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Psychonaut
Monday, July 14th, 2008, 10:33 PM
It wasn't until I read Heidegger that I fully rejected Platonism is all its various forms. Along with Alfred N. Whitehead, Heidegger was one of the only philosophers to deal accurately and honestly with temporality. The British and American Analytics still don't address this. I think that Heidegger's neo-Heraclitian ontology is more appropriate for Germanics than Evola's Platonism.

Moody
Saturday, September 13th, 2008, 04:35 PM
I think that Heidegger's neo-Heraclitian ontology is more appropriate for Germanics than Evola's Platonism.

This is an interesting point - of course, Heraclitus and Plato were both Greeks - so what is it that recommends the Heraclitean outlook to the Germanics over the Platonic?

What is it about Germanic worldviews for example, that makes them have more in common with the Heraclitean?

I am not disagreeing with you, I would just be interested if you or anyone else could elaborate on this as I think it is crucial.

You mention Whitehead - wasn't he quoted as saying that all philosophy was "footnotes to Plato"?

Psychonaut
Saturday, September 13th, 2008, 11:12 PM
This is an interesting point - of course, Heraclitus and Plato were both Greeks - so what is it that recommends the Heraclitean outlook to the Germanics over the Platonic?

What is it about Germanic worldviews for example, that makes them have more in common with the Heraclitean?

I am not disagreeing with you, I would just be interested if you or anyone else could elaborate on this as I think it is crucial.

You mention Whitehead - wasn't he quoted as saying that all philosophy was "footnotes to Plato"?

I think that neo-Heraclitian philosohers like Heidegger and Whitehead are more appropriate for Germanics because their views of time as being either ontologically primary (in concert with being of course). The Parmenidean view that time is an illusion that masks the eternal that Plato adopted is much more suited to the monotheism of the Middle East or the monism of Asia. When we look at studies of the Germanic concepts of time, such as Bauschatz's The Well and the Tree or Winterbourne's When the Norns Have Spoken we see the primacy of Verdandi ("becoming") amongst the three goddesses of temporality. With the mythos as well we that the gods are in process; they are born, develop and die. They are, ultimately, just as subject to temporality as are we, they do not supercede it by existing in some atemporal state like the Middle Eastern or Asian Gods do.

Also, spot on about Whitehead.

Moody
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 04:14 PM
I think that neo-Heraclitian philosophers like Heidegger and Whitehead are more appropriate for Germanics because their views of time as being either ontologically primary (in concert with being of course).

By "time" you mean 'change', or 'flux'.
It is slightly misleading to say 'time' in my view as this is always perspectival.
You are rather saying that beyond the temporal perspectives of living beings, that existence is in continual flux.
'Time; then is merely a way of 'measuring out' that flux according to the perspective of man the measurer.


The Parmenidean view that time is an illusion that masks the eternal that Plato adopted is much more suited to the monotheism of the Middle East or the monism of Asia. When we look at studies of the Germanic concepts of time, such as Bauschatz's The Well and the Tree or Winterbourne's When the Norns Have Spoken we see the primacy of Verdandi ("becoming") amongst the three goddesses of temporality.

So Being is a Becoming: instead of ontology [theory of Being] we should speak of genesis (Becoming) [hence Nietzsche's 'Genealogy'?], or - to take the Whiteheadian word you go on to use - process.
Call it processology.
You are right to suggest that processology is commensurate with polytheism, while timelessness is more in keeping with monotheism.

But of course, here we hit the problem of immortality you allude to - processology means that the gods cannot be immortal [see The Odin Brotherhood by Mirabello].

Therefore we have the paradox of dead gods - mortal gods.
Gods are superhumans, but are still mortal;- this is a mythos of heroes, not immortals.

This may be why Nietzsche says that the Germanics have "no talent for religion", for [established] religion needs timelessness, eternity, mono-absolutes and Being. We go back to Caesar's observations of the Germanics' irreligiosity, in comparison to that of the Celts.

And this leads me on to another point regarding philosophy itself.
Nietzsche's rejection of western philosophy [apart from Heraclitus] suggests to me that philosophy is the study of Being and not the study of Becoming [the latter being science].

This is why Whitehead says that philosophy is 'footnotes to Plato', i.e. Philosophy = Platonism.

Therefore the Germanic is not only irreligious he is aphilosophical.

He rejects the latter for a scientific understanding of processology - or else for a Faustian assertion of the Will through magick.

Is Odin a philosopher?

Psychonaut
Sunday, September 14th, 2008, 11:22 PM
By "time" you mean 'change', or 'flux'.
It is slightly misleading to say 'time' in my view as this is always perspectival.
You are rather saying that beyond the temporal perspectives of living beings, that existence is in continual flux.
'Time; then is merely a way of 'measuring out' that flux according to the perspective of man the measurer.

Yes, exactly; 'flux' in the Heraclitian sense works perfectly, as does 'process' in Whitehead's sense of the word. I'm definitely speaking of the change itself rather than the apparatus of measure.


So Being is a Becoming: instead of ontology [theory of Being] we should speak of genesis (Becoming) [hence Nietzsche's 'Genealogy'?], or - to take the Whiteheadian word you go on to use - process.
Call it processology.
You are right to suggest that processology is commensurate with polytheism, while timelessness is more in keeping with monotheism.

I think that Whitehead's word choice is superior to Heideggers in that he manages to avoid traditional terms like Being and Becoming that have a long history of Platonic usage attached to them.


But of course, here we hit the problem of immortality you allude to - processology means that the gods cannot be immortal [see The Odin Brotherhood by Mirabello].

This is directly mentioned in the Eddas. All of the Gods are viewed as ultimately mortal.


Therefore we have the paradox of dead gods - mortal gods.
Gods are superhumans, but are still mortal;- this is a mythos of heroes, not immortals.

Is a mythos of heroes not more in keeping with the Germanic tradition of hero veneration (as in the Norse Sagas, German Epics, Frankish Chansons, etc.)? This is particularly evident when you take into account that Germanic deity veneration was practiced alongside the veneration of the ancestors, particularly the heroic ones.


And this leads me on to another point regarding philosophy itself.
Nietzsche's rejection of western philosophy [apart from Heraclitus] suggests to me that philosophy is the study of Being and not the study of Becoming [the latter being science].

This is why Whitehead says that philosophy is 'footnotes to Plato', i.e. Philosophy = Platonism.

Therefore the Germanic is not only irreligious he is aphilosophical.

He rejects the latter for a scientific understanding of processology - or else for a Faustian assertion of the Will through magick.

Is Odin a philosopher?

If we are taking 'philosophy' as Platonic, then yes philosophy is not particularly suited to the Germanics. However, if we accept Heidegger or Whitehead as providing us with a completely fresh start (as they both believed they were doing), I think that we have the opportunity for a more appropriate philosophy to arise. I see great promise in both Heideggerian Phenomenology and Whitehead's Process Thought.

Moody
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008, 08:40 AM
... in the Eddas. All of the Gods are viewed as ultimately mortal.

