07 December 2015

Fateful question

(Translation of Schicksalsfrage 06-Dec-2015)

Could it be,
that the fate of the West
-- even the world --
depends on
clearly seeing,
on understanding,
that time itself has no where
-- is where-less?

That time is another name
for the mind
-- for the psyche itself?

That to talk of inside and outside
with regard to the mind
-- to time itself --
is utter
-- even dangerous --

But thinking has long since
spatialized time,
and people
-- even those who pass on
what is left of philosophy today --
like to talk thoughtlessly
-- unquestioningly and thoughtlessly without end --
of their thoughts
'in their head',
of their
'inner self',

of 'inner conscience',
of 'inner consciousness',
of the factually
'external world',
of 'withdrawing into their interior selves',
and so on.

And a thinker
who shows a way
out of this relentless,
exhausted impasse
is ignored,
and preferably
-- if ignoring is not enough --
people would delete him
-- any trace of him --
 from memory.

People are in love
with linear time
-- with the counted time abstracted
from spatial movement --
because it still promises
Endless the love of power.

Read on: A Question of Time.

06 December 2015


Könnte es sein,
daß das Schicksal des Westens
-- ja, der Welt --
davon abhängt,
die Zeit selbst als ohne Wo
-- als wo-los --,
klar zu sehen,
zu verstehen?

Daß Zeit ein anderer Name
 für den Geist
-- für die Psyche selbst --

Daß von Innen und Außen
in Bezug auf den Geist
-- auf die Zeit selbst --
zu reden,
-- ja, gefährlicher --
Unsinn ist?

Aber die Zeit selbst
ist im Denken
schon längst
verräumlicht worden,
und die Menschen
-- selbst diejenigen, die das,
was heute von der Philosophie übrig geblieben ist,
tradieren --
reden gern und gedankenlos
-- endlos fraglos und gedankenlos --
von ihren Gedanken
'im Kopf',
von ihrem
'inneren Selbst',
vom 'inneren Gewissen',
vom 'inneren Bewußtsein',
von der faktisch
davon, daß sie
'in sich gehen',
und so weiter.

Und ein Denker,
der einen Ausweg
aus dieser unerbittlichen,
erschöpften Sackgasse
wird ignoriert,
und am liebsten
-- wenn Nichtbeachtung nicht ausreicht --
würde man ihn
-- jede Spur von ihm --
aus der Erinnerung löschen.

Die Menschen sind
in die lineare Zeit
-- in die von der räumlichen Bewegung
abgezogene, gezählte Zeit --
immer noch verliebt.
Denn sie verspricht
immer noch
Endlos die Liebe zur Macht.

Weiter lesen: A Question of Time.

21 October 2015

06 October 2015

Keys lying in the dark

You know the one about the drunk looking for his car keys at night under the light of a lamp-post? A passer-by asks him what he's doing.
He says, "I've dropped my car keys, so I'm looking for them, ain't I?"
The passer-by asks, "Is this where you dropped them?"
"No, I dropped them over there in the dark."
"Then why are you looking for them here?" the passer-by persists.
"Because there's more light here," replies the drunk, annoyed.

Doesn't this joke tell you something?
With your present cast of mind, you see and understand the world in a certain light.
You have a vague inkling that current ways of thinking can't get to grips with persistent anomalies and deep-seated, pernicious crises facing global humanity.
Someone suggests you look into a different way of thinking that has posed and pursued radically simple, elementary questions opening up and demanding another view of the world.
That would enable your mind to reset and learn to think differently.
"Oh no", you say, "that's much too hard for me to understand.
I prefer to stay here in the light".
Drunk on the status quo, pretending to be standing,
completely sober, in the lumen naturale of reason?

But the keys are lying in the dark.
That's where you have to venture.

22 September 2015

Plato's four cardinal virtues

How are Plato's four cardinal virtues to be translated to the present day?

'Cardinal' comes from Latin 'cardo' for 'hinge'; 'virtue' is from Latin 'virtus', literally 'manliness', the translation of Greek _aretae_, signifying 'excellence', 'goodness', 'competence', 'proficiency'. Hence virtue traditionally concerned the manly excellence of men. Today this narrow focus has been widened.

i) _phronaesis_ (understanding) is the ability to understand the world from within an historical-hermeneutic cast of being, through which occurrents* of all kinds present themselves AS what and who they are to the mind in any occurring situation, thus fulfilling a necessary precondition for prudent action.
ii) _sophrosynae_ (temperance, literally, the rescue of _phronaesis_, of understanding) is the ability to temper your desires so that prudent understanding is not overwhelmed by desire in your actions. Desire (_epithymia_) of whatever kind (e.g. lust, greed, ambition) needs to be restrained.
iii) _andreia_ (literally, manliness, courageousness) implies the firmness to take a stand, showing your self to the world, and the courage to risk your own life-movements in engaging with the world, especially with the others in your world.
iv) _dikaiosynae_ (justice) is fairness in the interplay with others in the world. Such fairness consists in mutually estimating and esteeming each other's abilities and powers as well as all their exercise has acquired. 'Fair' is to be understood here also as _to kalon_, the beautiful, the opposite of _to aischron_, the ugly and shameful. Who people are and what they have must be duly estimated in the interplay for it to be fair.

Achieving excellence 'hinges' on these four aspects when leading your life in the world. Since all living is a kind of movement, and all movement is a power (_dynamis_) of some kind at work (_en toi ergoi_, _energeiai_, energy), all engagement with the world is a power play with other occurrents, both things and people, i.e. both whats and whos.

Hence justice is fairness in the mutual exercise of powers and abilities in engaging with others in the world, and courageousness is the power to resist adverse counter-powers and to take a risk with your own powers and abilities, guided by sound understanding with tempered desire. Such power interplay can become fair or ugly, however. It becomes ugly especially when (one or some of) the players do not keep their desires in check, but instead give them free rein, thus deploying their own powers to cheat one way or the other in the power plays. Power plays are of their nature unpredictable, with endless possible situational configurations, moves and counter-moves. Hence they elude all efforts of the will to effective power to control them.

* 'Occurrents' is introduced here as an alternative to 'beings', 'entitiies', signifying all that presences and absences within the three-dimensional clearing of time, whether sensuously or not. The mind and the time-clearing are two sides of the same coin.

Further reading: Social Ontology.

