Category: The Ontology Project
A colleague of mine passed away yesterday. My relationship with him began while he was at Interval Research circa 1996. This link is to a paper of his written shortly after we met on the basis of my interest in relational over functional description.
When we speak of what oneself or any particular person or kin-group is in any real or permanent sense, we are speaking of what is of our, his or her, or their being. To speak of what is in us which is not of our being is to speak of that which is acquired from time and place. That is a distinction, ontologically speaking, between the content of the present and the absent, and between the conscious in any intentionally holistic sense and the mechanistic, and also between authentic Dasien and false Dasein - all just perspectives on the same truth (and not the only ones).
Now, taking this distinction as the essential field of ontology, preceding and underlying all philosophy and also all esoteric religious practise, we must conclude that it is, therefore, the essential field of a nationalist ontology as well. Indeed it is clearly so, since nationalist critique of the liberal ontology is very much that “what is acquired” from liberal modernity - from the kind of life we in the West live today - is a reduced and debased condition of the self. Precisely because of this, nationalists have used political power, when they have had it, to curtail freedom, democracy and egalitarianism, and thereby sweep away as much of liberalism as possible.
GW has expressed the constraint:
DanielS has expressed the constraint:
An approach offered by John Harland is to admit the historicity of Jesus in His essential mythic image as descendant of God evidenced in his own over-ruling of texts with direct bodily connection with God as Father, but to deny the historicity of the extant texts—deny them as yet another means by which dastards attempt to interpose themselves between the God-heritage of individuals and their Father, in spirit and flesh.
Ridicule of Harland’s own editing of the texts to suit his view may be conducted only at the sacrifice of the two constraints establishing the context of this presentation. Offer a superior approach if you don’t like Harland’s—either that or declare folly the entire effort to connect with the spiritual force of Christianity.
Click this link for a pdf document containing part of Harland’s account starting with “The Germans” (in the anthropological sense meaning what many identify as Celtic and Nordic pagans of the pre-Christian era), “The Catholic Church Promotes Judeo-Christianity”, “The First Breaking Apart of the Church Serpent” (regarding Henry VIII and Martin Luther), “A Further Break From the Serpent” (regarding the establishment of America), “The Strange Phenomenon of ‘Money-Mad’ Americans” (regarding the closing of the frontier and replacement of Nature and Nature’s God with money-based “culture”), “The American Dream” (the commodification, by conspirators, of the American spiritual renaissance), “The German Reich” (the parallel processes occurring in what became the nation state known as “Germany” during the 1800s leading up to WW I), “The World Picture After WW I” (the situation leading up to WW II) and the concluding section of this pdf document is “The Second World War”.
The entire book is “Word Controlled Humans” by John Harland, ISBN 0-914752-12-X available from Sovereign Press, 326 Harris Road, Rochester, WA 98579 (with which I have no business or personal relationship).
Posted by James Bowery on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 08:37 PM in Anthropology, Archeology, Books, Christianity, Conservatism, European culture, History, National Socialism, Political Philosophy, Psychology, Revisionism, Social Sciences, The Ontology Project, U.S. Politics
I came upon the work of Frederick Parker-Rhodes in my quest for the ideal computer language, which I have elsewhere on MR discussed in relation to Heidegger’s “as” structure and GW’s ontology project. Recent work in theoretical physics has provided empirical validation to his “wildly eccentric” views—which managed to provide a priori derivations of the dimensionless scaling constants of physics from his ontology detailed in his book “The Theory of Indistinguishables”. To be brief, there is his “combinatorial hierarchy” that derives from FRP’s attempt to find the underlying mathematical structure of what he called “wholesight”.
Below the fold is an excerpt from “Wholesight: The Spirit Quest” by Frederick Parker-Rodes…
Posted by James Bowery on Monday, February 4, 2013 at 01:08 AM in Art & Design, Christianity, Economics & Finance, Environmentalism & Global Warming, Global Elitism, Globalisation, Science & Technology, Social Sciences, The Ontology Project
Leon Haller has asked a question on Graham’s latest thread which perfectly expresses the plaint of the mournful right-liberal white American. He asks: why can’t we have again what we once had: political orders which secure individual rights to life, liberty and property, but recognize that the liberal order must be racially bounded?
