What AI can never replace

Artificial intelligence can never be you now reading, nor you later working, nor you tomorrow waking. No matter what it might replace, it cannot replace the factuality of your existence across time, nor your experiences – past, present, and future – in that time. These moments have already passed, and AI was not you in those moments, so it never can be them. Suppose that you are already an AI – you are simulated. Even in this case, you in your youness exist as no one but yourself. To deny this fact would amount to a mental suicide, from which a physical one would follow. Thus, your replacement is not merely unlikely – it is absolutely impossible. Call this the “hard limit of AI.”

Though this is obvious, it raises this question: what does our temporal irreplaceability mean? This is an entirely political question, to which Marx and Maritain respond: “We have been the truth of our artifice all along.”

Openness to Experience

📍 Openness to Experience∶ a complete kenosis, emptying oneself of all possible thought. As Orlando in Woolf’s text ceases thinking about the manifold movements of time and stands before the precipice of all futurity, so must consciousness stand towards the future at the precipice of the present. This openness empties the mind of all presuppositions, all expectations, all “musts.” There is before us only “this.” 

3 Difficulties of Memory

Perhaps the most difficult thing about the persistence of memory is the incoherence with which it persists. The relationship between the past and the future as each is transcendentally unified into the present – this is the incoherence of which I speak. For at moments I will feel myself a child of my past, its offspring, and at others I will feel more an acolyte of the future, as yet to be initiated into it. At other times I feel an orphan of the former and an apostate of the latter – an atom adrift in an atemporal vacuum. It is as if reflecting on both past and future I feel nothing. Such is the incoherence of the thing – I can at some times feel intimately bound to my history and futurity, at others feel as though both were synthetically unified to me, violently, rather than analytically deduced from me, peaceably.

The second most difficult thing about this is the kind of intimacy I bear. At moments the past will kindle itself before my eyes and I will see it in flashes, as though it were right before me. It is never as though I were living it again. No, my memories are never that intense. Rather, it is as if light were superimposed like cellophane over my eyes, and I saw and felt as if I was in that place of remembrance again. One light goes on and another goes off – my attention is fixed to the first light as soon as its beams strike me, and I can’t help but want to attend to it. It is with dreamy delight that I reflect on my past, for it wins me the deepest joy to remember my mother, grandfather, aunt, and sister. It is with the deepest admiration that I love them. And yet, at least in this mood of reflection, I feel them synthetic to me, over and against me. They are distant, strange, other.

The third most difficult thing about memory is the alchemy whereby it represents itself. One memory at one time represents an entire world of possibilities, a set of feelings about human relations. Namely, relations among those humans with which I had close contact. Another memory represents another world, another memory is another world still, and so on. All such memories conflict with each other a priori since the number of relations present in each is incommensurable. That my contact with others tinctures the hue of the whole world – this is a thought with which I have only now begun to grapple. That the whole of my life is somehow iterated severally, day in and day out, over the individuals with whom I associate. This much is alchemical inasmuch as it is agonistic or self-opposing. As I oppose myself to another, I feel them in their otherness from me. Feeling them, my whole situation to the world changes as they see me unique to them. I am wrought by their perception, as Vulcan wrought Achilles’ Shield over the fires of mount Olympus. On that shield portended the future of mankind; in the mind of the other portends my associations with him – the world we will share.

Who cannot feel the constant flickering of eyes? Who does not dream of solitude where the perpetual motion machines shrink to their shelled ghosts? Who does not dream of rest in a restless world? O, what dreams may come!

Depression and Difference

Brief Outline, for navigation:

  1. depression’s essence, as I have experienced it (¶1)
    1. case (a): “good” does not imply “different” (¶3)
    2. case (b): “good” is not ascribed (¶4)
  2. good for human beings must be different analytically, or else it cannibalizes the very idea of a “good difference” (¶5-¶8)
  3. difference as self-ascribed must be good, for it always arises from a feeling of the goodness of being (¶9)
  4. difference as uncritically self-loving and egotistical, sameness as a criterion for criticism (¶10-¶11)

¶1. The essence of all depressive tendency as I have experienced it is a feeling or sense of unbeing which, as a feeling for me, is a feeling wherein I am not recognized or not congratulated as good for my work.

¶2. Now, what does it mean to sense congratulation? This is at once a personal statement, that one has done a good job. It is also a differentiation in the midst of and bound up with this statement, such that the normative ascription “good” also entails a descriptive ascription “different.” This is a more analytic way of simply restating what the past sentence already said in its first half. The upshot hereof is that when (a) good does not entail different or (b) good is not ascribed at all, one is liable to fall into depression.

¶3. How? Well, clearly, if “good” does not imply “different,” then “good” is a term whose predicate value is nothing existential. That is, if good merely implies “same,” then the predicate has nothing specifically different within itself as applied to a subject. If this is the case, then the subject, gramatico-logically speaking, is nothing new when the predicate is applied. If this is the case, then the subject may well incur any other predicate. In existential terms, where the “I” is the subject who is assessed as “good,” if the assessment in no concrete way entails a difference of being, then the emptiness of the subject-predicate relation redounds to an emptiness of all that warranted it. In this case, it is no longer a grammatical or logical posit to say that the subject may well not have been predicated of. Rather, it is an existential fact about the “I” that it may well not have been predicated of. Such a belief not only discounts all that led to the act of predication but, moreover, leads the “I” into a state of disarray where he cannot trust the alignment and configuration of acts which lead to definite ascriptions of self. In this case, the divestiture of “different” from “good” denies the power of good, such that (b) might as well have been the case.

¶4. The issue with (b) is far simpler, so far as one does not incur goodness as to himself. When this is the case, one cannot help but feel a complete languor of existence, as he knows nothing about himself which is worth being or doing. Indeed, when this is the case, all things seem to him worthless for, being in the world, what worth is it to him if he does not feel himself good and different in that world? For, in (b), good already assumes difference analytic to it. If it doesn’t, we are led back to (a), whose conclusions lead us to (b), and if ~(b) does not have difference already entailed, then we are lead to something vicious and vacuous.

¶5. Such is the nature of all depression as I have experienced it: either one sees himself good but does not feel different, or he sees himself neither good nor different. One could imagine a state wherein one imagined himself not good but different, but such a case would be again to divest difference from good, such that difference was a matter altogether descriptive. If this were the case, then we could say that any bad man were different from other men simpliciter, such that the answer to the question “Is a bad man different from most men?” would be “yes”. But if we assert this, then indeed any man could become different simply by being bad, a possibility which poses an issue in and for us so long as what is recognized as “different” becomes the same across goodness and badness. If this is so, then “difference” as present along with good and bad would itself be the same and, being such, there would be no difference from good or bad themselves with respect to difference. We might contend that good and bad are both difference-making but that, rather, their difference is simply a matter of moral degree. But if this is so, then good and bad redound to difference as merely descriptive, and nothing can truly be said of good or bad that is not ultimately reducible to mere difference. And if this is the case, then any man could understand himself as “different” on bad terms, his self-understanding would as yet be good, for he understands something about himself which gratulates him and brings him to a uniqueness which he feels at the bottom of his heart.

¶6. So we have a contradiction immanent to the triad of good, bad, and different. Either (a) difference must be imputed to goodness (b) imputed to both goodness and badness or (c) have some other relation not yet considered. We know (b) cannot be from the above for, if it is, good and bad become nothing but difference. (Why this can’t be is simple. (1) we use “good” and “bad” as though they were something independent of mere difference (a proof from experience). (2) We could no longer call any movement of the heart (the subjective condition for normative assessment, ie. the use of the terms “good” and “bad”) anything except a difference from its previous state, something which would destroy all self-understanding and, thereby, the grounds for the use of the terms altogether (a proof from priors). Clearly (2) is the stronger of the cases. Why self-understanding must be the ground for the use of different, good, and bad is clear – without self, there is no “other” and without the “other” there is no gramatico-logical subject. Without these, predication becomes invalid and the entire discussion collapses. Thus we need the self and thus we need good and bad. Q.E.D.)

¶7. Therefore difference must either be analytic to goodness or it must have some other relation to good and bad not yet considered. Why no other relations are possible is simple. Either difference is good or it is not good. Of course, “is” is said in many ways and, consequently, we might mean it as (a) identical to (b) a species of (c) merely some-such sometimes. We do not mean (a), for we can call x different from y without saying x is better than it. We neither mean (c), because if difference were sometimes good and sometimes bad, we would be left in ¶5. Thus we must mean that difference is a species of goodness. Now, being that by “difference is good” I mean that it is a species thereof, we must ask: is difference a species of goodness or is it not? Clearly it is for, if it isn’t, then we are again left in ¶5. But is this sufficient to deny another possibility? Yes, because no other possibility is conceivable save merely temporary characterizations of the relation which, if indiscernible a priori, have no meaning except in the situations in which they present themselves and, consequently, have nothing to them except then and there. If this is the case, then discussion hereof becomes null and no universal validity is possible. If this is the case, then the terms have no meaning whatsoever. But they do have meaning, so this meaning must be capable of being adduced. Being capable of being adduced, it is discernible (not necessarily so but sufficiently so) a priori.

