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Postmodern Philosophy

Postmodern Philosophy

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Postmodern Philosophy
Postmodern Philosophy

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Towards a multi- & meta-cultural Postmodern Philosophy

Towards a moderate, modular Postmodernism

"Am Anfang is der Tat."
(the famous words spoken by Herr Doktor Faust)

Can postmodernism be defined ? How did modernism evolve ? Has postmodernism a particular logic ? Building a moderate postmodern system* How to structure a moderate postmodern philosophy ? A possible system* of philosophy The criticism of this moderate postmodern position Symbols of growth & conclusions Recent : The Rules of the Game of True Knowing (1999) On Being and the Majesty of the Worlds (1999) Against the Free Will (1999) Articles on Sufism (2000) On the Water of Life (2000) Liber Sententiæ (2000) On the Polished Mirror (2000) The Memphis Theology (2001) The Didache (2001) The Great Hymn to the Aten (2001)
by Wim van den Dungen © 1996 - 2001 by globalprojects.org editorial

"Un point vivant ... Non, je me trompe. Rien d'abord, puis un point vivant ... A ce point vivant, il s'en applique un autre, encore un autre ; et par ces applications successives il résulte un être un, car je suis bien un, je n'en saurais douter (...) Mais comment cette unité s'est-elle faite ... Tenez, philosophe, je vois bien un agrégat, un tissu de petits êtres sensibles, mais un
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animal ... un tout ayant la conscience de son unité. Je ne le vois pas, non, je ne le vois pas." Diderot, D. : Le Rêve de d'Alembert, mid 18th, Gallimard - Paris, 1935, p.677. "On pourrait donner le nom d'Entelechies à toutes les substances simples, ou Monades creées, car elles ont en elles une certaine perfection, il y a une suffisance qui les rend sources de leurs actions internes et pour ainsi dire, des Automates incorporels." Leibniz, G.W. : Monadologie, 1712-1714, § 18. "... the empirical consciousness of the manifold, given in any intuition, is subject to a pure selfconsciousness a priori, in the same manner as the empirical intuition is subject to a pure sensuous intuition which likewise takes place a priori." Kant, I. : Critique of Pure Reason, 1787, B:142-146, § 21, Note (translated by M.Müller, 1966). "Consciousness, then, in its majestic sublimity above any specific law and every content of duty, puts whatever content it pleases into its knowledge and willing. It is moral genius and originality, which knows the inner voice of its immediate knowledge to be a voice divine ; and since in such knowledge it directly knows experience as well, it is divine creative power, which contains living force in its very conception. It is in itself, too, divine worship, 'service of God', for its action is the contemplation of this its own proper divinity." Hegel, G.W.F. : The Phenomenology of Mind, 1807, chapter 8 (translated by W.Orynski, 1960), my italics. " ... every apprehension of a particular empirical thing or specific empirical occurence contains within it an act of evaluation. What distinguishes empirical reality, the constant core of objective being, from the mere world of representation or imagination, is that in it the permanent is more and more clearly differentiated from the fluid, the constant form the variable. The particular sense impression is not simply taken for what it is and immediately gives ; instead we ask : will it be confirmed by experience as a whole ?" Cassirer, E. : The Philosophy of Symbolic Form, vol.2, chapter 1 (translated by R.Manheim, 1955). "The Enlightenment of modern times advanced from the very beginning under the banner of radicalism ; this distinguishes it from any of the earlier stages of demythologization." Horkheimer, M. & Adorno, Th. : Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944, my italics. "... whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so because he had adopted (...) some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour ; an adoption which may be called 'irrational' (...), we may describe it as an irrational faith in reason". Popper, K.R. : The Open Society and Its Enemies, Routledge & Kegan - London, 1966, vol.II, p.231. "The reclassification of academic philosophy as one of the human sciences in this respect has a significance far beyond simply professional concerns. I do not think that philosophy as legitimation is condemned to disappear, but it is possible that it will not be able to carry out
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this work, or at least advance it, without revising its ties to the university institution." Lyotard, J-F. : The Postmodern condition : A Report on Knowledge, footnote 29, 1979, my italics. "... le vivant fonctionne loin de l'équilibre, dans un domaine où les conséquences de la croissance de l'entropie ne peuvent plus être interprétées selon le principe d'ordre de Boltzmann, il fonctionne dans un domaine où les processus producteurs d'entropie, les processus qui dissipent l'énergie, jouent un rôle constructif, sont source d'ordre." Prigogine, I. & Stengers, I. : La Nouvelle Alliance, Gallimard - Paris, 1979, p.178, my italics. "Strange attractors are encountered in many (nonlinear) physical, chemical and biological systems that are 'not integrable' and therefore show ultimately unpredictable, chaotic behavior. In fact, the usual 'textbook' cases, nicely integrable, are now recognised as singular exceptions ; the real world outside the textbooks, including romantic attraction, remains largely unforeseeable, moving along strange attractors (...) Strange attractors often do have structure : like the Sierpinski gasket, they are self-similar or approximately so." Schroeder, M. : Fractals, Chaos & Power Laws, Freeman - New York, 1991, p.28. "(...) the present movement is based on the awareness that the continuation of modernity threatens the very survival of life on our planet. This awareness, combined with the growing knowledge of the interdependence of the modern worldview and the militarism, nuclearism, and ecological devastation of the modern world, is providing an unprecedented impetus for people to see the evidence for a postmodern worldview and to envisage postmodern ways of relating to each other, the rest of nature, and the cosmos as a whole." Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality : A Postmodern Exploration, State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.xiii-xiv. "Unfortunately, some critiques go beyond attacking the worst aspects of science (militarism, sexism, etc.) and attack its best aspects : the attempt to rationally understand the world, and the scientific method, understood broadly as a respect for empirical evidence and for logic. It is naive to believe that it is not the rational attitude itself that is really challenged by postmodernism. Moreover, this aspect is an easy target, because any attack on rationality can find a host of allies : all those who believe in superstitions, be they traditional ones (e.g. religious fundamentalism) or New Age." Sokal, A. & Brickmont, J. : Fashionable Nonsense : Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, St.Martin's Press - New York, 1998, p.203, my italics. "Non-cellular pluralism, in which various outlooks are constantly competing with each other, is not an evil that is to be resisted - that only results in suppression (cf. the totalitarian states). On the contrary, it forms the medium par excellence in late-modern society ..." Hellemans, S. : "The many faces of the world : World views in agragrian civilisation and in modern societies", in Perspectives on the World, VUB Press - VUB, 1995, p.101.

