Monday Aphorism: The End of Metaphysics

“Like the possibility of knowing, now, the entire earth reduced to jet planes’ speeds and missiles’ trajectories, the sense of what we are became all-too-knowable and ultimately explicable, and the mysteries of the metaphysics which whispered, hushed, in our innards, began to speak a little more hurriedly with an excitation like storm clouds’ beginning gatherings.

Be in process, exist, experience, love life, transcend your history, be moral from strength and self-possession, not from a weakness which is battered, not from a music which escalates but does not elevate. To deserve a deity, is to be a person of character, to be for, to be against, to be what can be…a person is a will, a willing to, and one who can talk to the inner dialogue.”

It began, I guess, several centuries ago, the proclamation of the end of the era of metaphysics.

For a while it was banned: that is, talk about metaphysics, as if banning talk would remove the ideas and thoughts. Metaphysics as talk and term, became a way of spurning the obscure, when all that was needed (they said) was care in observation and in experimentation. In the name of objectivity and rationality, and perhaps of progress, metaphysics was banned and bannered and kept in a closely lidded casket as if it were some hornet’s nest.

Except…except that somewhere in our lives, some of the visions of our own being, lurked a metaphysician telling us what was a question, what was an answer, what we are and sometimes, why.

The lurking thinker carried within a big bag of inner dialogues, a mix of wonderments which were kept mostly quiet. How? By naming the stuff which came up, came out, rose to the surface…

The word was consciousness. Consciousness was coherent in some sense of whatever is coherence, connectedness, logicality, it seemed to remain calm.

Metaphysics banned questions of who and why we are, removed, suppressed, pushed to depths in our being, hidden from ourselves, rose to the surface only rarely, and often then in the form of some passions which could be dismissed, if not controlled.

God’s voices spoke still loudly, if not always so clearly, and we wondered about the human understanding: as if understanding understanding would tell us answers to questions whose framing stood still mostly at some place of hum and murmur within us.

We still had some depiction of ourselves as outside of nature, an afterward and afterthought of the physics and material which had made us up, had led to us, but which did not, could not explain us.

As history, knowledge, geography all increased, we began to inventory the world. The other species gained, the earth diminished and we with it, and Nature tamed, rose up with once-buried questions.

The firmness of Euclid’s planes and spaces and forms of forever-is, then became spongy, attacking destiny and the resoluteness in a sense of what we know and what is knowing. The Grand Design, a theory to account for us and myself and what is time and all of that, reduced from fact to theory any other myth or story by which we get to sleep at night. No more design, no progressive sense of evolution, nature invoked itself to explain itself, cause and causality became answers to questions: not much more; mostly considerably less.

Like the possibility of knowing, now, the entire earth reduced to jet planes’ speeds and missiles’ trajectories, the sense of what we are became all-too-knowable and ultimately explicable, and the mysteries of the metaphysics which whispered, hushed, in our innards, began to speak a little more hurriedly with an excitation like storm clouds’ beginning gatherings.

Characters steeped in the religious tellings of their times and of history, Darwin, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, said all was not so right, and they struck out to right things round.

Where are we and how did we get here, and why are things and us not better, not more productive, more wonderfully human, they asked, suspecting, accusing the purveyors of some of the words of a god who did metaphysics, that there are other ways of being…or we know not yet who and what we are.

Nietzsche said Plato set us up with an outlook, a metaphysics which was so powerful that it framed our thinking and could not be gotten “beyond.” Trapped!

We were trapped, humbled by a control of thinking in which the highest success of our being human was to humble ourselves, to be meek and to seek excuses rather than our own strength and power.

Be in process, exist, experience, love life, transcend your history, be moral from strength and self-possession, not from a weakness which is battered, not from a music which escalates but does not elevate. To deserve a deity, is to be a person of character, to be for, to be against, to be what can be…a person is a will, a willing to, and one who can talk to the inner dialogue.

Arrayed against some sense of Nature which wanted it controlled, subsumed, a fateful increase in nature’s technology propelled us here.  But our theories, our metaphysics still discuss, just below passion in our kidneys and livers and intestines, a sense of Nature which is older and longer ago.

Here we are, our public selves driving at multi-human speeds on not so free-ways, purveyors of each new day’s technologies, while our metaphysical selves still maintain the inner conversation, finding themselves, somehow, increasingly at odds with today’s-tomorrow us, and pushing, as it were, backwards, toward a sense of Nature which had its roots out there somewhere, outside of us; not, as they say, “man-made.”