Is this a strength or a weakness?
If the gods are mortal, then is not the religion itself mortal and prone to die out?
Have we uncovered here the reason for Christianity 'replacing' Heathenism?
The reason being in the underlying philosophy of heathenism - a Heraclitean philosophy that is blatantly self-destructive?


If we are taking 'philosophy' as Platonic, then yes philosophy is not particularly suited to the Germanics.

Isn't it rather the case that Plato/Socrates reacted against the Heraclitean outlook [which also underpins Heathenism on our reading here] and sought to provide an antidote to the self-destructive, relativist and nihilistic implications of Heracliteanism?


However, if we accept Heidegger or Whitehead as providing us with a completely fresh start (as they both believed they were doing), I think that we have the opportunity for a more appropriate philosophy to arise. I see great promise in both Heideggerian Phenomenology and Whitehead's Process Thought.

But aren't they susceptible to the weaknesses I outlined above: self-destructiveness, relativism, disorder and nihilism?
It seems that those who do not believe in Eternals, Absolutes and Immutabilities are more likely to perish in the battle with those that do. Perhaps Plato recognised this and hence his philosophy of Forms.

If all things are in flux, then that must include the race, the nation and the culture.
There is nothing eternal about all these things according to the processologist: they will all pass away and be replaced by something else in short order ad infinitum.

Try this distinction: philosophy [as in Plato] is about the study of experience - i.e. we experience life as including timelessness, absolutes and perfections.
Science [as in Whitehead] is about the study of existence when that counteracts experience, such as when science proved that the Earth orbits the Sun [contrary to human experience] etc.,

So the Platonic philosophy has validity in its explication of our experience.
It may not be 'true' on the quantum level - but as I said elsewhere - who lives on the quantum level?

Psychonaut
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008, 12:32 AM
Is this a strength or a weakness?
If the gods are mortal, then is not the religion itself mortal and prone to die out?
Have we uncovered here the reason for Christianity 'replacing' Heathenism?
The reason being in the underlying philosophy of heathenism - a Heraclitean philosophy that is blatantly self-destructive?

I would contend that Heathenry most certainly is a mortal religion in that it is tied to the survival of not only the Germanic Gods, but also the Germanic peoples.


Isn't it rather the case that Plato/Socrates reacted against the Heraclitean outlook [which also underpins Heathenism on our reading here] and sought to provide an antidote to the self-destructive, relativist and nihilistic implications of Heracliteanism?

This is plausible, but the thought that Platonism might be reactionary to findings that it found disagreeable doesn't make their views any more true. I would rather be an adherent of a philosophy that looks our situation in the face rather then one that dresses it up with a facade of permanence.


But aren't they susceptible to the weaknesses I outlined above: self-destructiveness, relativism, disorder and nihilism?
It seems that those who do not believe in Eternals, Absolutes and Immutabilities are more likely to perish in the battle with those that do. Perhaps Plato recognised this and hence his philosophy of Forms.

Again, this is perhaps why the monotheistic religions currently dominate. However, dominance does not equate to truth. What you see as weakness, I see as strength. It certainly takes more courage to look at inevitable doom and accept it than to pretend it doesn't exist.


If all things are in flux, then that must include the race, the nation and the culture.
There is nothing eternal about all these things according to the processologist: they will all pass away and be replaced by something else in short order ad infinitum.

I would agree with this analysis. All are in process; none are exempt. All things, peoples, and cultures are born, live and will die. I don't really see how a view counter to that can be anything other than self-deceptive.


Try this distinction: philosophy [as in Plato] is about the study of experience - i.e. we experience life as including timelessness, absolutes and perfections.
Science [as in Whitehead] is about the study of existence when that counteracts experience, such as when science proved that the Earth orbits the Sun [contrary to human experience] etc.,

So the Platonic philosophy has validity in its explication of our experience.
It may not be 'true' on the quantum level - but as I said elsewhere - who lives on the quantum level?

I don't think that this is a fair way to paint the philosophies of Heidegger and Whitehead. Heidegger says of his own phenomenology (in Stambough's translation of Being and Time p. 30):



Hence phenomenology means...to let what shows itself be seen from itself, just as it shows itself.

His method was principally the experience of uncovering 'the things themselves.' If his results are contrary to human experience, it is only because of the limited scope of everyday experience, and we know how Heidegger felt about the everyday consciousness of 'the They.' Moreover, his principal task in Being and Time us to provide an analysis of Dasein, which can only be done by introspection, which is as deeply experiential as you can ask for.

Also, Whitehead says of his method in Process and Reality (p. 3):



Speculative Philosophy is the endevour to frame a coherent, logical, necessary system of general ideas in terms of which every element of our experience can be interpreted.

He as well seems quite concerned with the experiential nature of philosophy. To lump these two fellows in with the morass of 'Existentialism' does them a disservice.

Moody
Thursday, September 18th, 2008, 08:39 AM
I would contend that Heathenry most certainly is a mortal religion in that it is tied to the survival of not only the Germanic Gods, but also the Germanic peoples... [...]
... I would rather be an adherent of a philosophy that looks our situation in the face rather then one that dresses it up with a facade of permanence.


Some questions arise here immediately:

i) What is the evidence - from "our situation" - for there being "Gods"?

ii) what is the "philosophical" reason for wanting a particular people or particular to "survive"?

iii) does that "survival" stop at any point, or does it go on "permanently"?



All are in process; none are exempt. All things, peoples, and cultures are born, live and will die.

What does "death" mean to you? Is there an existence after death or is there only nothing, what you call "inevitable doom"?


I don't really see how a view counter to that can be anything other than self-deceptive.

If nothing, then isn't such pessimism also self-deceptive? It also suggests that you know everything about life and death. And you could be wrong - there might be a Metaphysical realm, such as the Nine Worlds of Germanic myth - how do you know that there isn't?



...Heidegger's method was principally the experience of uncovering 'the things themselves'. If his results are contrary to human experience, it is only because of the limited scope of everyday experience, and we know how Heidegger felt about the everyday consciousness of 'the They.'

Then how can we shut out the metaphysical if we admit that human consciousness is very limited. Also after his Kehre, Heidegger started to look closely at the visionary experiences of artists and abandoned Being and Time.
Heidegger was certainly instrumental in the development of Existentialism. I certainly don't regard Whitehead as an Existentialist with a capital 'E', but his philosophy [he was actually a mathematician] attempts to look at the quality of existence which he calls 'process'..

Psychonaut
Friday, September 19th, 2008, 12:38 AM
Some questions arise here immediately:

i) What is the evidence - from "our situation" - for there being "Gods"?

ii) what is the "philosophical" reason for wanting a particular people or particular to "survive"?

iii) does that "survival" stop at any point, or does it go on "permanently"?

i) For myself, I can only answer that experience is my reason. As a practitioner of the esoteric arts (a "psychonaut" to use Peter Carroll's term ;)), I've been encountered firsthand evidence that a wide variety of deities exist. I can hardly think of any philosophical justification more powerful than direct experience.

ii) Not necessarily a "philosophical" reason, but just an extrapolation of self interest. We want ourselves to survive; we expand that one level out to include our family; expand it out yet another level to include our tribe.

iii) I'll have to agree with Spengler here and say that all cultures have life cycles, and that Faustian man is coming into the twilight of his.