21 September 2015

Meaningful presence

Tom and Mic bump into each other on the underground. Tom is roused from his deep pondering.

Tom: Would you like to know what Heidegger's thinking is all about?
Mic: Yeah, tell me.
Tom: Well,
basically it's all about meaningful presence.
Mic: You mean, when you strip it down to its fundamental, core message, that's what it's about?
Tom: Yep, that's what I'm saying.

Mic reflects for a moment.

Mic: Aren't you forgetting something?
Tom: Er, what?

Mic: Aren't you forgetting meaningless presence? 
Tom: ?!!

Tom thinks a while.

Tom: So you're telling me presence is not meaningful?
Mic: No, I'm saying you're telling only half the story.
Tom: Oh yeah? What's the other half?
Mic: M
eaningless presence
Tom: How do I get a handle on that?

Mic: You don't. You just take a step back.

Tom: And what do I see?
The two halves together: presence pure and simple.
Tom: Oh! But that's nothing at all.

Mic: Right, but look more closely.
Tom: I don't see anything.
Mic: You don't see that presence pure and simple includes two kinds of absence, past and future?
Tom: Yes, well sort of, but the point is that it's meaningful beings that are present or absent. Presence, including absence, is meaningful.
Mic: You've already said that, but meaningless presence pure and simple, too, impacts, affects us human beings.
Tom: How?
Mic: Take music, for instance. It is most purely and simply the arousing of an attunement.
Tom: But music is a language of its own with its own meaning.
Mic: That's what you say, but that's already a perversion of music, to graft language and meaning onto it.
Tom: But music has always been used to transport meaning and is an aesthetic language of the emotions.
Mic: Yeah, that's how music has been conceived traditionally. Maybe it's time to allow music to come into its meaningless, attuning own.

The underground train pulls into a station.

Tom: Here's where I have to get off. Bye.

Further reading: A Question of Time.

20 August 2015

Peter Trawny in TKMaxx

Peter Trawny sucht ein Schnäppchen in TKMaxx und wird fündig!
Die unentrinnbare, totalitäre "mathematisch-technische Topologie" TKM = Technik.Kapital.Medium mit jenseitig angeschlossener "Atopie des Unmöglichen".
Bei Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2015 preiswert zu haben.

Eine Alternative mit Ausgang ist im Angebot:: Kapital und Technik: Marx und Heidegger.

Ein Vorgeschmack:
"Freilich ist Peter Trawny in seinem 2015 erschienenen Buch Technik.Kapital.Medium: Das Universale und die Freiheit (Matthes & Seitz, Berlin) dem Gewinn-Spiel gegenüber ahnungslos geblieben, zumal er nicht hermeneutisch-ontologisch denkt, was sorgfältig entwickelte Begriffe erfordert, um über das bloße Meinen hinauszukommen. Voraussetzung dafür, das Gewinn-Spiel sehen zu können, ist es, die elementaren Unterschiede zwischen den ontologischen Strukturen der Produktion einerseits und des Austausches andererseits ausgearbeitet zu haben, eine philosophische Aufgabe, die Trawny — wie bereits Heidegger vor ihm— allerdings ignoriert. So wird das, was er die “mathematisch-technische Topologie” (ebd. S.19) nennt (und ungefähr dem Gestell entspricht), die angeblich “Alles [enthält], was es gibt und was es nicht gibt” (ebd.), ohne jeden weiteren Gedanken verwendet, um auch das Kapital unter dieses bloß postulierte — und nicht maieutisch-fragend entwickelte — “Universal von Technik, Kapital und Medium” (ebd. S.20) zu subsumieren. Trawny setzt eine unausweichliche totalitäre Totalität, um dann “jenseits” (ebd. S.22) eine “unproduktive” “metaphysische Atopie des Unmöglichen” (ebd.) zu phantasieren. Dies läuft auf einen totalitären Entwurf hinaus ähnlich dem ebenfalls totalitären Entwurf Ernst Jüngers in Der Arbeiter."


"In seiner Erörterung der Wertform betrachtet auch Trawny sie ausschließlich in orthodoxer Manier aus quantitativer Sicht (vgl. Trawny a.a.O. S.174ff), als hätte er — sogar noch im 21. Jahrhundert — die ganze Diskussion um die Dialektik der Wertform und ihrer weitreichenden Konsequenzen verschlafen, die H-G. Backhaus’ Arbeiten in den 1960er Jahren ausgelöst haben, und die heute als die ‘Neue Marx-Lektüre’ bekannt ist."

04 August 2015

Feminist Metaphysics

At the conclusion of their article on

Feminist Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

the authors, Sally Haslanger and Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir, ask:
"Is feminist metaphysics just 'mainstream' metaphysics directed at different issues, or is there a deep difference? And if there is a deep difference, what exactly is it?"

Yes, there is a deep difference, and it's one that feminist metaphysics has not yet struck upon, because its metaphysics itself remains traditional and superficial. Feminist metaphysics has not gotten any further than the claim that, in feminist metaphysics, "we're in fact dealing with an ontology of social things, relations, and non-substantive (and often normative) kinds."
But this is merely sociology dressed up as ontology, not a way of thinking truly deserving the title, 'social ontology'. Feminist philosophers are in love with dressed up sociology honoured with the rubric of 'gender studies' in established educational instituions.

The truly subversive rupture in traditional metaphysics in the direction of feminist concerns comes only with genuinely asking the ontological question concerning whoness, and not covering up the phenomenon with mere descriptions of 'social constructs' and the like. Whoness concerns the modes of human beings' presencing in the world. Such presencing in the world AS who you are is indeed marked by a striking duality that, for want of better terminology and only provisionally, can be called masculinity/femininity, which does not correspond to the duality of man/woman.

Presencing in the world AS somewho can be a self-presentation, i.e. a self-presencing, of who you are, or it can be a letting-presence of other whos and whats, i.e. of occurrences of the other. The 'AS' here is the hermeneutic As that is the hallmark of philosophy since Aristotle's announcement in his Metaphysics of an investigation in 'beings insofar AS they are beings' (to\ o)\n v(= o)/n, beings qua beings), the quintessential ontological question: How are beings AS such to be interpreted? 