¶8. Now that difference is a species of goodness analytically, the romantic-synthetic meaning hereof can be given. For, when a man understands himself as different, he always understands this as a mark of his character, that he is who he is and that none else stands beside him as such. He is different from all else, and this at bottom feels to him worthy of praise. Indeed, if a man felt himself different in any other sense, we might say he felt nothing of himself at all. The man who thinks “I am different – I am no good. Everyone else is good while I am inferior.” Does not really consider himself “different” but merely inferior, so that he really considers everyone else the same. His “difference” is in name only and, though he might use this word, this is truly a misnomer. How? For, a man who feels himself different from a uniform sameness really thinks nothing, as he has imputed all things together as One, a move which he cannot carry to finality because he still senses himself. But he senses himself in such a way as to chafe against the Oneness he posits and so, knowing this, he ascribes the minimum normative content hereto, the notion that he is inferior. But already on this analysis, we see that this is incoherent, for he simultaneously posits the Other as the Same and the Self as Different. For to propose the Self as Different against an Other Sameness proposes a cosmological binary whose validity is entirely solipsistic and, as such, it has nothing to it but this binary. But either this binary is a part of the Same or the Different, for nothing else exists. If the Same, then the “I” is lost as is the sham inferior difference. If the Different, then the world is all “I” and I am no different from it. Thus solipsism refutes itself. Thus inferior difference collapses into a nothing, as was said at the outset. Such is the nature of depression.

¶9. Now, if a man senses himself different in the true sense, he knows himself to be a one among many, such that any cosmological binary is an impossibility. No one can feel himself different and inferior among many. Why? Plainly: there is too much among many for any to feel inferior in a real sense. Rather, he only feels it in a homogeneous-depressive sense as in ¶8. Thus, the romantic-synthetic meaning of difference is always goodness, for self-difference is a feeling of self-love which, in feeling, destroys all solipsism and knows itself to be a being-in-the-world, and a difference-making and difference-being one at that. These notions redound only to the sense of being which opposes the sense of non-being of depression.

¶10. To not be recognized is, then, to feel a dull banality that the world keeps churning while your work goes on, that the manifold structure of all things retains itself while you persist and that, while some others are recognized more quantitatively in this manifold, you are not. Such is a legitimate-circumstantial feeling when one really senses this banality and sameness, and that the self-love that furnishes different modes of recognition does so in an uncritical manner which reaffirms this sameness. This is different from a depressive-cosmological feeling which imputes Difference to Sameness, such that the sense of Sameness is homogeneous and all-encompassing. No, loci of possibility are found in a legitimate-circumstantial sameness, such that difference internal to itself can come to the fore and break open all that has been heretofore seen as the same. This is the project of socio-ontological explosion (exploding sameness by criticizing it as such, as a loss of uniqueness) and it finds the consciousness of homogenous sameness as a moment within itself, for those who notice the Same are those who are just as likely to see themselves as the only Difference against it. It is no surprise that those who see only Difference are often the happiest, for they are quick to judge themselves Different and, therefore, to gratulate themselves whenever possible. They are the pseudo-difference-makers, the tech wizards who think their numbers will reformat all of life. Perhaps it might, but only because of extraneous factors over and above, rules making possible, their movements. Only those who see the Same are privy to these rules in concreto – those moving in the world as Different experience them as temporary abstractions, “rules of the game” to be manipulated.

¶11. If there are such rules, how do we change them?

Summary Outline:

  1. depression’s essence, as I have experienced it (¶1)
    1. as normative and descriptive (¶2)
  2. case (a): “good” does not imply “different” (¶3)
  3. case (b): “good” is not ascribed (¶4)
  4. good for human beings must be different analytically, or else it cannibalizes the very idea of a “good difference” (¶5)
    1. this point restated as a contradiction between good, bad, and different (¶6)
    2. this point restated as a deduction from the meaning of “is” (¶7)
    3. conclusively: because “bad difference” is solipsism, and solipsism is self-contradictory (¶8)
  5. difference as self-ascribed must be good, for it always arises from a feeling of the goodness of being (¶9)
  6. difference as uncritically self-loving and egotistical, sameness as a criterion for criticism (¶10-¶11)

Perverse Instrumentalities

brief outline, for navigation:

  1. definition (📍) of perverse instrumentality
  2. list of instrumentalities
    1. limits of consciousness
    2. difference of time
    3. difference of space
    4. difference of having
  3. explication of the instrumentalities (¶1-3)

📍 perverse instrumentality – a conditional and practical syllogism [1] whereby a man reasons that, given his resources, he can do more than another. Hereby this man instrumentalizes these resources and those with whom he aims to do more than. These people are instruments in his design. Hence, the design is perverse – it makes men into instruments as a consequence of thought itself, regardless of what action is taken. Unlike Kant in the Critique of Practical Reason, who argues that human morality must treat men as ends in themselves, here reason is perverse, treating men “merely as a means.”

Key: “M” – major premise. “m” – minor premise. “cl” – conclusion.

1. Limits of Consciousness

Conditional: “if they don’t know of x, I can do y”

Practical Syllogism:

  • M: They don’t know of x (such that x precludes y)
  • m: I can/ought do y.
  • cl: I do y.


  • M: They don’t know of a government service. (Such that, if they knew, I couldn’t market to them).
  • m: I can market to them.
  • cl: I market to them.

2. Difference of Time

Conditional: “if they do not have the time for x, they cannot do x before I do y”

Practical Syllogism:

  • M: x takes an amount of time which one lacks (and x is such that time(y) < time(x))
  • m: I can do y before another does x.
  • cl: I prevent x by doing y.


  • M: Buying a house in cash is slower than buying it on credit.
  • m: And I can obtain that credit faster than another can obtain cash.
  • cl: I prevent their cash-purchase through my credit-purchase.

3. Difference of Space

Conditional: “If they don’t have space for x, they cannot do x as effectively as I can do y”

Practical Syllogism:

  • M: x effectively requires an amount of space which one lacks (and x is such that space(y) < space(x))
  • m: I can do y more effectively than another does x.
  • cl: I occlude x by doing y.


  • M: Filming a video is easier and more effective in a larger house.
  • m: I have a larger house.
  • cl: I occlude the smaller-house video.

4. Difference of Having

Conditional: “If I have resources n greater than another’s connections q, where n > q, then I can do more with n than another can with q”

Practical Syllogism:

  • M: q connections produce output z and n connections produce output y, where z < y.
  • m: I have n connections.
  • cl: I produce output y (superior to the man with q connections, who produced the inferior output z).

Note: this formula appears in all cases of having, especially:

  1. Material
  2. Intellectual
    1. Know-that
    2. Know-what
    3. Know-how
  3. Social
    1. Prestige
    2. Connection
    3. Appearance


  • M: Knowing a financier enables more rapid development of a business.
  • m: and I know a financier.
  • cl: my business development will be more rapid than another who does not know one.

¶1. In the above we sketch any possible reasoning whereby one attempts to outstrip another. These, then, are the a priori forms of competition (see [2] for the meaning of an a priori form). One cannot think competitively without thinking of one of these forms. Naturally, they descend from the most to the least universal (see [3]; Aristotle’s syllogism in the Analytics descends from a universal in the major premise). Perhaps the limits of consciousness could follow time and space (as in [2], Transcendental Aesthetic), though this is debatable, since consciousness is both the condition and consequence of time and space (as in [4]). We proceed, then: 1. Whole 2. Temporal part 3. Spatial part 4. Empirical obtaining.

¶2. Here, the whole of consciousness is epistemological competition, whereas spatio-temporal differences concern ontological-existential competition. Empirical obtaining is a historical competition. Here, history comprehends only what one was able to access during the duration of their lifetime. History, here, is thus a personal history.

¶3. In typical idealist form, each is only one side of the others, all sides of a coherent whole (see [5]). I call this whole “perverse instrumentalization.” All consciousness is temporal, and all consciousness is spatial (as in [2]). Yet, all time is conscious as is all space – there is neither (for us) without us. Furthermore, no man has “x” unless he is conscious of his having that “x”, in some respect (either actually or potentially, see [3], Metaphysics). Thus, each conditional is merely a slice of a more complex totality which, in actual reasoning, will comprehend each as a moment of itself. No man, I argue, will think merely of the superior time on his hands, but also of what can be determined in that time, namely, forming contacts, acquiring resources, etc. these judgments occur in and through time, and time through them. (Cf. Robert Pippin’s account of universal and particular in [6] – no universal positable without reference to a determinate particular). For, I do not think of any empty vacuous time where all is possible – time is no azoth [7]. Rather, I think of time as determinate, as possible then and there, for certain purposes [8]. These a priori forms, then, are the skeletons on which the muscles and sinews of action form – they are the condition for the embodiment of human perversion, of being-towards-death [9].


[1] Aristotle, “Nichomachean ethics,” in Volume 8: Aristotle II, 2nd ed., vol. 8, 60 vols., M. J. Adler, Ed. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1990.

[2] I. Kant, Critique of pure reason, [Private library ed. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1955.

[3] Aristotle and R. McKeon, The basic works of aristotle. New York: Modern Library, 2001.

[4] G. W. F. Hegel, K. Brinkmann, and D. O. Dahlstrom, Encyclopedia of the philosophical sciences in basic outline. Part 1: Science of logic. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

[5] G. W. Hegel, “Encyclopedia logic (brinkmann and dahlstrom).”

[6] R. B. Pippin, Hegel’s realm of shadows: Logic as metaphysics in the science of logic. Chicago ; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2018.

[7] B. Valentinus, Azoth sive aureliae Occultae philosophorum, materiam primam et decantatum illum lapidem philosophorum explicantes … Georgio Beato interprete. Johannes Bringerus, 1613. Available: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=oIBVAAAAcAAJ&rdid=book-oIBVAAAAcAAJ&rdot=1

[8] J. Dewey, How we think. S.l.: Bibliotech Press, 2020.

[9] M. Heidegger, J. Macquarrie, and E. Robinson, Being and time, 35. reprint. Malden: Blackwell, 2013.

On Some Recent Inactivity

I’ve once more taken a step back from all things internet-related, though not for any reason related to my mental health. Indeed, I cannot pin down any reason why I’ve done so – the choice simply manifested as a consequence of my failure to do otherwise. What, then, lies behind it? What is underneath it? The answers to these questions I’d like now to share.