What does "death" mean to you? Is there an existence after death or is there only nothing, what you call "inevitable doom"?

This is one of those things where I'm going to take a "safe" position. I really don't like taking up beliefs that can't be proven (either scientifically or experientially). So I'll have say that all evidence leads us to believe that once brain death occurs, there is no more "person." Certainly, there are a myriad of possibilities that our ancestors believed in and could possibly be valid, but since we can neither prove nor disprove any of this, I think it is best to remain silent.


If nothing, then isn't such pessimism also self-deceptive? It also suggests that you know everything about life and death. And you could be wrong - there might be a Metaphysical realm, such as the Nine Worlds of Germanic myth - how do you know that there isn't?

Oh come on, that's pretty close to committing a negative proof (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_proof) fallacy. You can't advocate a position just because it can't be disproved. This is another case where experience can be somewhat of a guide. It is certainly capable seemingly to visit the otherworlds, given the correct type of training, yet this is an experience that either cannot or has not yet been proven to be anything distinct from a lucid dream; there is no conclusive evidence that these experiences happen in a distinct place outside of one's own mind. I've had experiences that seem to contradict that, but since they are by no means conclusive, I'm not prepared to change my public opinion on the matter.


Then how can we shut out the metaphysical if we admit that human consciousness is very limited. Also after his Kehre, Heidegger started to look closely at the visionary experiences of artists and abandoned Being and Time.

I'm certainly not advocating a shutting out of all that is beyond our comprehension. However, I don't think that mystical experiences should be interpreted as correlating to the world at large; I don't think that the microcosm and macrocosm necessarily mirror each other. Visionary experiences are certainly valuable in that they enrich our experience of life, but these are by their very nature extremely personal and should not be expanded into the public sphere as they cannot be proven to 'the They.'

Moody
Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 03:38 PM
Generally I think your responses to my questions emphasise a concern for the self rather than for any particular "people" or "gods".
Allow me to re-examine my questions in order to develop that position.

My First Question:
1) What is the evidence - from "our situation" - for there being "Gods"?

Your answer:

For myself, I can only answer that experience is my reason. As a practitioner of the esoteric arts (a "psychonaut" to use Peter Carroll's term), I've encountered firsthand evidence that a wide variety of deities exist. I can hardly think of any philosophical justification more powerful than direct experience.

Here you either mean:
a) your experience of your own inner experience tells you that deities exist, and is therefore purely an appeal to your own private self-hood [essentially an argument from faith], or,

b) you have experienced empirical evidence of gods that you could show to a sceptic in order to convince him of the existence of gods [a scientific proof].

As you fail to supply anything like the evidence required for b), I must assume that you are referring to a), and your mention of the Chaos magickian Peter Carroll seemingly confirms that. Of 'gods' he said when answering [A] the question [Q]:


"Q: When you observe that "the gods came out of Chaos" are you referring to the cosmonogies of the ancients, and in particular, the Orphics, Valentinians, etc.?
A: Not specifically, but I tried to imply that "the gods" arise from the same non-anthropomorphic "forces" which create the universe and us within it."
[Peter J. Carroll Interview from Abrasax Magazine, Vol.5, No.2.]
http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/ess_petecint.html

This is very much like the inner speculation that characterises Platonism too - something you called "self-deluding". Indeed, even in your post here you say:


"...this is an experience that either cannot or has not yet been proven to be anything distinct from a lucid dream; there is no conclusive evidence that these experiences happen in a distinct place outside of one's own mind..." [...]

Adding that:

"I... really don't like taking up beliefs that can't be proven (either scientifically or experientially)."

And yet that is what you have done yourself. You go on to say:


Certainly, there are a myriad of possibilities that our ancestors believed in and could possibly be valid, but since we can neither prove nor disprove any of this, I think it is best to remain silent...[...]

And yet when I suggest that the Platonist view is still a possibility and certainly isn't disproved, you say;


Oh come on, that's pretty close to committing a negative proof fallacy. You can't advocate a position just because it can't be disproved.


And yet that is what you have done yourself.

Strangely, Whitehead seems to have had a Platonic concept of God:

"Some Platonic implications of Whitehead’s concept of God
...Plato was far and away A.N. Whitehead’s favourite philosopher..."
{Link below is a PDF}
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/classics/lics/2007/200703.pdf


My Second Question:
2) what is the "philosophical" reason for wanting a particular people or particular Gods to "survive"?

Your Answer:

Not necessarily a "philosophical" reason, but just an extrapolation of self interest. We want ourselves to survive; we expand that one level out to include our family; expand it out yet another level to include our tribe.

Self-Interest is certainly a philosophy in and of itself, and it is not in conflict with your appeal to Faith in the Inner Self in 1) a). Both are kinds of Egoism, which latter has always been in conflict with notions of community. Would an Egoist sacrifice his own life in order to save that of his nation or his gods?
Hardly.
So while a philosophy of self-interest can underpin the will to Self-Survival, it can hardly underpin an interest in others [that would be Altruism, the opposite of Egoism].

You appeal to the "purely personal", as befits Egoism, with a contempt for the crowd of 'The They':


Visionary experiences are certainly valuable in that they enrich our experience of life, but these are by their very nature extremely personal and should not be expanded into the public sphere as they cannot be proven to 'the They.'

"Heidegger refers to the inauthentic self as the "they-self." This is the self that is influenced by the crowd or the "they," rather than by its own unique potentialities."
http://www.deathreference.com/Gi-Ho/Heidegger-Martin.html

My Third Question:
3) does that "survival" stop at any point, or does it go on "permanently"?

Your Answer:

I'll have to agree with Spengler here and say that all cultures have life cycles, and that Faustian man is coming into the twilight of his.

This is a self-contradictory view of survival.
If one wants something to survive, then the implication is that one wants it to survive indefinitely ["No Surrender!" say the Men of Ulster as they seek to preserve their own culture].

It seems defeatist, rather than survivalist to say, 'well, the time is up', twilight is here - last one out turn off the lights'.

The Odin Brotherhood says that the Twilight of the Gods can be postponed indefinitely as long as "men and women live in the legion of honour".
This will-to-survival needs to have the belief in an Eternal Order behind it in order to be.

PS - I would be interested if you could expand on what you call "Evola's Platonism" at the start of this thread.

Psychonaut
Saturday, September 20th, 2008, 11:34 PM
In answer to your first question:


What is the evidence - from "our situation" - for there being "Gods"?

My justification for believing in the Gods is my own, and due to its personal revelatory nature I would never expect anyone to take up similar beliefs based on my word alone. Religious experiences are normally described as being noetic, and my experiences definitely fit that term.


This is very much like the inner speculation that characterises Platonism too - something you called "self-deluding".