Meanwhile, James has posed the question of America’s historical meaning - or, at least, Iowa’s. But I thought I would venture elsewhere to throw a light on Leon’s question, and raise the possibility (going on probability) of differentials in the populations of North America and Europe, both in the sense of deep, formative cultural influence and trait selection. For it seems to me that it might not be so easy to speak of America and Americans in terms of Europe and Europeans. It is akin to a question which, as a descendent of groups who, almost in their entirety, left their own soil along the north German sea coast and sailed for the east coast of Britain, I have often pondered: what does a mass migration mean for the ones who undertake and survive it, and how does such an absolute human statement colour the generations which follow? In the English and lowland Scottish case, of course, the question is unanswerable. Almost all the parent Germanic populations of the north German coast migrated as their lands became uninhabitable, and once in Britain interbred with the native British. But in the case of white America we can get closer to some sort of conclusion.
The first peopling of the New World drew the full measure of the personal and collective resources of the English Dissenters who gave themselves to it. As an act of religious nonconformism it was staggering in its commitment. As an act of the human spirit it was one of luminous beauty and courage. By my reading - a psychological reading - the heart of white American exceptionalism in the European context, usually considered to be the political goods of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, still lies there, inviolate in its purity.
Bryan Magee in conversation (over five parts) with the Heideggerian scholar Hubert Dreyfus.
Amongst the topics covered are the deeply Cartesian nature of the Husserlian project, Sartre’s incoherent attempts to produce a Cartesian reading of Heidegger, the anti-Cartesian nature of Heidegger’s thought (and his rejection of Husserl), explanations of Heideggerian terminology, and the more comprehensive incorporation of the body, as such, into the Heideggerian perspective by Merleau-Ponty.
Phenomenology is seemingly a far more complex school of thought than mere Cartesianism on steroids (contra what certain people amongst the MR crowd may think). Husserl is but one version of the concept of phenomenology.
James has introduced the concept of foundation from nowhere, based on something Husserl brought into his own work once and only fleetingly. I am not sure how central it really is to the Husserlian approach to Mind, consiousness, self, and the object . In any case, there was a certain immanent development (basically, authenticity of Dasein) in Heidegger which was not in Husserl’s (late and defensive) championing of reason and the transcendent ego, and which heads in the opposite direction to foundation. It is the exploration of this which would benefit James, as it has benefitted many others, and which explains, for example, why Heidegger is revolutionary today as well as why he was foundational to postmodernism during its revolutionary period of inception. To me at least, the Husserlian approach seems oddly dead and anthropological by contrast. I will try to explain this further.
Kant said that you cannot demonstrate being. But you can experience it, under certain psychological conditions. Otherwise you can only infer it, only gesture roughly in its presumed direction. Strictly speaking, Heidegger’s project in Being and Time was to explain why, in the West, our inferred sense of being is so different to the sense we think it should have, and which philosophers and spiritual leaders have told us for millenia that it can have. Heidegger used the phenomenological method to give an account of this “everydayness” ... the life that is ordinarily lived. But his essentially spiritual quest constituted a complete break with Husserl and a challenge to the study of Mind as pure function. As such, it was intimately wrapped up with the meaning for us all of a lived life in which Being was rarely consciously experienced, and in which the inference was everywhere employed without thought for qualitative distinctions. Where no such distinctions apply, the road is open to nihilism and destruction. Thus seven years later, in his lecture Introduction to Metaphysics, Heidegger made the following remarkable and much quoted statement:
The foremost living phenomenologist, Robert Sokolowski, starts the introduction to his book “Introduction to Phenomenology” published in 2000 thus:
Although there are references to philosophers scattered throughout his book, Sokolowski rarely, if ever, resorts to arcane argot such as Husserl’s “Fundierung” preferring, instead, plain English words like “founding” and “founded” with appropriate context to refine meaning.