To come to this insight requires a lengthy path of thinking that crucially involves clearing away the debris strewn over the centuries by the metaphysical tradition, that was concerned exclusively with the whatness (quiddity) of things, and never with the whoness (quissity) of human beings. Whoness remained unthought as such throughout, although always implicitly present and even articulated in passing as a matter of course.

Feminist metaphysics is not yet even on this path. It's merely beating sociologically about the bush. And the politics of feminists in their ongoing power plays in academia prevent the question of whoness from emerging to even faintly disturb the all-too-established currents of feminist discourse.

30 July 2015

Sperrzone Bewußtsein

"Die oft genannte 'weltweite Wirkung' meines Denkens bleibt eine rätselhafte Illusion. Was hält den Menschen in der Sperrzone des 'Bewußtseins' gefangen? Warum wird der Rückgang ins Dasein nicht vollzogen und nicht gewährt?

"The oft-mentioned 'worldwide impact' of my thinking remains a perplexing illusion. What holds humankind captive to the closed-off zone of 'consciousness'? Why is the path back into Dasein not taken and not granted?"

Auszüge zur Phänomenologie aus dem Manuskript 'Vermächtnis der Seinsfrage' (1973-75) II 121 Jahresgabe der Martin Heidegger Gesellschaft 2011/12

Heidegger spricht hier kurz vor seinem Tod vom Bewußtsein als einer "Sperrzone". Demnach ist das Bewußtsein ein Innenbereich, der durch einen Gürtel (Gr. zw/nh) von der Außenwelt abgeschnitten ist. Sein Weltruhm als Philosoph ist schon längst etabliert, die Sekundärliteratur wird bereits auf Hochtouren produziert, und zwar in vielen Sprachen weltweit. Dennoch spricht der alte Heidegger von einer "Illusion".

Und er stellt die Frage:

Warum wird der Rückgang ins Dasein nicht vollzogen und nicht gewährt?

"Rückgang" heißt hier, daß nichts Neues proklamiert wird, sondern daß das Dasein der ursprünglichere Ort von dem ist, was in der Neuzeit -- d.h. in ihrem vorherrschendem hermeneutischen Als, wodurch das Weltverständnis entworfen wird -- zum inneren Bewußtsein geworden ist.

Trotz -- oder vielmehr wegen -- aller Heidegger-Forschung bleibt das heutige Denken in dieser Sperrzone eingesperrt. Oder der Ausbruch bleibt auf halbem Weg stecken.
Setzt die Heidegger-Forschung in aller Welt nicht urspünglich genug an?
Dafür gibt es starke Hinweise.
So wird das Sein etwa von Tom Sheehan als dasjenige verstanden, das ermöglicht, daß Seiendes für uns als bedeutungsvoll erscheint. Auf diese Weise wird die Seinsfrage auf die Frage nach dem hermeneutischen Als eines Zeitalters reduziert. Das Da, die Lichtung, wird dann lediglich zum 'neutralen', wenn auch offenen Ort des Sichzeigens des als so-oder-so bedeutungsvollen Seienden, d.h. das Sein auf das Seiende zugedacht, und so lediglich noch einmal metaphysisch -- wenn auch nicht bewußtseinsmetaphysisch -- verstanden. D.h. für Sheehan ist die Lichtung die "clearing-for-meaning" von Seiendem. Zudem verwechselt Sheehan -- sowie Heidegger selbst -- das hermeneutische Als verstanden als um-fassender, orientierender ontologischer Kompaß eines Zeitalters mit der gesellschaftlichen, politischen, ökonomischen Erklärung des Wandels dieses Zeitalters.

Das Da des Daseins aber ist die Zeitlichtung selbst, d.h. das Da und die Zeit sind dasselbe.
(Bezeichnenderweise denkt Heidegger die Zeitlichtung als solche nirgendwo, sondern ersetzt fatalerweise die Zeit durch die Lichtung nun als =a)lh/qeia gedacht.)
Ein älterer Name für das Da ist der Geist, .nou=j
Das Da, der Geist, ist nicht in einem inneren Bewußtseinsbereich eingesperrt, sondern ist selbig mit der offenen, dreidimensionalen, ek-statischen Zeitlichtung selbst. Erst durch die Ausgesetztheit des Menschseins in der ek-statischen Zeitlichtung -- die vorräumlich und daher auch vorweltlich ist -- kann das Menschsein als Ek-sistenz verstanden werden..

Daß der Sinn des Seins die Zeit selbst ist, wird übersehen oder vielmehr beiseite geschoben, und zwar zugunsten eines 'verständlicheren' Zugangs zur Seinsfrage.
Damit kann aber die heutige Vorherrschaft des analytisch-wissenschaftlichen Denkens auf der Grundlage seiner Bewußtseinsmetaphysik weder in Frage gestellt noch verwunden werden.

Die Antwort auf Heideggers Warum-Frage oben, die er selber nicht klar gesehen hat, lautet: der Wille zur Macht über jedwede Art von Bewegung, der unbedingt des modernen hermeneutischen Seinsentwurfs des ein- oder mehrbahnigen Ursache-Wirkungs-Verhältnisses und damit einhergehend der eindimensionalen, mathematisierten, linearen Zeit bedarf, um die Kontrolle zu behalten. Was ist der Geist bzw. Intellekt denn anders als die scharfe, feine Beobachtung -- nicht die beherrschende Kontrolle -- des oft sehr komplizierten, gekreuzten Spiels der An- und Abwesung, Ent- und Verbergung von all dem, was vorkommt -- eben in der Zeitlichtung? Die lineare Zeit der Wissenschaft hingegen ist eine Zwangsjacke der Wirkkausalität, die unbedingt die Vorausberechenbarkeit aller Bewegung ermöglichen sollte -- gleichgültig dagegen, daß sie oft genug scheitert.

Diesem unbedingten, besessenen Willen zur Macht entspricht eine Gelehrtenforschung, die akademisch abgerichtet ist, und es deshalb nicht wagt, begrifflich die Phänomene selbst zu denken über Heidegger hinaus (was u.a. eine Auseinandersetzung mit der mathematisierten Zeit sowie mit der wie die Pest vermiedenen Frage nach dem Wersein erforderte), und sich stattdessen damit bequemt, mit tadellosem Gelehrtenfleiß Bücher und Aufsätze lediglich über Heidegger sowie andere Philosophen zu verfassen. Die Philosophengelehrten meiden die Frage nach der Zeit, genauso wie die Wissenschaflter es tun. Wagten sie es, die Sperrzone des Bewußtseins ernsthaft denkerisch zu verlassen, fänden sie sich aus der Akademie ausgesperrt -- d.h. nicht mehr ernst genommen. Lieber hält man sich weiterhin in der komfortablen Sicherheitszone des Gelehrtentums auf.