I never said that speculation or mysticsim was deluding in and of itself. What I said was:


All things, peoples, and cultures are born, live and will die. I don't really see how a view counter to that can be anything other than self-deceptive.

Let me clarify my position on this. Noetic experiences will often times seem to reveal truths that run counter to the accepted view of the world, but when these 'truths' run counter to what can be empirically proven, the mystic should refrain from extrapolating his inner experience into a model of the outer. What I was talking about in particular was the experience of time. Mystics throughout the ages from Plato to Buddha have described mental states in which it appears that time stands still. While this experience may certainly have great personal or religious value, to turn this noetic experience into an announcement of physical fact is folly. It would no more make sense to infer from mental experiences of timelessness that time is illusory than it would to infer from 'astral' experiences of the underworld that the Earth is hollow.


And yet when I suggest that the Platonist view is still a possibility and certainly isn't disproved

I would have to disagree here. The Platonist view regarding time definitely runs counter to everything we know about temporality from contemporary physics. While few things can ever conclusively be disproven, that cannot be the sole reason for one's belief in something. You quote me as saying:


I... really don't like taking up beliefs that can't be proven (either scientifically or experientially).

I suppose that I should clarify in saying that truths that are purely experiential and do not have empirical correlatives must remain private truths. We all have a great deal of these, but due to their nature can never be revealed to anyone else with any degree of authority. All of my beliefs have either been proven by the works of science, or by my own inner experiences. However, I keep a firm distinction between the two.


Strangely, Whitehead seems to have had a Platonic concept of God

Hey, I never said the guy was perfect. ;) There were pretty substantial problems with the mereological models he presents in Process and Reality as well.

In answer to your second question:


What is the "philosophical" reason for wanting a particular people or particular Gods to "survive"?

What I was attempting to get across here is that my reason for wanting our people to survive is not necessarily a rational desire, rather it is instinctive. The tribal nature of humanity frees us from the reigns of having to justify this belief with a particular philosophical outlook. Behavior that are hard-wired into our brains simply are. I do not believe that I need any more justification to care about the well being of my people than I do the well being of my children.

And, for your third question:


Does that "survival" stop at any point, or does it go on "permanently"?


This is a self-contradictory view of survival.
If one wants something to survive, then the implication is that one wants it to survive indefinitely

I never said that I do not want for myself or our people to survive indefinitely. I would certainly like to believe in an afterlife, but in the absence of proof, there is no reason to hold such a belief.


This will-to-survival needs to have the belief in an Eternal Order behind it in order to be.


I don't think so at all. In fact I see less courage in one who fights and believes his soul is destined for some other world than I do in one who fights believing this to be the only world. The latter man, in his own mind at least, has so much more at stake.


PS - I would be interested if you could expand on what you call "Evola's Platonism" at the start of this thread.

Looking back, I suppose that Evola is more of a Neoplatonist then a Platonist proper. He says in Revolt Against the Modern World p. 111:


Asceticism occupies an ideal intermediary state between the plane of direct, Olympian, and initiatory regality and the plane of rite and dharma.

He goes on, on p. 114, to say:


A Western example of pure contemplative asceticism is given by Neoplatonism. With the words, "The gods ought to come to me, not I to them," Plotinus indicated a fundamental aspect of aristocratic asceticism. Also, with the sayings, "It is to the gods, not to good men that we are to be made like," and, "Our concern, though, it is not to be out of sin, but out of god," Plotinus has definitely overcome the limitations posed by morality, and has employed the method of inner simplification as a way to become free from all conditionings in that state of metaphysical simplicity from which the vision will eventually arise. By the means of this vision--"having joined as it were center to center"--what occurs is the participation in that itelligible reality that compared to which any other reality may be characterized as more nonlife than life, with the sensible impressions appearing as dreams and the world of bodies as the place of radical powerlessness and of the inability to be.

Another example is given be the so-called Rhineland mysticism that was capable of reaching metaphysical peaks towering above and beyond Christian theism. Taulers Entwerdung corresponds to Plotinus's 'haplosis' and to the destruction of the element of "becoming" (or samsaric element) that Buddhism regarded as the condition necessary to achieve "awakening."

His view of Tradition is also strikingly Platonic, so much that I see Revolt Against the Modern World as being his experience of the Form of Tradition p. 3):


In order to understand both the spirit of Tradition and its antithesis, modern civilization, it is necessary to begin with the fundamental doctrine of the two natures. According to this doctrine there is a physical order of things and a metaphysical one; there is a mortal nature and an immortal one; there is a superior realm of "being" and the inferior realm of "becoming."

Moody
Monday, September 22nd, 2008, 03:31 PM
My justification for believing in the Gods is my own, and due to its personal revelatory nature I would never expect anyone to take up similar beliefs based on my word alone. Religious experiences are normally described as being noetic, and my experiences definitely fit that term...[...]
...Noetic experiences will often times seem to reveal truths that run counter to the accepted view of the world, but when these 'truths' run counter to what can be empirically proven, the mystic should refrain from extrapolating his inner experience into a model of the outer... [...]
... It would no more make sense to infer from mental experiences of timelessness that time is illusory than it would to infer from 'astral' experiences of the underworld that the Earth is hollow.

And therefore, "noetic" experiences of the Gods, according to your own position, should not be used to claim that Gods exist.



The Platonist view regarding time definitely runs counter to everything we know about temporality from contemporary physics.

The same goes for Gods - contemporary physics runs counter to a belief that Gods exist. I am uneasy with the view that philosophy must play constant 'catch-up' with science. On that basis, if scientists change their minds on something then we have to alter our philosophy accordingly! This view of philosophy as a slave to science is a far cry from Nietzsche's view that philosophers should create values.


All of my beliefs have either been proven by the works of science, or by my own inner experiences. However, I keep a firm distinction between the two.

And that is the weakness in your process philosophy that I have sought to expose. Your belief in Gods is outside of your philosophy and is therefore incoherent in relation to it.



What I was attempting to get across here is that my reason for wanting our people to survive is not necessarily a rational desire, rather it is instinctive. The tribal nature of humanity frees us from the reigns of having to justify this belief with a particular philosophical outlook. Behavior that are hard-wired into our brains simply are. I do not believe that I need any more justification to care about the well being of my people than I do the well being of my children.

From your previous arguments it seems that the Chaos philosophy is quite egoistic and contemptuous of 'the crowd', and so has no place for 'peoples'.
Again, you have to adopt a different philosophical position in order to account for your desire for racial survival, just as you have to have a differing position to encompass belief in the Gods. Therefore both 'peoples' and 'Gods' are outside of the philosophy of processology.



I never said that I do not want for myself or our people to survive indefinitely. I would certainly like to believe in an afterlife, but in the absence of proof, there is no reason to hold such a belief.

And yet, despite there being no proof for Gods you still believe in them. If survival has limitations then it is only a limited survival and of little use. Survival is always thought in terms of eternity.




I see less courage in one who fights and believes his soul is destined for some other world than I do in one who fights believing this to be the only world. The latter man, in his own mind at least, has so much more at stake.

