A DISCUSSION BETWEEN CADELL LAST, O.G. ROSE, TIM ADALIN, AND ALEXANDER EBERT
Notes on “The Philosophy of Lack 3: Excess”
On Inverted Platonism, the “Real Knowledge” of Aesthetic Becoming, “Wholistic Incompleteness,” Commitment to “the Punishment of Sex,” and Determining If Love or Transcendence Should Be Primarily in Our Orientation to Maintain that Commitment, which Metaphorically Is A Dance.
(The following are just notes and may or may not be discarded in the future. The following does not necessarily reflect thinking in any “final” way.)
1. It is easy to critique Plato, so let us first give him credit. Let us imagine we are alive during his age. We don’t know how the brain works. We don’t know anything about “neurons” or “neuroscience”: all we know is that images constantly flash through our heads. Wouldn’t it feel like we “walked between two worlds?” Our phenomenological experience really would make it seem like there was a “world of ideas” and a “world of the physical.” Once you really consider the phenomenological experience of what Plato and his contemporaries underwent, the idea of a “Platonic realm” isn’t so crazy (especially once we stop imaging it as some dualistic and “disembodied realm” that exists independent of physicality).
When I am hungry, the idea for “food” can enter my head: I can “see” a sandwich, and I can “see” where I need to go in the kitchen to make one. Indeed, the “realm of ideas” seems to be a world that “gives me solutions” to my problems: because I “see” a sandwich, I can “realize” and enter into a world where I have addressed my hunger, which is “a more perfect world” compared to the world I was previously in. If ideas can help me move from a “less perfect state” to a “more perfect state,” is it so crazy to suppose that ideas could keep leading me on until I reach “the most perfect state?”
Similarly, to touch on “Platonic forms,” if I can take a broken cup, imagine how to fix it, and so bring into existence a world where the broken cup is fixed, it could seem I am capable, thanks to ideas, to take “less perfect cups” and move them toward being “more perfect cups.” Considering this, it’s not crazy to believe that ideas “move” cups toward becoming “the best possible cups,” that ideas “move” things “toward” the perfections of themselves (not that they ever get there). This idea is especially plausible if we take what we learn from Augustine, that there is “no such thing as an evil motivation”: if I’m doing x, I must believe x is good. Similarly, it is not possible “to think a bad thought,” which is to say that if I “choose to think x,” I believe it is “good to think x” (at the time, for some reason). That’s not to say there are “no bad thoughts,” for obviously lots of thoughts I don’t want to think fly through my mind, as I can think things that lead to bad consequences, but it is to say that if will a thought, I for some reason believe that thought is good to think. Willed thought is “toward” the good, and so if I am “willing to think about a cup,” for example, I am naturally thinking about it “toward” the good, which could likely entail “a more perfect state.”
Now, I might be thinking about a cup because I want to throw it into a wall, which doesn’t seem like “a more perfect state” at all, but even if I want to shatter a cup, I for some reason thinking it would be “good to shatter the cup against a wall.” I could be wrong about this, but even in this example, my thinking is “toward” what I believe is good. If “the good” is the focus of even “impulsive thought” or “untrained thought,” then what can be said about “trained thought” or “philosophical thought?” And here we can begin to see Plato’s emphasis on the discipline of philosophy.
All thought is toward what we “believe” and/or “feel” is good, which means that thought, in its very structure, “moves” toward the good (please note that “beauty” and “truth” are goods). This doesn’t mean thought “moves toward the actual good,” but it does mean that thought is structured “in our favor” to help us “move toward” the good in our lives: we just have to learn how to use and channel that “structure” rightly. This is the business of the philosopher: for Plato, philosophical thought is generally “willed thought,” meaning it is trained and brought into existence more than just “happen” subconsciously. Thanks to this discipline, there is a much greater chance that thought will be toward “the actual good” (“the more perfect”) versus simply “an idea of the good.”
There is reason to hope that “philosophical discipline” will pay off because “the structure of thought” is “toward” “the good”: if thought wasn’t “toward the good,” there would likely be “no reason to think” that philosophy would ultimately prove worth the effort. The structure gives us hope, but the structure still requires work. Philosophy is the art and discipline of doing this work, and it is a work that phenomenologically indeed feels like “being two worlds into alignment” — “the world of things” and “the world ideas.” Understanding this, we might start being a little nicer to Plato, even if we ultimately must disagree.
2. Walter Ong taught brilliantly on the differences between us and oral tradition, and Ong notes that a lot of mental space in the past was taken up with memorization. Perhaps that was a good thing: undergoing the phenomenological experience of ideas constantly, without a strong sense of their origin or source, had creative thought been much more constant and powerful, it may have driven people insane. The feeling of being “multidimensional” could have been too much to stand.
Also, please note that if the majority of one’s things in an “oral tradition” were things memorized, and many of those memories were stories about the past, that it would have been easy to conclude that “the past was alive.” “A realm of the past” would easily seem like it was trying to communicate with us and influence our daily lives.
3. On romantic love, Plato describes the male and female as once belonging to the same being, who consisted of both sexes. The being was split in two though, male and female, and that is why males and females seek one another, to become “one again.” Similarly, especially in Plato’s day, it would be easy to feel like the ideas in our heads are “part of a realm” which seeks to become “part of the physical realm again,” like “things” and “ideas of things” have somehow been separated and long to return together. This seems possible because of humans exist, and so the purpose of our lives seems to be to inspire a marriage.
4. Thinking “toward the good” almost by definition must be in response to “a lack,” for it must “lack” that supposed good. Where there is thinking, “lack” seems involved (and even in experience, for I arguably never experience “the total cat” sleeping on my porch). Where there is thinking, there is “lack,” for at the very least “the thing-cat” lacks “the idea of the cat” through which we understand the thing (“signifiers” and “the signified” lack each other). Considering this, we can begin to see how “the Platonic effort” and “lack” converge.
5. We tend to “overshoot” with what our “lacks” seek, so if we are hungry, we tend to respond by “eating too much.” It is very hard for us to suffer a lack and not “overshoot.” This suggests learning the capacity to “weigh” and “judge” the appropriate response to a lack. Also, this hints at what Augustine meant when he said that “evil is a misordered good.” This context, perhaps we can say that “the bad results from overreacting to lack” (which I think also brings to focus Mr. Ebert’s FreQ Theory).
Since no “response to lack” can erase it, if we make the mistake of “overshooting,” we could end up entering worse and worse cycles of “overshooting” for the rest of our lives. Also, we cannot “erase lack” but denying it…It doesn’t go away…Even if perhaps practices of “self-denial” might prove useful in helping us manage it.
Considering all this, we can say “the self is constantly oscillating between lack and addressing that lack.” (What does it mean to negate this?) So ontologically paradoxical and oscillating (a situation that defines “finitude” in general), it’s easy for us to become radically “future-orientated,” precisely because there is “space” in the future to imagine “a food that eradicates hunger,” per se. In this way, “lack” basically becomes motivation to believe in God (and its existence also can be seen as evidence that “God is missing,” and everything missing must exist (not that this necessarily follows)).
Strangely enough though, belief in God “pulls us into the future,” per se: if we didn’t believe our “lack” could be addressed, we may cease to advance. What could it mean to give up “virtual perfect” as future orientation? It would demand a radically new “present-orientation,” and do note “lack is present.” Thus, “present-orientation” must entail “lack-integration.”
6. It seems we “overshot” in our response to finitude by creating “The Platonic Realm” (please note that Heidegger makes a point to distinguish “Platonism” from “Plato,” ‘because here we are dealing with the conception of knowledge that corresponds to that term, not by way of an original and detailed examination of Plato’s works.’)¹
Instead of “overshooting,” what would it mean to have “Balanced Platonism,” per se? Well, I would actually argue this is “Inverted Platonism,” following Nietzsche, but the word “inverted” make this not sound like it’s the case. To explain why there is something “balanced” about “Inverted Platonism,” we will have to explore the subject, and also pay careful attention to why “Inverted Platonism” is distinct from Aristotle, positivism, and the like. To put the point generally, Nietzsche makes the physical Platonic (versus erase and/or deny the Platonic), resulting in a paradoxical tension in “aesthetic becoming,” per se, that balances the actual and the ideal. Inversion is not negation, nor is it a mere “focusing on opposites”: it is something deeper.
7. Perhaps we have an “emotional lack” because we have an “ontological lack” (which makes the “emotional lack” possible). Understanding one can help us understand the other, but it also shouldn’t be assumed that addressing our emotional state will address our ontological condition.
8. To be “present-oriented” cannot be Platonic, but it also cannot be “pragmatistic” or “empiricist,” because we do not “observe lack” (and remember, to be “present-orientated” requires an acceptance of lack). What it seems we need is an “Inverted Platonism.” Critically, this is what Nietzsche calls his own project:
‘My philosophy [is] an inverted Platonism: the father removed from true being, the purer, the finer, and better it is. Living in semblance [is the] goal.’²
“Inverted Platonism?” Why not just talk about empiricism, pragmaticism, utilitarian, or the like? Why not an Aristotelian?
To figure this out, we have to figure understand that for Plato things ‘ ‘are what is apprehended,’ which is to say that ‘[w]hat makes a table a table, table-being can be seen; to be sure, not with the sensory eye of the body, but with the eye of the soul. Such sight is apprehension of what a matter is, its Idea.’³ Ultimately this means ‘knowledge must measure itself against the supersenuous, the Idea; it must somehow bring forward what is not sensuously visible for a face-to-face encounter: it must put forward or present.’⁴ This means ‘[k]nowledge is in essence theoretical.’⁵
Considering this, we can say that for Plato:
Being = thought.
Without going into detail, the Aristotelian disagreement can be summed up with:
Being = thinkable
The reason “Inverted Platonism” isn’t simply “Aristotelianism,” is because Nietzsche does not believe “being = thinkable” — that notion doesn’t capture his thinking at all. Heidegger writes that ‘for Nietzsche art and truth can and must in some way come into noteworthy relation,’ and it is on this idea that we can start to understand the distinct features of “Inverted Platonism” (which will bring us to a reflection on Vico).⁶ To cut to the chase, it would seem Nietzsche is closest to a phenomenologist, but not in the sense of Husserl, but in the sense of an aesthetic thinker.
Heidegger makes it clear that we shouldn’t quick to understand Nietzschean thought in terms of mere “empiricism” or “positivism”:
‘The true is the sensuous. That is what ‘positivism’ teaches. Nevertheless, it would be premature to interpreted Nietzsche’s conception of knowledge and of the kind of truth pertaining to it as ‘positivistic,’ although that is usually what happens.’⁷
Positivism entails too much “measuring” for Nietzsche, and he does not want “truth” to merely become “measurement.” It’s true that ‘what languishes below in Platonism, as it were, and would be measured against the supersensuous, must now be put on top,’ but to say “Nietzsche praises the measurable” would be incomplete (though perhaps Nietzsche would support us “measuring the good life” in terms of “the life we want to relive eternally” and/or “life we want to commit to fully”).⁸ To really get Nietzsche, I think we must turn to Vico, but we will have to wait before we make that move shortly.
Nietzsche associates Platonism with “nihilism” and responsible for ‘the rise of life-negation.’⁹
To “invert Platonism,” then, is to “life-affirm,” but strangely “life = lack.” “Life” isn’t the same as “goodness” for Nietzsche (a perhaps Christian conflation), but something ontologically-else. ‘It is not the simple, almost mechanical exchange of one epistemological standpoint for another, that of positivism. Overturning Platonism means, first, shattering the preeminence of the supersenuous as the ideal.’¹⁰ Unlike the positivist, Nietzsche doesn’t throw out ontology without Plato, nor does he fall into simple Aristotelianism; instead, Nietzsche still asks the question ‘What is being itself?’¹¹ And what answer do we arrive at?
Being = unthought. Nonbeing = thought.
Being = unthinkable. Nonbeing = thinkable.
Life is exactly what we don’t think about. Life is what we live. This is how “the lack of thought” becomes life-affirming. But here’s the problem, “life” is not a simile for “good.” For Nietzsche to “affirm life” is to affirm the strange paradoxical tension we constantly live as “walking paradoxes.” Critically, to making “being unthinkable” is to overcome nihilism. That is always the goal of Nietzsche, as Heidegger highlights:
‘[Nietzsche’s] inversion, and along with it the interpretation of the true as what is given in the senses, must be understood in terms of the overcoming of nihilism.’¹²
‘Against nihilism,’ Heidegger continues, ‘the creative life, preeminently in art, must be set to work. But art creates out of the sensuous.’¹³ Art is paramount in Nietzsche, but what is art? Don’t think about: it’s the unthinkable. ‘Art and truth, creating and knowing, meet one another in the single guiding perspective of the rescue and configuration of the sensuous.’¹⁴ And technically, the sensuous can never be thought, only “approached.” The sensuous, the aesthetic, is the unthinkable (I prefer Inverted Aristotelianism myself, but I can groove with “Inverted Platonism”).