This sort of “populist” approach to philosophy is, of course, a grave insult to those who have poured over the texts of the ages and we should expect them to respond with commensurate scorn. Meanwhile, there is work to be done…
For the esoterically adventurous in the ontology project only, read on for a disquisition on the question of ontology without reference to existence involving Hilbert, Husserl and Heidegger leading to a syntactic and semantic approach for rigorous philosophical method.
Notwithstanding the vast amount of straitening post-election commentary that has appeared across the right-wing media, I thought it might be in order to offer one or two thoughts of my own. Apologies now to anyone who doesn’t mind if they never read another word about this sorry issue!
As every politically-minded person has surely realised, the impressive block-voting of non-whites has put demographics at the centre of political calculation. The GOP in its current form is already electorally obsolete. Two-thirds of a static white electorate will never again be sufficient to command an electoral majority. The one-third of white Americans, particularly single women, voting Democrat were already gestured towards by the GOP’s rejection of Bachman, Cain, Santorum, Gingrich, and the libertarian Constitutionalist Ron Paul. Romney was supposed a flip-flopper, a RINO, and therefore electable to all those Republican voters lost in 2008. Now he is the point from which the party has to migrate to find a majority. It has to reach out to blacks and Hispanics, and it cannot even rely any more on conservative minorities like Alan West.
For mainstream political observers the interesting question is how the GOP will adapt to this new reality and retain its present constituencies. Nationalists, however, already know that the constant pursuit of conservative movements is not principle but relevance. Ultimately, it’s about power, and nothing is likely to change this time. The party managers will take the Christian Right for granted. After all, where can it go without entirely marginalising itself? The new party line will say little that is critical of illegal migrants, abortion, or homosexual politics. It will trumpet a more anti-statist and economically liberal platform. This, in turn, will redefine the political centre, and narrow the national debate even further, and that will generate a new bout of radicalism on the left.
Now let’s look for a few aspects in this of particular interest to nationalists.
This essay consists of some unfinished philosophical ramblings and some related historical interpretations. If the philosophy is too rambling, I hope at least that the history holds some interest.
Reaction has a bad name but a rather long and complex history. For the sake of brevity, as well as relevance to us, we can place an age limit on it and date it from the onset of modernity. So, for example, a reactionary’s history might commence with the aesthetic of romanticism, that emotionally freeing and humanising response to the encroachment upon nature and the transcendent of industrialisation and urbanisation, materialism, the beginnings of mass consumption, and everything that was “modern”, say, when Beethoven composed his Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op.55, the Eroica, between August 1804 and April 1805.
No rabble but a nation in the making
However, nationalism did not begin in reaction, and for most of its existence it has not been reactionary. Its intellectual history is usually traced to the thought of Johan Gottfried Herder, who invented the word and, in acknowledging the place of the national community, was the first thinker to challenge the distinction of sovereign and subject, replacing both within a Volk who were in no wise the eponymous common rabble. Apparently, up to this time people who could think actually thought there was only their gilded selves and the civilisationally incompetent Platonic masses. Which makes one wonder what William Shakespeare was describing nearly two centuries earlier when he wrote in King Richard II, Act 2 scene 1 of “This happy breed of men, this little world”. But, then again, there were the tribunes and the commoners of The Tragedy of Coriolanus, written c. 1605:
Sicinius Velutus: Assemble presently the people hither;
... sentiments appropriate to any modern media moghul pondering democracy and his own self. But what were the sentiments and the real will of the people themselves?
In settled times, of course, European peoples (who we might, after the modern globalist practise, term “the post-tribe”) do not require a constant expression of national community. It retires to its abode in the instincts of the people and in the personnification of the sovereign. The collective will to be ... to be secure in the possession of all that is necessary for life ... makes its settlement with the world and turns to smaller things, attenuating to a will to increase and, finally, to live collectively in a way that satisfies the intellect, the senses and the heart, and leaves no collective need unmet and no wrongdoing undone. And part of that latter, it would seem, is a Heideggerian care of altruism for suffering humanity, regardless of tribe, regardless even of race.