This certainly runs counter to experience. Warriors who believe in an after-life [like the Viking appeal to Valhalla] certainly fight with greater ferocity and bravery than those whose only comforts are Earthly ones. The latter will always surrender to preserve their limited life on Earth, while the former will gladly give their lives to the Greater Cause of Eternity.

The Evola quote you give of the Doctrine of the Two Natures is important.
To put it in oppositional form:


Flux
Fixity


The Realm of Becoming
The Realm of Being


Modernity
Tradition


Physical Order
Metaphysical Order

Mortal Nature
Immortal Nature


And n'er the twain shall meet?



Does what remains of Germanic Heathenism now need - adapting Nietzsche's phrase - to stamp the Hammer of Being on the Heraclitean River of Becoming?

Psychonaut
Monday, September 22nd, 2008, 06:35 PM
And therefore, "noetic" experiences of the Gods, according to your own position, should not be used to claim that Gods exist.

Rather, they should not be used to make claims with certitude to others that the Gods exist.


The same goes for Gods - contemporary physics runs counter to a belief that Gods exist. I am uneasy with the view that philosophy must play constant 'catch-up' with science. On that basis, if scientists change their minds on something then we have to alter our philosophy accordingly! This view of philosophy as a slave to science is a far cry from Nietzsche's view that philosophers should create values.

And that's why I don't advocate publicly advertising noetic experiences ;). I also don't like that we're forced to chase science's tail, but the pairing of philosophy, science and mathematics is as old as the three disciplines themselves. I think that this is particularly evident when you're trying to talk about metaphysics of any type of philosophy of mind. You certainly can ignore the changes that science brings, but that doesn't quite seem to be in line with constantly searching for truth. Philosophers must continue to interpret the large scale consequences of scientific discoveries and work them in accordingly with those domains over which science has no say.


And that is the weakness in your process philosophy that I have sought to expose. Your belief in Gods is outside of your philosophy and is therefore incoherent in relation to it.

I suppose you can count this as a chink in the armor :D. Yet this is completely in keeping with the type of thinking associated with chaos magick, where things that are believed to be true are not believed to be true at all times. I tend to keep a distinction between my scientific/philosophical and religious views the same way contemporary physics keeps a distinction between relativity and quantum mechanics. In both cases we are actively working towards a resolution, it just hasn't presented itself yet.


From your previous arguments it seems that the Chaos philosophy is quite egoistic and contemptuous of 'the crowd', and so has no place for 'peoples'.
Again, you have to adopt a different philosophical position in order to account for your desire for racial survival, just as you have to have a differing position to encompass belief in the Gods. Therefore both 'peoples' and 'Gods' are outside of the philosophy of processology.

You've, kind of, got me here again. This is another area where I'm actively seeking reconciliation. This is a tough one too because I'm not really willing to cede my beliefs in racial preservation or my belief in the Gods, but at the same time, I don't think that Platonism is the only way out.


And yet, despite there being no proof for Gods you still believe in them. If survival has limitations then it is only a limited survival and of little use. Survival is always thought in terms of eternity.

Yes, but belief in the Gods is provable through noesis. Belief in the afterlife is only provable through death. Limited views of survival are rapidly becoming hallmarks of modern cosmology though. As of now it appears that our universe will die; it's just a question of whether it'll be a big crunch or an entropic death. Either way Ragnarok is on it's way and, fight as we may, we are destined to loose. For me, that's one of the selling points of Germanic cosmology, it's authenticity and ability to face certain death with honesty.


This certainly runs counter to experience. Warriors who believe in an after-life [like the Viking appeal to Valhalla] certainly fight with greater ferocity and bravery than those whose only comforts are Earthly ones. The latter will always surrender to preserve their limited life on Earth, while the former will gladly give their lives to the Greater Cause of Eternity.

But even those who entered Valhalla were doomed to die a final death. The Gods loose at Ragnarok; we all die, according to the prophecy, and something new entirely takes our place.


The Evola quote you give of the Doctrine of the Two Natures is important.
To put it in oppositional form:

Yes, your chart outlines the differences quite nicely.


And n'er the twain shall meet?

I would hope that there is yet a chance for reconciliation, but that may not prove to be the case. Philosophers tend to be a stubborn lot, eh?


Does what remains of Germanic Heathenism now need - adapting Nietzsche's phrase - to stamp the Hammer of Being on the Heraclitean River of Becoming?

I certainly hope not! Any way, wasn't Nietzsche one of the 'degenerate' philosophers that Evola rails against in Ride the Tiger? ;)

exit
Monday, September 22nd, 2008, 10:10 PM
Plato and Heraclitus are not really in conflict in regard to time which is essentially threefold: past, present, and future. It is the past and future that are temporal, subject to change and therefore illusory, whereas the eternal present represented by a fixed point is the summit of being beyond duality. The eternal now is truth or the eye of knowledge, as Heraclitus said, "truth is one."

Psychonaut
Monday, September 22nd, 2008, 11:37 PM
Plato and Heraclitus are not really in conflict in regard to time which is essentially threefold: past, present, and future. It is the past and future that are temporal, subject to change and therefore illusory, whereas the eternal present represented by a fixed point is the summit of being beyond duality. The eternal now is truth or the eye of knowledge, as Heraclitus said, "truth is one."

That's a pretty unique position. Every philosophy teacher I had in college put Plato and Parmenides on on the one side of the fence and Heraclitus on the other. Plato's eternal Forms are quite contradictory to Heraclitus' Flux:


When the father and creator saw the creature which he had made moving and living, the created image of the eternal gods, he rejoiced, and in his joy determined to make the copy still more like the original, and as this was an eternal living being, he sought to make the universe eternal, so far as might be. Now the nature of the ideal being was everlasting, but to bestow this attribute in its fullness upon a creature was impossible. Wherefore he resolved to have a moving image of eternity, and when he set in order the heaven, he made this image eternal but moving according to number, while eternity itself rests in unity, and this image we call time. For there were no days and nights and months and years before the heaven was created, but when he constructed the heaven he created them also. They are all parts of time, and the past and future are created species of time, which we unconsciously but wrongly transfer to eternal being, for we say that it 'was,' or 'is,' or 'will be,' but the truth is that 'is' alone is properly attributed to it, and that 'was' and 'will be' are only to be spoken of becoming in time, for they are motions, but that which is immovably the same forever cannot become older or younger by time, nor can it be said that it came into being in the past, or has come into being now, or will come into being in the future, nor is it subject at all to any of those states which affect moving and sensible things and of which generation is the cause. These are the forms of time, which imitates eternity and revolves according to a law of number. Moreover, when we say that what has become is become and what becomes is becoming, and that what will become is about to become and that the nonexistent is nonexistent all these are inaccurate modes of expression. But perhaps this whole subject will be more suitably discussed on some other occasion (Timaeus 37c-38b).

This is in stark contrast to Heraclitus' position that:


All is flux, nothing stays still.

exit
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008, 02:19 PM
Most college philosophy teachers I know of did not firmly understand their subject. Metaphysics is not theoretical but requires an intuitive realization. The state of mind is more than just a state, it is direct knowledge itself. One may not arrive there through study or rational philosophy, only through an inner rite.

