Kant Nietzsche Heidegger
27 August 2009
To begin with, the premise of the Void. My thoughts go to the strands of intellectual history that occur in relation often to Hume. It can be skepticism, pyrronhism, radical empiricism, whatever one wants to call it, the general category of thoughts that subject experienced reality to a construction through biological and supposedly non-biological mechanisms, rationality, culture, etc. either unrelated to underlying substantial reality or perhaps in lieu of it. Vaguely, perhaps even a caricatured idiocy, this is the challenge that Kant proposes in the practice of the Critique, that Hume begins from non-existent premises to produce chimerical results but that we cannot help but use these non-existent premises given our available philosophical tools and desired effects (for instance, we could very easily become nihilists and ignore most of these problems, but the desire is currently absent).
Now Kant’s practice of Rationality grounding is desperately attractive here and seems the necessary exit for at least the time in which Kant occurred. But it failed, not in Kant’s thought, but in the delightful auto-critical mode of Kant’s existing presumptions. This could continue for pages, of course, but let me hold it as provisionally true for a moment. Part of the danger of this assumption is that Kant looms, dramatically. We mistake our position in relation to him and begin to argue with ourselves that if Kant, originator of the system of Critique, couldn’t succeed in establishing a legitimately rational ground even with the concessions he built in, then perhaps no one could.
Now, we can see the strings of constructivism appearing in the ground that Kant gave away from older metaphysics and constructed rationalities remain vigorous through Nietzsche and Heidegger’s revolutions. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a way to deal with his problems any other way. This is the looming, I think, we are all Kantians because the problem of Empiricism can’t be resolved according to our desire without returning to him and the constructivism that results.
Now a constructivist rationality works until we begin to define rationality too extensively. If rationality is a way of producing reality, of taking proliferating possible interpretations of phenomena and constricting them in order to organize and experience them, then we coherently think it via systems of conscious production based on historical and theoretical experiences. Here is my sympathy with Nietzsche in his location of some sort of fall around the time of Socrates, the collapse of the Tragic under the will to knowledge. But who corrupted our sense of the chaotic pulsating real with concepts of continuous time or actually existing matter?
The plausible answer is the troubling one of biology or that processes like these are the aftereffects of a biological process. Here, natural selection favors those organisms that can construct comprehensions of reality that are linear and causal, or at least transmittable and effective. This could even be a non-universal characteristic, perhaps the first paramecium spawned randomly from the primordial fertile mash, experiencing no competition for resources, could experience total disuniformity by virtue of needlessness. The paramecium reacts, “What need have I for rationality prior to others?”
But like Nietzsche and later Heidegger, this begins to decay into a promotion of an Eden, the point of experience-in-itself, pure will, being, becoming, a stupid prejudice re-appearing in order to further produce effective lies and rationalities. If we are dedicated to critique today, it is to produce effects without the falsity, to undermine the lies and keep the constructions, yet constructions are after the ground of consciousness, of a total object-forming rationality/temporality. One must see moments in a series before a linear program of operations can be suggested.
So, how can we propose a consistent method of achieving inconsistent reality, a rationality of irrationality? If our biological apparatus are the only premise for an originary rationality of causality or temporal consistency, then following a pattern of rationality to comprehend a total chaotic substance or a static method of deriving a constant becoming would be itself chimerical. It could occur, no doubt, if the premise of a totally chaotic universe is true; in the infinite possibility there could exist a method of rationality that culminates in such an event. The specific type of rationality discussed here, however, would require a nihilistic erasure. If our experiencing of chaos and becoming could be understood and replace the “fallen” rationality by which we ingest reality and compose its forms, then of course that which composes the mistake “we” would cease to be and Hey! We’re becoming totally!
Advancing this premise leads us toward our glorious fever dream but its impossibility lies in the method of derivation. It wouldn’t be more likely, this scenario, that a philosophical proposal of reality would be more valid than anything else. It would by virtue of being chimerically defined possibly be less true in that it has an equal chance of being universally true (none) but a very high chance of being immediately false, in whatever non-universal physical laws that are accidentally circulating at the moment.
Secondly, communicating a non-causal theory of reality is absurd. Attempts to communicate require a pattern of reality reproducing itself in consecutive, related forms. Is this monastic valorization? Maybe, but monasticism has the benefit of being consistent with any radical pyrrhonic skepticism about communities.
Here is the bottom of my argument; Suppose our realization of a noumenal chaos, one that approaches even the marriage of the void to the formed world. It would necessarily remain apart from “understanding”, something like the position of quarks or string theories which might occur with reality but outside comprehension. However, unlike quantum science, it would, by virtue of its theoretical content, have no observable effects. Toward what end then are we pursuing this?
What might be more beneficial insofar as we are occurring in what appears to be contemporary reality is a practice of selves is a consistent provisionalism. What occurs occurs as a result of a series of known and unknown premises regardless of their truth-value, something easily resonant with a theory of a universal underlying will or substance or becoming, but that desires constantly to extend itself to the currently appearing reality. Instead of being skeptical of easily understood reality, we might be skeptical instead of attempts to locate it outside of that experience, and act in an attempt to practice our understanding regardless of its truth status.