I think this progressive retirement of ethnocentrism is particularly condign to Europeans. With us, the imperative to be does not begin (or end) in tribal competition. It begins in the struggle against climatic circumstances under which human existence is parlous at best. The audacious European response is the act of challenging Nature herself. That is what nationalists mean when they speak of the restless creativity and prometheanism of the European race.
That does not, by the way, imply some bracing movement towards a state of, say, “greatness” or “triumph”, but a return to our one state of truth, which is great enough and which is in us always and requires that the people be healthy and whole, and their identity authentic (that is, detached from artifice, from the acquired).
In other words, of herself Nature is subsistent, not purposive. She does not destin beyond her struggle to be. Notwithstanding European creativity, then, our struggle is the endless struggle of all life, and such purposivity as may enter it is always party to that. To be precise, teleology roams the space between existence and subsistence, and never goes beyond, though to the eyes of all believers it will certainly appear to.
I am writing this very brief post to mark a particularly interesting thread-intervention by Daniel2 - the estimable Daniel Sienkiewicz of VoR - on the seemingly non-serious topic of hippies.
I like this kind of historicization of a reactive but ineradicable struggle by white men to be. It raises the interesting possibility that spontaneous movements such as the levellers, and popular rebellions such as the Peasants Revolt, religious effusions such as the Canterbury pilgrimage, cultural ones such as the opening of the American West, political ones such as the reception of Adolf Hitler by the German people, and so forth, may have had origins and their place in a grand, Manichean struggle between the forces of light and darkness, and of freedom and enslavement. That the people, or some of them anyway, turned away periodically from the furrow of the plough and the heat of the furnace, from the tyranny of the materialistic and of near concerns, and from harm’s unjust way to seek the conditions necessary for a truly human existence, is a beautiful and encouraging thought.
That living then in a system of such undoubted corruption and emptiness only prompted them onwards to the next cycle of searching, so living now in just such a system will prompt us. It is only a matter of time and circumstance. Therein, then, lies a narrative of our liberation - though, of course, reaction is not enough of itself. A true ontological model of Man must inform and guide the search for it to realise anything useful and permanent.
This short essay is a reply, though not a direct one, to a (now deleted) question from GT on the thread to my piece Nationalism and the Money Power:
It is also a response to Leon’s recent commentary with its, for me, non-tractable Austrian presumption.
Since I have tied both arms and legs to the hazy notion of an ontological nationalism - a philosophy which might be described as “a European reality” - I really ought to use it to feel for a nationalist alternative to that sterile, old liberal contest of the free market versus interventionism, as it was used (to PF’s chagrin) in the challenge to our so very free friend Perry.
Economy is the process of exchange, a market the means of exchange, and money the unitary value of exchange. All forms of politics seek a realisation of some kind through exchange itself, for it is a radically transforming medium. Nationalism’s realisation - at least, an ontological nationalism’s - is or would be, technically-speaking, the increase of the ethnic genetic interests of a people. That can be a genetically qualitative or quantitative goal. But its realisation will plainly require something beyond the conventional economic goals of maximal stability and freedom and a meritocracy of opportunity and prosperity, which are universals to all Western economic models. To be worthy of the name, a nationalist political economy must be characterised by a small number of other, quite particular and inter-related goals that certainly don’t arise under a 21st century liberal regime. These include:
by Graham Lister
Given that certain philosophical issues (idealism versus materialism) have recently been raised on the blog and are, in my view central to any political practice, I thought I might give my brief and initial views on these topics.
Serious issues are multi-factorial and multi-faceted. Intellectuals, particularly of a certain Enlightenment/liberal type in the so-called social sciences and humanities, tend to want to make a neat division between “facts” and ‘values’. However, values enter into what counts as a “fact”. A large leap is involved in moving from “raw data” to a judgement of fact (even in the hard sciences).
The more complex an historical-cultural event is, and the more important the issues it raises contemporaneously, the less it is possible to sustain a simplified fact-value division. This does not imply that all there is is a conflict of prejudices and biases as data are manipulated to one worldview or another, rather that questions and answers are shaped by experiences, contexts, norms, values, and pre-existing beliefs. All those factors are bound to be relevant in how we judge the issue at hand.