As for the two quotes, there is no contradiction when we distinguish which plane they are referring to, that is to being or non-being, the formal or formless, the infinite or indefinite, or to being and becoming. If by all one means that which derives from the primordial substance then everything is in motion or radiation, just as the elements ether and air are in motion. Plato also refers to an unmoved mover which is situated at the summit beyond temporality. This can be referred to as the intellect which is formless, and as Heraclitus says, "Wisdom is one--to know the intelligence by which all things are steered through all things." The Divine Intellect, or Logos, which is the demiurge stretches above duality in the realm of pure Being. It really cannot be otherwise if the primordial being is to be capable of union.

Let us note that Aristotle got his unmoved mover from Plato and Socrates’ self-mover, and that Plato accepted the same doctrine as Heraclitus in this respect, which is also found in the Gospel: “The spirit bloweth where it listeth.” The self-moving, spirit is not moved by another force, but rather is the immutable principle. In Phaedo, Socrates says:

“Then the soul is more like to the unseen, and the body to the seen?

That is most certain, Socrates.

And were we not saying long ago that the soul when using the body as an instrument of perception, that is to say, when using the sense of sight or hearing or some other sense (for the meaning of perceiving through the body is perceiving through the senses)-were we not saying that the soul too is then dragged by the body into the region of the changeable, and wanders and is confused; the world spins round her, and she is like a drunkard when under their influence?

Very true.

But when returning into herself she reflects; then she passes into the realm of purity, and eternity, and immortality, and unchangeableness, which are her kindred, and with them she ever lives, when she is by herself and is not let or hindered; then she ceases from her erring ways, and being in communion with the unchanging is unchanging. And this state of the soul is called wisdom?

That is well and truly said, Socrates, he replied.”

Socrates-Plato never denied the flux doctrine which by the way did not begin with Heraclitus. He says in Cratylus:

“Aer (air), Hermogenes, may be explained as the element which raises (airei) things from the earth, or as ever flowing (aei pei), or because the flux of the air is wind, and the poets call the winds "air-blasts," (aetai); he who uses the term may mean, so to speak, air-flux (aetorroun), in the sense of wind-flux (pneumatorroun); and because this moving wind may be expressed by either term he employs the word air (aer = aetes rheo). Aither (aether) I should interpret as aeitheer; this may be correctly said, because this element is always running in a flux about the air (aei thei peri tou aera ron).”

And here is where it may be mistaken that Socrates opposes flux:

“I believe that the primeval givers of names were undoubtedly like too many of our modern philosophers, who, in their search after the nature of things, are always getting dizzy from constantly going round and round, and then they imagine that the world is going round and round and moving in all directions; and this appearance, which arises out of their own internal condition, they suppose to be a reality of nature; they think that there is nothing stable or permanent, but only flux and motion, and that the world is always full of every sort of motion and change. The consideration of the names which I mentioned has led me into making this reflection.”

Now he is not in opposition to the doctrine but merely expresses contempt for wrong speculations arriving out of misunderstandings of it. He says further:

“Phronesis (wisdom), which may signify Phoras kai rhou noesis (perception of motion and flux), or perhaps Phoras onesis (the blessing of motion), but is at any rate connected with Pheresthai (motion); gnome (judgment), again, certainly implies the ponderation or consideration (nomesis) of generation, for to ponder is the same as to consider; or, if you would rather, here is noesis, the very word just now mentioned, which is neou esis (the desire of the new); the word neos implies that the world is always in process of creation. The giver of the name wanted to express his longing of the soul, for the original name was neoesis, and not noesis. The word sophrosune is the salvation (soteria) of that wisdom (phronesis) which we were just now considering. Epioteme (knowledge) is akin to this, and indicates that the soul which is good for anything follows (epetai) the motion of things, neither anticipating them nor falling behind them; wherefor the word should rather be read as epistemene, inserting en. Sunesis (understanding) may be regarded in like manner as a kind of conclusion; the word is derived from sunienai (to go along with), and, like epistasthai (to know), implies the progression of the soul in company with the nature of things. Sophia (wisdom) is very dark, and appears not to be of native growth; the meaning is, touching the motion or stream of things. You must remember that the poets, when they speak of the commencement of any rapid motion, often use the word esuthe (he rushed); and there was a famous Lacedaemonian who was named Sous (Rush), for by this word the Lacedaemonians signify rapid motion, and the touching (epaphe) of motion is expressed by sophia, for all things are supposed to be in motion. Good (agathon) is the name which is given to the admirable (agasto) in nature; for, although all things move, still there are degrees of motion; some are swifter, some slower; but there are some things which are admirable for their swiftness, and this admirable part of nature is called agathon. Dikaiosune (justice) is clearly dikaiou sunesis (understanding of the just); but the actual word dikaion is more difficult: men are only agreed to a certain extent about justice, and then they begin to disagree.”

“For those who suppose all things to be in motion conceive the greater part of nature to be a mere receptacle; and they say that there is a penetrating power which passes through all this, and is the instrument of creation in all, and is the subtlest and swiftest element; for if it were not the subtlest, and a power which none can keep out, and also the swiftest, passing by other things as if they were standing still, it could not penetrate through the moving universe. And this element, which superintends all things and pieces
(diaion) all, is rightly called dikaion; the letter k is only added for the sake of euphony.”

He speaks further of words zugon (yoke), deon (obligation), dion (good), etc., which binds or hinders the chain (desmos) of motion. He expresses dissatisfaction with the altering of spellings, etc., “the author of names has not contradicted himself, but in all these various appellations, deon (obligatory), ophelimon (advantageous), lusiteloun (profitable), kerdaleon (gainful), agathon (good), sumpheron (expedient), euporon (plenteous), the same conception is implied of the ordering or all-pervading principle which is praised, and the restraining and binding principle which is censured. And this is further illustrated by the word zemiodes (hurtful), which if the z is only changed into d as in the ancient language, becomes demiodes; and this name, as you will perceive, is given to that which binds motion (dounti ion).”

It was the contradiction found in binding motion as both good and bad that Socrates was having most difficulty understanding; but really it seems he understood aright, but expressed frustration that such ambiguous words have a tendency to confuse. Now this contradiction can arise from the dual nature of ether, whether the flow is towards the Principle or away from it, for just as one can be united with the good so can one fall from it. Nonetheless, Socrates’ argument was based on the fact that he thought Heraclitus was implying that knowledge itself was mutable, which he was not.

One must really consider what Heraclitus said:

“Though this Word is true evermore, yet men are as unable to understand it when they hear it for the first time as before they have heard it at all. For, though all things come to pass in accordance with this Word, men seem as if they had no experience of them, when they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its kind and showing how it is what it is. But other men know not what they are doing when awake, even as they forget what they do in sleep.”