But ‘in what way [does] the painter [rise over] the carpenter?’¹⁵ For Plato the carpenter is better than the artist, but it must be the reverse for Nietzsche: we cannot merely replicate but create. What should we make of this? ‘If we grant that there is in Platonism a discordance between art and truth, it follows that such discordance would in Nietzsche’s view have to vanish as a result of the cancellation which overturns Platonism.’¹⁶ Alright, let’s grant that: what does it mean?
To answer this, we need to investigate what it means to say “being = unthought.” Funny enough, I can never think about a cat. I can think the idea about a cat, but not about a cat itself. That sounds strange, but basically I mean to say that “ideas are not experiences.” I cannot think an experience, and as silly a point this may sound, as hopefully The Conflict of Mind makes clear, the implications are huge, implications which I think Nietzsche understood. This isn’t to say thinking doesn’t matter or has no role, but it is to say that thinking is always “a model which is ultimately wrong.” But as Dr. Box taught us, ‘all models are wrong, but some are useful’ (a sentiment I think Vico would have agreed with too).
Art is more aligned with “experiences” than with ideas, even if it seems today that art is very “heady.” Art is experienced and “becoming,” not intellectual and “being.” Thus, we can start to unpack what is meant when we say “being = unthought.” Being is what we live, what we “are.” What it means to “be” is to experience, and that means what we “think about” is “that which isn’t being” at all. To “Invert Platonism” is to make “being what we live” versus “being what we think,” and that means “being is becoming.” For Plato, “becoming” is the “Non-Platonic;” in Nietzsche, the “Non-Platonic” is the Platonic,” which means what Plato sought is what kept him from what he wanted (irony). Heidegger describes Nietzsche’s position well:
‘Human life itself, belonging to chaos, truly pertains to chaos as an overwhelming Becoming, in the manner of art. What truth cannot do, art accomplishes’¹⁷
The phrase “being = unthought” has a double meaning: it means “thought is always about what we don’t live,” and “life is that which we cannot think about.” Furthermore, if the “unthought” is “the experienced,” then we can say “being = experience,” but if we make this move, we have to say that “being = becoming,” which seems to be a key move in Nietzsche.
(As a technical note, please note that the difference between “Inverted Platonism” and “Inverted Aristotelianism” is that the later would perhaps have no “stable state” at all, while “Inverted Platonism” seems to leave open the possibility of thinking “pure ideas” (Hegel) like “being.” But in this context, to “think being” is a “death drive.” “Inverted Aristotelianism” is a topic I would like to explore at another time, not having the time here, and it’s possible it simply converges with “Inverted Platonism” as a “paradoxical hybrid” of the particular and ideal. I’m not sure, and I ask for forgiveness on the omission for now.)
‘Art is the name for every form of transfiguring and viable transposition of life to higher possibilities,” Heidegger writes; ‘in this sense, philosophy too is ‘art.’ ’¹⁸ The phrase “higher possibilities” is critical here, for it suggests why Nietzsche wants to Platonize the Nonplatonic, to idealize the physical, to idealize the finite. Nietzsche is the great enemy of nihilism, but isn’t life hard? Life is mess and lacking perfection — isn’t nihilism a logical response? Nietzsche fights this tooth and nail, which brings to focus the phrase “lacks are not nothing.”
To “Invert Platonism” is not to say that “being doesn’t exist,” but to say that “there is a being which we cannot think” (that we can only experience and never fully be able to conceptualize), and that being is what we live. At the same time though, that means “the being we live” lacks “the being we think”: if the finite is the ideal, that means the finite “lacks” the infinite. Perhaps Nietzsche would say “the infinite” doesn’t exist (outside finitude: the infinite is always “the in-finite,” per se), but we still live with the idea of “the infinite.” This is where Hegel comes in: even if “wholeness,” “the infinite,” and so on don’t exist, we sill live with the “pure ideas” of them, and we really feel them. It won’t do simply to say they are “pure ideas”: we have to manage those “pure ideas.” How do we do that? Well, I would argue with a “real choice” to commit to “the punishment of sex,” but that will be expanded on later.
However, I will note here that it is an allusion to the work of Dr. Cadell Last on Alenka Zupančič in “Christianity & Perversity,” which generally suggests that sex reveals to us that “total wholeness” is impossible. Many of us live our lives dreaming for “total wholeness,” and so to learn it is impossible is to suffer grave existential anxiety (it is to have our “fixed belief” destabilized, to allude to C.S. Pierce, leaving us with an “itch” we cannot scratch). Dr. Last knows that traditionally sex was contained to marriage, and that meant “the revelation/punishment of sex” was contained; now though, it has been released upon the world (precisely perhaps because we want to scratch “the itch of sex” more freely). Sex is free, perhaps thanks to curiosity — does hope emerge from the bottom of the “empty box” of marriage?
9. Inversion is not opposite. Generally, an inversion maintains the formal structure, but the values in the formula are shifted. The opposite of Platonism is generally Aristotelianism; the inversion of Platonism is to make “the unthought” divine.
10. “The will to power,” which is “the will to create,” always suggest “lack,” at the very least because “the thing not created” isn’t in the world yet. If we are hungry, we could say we seek “to create” a world where we are not hungry by eating. The excess of lack is creation.
11. For Nietzsche, the only form is “the art-form.”
12. Perhaps we can say that “becoming passes through being toward Being” (an always “higher possibility” that may ultimately be “nothing more”), which is to say “becoming passes through being toward another being, which becoming must pass through toward another being, which becoming must pass through toward another being…” To define apart the terminology a little more, we could also say that “being moves through ‘stages of becoming’ toward being,” if we preferred this alternatively, or “periods of becoming” (a word I like because it means both “phase” and “cessation”), which would mean we could say that “being moves through periods toward being” — hard to say.
(Every stage has the potential of being “stopped on,” and thus every stage can “flip” into being (“as if” it was always being), causing effacement.)
13. We think of everything but being, suggesting why “seeking being” is to seek an end to thinking (which would be for us to die). We always think “lack” (for signifiers are not what they signify), and we assume “being” as a corollary and, furthermore, the proper goal. Without realizing it, we seek to overcome “lack” by dying (and yet, as will be explained, we need death to dance: a strange but critical distinction will be made between “death” and “dying”).
14. We in our physicality provide the being which our (“lacking”) thought seeks and cannot reach without ceasing to reach.
15. Before moving forward on how the phrase “lacks are not nothing” apply to Nietzsche, I think it would be useful to explain how Nietzsche and the great Giambattista Vico align. I spoke with Davood Gozli and John David on Vico in the context of Hayden White recently, and I’m always amazed by Vico’s infinite genius. He opposed Newton’s effort to understand the world in terms of “pure science,” for Vico saw this as trying to (heretically) “know the mind of God.” Vico also opposed Descartes’s efforts to “separate issues” from another, believing reality was “too messy” for such a method to be effective. A lot could be said on Vico, but hopefully the discussion with Davood and John scratches that itch.
Here, I want to explore how Vico and Nietzsche can be associated in order to help us understand why “Inverted Platonism” is not merely positivism, Aristotelianism, etc. Vico is most famous for arguing that “all we can know is what is created”: if it is not created by humans, only God can fully understand it. By extension, if we associate “the created” with “art,” we can start to see how Vico and Nietzsche go together. All we can know is the aesthetic, and thus true philosophy is aesthetic and “lived,” but that does not mean it is “merely scientific.” Science and math are useful models, but only useful models. Unfortunately, they’re so useful and such grand achievements that it’s hard not to assume “the maps are the territories,” a mistake which concerned Vico greatly.
A lot could be explored, but the main idea in Vico I want to explore is that exactitude is evidence of human involvement. Science has created the impression that exactitude correlates with objectivity and truth, but Vico — in what I consider an amazing “Hegelian inversion” — says that it is precisely the exactitude of science that gives us reason to think it is constructed by people. Because math seems realized, it is constructed.
Imagine you walk into your kitchen and see a tower of paper towels reaching up to the ceiling. Would you fall to your knees and whisper, “Look what nature did!” Or would you assume your toddler isn’t asleep like you thought? For Vico, though it might seem crazy, science was basically making this mistake. Now, I think the counter to Vico is that math and science are considered “as objective as we can hope” not because they are “exact” so much as they are “predictive” (additionally, we have invented math and then found physical reality which it describes, suggesting math was not “made to fit” discoveries we made ahead of time). But to this Vico would likely reply that, fine, they are predictive models, and perhaps “true one-dimensionally,” but that’s it, and we have some strange tendency to think that “the one-dimensional truths” of math and science are the highest truths (additionally, Vico might point out all the “pure mathematics” we haven’t found physical reality for). For Vico, this is insane: the subject-ive truths are higher than the object-ive truths, and it is precisely the messiness of subject-ive truths that give us reason to think this is the case. (I think Karl Popper’s thinking on science could fit with Vico here, for “falsification” aligns with “predictive modeling.”)
We value science and math because they are predictive, which then makes us think they are “highest realities,” but this is a mistake. “Object-ive truths” are not “highest truths,” but rather “truths earned through the messiness of subjectivity that can only be known through subjectivity.” Yes, we need “object-ive truths” to engage with subjectivity well, but if we “reduce” subjectivity to objectivity, we will reduce ourselves in the process. This is what concerned Vico.
“Object-ive truths” are useful and predictive models which work because there are dimensions of complex, dynamic, and subjective reality that are relatively constant (for example, the bookcase I am subjectively experiencing doesn’t randomly turn into butterflies, as discussed by the short piece that’s title incorporates that idea). Scientific and mathematical models are in and around subjective experience, but, at the same time, they are only possible because of subjectivity. If there were no subjects to “look down on science,” science would not be seen.
Subjectivity is of a higher dimensionality than objectivity, but objectivity is in subjectivity, so “object-ive models” work for subjects. But subjectivity isn’t in objectivity — the reverse doesn’t work — and what Vico realized is that we have a tendency to be tempted by the “exactitude” and “usefulness” of science to try to “fit subjectivity” into objectivity, and thus lose both. “Object-ivity” wouldn’t exist without subjects (“the ontic” exists “for us,” per se), and so if we try to “fit” subjectivity into objectivity, we will be trying to fit a “higher dimensionality” into a “lower dimensionality,” like trying to “fit” a three-dimensional object onto a two-dimensional piece of paper — dimensions and depths must ben lost.¹⁹ If we understood “object-ive truths” are lower dimensions than “subject-ive truths,” we would not have made this mistake, and Vico seems to have been the first to see this error coming. He tries to warn us not to make it, but we did. Nietzsche later tried to warn us again, and we ignored him too.
Wait, is all this right? Surely the conclusions of science are not “subject-dependent?” It depends on what we mean: perhaps the reality of gravity doesn’t need subjects to exist, but the theory of gravity does, and this hints at a mistake we often make. You see, there are “the realities which science records” and there are “the theories of science,” and very problematically we tend to start talking about the theories as if they are the realities (as if “the map is the territory”). This is what Vico realized would happen, and it means that we make reality into one-dimensional theories, per se. We actually end up calling “lower dimensional truths” the truths, as if “exclusively true,” which ultimately leads to a conflation of “the true and the rational” and totalitarianism, as discussed throughout O.G. Rose). “The rational” and “the true” cannot be distinct where there is only “one dimension,” per se, because there are no alternative dimensions for the two to be separated “across” — but that is another topic for another time.
