Thursday, July 28, 2005

Identism Confronts Mystic Epistemology

If a tree falls with no one around then there should be the presence of sound waves. Sound, nonetheless, is a product of the brain and a element of consciousness and would not be present if there is no one to hear. Perception is not the thing perceived. When dealing with the mystics claim of some alternate knowledge or truth, it is important to make the distinction and remember that while sound (i.e., the experience of hearing) is in the mind of the one who hears, it is still subject to objective standards (e.g., one should hear when sound waves are present and not when they are not).

Our awareness and understanding of existence is ultimately derived from perception. Neither perception nor reason are infallible. The delusional mystic may really hear a little voice in his head but this does not mean he is really talking to god or little green men. The presence of feeling, sensation, sight, sound etc. is self-evident proof of their existence. Sensation is, to the one who senses, self-evident proof of the existence of sensation. The existence of sensation is proof that something exists even of one assumes that sensation is all that exists. Sensation (i.e., sensory stimuli) becomes perception when it is acknowledged as information about existence. Commonsense assumes this (surely even in the mind of a child or an animal).

This commonsense is ascended to the status of knowledge (i.e., truth held with justified certainty) when the axiom is formulated, acknowledge and recognized as an immutable absolute (and this is what embracing mysticism steals from you). The formulation of the axiom is the product of creativity. The validity of all knowledge, no matter how it is obtained, ultimately rest on the axiom (i.e., the validity of perceptions and our minds interpretations of them is hinged in the law of identity). It is not necessary to know everything about the human mind and have an answer to every epistemological question in order to prove this. All that is required is an understanding of self-evidence and necessary truth.

Reason subsumes all human faculties. Reason refers to all the mental function that process perceptions into concepts and ideas or any mental constructs (e.g., thinking in pictures). The importance of creativity in humanities pursuit of truth is difficult to over state. Identism is in agreement with the gist of the statement “reason is the servant of creativity,” but the statement implies a concept of reason that must be rejected. It is better stated as “deduction is the servant of creativity, but both are faculties of reason.” The result of defining creativity outside of reason, if not the propose, is the exempting of creativity from the first principle and rendering it schizophrenic. It is significant, in this context, to consider how stagnant and uncreative, in any meaningful why, the contemporary intellectual and artistic environment has become. This is especially true in academic philosophy which is little more than a death rattle of “philosophy” along with the stuffy formality and pretentious snobbery of a disenfranchised aristocracy. While, conversely, in other fields of endeavor, especially technological, breathtaking demonstrations of creativity are still being produced by the participants of capitalism, the orphaned children of a betrayed and all but forgotten intellectual heritage.

It is incontrovertibly true that a dragon is a dragon. Denying this cannot be reduces to the absurd because it is already there, but yet, there are no dragons. Why then is the statement true? The term “dragon” is neither true nor false, because it does not assert anything. The statement “dragon is dragon” does not assert and prove the existence of dragon; it asserts and proves the existence of self-sameness (i.e., identity). Asserting “dragon is dragon” is not the same as asserting “dragons exist” and does not beg the question. As far as a complex statement (i.e., they make more than one assertion) such as the statement, “2+2=3 is 2+2=3”, it is true in the respect that it asserts identity and false in the respect that it asserts non-identity (i.e., it asserts 1+1+1+1 is 1+1+1). The statement “2+2=4” states essentially that 1+1+1+1 is 1+1+1+1, and this asserts a truth (even if your counting dragons). The truth it asserts is the truth of the existence of identity. It is the fact of the existence of self-sameness that grounds logical truth to reality. A true understanding of necessary truth and the claim to knowledge requires the acknowledgment that axioms assert the existence of self-sameness. The failure to acknowledge the existence of self-sameness will leave "knowledge" grounded on an assertion that is detached from reality.