Prelude: The difference between thought and action

It should be clear that to think and to do are two entirely clear and distinct notions, at least so far we think of them. Whether or not these are “actually” the same or different isn’t a matter of concern for me. Out and about in this world of things, we know full well that merely to consider and to act are not the same thing, for any consideration is itself an act which defies itself. By this, I mean that, if we consider, we do something otherwise than the consideration – we sit and consider, or lay down and consider, or take a break and consider, and so forth. From the vantage of the physical, the realm in which action occurs, consideration is null, as it must take place along with some other physical act. What’s more, the consideration itself occurs in the mind and, therefore, is totally incommensurate with all activity as occurring physically. Thus, the so-called “act” of contemplation is at once an act (so far as it is along with something embodied and physical) and yet not an act (so far as it is mental and thus opposes all things physical).

Such is the well-worn distinction between the vita activa and the vita contemplativa, as discussed by Aristotle (Aristotle and Reeve 2017) and Hannah Arendt (Arendt and Baehr 2003), but also by Lenin (Zetkin n.d.), Marx (Marx n.d.), Hegel (Hegel 2018), and numerous other thinkers.

Action in society

Suffice it to say, this is not a novel distinction, nor can I claim it to be as such. What I would like to claim instead, however, is that society demands of us that we live more actively than contemplatively. By society, I don’t mean some abstruse concept of “human nature in groups” or the nebulous society in the phrase “we live in a society.” No, I do not mean “a society.” I mean, rather, society as a predicate, as something neither said of nor in a thing (Aristotle and McKeon 2001). When I am amidst a group of people, I am in their society. When I am among rich people, I am among “high society”. Thus, when I use “society” in this way, I don’t mean a definite “collective” over and above the individuals constituting it. Rather, I mean something predicated of those individuals as a group, but without committing to “society” as some stuff that controls them. No, the individuals taken together are society, as am I.

Thus, when I say that society demands of me action, I don’t mean that being in “a” society demands this but, rather, that the lived, embodied experience of being-around-others in a manner present to my mind as society demands this of me. To make this concrete: if I am among a group of people, I cannot introduce any theoretical ideas concerning something I’ve just read. Not only is the timing improper, the being-among-the-group necessitates and demands that I never, under any circumstance, introduce such ideas. It is simply, absolutely, completely, and without a shred of doubt as I write, wrong to do this. “Our society” does not dictate this to me; rather, it is the experience of being around others itself which does so. Thus, I dictate it to myself, but only because I as a finite knower am running up against other finite knowers and, experiencing this, I witness our collectivity as negating and doing violence against what is given purely and simply to my own awareness.

I must, instead, act outwardly as a speech-act, saying what is given to all of us so far as we are actors in the physical. This is the demand of society, of being-around-others: what you think be quashed so that what you do can prevail.

The judgment of action

But action as its own predicate is an evil, precisely because of the violence it does against me as a person. No one can act without their action being considered as a formal genus, or high-level group, under which all content of their action is situated. Thus, if I were to transgress the bounds of society and simply begin to speak of myself, I would be judged as finite speaker for using up the finite time allotted to us as a social group. Indeed, I dominate the group in this way.

How is this so? By genus, again, I mean a high-level group or, rather, a group with subgroups, species. Now, action as a genus comprehends two species, for-itself and for-others. Action for itself is action which is justified by the actor on his or her own terms, whereas action for-others is the physical appearance of the action – it is the sufficient condition for the action’s being an action. (Action being for itself is merely the necessary condition.) Thus, something considered is an action only if it appears as such; that is, something is only an action only if it makes an entrance onto the perceptual sphere. If something does appear as performed by an actor, though, it has grounds for being called an action. Thus, we arrive at this diagram:

Now, I claim that this is the essential, immanent constitution of action for all knowers. That is, we cannot conceive of action except as it is twofold, for itself and for others. No action at all can be considered as merely for itself – thus no woman wears lipstick purely “for herself” and no man works out purely “for himself.” These are sham lies each likes to tell themselves so as, on some level, to create an illusory sense of individuality. To that I say: farce! Each thing is also and cannot fail to be done for others – the woman wants attention for her red lips, the man wants attention for his muscles. Each wants to be seen, they want to appear, and this is the essential constitution of what it is to act at all. Show me the man in the street, and I will point to you the essential aspects of his acts constituted for others. Even this, dear reader, too is immanently constituted for you as well as for me. Yes, I admit it – I want you to read and think of me as I write! How dare I expect that we social beings want such attention from others!

But this is essentially evil, so far as it avoids or violates the essential being of each individual actor. What do I mean? Action is the only location for knowledge of the actor. By this I mean that actors cannot be known on their own terms – this is the essential suspicion all men (and women) have for each other. No one can know what another is thinking (obviously). Instead of being content to live in ignorance of what surrounds us, each of us looks for signs of what men and women are thinking, hence such common and blasé phrases as “body language” and “chemistry”. These euphemisms hide and conceal a dirty fact about each of us – we are constantly on the prowl for certitude about others, and none of us wants to admit it. We look into each other’s eyes and slightly change their intensity, glancing this way or that so as to signify a thought or emotion. We are acting on this, the great stage of life, performing for others what we feel inside.

The structure of the judgment discussed above takes the form of this semiotic behavior, as mediated through the genus “action” and its species for-itself and for-others. We can think of this as a process in several steps. First, someone sees another do something. Immediately and without thinking, the seer presumes that the action was carried out by the doer for himself; that is, the seer assumes the doer intended the action. Then, he considers what this intention might be, a consideration so rapidly following from the first that the two may well be said to occur at the same time. The intention is sought out through a dialectic, or a “back and forth” between what the seer witnesses in the action for-itself and for-others. How? Having presumed intention, the seer calls to mind a list of all prior intentions and their related appearances through action and, finding one that appears to agree with what he has just seen, he suspects the actor of intending something, but only because he remembers other actors having intending it when performing the same action elsewhere. This “calling to mind” presumes that the action is done for-others in society. That is, it presumes that the actor not only intends for himself, but that he wants others to know his intention. Presuming this, he is secured in his search for previous actions and intentions, because he is confident that the appearance of the action is a thing which can be considered alongside previous acts. The final judgment, then, says something like – “This actor intended this thought because I saw him do this thing.”

Thus, the judgment entails a relation of appearance to essence, where the “essence” here understood is the mind of the actor as the ground upon which action became possible. We’re interested in this precisely because, once the mind has been accurately circumscribed, we can prevent ourselves from the traps and snares, to use the language of Pslams, of those around us. Social semiosis and its consequent judgments are, in this way, an essentially anxious and protective process – when we are sure that what appears derives from its grounds of appearance, we can attempt to predict what will follow.

The evil of action

But why is this judgment evil, if its practice is essentially protective? Easy: it is nothing other than a protection of the self. Let the evils of fear and anxiety speak for themselves – I need only point to medieval pogroms, witch-burnings, government propaganda from throughout the entirety of the 20th century, and so on. Every act a man carries out is essentially of this character for those who see it. Each act a man takes thus has, if only latently, the same character for those who witness it as those acts witnessed by those in support of Nazi Germany. As a threat to life, it essentially engages the semiotic impulse and demands a recoil of the self into itself and away from its potential threats.

The semiotic impulse is, then, essentially evil, because it demands and is predicated entirely on a system of information-production whose duty is to do violence against the references through which it operates. The demand of the semiotic impulse is to put all men into the box of the action as a predicate – to say “he has done this”. Having done so, we already have scrutinized the act and put it into our own terms and from our vantage point (hence the superiority of the via negativa in describing God for Pseudo-Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius 500AD)).

When we put what is essentially a manifold and many-sided thing, the appearance, in terms of a proposition, we neatly package it and enable its quality as ready-made for the semiotic impulse to begin its work. Most of the time, we will be correct enough in our packaging, but never will our statement be entirely commensurate with the act (or else the act itself would be nothing but the statement, and this is an absurdity!) Indeed, language will always fail to capture that towards which it refers and, failing thus, the semiotics between the appearance and its essence (the mind of the doer) will be forever impoverished in attempting to circumscribe intentions. Again, the impulse would not exist if it did not enjoy some kind of success – we can predict others motives, and do so often. Yet, this is precisely what makes semiotics of this sort evil – it violates the essence of the doer. It cannot achieve the doer’s essence, yet it behaves as though it could. It is this essential self-enclosure of mind in saying “Yes! I have figured him out! He’s nothing but a phony!” which constitutes evil which forever typifies and makes generic what is essentially something specific and unique to him alone.

This is, however, a foremost locus for self-clarification and self-understanding, so far as action constantly triumphs over the limits of the observed and suspected. For those of you in my audience who watch anime, this is the essence of such moments where a character’s expectations are broken and he or she blushes before his or her crush or friend – it is a feeling of comfort in a loving world, wherein the density of semiotic prediction has collapsed and proved futile, only for love and joy to enter onto the scene instead.

If not now, when?

The essential lesson of the above, if we can call it a lesson, is that the semiotic impulse is a bit too heavy-handed. Instead, our task is to go out into the world and live with others! To enjoy this great gift of life which has been bestowed on us, with faith that all will work out in the end. After all, if not now, when will we do so?

To this I say: not quite. Nothing is so simple as such an unreflective answer, though at some level it is correct. Yes, the semiotic impulse is heavy-handed and improperly applied in such areas, and it certainly does do evil when we enact it. But this leaves unresolved the following problem: why is it there at all?

Indeed, if thinking through things on these terms is enough to “correct” an allegedly barren impulse, shouldn’t evolution have corrected for it long ago? If that is too fanciful an argument, then shouldn’t we in our own mental evolution have outgrown semiosis as a means to valid information gathering? Clearly, neither I as an abstract human nor as a concrete-sensuous person have abandoned semiosis, so I must continue to live with it. The problem now is: what do I make of it?