Science is never about all of what could be science: it is always about “what we have discovered so far,” and that means we are always dealing with parts. This point can be made by how we never really study gravity at the same time we study how the physical brain works, and yet never on earth is the human brain outside of gravity. Thus, while science deals with parts, life and experience deal with “assembles” and “wholes,” and so if subjects try to “fit” themselves into object-ivity, they must be breaking “wholes” down into “parts” (which might be great if we were “negating” ourselves to build something new, which is what some people use science to do, but all too often we just stay “fragmented”). Thus, “the meaning crisis”…
Experience is wholistic, even if it’s incomplete (a critical distinction explored in “The Philosophy of Glimpses”): even if what I experience is not “all I can experience,” what I experience is a “gathering” of shapes, colors, feelings, multiple realities described in scientific theories, and the like. Problematically, since we’ve talked about experience “as subjective” and thought about subjectivity in terms of an “apparent vs actual”-dichotomy, it’s been easy to think of subjectivity and experience “as parts,” but that is a major mistake. Experience is incomplete, but it is still whole (relative to itself). I never experience “just” shapes, just colors, just gravity, just quantum mechanics, just my feelings — I only live “wholes.”²⁰
Because experience is “incomplete,” it’s easy to think it isn’t “whole,” and that makes it seem okay to us to make (one-dimensional) “science” our highest standard of truth. If we’re already dealing with “parts,” which not deal with “the parts” which provide the best “predictive modeling?” And so the conflation of “incomplete” and “wholistic” greatly contributes to us forsaking the admonishments of Vico — to great peril.
Clarity, exactitude, separation, division — all of these are evidence to Vico of human involvement. Exactitude is evidence of creation, and yet we are inspired by Newtown to conclude that exactitude is evidence of non-human-involvement (this brings to mind Hegel’s critique of Kant’s noumenon). What this means is that we can understand science and math because we created them. Problematically, we think the usefulness of the models means math and science aren’t models at all, and this result in us praising objectivity itself versus the subjectivity that was able to create something so useful. As a result, we try to be objective, and consequently disempower the subjectivity which made math and science possible. Yes, math and science entail (temporarily) “bracketing out” subjectivity (just as Jonathan Rauch describes in Kindly Inquisitors), but the source of math and science is still subjectivity. Subjectivity, for subjectivity’s sake and the gaining of “useful models,” steps aside, but not so that it stays aside. Unfortunately, “aside” we’ve kept it…
To close this section, the main idea is that Vico wants us to look for truth “in the messy,” and we can say something similar with Nietzsche. “The messy is the Platonic,” whereas “the exact is the Non-Platonic” (a stunning reversal). Furthermore, if experience is incomplete, then art is incomplete, and “becoming” can be associated with “incompleteness.” Experience though is also wholistic, as is art, so we could say that “Inverted Platonism” is about “wholistic incompleteness” (which is “becoming” and aesthetic, hopefully captured in the term “(in)completeness”). By extension, that means experiences of “lack” are wholistic and incomplete, and that “integration with lack” must have something to do with “(in)completeness,” as we will soon explore.
16. The existence of “Mathematical Platonism” suggests the truth that Nietzsche and Vico should be combined to understand “Inverted Platonism.” We associate “exactitude” with evidence of a “Platonic Realm,” yet Vico teaches us that “evidence of a Platonic Realm” is “evidence of human design,” that exclusively addressing matter to matter will leave us only explained but not addressed (to allude to “Explained and Addressed” by O.G. Rose).
17. Combining Vico and Nietzsche, we could say that we can only have “real knowledge” about the created and the aesthetic: we can only have “real knowledge” about “becoming,” not being. Thus, in “Inverted Platonism,” “real knowledge” is about what humans create, not what exists independent of human involvement. This involves ideas, like in original Platonism, but not because ideas are timeless and “realized,” but because ideas are created and “human.” Where there is exactitude, there is a model and “predictive power,” but not “real knowledge” by itself. To be part of “real knowledge,” the model must be part of subjectivity, “becoming” and aesthetic experience. And yet today we tend to think that we obtain “real knowledge” by making “aesthetic becoming” part of “modeled being” — a mistake which causes profound neurosis and personal trouble. We’re getting it exactly backwards, causing the nihilism Nietzsche fought.
The exact is the unhuman, which can be associated with “Platonic being,” which is ultimately “a death drive” (a problematic dream of “Primordial Unity,” as discussed extensively by Dr. Last). If that’s the case, doesn’t that mean “the inexact” and/or “imperfect” is all we can obtain “real knowledge” about? Is the imperfect all that is knowable? In a way, but please realize that “inexact” and “wrong” are not similes: “wholistic incompleteness” can be “right.”
Art is famously inexact (heck, as with “beauty,” people can’t even agree on what the term “art” means), which would mean that art can be a source of “real knowledge.” The same applies to “becoming,” for how can we exactly say what a thing is “becoming” (versus “is,” the temptation of Platonism)? We cannot, and if “aesthetic becoming” can be connected again with “lack” (for art and becoming “lack” exactness/wholeness and being), then that would mean, alluding to Nietzsche’s quote again, that ‘the [more attuned to lack] a thing is, the purer, the finer, and better it is.’²¹ But in the world does this mean? Well, I think it means “we are committed to the punishment of sex,” but I’ll explain that soon enough. Somehow, “integration of lack” defeats nihilism, even though “lack” sounds nihilistic (but I suppose “Inverted Platonism” sounds like Platonism — perhaps “lack” is “Inverted Nihilism?”).
“Aesthetic becoming,” precisely because it is inexact, can be a source of “real knowledge” (which I suppose could be called “aesthetic knowledge,” which is very phenomenological, though I will avoid that language here). It is “aesthetic becoming” that is “Platonic” in Nietzsche, and perhaps even Vico. That said, the word “Platonic” is often associated with “perfect,” but in what way can “becoming” be “perfect,” seeing as “becoming” must be fundamentally “lacking?” Can we still apply the term “Platonic” meaningfully? Well, I think it can, but only if we use the term “perfect” like Aquinas used it, which is to mean “the fulfilling of a thing’s role.” A spoon is “perfect” when I can use it to eat cereal; a thumb is perfect when I can use it to pinch a flower petal; and so on. “Perfect” is tied to “the doing of what a thing does,” which of course suggests teleology, a mode of thinking that has fallen out of favor in the world today.
In teleology (which can generally be associated with “purpose”), what a thing “is” determines what it “ought” to be used for: boats are made for water, and so boats “ought” to be on the water (though that’s not to say they can’t be dropped in the middle of a road). So, what is the teleology of “lack?” To put it another way (using Hegel): How is “lack” “for” consciousness gaining self-consciousness?²²
Lack is “perfected” and “integrated with” when, with a “real choice,” we accept and commit to “the punishment of sex.” This is when what we “are” made for (by ourselves) (in being paradoxically lacking) is participated in as “ought” to be done. This is the “negation of oscillation” — what does it open up?
We’ll expand on this later, but I would like to note that Nietzsche doesn’t get here. As Joshua Hansen notes when discussing Nietzsche in light of Heidegger’s lectures, Nietzsche leaves us with an “an axiological vacuum,” as Nietzsche leaves us “without axioms.” Why this occurs might have something to do with the fact Nietzsche was never married — hard to say.
(For a description of what occurs in education when “Inverted Platonism” is not completed with “a commitment to the punishment of sex,” please see “Academia & The Last Man” by Joshua Hansen. It would seem that where “Inverted Platonism” isn’t finished, there is a “flip moment” that renders the whole effort disastrous.)
18. Perhaps “lack” and “lack” alone is teleological? What if there would be no teleology or purpose without “lack?” Well, that means we need “lack” to have a “map” for our lives: perhaps there would be no right or wrong without “lack?” This brings to mind Žižek’s reflection on Kant’s “Of the Wise Adaptation of Man’s Cognitive Faculties to his Practical Destination,” where Žižek notes there is no “right and wrong” beyond the noumenon in “the realm of Ding an sich,” per se, basically because “moral action” would be done without “moral thought/intention.” Would a world without “lack” die because it ceased to move? If this is the case, the very “lack” which can inspire (misguided) nihilism is also the very reason nihilism is false.
19. As discussed in “The Return to Metaphysics,” where there is negation, there is an “opening.” In a sense, “Inverting Platonism” is negating Platonism, which “opens up new possibilities”: in this case, that possibility is “Platonic physicality.” When we “negate” an imaginary heaven from our lives, we “add” a heaven made of dirt. “Negating” what is “overhead” changes what is beneath our feet.
20. In Organs Without Bodies, Žižek describes Hegel’s tremendous “inversion” of Kant (which noting here may help us appreciate the idea of “wholistic incompleteness”):
‘What [Hegel] claims is that the Kantian gap [between phenomena and noumenon] already is the solution: Being itself is incomplete. This is what Hegel’s moto “one should conceive the Absolute not only as Substance, but also as Subject” means: “subject” is the name for a crack in the edifice of Being.’²³
This means that ‘the difference between For-us and In-itself is itself “for us,” ’ which is generally the difference between “subjective” and “objective.”²⁴ ‘Far from denying us access to the Thing-in-itself, the antinomic or contradictory character of our experience of a Thing is what brings us into direct contact with it’ — sounds Nietzschean, doesn’t it?²⁵ Hegel and Nietzsche can easily be brought into alignment, I think, especially if we understand “Absolute Knowing” properly. Žižek asks:
‘What if, for Hegel, “absolute Knowing” is not the absurd position of “Knowing everything” but the insight into how the path toward Truth is already Truth itself, into how the Absolute is precisely — to you it in Deleuzian terms — the virtuality of the eternal process of its own actualization?’²⁶
This is “being as becoming,” a description of “Inverted Platonism.” What else is the phrase “spirit is a bone” but a statement of “Inverted Platonism?”
21. There can be no heaven where there is no mess. Hell is exacting.
22. If there is a God, there always might be a God.
23. If the self is created, the self can be known, and it is of a “higher dimensionality” then the ontic. The creation of the self is not evidence of its fakeness but of its truth.
24. The “Inverted Platonic Form” of a cup might be the most unique cup possible that still manages to be “lived with” as a cup. It is the cup that is most unlike all other cups in the world but still a cup (which suggests an “epistemology of representation” is needed to make this identification, defining “Inverted Platonism” from Deleuzian philosophy — though that is a topic which will have to be addressed elsewhere with a comparison between Hegel and Deleuze). In this way, perhaps “Inverted Platonism” is a metaphysical schema which cannot be put in service of “technological thinking,” as concerned Heidegger (a point discussed between Johannes A. Niederhauser and Thomas Jockin in “Heidegger vs. Aristotle on Being, Substance, Causality”).
25. We are not erasing “lack” to achieve perfection, but searching for how “negating” wholeness gives us perfection, an act I think we associate with Nietzsche’s “Inverted Platonism” (“Inverted Wholeness”).
26. The smaller the scale and more confined the model, the more likely math seems to describe the universe. There was a reason the Greeks adored it as a “pure intellectual act.”
27. Contributing to our mistake that math constitutes “most fundamental reality” (which Vico warns again) is the fact that after we learn math, we tend to overestimate how much we use it. When we look at a chair, then another chair, we conclude there are “two chairs” and decide that we mentally solved the problem “1 + 1 = ?” This isn’t really what occurred, though: we didn’t look at a chair, translate it into the abstract number 1, then look at the second chair, translate it into a 1, and then approach “1 + 1,” concluding “2,” an abstract number we then translated back into the two physical chairs. Rather, the physical and phenomenological experience of the chairs “gave themselves” to us as “two.” We counted phenomena, but we didn’t really use math, suggesting the main mistake that lead us into thinking “math is most fundamental thought.”
Counting isn’t equivalent to math. Yes, counting involves numbers, but just because numbers are involved doesn’t mean mathematics is engaged in (numerology is similarly not math, following the movie Pi). We can certainly “translate” counting into mathematics — “1, 2, 3, 4…” can become “1 + 1 +1 + 1…” — but the mathematical version of counting isn’t what most of us are doing when we decide how many chairs around the table. This isn’t to say mathematics is never useful and false (that would be a foolish position), but it is to say that “counting” composes the high majority of our phenomenological experience versus math (once this distinction is made, it’s actually incredible how rarely most of us use math, not that this is a good thing). Once we understand this, it becomes easier to take Vico seriously, especially since the things we could “give themselves” to us in phenomenological experience. We don’t count numbers; we count things.
28. What does it mean to say “things in the world” are Platonic? It would be to say, “Lacking things are Platonic,” which would be to say “the ontic realm,” the realm “across Kant’s noumenon,” per se, is Non-Platonic. Traditionally, we have sought the Platonic everywhere but where it can be found.
29. It is because we are not “merely natural” that we can create a subjectivity we claim “keeps us from truth” in the very act it makes truth possible. Because we are not merely ontic, we can make “the ontic” all that matters.