And: “Though the logos is common (universal), the many live as if they had a wisdom of their own.” Heraclitus obviously knew the difference between universal knowledge and what we may call a false individual knowledge. Finally: “What opposes unites, and the finest attunement stems from things bearing in opposite directions, and all things come about by strife.” Is he not saying the same thing as Socrates-Plato? Here this: “The path of writing is crooked and straight” seems to be exactly the point Socrates was making in Cratylus!


I think it is safe to say that neither Heraclitus nor Socrates denied that the primordial unity was the stable principle. And though Socrates questioned flux he yet essentially taught the same doctrine and therefore could not be in conflict with it. For when we enter into the relative or differentiated as opposed to the primordial unity then all is becoming, motion, and change. The way back to the other shore is then a struggle, a battle against the waters, which if not overcome by the flow, will result in calm and bliss and certainty.

Moody
Saturday, September 27th, 2008, 08:53 AM
I certainly hope not! Any way, wasn't Nietzsche one of the 'degenerate' philosophers that Evola rails against in Ride the Tiger? ;)

Nietzsche certainly described himself as a 'decadent', but said [in the same breath] that he was also the opposite of a decadent!
Nietzsche was right in this - surely, any product of the Modern Age is going to be tainted by degeneracy, decadence and nihilism [even Evola - even you and even I!].

This is because we are living a long time before we start thinking; not only that, but those early unthinking experiences find us at our most impressionable and vulnerable.

So even the strong and independent, if born into a decadent age will be tainted by decadence - they will have two natures - one strong and one weak ... two souls in one breast.

And Nietzschean philosophy seeks to nurture the strong soul.

That is why such a philosophy has nothing to do with science or even with 'truth seeking'.

Truths which make us weak are not worth knowing.

And if a lie makes us strong - then let us have the lie!

Strong enough to weather a lie ...

And so Evola may not have realised that Nietzsche sought to combine the two natures of Flux and Fixity ['Thus Spake Zarathustra', 'Beyond Good and Evil' and the posthumous 'The Will to Power' are all good places to look for evidence of this].

The Eternal Recurrence of the Same is the multivalent formula for just this ...
... "For I love thee Eternity" ...
... here Flux and Fix become One.

Psychonaut
Saturday, September 27th, 2008, 06:38 PM
That is why such a philosophy has nothing to do with science or even with 'truth seeking'.

Truths which make us weak are not worth knowing.

And if a lie makes us strong - then let us have the lie!


While agree with most of the points you made in the above post, this type of view seems more appropriate to religion. Philosophy has always been paired with science and mathematics. Ideally, a philosopher should not 'hold beliefs' (particularly those he knows to be false), but should make the attempt to think as a scientist and hold hypotheses that are subject to modification or falsification if new evidence arises.

Moody
Sunday, September 28th, 2008, 03:30 PM
Philosophy has always been paired with science and mathematics.

This may be so in the Anglo-American schools of Philosophy, but it is not so in the Continental European schools.

There is also a dialogue between Philosophy and Theology in most traditions.

Not only that, but the reliance of philosophers on language means there is a parity with poetry too [many of the first philosophers of Greece wrote their philosophy in poetic form].
This latter is more pronounced in the Continental schools particularly in the late Heidegger.(1)


Ideally, a philosopher should not 'hold beliefs' (particularly those he knows to be false), but should make the attempt to think as a scientist and hold hypotheses that are subject to modification or falsification if new evidence arises.

Again, this latter may be an Anglo-American view [reaching its apogee in the Logical Positivists who put forward the so-called varification principle (VP). Of course, the problem with the VP is that it can't be verified itself!]
http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/6q.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verificationism

Philosophers who "think as scientists" are, to a Continental philosopher like Nietzsche, mere instruments of the true Philosopher who should be a Caesarian Powerhouse of Culture. (2)

So Philosophy is above science, politics and aesthetics - but encompasses them all.

By the way - does a philosopher of Flux recognise a non-relative Truth-Value?
Isn't your concern for truth over falsity an example of Fixity? (3)

It just goes to show that all philosophers have to "hold beliefs" whether they like it or not.

Refs

(1)"In the later writings, two recurring themes are poetry and technology. Heidegger sees poetry as a preeminent way in which beings are revealed "in their being." The play of poetic language (which is, for Heidegger, the essence of language itself) reveals the play of presence and absence that is being itself. Heidegger focuses especially on the poetry of Hölderlin.

"Against the revealing power of poetry, Heidegger sets the force of technology. The essence of technology is the conversion of the whole universe of beings into an undifferentiated "standing reserve" (Bestand) of energy available for any use to which humans choose to put it. The standing reserve represents the most extreme nihilism, since the being of beings is totally subordinated to the will of the human subject. Indeed, Heidegger described the essence of technology as Gestell, or "enframing." Heidegger does not unequivocally condemn technology; he believes that its increasing dominance might make it possible for humanity to return to its authentic task of the stewardship of being. Nevertheless, an unmistakable agrarian nostalgia permeates much of his later work.

"Heidegger's important later works include Vom Wesen der Wahrheit ("On the Essence of Truth," 1930), Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes ("The Origin of the Work of Art," 1935), Bauen Wohnen Denken ("Building Dwelling Thinking," 1951), and Die Frage nach der Technik ("The Question Concerning Technology," 1954) and Was heisst Denken? ("What Is Called Thinking?" 1954). http://heidegger.an-archos.com/wiki/index.php/Heidegger



(2) "I insist on the following point: people should finally stop confusing philosophical labourers and scientific people in general with philosophers — that in this particular matter we strictly assign “to each his due” and do not give too much to the former and much too little to the latter.

"It may be that the education of a real philosopher requires that he himself has stood for a while on all of those steps where his servants, the scientific labourers in philosophy, remain — and must remain. Perhaps he must himself have been critic and sceptic and dogmatist and historian and, in addition, poet and collector and traveller and solver of riddles and moralist and prophet and “free spirit” and almost everything, in order to move through the range of human worth and feelings of value and to be able to look with a variety of different eyes and consciences from the heights into every distance, from the depths into every height, from the corners into every expanse. But all these things are only pre-conditions for his task: the task itself seeks something different — it demands that he create values.

"Those philosophical labourers on the noble model of Kant and Hegel has to establish some large collection of facts or other concerning estimates of value — that is, earlier statements of value, creations of value which have become dominant and for a while have been called “truths.” They have to press these into formulas, whether in the realm of logic or politics (morality) or art. The task of these researchers is to make everything that has happened and which has been valued up to now clear, easy to imagine, intelligible, and manageable, to shorten everything lengthy, even “time” itself, and to overpower the entire past, a huge and marvellous task, in whose service every sophisticated pride and every tough will can certainly find satisfaction.