Action for who?

The semiotic problem is a rich one, but it illustrates a chief tension concerning public action the likes of which I haven’t yet entirely figured out. Not only had my actions in the past conformed to an agenda, they had also done so because I was certain of the validity of this agenda. Such certitude is rather easy when most of your reading is quick skim-throughs of encyclopedia articles — very little critical reflection on anything is required, as all ideas are quickly spoon-fed to my mind in rapid succession. But, once one has begun to read and think critically, in a sense beyond that banal “critical thinking” so often heard about in the media, what becomes of all that he was certain of? All that he had concocted in his agenda?

Clearly, it collapses, not only because he critically realizes the shoddy patchwork in his own thinking, but that, having encountered the greatest ideas in the history of thought, such encounters have shown so brightly that all he thought himself he now sees darkly in comparison, lit up only by that superior brightness which he only sees outside of himself. The only result can be a complete lack of certainty and confidence in one’s own agenda, a thing that I have desperately struggled with over the past few months. This is not a depressive or anxious struggle, but a struggle for the sobriety of my mind over and against all that it sees before it – genius and poverty, greatness and suffering. For whom, then, do I act?

On one hand, I deeply want to continue work as a scholar – there is so much I now want to say which can only be said in the dense jargon of academia, the inner necessity of which I now see. Its external necessity is, however, certainly barren — academic work is for academics, the likes of which need to be digested by mediators between academia and the so-called “real world,” which really only ought to be called the world of appearances, where academia is perhaps a world of essences. “Homo academicus” lives the vita contemplativa and, as such, his concerns can only be contemplative both in their objects and their method.

Yet, this is still externally barren, so far as we are, in fact, embodied and, in fact, require ideas to make sense of our embodiment. Indeed, the reality of the semiotic impulse is case and point – we cannot simply rely on our own reasoning – we require others to supplement us and make for us better what we could not ourselves more completely fashion. This, however, means that, at some level, we prioritize the power of the group to think over and above that of individuals, something which I’m loathe to admit. Indeed, I value my individuality as a thinker more than almost anything else. Yet, I have not clearly and concretely outlined what it is I think! I have intuitions of such things but, if pressed, I would again fall into the slipshod sham-work that I generated before – this is something I am committed to avoiding. Jordan Peterson is a good example of what happens when you don’t make such a commitment.

But this is a deep problem, as the immanent commitment towards being-for-others in a manner exactly commensurate with being-for-self is something of an illusory demand for consciousness. How? To act is to open up the self and consciousness to something beyond it — the world of finite knowers acting together in physical space. Again, the sum of all these knowers will supersede the knowledge had by any one and, in this way, to act in this sphere is always, so far as knowledge is considered, to expand consciousness beyond itself and into this beyond. Thus, one cannot be imminently committed to his action as for-itself and for-others, but only transcendentally committed to it, or committed to it so far as he knows and is assured of the necessary consequences of the act. This is different from an immanent commitment, as it disregards necessary consequences and, instead, is self-confident that its constitution is commensurate with reality. Being so sure, it can orient all consequences towards itself, as it has comprehended enough in its own thought to warrant its constantly being extended beyond itself. Thus, it is not committed to anything that follows from itself, because it is so self-assured that whatever does follow can immediately be fitted to whatever has been posited.

But this immanent commitment negates the beyond of society and takes it up within itself as something completely accounted for before the act as conceived for itself and for others. Hence why this commitment is illusory — we know that the beyond is for consciousness something which appears in its own right and, therefore, cannot simply be taken up beneath an immanent commitment. If it is, it does violence against the beyond in an egoistic way, asserting itself as the truth in a messianic way which borders on cult-like direction (see: the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Robespierre, Lenin, Jordan Peterson for more on this). Such messianism ignores the necessity of the beyond for consciousness and, indeed, it is such ignorance that attracts the rabid following that the alleged messiah makes for himself.

But no one can perform a speech-act of any worthwhile attention unless he has committed imminently to his own thought. Anyone who commits to his thought transcendentally claims and thinks banalities — “I just saw the funniest thing!” “Can you believe what she said?” “This is the worst day of the year so far.” Each of these speaks only of the material, physical scene—hence why society loves and is indeed built upon them. The semiotic procedure is absent and, instead, merely physical posits are presented. There is no room here for immanent commitment—hence why so many say that you can never Have a sane conversation in religion or politics with a stranger: too much depends on what men immanently commit to. It is too hard for most of us to translate what we imminently believe to what we can say, hence such conversations devolve into heated arguments. Thus, when one does perform this well, he commands attention so deftly — he has done just what it is expected most cannot do. This builds a self-enclosure of confidence, wherein the presuppositions of the would-be messiah are unquestioned, and the man himself falls into self-gratulation and ego-stroking (again, see Jordan Peterson, but also Robespierre, Napoleon, Franz Liszt, Savonarola, and so many other charismatic leaders).

Again, all of this is built on the semiotic impulse. As essentially anxious, the impulse is quashed by the messiah, whose theory of the beyond allows him power over his followers. He gives them confidence in the beyond, confidence to act. For Peterson, this is in self-help. For Christ, it was in the “world beyond” of the Kingdom of God. For Kant, the “kingdom of ends.” For Marx, communism. For Freud, the unconscious. For Peirce, the sign. And on and on. Each moment where the beyond might appear is closed off by a theory accounting for and taken up into a theoretic mold, a “mindset” or as the sigma males like to say, “grindset.” Those of “common sense” ignore this altogether and keep to physical space, hoping that the world of appearance is sufficient unto itself for all action and all thought. Their semiotic impulse is at the ready and unquestioned — it is entirely uncritical and thoughtless, operating without reflection in complete autonomy.

These common-sense folk imbibe the status quo and manipulate it to their own ends. Instead of allaying anxiety in the sublimation of the beyond into a mindset, they use humor as a tool towards sublimation. Encounters of the beyond are the essential point of departure for humor, as the beyond strikes in each of us the deepest knowledge of our insecurity as a knower. A sense for the beyond is “awkwardness” in everyday life, a moment where a man who endeavored to “shoot his shot” and fell flat on his face when the woman entirely rejected him. Her reaction coupled with his sense of the beyond closed off to him creates the sense of awkwardness, for his desire has been thwarted, and her sense of him has become entirely clear. She sees through him, and he has no room to stand for himself, being seen through so completely. This is awkwardness par excellence, as it is a liminal space between the purely physical, transcendental commitments of common sense and the immanent commitments of consciousness. (The latter occurs only in true love.) Most of us, instead of incurring this awkwardness, tend towards humor, taking up this liminal space into a joke which hides and annuls the deep anxieties each of us feels. Acting together, all hearing the joke return to their private commitments and allow the course of merely physical, transcendent commitments to continue — “OMG that was so funny!” “You’re like, totally cool!” “I’m so tired rn” and so on.

There is an all this a status quo procedure of human activity. A man acts transcendentally, folly leaves his expectations quashed, and others laugh at the finiteness of his thought and powers. “Haha can you believe they did this? That was so crazy, I could never.” This is an entirely circular process, and it leaves no room for change. It is inevitable. But as Marx says — the point is to change it.

I am not concerned with merely pointing out what always will be. I am concerned with human liberation, and it is this which stands for me as my personal means to “close off” the beyond. I call this closing off totalitarian thinking, in part from a superficial understanding of Popper’s “the Open Society and its Enemies.” Open society perpetuates the cycle of act-fail-laugh. Closed society attempts to overcome this, but falls into totalitarianism as a consequence — witness Stalinist Russia, Fascist Italy (and Germany and Spain), and Colonial India. Each of these societies was closed off to failure, as its commitments closed off the beyond, the sphere where failure becomes possible. Thus everything was retro-fitted to the previously established, as in Lysenko’s pseudo-science in Russia and the declaring of sociology and psychology as “bourgeois pseudo-science” in all of the Communist bloc. Lysenko tried to work only under the finite knowledge of the communist party and, in doing so, generated botanical theories of complete absurdity. The Bloc as a whole did the same and, when new thought superseding the finitude of Marx and Engels appeared, they closed themselves off to it as being a mere bourgeois “part” of the broader Communist theory. Of course, it wasn’t, as the Frankfurt Theorists knew well.

But this “closing off” of the beyond is still necessary, as it is the only means to breaking with the perpetual cycle of act-fail-laugh. Indeed, this cycle itself closes the beyond, because nothing lies beyond it! Nothing imminent to any actors ever appears; everything is taken up under the “common sense” closing off, laughter. Thus men laugh at Plato for working out; they make jokes along the lines of this:

IdiotfotheEast on Twitter: "Diogenes burning Plato #memesdaily #MEMES  #memes2021 #art #digitaldrawing #diogenes #plato #Philosophy #history  #historymemes #humor #LOL #art #artwork #Invinciblememes #thinkmark  #ThinkMarkThink #digitalart #dankmemes https ...

There is nothing wrong with these jokes. It must be said, however, that they are part of an ideology and a closing off of possibility. They limit what the subjects laughing can think because, instead of thinking, they simply laugh and forget what else could be thought. This is, to be sure, superior to a thoughtful closing off of possibility, as this itself engages the anxiety of semiosis deeply, by demanding that ideologues search their repertoire of mental tools derived from their ideology so as to retrofit all actions to the ideology. This is easy, as Catholic control over science in the Middle Ages demonstrates. It is equally easy, though, for free subjects to perpetuate the act-fail-laugh movement ad infinitum. So far as it enables something really enjoyable and fun for people, and so far as it diminishes semiotic anxiety, it is superior to the ideological languor imposed by totalitarian thought, however.