30. Becoming which is made being kills being. ‘[K]nowledge is supposed to grasp what is true,’ and that is art and becoming.²⁷ But that means knowledge is about what changes, and so perhaps knowledge is adaptation and improvisation? Is knowledge jazz?
31. ‘The truth and the apparent worlds have exchanged their places and ranks and modes,’ Heidegger writes on Nietzsche, ‘but in this exchange and inversion the precise distinction of a true and an apparent world is preserved. The inversion is possibly only with the distinction as its foundation.’²⁸ This strikes me as an important point: some kind of distinction is maintained in Nietzsche, but what? If there is a distinction, can’t there still be some kind of “oscillation,” like the oscillation “between the cup and Platonic cup,” per se, lack and its fulfillment? What is this new distinction that Heidegger claims must still be present? How is this distinction not a source of “oscillation?”
Well, as we will discuss, following Nietzsche, the “distinction” that is maintained is not between dimensions like Heaven and earth, but between “I and other” (which, for Dr. Cadell Last, can be restated in Hegelian terms as “I is other”). The distinctions are not “vertical,” per se, but “horizontal.” But this is only “the first step” of “Inverting Platonism,” for if it was all Inverted Platonism accomplished, Nietzsche’s philosophy would merely be “turning Platonism clockwise,” per se. No, a “second step” is needed, and that step is also the transformation of how we “respond” to the “gap” between “I and other.”
Traditionally, believers have tried to “cross” the gap between Heaven and earth into Heaven, which in essence is to erase the gap by “overcoming it.” If we are to follow Nietzsche, we do not face “the gap” to cross it, but to “incorporate” and “integrate” it into our lives (aesthetically). Rather than hate “the gap,” we praise it for making possible dance (to allude to all of Nietzsche’s statements about the importance of “dancing”). In Platonism, the distinction between “the vertical” and “the horizontal” causes oscillation, as does the gap between “the lack of a thing” and “that thing,” but we are not Platonists.
In Metamodernity, to “negative the oscillation” between Postmodernity and Modernity, we must accept “the essential difference” between us, others, and even the world, and cease trying to define it. The proper response to Metamodernity is Inverted Platonism, and in that the distinction between “lack” and “being” is gazed at and accepted, and instead of oscillating, we dance. Metamodernity is about “essential difference” (Deleuze) learning to accomplish this, which I believe requires incorporating Hegel into the very Deleuze who disowned him. But that is a case which will have to be made in (Re)constructing “A Is A.”
32. Not all negations are necessarily good: if I lose the roof of my house, I know have the possibility of adding a “new roof,” but I also lack shelter from the rain. Is gaining the possibility of “a new roof” worth the money, time and lack of protection? Probably not, so though it is true that “negations entail potential additions,” we should not be quick to assume that a given “negation” is good: it depends.
This in mind, we should not assume that “any given way” of “negating oscillation” will prove “good”: it depends. If we “negate oscillation” by removing difference, that could lead us into horrible conformity and totalitarianism, but if we “negate oscillation” by learning to “stand still and face of difference,” we can reach the same end by a different means. However, “standing still” doesn’t sound like a “good negating of oscillation” either: that sounds like death (and that’s likely how the metaphor would line up). This would suggest that we need to “keep moving,” but how do we move and it not be oscillation? Well, by dancing: the good “negation of oscillation” is dance.
33. Stoicism seems to be “negating oscillation” by “standing still,” per se, which Nietzsche did not support. Nietzsche did not like Stoicism (though he respected more than Christianity, I think), and that is because Stoicism “detached” itself from life more than affirm it. It reduced life to “principles,” and that felt like Platonism to Nietzsche, a form of “escaping becoming.” Nietzsche sought not “indifference” but “in-difference,” per se, for us to “live in the becoming and ever-differing.” Though perhaps Nietzsche could respect Stoicism under some circumstances, it felt too much like an effort “to be at peace,” which would be “to rest in peace,” per se.
34. Dancers who try to “be” one another fail, but dancers who try to flow as two “as if” one succeed. Dancer located their unity in action, in “the dance,” not “in one another.” This is the critical distinction to grasp: dance is not a “unity of being,” but a “unity of becoming.” Perhaps we could make a distinction between “unity” and “harmony,” and say that “unity involves being” whereas “harmony involves becoming?” If we accept this distinction, we can say that “dancers are harmonized but not one” (this point brings to mind distinctions between “soloing,” “harmony,” and “singularity,” as described in a piece by O.G. Rose by that title). Overall, that would mean we can say “the good negation of oscillation is harmony.”
“What is that “dancers” do that makes them harmonized?” — this is the question to which we point.
35. Two people who are “one” cannot harmonize, for they are “singularized” and perhaps dead. Where two become one, different instruments cannot be play: there can be no 9th Symphony.
36. For us to affirm life against nihilism just as Nietzsche wanted, we must affirm “lack.” What does this mean? Well, it seems to have something to do with art, which makes sense if indeed “the excess of lack is creation.” The answer to the question seems to be the same answer to another question: “How do we keep ‘lack’ from compelling us into endless ‘oscillations’ (of addiction, of disappointment, etc.) and/or ‘death drives’ (of Platonic unity, of suicide, etc.)?” Well, by learning to dance. By learning to flow.
37. What is all this talk on “dancing?” With what is this metaphorically supposed to connect? Well, it has something to do with “aesthetically be-coming and pro-clearing.” For now though, it should be noted again that Nietzsche emphasizes “becoming,” and “becoming” can be associated with art (the unthinkable, the experiential, etc.); if this is the case, then we must ask: What does art have to do with “lack?” What does “lack” make us “become?” What should “lack” make us “become?” If we are hungry, would Nietzsche have us become “someone who eats?” Is such a simple notion all Nietzsche wants of us? Or is something else going on? Well, again, Nietzsche wants us to become dancers, which is only possible because of “lack,” but whether we respond to “lack” by “be-coming dancers” or not depends on how we choose to interpret “lack,” which is to say we must choose to interest it as “incomplete” or “the end of the story,” per se.
38. What is all this talk of “dance?” It’s unclear! Well, to say we must “dance” means we must give ourselves over to something that is not ourselves and not backdown, to commit bravely to staying there, well aware that “nothing more” may emerge (for there is no other way to hope for “something more”). To dance is not to “become whole,” but to reside and stay in the “becoming” fully aware that ultimately “the becoming” might be all there is and all that awaits.
Ultimately, the metaphor of “dance” is useful because it describes a few dimensions of Inverted Platonism that are critical to practice:
A. The aesthetic.
B. The inability to reduce the act of a formula (Vico).
C. The action, movement, and “becoming” (versus mere contemplation, disinterestedness, and “being”).
D. The involvement of difference and multiplicity (more than one person dance, or we dance with different parts of ourself).
E. The creativity, the improvisation, and the surprise.
F. The mixture of repetition and structure with surprise and newness.
G. The blend of freedom and being directed.
The last point deserves elaboration: we want to give up our freedom to something bigger than ourselves, a truth that makes us susceptible to totalitarianism, but also beauty. I suppose we could say that we want to use our freedom to “give ourselves over” to someone and/or something, which sounds like “submitting,” but I hesitate to use that term given all the negative connotations. Perhaps we could say that we want to be “humbled” or that we want to “lift up” someone or something — the best term I can think of is “observe” (which I also like because of the aesthetic association). Thus, we want to use our freedom to “observe.” At the same, requiring dialectical action, we don’t want to be forced to observe something (a famous image from Clockwork Orange comes to mind…), and also we don’t always want to be “observed” (we want times to be alone, to keep some parts of us “mysterious,” and so on).
If we are always “free,” then everything is an extension of “our being”: we don’t really have to change. If I choose to switch from being a plumber to being a teacher, I don’t mean to suggest there is no change at all here, but the change is something I direct and somehow “comes out of” who I am and what I’m feeling. And this is not a bad thing, but there’s something about “becoming” that lends itself into the direction of “pulling us out of our being” into something beyond us (which brings to mind the language of prophets who had visions in holy texts). Really “becoming” does indeed involve a feeling of “transcendence,” and it feels like we are moved out of “plane of existence” into something our existence is part of but at the same time cannot be reduce to our plane. To “become” feels less like “our being is changing” as it does “our being is being pulled into new being”: it is an ontological “change in kind,” not merely in degrees. There is a death, per se, for there is never “new life” where death is absent.
When being only chooses, being stays itself; when being is chosen, being (“meaningfully”) “be-comes.” What feeling or experience “gives us reason to think” that we are “be-coming” versus “moving within the same being?” (What feeling or experiences “gives us reason to think” that we are moving “vertically” and not just “horizontally,” per se?) Well, I the feeling of having our freedom eclipsed by “something else” (something more, something bigger than us, etc.), which says that “loses of freedom” are necessary components of “be-coming.” But if we lose freedom too much and too long, what we “be-come” feels like a tyranny. How do we strike a balance? Metaphorically, I think “dance” is the best image for the balance that is “pointed to” here: in dance, we choose determinism, determinism then chooses us, then we choose determinism, then determinism chooses us…
If we are always controlled, we are not dancing (we are trapped); if we are always free, we are not dancing either (no one is around). We must “move” between freedom and observation, which means we need to be able to discern when to “move.” Dancing is deep.
(Please note that adding a hyphen to “becoming” doesn’t change the meaning: I’m just trying to highlight the “be” in “becoming,” which is to highlight how there is “death” in “be-coming,” that “becoming” entails “the coming of death.”)
39. Alright, so “dance” metaphorically captures critical concepts of Inverted Platonism while also suggesting a necessary and nuanced relationship between freedom and determinism (which I call “Directionalism” — please also note that “lacks” suggest humans have free will, as described in The Philosophy of Glimpses). Directionalism seems necessary for achieving a “meaningful” difference between “being moving (in its being)” and “being be-coming” — horizontal vs vertical movement, per se — but what is it about “dancers” that make them able to “be-come” and not merely “move,” per se? Well, that has something to with whatever it is dancers to “to make them harmonize” (to allude to a question left hanging), which begs the question, “What does it mean to dance?” A few points:
A. To lead and be lead, to give and take.
B. To not try to erase difference but live with it.
C. To not hold too much of an “idea ahead of time” for how the art should unfold and be expressed, to be “open” to creative possibilities and the unknown.
D. To be brave.
And so on. Please note that all of these characteristics and dispositions entails corresponding “temptations,” which is to say each can “tempt a dancer” with a desire for “being” (which is death).
A. To completely control the dance or leave the dance entirely.
B. To make others dance and be just like us. .
C. To not hold too much of an “idea ahead of time” for how the art should unfold and be expressed, to be “open” to creative possibilities and the unknown.
D. To be brave.
As we dance, we will feel these differences and want to erase them — to “dance” really is “to dance with death,” but arguably choosing not to dance is to die (a fall into either “pure being” or nihilism). It is not merely that “the desire to control” will be intellectual (for example): the temptation will be “full body” and very emotional. It will be hard not to give into these temptations, and yet dancing is already hard enough in itself. Art is not easy, and since dancing is “the art of dialectics,” and thus dialectics are hard as well.
What must we do to become “dancers,” people who “aesthetically be-come and pro-clear?” Can I make this vague and metaphoric advice become more concrete? Well, sure: “dancers” are people who work to “increase openness,” which means:
A. Become less judgmental.
B. Become more adaptive and able to “go with the flow.”
C. Become more open and less set in your ways.
D. Seek “self-forgetful,” where you simply don’t think about yourself much (which is different from being “self-derogatory,” do note).
And so on. Flow, adaption, openness, creativity, improvisation, being nonjudgmental — all of these are critical to “dancing,” and please note how all of these are practices of “observation,” as will be explored.
40. To “Invert Platonism” is to “negate being” and make “becoming” holy. The ground becomes church.
41. Dancing recognizes the difference between “explain” and “address.”
42. For Plato, the thinking is real, while Nietzsche found reality in what we could only live out. What moves is what is moving.
43. Our experience of “emotional lack” suggests that is an “ontological lack” that makes that emotional experience possible. If this is the case, dealing with our “emotional lack” alone will not address the fundamental problem, and that fundamental problem will keep bringing back the emotional torment. If that occurs, we will likely oscillate. Sure, but the ontological condition cannot be changed, can it? Does that mean oscillation is inescapable? No, for we can learn to accept “lack,” which is to view “lack as essential to our being” versus “lack as a solvable problem.” This act is to “negate wholeness” from our lives: what does this “negation open up? Well, the possibility of dancing.