The philosophers now technicians of ideas, much as engineers but with less imagination, are trying still in this century to proclaim the end of metaphysics, lacking either nerve to kill-off Plato lest reality disappear (appear?), or the sense of how to do it.

How to proclaim that metaphysics is over, yet still have a business? Losing their home-base of a logic which holds still, they fight new knowledge as it erodes their belief and position of the foundations of what is human, rather than taking hard looks at themselves.

Removed from their own human-ness, at a distance from inner mumblings, they suppress, deny, and still proclaim the end of metaphysics, trying with all their might to preserve it in the self-same sentence and sentencings. How many centuries to end an outlook? What reactions, what new messianisms will it provoke talking out of its two-sided mouth, mouthing revolution…but not just now.

Instead the world moves on rapidly, much as we, in the freeways of global talk and understandings and refusals to talk and understand.  Metaphysics, hardened into trench warfare.

Always almost over…always ending, never-ending?

  • C. Rosewater

    Time is speeding up… I cannot prove this, but it seems to be rapidly moving towards… what? Entropy? Enlightenment? I can learn about a girl born with two faces in India, how to open a lock with simple household items, or learn about the directors of the French New Wave–this can be done with a click of a mouse and in moments. I have not yet figured out the link between information and time, but I believe there is something to it. (I’m merely toying with it now) Our consciousness is growing. What we are aware of is becoming exponentially larger, but what that awareness is–who broke up with who on Facebook, a celebrity got caught with drugs, or what happened on such and such show–has become, dumb? I do not care for that term, maybe vapid or shallow. Yes, we have limitless ability–the era of humans as gods is approaching, I see it on the horizon–but to reach that era, we as a culture, society, species—fuck! organic matter–need to reevaluate what is going on because, without a change of awareness or consciousness, we will doom ourselves to ignorance and oblivion.

    What if, what is the human is no longer the question? Yes, to understand the human is to better understand ourselves and our limits, but does that not limit ourselves? Can we not understand the animals? The “higher” mammals understand us much differently than we understand ourselves, so who is to say that their interpretation is incorrect or invalid. Is there not empathy between a person and the dog that lives with that person? Elephants can create self-portraits: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/5203120.stm
    Why have we not begun species to species communication? (This must sound like the thought process of a drug-addled mind, but I have been without the use of my “mind enhancers” for sometime now and still believe these ideas are possible and valid.)Gorillas understand sign language. Dolphins saved some beached whales not to long ago, when humans who had been trying for some time failed. Without even being able to communicate with the other creatures on our planet, how can we expect to even be able to communicate with extraterrestrial life? Our concept of intelligence and what it is needs to be desperately relooked at. I was listening to a Podcast of a lecture by some professor at the University of Washington (???—forget, but am pretty sure). He was interested in contacting life outside of our planet, but believes that our concept of intelligence and life are too narrow, since we only understand our own biosphere. As a child I was obsessed with S.E.T.I. and spent much of my time in fear—I was young—and awe of the concept of meeting and interacting with other life. So, maybe, while an analysis of the human can be done through inner dialogue, I believe that this analysis could lead to isolation and misinterpreting the human. Do I think one should have inner dialogues—most definitely—but I think dialogue needs to be done human-to-human and human-to-animal. Does this mean one will tell their dog or cat about their day and expect the creature to understand? No. I mean we interact with creatures in different ways than we act within our constructed societies. We use different language—possibly more “primal.” (The term is not what I want, but I will use it to for time sake) The communication is more physical and sight based, yet emotions are there. I have been meaning to read When Species Meet by Donna Haraway—I have enjoyed her writing on the subject of cyborgs—and wonder if it could illuminate this subject a little better.

    I enjoyed your comment: “The philosophers now technicians of ideas, much as engineers but with less imagination…” I wanted to be a philosophy major when I was in college, but found the course work less thought provoking and more formulaic. It seemed more rooted in arguments and “who said what” than about trying to reinterpret the surrounding world. It saw philosophy as something that is constantly being improved and fine-tuned—each thought/idea/theory was necessary to get to the next, therefore we should continue to learn about each person—usually white male. I understand why this is important to understand—to have sense of history allows one to better understand the present and prepare for the future—but it seems to me the philosophers were regarded as “gods” or beings that were not just regular people. Anyone can achieve; no one is special, but everyone is special…. (Shit, it is time for me to wrap this up—I’m up to a page already, but I have a few last comments/ideas)

    -What is an idea? It is obviously no idea is ethereal. I refuse to believe it. I am curious how to find out what an idea physically looks like—I am convinced you can do it, but we might not have the technology to understand it. (This sounds strange but I think I am on to something here—we can read thought waves in computers and stuff)

    -How does dialogue and communication physically affect the person? How is intelligence processed and stored? Do we need to understand parts ‘A’ and ‘B’ before gaining ‘C?’ To me, knowledge is not linear. Yes, certain concepts are necessary for others—math subjects come to mind—but a more concrete understanding comes from reinforcements that may not happen for sometime and may solidify multiple ideas at once.