A great deal can, of course, be learnt from those who do not share our presuppositions about both the strength and weakness of our position on a particular philosophical or political subject. For example, there is a whole ecology of anti-liberal positions and arguments, from a wide set of perspectives. Any sophisticated accounting of the problems generated by hyper-liberalism as experienced in our “postmodern” societies requires an appropriate and mature synthesis of these perspectives. One example I have in mind is the excellent critique of the hypocrisy and bankruptcy of the liberally-derived international legal-order by Danillo Zolo (Victors’ Justice: From Nuremberg to Baghdad). It is indeed a vulgar intellectual error to dismiss penetrating and powerful anti-liberal analysis, ipso facto, because one does not share the ultimate values and/or suggested prescriptions of the author.
Yet the image of ecology suggests that plurality and difference do not say all that is required. There are also inter-relationships, coinherence, communication and life-giving forms of unity which need not deny or violate legitimate difference. The outcome of experiencing, understanding, and knowing should be about the wisdom which is concerned for shaping a rich and sustaining individual and collective life; trying to making sense of what these forms of life may look like against a depressing background of continuing inorganic diversity and cultural fragmentation.
It is no accident, as old Marxist hacks used to say, that so much of the post-modern liberal world is profoundly ugly, in both form and spirit, and indeed is proud to be so (for example, in the built environment think of the baleful legacy of the “highbrow” Le Corbusier or the example of the undeniably “lowbrow” contemporary American shopping mall). The fragility of beauty, truth, and goodness – indeed any form of virtue - is aptly demonstrated by both those monstrosities.
Three crucial elements that shape our judgements are the world, self, and language (and the interplay between them). Obviously, this is a very complex subject but I will try to outline a non-reductionist yet materially-grounded account with an everyday ordinary object and demonstrate the multi-faceted phenomenon it actually is.
by Rod Cameron
An Idealist critiques GW’s [emergent] existentialism
Now that GW has made the second instalment of his planned three-part ontology I must urge him to abandon existentialism. His interest in ontology is correct but his ideas are not on the money. GW sees ontology as providing European identity and racial consciousness through his reworking of Heidegger. It is not happening, his prose is hard going, I would not be surprised if he gets into tight lederhosen to write his obscurantism and I suspect he knows the wheels are falling off. Hang-on GW, I’m coming. – Too bad Mr Wolf sees your plight.
PART 1: A STROLL OVER THE TERRITORY
It is noted that GW gets little sympathy from the commentariat for ontology. He should be respected but he has made a poor job of explaining his commitment to ontology because ontology is his main argument and it is shallow as I will explain. I am an absolute Idealist and though on the metaphysical side of the line, that standpoint does not make me GW’s ally. There is a remote chance this article could blow-up into a war, which would be a good thing, but I’m planning to shut down that prospect by either deterring GW from existentialism or converting him to Idealism.
GW’s philosophy is an example of the subjectivity wrapped in a technical code [multiplicity, final value] that passes for existentialism. GW had a ‘being’ epiphany. It is the well-spring behind his interest in ontology and Heidegger. It is probably the inspiration for MR and it gives him the energy and conviction to maintain MR. It is not surprising that he finds meaning for the experience in Heidegger. Heidegger is the “go-to man” for a non-religious interpretation of being. However, the ability to empathise with and interpret Heidegger is not a milestone towards any significant success because existentialism is shallow. Take for a start GW’s title, “The ontology of the material”. This means he is doing relativist metaphysics; materialism is immersed in phenomena and phenomena are relative. Relativist metaphysics is a joke because metaphysics is about absolutes.