44. “Lack” only compels us into becoming “overmen” if we become dancers. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is a dancer, as must be the Artifex (discussed throughout The Fate of Beauty). The dancer does not view “lack” as evidence of brokenness, but something “incomplete” that can only be “completed” in the act of dancing.
It is a different topic for a different time, but if the Artifex is only possible where “dancing” occurs, then a “philosophy of lack” is necessary to avoid Marx’s “material dialectic” — but that is a large and extensive case for another time.
45. “Dancing” can be associated with “becoming,” and that can be associated with “the density” Mr. Ebert brought up in the conversation. Due note that beauty, truth, and goodness are the only things we can have an infinite amount of and not be destroyed by that infinity. Everything else, dense, becomes a terror.
46. If we simply seek to “fill lacks,” we would seem to be “seeking being,” a state free of the “lack,” and this for Nietzsche is Platonic and paradoxically “nihilist.” And yet “becoming” entails a kind of “being” in it — it is “being-coming,” per se. If being is death, does “be-coming” suggest “a coming of death?” Hard to say, but it should be noted that aesthetics and art have traditionally been tied to death. In fact, art seems to have a lot to do with sex, birth, and death — three critical dimensions of human existence that Dr. Last stresses we need to focus on.
47. It would seem that there cannot be art where there is a desire for being. Please note that even God doesn’t have to be a “pure being”: in Christianity, God is a Trinity, a dance and “becoming,” for each person of the Trinity is always “drawing toward” one another. We should not assume that a critique of being is necessarily a critique of divinity: it depends.
48. To explain what I mean by dance, we must introduce glaciers.
Imagine we are standing looking at a glacier: we can’t see what’s underneath it, which to say “what is under the glacier” is “lacking” from our lives. Now, the metaphor of a glacier is loaded here, for we all know that glaciers extend underwater in real life, but imagine it was equally possible for nothing to be underneath the visible section of the glacier. Imagine it was a tossup, and we had two choices: first, to believe “there is nothing more” to what I can observer of the glacier, or, second, to believe “there is something more” to what I can observer. From my position, both of these are equally valid interpretations of “lack”: which interpretation will I choose?
Now, imagine that I can/might never confirm if there is more beneath the glacier or not, that leaping into the freezing water will kill me. What will I do then? It would seem I have “just as much reason” to think there is “something more” to the glacier versus “nothing more,” which please note is the difference between deciding if this example of “lack” is a version of “lack as incompleteness” (where there is “something more”) or “lack as nothingness” (where there is “nothing more”).
Please note that to walk away from “staring at the glacier” is to practically ascent to the premise that there is “nothing more,” and this is the act of searching for “ontological wholeness” (which hopefully the work of O.G. Rose has made clear is a “death drive”). However, the act of accepting there is “nothing more” than the glacier while standing in place and not moving is not equivalent to “walking away,” for different sets of possibilities arise. If there is “nothing more” than the top of the glacier, than the glacier is “all there is,” and there are a few possible responses to accepting this possibility:
1. It doesn’t matter (nihilism, everything is nothing, the real is unthinkable).
2. It is itself (empiricism, everything is everything, the sensed is real).
3. It is holy (Inverted Platonism, nothing is everything, the unthought is real).
Options 1 and 2 are clear enough, but what about 3? How can the glacier be “holy” if there is “nothing more” to it? It’s just ice, right? Ah, well this brings us to a problem: perhaps it’s not possible for us to ascribe to Inverted Platonism unless we ascent to “something more” (regardless if we ever reach it or not)? That would make sense, seeing as we can’t have “becoming” unless things are “becoming” that which they aren’t (things which are “something more” during the process of “becoming”). Where there is no “something more,” there cannot be “becoming,” and that would mean Nietzsche’s dream must die.
We actually must believe there could be “something more” to the glacier in order for it to be “holy” and not “just itself” (finite) — it the glacier is “just what it is,” it’s not clear what the function of the word “holy” is (other than a nice compliment). “Becoming” requires there to be “that which is not yet be-come” — there must be “being that has not yet arrived and passed beyond” — and this ontological orientation seems impossible without ascent to “something more” versus “nothing more.” Considering all this, for Nietzsche and Inverted Platonism, “lack” must mean “incompleteness” versus “the end of the story,” per se.
Where is no “something more,” there can only be “being,” and that for Nietzsche is “bad nihilism” and death. As argued throughout O.G. Rose, the desire for “being” is a “death drive,” and even if we avoid the temptations of Plato and “Primordial Unity,” we can still practically end up seeking “being” by negating the possibility of “something more.” Doesn’t negation “open up” possibilities? Yes, but the negation of “something more” only opens up the possibility of “being,” which is the possibility of death. This is probably not a “good negation.”
Thus, to become Nietzschean and Inverted Platonists, we must interpret “lack” as “incomplete”; otherwise, we end up “toward” being and death. If we cannot know with certainty (seeing as certainty is mostly impossible in this life) that the lack is “incomplete” or “nothing (more),” than it is reasonable for us to choose to interpret the glacier either way. In this case, in order to “become,” we need to choose to see “lack as incompleteness” — a reasonable position.
49. To standing looking at “the glacier” is not to oscillate, and so it is a “step above” living a life always oscillating between “what we don’t have” and “what we want” (as discussed toward the start of this work): there is advancement to make it this off. Nietzsche wants us to face “lack” unflinchingly, to view it as “part of us” (essential) versus something we can “part from” (accidental). It is only by residing in lack that we can integrate the Platonic into “lack,” versus the “lack” compel us toward that Platonic, which is death.
However, once we escape the “oscillations of everyday life,” we still have a choice to make: do we interpret “the lack” we are facing as “incomplete” or “all there is?” What Nietzsche asks of us is not to take a single step, but two into a dance. This requires “becoming,” and that requires “lack as incompleteness.”
50. What does art have to do with “lack?”
Art is always the realization of something that isn’t into existence. Thus, art exists because of “lack,” though it is not reducible to “lack.” Additionally, as soon as art is made, it is “lacking” that art which isn’t made: the “becoming” never stops. Art doesn’t end, and thus is a good expression of the “becoming” which defines Inverted Platonism.
What does “lack” make us “become?”
That seems to depend on us and our choices. It could make us nihilists, hopeless, or artists. Dancers are artists.
What should “lack” make us “become?”
51. The transcend trans-fixes: it heals but doesn’t move us into “wholeness”; it heals by moving. The question that hangs is if we achieve transcendence best “through” love or by focusing on it directly, which seems to be the question of which best forces us to face “the punishment of sex” and “become/dance” in response. Do recall that “the punishment of sex” is the direct, personal, and emotional “facing” of the reality that “complete wholeness” is impossible. The punishment is not merely to “know” we cannot be “whole” with everyone all the time, but to also “feel” it, which suggests that our “response to lack” mustn’t merely be intellectual. It must require an emotional dimension too.
52. To live with “the punishment of sex” seems to be like accepting death: it is an art-form. How do we live beautifully knowing we are going to die and can never be “one?” How do we harmonize for now?
53. The “dance” I keep describing needs to be overlaid with “the glacier metaphor” (forgive the mixing of metaphors): as with the glacier, in the dance, I choose to interpret “the gap” between me and others as “a space” where “nothing more” can arise or a space where “something more” can arise.
As with the glacier, it is equally reasonable for us to believe that “something more” will emerge from “the gap” in the dance as it is to believe “nothing more” will emerge, so why not believe “something more” could emerge?
Well, because we stop feeling like it might: we eventually lose hope and feel like we are lying to ourselves. Just because we maintain an “intellectual ascent” doesn’t mean we will maintain an “emotional connection,” and it seems like we need both for “the possibility of something more” to really mean anything to us. Additionally, we seem to need that emotional support to endure and keep dancing.
How do we maintain not just intellectual ascent to the possibility of “something more” but also emotional and personal ascent?
Well, I think the answer is beauty.
If the dance keeps being beautiful to us, we’ll keep dancing.
We’ll want to keep going.
If we don’t believe in the possibility of “something more” arises out of the dance, it seems destined to lose its emotional appeal and become repetitive. Once the dance becomes repetitive, it can start to feel boring and dead. If while dancing we know we are going to end up bored and dead, we might stop dancing, and then “the gap” will vanish and we will have fallen into nihilism (a belief that “lack is practically just nothing,” even if in our minds we maintain philosophical distinctions).
Following Nietzsche, we end up nihilism if we walk away from the glacier/dance (in favor of “wholeness”) and if stop caring about the glacier/dance.
This is critical: we have to maintain a deep and inspired investment in “becoming,” for once we lose that connection, though we might still be going through “the motions” of aesthetic life and “facing lack,” we will cease becoming aesthetic. We can’t merely dance, as we can’t merely stare. In other words, we have to flow when we dance; we have to genuinely “observe” the glacier.
This is a daunting task. How do we accomplish it?
Is emphasizing love or transcendence our best chance for flowing when we dance?
Answering this question might involved considering the role of death in our lives.
It might be the case that we cannot flow without death.
If this is so, the question of “what orientation best increases our chance to flow” will be tied to the question of which “makes death most real.”
54. It was noted earlier that Aquinas understood “perfect” to mean “fitting” (which is, indeed, teleological), and in that sense we can say “becoming is perfect,” because it is “fitting” for being to become for otherwise being would cease to exist and not be being at all. When we seek “pure being” in the name of “Platonic perfection,” we seek a state precisely in which being ceases to be perfect. This is the Kafkaesque joke of Platonism that Nietzsche worked to correct.
55. Dance is not a science, but it can be perfect. It is not defined by “exactitude,” which means it avoids the critiques of Vico, but is instead defined by “direction” and “what’s fitting.” The alive is inexact, which means dance can be alive. Only the alive can be perfect, which is to say “only the alive can rightly fit,” which is to say that only the inexact can be perfect. Furthermore, where there is inexactitude and “becoming” (which seem like they must go together), there is death, and that would mean the perfect must be dying. Here, we begin to sense that death matters — a point we will have to explore.
56. To ignore Vico and make our standard of perfection “exactitude” is to make our standard of perfection what cannot be perfect — no wonder we suffer “a meaning crisis.” We cannot necessarily say that “everything non-exact is perfect,” but we can say “the perfect is non-exact.” For Vico, the only mountain which can be perfect is painted.
57. Being is structured like art more than math, for “being is coming” (the closer we approach God, the more we become like a movie than a formula). The artist is haunted by death. Trying to finish projects before it arrives, trying to live forever — the battle takes many forms. But to fight death is a mistake. Danse Macabre.
58. It is “fitting” for us to be “lacking,” for “lack” is required for us to be dancers. “Lack” makes “perfection” possible, but only in accepting “lack,” which we’ve been trained our whole lives to think would be for us to accept “imperfection.” Irony is humanity’s talent.
59. If beauty is indivisible from transience, we can start to understand why being cannot be beautiful, only be-coming.
60. The world around us “lacks” the ideas in our heads, and so our heads are “the source of being” in a world that longs for being but cannot get inside of us. Well, actually, maybe we only think the world “longs for being”: maybe all the world ever does is “be-come?”
61. (Re)constructing “A Is A” hopefully explains why we “lack,” but this “lack” cannot be addressed until we “aesthetically be-come and pro-clear” (to use that loaded phrase again), and that cannot occur until we commit to “dancing with death.” We must make a “real choice,” as “Homo Egeo” by O.G. Rose argues, suggesting perhaps the “harsh teachings” of the past traditions were wiser than we realized.
62. There is a difference between marrying in hopes of achieving “wholeness” and marrying aware it will force you to face “essential lack” and “dance with death.” The same social arrangement, yes, but not the same way of life. So it goes with seeking fame, great accomplishment, and the like: a choice to experience the vividness of “lack” can resemble the choice to flee “lack” and be the very act which accepts it. We cannot judge.
63. To “integrate with lack” is to choose pain; “Inverted Platonism” is to make divine the finite realm which hurts us. Life is hurt. Hurt is life. “The punishment of sex” becomes Platonic. “Inverted Platonism” is facing “the punishment of sex” and becoming grateful for “the unfillable gap,” because it would be impossible to dance, to “aesthetically be-come,” without it. Because of “the gap” and “lack”, harmony doesn’t have to be a dream. But it will be a dream for those who never take a risk: if we do risk humiliating ourselves on the dance floor, of nothing “emerging” between us and our dance partner (of spending our lives staring at a glacier in hopes of seeing if there is something beneath the water, perhaps for not), of there being, in the end, “nothing more” — then it will be thus. Living requires the risk of being wasteful.
