that foundation (hence Habermas, for instance; hence, Darwinian treatment of ideas with open-ended evolution); and finally, allow the life to be lived, in matters of flesh as well as in matters of thought. Freely, only constrained by the integrity, physical as well as mental, of others (and consequently of ourselves). Hence Bergson's spirit - & enter Humean moral relativism with solid unshakeable foundations.

If I only had the time to treat of it all without having to hurry and blabber and quite probably making an utter fool of myself in some isolated statements ;-(


"The mere, but still empirically given, awareness of my own existence proves the existence of things in the space outside of me."


Whilst writing this I was listening to Cosey Fanni Tutti, Time To Tell

21:53 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: kant, self, universals, convergence, decadence |  Facebook |

14-02-09

The Marriage

"Maar doodslaan deed hij niet, want tusschen droom en daad
staan wetten in de weg en praktische bezwaren,
en ook weemoedigheid, die niemand kan verklaren,
en die des avonds komt, wanneer men slapen gaat."

Willem Elsschot, 'Het Huwelijk', Verzameld Werk, Van Kampen en Zoon NV, 1957, p. 737.

(amateuristic English translation below)


Something in the above will forever bug me, so let me respond in kind (alas not - at all - in quality).

Melancholy

Sometimes, between going-to and falling-a sleep,
there is that instant
(lying horizontally)
when you, elsewhere, are tall and the world so small;
a giant but far from a tyrant.

That is the moment
(rising vertically)
you only just succeed
in fighting of the sleep,
barely awake but havin' a ball,
fucking fuzzlessly brilliant.

The moment all's perfect, all's silent
Day-dream at night, no struggle, fright or fight,
All is explanation, 18 carats imagination.

Unfelt then, the figment felt at dawn
of having felt, if only faintly, god damned fantastic.

Then it dawned, indeed it dawned.
Nobody damned, not even to brilliance.
The epiphany an anomaly, a black hole,
computing error, divide by zero & you: no hero.

Romance is rotten, melancholy mental masturbation!

Left to your own devices
you produce your worst advises.
You were sound asleep
now back to everyday's upkeep.
Uphill again, not necessarily steep;
of no use to heed that instant
of being a born-again infant.

Not close and certainly no cigar: a bit of prose to say 'but still:'

But still one needs to take every moment of inspiration. The problem is only there if one makes it into a mystery (& 'weemoed' isn't quite melancholy). When intention & action get separated, this becomes a problem for any marriage & not in the least for the marriage between your passion and your reason (The marriage that you call 'I').

But that is all in the quoted poem and it is not in the quoting poem so you'd do well to get familiar with Elsschot - he did not die a bitter man because he considered it & dismissed the case because he could imagine it without only imagining himself.


"But slaying her he did not do, for between dream and deed
laws stand in the way and practical concerns,
and a melancholy, whose explanation no-one ever learns,
which comes at night, when one goes to sleep."


Whilst writing this I was listening to: Davie Allan & The Arrwos, Cycle Breed & Fred Lane, 'from the one that cut you'.

13:19 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: elsschot, self, intention, imagination, tones |  Facebook |

29-12-08

On Education

" (..) but we have only to proceed in improving our civil polity, conferring the benefits of education upon all, (..) and we may be quite sure that the effect to which I look forward, and which can alone render these advantages permanent, will follow." Malthus, An essay on the Principle of Population, Cambridge University Press 1992, p. 358.

"As long as the nations of Europe continue barbarous enough to purchase slaves in Africa, we may be quite sure that Africa will continue barbarous enough to supply them." ibid., p. 364.


Before wandering off again on more analytical slumberings, there is something that I felt I needed to say on practical politics. There is, luckily, the irreversible evolution towards universal adoption in theory at least of universal human rights. But, unluckily enough, there's a double problem of uncritical extension of these rights including all benefits deemed acquired in the Western wellfare state, combined with, prohibitively impractical attitudes towards their universal adoption in actual practice.

Any situation in which the amount and extent of universals is unduely blown out of a reasonable proportion can only lead, as a matter of fact, to irrational emotions (that are, in turn, the gravest threats to the actual universal rights). On the other hand, it is unfortunately so that a companion problem of demanding anything sub-standard to be rectified ipso facto in a binary way aggravates these emotions to this point we all know too well of claiming to be the purest - thereby reducing the universal rights to an instrument to the benefit of irrational emotions rather than: the true target of sane policy.

The problem is one of education. Rather: it is a double problem of education.

There is a lack of education in a happy few secularized and economically developed states on the actual principles underlying the universal rights. Politicians are left too unchallenged bandying about these universal rights as a matter of faith, more often than not making these universal rights subservient to some or other particular faith as per the tradition of their parents. The rational grounding of these rights is rarely mentioned such that citizens in these countries don't appreciate the freestanding & noble independence of these rights. At bottom these rational grounds aren't taught precisely because the critical discussion of these grounds is left to intellectual elites (and one thinks 'so called' almost implicitly with this concept) only to pour scorn on them for not merely accepting these secular rights out of some sort of secular faith quite like the faith in the revealed truths of the various religions.

Obviously there is even more of a lack of education in the developing world. Not in all but some extreme cases there is not only a lack of education because of a lack of means or a lack of education on the part of the parents but there's government ban on education (mostly of specific groups, these groups mostly oonsisting of the females). This lack is the real problem - if we could remedy the education gap, the consequently educated would no doubt remedy the rest of the gap - and that's the thing I wanted to discuss. There is a hierarchy of universal human rights & stability and food and lodging (and all of those other Biblical things) are not the top of it - not even the familiar political rights of a secular society or at the top of it. There's only education that can top that list.

So there: the practical solution lies in reapplying Malthus' slavery quote to the present case. We can only expect to see improvement there if we educate and criticize here. We can only support from here when we discriminate foreign governments primarily on the basis of a real push there to improve education to the local citizens. Only by learning to learn things independently can human beings be expected to create an independent mind; only with an independent mind can human beings be truely called human.

Voilà!


Whilst writing this I was listening to Massive Attack, Safe from Harm.

22:21 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: language, optimism, malthus, dynamics, universals |  Facebook |