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Can postmodernism be defined ? The Revaluation of Modernity
Author Brief analysis of revaluation or quote Rejects nihilist belief in the unreality of this world and seeks the authentic individual "overman" who embraces life without mummifying it in ideologies. Modernism is an expansion of instrumental rationalism, bringing liberty, material wellbeing, the "disenchantment of the world", permanent dissatisfaction & the "iron cage" of alienation. Enlightenment's tendencies are self-negating (or dialectical). Enlightened reason rejects all metaphysical & religious sources of value, adhering to power & self-interest only. Enlightenment is the only road to social freedom but this always leads to totalitarianism Books - lectures - essays

Friedrich Nietzsche

"The Madman", in The Gay Science, 1886, Part Three, section 125.

Max Weber

"Science as a Vocation", lecture, 1918.

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno

Dialectic of Enlightenment,

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Ludwig Wittgenstein

TLP "6.54 My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way : anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them -as steps- to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it). He must transcend these propositions, and then will he see the world aright. 7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." Science does not proceed by patient accretion of facts but by revolutionary interpretive shifts in which one "paradigm" replaces another. It is not clear whether the meanings of the terms of one paradigm can be translated into the terms of another, suggesting the discontinuity & incommensurability of scientific progress. The change from one paradigm to another is not wholly justifiable or rational. His careful analysis of language called attention to the deep paradoxes and undecidable problems implicit in texts. The tradition of presenting reality in representation (the philosophical tradition) is always maked by mediation, distance, plurality and uncertainty of meaning ("différance"). This contrasts

Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus (TLP), 1921.
On Certainty, 1949.

Thomas Kuhn

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,

Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology,

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with the spoken word, with its apparent immediacy of meaning and connection to the living presence of the speaker. Through deconstruction he tries to read texts critically, displaying the self-undermining elements (written down in the magin of the original text under scrutiny). Transcendence is a state of separation opposing itself to the flowing of all that is. There is not first an ego for which the object is, separated by its transcendence. Rather, subject & object are simultaneous hypostatizations of interrupted flow. The "I" lacks all distinctness, haemorrhaging freely into death, lost in "immanent immensity", which is without separations or limits. Science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. The only principle that does not inhibit progress is : "anything goes". Science may be advanced by proceeding couterinductively, through the pluralistic proliferation of theories & the use of irrational methods of support. A new breed of intellectuals rose to power : the professionalized incompetent.