Zur vertiefenden Lektüre: A Question of Time.

25 July 2015

A Pilgrim's Progress in Quantum Action

"Eldred brings ideas that are having a profound influence on our culture, but which are poorly understood, into both imaginative and cognitive grasp by means of a road trip in a parallel world with many resemblances to our own. Two friends are followed in their search for understanding, using methods of travel that are aspects of the phenomenon and examples of the ideas that intrigue them. Along the road they meet highly original and entertaining characters who are easily recognised as representing various modern theoretical positions taken on the nature of reality and our responsibility in interpreting, even in obstructing and deforming it. A story also of the hidden roles fear, ambition, and will for power play in ostensively pure intellectual pursuits. All told with a sparkling sense of humour and conceptual clarity." — J. S. Bragdon, Amsterdam, Amazon customer review 13 July 2015 of The Land of Matta.

"Eldred strikes a wonderful, absurdist tone that harkens back to an earlier age of children's fantasy... buoyant cartoonishness... A fantastical puzzle that may be too difficult to solve." — Kirkus Reviews23 July 2015.

21 July 2015

Modern scholasticism

Those philosophers long ago in the seventeenth century laying down the ontological cast for the modern age were fighting especially against one variety or other of medieval scholasticism. This long battle ended with the victory of the modern scientific mind-set with its absolute, mathematizing, scientific method. Today it's a very different fight that is invisible to most, perhaps to all, but especially to the agents of the Geistesgestell, all of whom are players in the modern age's rigged mind-game in one of its bewildering, inexhaustible variants.

The problem is that the scholars do not think in concepts, nor do they work with them in their writings. Instead, they argue logically, citing and alluding to various philosophers and to other scholars. In this way they aim to make progress in whatever discourse is being cultivated. A concept, however, requires much more. Thinking conceptually does not amount merely to defining your terms precisely and arguing consistently in line with your definitions.

A concept here is theoretical, that is, theoretical in the original sense of Greek _theoria_, whose Latin translation is speculatio. Today's theory is not up to the mark of _theoria_, and speculation has become a pejorative term describing thoughts that have not been subject to testing by scientific method and are therefore unscientific. _Theoria_ is the investigation of beings qua beings, an ontological enterprise. Hence Hegel's philosophy, for instance, is speculative in this sense, and Hegel criticizes English and Scottish philosophy for lacking speculation. To the present day, English and Scottish philosophy, which in the meantime can be called analytic-positivist philosophy, lacks the ontological dimension of speculation.

All the greats in philosophy from Plato and Aristotle through to Kant, Hegel and Heidegger are speculative, ontological, conceptual thinkers. Their concepts grapple in a connected way with grasping the phenomena in their being, i.e. their mode of presencing, in which they show themselves hermeneutically AS such-and-such. The interconnections among the concepts have to be respected and mastered to understand what these thinkers are saying, always bearing in mind that it is a matter of speculative concepts, i.e. concepts born out of what Heidegger calls the ontological difference, which Aristotle captures in his formulation _to on haei on_ "beings insofar as they are beings", i.e. beings qua beings.

The ontological difference concerns the hermeneutic cast of an age that defines how beings as a whole present themselves AS the beings they are within the time-clearing. Any historical movement in the hermeneutic cast of an age demands on the part of thinkers a recasting of ontological concepts that has to be performed rigorously, carefully. Thinkers do not 'speculatively' make up a new hermeneutic cast, but are sensitively receptive to an alternative historical cast arriving.

Modern scholasticism is not up to this task. Even and especially when it is dealing with genuine ontological concepts from one great thinker or another, it only ever talks about them and does not work with them. The phenomena philosophy scholars refer to are spoken of only ontically, not ontologically. Therefore there can be no movement and advancement in such a way of scholarly thinking, but only an endless, inconclusive back-and-forth among various argumentative 'positions' each with its own adherents. The positions are invariably labelled as one -ism or another, and the scholars move skilfully among these -isms in formulating their own position. That is their sub-game within the modern age's mind-game.

Thus the Geistesgestell's mind-game proceeds complacently among the thicket of scholarly texts without so much as a speculative glance at the simplest phenomena themselves, which only bamboozles scholars, for they have never bothered to look and contemplate. Nor have their likewise complacent teachers taught them conceptual thinking. Complacency here signifies a lack of courage a.k.a. cowardice, for you will be mercilessly punished if you genuinely risk thinking slowly through the hegemonic hermeneutic cast of the present age, thus exposing it and putting it into question. Modern philosophical scholasticism is flying blind, lacking the ontological orientation that would open an alternative hermeneutic cast of mind.

20 July 2015

Derrida the graffitist

Derrida called his philosophy grammatology, among other things, but this is a misnomer. What he practises is grammatogrammy, a writing over writing that obliterates what the original writing was pointing to -- the phenomena themselves. Hence Derrida is a graffitist working hard to oblieterate the phenenoma themselves, along with their adequate interpretation.

Read on if you dare in

A Question of Time

An alternative cast of mind

Chapter 2.8.

18 July 2015

Academia's Geistesgestell

Das Geistesgestell (the set-up mind)

A recent e-mail exchange prompted a new word to my mind in the early hours: Geistesgestell (mental set-up, mind's set-up). Today's academia, being an established institution, is itself a Geistesgestell that sets up the mind to admit only a certain range of questions across the range of disciplines, and to suppress others. In this, our current age, those questions must be suppressed by hook or by crook that put this established world into question in the deepest way. The Geistesgestell is the modern age's rigged mind-game.

