Thursday, February 2, 2017

Reason, Sameness, and the possibility of a Conceptual Elucidation of Thinking 

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The lectures on the sentence of Leibniz which speaks of the “mighty” principle of reason, when we reach the eleventh lecture, and the sixth paragraph, says: 

The above-mentioned assumption that the history of thinking rests in the Geschick of being is not a personal opinion, but a reception of being. That this is so shows itself with a certain transparency if we briefly reflect on something that we indeed have already intimated, even mentioned, yet till now have not explicitly discussed. Of all the difficult things to grasp in this world it is the most difficult to grasp because it lies closest to us, insofar as it is ourselves. 

On occasion one should attempt to do the actual work of philosophy, which remains meaningless to whoever lacks the sensitivity in the detail. An especially skillful competence, must, at length come to deal with the matters of thought. One should not be surprised that what is of most interest in the degenerate universities, the professional schools, aimed at nothing more than creating fit members of a profession, nothing is attempted in this direction, nor even inkled at. Most of all there is no training towards thought, since its art is not a matter of use to society, or a matter of productivity or anything else. Usually, what is cultivated is a certain ability to give literary accounts, or cafe accounts, of the philosophy, such that nothing is said beyond mere things produced at a keyboard. The universal mediocrity is not the worst thing, since philosophy itself is not a game of numbers, and not like digging a ditch, where two can generally, and for the most part, work faster than one. Every great philosophy must come to be an art in the splendid distinctness of a solitary thinking.    

How are we to locate this way of considering “ourselves”? What is ruled out from the beginning is taking what stands before one, as some thing that can be stood alongside something else, to be ourselves. All things are, according to the ancient view, contrasted with the logos. In this sense one speaks of nature and convention. If we measure the leap of a flea, how high it can jump, we learn something about an object in nature, about the whole or all things. We would then be able to put down an inductive fact, the flea jumped as high as a certain stone (one I have in my possession, for example). This holds just as well when a mathematical model becomes the measure which is a unit used to reckon. Whenever we learn about the whole we have to have a manner of reckoning that keeps and holds the thing learned, in a way that outlasts the basis of an individual induction. If several facts about the whole are measured by the same standard they require that we already understand this sameness in a specific manner such that it allows matters of great disimilarity, or separated in time by indefinite lifetimes, to come into a unity: the Sky. 

What seems to be closest to us is this Sky, though it is not yet ourselves. The storm of Becoming has always already Become. What is part of the turbulent and various mass of all things is already
Become like everything, in each lifetime, in the eternal and true. Insofar as we speak of the Geschick we do not speak of Earth and Sky in the manner of presenting the “same” to ourselves as a reason. That a certain manner of calculating the movement of bodies does the same thing now as it did at some other time brings this Sky into our midst, such that it talks to us and tells us something that guides us. This same is the reason why we are increasing our basis for induction through the gathering of more of what is known. When understood this way, the basis of knowledge is a matter of the objective, of how things that stand before one act in terms of other things that stand before us. As ourselves in the way mentioned in what is cited above, this is not what stands before us. Rather, only if we understand ourselves already as a surrounding I, which somehow dominates the things amidst the all, do we think this way. When one really thinks about it there is nothing out there that without further thought lends itself to this perfect surrounding. G. C.
Lichtenberg says: “All mathematical laws which we find in Nature are always suspect to me, in spite of their beauty. They give me no pleasure. They are merely auxiliaries. At close range it is all not true.”    

The statement of Lichtenberg is really a judgment passed on all objectification of the object. The enigmatic character of the world as it stands before us, and we in it, is not like that. In this sense when one speaks of the “is” as the “copula of a sentence” one says the thing that is not. Yet, this Element is generally only experienced, thought, as this or that thought of what it is like to be amidst the enigmatic character, which itself, periodically interposes itself amidst the regularity of habit. Habit is characterised by a kind of homelike character which ultimately gives rise to the sense that life is about a sort of game, or, put another way, various readily available aspirations and plans, great and small, immediate and set further ahead by years. Or, on the other hand, the habit appears as something to be overcome in the favour of ever renewing streams of new capabilities. Wittgenstein thus understands the game as a serious matter, such that it brings the enigmatic character into relief, set off against the something that can be investigated in the enumeration of the characteristic of games, and, what is the same, the concept of the game. Thusly he shows the Sky as it floats over the falling Nothing of the enigmatic character of what is always again lighted on by thought as it merely goes about experiencing what is always essentially finite though known, distinctly, to be finite because of the way it is lighted in the Sky. The Geschick speaks of the breach of Sky and what Sky makes intelligible. But does the Geschick bring us to “ourselves”? What remains of the inner fact of existence, that which Kant said was not a matter of experience, is the enigmatic character of what is, which is not adequately explained by the surrounding of or by the plunging into. The plunging into is the subject matter of Bergson, when he speaks of the unitary as over and against the many moments. 


The objectifying character of the thing always uses a lever to stand on the side of the moon that can never be seen from the world. Something in its sameness reveals its hidden inner character. Whereas the plunging in its absurd red transmutations, in the heat of its restless turbulence, either is destroyed or reaches back into the possibility of regularity as a sustaining and a keeping of itself. 

What should be explicated, in order to trigger thinking, which must be separated from phenomenology, is the “same” as the reason in the way that lets us think what Thinking says, in a way that it says something more like the enigmatic character and less like the Sky. Cognition always knows things in a definite way, according to the Laws of Thought, such that it lays down sentences like laws. Whearase thought also picks things up that are not, as Wittgenstein said, known very definitely. For instance in connection to the question of the Logical Positivist' opinion, Wittgenstein says something like, if I say something without a very definite idea of what I am saying do I speak nonsense, do I say nothing? If speaking is understood as saying what is there, this takes on a peculiar power of revealing or unveiling. Of saying what is there. The nature of the logos begins to speak to “ourselves”, or to tell us, as though it were not aware of the matter of nature. If logos can be thought as speaking being, it overturns the order of phusis and logos, but it does so only in so far as it points to the Geschick, as something that lights. It doesn't bring one to what Being would be, so to say, without Da-sein. One should keep in mind that this question of the without us, in the work called Heidegger, speaks in a very unusual way, and not in the manner of the question about the objectivity of the object in its independent existence as what is determined by relations of ontic activity.  

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