Georges Bataille

Theory on Religion,

Against Method,

Paul Feyerabend

Science in a Free Society,

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JeanFrançois Lyotard

Our "language games" no longer require metanarratives to justify the utterances made in them. No legitimation is necessary beyond expediency. The production of knowledge is analyzed in terms of discontinuity, plurality and "paralogy" (logically unjustified conclusions). Justification, system, proof & the unity of science do no longer hold. The anthropological approach of the knowledge-production in laboratories shows the importance of indeterminacy & contextual contingency -rather than non-local universality- as inherent in scientific progress. Scientific change & discovery go hand in hand with an opportunistic logic, marked by local, contextual, socially situated breeds of action. The idea of the unity of science should be reconsidered. The traditional philosophical pursuit of ultimate, transcendental, foundational knowledge is not a valid or desirable enterprise. Philosophy can not justify any program of political reform. Philosophy -like rhetorics- makes different world descriptions only look attractive. Our vocabularies can not be grounded in an appeal to "objectivity". The pragmatic alternative sees legitimation as "solidarity" or culture.

The Postmodern Condition : A Report on Knowledge,

Karin D. Knorr Cetina

The Manifacture of Knowledge, 1981.

Richard Rorty

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature,
1979. "Solidarity or Objectivity ?", essay, 1985.

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David Ray Griffin

"Parapsychology provides evidence against the intellectual adequacy of the late modern worldview, evidence that is particularly dramatic. This is not to say that the case against the truth of atheistic materialism rest only, or even primarily, on the question of the genuineness of the apparent paranormal interactions investigated by parapsychology. (...) Nevertheless, parapsychology may turn out to be of decisive importance in moving our culture from a modern to a postmodern outlook."

Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality,

(§ 1) It was Joseph Hudnut who, at Harvard with modernist Walter Gropius, in an article published in 1945 spoke of "the post-modern house". Lyotard, introducing with his report to the Province of Quebec's Conseil des Universités called : The Postmodern Condition : A Report on Knowledge (1979) this notion into contemporary philosophical discourse, proposed that his own commitment to this new and emergent global movement be grasped as a reaffirmation of the authentic modernism (to be found in Adorno's philosophy for who the Enlightenment is the only road to social freedom, but it inevitably leads to totalitarianism). So in fact he was a pro-modernist ! Eco rightly claims postmodernism to be the avant-garde of the modernism of the 21th century, others say that by depending too much upon a subjectivist non-social conception of rationality it moves towards irrationalism (Habermas, 1985). What are the characteristics of postmodernism ? "So one of the key shifts to the Post-Modern world will be a change in epistemology, the understanding of knowledge and how it grows and relates to other assumptions. Not only will it emphasise the continuities of nature, but the time-bound, cultural nature of knowledge. (...) It will not embrace an absolute relativism and contend that one scientific hypothesis is as good as another, or as Jean-François Lyotard has argued, a complete scepticism and an end to all master narratives and beliefs. Rather, it will support relative absolutism, or fragmental holism, which insists on the developing and jumping nature of scientific growth, and the fact that all propositions of truth are time- and context-sensitive." Jencks, Ch. : "What is Post-Modernism ?" in Cahoone, L. (edit) : From Modernism to Postmodernism : an Anthology, Blackwell - Oxford, 1995, p.478, my italics.

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Hence, not unlike Wolfe, Jencks and others, postmodernism is understood to be basically antimodernist, which does not imply a regression into pre-modernism for the whole of modernism should not be rejected. Logic, epistemology, theory of language & phenomenology are timeless jewels. However, the rhetorical tropes celebrated by modern science like logical consistency, analytical reason, straightforwardness, simplicity, justification, system, proof, presence with the exclusion of holism, interdisciplinary approaches, absence & the interconnectivity of knowledge are rejected. This not to invite irrationalism or move against reason (as some suggest) but rather to suggest the importance of overall coherence, intellectual synthesis, subtlety, complexity, efficiency, systematical interdependence of everything, suspended judgment & awareness of absence. The sterile division between human & natural sciences is questioned. Jencks definition of postmodernism as "double coding" is interesting. The combination of modern techniques with "something else" which does take into account history and which is able to communicate with its users is indeed typical for the postmodern approach and its entanglement with art. "But no matter what any given Web site specializes in, this principle will always hold true : The quantity of people visiting is far less important than the quality of their experience. Contrary to what some people believe, the Web is not a mass medium. It's a niche medium, a personal medium, and an interactive medium." Schwartz, E.I. : Webonomics, Penguin - London, 1997, p.27. Postmodern methods (like the WWW) will engender a new type of global culture. This culture is a decentralised field, a mosaic of nations & peoples. Hence, postmodernism is per definition multi-cultural, pluralistic & eclectical. It challenges the fossilized limitations invoked by societies which embraced (or were forced into) modernism. Each culture has its right to exist in harmony with other cultures. Multi-culturalism also implies a reappraisal of the claims of the Europacentric language-game called "modern science". It is not a unique standard of education for mankind and it does not take the fundamental chaos of life into account. This does not abrogate the notion of "science" nor the horizon of ultimate truth. (§ 2) Perhaps the most important finding of critical modernism (formulating the possibilities of thought) is the inherent limitations of human knowledge, both subjectively (the capacity to know) as objectively (the theory-ladenness of all observation). A certain rule of reason is temporarily considered to be true by a limited set of highly specialised sign-interpreters. Their belief in some reasonable conclusion is relative, fallible & open to refutations. Criticism showed that the scientific enterprise has no ontological foundation. This means that (contrary to the modern, foundational approach) postmodernism disposes of a unique tool : the a priori principles of thought which we have been using all the time and which are conditioned by the transcendental "I Think" (of all times) of the subject of cognition (cf. Averroes on monopsychism).