Hence, for instance, physics cannot entertain openly the question of time (but only on its own dictated terms of mathematizability), and philosophical scholarly discourse must avoid the simplest, most elementary questions that open the abyss underneath all kinds of metaphysical thinking. 'Professional philosophy' (a contradictio in adjecto) skilfully circumvents it. Instead, one discourses argumentatively -- never conceptually -- around certain illustrious names such as Kant or Kierkegaard or Heidegger or whatever major or minor name is currently being taken seriously in the academy for a time, around the issues themselves. Philosophy scholars talk endlessly about philosophy without ever doing philosophy, which is rigorous and risky. This corresponds to the apparently innocuous technical distinction between primary and secondary literature, which does not capture what it means to risk being a primary source in this current age.
Strange concepts naming the simplest phenomena are avoided like the plague, for the academy will not accept them. One accommodates oneself to accepted linguistic usage. For instance, to take the distinction between the phenomenality of 'who' and 'what' seriously and speak of 'whoness' is taboo ('whatness', by contrast, has its venerable pedigree as quidditas, essence, etc. and is allowed -- from a distance). You will be booed if you speak of whoness. If not expressly booed, then tacitly, consensually ignored. You talk about the subject and the self and selfhood without ever touching the term 'whoness', let alone its expressly developed conceptual phenomenality.  If you speak about how renowned philosopher X used the term 'whoness', this is, of course, acceptable, because you're only reporting what someone else has said, not risking any thought of your own.

I could provide more key examples from my now long philosophical life-experience, rich in failure that has been a great teacher. Academia's Geistesgestell  works with eerily Kafkaesque perfection. Only those outsiders, who are vitally interested in certain questions regarding the phenomena themselves, can see the Geistesgestell's oppressiveness without difficulty. I can speak openly and easily with them, for they have no scholarly pretensions, no skin in the academic power plays, nor have their minds been fucked over by the scientific mind-set in one of its variants, be it natural- or social-scientific.

This unique juncture in our age -- scarcely comparable with the long, excruciating (also bloody) transition out of the medieval age -- in which an alternative thinking that is no longer metaphysical has been initiated, needs those very few, very brave ones who press on with trying to see how the world could shape up (surprisingly) differently from an other elementary hermeneutic cast, starting with the simplest, most unheard-of questions (and associated concepts). These questions are invariably dismissed by the agents of the Geistesgestell as ridiculous, trivial, banal, crazy, zealous, dogmatic, fanatic, unscientific or what have you, The vocabulary of denunciation for an attempted historical recasting of mind from scratch is inexhaustible.

Mostly, however, no denunciation is needed; the agents of the Geistesgestell continue cosily with their established business, cultivating the discourse within their respective disciplines with their respective reputational power plays, asking the questions that are deemed worthy of being asked, and receiving professorships, accolades and honours and suchlike if they are successful. No one asks the obvious, elephant-in-the-room question: What are the criteria for this game of mutually estimating the who-status of the players? The question is impolite, indeed, obscene, indecent and inadmissible for serious, professional philosophy. One prefers not to speak so meanly and ungraciously in (ostensibly) merely subjective, psychological terms. It's not the done thing. One would suffer consequences in the ongoing power plays.

How, under these circumstances, against the treacly resistance of the Geistesgestell, can anyone nowadays work at the bleeding, leading edge of thinking? One crucial step would be to learn to see that the Geist -- i.e. the mind, the psyche -- is not enclosed within a subject's consciousness. To attain this insight would require modern psychology's self-abolition and its radical recasting. The Geistesgestell would and could never allow this.

Outsiders are therefore indispensable, outsiders of a special ilk who put their vital energies into learning to see what they and everyone else already see and understand, but to see and understand in an elementarily different way.

09 July 2015

OUT NOW: A Question of Time An alternative cast of mind


A Question of Time

An alternative cast of mind

The question of time is a question of time. How long will it take for the question concerning time to become the question of our time? That neither you nor I know. Today the question is still being evaded, as if it had been settled for all time already by Aristotle. Modern science, even today's most advanced quantum physics, despite eschewing Aristotle as superseded, nevertheless remains true to his conception of linear, numeric time. It doesn't want to touch the question for fear of losing control over time as a mathematizable physical variable. But is time physical? The guiding thesis of the present collection of essays is that it is not, but neither is it a formal construct inside subjective consciousness. Therein lies the subversive adventurousness of the study, which is the philosophical companion to The Land of Matta (2015). Here's the link.

Capital and Technology: Marx and Heidegger

A 140 pp. paperback edition of my

Capital and Technology: Marx and Heidegger

  is now available. Here's the LINK.

To bring Heidegger and Marx together in all the radicalness of their respective thinking means endeavouring to see what light the genius of each of these philosophers throws on the respective blind spots of the other, in particular, with regard to the questions: What is technology? and What is capital? Heidegger goes in search of the essence of technology, articulating it finally in what he calls the Ge-Stell (set-up). The set-up is the historical hermeneutic constellation of being as which beings present themselves in the consummated technological age. From this determination of the essence of technology, Heidegger proceeded misleadingly to subsume Marx’s determination of the essence of capital under the paradigm of production. Marx, however, thinks through the essence of capital as the augmentative circulation of reified value, and value is a phenomenon that has to do first of all with exchange, not production. Value comes about through the interplay of mutual estimation on markets of all kinds. Following this line of thought leads ultimately to determining the essence of capital as that historical hermeneutic constellation of being in which beings present themselves ubiquitously as valuable to all the players in the gainful game, who are all striving for income of different basic kinds. The task then becomes to think through how these two constellations of being, the set-up and the gainful game, intermesh. Only in this way can today’s historical situation come clearly to light, thus providing those living through it with indispensable socio-ontological orientation.

Thinking of Music: An approach along a parallel path


Thinking of Music

An approach along a parallel path

  is available in a 130 pp paperback. Here's the LINK.

Today's composers are preoccupied first and foremost with exploring the possibilities of producing new and hitherto unheard-of kinds of different-sounding music. In particular, they employ advanced, mainly electronic, technologies, or invent new musical instruments that break the mould of traditional music-making, thus introducing new sounds to music. On this front there are exciting, creative developments for those willing to open their ears. These contemporary composers also often take a piece of literature, an art work, a landscape or an historical event for extraneous orientation. The traditional understanding of music, especially of Western music, based as it is on harmony and wedded to aesthetic theory, has long since been burst. The beginning of the twentieth century heralded already a break-out into the realm of sounds beyond those well-defined, pure, rational tones produced by specially designed instruments. The advent of electricity and electronics exploded conceptions of music tied to venerated traditions, particularly in European music. Do these new kinds of music come about simply because of advances in technology that composers and musicians licentiously and creatively appropriate for their own music-making purposes? Or does their thinking need to dig deeper philosophically to gain another orientation and attunement?