    -How does one raise a positive consciousness? Doesn’t this undermine the class structure of society or even the social norms? What would happen if there was an implosion of meaning? Would humanity rise to the challenge or cower in the shadows? Maybe the world needs metaphysical terrorists… hopefully, they give benefits and a 401(k).

    Alas, I am rambling. Peace.

    C. Rosewater.

  • C. Rosewater

    Time is speeding up… I cannot prove this, but it seems to be rapidly moving towards… what? Entropy? Enlightenment? I can learn about a girl born with two faces in India, how to open a lock with simple household items, or learn about the directors of the French New Wave–this can be done with a click of a mouse and in moments. I have not yet figured out the link between information and time, but I believe there is something to it. (I’m merely toying with it now) Our consciousness is growing. What we are aware of is becoming exponentially larger, but what that awareness is–who broke up with who on Facebook, a celebrity got caught with drugs, or what happened on such and such show–has become, dumb? I do not care for that term, maybe vapid or shallow. Yes, we have limitless ability–the era of humans as gods is approaching, I see it on the horizon–but to reach that era, we as a culture, society, species—fuck! organic matter–need to reevaluate what is going on because, without a change of awareness or consciousness, we will doom ourselves to ignorance and oblivion.

    What if, what is the human is no longer the question? Yes, to understand the human is to better understand ourselves and our limits, but does that not limit ourselves? Can we not understand the animals? The “higher” mammals understand us much differently than we understand ourselves, so who is to say that their interpretation is incorrect or invalid. Is there not empathy between a person and the dog that lives with that person? Elephants can create self-portraits: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/5203120.stm
    Why have we not begun species to species communication? (This must sound like the thought process of a drug-addled mind, but I have been without the use of my “mind enhancers” for sometime now and still believe these ideas are possible and valid.)Gorillas understand sign language. Dolphins saved some beached whales not to long ago, when humans who had been trying for some time failed. Without even being able to communicate with the other creatures on our planet, how can we expect to even be able to communicate with extraterrestrial life? Our concept of intelligence and what it is needs to be desperately relooked at. I was listening to a Podcast of a lecture by some professor at the University of Washington (???—forget, but am pretty sure). He was interested in contacting life outside of our planet, but believes that our concept of intelligence and life are too narrow, since we only understand our own biosphere. As a child I was obsessed with S.E.T.I. and spent much of my time in fear—I was young—and awe of the concept of meeting and interacting with other life. So, maybe, while an analysis of the human can be done through inner dialogue, I believe that this analysis could lead to isolation and misinterpreting the human. Do I think one should have inner dialogues—most definitely—but I think dialogue needs to be done human-to-human and human-to-animal. Does this mean one will tell their dog or cat about their day and expect the creature to understand? No. I mean we interact with creatures in different ways than we act within our constructed societies. We use different language—possibly more “primal.” (The term is not what I want, but I will use it to for time sake) The communication is more physical and sight based, yet emotions are there. I have been meaning to read When Species Meet by Donna Haraway—I have enjoyed her writing on the subject of cyborgs—and wonder if it could illuminate this subject a little better.

    I enjoyed your comment: “The philosophers now technicians of ideas, much as engineers but with less imagination…” I wanted to be a philosophy major when I was in college, but found the course work less thought provoking and more formulaic. It seemed more rooted in arguments and “who said what” than about trying to reinterpret the surrounding world. It saw philosophy as something that is constantly being improved and fine-tuned—each thought/idea/theory was necessary to get to the next, therefore we should continue to learn about each person—usually white male. I understand why this is important to understand—to have sense of history allows one to better understand the present and prepare for the future—but it seems to me the philosophers were regarded as “gods” or beings that were not just regular people. Anyone can achieve; no one is special, but everyone is special…. (Shit, it is time for me to wrap this up—I’m up to a page already, but I have a few last comments/ideas)

    -What is an idea? It is obviously no idea is ethereal. I refuse to believe it. I am curious how to find out what an idea physically looks like—I am convinced you can do it, but we might not have the technology to understand it. (This sounds strange but I think I am on to something here—we can read thought waves in computers and stuff)

    -How does dialogue and communication physically affect the person? How is intelligence processed and stored? Do we need to understand parts ‘A’ and ‘B’ before gaining ‘C?’ To me, knowledge is not linear. Yes, certain concepts are necessary for others—math subjects come to mind—but a more concrete understanding comes from reinforcements that may not happen for sometime and may solidify multiple ideas at once.