To quickly determine whether GW’s metaphysics have any validity a professional philosopher might ask whether he had replies for D. Hume and I. Kant. They set metaphysics big challenges to test whether metaphysics deserves to remain within philosophy. Those challenges are beyond the scope of dialectic reasoning and will only be tackled with absolute answers. If answers are not forth-coming then GW will be suspected of having yet another subjective metaphysics. GW has a specific mission and I have made a global criticism. Is that fair? Metaphysics is a vast, syncretic project and something as vital to metaphysics as ontology has ramifications, which must include answers for these two critics. Their challenges are connected and was there ever a more ill-prepared metaphysician than GW? It was too-turgid-to-tell, but did you join something GW? Do GW’s articles on ontology differ from opinion? If you can see the material bit that rank and file Nationalists can get hold of then point it out.
Idealism and Existentialism
The inference that Idealism is not concrete, hence Idealists are elites “playing silly-buggers”, needs to be challenged. Idealists are prepared to immerse themselves in abstractions in an attempt to arriving at new concepts to facilitate their argument. In other words, from the abstractions hopefully there will emerge ideation. Idealists respect the difficulty of breaking out of dualistic consciousness into absolute consciousness: the consciousness that will be of service to existential concerns.
Mention ontology to even an educated fellow nationalist, and certainly to an activist, and he will very likely gaze unawares at the ground beneath his feet. After a few seconds the void of understanding will fill with something very like scorn. He will level his eyes at you and deliver himself of the opinion that that sort of thing has nothing to do with the world of struggle in Nature and politics that he knows and sees everywhere – the struggle which European Man is so demonstrably losing. Too detached from reality, too self-absorbing, he will say. Too many dancing angels.
And then, to set you right, and quite without irony, he will remind you of the great existential plaint, the crisis of the crisis. While you are engaged in all this intellectual vanity, he will say, we Europeans are growing older and weaker by the day, our lands more lost to us, our family lines more negroidalised, the political class more traitorous (if that is possible), the bankers and corporate scum more rapacious, the Jews more audacious.
You will see how the collective angst, unspoken by his people, unacknowledged amid the culture of greed and celebrity and political hype, is torrenting through him, defining him politically, driving him. What do we do? Now! Today! That is the question, de-Barded and anti-intellectual though it is. That is what he will want you, somehow, to answer.
You will nod, and search for a way to explain that revolutions without founding ideas cannot sustain. “But supposing,” you say, “you get your call to political arms, or military if you prefer, and the people come to your side. You win. What do you do next? And why?”
Radical liberal, conservative or nationalist, anyone who does not want simply to bring God to us and who looks into ontology in the Western canon for an answer to those two eternal questions has to negotiate a pair of formidable philosophical obstacles which lie across the path. The effect of these is especially disruptive for the nationalist. In the first case, it diverts his investigation back towards the teleological and, in the second, it provides false witness to who and what we are.
In this second part of my essay I will restrict myself to addressing the first of these two problems, as a way of advancing the concept, seemingly counter-factual to many, of a materialist ontology.
Being and multiplicity
The first problem is that of the finite and the infinite, no less, and the emasculation of identity which proceeds from the common apprehension of the latter. At a superficial level, this emasculation is the real reason that nationalists complain of ontology’s lack of political agency, and the real reason that nationalist thinking romanticized in the 19th century and vaulted the heavens after myth, glory and heroism in the 20th. Both were flights from a flawed essential conclusion which militated an appeal to a non-reality. Let us decide here and now for the material, for experience, and for the definitely real.
It is self-evident that human identity demands to be considered in ways appropriate to individuals and groups - that is, in ways recognising their multiplicity and difference. The predominant methods of considering, categorising and discriminating humans are, first, biological, then, as externalisation and superficiality take hold, socio-economic, religious, political, etc. So far so good for nationalists. But being is near-uniformly considered as the singularity of some unknowable meta-space, a universal substrate that is indivisible, prior, and, for faith-folk, endowing.
Very probably, the metaphysical thinking of Martin Heidegger has been claimed in some form or other for every significant line of philosophical enquiry in the later decades of the 20th century. In his essay Freedom’s Racial Imperative, published in autumn 2006, and from which this quote is drawn, Michael O’Meara followed suit, reclaiming the great man for nationalism. And, of course, not just nationalism but O’Meara’s preferred continental European genuflection to spirit-of-race-ism (SoRism, for short).