There is a dearth of philosophical thinking on music nowadays, which invariably remains dedicated either to aesthetic theory or social critique, or to a blend of both. The present study offers an alternative approach to thinking on music along a  path that leads from... via... to music and is parallel to the way from... via... to language.

28 June 2015

Critique of competitive freedom and the bourgeois-democratic state 3rd ed.

OUT NOW: Third edition of

Critique of competitive freedom and the bourgeois-democratic state

Outline of a form-analytic extension of Marx's uncompleted system

The year 1984 was the tail-end of a period of intense interest in Marx on the part of youth in Australia and West Germany. In Australia this interest took the form of a reception of structural Althusserian Marxism, whereas in West Germany it manifested itself especially in reading and research groups around Marx's critique of political economy. As a young Australian research student in philosophy, the author joined these West German discussions in 1976. This book - a doctoral dissertation - is the result of an intensive, multi-year engagement with seminal writings of Marx and Hegel.

Please follow the LINK.

11 June 2015

Gleichgueltigkeit/Indifference to Land of Matta

"Das Für-, Wider-, Ohne-einandersein, das Aneinandervorbeigehen, das Einander-nichts-angehen sind mögliche Weisen der Fürsorge. Und gerade die zuletzt genannten Modi der Defizienz und Indifferenz charakterisieren das alltägliche und durchschnittliche Miteinandersein." (Heidegger, Sein und Zeit §26).

"Being for, against, without each other, passing each other by, having nothing to do with each other, are possible modes of caring-for. And precisely the last-mentioned modes of deficiency and indifference characterize everyday and average togetherness." (Heidegger, Being and Time §26).

Recently I carried out an empirical confirmation of this socio-ontological insight by sending  e-mails to about 200 friends, acquaintances and family announcing the publication of my inexpensive work of pleasurable, humorous, but philosophically pithy fiction, The Land of Matta. These e-mails have generated in the course of more than a week purchases by precisely seven persons. each of whom I know personally, because each has sent me an e-mail telling me they'll purchase the book.

Excuses, anybody?

03 June 2015

OUT! The Land of Matta

The Land of Matta

A philosophical, quantum-mechanical phantasy

is OUT and available NOW from Amazon as a 358-page paperback or as a Kindle e-book.

Please spread the word.

Many, many thanks to all those who read drafts and gave me comments and feedback, especially confirming that the book's very funny. You have supported and encouraged me greatly, for which I'm more than grateful.

To read a description and/or purchase the book, please follow the link to my web-site.

17 May 2015

Vergoldeter Cartesisch-Kantischer Käfig

Descartes hat den ersten, rohen, eisernen Käfig des modernen Bewußtseinssubjekts mit seiner ontologischen Trennung von Innen und Außen entworfen und gebaut. Nach ihm haben etliche Denker zum Ausbau und zur Veredelung des Käfigs beigetragen wie z.B. Leibniz, der alle Fenster im Käfig fest zugeschraubt hat, so daß man sich ab sofort auf die Steuerung der Außenwelt durch eine göttlich prästabilierte Harmonie verlassen mußte. Durch diese zweifelhafte Verbesserung ist er zumindest den Cartesischen Dämon losgeworden.

Kant hat schließlich den Käfig mit seinen fein ziselierten transzendentalen Ausbaumaßnahmen vergoldet. Damit wurde der Käfig mit vielen Durchgängen, Wendeltreppen und kleinen Kämmerlein so beeindruckend ausgeschmückt, daß viele spätere Philosophen sich nie von einer ersten Verliebtheit in ihn erholt haben.

Spätestens mit Hegel und seiner Idee des Absoluten, die Subjekt und Objekt vereint, wurden Ausbruchsversuche aus dem Käfig gewagt. Marx, Nietzsche und andere haben nach Hegel auch ihre eigenen Jailbreaks versucht.

Heidegger ist der Ausbruch aus dem Cartesischen Käfig dann in den 1920ern endlich gelungen, das eingekapselte Subjekt wurde zum zeitlichen in-der-Welt Da-sein. Aus lauter Ängstlichkeit wurde diese angebotene Befreiung aber undankbar abgewehrt und bis aufs Messer bekämpft. Alle haben sich unter der soliden Kantschen Eiche im Dorf versammelt, um rigorose Gegenmaßnahmen zu beschließen. Sie vertrauen darauf, daß kein Blitz in die Eiche hineinfährt. In ihren Augen würde die Befreiung zum Verlust der wirksamen Beherrschung aller Bewegung und so zur irrationalen Anarchie führen.

Die moderateren Denker nach Hegel (einschließlich der modernen Wissenschaftler aller Sparten) bis heute haben sich also damit begnügt, den Käfig schön einzurichten und bequem zu möblieren. Sie würden nie im Traum daran denken, sich aus dem Käfig hinauszuwagen. Stattdessen sitzen sie -- jeder für sich -- sicher eingeschlossen auf dem moralisch-ethischen Sofa mit Fernbedienungsgerät, das durch das Gitterwerk des Käfigs hindurch eine rasterförmig modellierte Außenwelt möglichst effektiv kontrolliert.

Vgl. 'Thinking in Clichés'.

15 May 2015

Axel Honneths Kampf um Anerkennung

Von einem Freund kam der anregende Gedanke, daß Frankfurt ein Ort sein könnte, "an dem eine offene Auseinandersetzung mit Heideggers Ontologie richtig platziert wäre." So habe ich ein wenig in der englischen Übersetzung von Axel Honneths Kampf um Anerkennung gelesen.

Das Thema ist Hegelsch geprägt und zwar vor allem von seiner Phänomenologie des Geists. und seiner Rechtsphilosophie. Letztere stand neben Das Kapital im Mittelpunkt der Bemühungen in den 1970er und 80er Jahren um einen Ausbau des Marxschen Systemfragments zu einer vollendeten kritischen Theorie der bürgerlich-kapitalistischen Vergesellschaftungsweise. 