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Using our minds we never know (or have experience of) reality-as-such (which is as an ever escaping horizon). Critical science is anti-ontological for the purpose of logic, theory of knowledge, linguistics and/or philosophy of language. The conclusions of these disciplines should have practical consequences. These may (and often do) run against established habits of thought, such as realism & idealism, engendering a schism between the logic of science & its sociology (cf. Popper & Lakatos). A critical philosophy moving beyond counter-intentional modernism & the colonisation of knowledge will acknowledge the importance of the tools given by a strictly nominalistic inquiry into the nature of the human mind in particular and the "fact" of reason (cf. Kant's "Factum Rationis") in general. Aware of the ontological illusion even the untricked mind can not avoid, a moderate postmodern criticism tries to cover the differences between presence & active absence. Surely "postmodernism" is the name given to a cultural movement not yet identified. "It is the vote of everyone concerned that decides fundamental issues such as the teaching methods used, or the truth of basic beliefs such as the theory of evolution, or the quantum theory, and not the authority of big-shots hiding behind a non-existent methodology. There is no need to fear that such a way of arranging society will lead to undesirable results. Science itself uses the method of ballot, discussion, vote, though without a clear grasp of its mechanism, and in a heavily biased way. But the rationality of our beliefs will certainly be considerable increased." Feyerabend, P. : Against Method, Verso - London, 1975, p.309.
Dutch readers : Prolegomena (1994), Kennis (1995)

(§ 3) The distinction between radical postmodernism and mild or moderate postmodernism (also called "constructive postmodernism") is justified on the grounds of the argumentative weakness of both Lyotard's paralogy or Derrida's deconstruction. Habermas & others are right in pointing out that Lyotard's view on rationality is defunct. For some logical rules are necessary a priori. Transcendental object & subject (cf. Kant's "I Think") can not be eliminated from thought and so they constitute the empty, groundless ground of knowledge. Stressing discontinuity does not desolve continuity. Nor is continuity interesting & revealing without discontinuity. Who will deconstruct deconstruction ? How did deconstruction emerge ? In Derrida's mind ? A moderate postmodernist is aware of the necessities implied by transcendental logic, without however falling into the traps of realism, idealism or a metaphysics of logocentric presence. "From the point of view of deconstructive postmodernism, this constructive postmodernism is still hopelessly wedded to outdated concepts, because it wishes to salvage a positive meaning not only for the notions of the human self, historical meaning, and truth as correspondence, which were central to modernity, but also for premodern notions of a divine reality, cosmic meaning, and an enchanted nature."
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Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.xiii.

How did modernism evolve ?
Historically, modernism has gone through several stages :