64. On the brave dance, for dancing is with death. Why is this? Because to dance with “another” is to dance with what can tempt us to try to “become whole,” and the better we dance, the more we will feel like we really could achieve “the dream of Primoradial Unity,” even if we supposedly know better. When we find a great “dance partner,” it really does feel like we could overcome our “noumenon frames” (to use language from a Rose paper by that title), but we must resist that feeling (similar to Pandora’s). If we didn’t dance, we wouldn’t be tempted by “dreams of wholeness,” but to fail to dance is to fail to “be-come.” So, what should we do?
Alright, but how is “dancing with ourselves” the same as “dancing with death?” Well, when “who we are” seeks to “be-come” an Overman, a personification of “something more” (for example), it can be tempting to believe that it is possible for us to become someone who feels no “lack,” a person who “feels whole.” As we work and climb toward higher versions of the self, it can be tempting to start thinking we could one day achieve a version of ourselves that will no longer have to deal with “lack.” But this is not possible. However, there’s a potential for beauty here, for if we can never become “whole,” there is always an opportunity to create ourselves “some more.” We just can’t stop “dancing.”
65. Dancers do not seek to “re-place” one another, to become “a new place” for them (in merging), but to “read” one another, to achieve a state of “here/there” (as discussed in “Absolute Knowing” by O.G. Rose). When we read a book, we are “here” reading it but also “there” in the story. With dancers, they work to achieve a similar state with other people versus with books. How is this possible? Well, that’s the magic of it. Art can prove magic is real.
To read a book is to “accept” the reality that we cannot be “there” in the story — that there will always be a “gap” between “here” and “there,” per se — but it is also to know that the experience of being “there” in the story (and thus “here/there” overall) would not be possible without “the gap.” To read is to accept that “the gap” is a blessing: the negation adds. Similarly, to dance is to accept that “the gap” between people is a blessing: the negation adds. And lastly, as we’ll discuss, death can be a blessing too.
We are different when we search for people to “harmonize” with versus when we search for “wholeness”: our “towardness” to life entirely changes. Our aim becomes a beautiful failure, a heroic finality.
66. Being is “perfect” when “be-coming” (and dead/nothing when just itself), and that means we are “perfect’ when “death is coming.” We basically seem made, almost teleological, to “dance with death.” What cannot die cannot be perfect, only cancerous (to allude to “Death Denial Is Death Drive,” which is about the work of Alex Ebert).
67. We must “be-come,” but that means we must always be “welcoming in being” to our lives, and yet if we “stop on being,” we die. We must dance with death. All dancing is a dance with death, which means (the possibility of) death makes the dance possible. This suggests, as Alex Ebert notes, that we cannot assume “death is bad”: it depends and regardless plays a necessary role. Death can make life precious.
68. A Capitalism that’s rationality is defined by “avoiding death” is a Capitalism which cannot dance. Dance is not avoidance: it’s acceptance of the inability to be “one” and a celebration of the “harmony” made possible thanks to that negation.
69. If there was no death, why would we both with the work of harmonization? Nothing would be precious. We would be gods.
70. Where there is “the punishment of sex,” there is a “gap,” which means there is a “lack” of wholeness (hence why “lack” and “gap” are treated like similes). Furthermore, if we to “become” in a manner that isn’t an effort to “become whole” (and thus achieve a being which would be our death), we must consciously accept this “gap” and instead try to “become” dancers with the “gap.” The effort to “be-come dancers” is not the same as the effort to “be-come whole”: an effort to erase difference is not the same as respecting and acknowledging difference, which makes possible “dance.” But difference is frightening, and there is something about our brains which “naturally” views difference as a negative and tries to transform it into a similarity (which kills it). As discussed in the conversation on “The Return to Metaphysics,” the brains seeks similarity in a world of difference, making it what makes it possible for us to understand the world while also being what tries to change it into something stagnant and dead. We might fight our brains to use it well. We must be locked “in a dance to the death.”
71. We are ontologically a being who must journey through hell and purgatory to reach heaven. Dante is Everyman. Dance “danced with dead.”
72. Dancing requires courage. ‘The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (quote) Why? Because “dancing” is “dancing with death,” and that is because we “dance” with that which will tempt us to seek “being” versus accept only the dance, the “becoming.”
73. Nihilism may not fear death, but it does not face it either.
74. In dance, the ego and “I” are forgotten and “practically vanish.” This isn’t to say they are erased or negated, but that we enter a state of “self-forgetfulness” that can feel like “one is all” (which, do note, is different from “all = one,” which signifies a problematic wholeness). For more on this point, please see “Homo Egeo” by O.G. Rose, but generally “merging with everyone” is not the same as all as “losing sight of divisions” (though they seem identical): in the second, divisions still against, but “we lose sight of them” in the magnificence of “harmony” (as individual instruments and performance “practically vanish” in the middle of a symphonic performance).
75. To “integrate with lack,” to make it essential versus accidental, is to say, “Lack matters.” The nihilist, on the other hand, does not “integrate with nothing,” but denies it as “nothing there.”
76. If there was no space, nothing could fit in the space. Without space, there is no perfection. The Platonic is “what fits.”
77. It takes courage to “pro-clear,” and if “becoming” is to be accepted, “pro-clearing” must be present, for we must “make space” for “be-coming” and emergence. To “integrate with lack” entails “pro-clearing,” for we accept the presence of “lack” versus try to fill it.
What is “pro-clearing?” Well, it is to support and “be in favor of” “the clearing” or “gap” in which “something more” or “nothing more” can emerge. To dance is to “pro-clear,” as is to read a book, for dancing makes a space between myself and my partner, as reading is for me to “enter into a space” where I can be “here/there.” To “pro-clear” is to honor an “opening” in hopes of “something more” emerging, all while we’re aware nothing may. To “pro-clear’ is to be courageous and “dance with death,” for to “face a clearing” is to feel the temptation to fill it (to turn “becoming” into “being” and die).
Artists will speak about going into their studio and “waiting for the muse to arrive.” They don’t always know what they are going to do or say: often, they just “wait.” Now, I don’t mean to say that they are entirely clueless, and artists will have a swirl of ideas and images in their minds that they then try to put together. But how they come together can often be mysterious: it feels like a mixture of “them” working and “something else” (dialectical). Often, this seemingly “mystical experience” is associated with “flow states.”
Similar to the magic of dancing, jazz musicians know of the strange experience of improvisation. When you sit at the piano, you know what you’re going to do next, and yet you don’t know what you’re going to do next. When you’re in a band, you “just know” that you should hit F# and change keys, as you “just know” that you become “the anchor” and hold the beat so that the saxophonist can take the spotlight for a minute. You know and yet you know; you’re just “here” at the piano and yet also “there” in the song. It’s hard to explain, and arguably it must be experienced to understand. Personally, I think it is this kind of experience that needs to be located at the foundation of our philosophical work, but problematically philosophers tend to search for “abstract and analytical axioms” to place at the bottom of their thinking versus something experiential. I think this bias has contributed to our failure to discover a productive Philosophy of Lack.”
We mentioned “courageously standing there and looking at the glacier” earlier, and this is certainly an act of “pro-clearing,” for we are “making space” for the glacier to reveal its full self to us (fully aware that “nothing more” might be there to be revealed — the great and necessary risk). We then transitioned from this image to dancing, and noted that dancing entails “pro-clearing,” for dancing honors and “observers” the space between us and others, aware that filling that gap would make the dance impossible.
“Pro-clearing” is a term that can be associated with the “affirming” of a theatre audience, a point raised by Tim Adalin.²⁹ How does an audience affirm a play? But not interrupting it: by sitting back and observing the actors perform. If audience members jumped up on the stage, chatted in their seats, clapped their hands together — the “sacred space” of the performance would be ruined, and the “full experience” of the play would become impossible to undergo. For the audience, to affirm the actors is to affirm the “clearing”: the actors are honored by the audience “getting themselves out of the way,” per se. If we want to use the language of “negation,” we could say that by “negating from themselves the possibility of getting on the stage,” the audience makes possible the play and artform (please not the multiple meanings of the word “play”). Because there are “observers,” there can be “the sacred.”³⁰
78. “Integration with lack” is “pro-clearing” (and please note all the associations we can make, such as “procuring,” “pro-seeing-accurately,” “favoring-the-opening,” and so on).
79. In response to Tim’s point, Dr. Cadell Last noted that, first, the subject’s unconscious desire for “total relation” ends up making the subject not relate at all, locked within itself (nothing gives “returns us to Primordial Unity,” so we end up withdrawing in disappointment — rational). ‘Since we are all radically limited beings,’ Cadell wrote next, ‘we can only relate so much: the universal has to become personal.’ This line stood out to me.
If Cadell is correct, we as subject need to “pro-clear” the universe itself. We’ve already discussed how an audience “pro-clears” the performance so that the performance can be possible, and I wonder if something similar applies to the universe. I wonder if there is a sense that when we don’t “turn the universe personal,” we violate it’s “sacred space?” In other words, “the ontic realm” (the realm of the universe to itself as itself) is a “performance” we should not try to access (beyond hypotheticals, scientific method, etc.); when we do, the performance, which we are part of, is ruined (as is evident by the resulting neurosis). This harkens back to the admonishments of Vico, and certainly Vico wants us to “pro-clear” nature.
Far from subjectivity “keeping us from the ontic,” perhaps subjectivity makes the ontic sacred (if only we don’t try to approach it “impersonally,” which would be for the audience to jump up on the stage and act like actors, which in this case would be for us to act like we aren’t subjects, but just “part of the ontic,” part of the performance…). “The universe has to become personal” — Cadell is right — and in this context, that means we treat the universe-to-itself like we are members in an audience. The ontic consists of “a dynamic performance” we cannot fully access that we can still ruin (“inaccessible” and “unaffectable” are not similes); in this case though, if we ruin these “dynamics,” we also ruin ourselves, because the price of “jumping on stage” is losing our soul (our subjectivity, personhood, etc.). And this is an especially insane act, because we lose our soul and ruin the performance — there is only loss.
Subjectivity makes possible “the sacred” in negating the ontic.
“The sacred” is added to the universe because the universe is ours.
There is sacredness because there is “lack.”
80. The “negation of oscillation” is “pro-clearing”; it is dancing. Dancing is not oscillation; dancing is dialectical.
81. Wait, don’t dialectics entail movements “back and forth?” In this way, aren’t dialectics oscillations? Indeed, but dance entails movement, yet it would be erroneous to suggest “dance was movement,” as if it was akin to walking. Dialects are like oscillations, but not equivalent. Oscillations, I think, are when I am pushed “back and forth,” but dialectics are when “I choose to be pushed back and forth.” This suggests the critical role of “choice” in our “Metamodern way of life.” And yes, this might sound like the most nitpicky distinction in the world, but I think it is massive.
82. Where there a “negation of oscillation” through “pro-clearing” and “dancing with death,” there are (chosen) dialectics, which may or may not arise to “something more.” And that begs the question: does love or transcendence keep us dancing?
83. We cannot “lack” ideas without dying, nor can we “lack” energy without being dead, suggesting that indeed ideas and energy as “the fundamental sources of value,” as argued in “The Dialectic Between Creativity and Energy” by O.G. Rose. Furthermore, dance requires both.
84. “Pro-clearing” accepts mystery. It also requires “active thinking,” for we constantly have to pay attention to make sure we don’t accidentally “fill the clearing.”
85. Dancing and “pro-clearing” entail vulnerability, silence, waiting, observing, trusting — both require emotional intelligence, not just philosophical skill.
86. Another word for “gap” and “lack” is “opening.” What we have called “The Philosophy of Lack” could be called “The Philosophy of Opening.” We emphasize “the lack” though because that is what we must start with and “journey through.” Dante starts with the Inferno, and perhaps we could associate “Opening” with Purgatorio, for our “journey through lack” is “opening us up” and “making us ready” for what could come next. Though, unlike in Dante, there is no guarantee for us: though it might be rational to think there is “something more” to “the glacier” or “something more” that could arise in the dance, there is no guarantee.
Is our journey a journey from lack to opening to “emerging dance?” Perhaps, but the trick is that in “the place of opening” (“the clearing”), we have to start dancing on our own. There is no guarantee our dance will be elevated into “something more” — we may dance on the summit of Purgatorio, and Beatrix never come fetch us to pull us up into the Paradiso. We must face this fear. We must dance.