    -How does one raise a positive consciousness? Doesn’t this undermine the class structure of society or even the social norms? What would happen if there was an implosion of meaning? Would humanity rise to the challenge or cower in the shadows? Maybe the world needs metaphysical terrorists… hopefully, they give benefits and a 401(k).

    Alas, I am rambling. Peace.

    C. Rosewater.

  • Harvey

    Whew! Television sped us up a great deal, and MyFace, etc., and WII watching my teenage grandkids “play” them – I can only take deep breaths, and try to appreciate how fast they are, and the world has become.

    Practicing hatha yoga seems very important to me to “slow” the world, to come into the body in gravity and “relax” into the gravity of gravity.

    Doing “fieldwork” with Mayan Indians years ago, I became aware (how deeply?) of how they consider that we share spirits with other animals – and “join” with their animal spirits often while asleep. As well, they consider that the earth is our “mother” and we must preserve “her” for some seven generations.

    I love kids (of most species – sorry about those “condo bugs” and mosquitoes, though.) Touching, moving, watching, tending to and with. I am a teacher, after all: across lines, time(s) – hoping to somehow inspire their futures.

    Lately, I been wondering how to help create “meaning” in a global world which is “looking for answers” to the questions you are asking in wonder.

    Harvey

  • A. Murch

    C. Rosewater,

    Yes, time is speeding up, but it has nothing to do with the railroads or television or the Internet. These technologies disrupt our traditional ontology of time and distance, but while this accounts for the ways in which we re-imagine time in a quantitative sense, it does not give consideration for a qualitative shift that so many are experiencing. Maybe instead of saying that time is speeding up, we should say that history– personal, collective and otherwise– is what is speeding up. People are attaining consciousness at accelerating rates. And with the help of others, I believe I have come to understand what is happening. If you’d like to hear more, please feel free to contact me.

    Still, I wonder why everyone isn’t where I am (wherever I am) and this frustrates me. As an example, look at the picture Harvey posted here. Why is it that some people see what’s so obviously going on here, but most people do not? I wonder what I can do to inspire consciousness in others, as consciousness was inspired in me. I know that I do not have the power to make consciousness happen, but still I am simply, phenomenally compelled.

  • A. Murch

    C. Rosewater,

    Yes, time is speeding up, but it has nothing to do with the railroads or television or the Internet. These technologies disrupt our traditional ontology of time and distance, but while this accounts for the ways in which we re-imagine time in a quantitative sense, it does not give consideration for a qualitative shift that so many are experiencing. Maybe instead of saying that time is speeding up, we should say that history– personal, collective and otherwise– is what is speeding up. People are attaining consciousness at accelerating rates. And with the help of others, I believe I have come to understand what is happening. If you’d like to hear more, please feel free to contact me.

    Still, I wonder why everyone isn’t where I am (wherever I am) and this frustrates me. As an example, look at the picture Harvey posted here. Why is it that some people see what’s so obviously going on here, but most people do not? I wonder what I can do to inspire consciousness in others, as consciousness was inspired in me. I know that I do not have the power to make consciousness happen, but still I am simply, phenomenally compelled.

  • April,

    Why don’t they “understand” us? – you and me and…Where I’ve gone with this is in the direction of a (my terms) “crisis in meaning.” Looking for meaning, for directions, answers, solutions – the temptation has been to look “outside” of oneself: to the past, prophets and ancient texts. How to remain “in the present” even as it hurries up. Are we “up’ to these tasks, or will we be tempted to yield much of our being to…?

  • April,

    Why don’t they “understand” us? – you and me and…Where I’ve gone with this is in the direction of a (my terms) “crisis in meaning.” Looking for meaning, for directions, answers, solutions – the temptation has been to look “outside” of oneself: to the past, prophets and ancient texts. How to remain “in the present” even as it hurries up. Are we “up’ to these tasks, or will we be tempted to yield much of our being to…?

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