The RISE of Modernity :
Regarding the many historical influences determining the coming of the Renaissance (the earliest phase of humanistic modernism) at the end of Medieval Europe, one should not (as was & is usually done by Europacentrists to suggest the originality of modernism) underestimate the major role played by the masters of Arab (Muslim) sciences in general (their translations of and learned commentaries on important works of Greek thinkers like Aristotle and neoplatonists like Plotinus) and great thinkers like Avicenna & Averroes in particular. Both continued to be published despite the reaction against Islam & the Arabic language. From the twelfth century onward, the influence of Avicenna's medicine can be traced in Salerno & Montpelier, whereas his philosophy influenced Paris & Oxford. Hence, the system of Thomas Aquinas (who produced the sum of Medieval scholastic thinking built on the ideas of Aristotle) would not have been possible if the Arabs who conquered Spain had not enjoyed translating so much into living European languages (Toledo, Cordoba). Individual universal scientists like Avicenna influenced William of Auvergne, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Spain, Duns Scotus ... Averroes influenced Paris, Bologna and Padua, etc. Although Gilson doubts the existence of a genuine "Latin Avicennianism", he demonstrated the existence of an "Avicennizing Augustinism". In the Arab worldview, both theory & practice are considered, both the formal reasons (forms) as the physical, sensoric data. Avicenna changed the middle term of the syllogism (the metaphysical cause) to an empirical one, thereby adapting it to the ends of an inductive science (Goichon, A.M., 1952). In his Shifâ Avicenna criticizes the Aristotelian theory of projectile motion (the Achilles' heel of peripatetic physics, the grand metaphor of pre-modern thought). If there were of void in which a body could move, its force ("mail qasrî") would not be dissipated but continue for ever. A body moved by a given force has a velocity inversely proportional to its "natural inclination" or weight and the distance traversed with constant velocity is directely proportional to its weight (cf. Galileo's "impeto" and the "momentum" of modern physics, i.e. mass times velocity). Clearly these insights are being put to paper long before the cherished founding fathers of the myth of modernity. "By all accounts the most cultured country in Europe, al-Andalus possessed and cultivated all the sciences known at that time. (...) Essentially it was a land where religion and science
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worked together, and many visitors were drawn by the extraordinary achievements in agriculture, irrigation and scientific research. The Moors transformed the Iberian Peninsula into one of the most successful economies of the time. Cordoba and Toledo became the western arm of a great cultural explosion : scientific knowledge which had originated in India, China and the Hellenistic world was sought out by Arab scholars and translated, refined and augmented in various centres of learning, starting at the Persian city of Jund-i-Shapur, where several scholars from Plato's Academy went after the school was closed down in AD 529, and moving on to Baghdad, Cairo and then Cordoba and Toledo, from where this knowledge was disseminated into Western Europe." Hirtenstein, S. : The Unlimited Mercifier, Anqa & White Cloud Press - Oxford/Ashland, 1999, p.11. To specify an often underestimated element of the Andalusian set, it is interesting to know that in Late Egyptian times, in Alexandria, old Egyptian mysteries were integrated into a Greek system of theosophy, later called the Corpus Hermeticum, which relied heavily upon the correspondence between the small and the very large (at work in astrology & magic). Some of these texts were invoked by some groups living in Harran in the 8th A.D. when they were asked to which prophet they belonged and to show their revealed texts. In this way Hermes became one of the prophets accepted by Islam and hermetism became part of Islam, especially through Sufism, mathematics & science. The school of Harran produced the Picatrix (Ghayat al-hikim), a work on astrological magic which would have such an influence that it became the ultimate Christian example of the "forbidden book". Hence, with the mathematical & practical aspects of hermetism came a particular worldview which had easily been assimilated in the context of an absolute monotheism (like Islam) but which had to go undercover when it reached the Christian West via Andalusia. Why ? In the West, the Roman Church guarded the only true miracle possible after Jesus Christ, namely the mystery of the holy host during the consecration at mass. The only place were, according to them, the summit of the miraculous subsisted. So another major influence on the rise of modernity (absent in Islam) was Christianity's failure to develop a sane, constructive & non-defensive attitude regarding nature and its driving force, sexuality. Modernism did not arise in the context of Islam because the study of nature was not divorced from religion or spirituality (the signs of "Allâh" are everywhere). In Christianity, natural inquiry was disregarded & often diabolized. Natural study & heresy walked hand in hand. The Catholic viewpoints on nature were salvic, not scientific. This was not the case in Islam because the teachings of the Koran do not go against natural inquiry (knowledge for the sake of knowledge) neither are they exclusive or in principle directed against other religions & their revelations (as was the Roman Church). Their concept of heresy totally differed. Furthermore, the Church militantly defended outdated cosmological ideas and cherished mistaken beliefs. No intellectual able to read Aristotle could be satisfied with such a grotesk situation. By adhering to irrational beliefs against natural inquiry, Christianity promoted a study of nature outside of the religious perspective. This objectivation and denudation resulted from centuries of christocentric anti-natural pain & suffering,
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summarized in the metaphor of the cross and the myth the suffering of Jesus on the cross (redeeming -not unlike Pharaoh when he rises- the world of its sins). It is often repeated that the Renaissance is linked with the "ad fontes" principle, a return to the Greek & Roman philosopher, authors & poets, deemed "classical" and interpreted in a particular, reductionist way. Now we learn that this is even more true that realized, for hermetism and the famous "Orientale Lumen" contained a lot of the thought-patterns of Late Egypt & its famous Alexandrian school (dessimated by the early Roman Church). However, the irrational side of Greek culture (as revealed by its mystery cults, its music, drama & chorus) was selectively underestimated by our European humanists, and its Apollinic qualities were stressed. Regarding the many hermetical disciplines which emerged & flourished in Europe, the same reductionism can be observed. Of astrology, the predictive side was pulled out and the alchemists are portrayed as early chemists. This selective approach was very probably caused by the oppressive and life-treatening activities of the Roman Church, always diligent in fighting the devil and explaining the unexplained with myths & blind faith, in necessary "de manu militari". It is therefore revealing to learn of the importance of the Phoenician merchants, suppliers of oriental imports to the Greeks, already fully present in the men of Sidon mentioned by Homer in his Odyssey (cf. Burkert's analysis of the Near Eastern orientalizing influence on early, archaic age of Greece, Heraclitus and the Orient & Bréhier's discovery of eastern influences in Plotinus). Our whole picture of Classical Greece should perhaps be reviewed !?