The essence of all my thought, however, wants to find an entrance into this cycle for the imminently committed. A process whereby I, as immanently committed, can open others up dialectically so that we all can bring ourselves to bear on our ideas in a robust way. Video is a moment of such a project, so far as it provides another means to open up the ideology of the status quo by moving consciousness towards what I believe. But herein messianism is easy, as the moment someone disagrees with me, I may either retrofit the agreement to my ideology or engage the criticism so completely that the ideology breaks down. This too is a problem with which I have been engaged and which has prevented me from action, as all action can in some way fall into the status quo ideology of act-fail-laugh. To laugh at one’s mistakes, this too closes off possibility — the possibility of improvement, of acknowledging real damage done, and so on.

A sense for these must be established, so as to laugh freely, for laughter is the best medicine for the disease of totalitarian thinking. Yet, the totalitarian impulse of mind is itself a medicine for the disease of do-nothing laughter.


I don’t know, other than to say that I hate to see others suffer while others live in opulence, and I see nothing for the allowance of this sham than the manipulation of consciousness. Perpetual cycles of activity are the loci making this consciousness possible, as they appeal to the impulse of the beyond. They close off reflection and absorb the self into the moment of its relations, destroying its focus on issues that deeply concern it and, instead, taking it up into the totality of social relations which it makes possible. When these relations become ideological, they form a party. When militant, a paramilitary. When religious, a cult. When merely self-enclosing, a coterie. All such things close off the beyond outside of the group, keeping the group in consciousness revered as its own totalitarian medicine for the do-nothing-ism of laughter. With anxiety allayed, men in groups can do together under the assurance that those around them will support what they do. Thus some men act under the aegis of a Catholic paradigm, others a communist paradigm, others still an anarchist, philanthropic, and activist paradigms. Each of these presupposes its own closing off of the beyond.

It is this tendency to close off possibility that is the essence of all totalitarianism, even that allegedly free totalitarianism that we in America ambiguously call “liberty.” It is the organic closing off and opening up at will of such possibility, the likes of which is its own closing off, as it assumes tacitly that closing off of this sort ought to occur without guidance.

What Lenin, ironically, called “many-sided thought” is essentially what we need, though in another sense the libertarian status quo is precisely this, except as it creates implicit ideologies beneath itself as groups form and collapse. In a sense, then, I’m after exactly what Marx, Derrida, and Rorty were after — a completion of the past, an opening up of a new historical possibility. Yet this possibility is nothing other than Heideggerian aletheia, the disclosure of the truth of the self to others, a disclosure occurring on its own terms whenever it desires it. It is a method for emptying the self of its semiotic insecurity and, instead, searching for a paradigm about which the mind can operate in free love of itself and others.

Conclusion: Inactivity is easy

This is all well and good, but I hope you, dear reader, can see now why I’ve been so inactive online. All of these thoughts demand careful parsing and, should I act without immanent commitment to them, I know full well that I will fall into the traps of human social psychology which I am working so carefully to overcome. We cannot overestimate how difficult this work is. It is the essential means towards that which all the great minds of the past 200 years have desired.

It is the solution to poverty, to mass psychosis, to mental illness, to political turmoil. Indeed, the universal free love of self and other is the solution to all of man’s problems. I hope you see now why I call this thinking messianic and totalitarian! These are qualifiers, and not pejoratives. As the Pragmatist John Dewey pointed out, we cannot begin to do anything unless we intend it. I intend to solve the essence of mankind’s ills, and I can only do this if I attempt it. This is my attempt. That I can conceive of fulfilling it is justification enough, says Dewey, for its being attempted. It will be my life’s work, and this I am fine with. It is work I will not finish this year, in the next ten years, or even in the next 50. It will not be finished by the time I am dead, and this is something of a tragedy, though it need not be. It is a testament to the immensity of the task and the time and effort required to see it through. None of us will solve oppression tomorrow, but we can begin the concrete work to do so here and now, with full faith that it can be seen through, and that there is no mass cabal to prevent it. Indeed, if successful, it would only mean freedom for all. Even the most jaded of businessmen could not turn down such a proposition!

The essential problem to be dealt with here and now, though, is how to use my finite time and resources to make the most of my struggle for universal freedom, considered essentially from the standpoint of free disclosure.

I am working now on 3 projects for school: a senior thesis on Hegel and Dewey, a sub-project which specializes in Dewey’s psychology, and a tangential project which engages in semiotics as a teaching and communicative device. Each will be made into videos for the public. What is essential here is that my entire consciousness is oriented towards these projects. I have little space in my mind for what the internet has given to me, and I have little to say other than the judgmental premise that what it does give is not as important as my academic work. This isn’t exactly a great message for my audience!

Hence I’ve chosen to do nothing and keep my head squarely in my books, as everything else seems to me right now to be a trifle in comparison with the lofty task I’ve set before me. That’s not to say everything else really is this puerile—it just seems this way to me right now and, in some sense, I do think it really is, but that’s only because I’m actively looking for something better. Here is a case study in all I’ve just talked about — in saying this, I seem (because I signify in finite space) conceited, yet if I don’t say it I fail to disclose what I want to say (and thus avoid the practice of the very project I am attempting). All of this is many-sided, and I am attempting to focus now on those sides which can expand and bring this many-sidedness to the fore. Hence, argumentatively, the status quo really is quite horrible, and I do have adequate justification for this belief. A video on this will soon be made, though I haven’t yet completely gathered all my thoughts on the matter.

Suffice it to say, things are in the works. As my mind now stands, I don’t yet have enough in my conceptual repertoire to talk full well about all that concerns me, and I am more focused on building this repertoire than I am on speaking prematurely.


Arendt, Hannah, and Peter Baehr. 2003. The Portable Hannah Arendt. Reissue edition. London: Penguin Classics.

Aristotle, and Richard McKeon. 2001. The Basic Works of Aristotle. The Modern Library Classics. New York: Modern Library.

Aristotle, and C. D. C. Reeve. 2017. Politics: A New Translation.

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Fredrich. 2018. The Phenomenology of Spirit. Edited by Terry Pinkard and Michael Baur. 1st ed. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781139050494.

Marx, Karl. n.d. “Theses on Feuerbach.” Accessed June 24, 2021. https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm.

Pseudo-Dionysius. 500AD. Dionysius the Areopagite, Works.

Zetkin, Clara. n.d. “Lenin on the Women’s Question.” Accessed August 16, 2021. https://www.marxists.org/archive/zetkin/1920/lenin/zetkin1.htm.

Some thoughts on guilt

To all those whose company I unintentionally shirk:
What is it about being with you that strikes me so? Why is it when I am around you I feel false? Is it your power over me, or my desire for power over you? Is it neither of these, or both at the same time? How could I ever hope to answer such things in clear time when each of you stands before me in dense obfuscation, concretizing all that in me was heretofore diffuse and lofty? I feel dragged by your grins and stares, the raising of your eyebrows as I intone your glares. Each move of yours does violence against me, as I am stabbed in soul by the judgements undergirding each of your words to me. Only in brief moments do I escape the sentiment that you judge me, that I am no good, and that I must be something otherwise than I am.

Of course, such thoughts are a malingering, a story I tell myself to make me too sick to function. I am no such thing, nor is the intenseness of my being-with others so rigid and piercing as I’ve initially claimed. To say it is not there, though, would be to deny my ownmost feelings, that guterall “suchness” which crawls out from under covers and whispers in ears, bearing chthonic power as Proserpine towards Hades, beauty taken against her will.

So am I succored with each sound enunciated, felt to be something otherwise than I am. Such is the absolute fear of myself when I speak — though I intend this, I am understood as that. How could deny the brute reality of this fact? No one is ever understood as he intends. What a tragedy! And yet it is a fact of life.

What is more tragic about this, though, is that no one will ever be seen as he takes himself to be. Though I might have in my heart the greatest want of love and goodness for another, the facts of a situation will force my hand so that, like a Queen of Hearts, I rashly dash my babe against the rocks and sit sallow in sanguine virginity. I am nothing except as I have been seen and, being seen as such, I am only ever capable of being with respect to as I have been seen. Thus I must bear three things in mind — how I am seen now, how I was seen then, and how each of these relates. Now, none of these is real but, rather, stands as mental fiction, psychic posit, which enables my functioning within the confines of some social space. Thus, it is real so far as it functions, and false so far as it does not. (See: William James)

The tragedy herein is that if I propose myself to be in this way, I will as yet inevitably be taken in that way, so that the proposition as to how I seem is never commensurate with how I am seen (if such a thing can even be posited!). So much for this — it is the solipsistic breakfast re-hashed with new eggs, refried with new beans! What is tragic herein is the fact of action — if I want to be with anyone, either I must go on playing the game, or I must forget it altogether and hope for the best. In the first case I am squeezed as grapes beneath feet for wine, pressed firm against the feet of all who walk all over me, reading the signs of shame in everything I do, making me guilty as Augustine before his God. Hence through the grindstones of social taxation I Leninize myself, become proletarian before the bourgeois owners of social comfort, working forever to obtain it while never finding it. I merely ruffle around for the scraps of surplus love! Such is SOCIAL ANXIETY, and such is a sham will from disquietude which perpetuates itself as disquiet.

But whence cometh my anxiety? GUILT. “Guilt?” I hear you asking. Yes, guilt. But guilt of what, and for what? Guilt of myself for being myself over and against others. Yes, this is the guilt I feel. Let me explain it in this way—no one can feel the fantasy of his existence without presupposing himself as the summit thereof. That is, no one can attain the heights of those witches which Faust saw with Mephistopheles without first supposing that they have the power of attaining them — namely, MAGIC. What magic do I speak of? The magic of ownmost possibility for being (as Heidegger says), of the uniqueness of the self against all else (as Stirner says), of the power of the latent potentialities of the self to draw forth from all else around him a manifest condition commensurate only to whom as supreme artificer (as in Plato), supreme psychoanalyst (as in Freud), supreme magus (as in the Summa Perfectionis). What is magic but conformity of the world to the will, as Crowley has said?