SoRism is religion. It is to be expected that those who have expressed faith genes, who appear to be the majority, will interpret everything with the tripping point into faith prominently displayed. It does not matter in the slightest that they may be good readers of the Western philosophical canon, or that they may be noisy agnostics or atheists or just completely, systematically logical in their approach to the rest of life. When this one subject pops up – this one question of our European type or Northern European type or Irish or German or whatever sub-set of our Northern European type – the foot falls with mechanical accuracy, the wire is tripped, the earnest devotion flows, and the decision for fantasy is taken.
There is no spirit of race. It is an imaginary concept. It is alluring. It is persistent - the default assumption. But nowhere in Nature or in human nature is there this misty, destined, purposive, elemental entity. I am not saying that one cannot refer to existent qualities of the human psyche essential to our type, but if it is those aspects one wishes to reference why not simply do so? Why wrap everything up in a cloak of silver and gold, woven from the threads of a religious conviction? What is the worth of a philosophical treatise that is not founded in and does not refer to what actually exists?
I was sitting in the study re-reading Heidegger, preparing notes should I write an article on the subject, and thought, this is going to take too long. I put Heidegger back on the shelf, and pulled down my beautiful, antique print of Aeschylus’s The Persians. This is the stuff for me! Nothing so clear and direct. Swords close in, man to man.
One of the greatest works of the heroic type, comes to us from England. We all know it. But I think few have really read it on their own. But please take the time to read it. It is not about a battle, nor is it about history or philosophy. It is about one day, when individual men stood together, and stood as a “band of brothers”:
The following is my offering - very brief - of Heidegger’s meaning at the very end of the second of the two lectures published under the title Identity and Difference. You may consider it of no consequence, for it has little to do with nationalism. But Heidegger does generally, and this is not as unconnected as it may appear. It is just a small digression from political thinking.
On page 72 of my copy of the Stambaugh translation Heidegger, having remarked upon the openness of god-less thinking to the divine, proceeds:
Thinking here does not mean the unending thought process of the intellectual faculty. It is broader than that. Heidegger seems to regard thinking more holistically, as the way the mind in general addresses the reality of the world beyond the human organism. Thus, the “path” or “way” he is talking about here is the procession of the mind from the ordinary conscious state which we all experience in life, and which is characterised by two things. The first is a state of self-segregation from the real, a state of loss or immersion à la Bacon in passing things (feelings, events, objects). The second is a state of “perdurance”, of fracture, of sundering to which we automatically ascribe the word “I”.
This ascription conceals our fractured estate, but in the process of advancement from our ordinary waking consciousness it falls away, and with it the states of fracture and immersion. And then the road is open, perhaps:
In the normal course of a day or two’s amicable difference of opinion on two Telegraph threads, I was accused of being a Nazi racial supremacist. Well, you know, as one is. But what are the areas in which European Man is demonstrably superior to the other races? I mean important and influential areas, of course, not sporting prowess in strength events or swimming, both of which I’ve seen offered up over the years and both of which lead to precisely nothing.
Six possibles occur to me: creativity, individuality, enquiry, adventurousness, altruism/empathy, and the capacity for moral abstraction. These definitely seem to me to capture something of the European essence, and I find it moving and inspiring. It is often said by radical right thinkers of the continental tradition that men must yearn for the mythic. Are there not visions of nobility and greatness enough in the truth of what we are? And if so, is there not also more political utility in this day and age in the acknowledgement of it?
I must confess, I’m about to blow the bolts on GW’s project given the rapidly evolving situation in the field, but before doing so I must fulfill my promised contribution concerning Heidegger’s “as” structure. I’ve had a few false starts on writing the related post so I’ve broken it up to get it rolling. This first installment provides a sense of how fundamental that contribution was to Heidegger’s work as well as to a new paradigm for the philosophy of science.
There is an interesting paradox involved in human responsibility. On the one hand, asking someone to be responsible is asking them to do something that is nearly impossible in our unconscious waking state. On the other hand, holding people to responsibility is what we do, and it is not entirely clear how an alternative mechanism could take the place of it.