starting with the Renaissance in 13th century Italy and reaching the North of Europe around 1650 :
q q q

a) a non-radical, nominalistic denial of the conceptual realism of scholasticism ; b) observation, experiment & a bricoleur-mentality which derive from the individual ; c) a focus on solving practical problems ;

In a moderate postmodern perspective, humanism is the possible "nugget of gold" in the dross of the destructive history of modernism and its co-relatives : "enlightened" dogmatism, fanatism, reductionism, militarism, "free market" consumerism etc. Humanism is called "possibly" constructive, because historical humanism is anti-ecological and focuses too much on the freedom of the human individual and too little on the balancing-out of this freedom with responsibility (towards oneself, the future of humanity and the many other living creatures visible & invisible). It often leads to atheism and agnosticism or to scepticism. All these positions are rejected. Neohumanism has to be truly ecological, global & sharing. Because it does not built its epistemology on a model of exclusive presence, consistency & determination, it retains the pre-modern relationship with nature, the cosmos and its conjectured creator and is hence able
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to reconstruct this pre-modernism with the best tools of the so-called "modern" mental operation (cf. Piaget's formal-operatoric phase of cognition pertaining to empirico-formal object-knowledge). A mature version of historical humanism preluding rationalism can be found in the writings of Michel de Montaigne, who in order to escape arrogant dogmatism embraced classical scepticism (cf. his Apology of Raimond Sebond). The move of humanism to rationalism (cf. Descartes' Discours of Method) was intepreted by Toulmin as rationalism's answer to the initiating force of humanism (cf. Cosmopolis : The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, 1990), for in his Apology Montaigne wrote that we can not be sure of anything unless we find the one thing which is absolutely certain !

II.Rationalism of Nature
starting in the first quater of the 17th century :

q q

a) mathematics of the final foundation of knowledge in a clear, distinct, continuous, certain & absolute sufficient ground ; b) systematic observation & formalization of facts ; c) focused on a closed, knowledge-founding & dualistic worldview & anthropology ;

III.Empirism of Nature
in the 18th century :

q q

a) mathematical certainty & impressions are the foundation of knowledge (phenomenism) ; b) systematic observation & its formalisation ; c) sceptic agnosticism which undermines positive science, scholastic & natural metaphysics ;

Undoubtedly, since the 17th century, European intellectuals have been discussing theoretical problems from the sideline. No practical consideration motivated them. Nor was there any longer a clerical approach. But conflicting "systems" emerged like mushrooms. The three main protagonists were "God" (the unknown absolute thing), "res extensa" (the extended thing, i.e. physical reality) and "res cogitans" (the thinking thing, i.e. the subject, "l'être conscient"). Rationalism did not satisfy because there are always unexplained differences between the "ideal" and the empirical "real". Empirism did not satisfy because the origin of mathematical truth remains open and empirical comparison asks for a non-empirical standard or law, which brings us back to rationalism. Because of the cultural weight of the churches, God was not eliminated, but underwent a transformation. The Biblical God was replaced by the "God of the Philosophers". God became the light of the intellect of the rationalists (denied by Kant without eliminating the notion of a priori ideas of reason) or the Universal Observant (cf. Berkeley's "esse est percipi").