What “commitment” will keep us dancing on the summit of Purgatorio, in “the opening?” Is a commitment which emphasizes love or one that emphasizes transcendence? The choice between love and transcendence seems to be the question, which I think be overlaid with the question of “returning to common life” (Hume) or heading off into the wilderness to become a guru (as discussed elsewhere).
87. Freedom is only found where death is faced, and we must face our partner to dance. Where death is ignored or fled from, fear prevails, which means love is gone. Habits “toward” transcendence become impossible.
88. Ebert makes a good point in defending addiction: are not the saints addicted to God? A fair point, but I think the word “habituated” might work better: the saints “regularly attend to God,” which is “like” addiction, but different in that “addiction” tends to be associated with “us wanting to stop something we cannot.” The saints only desire more of God.
89. As mentioned with the topic of freedom and “Directionalism,” there is something about dance that includes the feeling of “being swept away,” and we seem to want to be “swept up in something.” This sounds strange, for this suggests we don’t always want to be free: we sometimes want to be “overcome” in something other than ourselves. But doesn’t this sound like addiction? Ebert raised this great point, and it does seem like addiction entails a certain “being carried away.” It would also seem to be the case that whatever is meant by “dance” in this paper refers to a “regular way of life,” and addiction can certainly provide that regularity. However, addiction is when “determinism chooses us” versus “we choose determinism,” and instead of “addiction” we should seek “discipline and habit,” both of which seem critical for us to achieve “the aesthetic be-coming and pro-clearing of dance.”
90. James K.A. Smith argues that “we are what we love,” because what we love is what tends to form our habits, and our habits form us. If this is the case, then love would seem to have to come before transcendence, for it seems we would need love to develop “the habit and disciplines” necessary for we could achieve transcendence. It takes habit and discipline to learn how to “dance,” and those who do not love dance will struggle to persevere through the difficulties of dance to achieve the excellence required for transcendence. But what if it is “practically impossible” to love well enough to achieve the transcendence found in say LSD? Would it not be better to forsake “the romantic vision” and make transcendence primarily? This is a critical question which we will address at another time.
91. Where there messiness (Vico), we can find beauty, truth, and goodness — the “three infinities” that can make possible a “positive density” (Ebert), but only to the degree they exist in concert with one another.
92. We freely work to achieve a habit that reduces free choice. We want to choose a loss of freedom so that we can feel free of freedom’s responsibility and yet still feel free.
93. We choose our love, which shapes our habits, which makes possible transcendence. This makes love seem primary.
94. In a dance, freedom and submission blend: sometimes we lead, and sometimes we follow. When an audio watches a play, it wants to be “lead on” by the performance, but at the same time, the performers want the audience to approve. Who leads? Who follows?
95. What we hope emerges in a dance is a sense of movement that we cannot explain, and because we cannot explain it, it is safe. The sacred is safe.
96. What we love forms our habits, so if we can love “dancing” (and “pro-clearing,” “standing there looking at the glacier,” per se), we will “make a habit of dancing” (and “be-coming”). Once we’ve made this habit, our capacity to reach what Alex Ebert called “density” (allude to Whitehead) — a state of “total relation” — will increase, which means our chance to experience “transcendence” will go up.
97. If it is the case that the only way to experience transcendence is through certain habits (of dancing), then it would seem love must come before transcendence.
98. The closer a thing is to transcendence, the more difficult it will be to avoid addiction over it. Love might help us from going too far, at the expense of others, but, then again, love might be impossible.
99. Can more be said on why dancing is “dancing with death?” Well, if “being” is death for us, then since to “be-come” is to approach and/or invite being “toward” us, then the act of “be-coming” entails bringing death our way. But if we always “be-come,” then “being” never arrives: just when it almost does, we pass by it. To “be” instead of “be-come,” we must “stop moving,” per se, and if we never do, we never die. Please note that we don’t mean to suggest here that “all death is bad” or that “death is necessarily bad”: it depends. There is “the death of being” and there is “the death of the ego,” there is “the death of someone in their 80s” and “the death of someone in their 20s who doesn’t want to die,” and so on: we cannot paint with a broad brush and must examine each situation one by one.
Now, on the point of “be-coming as moving with death,” this is where a strange but critical distinction is needed because “death” and “dying.” We are always dying, and this is precisely what makes it possible for us to be alive. Without any form of death at all, life would not be precious, and we would be vulnerable to becoming “cancerous” just as Mr. Ebert describes in his work, “Avoidance Theory.” But we can’t be dying if we are dead, and so to benefit from death, we cannot entirely die (unless that is life continues after death, which is possible).³¹ Similarly, we cannot “be-come” if we are “being,” paradoxically, for “to be” is to stop “be-coming” (for we cease “to be” at all). Similarly, if we achieve “Primordial Unity,” we cannot continue seeking unity, and in ceasing to be, we won’t even have unity.
To “be-come” is to “let death come,” and we cannot do this if we are dead. The dead cannot “face death”: death teaches the living, those who “dance.” Perhaps we can associate “dance” in this context with the bullfighter, waving a fluttering red blanket, taunting the bull, and moving out of the way just in time. “Olay, olay, olay!” There is a kind of dancing to bullfighting, and in this context to give up bullfighting is to cease “be-coming.” To cease risking death is to die. And we do indeed “pro-clear” when we bullfight, for we acknowledge the difference between us and the bull and the need to maintain “the space between us.” If the space is gone, we have either been gorged or we have stepped out of the arena. And as we “pro-clear” the bull, so the audience should “pro-clear” us and our “dance partner.”
Bullfighting is exhausting though, and after a few runs, we’ll likely want to stop. It’s frightful: if we survive a few charges, that will feel like we’ve earned the right to stop. To step out of the arena. To take a bow. Exhausted and feeling like we’ve earned honor — having carried out a magnificent dance — the temptation will arise to cease. To stop “be-coming.” To walk away. After so long of denying “the temptation of being” (of death), it will prove difficult to keep denying it. We’ll grow tired. We’ll want relief. But if we accept relief and leave the arena or let the bull gorge us, there will be no opportunity for something “to emerge” in the ring, for something extraordinary to happen that we do not and cannot expect. But of course, “nothing more” might emerge too, meaning we could suffer exhaustion, face our fears, and resist temptation all for nothing. This is a very real possibility, and one of the fears we must face: “the fear of nothing more.” Can we face it? If we do not “dance” or “fight,” there will be no possibility of “something more” arising, but ultimately all we may gain by “stepping out into the clearing” (“pro-clearing”) is exhausting and “nothing more.” Is there honor and magnificence in this, all the same? Perhaps not — but perhaps that “perhaps not” is precisely why there is magnificence and honor. It’s hard to say.
Won’t the bull eventually gorge us? Won’t we all eventually die? We will all eventually die, but dying from exhaustion, from falling to our knees with a smile on our face, is not the same as being gorged. We are to die from the dance, not from the bull. To be gorged by the bull is to fall into the temptation of “being,” but to die from exhaustion to exercise “be-coming” up to our very last breath. We are to die from dancing with death, not from giving up and letting death prevail. Without death, there would be nothing to fight, and thus we would lose at life. But we must die from the fight. We might die before death. And as we fall, perhaps death will observe us, just as we observed it.
100. Forgive me for moving between glaciers, dancing, and bullfighting — finding a way to provide imagery for what we’re describing has proven difficult, and I will now return to emphasizing “dance” again (though I hope it makes sense to think of “bullfighting” as a kind of “dance”).
101. To dance, fight, to take a stand — all is with temptation, death, being…
102. The challenge of death is not to let it kill us, but for us to fight until we die before it. Otherwise, we do not honor death but deny it.
103. To “be-come” is to observe death, to “pro-clear.”
104. To never be surprised is to find happiness only in egotism and control. Death is a life that is planned, but a life that feels like it has no “background” or “metaphysical support” can feel too chaotic (which is a society without “givens”). The writer, in committing to return to her desk every morning, creates a “given” for herself, but in not knowing exactly what will happen, also makes space for surprise. A balance is struck between “structure” and possibility: a model is offered on how to dance.
But the writer knows she doesn’t exactly know what will happen next, and for this reason can fear sitting at her desk and experiencing “nothing more” arising. In this way, the writer here must accept “lack” — she must accept that she “lacks” what might happen next — but by sitting down at her desk, she faces that “lack.” She still tries her best, knowing there is no other way that “something more” might emerge. And she also accepts that whatever arises cannot be totally reduced to her: not only does she make herself vulnerable, she accept being unable to claim full responsible for what she produces. Courage, humility, and possibility thus mix.
The writer knows that she is “incomplete,” that she does not possess everything that is needed to produced a great story. She also knows that she might sit at her desk and “nothing more” emerge; nevertheless, she sits — there is no other way “something more” might arise.
105. “Death” always means “death,” as (stagnant) “being” always means “being.” On the other hand, “becoming” and “dying” need no slash — they are lived.
106. The point of life is resurrection, “new life,” and that requires death. If we die before death from the “fight,” perhaps we obtain the “new life” of the heroic and divine. Perhaps not — that possibility is part of the fight.
107. Where there is no “dancing with death,” life is not precious. Death makes life precious. Be-coming makes life living.
108. Death has not relation with death; only life has relation with death. Like us, death is erased when it achieves “Primordial Unity” too. This in mind, the problem with life “denying death” versus “dance with death” is that life then only “relates with life,” and as a result becomes “a Unity” Unities are deaths: life requires differences and multiples, and yet life naturally seeks oneness and sameness. “Erasure” by oneness is a “bad death”: a “good death” requires dying before death, by “fighting” and “dancing.”
109. And so, we return yet again to the question that keeps returning, taking on different wording each time. What disposition increase the likelihood that we will keep bullfighting? What emphasis and orientation will help us “go on the dance floor” and face our fear (death, “the punishment of sex,” the death of our ego, etc.)? Which focus and “commitment” will inspire us to “dance with death” and keep us there “dancing?”Which orientation is our best chance for keeping us committed to the possibility of “something more” when there is a very real chance that “nothing more” will emerge? (Please note that to give up is to accept the end of “be-coming”: it is to accept “being.”)
Love or transcendence?
110. If we do not “dance” (perhaps for good reason), we risk being a nihilist, for nothing may really matter to us (seeing as death is what makes life precious). Considering, it is possible for us to be a nihilist and not realize it, for we are practically a nihilist if nothing really matters to us (which, avoiding, seems to require a relationship with death), but if our standard for being a nihilist is “believing in nothing,” we might be self-deceived. This is for “things may matter to us,” and thus we can seem to not be a nihilist to ourselves, but again we are practically nihilists if nothing really matters to us. The difference between “matters” and “really matters” is the presence of death. The presence of death makes us feel alive (consider the spread of boredom as life expectancies increase and comfort spreads), and “avoiding dance” is not the same as “dancing with death” (“pro-clearing” is not avoidance, for it requires observing).
111. To cease being a nihilist, if the question, “What is my purpose in life?” doesn’t help, we should try “What do I find beautiful?” It might offer better guidance, better helping us find our way into the trinity of goodness, truth, and beauty. As will be addressed, this inquiry might help us determine, “What orientation best increases our chance to experience flow?” Both of these questions are likely tied to “What makes death most real to us?” and that question brings us back to the choice between focusing on transcendence or love.
112. Nihilism can be associated with exactitude, and the opposite of nihilism is lack and art, which only combat nihilism in the context of a commitment to “the punishment of sex.”
113. “Be-coming” can be associated with “(in)completeness,” a term used throughout O.G. Rose.
114. The threat of transcendence is that we transcendent death, while the threat of love is that we fear death and give into that fear. To love someone is to make the risk of death palatable: it is indeed hard to face our own death, but at least we won’t be around to experience our death after it happens. But if our wife dies, we will experience that for an untold amount of time. In my opinion, facing the death of people we love deeply is far more difficult than facing our own death. Considering this, loving might be the best way to “dance with death,” but the challenge may also be too great. Though perhaps it could help us achieve “great be-coming,” it might also be “practically impossible,” making transcendence the better focus.
115. Love makes death hurt. Can we face death if it cannot hurt us?
116. What is evidence of being a nihilist? What is a good test? Well, our relationship to time might provide revelation. If we want to kill time, seeing as time is necessary for life, we want to kill life (perhaps without realizing it). Not even death desires that, for death is not suicidal.