"But the real philosophers are commanders and lawgivers: they say “That is how it should be!” They determine first the “Where to?” and the “What for?” of human beings, and, as they do this, they have at their disposal the preliminary work of all philosophical labourers, all those who have overpowered the past — they reach with their creative hands to grasp the future. In that process, everything which is and has been becomes a means for them, an instrument, a hammer. Their “knowing” is creating; their creating is establishing laws; their will to truth is — will to power. — Are there such philosophers nowadays? Have there ever been such philosophers? Is it not necessary that there be such philosophers? . . . ."
[Nietzsche, Beyond Good & Evil (BGE) 211]

(3) "The will to truth, which is still going to tempt us to many a daring exploit, that celebrated truthfulness of which all philosophers up to now have spoken with respect, what questions this will to truth has already set down before us! What strange, serious, dubious questions! There is already a long history of that — and yet it seems that this history has scarcely begun. Is it any wonder that at some point we become mistrustful, lose patience and, in our impatience, turn ourselves around, that we learn from this sphinx to ask questions for ourselves? Who is really asking us questions here? What is it in us that really wants “the truth”?

"In fact, we paused for a long time before the question about the origin of this will — until we finally remained completely and utterly immobile in front of an even more fundamental question. We asked about the value of this will. Suppose we want truth. Why should we not prefer untruth? And uncertainty? Even ignorance? The problem of the value of truth stepped up before us — or were we the ones who stepped up before the problem? Who among us here is Oedipus? Who is the Sphinx?* It seems to be a tryst between questions and question marks. And could one believe that we are finally the ones to whom it seems as if the problem has never been posed up to now, as if we were the first ones to see it, to fix our eyes on it, and to dare confront it? For there is a risk involved in this — perhaps there is no greater risk."
[BGE 1 ('On the Prejudices of Philosophers')]
http://www.malaspina.edu/~johnstoi/Nietzsche/beyondgoodandevil_tofc.htm

Also, see this early essay:

"...What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.

"We still do not know where the urge for truth comes from; for as yet we have heard only of the obligation imposed by society that it should exist: to be truthful means using the customary metaphors—in moral terms: the obligation to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie herd-like in a style obligatory for all. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries' old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth. From the sense that one is obliged to designate one thing as red, another as cold, and a third as mute, there arises a moral impulse in regard to truth. The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. As a rational being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he universalizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his life and conduct to them. Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries—a new world, one which now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known, and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative world. Whereas each perceptual metaphor is individual and without equals and is therefore able to elude all classification, the great edifice of concepts displays the rigid regularity of a Roman columbarium and exhales in logic that strength and coolness which is characteristic of mathematics. Anyone who has felt this cool breath [of logic] will hardly believe that even the concept—which is as bony, foursquare, and transposable as a die—is nevertheless merely the residue of a metaphor, and that the illusion which is involved in the artistic transference of a nerve stimulus into images is, if not the mother, then the grandmother of every single concept. But in this conceptual crap game "truth" means using every die in the designated manner, counting its spots accurately, fashioning the right categories, and never violating the order of caste and class rank. Just as the Romans and Etruscans cut up the heavens with rigid mathematical lines and confined a god within each of the spaces thereby delimited, as within a templum, so every people has a similarly mathematically divided conceptual heaven above themselves and henceforth thinks that truth demands that each conceptual god be sought only within his own sphere. Here one may certainly admire man as a mighty genius of construction, who succeeds in piling an infinitely complicated dome of concepts upon an unstable foundation, and, as it were, on running water. Of course, in order to be supported by such a foundation, his construction must be like one constructed of spiders' webs: delicate enough to be carried along by the waves, strong enough not to be blown apart by every wind. As a genius of construction man raises himself far above the bee in the following way: whereas the bee builds with wax that he gathers from nature, man builds with the far more delicate conceptual material which he first has to manufacture from himself. In this he is greatly to be admired, but not on account of his drive for truth or for pure knowledge of things. When someone hides something behind a bush and looks for it again in the same place and finds it there as well, there is not much to praise in such seeking and finding. Yet this is how matters stand regarding seeking and finding "truth" within the realm of reason. If I make up the definition of a mammal, and then, after inspecting a camel, declare "look, a mammal" I have indeed brought a truth to light in this way, but it is a truth of limited value. That is to say, it is a thoroughly anthropomorphic truth which contains not a single point which would be "true in itself" or really and universally valid apart from man. At bottom, what the investigator of such truths is seeking is only the metamorphosis of the world into man. He strives to understand the world as something analogous to man, and at best he achieves by his struggles the feeling of assimilation. Similar to the way in which astrologers considered the stars to be in man 's service and connected with his happiness and sorrow, such an investigator considers the entire universe in connection with man: the entire universe as the infinitely fractured echo of one original sound-man; the entire universe as the infinitely multiplied copy of one original picture-man. His method is to treat man as the measure of all things, but in doing so he again proceeds from the error of believing that he has these things [which he intends to measure] immediately before him as mere objects. He forgets that the original perceptual metaphors are metaphors and takes them to be the things themselves..."
[Nietzsche, On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense, 1873]
http://www.geocities.com/thenietzschechannel/tls.htm

Psychonaut
Sunday, September 28th, 2008, 08:21 PM
This may be so in the Anglo-American schools of Philosophy, but it is not so in the Continental European schools.

Actually, I was thinking a good bit farther back than that. A list of philosophers who were also mathematicians and/or scientists would include: Thales, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Descartes, Liebniz, etc.


There is also a dialogue between Philosophy and Theology in most traditions.

That is true, but even in Plato's day popular religion was ridiculed. I think the Euthyphro is a great example of that.


Not only that, but the reliance of philosophers on language means there is a parity with poetry too [many of the first philosophers of Greece wrote their philosophy in poetic form].
This latter is more pronounced in the Continental schools particularly in the late Heidegger.

In this way, many of the Continental philosophers are, in my opinion, looking down dead end streets. There is a definite limit to the precision with which ideas that transcend our everyday experience can be described by means of language. In this way I am forced to side with those who hold mathematics to be a more appropriate and capable language with which to express certain categories of truths (excluding purely human fields such as ethics or aesthetics).


Again, this latter may be an Anglo-American view [reaching its apogee in the Logical Positivists who put forward the so-called varification principle (VP). Of course, the problem with the VP is that it can't be verified itself!]

Philosophers who "think as scientists" are, to a Continental philosopher like Nietzsche, mere instruments of the true Philosopher who should be a Caesarian Powerhouse of Culture.

Well, I'm certainly not a fan of Wittgenstein and his crowd. I think this last little bit ('Powerhouse of Culture') is quite telling of the fundamental differences between our thought. I would hold that there are categories of truth that pertain to humans (ethics, aesthetics, etc.) and there are categories of truth that pertain to nature (logic, mathematics, cosmology, etc.). To use a method of analysis particular to one category that is not suited to the other is bound to be inadequate. I would no more expect poetry to best the best method of describing the cosmos than I would expect mathematics to explain love.


By the way - does a philosopher of Flux recognise a non-relative Truth-Value?
Isn't your concern for truth over falsity an example of Fixity?


I think you are overemphasizing my 'belief' in flux. I am really only concerned with flux as it related to the apparent passage of time, and through that to Whitehead's conclusions about Process. My earlier statement that "all things are in process," meant just that: all 'things.' In that regard I much prefer Whitehead's term 'occurrences' to the atemporal 'things.'