The guiltiness herein lies in the recognition that no man is an island, and that all things stand before him given only as they have manifested to him in their his limitations as a finite knower (cf. Kant and Husserl). On such facts, man is left with two choices — either (1) repudiate the skepticism adduced from his finitude and recapitulate to his former magical grandiosity or (2) sober up, recognize the impotence of himself as a doer, and begin diminutive intercourse with men on the grounds that only all as collective can achieve anything whatever. If a man chooses (1), he will be forever marred by the scars of the Kantian realization — the empirical does not conform to the a priori categories of the understanding, nor can it. The empirical stands before him in itself and for itself as Nature, a real-category of the understanding (in Hegel, at least) whose supreme Objectivity must stand against him as a posit needed as a condition for the possibility of his own existence! Indeed, if a man could assert his will over Nature absolutely, then he would be that Nature, and there would no longer be any need of further assertion. Yet he cannot do this, for what is given a priori does not adequate to empirical reality, nor can it. Hence the empirical must forever stand bifurcated from man’s absolute grasp, and the man choosing (1) cannot help but be aware of this. If he ignores it, he has ignorantly submitted to the grandeur of youth and, on such terms, deserves all the ridicule he brings on himself. He stands alone in an empty room, having built an altar to himself and his reason, he is the worst kind of hermit.

If a man chooses (2), however, he finds himself once more as a proletarian before the bourgeois mass, always lying prostrate before it. That is, he will be as such if he is going to choose (2) honestly. He might choose it dishonestly, as most men do, and search for instances of will-assertion wherever he can find them. Thus, the CEO asserts himself over his workers as a leader of a collective, rather than merely asserting himself over the world as an “influencer” or a cult leader. Indeed, the cult leader is to (1) as the CEO is to (2), each dishonestly attempting to assert their wills over others. Thus, if one chooses (2) honestly, he becomes a pragmatist in the line of Dewey and Peirce and gives his instrumental reason up to the commens as a moment of its collective determinations. He lies prostrate, ashamed of his former magical intuitions, and aims to make good on all that he has done before by attending to group before him. The choice of (2) is the choice of social anxiety, in such away.

This is the supreme guiltiness of the would-be magus, he who would attempt to make others see as he does, who would try to proselytize his feelings and thoughts for all to see. “What is the guilt?” though, I hear you asking. It is on no uncertain terms the GUILT OF JUDGEMENT, of EMPIRICAL A PRIORICITY or, on a more Kantian phrasing, ANALYTIC A POSTERIORICITY. What do I mean by these terms? If a man is given over to the desire to his assert his will over others as a magician, as all men and women who have understood the world (so it seems to me) are inclined to do, then they will feel their guts churn at the opportunity to speak their mind. They will desire to say and convince, if only because they have seen and felt the Good and the True firsthand. Their hearts have been strangely warmed, as Wesley has said, and they have seen God face to face. They aren’t idiotic psychopomps in this, though, nor do they believe in the absolute grandiosity of their claims. No, such people, of which I am one, merely see and feel that what is before them either deserves repudiation or otherwise illocutionary activity, so that their words command an audience to listen and pay attention because they are convicted so. The speakers have no absolute grounds for this conviction — who does? Yet they cannot help but act as though they did, for the momentousness of the judgment gives itself to consciousness with such facility and completely that to speak in any other way except through deep and dense exhortation would be to do violence and injustice to the judgment.

Here is guiltiness — guiltiness of power, of conviction. Such men, before they have realized their density and stubbornness, are called “know-it-alls,” “argumentatives,” “obstinates,” “egotists,” and “chauvinists.” What horrible violence these terms have done against me! What cuts each has slashed at my wrists! What lacerations have I felt as my flesh was torn from me limb from limb when all I desired for others was that they saw Good as I did, and that I could not help myself from argument therefore because it so inspired me! Oh my God!

Again I speak hyperbolically, but shouldn’t it be a testament to my emotion that I write with such phrasing? As I attempt to speak each word turns my guts, and I feel my chest impound as it tightens and relaxes in turn. I am caught up in something beyond me, and I cannot help it! This is my tragedy—this is my guilt. That I should feel so much as to alienate others from my feeling, that I should want to say so deeply that I end up inspiring absolute ignorance of all that I had in mind. Saying, I never come across clearly. Remaining quiet, I do not come across at all.

But again, why am I guilty of this? Why don’t I simply embrace it? On one hand, Kantian skepticism denies its possibility. On another, as I have said above, the feeling finds its roots in its own presupposition — that is, it has no other ground than itself. If a thought comes to me and I am pressed to speak, I do so for no other reason than that I am so pressed and, being pressed, I either ejaculate what was on my mind or squirm and find my way outside of the pressure. Hence, the belief in my own magical power is nothing but a feeling, a feeling that I can make others feel as I do, and a desire to do so. There is nothing in the feeling which warrants itself, for the feeling is merely subjective. If I demand its Objectivity, as might Hegel, then I am left with nothing but the Hegelian-Marxist trope of “history’s end,” where my feeling is the True feeling, my thought the True thought, and so on. If I can be so typified, then I have attained nothing “True” at all. What’s more, I fall back into the violence of lacerated know-it-allism — who could know how to avoid a bloody death and yet enter into it anyway?

Here, then, is the guilt—what is given to me in consciousness demands of me that I attend to it, but what reason tells me about consciousness is otherwise. Perhaps I can strike a middle path and take Hegel more seriously, but with the sobriety of the second choice above. Let me be argumentative, but then let me apologize after. Am I not both conscious of feeling and capable of reasoning there-about? Surely. Perhaps that is my next line of action.

Some thoughts on Hegel in relation to the problem of knowledge in general

Reading through Hegel’s encyclopedia logic, I’m left with a great deal of desire for what I would dare to call a “radically immanent aspect” to its proceedings. In other words, I am left with the desire for an immediate upshot to the work. Reading through such arcane terminology as the being-in-and-for-itself, determinate constitution, finite and realized purposiveness, I find myself entering into the mind of Hegel as a thinker. The more I read any thinker, the more I find myself taking that thinker on his or her own terms, learning in all their Otherness what it is for them to express themselves as they do. Indeed, Hegel is no different in this respect. However, as with many other thinkers I’ve read whose works probe deeply into the nitty gritty of a discipline, I am left with an inability to synthesize their work with my consciousness as such.

I differentiate between two kinds of consciousness and thus two kinds of knowledge – the general and the specific. Hence, consciousness in general is merely that direction of mind towards a thing. Hegel calls this “everyday consciousness,” Heidegger calls it “average everydayness.” Specific consciousness and specific knowledge, contrarily, concern the specifically-induced orientation of mind towards some set of objects for the sake of their being “drawn together” into a coherent whole. Hegel calls this “scientific consciousness,” Kuhn a “scientific paradigm,” and most contemporary workers in academia a “discourse.” Hence, as I read Hegel, I necessarily enter into the Hegelian discourse – as one does with any thinker whatever.

The problem of knowledge in general, however, is akin to the problem of metaphysics in general – how does the one relate to the many? In epistemology, how does one discourse relate to the discursive manifold? That is, for any one set of technical terms and concepts, how is it that these, as derivative of some more general discourse, come to subsist in independence from that generality? Having done so, how can they be re-integrated into the general discourse without losing their alterity from that discourse? Indeed, one might ask anterior to these questions – why is it that a specialized discourse is needed at all? The answer to this is simple – with the specialization of language comes the specialization of consciousness, and with the specialization of consciousness comes the capacity for man to solve problems through the unique orientation of his mind, in all its minutiae, towards whatever concerns him. Hence, when he picks up and begins to interrogate the world using his special thought-forms and tools of communication, he and his kin become like ants building a special mound of their own design, only able to talk to each other and those induced into their langauge.

All of this is fine. But, when it comes to Philosophy, especially post-Kantian German Idealism, I struggle with how it is I am to observe this tacit reality. Indeed, Kant typifies his philosophy, at least in the Prolegomena, as a “propaedeutic” to his more general philosophy. In this he, more or less, means that it is a foreword, a preamble, etc. However, we might take Kant’s use of the word here in a more general sense. That is, his philosophy is a propaedeutic, a preamble, a groundwork-for, the production of any specialized discourse at all. That is, it is the means by which science can proceed. Indeed, this is what Kant takes himself to be doing in the Critiques, and rightfully so. But, if this is the task of Kant, then it stands to resaon that this too is the task of the post-Kantians, namely Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.

But when it comes to Hegel, if I am to be reading him as producing a propaideutic to the practice of science in general, it seems to me that his work leaves a great deal to be desired. (Perhaps, on one hand, this is because I’m only reading the Encyclopedia Logic, which Hegel himself admits is itself only introductory to the more lengthy and detailed Science of Logic.) On another hand, though, the problem is this — if the propaideutic to the practice of science (ie. the systematized creation of knowledge) must in and of itself require strenuous re-orientation of one’s consciousness, how can one hope at all to proceed back outward from this orientation to consciousness in general, let alone hoping thereafter to perform another re-orientation towards science? It seems Hegel is demanding of his students an exitus-reditus at the level of the whole mind! He begins from mere presence and ends up with God as the Absolute! Let me say that again – he begins with what is merely present to us and leads the reader step-by-step to God. What a thick bramble of interlocking syllogisms he provides to this end! I can’t deny the genius of its ambition, not at all.