117. We are not a nihilist if we are hungry for time, if we are desperate to keep it from slowing down (not just retrospectively, but from moment to moment of the day). If there is more time, there is more “be-coming,” there is more “dancing with death” (for we are not dead). If we want more time, we want more “dancing”; if we want to “kill time,” we (practically) want to die ourselves. (This might be part of what Nietzsche was getting at with the test of his Eternal Return.)
118. If life entails time and being is timeless, being is death.
119. If to be alive is to be approaching death, then life is living with death, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily dance with it. That seems to depend on us and our choices. “Living with death” and “dancing with death” comes down to choice, which begs the question: Is primarily seeking love or transcendence how best to “dance with death” (versus just ‘be/die with it’)”?
120. Psychedelics seem to bring about “transcendent experiences,” but I wonder if love is required for a “transcendent baseline” or “transcendent life?” Not sure. Also, psychedelics may cause “huge moves” upward in positive ways — very high highs — while love might be a lot slower and less intense, but also less volatile. However, once love “moves up,” it does a better job at “staying up.”
121. Psychedelics may give us a “glimpse” of “the whole glacier,” per se, of “what could emerge in the dance,” but after that glimpse vanishes, we might be more likely to “walk away” from standing there versus if we would have gained “the glimpse” more gradually through love. However, if love is “practically impossible” (which should be associated with “the return” of Hume, discussed in “Deconstructing Common Life” by O.G. Rose).
122. It is possible that we “learn to love” thanks to psychedelic experiences, so we should be quick to add this is not necessarily an “either/or” choice. Rather, this is a question of emphasis and focus.
123. Oscillation can be negated where there is courage, and what makes us face our fears more than love? Transcendence too early and too easily may be the equivalence of a “participation award” in sports. Then again, a “psychedelic experience” might be the only thing that inspires us to “hold out” for love.
124. If we focus on love, can we reach transcendence, while transcendence may cost us both? On the other hand, focusing on transcendence make us more able to love?
125. Does love or transcendence help us “love time,” which would mean they help us achieve “flow?” Which helps us maintain investment in “be-coming” versus merely maintain “the motions” of aesthetic life and “facing lack?”
126. ‘I saw a man pursuing the horizon […]’ And I stood, not moving, to feel what I longed to chase.
Main Hanging Questions:
1. Does an emphasis on love (then transcendence) or transcendence (then love) help us commit to “standing there” looking at the glacier fearlessly? Does love or transcendence help us stay committed to best “dancing with death” and “bullfighting,” per se?
2. Does emphasis on love or transcendence help us intellectually and emotionally “feel like” “lack is incomplete” versus “lack is the end of the story?”
¹Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 151.
²Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 154.
³Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 151.
⁴Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 151.
⁵Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 152.
⁶Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 153.
⁷Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 154.
⁸Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 154.
⁹Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 159.
¹⁰Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 160.
¹¹Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 160.
¹²Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 161.
¹³Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 161.
¹⁴Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 161.
¹⁵Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 185.
¹⁶Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 188.
¹⁷Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 3 and 4). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 123.
¹⁸Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 3 and 4). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 123.
¹⁹Alluding to Hegel, another way to put this is that if there is no “Absolute,” there is no “Truth,” for “The Truth” is in “The Absolute,” though “The Absolute” isn’t in “The Truth.”
²⁰Now, every “whole” is “incomplete,” because I am not God, and that means it’s possible for me to live according to “holes” and “hole hope,” and that is a major problem which Nietzsche would want us to resist. Nietzsche would want us to “whole hope” (as discussed in the paper by that name), but what is meant by this will have to be addressed later.
²¹Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 1 and 2). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 154.
²²Considering “lack” in light of Hegel opens interesting questions: How is the felling of hunger “for” consciousness gaining self-consciousness? How is accepting that we are lonely “for” consciousness? What is consciousness trying to learn about itself in learning “lack?” Well, I would say it is learning that it needs to commit to “the punishment of sex,” that it is in this commitment that it might “pro-clear” — but then again, it might not. Commitment is risk. Risk is life. Risk is art, and art is risk.
²³Žižek, Slavoj. Organs Without Bodies. New York, NY: Routledge Classics, 2012: 41.
²⁴Žižek, Slavoj. Organs Without Bodies. New York, NY: Routledge Classics, 2012: 47.
²⁵Žižek, Slavoj. Organs Without Bodies. New York, NY: Routledge Classics, 2012: 48.
²⁶Žižek, Slavoj. Organs Without Bodies. New York, NY: Routledge Classics, 2012: 52.
²⁷Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 3 and 4). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 32.
²⁸Heidegger, Martin. Translated by David Farrell Krell. Nietzsche (Volume 3 and 4). New York, NY: HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1991: 124.
²⁹Tim’s full comment, in all its magnificence, can be read here:
For the actors to be performing there must be at least an audience (or an audience in principle, an imaginary audience for the rehearsals.) Or else there is no stage and there can’t really be any actors as such. The performers give meaning to the audience just as the audience gives meaning to the performers. The performance, or perhaps, the “event,” is what constitutes the relation between the two, forming a three of audience, performers, and event […]
At a different level of resolution, there is the before and the after, without which the event cannot be such at all. The “event as show” is conditioned, say, by the curtain being raised at the beginning, and lowered again at the end. With an important nod to [Ebert’s] FreQ theory, the “show” consists of a dynamism, enabled by the platform / noise floor of the audience as total relation / non-relation in temporary hypostasis(?), whose lending of collective attention of sufficient coherence suffices to fulfil a necessary condition of “beginning,” and the curtain is raised. The audience as such in the triad of (audience) / (performers) / (event) [read unconscious/consciousness/liminal consciousness] functions as non-relation, enabling of coordinated dynamic relation to be performed by the performers on the stage and witnessed by the audience. The conditionings of pre-show and post-show likewise can be framed in terms of triads and FreQ theory language. But I’m going to stay in the frame of considering the dynamics at play within the duration of the event itself.
I think we can note something interesting about the non-relation, here. And we can notice this in the context again of a dynamic triad, which I think is worth seeking to integrate with Freq theory, (which can seem more linear than it is, given the challenge of pictorialising dynamism.) And I’d also like to integrate Daniel’s terminology of address, as well, which seems apt from the perspective of this collaboration.
An interesting thing to note is how the non-relation is playing an enabling function for the audience and the performers differently. The barred absolute is a fun way to frame this too (though to be honest why not use the phrase sacred space instead of barred absolute?). The performance on stage, from the perspective of the audience, is the barred absolute, the non-relation they cannot participate in as if they were fully “one with it” — apart from, perhaps, in those fleeting moments of orgasmic peak performance that dissolves the sense of separation and conjoins audience and performer in shared appreciation for [something like the touching of mythic and real?], which signals its silent presence in the cacophonous clearing as together in processual flow…but that’s a slightly separate contemplation. For in any case, moments later the barred absolute is once again instated. And the imaginal stories as a kind of presentation of timeless dynamism — in this context, enabled by the factor of distinction between non-relation as witness, and the performers — continue.
Point is though, in general: to the degree an audience member steps uninvited onto the stage, the event itself is destroyed, and the sacred space is sacred no longer. (And by the way I think this analogy to an event/show highlights the connection between the non-relation as total relation from an interesting angle. For while the dynamics on the stage are inaccessible to audience participation — cannot be immanently related to as “parts-together-as-one” from a perspective of “within” — and as such could be languaged by the term non-relation / barred absolute, the performers are of course performing an incredibly dynamic total relation of the script — they are living out the compressed total relation that is “the play on this evening.”)
Likewise the audience can be seen as belonging to the hypostatised field of non-relation / total relation, from the perspective of the performers. Traditionally speaking, if a performer were to address an audience member and invite a call and response dynamic implicating their real being, it would likewise break the event. “Mangled the pronunciation of that word there, do you mind if we just skip back 20 seconds to before that climactic execution scene?” Or, if an audience member decides to talk to another in a noticeable and disruptive fashion, they break the hypostasis of non-relation and pollute the witness with inappropriate relationality, relative to the co-defining sacredness and shared conjuring of the sacred space formed by right relation of the dynamic triple.
Each audience and performers doing the performance participate in, or constitute the unity qua* integrity of the event, via right processual relation within themselves and to each other. That is, coherence of internal identity in appropriate relational address befitting of the context. The audience witnesses a compression of dynamism as barred absolute, enabled by their collective reverence for the sacred space. The performers concentrate attention on channeling / conduiting the energy of unconsciousness as total relation into the scripted performance, creating mythos. They must channel this energy into the script, or at least not violate the logos of the script sufficient for holding together the integrity of the simulation, given the constraints of the event as a whole, which the audience of course participates in enabling. If they fail to do this, they violate the coherence of the internal identity of the performance, which breaks the desired relational address from performers to the audience and the event as such.
In response, I greatly liked Tim’s point that even if an audience doesn’t understand the dynamics of a performance, it still “has a role” in making sure it doesn’t come on the stage and “destroy the moment.” In this way, perhaps “the barred absolute” is not as “barred” as it seems, for it requires being given a certain “space” in which it can be “inaccessible.” Strangely, the very act of trying to access the inaccessible could make the inaccessible “disappear,” as if it was never there in the first place. In this way, we should be careful to conflate “inaccessible” with “unaffectable.” We could easily have an impacted on “barred absolutes” even if we can’t get pass the bars. We can burn down a locked house.
Reviewing Tim’s message, I had this image of “a setting of variables that emerged out of the (non)relations between the variables.” In a story, the setting is the environment, scenery, etc., but a “setting” is also a “placement,” a “putting here vs there” (like “setting down”). Lastly, the term “setting” also makes me think of a machine, as in a machine has to be on the right “setting” in order to have the right function. If the settings are off, the machine will not work.
Considering all this, we could say that relations and nonrelations “must all have the right settings”: they have to “be set in the right place” from one another, as they also have to be “tuned to the right setting,” all so that they can create “a setting.” When all these “settings” are right, perhaps what emerges what we could call “the sacred,” the true, good, and beautiful.
I think the question of “the relation of the audience” is a very good image for approaching this difficult question, for the audience doesn’t relate to the dynamics on the stage, and yet very much mustn’t relate to the dynamics on the stage. They have a critical role in choosing to “(non)relate.”
It should also be noted that the audience intends to “non-relate” to the performance, which makes the nature of this “non-relation” to the audience relation to say buildings outside that the audience is not thinking about. The audience “no-relates” to the outside buildings, while the audience “nonrelates” to the performance. Is the difference between “no-relation” and “nonrelation” intention? If so, there is something “pro” in “nonrelation.”
This is where, in response, I suggested that another term for “nonrelation” in the context described by Mr. Adalin is “pro-clearing”: the audience is “in favor of maintaining a clearing in which the dynamics of the actors can unfold” (regardless of if the audience fully understands those dynamics or not). Considering this, we could say the audience is “pro-clearing” the performing (“getting out of its way”), while it is “no-relating” to the buildings outside. I’ll have to think on this, but I wonder if swinging to a “pro”-language might be useful in context.
I relate to my wife.
I sometimes “pro-clear” so that my wife doesn’t feel smothered.
I even “pro-clear” neighbors I like because I don’t want to be a nuisance.
I “non-relate” to neighbors I don’t like, hoping it will become a “no-relation.”
I no-relate to people I’ve never met.
If all this follows, then in order for us to “feel right” in our lives, we need to achieve “the best overall settings relative to all our relations, nonrelations, no-relations, and pro-clearings.” Of course, this includes the gambit of relations to “ourselves” as we relate to others — the goal is to find the right way for us to “set” ourselves and to “set” with others in hopes of emerging to the right “setting” — to make there finally be a there there, as Mr. Adalin puts it. For me, in sociology, I discuss “the trance of believability,” which leads into “Belonging Again,” something that came to mind when reviewing Tim’s thoughts.
³⁰If we accept that “pro-clearing” is possible because there is subjectivity (“observing space” is not the same as “there just being space”), then subjectivity makes possible “the sacred” (in negating “the ontic,” the world of pure object-ivity). Subjectivity makes possible “the right settings.”
³¹If there is life after death, to continuing “benefiting from death,” either a new life must begin in which we are “dying” (just like our life now), or the afterlife we enter into must be shaped and formed relative to our relation to death in our previous life. This is perhaps suggested by doctrines of heaven in various religions: if we learned to face death and “not be afraid” in our present life, then our “afterlife” can be better and fuller.
… Voicecraft by Tim Adalin is outstanding…
…as is the work of Alex Ebert.
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