Auffallend ist, daß, Habermasens Fußstapfen folgend, Honneth sein "theoretisches Modell" als eine "normative Theorie" (also nicht sozio-ontologisch) konzipiert, und daß er das Kernphänomen der gegenseitigen Anerkennung als Phänomen der "Intersubjektivität" auffaßt. Also bleibt das metaphysische Setting dasjenige der subjektivistischen Metaphysik, Honneth hält am Entwurf des Menschseins als Subjektivität unbedingt und fraglos fest. Das ist sein Erfolgsrezept -- genau diese rote Linie nicht zu überschreiten, was aber wiederum unbedingt erforderlich ist, um sich mit Heideggers Denken auseinanderzusetzen. So ein Autor erscheint bei Suhrkamp, und das Werseinsspiel der phallischen, suck-my-dick Anerkennung geht blindlings ungestört weiter. Alles ist auf Perpetuierung des Status quo eingeschworen.

Im seinem letzten Kapitel geht es Honneth lediglich darum, die Bedingungen der "kommunikativen Ermöglichung der Selbstverwirklichung" von "menschlichen Subjekten". Diese Bedingungen umfassen dreierlei: "einen gewissen Grad an Selbstvertrauen, gesetzlich garantierte Autonomie und Selbstsicherheit hinsichtlich des Werts der eigenen Fähigkeiten". Nur so, durch diese drei intersubjektiven "Anerkennungsmuster", könne  "die Freiheit der Selbstverwirklichung" gelingen (meine Rückübersetzungen). Was ist aber dann aus dem "Kampf" geworden? Wo bleibt die Phänomenalität der Macht in diesem Entwurf von intersubjektiven Bedingungen der Ermöglichung der individuellen Selbstverwirklichung? 

Um hier philosophisch, denkerisch überhaupt weiterzukommen, bedarf es m.E. des Rückgangs zum Phänomen der _timae_ (Wertschätzung, Ehre, Warenwert usw.) bei Platon und Anaximander und vor allem Aristoteles, und zwar zusammen mit einem neu einsetzenden Durchdenken des vielfältigen Phänomens der _dynamis_ (Macht, Kraft, Vermögen, Fähigkeit, Geldwert...) D.h. aber: das Denken muß die abgegrasten Gefilde der neuzeutlichen Metaphysik hinter sich lassen, um einen Neuentwurf des Menschseins als players in power interplays zu wagen. Sonst bleibt alles beim Alten. 

Was Honneth als seinen Kernbegriff "Anerkennung" Hegelsch apostrophiert, ist bei mir das gegenseitige Wertschätzspiel, das zugleich immer auch ein Machtspiel der Lebensbewegtheit ist, das nicht normativ zu fassen ist, sondern lediglich entlang dem Spektrum von fair and foul, d.h. schön und unschön -- bis hin zu brutal und häßlich. Der Mensch ist in einer anders entworfenen geschichtlichen Zeitlichtung, d.h. in einer anderen Denkart, anders gedacht -- nicht als das Subjekt, das allem zugrunde liegt, sondern als der Spieler, der dem Wertschätzspiel ausgesetzt ist. Da gibt es eine Vielzahl von Spielern im Wertschätzspiel der Welt, die durch eine irgendwie geartete Intersubjektivitätstheorie nicht einzuholen ist. Denn das Inter der Intersubjektivität bleibt ungedacht, als hätten solche Philosophen der Intersubjektivität Tomaten auf den Augen. Selbst die Vielheit der Subjekte liegt der eingeräumten Welt und der Zeit selbst nicht zugrunde, vielmehr ermöglicht erst die Zeitlichtung das Menschsein der Menschen überhaupt. Solche Gedanken bleiben heute noch vorzeitig. Sie gehen auch über Heidegger hinaus. 

Bei der Schwarzen-Hefte-Debatte um Heidgger in neuester Zeit z.B. wird auf die "Humanität" (Marten) des Subjekts gern gepocht, um dieses moderne Subjekt gerade vor jedwedem versuchten Neuentwurf zu bewahren. Wo kämen wir denn hin, wenn das moderne Subjekt infrage gestellt werden würde?!! Unsere humane Moralität wäre dahin!! O Schreck!! Das ist der nicht-so-geheime Konsens heute unter den Heidegger-Hassern -- und nicht nur bei denen, sondern überall. Deshalb ist seit langem im Westen denkerisch nichts mehr los. 

Vgl. Social Ontology.

29 March 2015

List der Vernunft

Im Gespräch mit Hegel merkte ich an, "Eine List, die listiger ist als die List der Vernunft, kann nicht mehr vernünftig sein".

In conversation with Hegel, I noted, "A cunning more cunning than the cunning of reason can no longer be reasonable."

12 March 2015

Land of Matta: A philosophical phantasy

Now available

Published 27 May 2015:

The Land of Matta: A philosophical, quantum-mechanical phantasy 

About the book:

A fantasy in the sense of Alice in Wonderland, but not for children.
It's cock-and-bull like Tristram Shandy, but without the digressions.
It's satire in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels, but the satire is on modern science.
The humour is British, like the Goons or Monty Python.
The protagonists are two young students, Phi and Psi, finding their way in life. In Book I, In Quest of Mu, they go in search of the ancient Mu, a philosophical refugee from Athens to Upper Matta.
Mu himself is on a philosophical quest to answer his guiding question, Why is there movement at all, rather than standstill?
In Book II, The Way Back to Anaxaton, the main character turns out to be the mysterious Willy P., the power behind the scenes.
Matta stands for 'mathematics', but there are no formulae, only a more or less playful, historical treatment of maths along with a couple of Greek symbols.
The quantum mechanics is accurate, but blown up to fantastic proportions with fun-loving, unbridled literary licence. This makes it look superficially like sci-fi, but it's subtler.
The philosophical strand is substantial, but presented narratively and playfully camouflaged. The presentation is tongue-in-cheek, so the reader constantly has to decide at each point whether it's serious sense or straight-faced nonsense. Usually it's both.
It has some quasi-Platonic dialogue, and the whole is borne by philosophical questions subversively at work in the background.