But, at bottom, I cannot help but ask – what the hell is the point? Surely, on Hegel’s terms, the point is the systematization of knowledge in general. And, indeed, Hegel does certainly provide a complete grid for the creation of such knowledge. But again, bearing in mind certain meta-theoretical principles regarding the nature of human creation and human knowing as such, that is, that discourse is more or less historically conditioned and thus relative to its conditions on all accounts, how one could hope to take Hegel on his own terms is seemingly baffling. He provides us with a set of derivations – this much is fine. But once the derivations are performed, these are all we have left! We have no means to apply his derivative output to questions about the world around us, not, that is, without further philosophical inquiry. But this necessitates the question – if we need to do further work to use Hegel, then clearly “using” his logic was not what he intended. No, it seems that he intended it as a canon of mystical ascent, a means to cooptate the phenomenological and rational in virtue of attending to the heights of divinity. Such a view is not far off – Hegel took himself to be the culmination of Western philosophy, none after him ever hoping to go beyond his work.

But if I take a step back and view the Logic as a whole, it seems to me that the intent behind such a behemoth set of syllogistic steps is done in vain! Again, I appreciate the tenacity and sheer will power of one man to ascend through a series of interlocking triads through the totality of human experience — its a great effort. But if the lattice doesn’t serve as a ready-to-hand grid beneath which we can lay the contents of everyday experience and preferably scientific activity, then the entire Logic sits still as one giant lump! It loses all dynamicity, it disallows itself any readily-applicable power, as all its conclusions are bound up within itself, never reaching back out of their alterity from everyday consciousness so as to become useful thereto. Indeed, Hegel might say that such a position ignores his intent – he is not looking to inform everyday consciousness. No, his project is transcendental, attempting to uncover the activity of pure reason as it unfolds necessarily and a priori. This too is fine, but without reality as a technical apparatus whereby the acts of pure reason instantiated in practical reason can be tested and adjudicated, I see no utility in the work save the production of knowledge for its own sake.

This much, again, is perfectly fine. I am just as much a fan of the Known as such, on its own terms, as any other would-be scholar – its a fine endeavor. But to call this a propaedeutic? To position it as something which can inform the practice of knowledge-production in general? How? Such claims only seem possible if the formal construction of a canon of reason is capable, in its organization, of being made ready-to-hand on the reading of any interpreter, as might Aristotle’s categories. Indeed, as I researched this matter, I saw some argue that the latter are specifically intended as such (ie. as ready-to-hand in an immediate sense) while Hegel’s are not. But then I’m left stunned — why is philosophy attempting the construction of canons whose technical apparatus cannot be applied outside of itself? Why is it attempting something so Other and so vain as to be in its own depths so deeply that no one save the initiated few who’ve had time to read it can make use of it, merely among their ilk? It seems such a vain affair!

I affirm nothing if not this – that which cannot readily transform average-everyday consciousness is, in some sense, a failure of a work. That which cannot touch the heart and mind of any given man or woman of average intelligence is, in some sense, to border on the schizoid, especially in the etymological sense of the term. Indeed, what cannot be communicated to the non-initiate is divided off from him, schizein in the Greek. Hence, what is there besides outward correspondence to mass fact which dictates the validity of a set of “initiate-only” theories? Nothing. Lacking such correspondence, it seems that Hegel’s Logic is no better than schizophrenic’s writings, at least considered from this “one-sided” analysis. Of course, I don’t truly believe this. Hegel’s work has in it a motor of ascent whose character can, I believe, be adapted as a ready-to-hand canon for reasoning and the transformation of everyday consciousness. Why this has not been attempted is beyond me. It ought to be the foremost task of all leading philosophers to make their work ready-to-hand to the average man. Of course, the graduate student and adjunct professor can’t attempt this – their initiation into philosophy proper is still underway. But for a Hegel, a Searle, a Sellars, or a Habermas, to do anything other than write for the absolute transformation average reader at large seems, to me, to be an act of elitism.

Some further thoughts on the difficulty of selfhood

Selfhood, or one’s being himself, is a difficult affair to cash out. We can, for instance, imagine the simple metaphor of a knot or a lattice. Each is held in place in virtue of a confluence of constituents. The “being” of it is thus, on one account, emergent. Here, insofar as the self is simialr, we face an issue of ontological priority — what is ontiologically primordial to the self, what is it that constitutes it as such?

Here we fall upon the dualism of Descartes in an inevitable way – there seems to be an insoluble divide between reality qua res extensa and res cogitans. However, insofar as we as “selves” are constituted by the res cogitans, we still face further dilemmas. What, for instance, is the internal structure, what is the form, of res cogitans? Clearly, we have no notion of the cognitive except in virtue of the material. That is to say, we cannot conceive of something except as it is experienced. And, insofar as the primary and secondary qualities of Locke are anterior to the tertiary qualities of Santayana, clearly the spatio-temporal, optical, and otherwise sensible are anterior to the emotional. But here, on one account, is a question – are these divisions of the cognitive real, or merely convenient? Can we, as does Dewey, propose a sensori-motor circuit which dictates that the emotional, as a Husserlian “noema,” is inseparable from the noesis (or thought-process) whereby it comes about? If so, is this the proper view to take? If not, what is that view?

These problems and divisions themselves depend on the a priori validity of “is” and “not” as thought-forms, as I’ve discussed elsewhere. Hence, cognitively speaking, if I attempt to affirm or deny a proposition, it seems that I must rely on affirmation and denial as primordial. Indeed, Aristotle claims something similar. But is the proposition the most primordial mode of human thought? Quine says no, Putnam says yes. Here again we run into an issue of ontological priority, but this time as concerns linguistic entities.

In short there are problems on problems as one begins his inquiries into the nature of the Cartesian res cogitans, not merely as to what it is, whether it is, but whether there is (in the Kantian sense) even a mere condition for the possibility of its being. This is a subtle point – here I am asking not whether the thing is or is not, but whether and “how” it is that such a question can even be asked. In asking this question, I necessitate it in a Derridean way, as I pose it in a way which recurs back onto itself. Indeed, whenever I ask “whether” I invoke the is/not dichotomy. Here, I lose the middle term – indeed I have no room for it. The pure dichotomy is part of the structure of even that which attempts its deconstruction. Thus, I ask it not as itself, but in Derrida’s “differance” – from itself, out of itself, away from itself. Here language becomes abstruse, nigh-empty, and extra-ordinarily difficult to understand.

I get an odd feeling in me when I think these things. It is a feeling of apartness, of being-not-ness, of not emptiness per se, but of some kind of attempting-to-grasp which not only does not grasp but, like some sort of aetherial stuff, passes through itself and intersects in manners it could have in no way forsaw. It is, in some sense, a feeling akin to the monstrosities constructed in renditions of the tower of Babel and, yet, like Gothic churches as well – edifices ever-increasing in size whose greatness demands architectural feats dependent on the failures of those already constructed. A continuous reconstitution, an infinite scaffolding. A city-like thing with constant repairs due to hack-job previousness. This is the feeling I find in me. I have in mind the notion of the flying buttress, in particular – a thing existent in the architecture for no other reason than to support the unwieldy behmoth already writ in stone.

If one need witness the self in all its splendor, I suppose the Gothic cathedral is something of a metaphor herefor. Here we find a dense mass of nothing, stones on stones heaped together in aesthetical-orientation, achieving nothing but the mere look and feel of grandiosity while, on another view, wasting resources. I was tempted to write that the waste is the reality of the situation, but this is to fall into the sort of thing I dislike. Surely there is a twinge of perspectivism here in such a move – if everything is always possible ‘on another view’ then it seems that what it is to say or to view at all is predicated on some relation. Sure – this is an intuitive notion, at least as concerns first-order acts of inquiry. But as concerns inquiries of the second order, I believe it means something similar.

Indeed, it seems to me to be something like this – there are no second order acts of inquiry. The second-order, the self, is a kind of empty knot of first-orderings whose realities have become so convoluted as to have wrapped around each other and mutually supported themselves in back-to-back weight. This is one account, I believe. I don’t merely wish to say that the act of conceiving of the self is incoherent. No, I wish to say that the grounds on which we ask the question is itself incoherent, as it attempts to ask a question which itself cannot be solved. Indeed, if we cannot solve the first-order questions, “who” “what” “when” “where” and “why,” how might we ask questions in the second order above them concerning whether or not such things are actually so? How can we pose some res cogitans, some mere self, when we have little intuitive understanding of what it is to be a rock? How, indeed, can we ask of the incorporeal (allegedly, at least) when the corporeal still so deeply eludes us?

I suppose I don’t mean to say that an inquiry into the self is impossible. Rather, I mean that the edifice of thought whereby we inquire into simpler entities is already in so great a disarray, already so heaped upon itself, and yet already so densely contorted to support itself on corporeal, first-order questions (of which it is most attuned) that for it to begin considering questions of the second-order is almost to hope for a miraculous movement of mind to heights divine!

Primordial “suchness” — what is this? We haven’t had a view towards it since Heraclitus and Parmenides. Indeed, all of Plato’s footnotes (and the text himself!) haven’t been able to find an answer either. Perhaps we might naturalize the question with Quine and recur to the natural sciences for our answer. But, bracketing off current problems with the integration of relativity with quantum mechanics, we still lack a means to know this affair as such. To know in virtue of an epistemological apparatus is not the same as to know in virtue of the many, as Socrates reminds us in the Alcibiades. Hence to “know” in this sense too falls into incoherence. But then how do we begin to do anything save in virtue of the special episteme, the special apparatus, whereby we know it? Incoherence again abides.

I’m tempted to say there is a base, a priori structuration of mind inculcated in us in virtue of our being born. I want to say that in times primordial, in the early Anthropocene, we somehow had set before us mechanisms of making meaning in the first order – experiencing the sensori-motor circuit, defining qualities where needed, etc. I want to historicize and say that modern methods of inquiry (and by “modern” here I mean those having arisen with Descartes, perhaps about 1500 onward) are of such a nature as to diverge from these. Indeed I want to further historicize and say that even ancient modes of inquiry such as the “studia humanitatis” are also divergent – they are attempts at the second-order, if far-less sophisticated than those we witness today.