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The ZENITH of Modernity : IV.Criticism
at the end of the 18th century :

a) a systematic, transcendental investigation of the objective boundaries of "Verstand" (mind) & "Vernunft" (reason) operating in the subject of knowledge and the elimination of the ideas of God, Soul & World as the cornerstones of knowledge ; b) Copernican Revolution : Man imposes Nature his own a priori categories ; c) focused on a new, scientific metaphysics which does not move beyond the boundaries necessary for mind & reason to function properly ;



The influence of Kant on modernism is so vast that the "modern" history of Western philosophy taught at school has been divided in pre-Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy ! In fact, Kant introduced in philosophy what Copernicus, Kepler & Newton had presented to the intelligent communities of their day, namely : not sense data or ideas are central but the cognitive possibilities of the subject of experience. It is they who turn around this subject and not the subject around them. So the first task of philosophy is to ask : "What can I know ?" or "Are there limitations to cognition ?" Critical philosophy (avoiding both dogmatism and scepticism) answered the latter question affirmatively. The criticism of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1787) (the re- & deconstruction of the "Transcendental Doctrine of Elements") is probably the most valuable jewel in the chest of a moderate postmodernism. Reducing Kant's philosophy to the Kritik der reinen Vernunft would be misunderstanding him (although it is his greatest work). Recent studies show how Kant was preoccupied with an "immanent" metaphyics, i.e. one that would not trespass the boundaries of reason. He did not develop such a speculative science, but (as his Opus postumum shows) was aware of its possibility. How strong was the influence of Protestantism on his distinction between "pure" and "practical" reason ? The emergence of idealism shows how the modern, analytical approach and its intellectual criticism were rejected by those romantics who stressed their intuitions & creative imaginations and who described Nature as a living organism. Hegel (the Augustine of the romantics) returned to a pre-thomistic epistemology which gave him the unrightful right to attain absolute knowledge. This giganto-brontosauric system is proof of the small error needed to create massive redundancy and nonsense. "Hegelian science" was (of course) not able to maintain itself or withold the rise of materialism, scientism & the Europacentric secular "barons of science" serving capital & industry. With technology, science found its idol (golem or monster) and got more and more compromized by the many offerings made to it by the higher & middle classes in the crystal palace of their belief in linear growth. In the Victorian
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age, modernism became at last "fashionable sense" for everybody (except the exploited classes, i.e. the silent majority). Science begins to play its dirty, so-called objective role.

from 1850 till Worldwar II :

a) metaphysics & theology are negative values, facts are positive (Comte) and science is able to work in a way which does not involve subjectivity at all (Weber) ; b) sense-data are the foundation of knowledge & the emergent technological materialism ; c) a definite movement towards a new, secular scientific class fashioning their logicalpositivist monolith which dictates atheism, agnosticism and reductionist humanism ;



The miracles of old re-emerged in the world of machines & mathematics. Except for two dark clouds (the speed of light and the ultraviolet-catastroph) Lord Kelvin described how blue the skies of physics were. At the end of the 19th century, scientists had been able to put some of their (in fact conflicting & incomplete) empirico-formal equations regarding Nature into practice. Some of the machines they invented worked, as did their many negative side-effects, considered as unimportant or limited. Two distinct periods spring to the fore : one in which a "Newtonian" paradigm dominates and another characterized by amazing (instrumental, functional) discoveries in the absence of a grand physical theory at least able to reconcile the two rivals at hand : relativity (the very large) and its determinism and quantum (the extremely small) and its probabilism. How do we act when we know something is wrong ?

DUSK and FALL of Modernity : VI.Institutionalism
from 1945 till early 70 :

a) rapid global divulgation of the black box-model ; b) valid knowledge is tested & consensual : a scientific elitism with its given discourses, conventions, parlances and local logics - science as the servant of industry, the military, the "powers that be" ... c) focused on the metaphysics of permanent scientific discovery & material growth ;



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the rise of the "postmodern avant-garde" from "Oil"-crisis till 20??

a) globalisation of egology, destruction of ecosystems & social depravity ; b) rapid moral degeneration, corrupt status quo, the rise of counter & anti-cultural movements, the institutionalisation of incompetence, massive global squandering of material resources ; c) virulent nihilism, death-art, the cult of irrationalism & the rise of posthumous modernism ; d) total misunderstanding of the needs of humanity & its survival ; e) collective psychosis & hysteria, rise of violence, insecurity and global catastrophies.





The end of this century proves to be as dark as its beginning. This despite techology, "modern" this-and-that and the cynical display of hollow grandure and achievement (growth) modernists (scientists & politicians alike) enjoy. These have been great times for pessimists. Too many of our fellow human beings suffer permanently. This despite more than half a century of so-called serious institutional globalisation and the rise of international organisations and so-called democratic peace-keeping forces. Instead of helping the poor not to fall in the same ecological & social abysses, the West has divulgated materialism, negativism, nihilism & consumerism. The rich became and still become richer every day. The poorer ever more wretched. In this way the rich squander the wealth of the future. The "lost generations" do not want to be responsible for the damage caused by their ancestors elsewhere. The link with the past is often broken. But ... there is enough money to solve most problems, if not all in due time. Egoism & solipsism prevail and are fed by fear. The modern human seem to be afraid to live his or her life without the illusionary securities of the material operator. The structural deficiencies of latter day modernist societies (democratic, dictatorial or savage) are such that helping is sometimes ineffective. A global solution is the only way out. A fair redistribution of wealth the moral of this tragic story.
Dutch readers may consult : Kennis (1995).