When judging someone, it is very interesting which perspective set you choose to view them through. Take Hitler, for example. There are sympathetic perspectives from which to view every action taken by the Nazis in WWII. You could call to mind their awareness of the Soviet threat, the threat of Communism. You could note the various examples of British malfeasance and provocation - or rather those actions of the British which, you would then note, would necessarily have to be seen this way in the eyes of Germans. You could note the intense humiliation at Versailles and the high jinx of the Weimar governments, and get a good feel for why German man wanted to lash out in various directions at that time period.
Putting yourself into other peoples shoes isn’t a new game for me, so I am utterly underwhelmed when, after going on an Easter egg hunt for all the sympathetic perspectives that can be wielded to reflect favorably on Nazism, they turn out looking quite vindicated. Their position actually makes a great deal of sense, once you adjust your own view for how they were viewing it.
This entry is meant to be a humorous break from my more ponderous contributions.
There’s been some interesting discussion at MR as of late concerning Heidegger’s ontological account of being and what he calls Dasein. And although I know precious little about the man and his thought it’s not hard to see the natural attraction he has on far right types given his politics and the promise of esoterica that comes with engaging such a formidable work as Being and Time, which some would say is the most significant Germanic contribution to philosophy in the 20th century.
But, in all seriousness, who can find the time to properly engage this material? So like any degenerate American I started searching the web for an account of Heidegger’s thought that distills as much as possible in as little time as possible.
And boy did I hit pay dirt with a forty-five minute lecture given by Rick Roderick, which is part of a series of lectures that he delivered for the Teaching Company called, “Self Under Siege - Philosophy in the 20th Century”. A word of caution, Mr. Roderick is obviously a leftist of some sort and doesn’t hide his unease with Heidegger’s politics, so be prepared. However, I felt like he succeeded at taking some of Heidegger’s ideas and bringing them down to earth in the kind of colloquial and humorous way that everyone can appreciate.
The reader has my word that most anyone who watches this lecture in full will find it amusing, if for no other reason than Mr. Roderick’s West Texas accent. The lecture starts to get good somewhere in the vicinity of the third video, so don’t give up on it too easily.
Petrarch, from Africa, written in 1343.
The European mind is, in my view, better viewed from the very Anglo-American standpoint of its natural endowment than as a culturally and historically revealed phenomenon, though it is certainly our habit to favour the latter. I confess that I don’t like the light that culture and history throw on the mind. I instinctively want to withdraw out of that light, and withhold my agreement to the descriptions and images that appear in it. What, after all, should we say about the European mind now, in the light of its debilitations in our postmodern age? Perhaps no more than Petrarch said at the close of his epic poem about the great Roman general Scipio Africanus.
I don’t expect anyone else reading this to be burdened by this argument with temporality. I don’t expect anyone else to seek a revelation of mind in its consistencies at all times rather than its saliencies in some - its great cathedrals, its epic poetry, its symphonies, its devotion to freedom and charity, and so forth. I quite expect that my search for consistency went unsuspected by anyone who read this question, addressed to Notus Wind on his latest Ontology of Mind thread:
This was an attempt to turn the historical narrative inside out in a few words, and find the mind humming away smoothly inside. Here is Notus’s reply which I thought too good to be left to gather dust on a mature thread that perhaps not everyone will trouble to keep up with.
“If the atoms never swerve so as to originate some new movement that will snap the bonds of fate, the everlasting sequence of cause and effect—what is the source of the free will possessed by living things throughout the earth?” - Titus Lucretius Carus, Roman philosopher and poet
Previously in this series, I went through a mathematically intensive deductive argument that demonstrated (via reductio ad absurdum) that the mind was not mechanistic. In this installment I will be detailing what physics has to say about the prospects for determinism in the physical universe and the notion of free will.
[Note: Before proceeding below the fold I highly recommend that the reader revisit the introductory entry to this series, which has almost been completely rewritten since it was first published]
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