SOME THOUGHTS ON WHY WE ARE DYING, BUT WHEN YOU CHECK THE CORD, WE ARE PLUGGED IN JUST FINE
Per my post yesterday. I spoke of Plato, whose main character in his writings was Socrates, who left no writings. Socrates was obsessed with questioning everyone about their beliefs to the point where his ideal became discovering the ideals of the world through a kind of whittling of what is into a sharp point of THE Good, THE absolute ideal, of whatever was being discussed. He was so obnoxious about it that his city murdered him over it. I implied that this method distances that ideal from the workings of today, or of ‘the engine’ as I put it, ‘the good’ in contrast to an ideal of QUALITY, as put forth in ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. Which works more like a verb to the Noun of Socrates’ perhaps objective, but also perhaps ultimately undiscoverable or unreachable ‘Good’. (For Good, Read: God).
But listening to Robert C. Solomon’s lectures further today on ‘The Passions’ (emotions), in the fourth lecture on Love and Plato’s symposium, he pointed out another aspect of Plato’s conception of ideals. That not only are they supreme, but also they have an independent existence apart from individual instantiations, within a ‘good’ person, for instance. In Plato’s philosophy, there is such a thing as a kind of living ethos, a …ghost if you will… of Good.
What Plato called ‘The Forms.’ And which lived on another plane of reality entirely.
Maybe this objectivizing and displacement was a bastardization of a more lively philosophy, from Ancient religions where every element of life had its own God assigned to be its embodiment. Like Janus, for instance, was the god of doorways. and the attendant myths of Janus attach to a philosophy of portals. The god is pictured with two faces, one looking forward and backward. And the way these gods, titans, and myths, were characters with embodiment, and a script, and props, has a kind of crystalline growth out of symbol and form that produces tangent characteristics out of natural objectivity. A spirit of doorways was imitable with the spirit of changing seasons, time, duality, beginnings and endings. Something here was recognized continuous. It was alive. It was praxis. Because the art in the society was ritual, and the story was embedded. The text of the religion had html tags polis-wide, and each user was interactive to some degree.
The spirit is a spirit.
It’s like minting coins of meaning, and even though the bank intended the coin to have the face of the God of the nation, it can also be used for purchase of arms used to overthrow the nation that minted it. Or one could use a Janus coin to purchase drugs to completely escape from the dominant paradigm reality so that one becomes unable to even manage to stand and walk through the physical door across the room, while being transported internally per one’s own symbolic reservoirs and distortions. It remains the same coin.
Platonically speaking, that is, it is the same coin. If the metaphor has an objective ideal. Or does it change as our minds change our minds? When we pass through a particular door that changes how we think about doorways in general, the coins from thenceforward will all be minted differently, in our own conscious vision.
And this goes back to David Hume, who spoke of the breakdown within the ‘inductive problem’ in terms of the persistence of the self. He compared the realization that we cannot know for sure that simply because we drop a rubber ball a million times and it bounces back up at us, that the next time we drop it, it won’t behave entirely differently, fall through the floor, or turn into a margarita mix and dust out upon the floor. In the same way, we know our selves to be the same self as moments before, our whole lives up to now, and continuing into the future, how?
Descartes disrupted the flow of this spirit somehow. By trying to say matter and spirit were totally distinct, he severed an artery somewhere. Whether it was a flow of spirit that got cut off, or a flow of blood, to the body, to the brain… IT WAS BOTH.
But I’ve read instantiations of Descartes in his right being an achiever of a creative congealing of all philosophy that came before him, and coming to stand on top of what was before a heap of confusion, potentially. So he shouldn’t be condemned as a heretic of humanity. His project of radical doubt was an attempt to find clarity for himself, and that is admirable. You have to organize the pantry at times, even if you don’t realize by the order you place things in, everything you cook yourself afterwards has poisoned your soul for the next thousand years.