Table of Contents 

Book I: In Quest of Mu 5

1. Phi and Psi set off 7
1.1 Mu’s quest 8
2. Arrival in the Land of Matta 13
2.1 Nosear, capital of Matta 15
2.2 At Prof. Walter Suchburn’s 16
2.2.1 Integrator Zinbeil 17
2.2.2 Mu’s emigration to Matta 20
2.3 Integrative slippery dips in Zinbeil Park 27
2.4 A second evening with Prof. Suchburn 32
2.5 Wal’s student, Roger, exercising ineffective standstill 37
2.6 A third evening with Wal 42
3. Maxham in Lower Matta 51
3.1 Canoe trip to Welliton, Maxham on the reverse-flow Yadaraf River 51
3.2 Prof. Valery Eigen and her electron-horse at the Planckstein Stud 53
3.3 Crucial advice from Prof. Eigen’s assistant, Lethae 63
4. Eilgorb in Upper Matta 69
4.1 Seminar with Gamma 70
4.2 First day: dynamic situations, perceptors and conjugal products 72
4.3 Second day: operators, bras and kets 80
4.4 Second day, second half: the location perceptor 89
4.5 Farewell dinner with Gamma 97
5. Underway to Matta Matta 103
5.1 Tunnelling through Mount Carid 103
5.2 Abmootak Diophantine Solutions 106
6. Matta Matta 119
6.1 Arrival in Parmenian Matta Matta at Kappa’s 120
6.2 Angela Momenta and the Simple Harmonic Oscillators 124
6.3 A drink after the show with Kappa, Tau and Chora 131
6.4 An encounter with simple harmonic oscillators 140
7. A public debate between Mu and Zeta (Zinbeil) 145
7.1 At Tau’s and Chora’s 145
7.2 Debate disk one: Calculating movement 147
7.3 Debate disk two: Question of time 156
7.4 Debate disk two: Question of time (continued) 163
8. A final farewell from Mu 171

Book II: The Way Back to Anaxaton 179

1. Leave-taking from Matta Matta 179
2. Return to Lower Matta 187
2.1 An evening with Lethae 189
2.2 Hiring electron-horses 198
3. On the way through the Wodanaz Forest 203
3.1 Underthrowlingen and Watchmaker Gidnaestnebod 204
3.2 The Rutaneneir organic community 210
3.3 Pedestrian crossing in the forest 216
3.4 Edeirfdlaw and a renewed meeting with Roger 220
3.5 A theatrical performance on time introducing Willy P. 225
4. Held captive in the cyberworld 237
4.1 E-mares in the cloud 237
4.2 Forced labour in the bit-string copulators of Turingia 243
4.3 Escape from Turingia 249
5. A stay in hospital 257
5.1 A mysterious, spontaneous recovery 257
5.2 In the clutches of neuroscience 258
6. Hitting the trail again 267
6.1 An encounter with the young Sussicran 267
6.2 Ph. R. H. 279
6.3 An excursion to Estyflop battle-field 286
6.4 Oneiric messaging from Quantasia 289
6.5 A whirlwind party 297
7. Last leg of journey 307
7.1 Back in Nosear with Wal 309
7.2 Marj Kcam’s lecture in Zinbeil Park: The infinitesimal gap 310
8. Back home in Anaxaton 323

21 February 2015

Sociology: philosophy democratized

Is sociology the democratization
of philosophy?
Seems so.
Pity that all the philosophical,
so-called 'speculative',
content has been evacuated
in doing so.

Philosophy demoralized.

But it has the advantage,
that you no longer have to think.
which is what democracy demands.

Sociologists peer at the shadows
passing ceaselessly across the wall,
trying to make some explanatory sense
of changes,
for which they are applauded
and amply rewarded.

That's why today sociology flourishes,
and philosophy has withered on the vine.

Poor humankind!

05 February 2015

Gulliver in Glubbdubdrib

On his travels, Gulliver visits also Glubbdubdrib, where the governor asserts,

"that new systems of nature were but new fashions, which would vary in every age; and even those who pretend to demonstrate them from mathematical principles, would flourish but a short period of time, and be out of vogue when that was determined." (Gulliver's Travels, A Voyage to Glubbdubdrib, Folio Society edition, London MCMLXV p. 180, my emphases)

So there's hope yet?

14 January 2015

Glaube - Belief

Du bist ein Gläubiger?
Ich ziehe es vor,
nicht zu glauben.

Du kannst an das Nichts
nicht glauben,
aber du kannst wissen,
daß du von ihm
nichts weißt.

Auch wenn du
zu Zeiten
mit ihm

You're a believer?
I prefer
not to believe.

You can't believe
in nothingness,
but you can know
that you know nothing
about it.

Even though
at times
you resonate
with it.

Bitter juice philosophy

How to mix the bitter juice
of philosophy
with the honey of humour
to make it palatable?

Superseded paradigm subjectivity

Strange, how today's philosophers
with the superseded paradigm
of subjectivist metaphysics,
as if nothing had happened
in philosophy
since Descartes.

Laufbahn der Freiheit

Wie viel Stoßkraft braucht ein Volk,
um in die Laufbahn der Freiheit zu gelangen?

08 January 2015

Why modern science stays dumb

If you consider the Lorentz transformation in connection with Einsteinian relativity, special or general (with a tensor twist), it becomes clear that it's a chain tying time back to the 3 co-ordinates of homogeneous 3D Euclidean space, i.e. time fettered and made spatial AS the movement of light (electromagnetic radiation), the absolute movement, that dictates also whether this thus-bound space-time is straight or curved. Hence modern physics thinks it's got the whole game sewn up in its mathematical theories with their so-called universal constants, in particular, the gravitational constant.

The Big Bang theory, for instance, depends entirely and crucially on this fettered, linear time, i.e. the straight or (gravitationally) curved path of light. Otherwise it collapses, and the physicists could just as well pack up their toys (such as the multi-billion dollar Big Hadron Collider in Geneva) and go home. They're not going to do that.

Is it any surprise that physicists (and all scientists) have minds closed to the question of time? They all partake of the scientific Geist, our age's Weltgeist. Anyone open to the question of time is, scientifically speaking, obviously a nutter. Instead, today's advanced mathematical physicists working at the cutting edge are out to quantize time itself linearly in a theory of quantum gravity. They'll come up with something.

Hence modern physics is unknowingly, blindly as onto-theological as Dante's Divine Comedy with its river of unbodied light streaming down through ten heavens: Light and its movement are the Absolute for modern physics, and every physicist believes fervently in it. All glory to the photon!

This is déjà-vu all over again, Boo-boo: the struggle to emerge from Christian medieval times with a slight change of personnel, a couple of crucial mathematical substitutions such as 'Substitute the photon for Almighty God'.

One big challenge for the present time, to my mind, is to demathematize the world so we humans can see more clearly and perchance thus become freer.