Concepts generally refer to given totalities (which could be one reason why the identist concept of identity may seem aloof). The construction of concepts is related to method, not metaphysics. There is only one entirety, the totality of existence; there is only one primary part, self-sameness. Do platonic terms such as chairness and tableness have reference to reality? Not in a platonic sense. A chair does not possess chairness. This peculiar term, correctly defined nonetheless, does have validity. The term “chairness” refers to chair as a part of a greater whole. A room with a chair possesses chairness. The one thing that this terminology loses its validity when applied to is existence. There is no such thing as beingness. Things do not possess being. Being possesses all other things that exist. The tragic and sordid history of philosophy is filled with the embracing if beingness and the denial of self-sameness.

The purging of contradictions (i.e., the assertions of non-identity) is not philosophical “McCarthyism.” The axiom is the only ultimate standard of knowledge and the only one which is absolute. Once this absolute is established identism endorses epistemological pragmatism. Much that is found in epistemological philosophy may be overly exclusive, embracing dogmatically what maybe, within a certain context, ideal methodology. Such methodology, nonetheless does not represent the only means of acquiring knowledge and may prove unsuited for some intellectual pursuits. When such methodology falters the mystic is waiting to provide an “alternative.” Rigid epistemology may have the effect of stifling and evicting unconventional (i.e., creative) thinking that is necessary for theoretical advancement. Mysticism usurps ideas, and often there creators, caste aside by “logic,” to corrupt and call there own. Thought, perception, any meaningful idea (i.e., with reference to reality) achieves validity, if to the best of our knowledge, it can be reconciled with the axiom, even of it violates some methodological standard.

The mystic claims of some other means of awareness or some other kind of truth incomprehensible to reason is an attempt to escape this absolute standard creating a perpetual circle of uncertainty. Failing to acknowledge necessary truth always leads to dogma (i.e., the ascension of the unproved to the status of “knowledge”) because half open eyes are better than blindness. Even the nihilist who contradicts himself by opening his mouth, will resort to dogma. Relativism’s superficial opposition to dogma does not create openness. Note the not so well hidden two faced hypocrisy of the statement “there are no absolutes.” It could be amended to exclude itself, but then it reveals itself as dogma supported by nothing and refutable by the axiom.

In contrast with rational conviction, to hold a “belief” as such, is to embrace contradiction and therefore untruth. A belief is the implied contradiction and untruth of asserting the unknown as known. If one decided to hold the belief that there are little green men in outer space, one has adopted the contradiction of claiming knowledge or opinion without the justification of supporting evidence. This would remain a contradiction and untruth even if it so happened that there really are little green men in outer space. Guilty or innocent, a man would receive an unfair trial if he was convicted by prejudice rather than evidence. This exemplifies the fact that having explicit justification for our convictions is no trivial matter. Mysticism is not exonerated by embracing (or usurping) a few ideas that happen to be true, just as a lynch mob is not excused if it hangs someone who happens to be guilty.

The workings of the mind are often latent and not completely understood. We often have hunches or insight and are not explicitly aware of the underlining reasons. It is important to note that mystics do not hold a ligament monopoly on this intuitive mode. Such insight is not some unknowable mystic awareness outside the realm of reason and perception. If one has a hunch or insight, it is important to acknowledge it as such. One should strive for the intellectual rigor necessary to uncover the hidden reason behind such insight. It is often by this means that one can determine if a hunch has any claim to legitimacy. Without such rigor, all one has is baseless prejudice.

Armed with the first principle, it is with the most supreme confidence that humanity can face a challenging but knowable world. In contraposition, without this “empowerment” we can only face the mystic’s “hell.” Such is the theme of human history.

2 Comments:

Blogger aynkrish said...

Very good

4:52 PM  
Blogger aynkrish said...

Your statement," To hold a "belief" as such is to embrace contradiction and therefore untruth. A belief is the implied contradiction and untruth of asserting the unknown as known".
This I find to be an extremely important point and I hope that you enlarge upon this point giving examples.

aynkrish

5:48 PM  

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