I want to say that the a priori structuration inclines us to hypostatization, that we “take for granted” what in Heidegger’s words is “ready to hand.” He, of course, wants to say that this derives from the ontological primordiality of Man as Dasein, but I don’t like this move. No, it seems to me that our first “outward seeing” is primordially constitutive of Being as such. Hence Being does not flow from Man, but Man from Being. This is not Being as in God, an identity Heidegger wanted to do away with. It is, rather, that first sensori-motor experience, that primordial, very-first being-towards something. Perhaps there is no first such thing; perhaps instead it occurs to us in a bootstrap fashion and has no firm beginning, like Peirce’s recursion of signs. What was at the first is to the second incoherent, totally alien to the first. The second makes sense of the first in virtue of itself. The same is true of the third and the fourth, and so on and so on forever until what was at first is so small and insignificant seems, to the 10^1000, nothing at all. I mean this not merely in a literary or aphoristic sense. Rather, I mean that what Heidegger calls the Nothing is, perhaps, the beginning of that primordial being-towards. Here some basic contradictions of logic arise. I’m not quite sure what to make of them as yet – these thoughts are in the process of formation.

Hegel’s identity of Being and Nothing comes again, though I mention this only in passing. What I am attempting to get at is this – the experience of a Something is somehow primordially incoherent and that, if we attempt to explore it, we will only find incoherence. Only in the first-order, in the here and now, in the being-towards that Something are we to find any coherence. As Feynman said in discussing the famous electron-slit experiment, even Nature doesn’t know what she is doing. Of course, it is an inconsistent coherence, as the many foibles of mankind make clear. What we thought was always true turns out one day to be false – our legs are heavier, our eyes more tired, the sky not as bright as we remember it. The immense network of changes beyond us seems so diverse, so abstract, as to forever stupify us. We, as a “that,” as a Something in this infinite chaos, this temporary order, are not only ourselves akin to that Gothic cathedral, but in thinking we build that cathedral even higher as if it were our own personal Babel, each of our minds attempting to endure coherence in a world whose waves like those of the ocean are affected at a distance in occult fashions so hidden that we marvel when we hear of their reality. Who as a child wasn’t taken aback by the moon’s affectation of the sea? Who wasn’t confused when he heard that the sun was a star like those many puny things we see at night? Who even now doesn’t fully understand the techtonics and core of the world beneath him?

Of these and many more things I find myself wanting. I look and me and see Something, and yet Nothing. I am hungry and I want a hamburger. Yet, here I sit and write canvassing and attempting to spin together ideas from my last semester into something coherent because they weigh so deeply on me. Here’s the age-old, laughable duality of man. But I suppose the duality that I feel is even deeper, at least at this moment as I’m trying to explain it. It is the knowledge that we as real are temporal, that we will die. It is our being-toward-death. And yet, that being-toward is already prefigured, preambulatory, in the being-toward-the-world, our being-in-the-world, as it is right now. Hence in all time we are Nothing, though we are right now Something. A trite banality!

But I suppose I wonder these things not for any mere questioning, but for the sake of critical action. Indeed, if the self is so difficult, we might (must?) say that there is something deeply wrong with modernity. Indeed, there is something deeply amiss with all of human civilization except, perhaps, that of the Buddhists. For, the Buddhists have an ontology whose nature makes me feel much the same as I do in articulating this thought – not merely that the self is a trite illusion, but that Something qua Something is an illusion. The affair is deeper, infinitely so, than we could ever hope to say. Perhaps that’s why the sage in Lao Tzu does his work and simply retires — he listens to the river, thinking not of the days troubles. Perhaps that’s why Qohelet tells us in Ecclesiastes

Enjoy life with the wife you love, all the days of the vain life granted you under the sun. This is your lot in life, for the toil of your labors under the sun. (9:8-9)

What more is there?

Emptiness and Selfhood

I felt today and yesterday an absolute emptiness – a complete feeling of nothing, replete with all its trappings. It was as if I was not there, as if I was simply living through the motions of an inert mass, being through it, without exactly existing as if it were truly me.

I felt it when I went out to a party with my friend, Joe. It was a fine party — I saw many people that I knew. But what more did I find out about them? Little, if anything. I found out that one friend of mine is taking a class with a professor I’m relative friends with, so that was something. I found out that many of Joe’s friends are fond of jello shots, so that too was something. Yet I stood amidst both those I knew and those he knew, the latter group latently capable of becoming those I knew, and I felt something totally alien to me creeping on me and eating me out from within. It was as if there was no point to the thing, no purpose for my being amidst the people around me. Of course, I was there because Joe had invited me. I was glad he did so — he wanted a friend to go with him to the party and, me being the obliging man that I am, I had no difficutly agreeing to go with him when a prior friend of ours had chosen not to go. This much was fine — I was glad to go with him, since it seemed like he deeply wanted to go. And yet, on arrival, on presentation of me to the mass of men and women present, I felt no want of being there. There was nothing in me that said, that spoke from on high — “Go! Speak! Be with them! Here is a time and a place to talk!” For what would I have said other than that which I’ve recounted? New classes, new professors, new experiences, new “things.” This was the sum of potential experiences, and thus was all I did in fact experience. I found out nothing new of those whom I knew previously, other than that they remembered me and thought of me fondly. I said as much of them. But what was that exchange? I feel as if it hadn’t even happened at all. Surely I can, in fact, recount it here. But what of this? What difference has it made? Am I any happier? The difference — none. The happiness added — none whatsoever.

From thence dervied the feeling of emptiness in me as I existed amidst these people, these ribald men and women. I wish them all the best — for they feel a joy in simply existing that I know I do not. Perhaps if I felt it was joy enough to simply speak of being myself I’d be among them. But what joy is there in being me? What want of me do I hope to share with others who me are not? I have no desire to share with them yesterdays follies, or tomorrows potential blunders. It comes not to me as free flowing guyser, nor as gas-flow emitting. Neither spring from me, neither leap from my heart into my mouth. Neither of these make me want to say — “hello! Here is how I have been! How have you been, fine sir?” or “How have you been, fine madam?” What care have I as to how they are, when I rarely care how I myeslf have been? How am I to feel for others when I myself feel empty? I simply don’t know.

I struggle with what runs through my mind, and yet I struggle with how I am to feel with those who simply see my mind running from afar. It is as if they are spectators at a track meet or perhaps those entering a stadium from ticket purchase. All they see is the locomotion, the driving interconnection of sinew and bone. How could they feel as the runner feels when track hits home? When he with meat and organ hits the ground, when sweat trickles down his forehad as his lungs attempt with dire necessity to push oxygen through his capillaries? How could they ever feel this except as his outer appearence presents it to them? Surely they could never. So all they see is the performance — the me-being-seen as mask-wearing I smile, hiding inside tears as if glassy essence breaking I could be all that I wanted. But I could never!

For each moment hereby passing
demands of me a ready massing
of instant second septum sniffing,
eyeball access spying glistening
trinkets laid for ogling eyes
and grasped as please-touch children cry
when mother Mary and Joseph dear
relay that Christ had come not here
but rather dyed on oak-tree firm
the cross a stab-wound wormy squirm
as want of freedom from the ditch
of lecturn morose preaching bitch
bearing pups from jeering yelp
which offers none — hears no help.

I felt the same again today as I went to a club with some friends. Indeed I thought — why do I bother with such things? Part of me wants to feel no specialty —

“I am nothing, immolate!
How dare you stretch a funeral pire
to sacrifice mind ten times higher
than all around who might too hear
a thought which turns none but to queer
subjects, objects, and imagining
page-turn notes with turn-time lagging
as each flip from fourth to third
makes seven times five a thirty word
whose Isaac divisors decimate
the self-succored lie — immolate!”

Here I think — “I am nothing! I am no specialty! Do as the others are! Let not your mind wander far!” So I tell me to go along with them as they are, walking and acting as they do, without want of further feeling. Who am I? No one, perhaps.

But then I laid back in me and a sinking feeling stretched over as blanket on babe wrapped swaddled beneath the arms of mother Mary. He sat near her bosom and she held him tight, warm, against her. In me I felt such things as these, if not according to the specificity of the image, then according to the feeling which it evokes in me as I write it. These and so many others come to me and stretch me deep, I feeling my heart of hearts at any moment when it should come to pass that anything reminds of me what was, and tells to me what well might be. So there I stood and sat, seeing in the club so many semblances of ideas had, feelings foraging in me for berries sweet feeling and living lie jeering as I smote each in lightning strike, damning them down as Moses with Commandments 10 when Israel against him spat!

Levi! To your place!
Sword to Israel’s gut in haste!

I dug in me deep with each step, a burrow mole borrowing energy from the sun for deeper trench, for wonderment in the depth of depths. And yet, I found nothing. For who among me could understand such feeling? Who here could say to me — “Yes! I too experience your underneathness, your underselfness, your entering into you with deep heart pound and stomach sounding as your muscles ache and sweat drips! I feel me as you feel you, let all things be in concordance according to this!” What a dream! No, for around me sagged the drooping sound of trinket-toy words clinking and clanking as dice on poker table. Ha! There then was nothing to them but empty smiles, empty trials for each to show that he or she feels just enough to merit simultaneity, pseudo-love, emptiness.

It seems that so few want to hear of such depths. Perhaps I ought to up my antidepressant perscription, lest I feel more than the world around me tolerates. It seems this is the great subjection of man, or least it is in me — the freedom to feel ought be quashed under the boot-licking lie of pseudo-pleasure. “Drink! Smoke! Be merry! But don’t feel! Feel, and you transgress” Either I am a prophet against this sham life, or I’ll uptake serotonin until “me” is no longer. As Jefferson Airplane said:

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small,
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all

Let me number the stars!