The "idealist" version of posthumous modernism :

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Jürgen Habermas

The pessimism of Adorno & Horkheimer is the result of an instrumental interpretation of rationality leading to the "Dialectic of Enlightenment". Rationality is communicative, i.e. inherently linguistic & argumentative (social). Each communicative discourse is based on the assumption that power & self-intrest do not rule supreme. A sincere, truth-governed speech is possible because "a moment of unconditionality" of truth & freedom can not be excluded, despite money & power, which may colonise knowledge.

Theory of Communicative Action, 1981.

The "realist" version of posthumous modernism : The real world exists independent of ourselves and touches us each time we experience something. Scientific theories are not to be justified by means of induction. A scientific theory explains how it may fail. If it does, it lost correspondence with reality and can no longer be true. Theories are built on piles driven down from above into the swamp, not down to any given base, although they are really firm enough to carry the structure.

Karl Popper

The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934. Postscript, 1951 - 1956.

Has postmodernism a particular logic ?
(§ 1) The "logic" of postmodernism may be discovered in the texts of Lyotard, Rorty, Foucault, Derrida, although the latter (often called a poststructuralist) does not use the term to define his views. This "logic" is very a-formal but often analytically sharp, simultaneously refined & grotesque. Derrida introduced so-called "deconstruction" into Western philosophical thought. According to Derrida, Western thought as a whole is a philosophy of presence. Socrates, who inspired Plato when the latter wrote the first texts of Western philosophy, did not write. However, because Plato listened to Socrates and textualised his words, Socrates is said to be
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present in our minds when we read Plato's text (we, not present when Socrates was uttering his own words !). The text refers to something outside the text itself. "Ce renversement cohérent, soumettant la sémiologie à une 'trans-linguistique', conduit à sa pleine explication une linguistique historiquement dominée par la métaphysique logocentrique, pour laquelle en effet il n'y a, il ne devrait y avoir 'de sense que nommé'. Dominée par la soi-disant 'civilisation de l'écriture' que nous habitons, civilisation de l'écriture soi-disant phonétique, c'est-à-dire du logos où le sens de l'être est, en son telos, déterminé comme parousie." Derrida, J. : De la Grammatologie, Minuit - Paris, 1967, p.75, my italics. This presence is summoned up by the text to sustain a mental mechanism through which a certain conscious unity of the text and the presence outside the text is realised. Spoken words are considered to be symbols of mental experiences and written words are the symbols of spoken words (cf. Aristotle). "It is impossible for the same attribute at once to belong and not to belong to the same thing and in the same relation. (...) Hence, all men who are demonstrating anything refer back to this as an ultimate belief ; for it is by nature the starting-point of all the other axioms as well. (...) Even in the case of this law, however, we can demonstrate the impossibility by refutation, if only our opponent makes some statement." Aristotle : Metaphysics, IV, iii 9, 12 & iv 3-4. This logocentrism is also a phonocentrism : absolute proximity of voice and being, of voice and meaning of being, of voice and the ideality of meaning. Derrida does not reject this philosophy of presence. Because his deconstruction takes place "in the margin" of its major texts, it seems that presence & absence form a pair. Deconstruction takes place in a consciousness aware of the pair and of this formidable difference between the so-called presence of being in texts and the absence of the being of the man Plato knew, Socrates. Derrida claims that there is nothing outside the text. Modernism (in its many variations, both as a method and as a cultural meanstream) may hence be understood as an exclusivism of presence, or, in the language of Jung, Animusobsessed. (§ 2) Logocentrism is the (symbolical) determination of the being of an object as presence. In this way, linguistics remains completely enclosed within a classical conceptuality in which false doors, i.e. a transcendental signified, occur. By marking these in a text (for example by adding an asterix*) one menaces the history and the life of the spirit of self-presence, one menaces substantiality. For by allowing the text to summon a presence outside the text we delude ourselves by creating a fiction through the medium of that book, programme, film or file. So although deconstruction does not interfere with the summoning of the spirit of identity,
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it adds little notes in the margin of the text. These remarks unveil the hidden escape-roads present in the text. Many passages in a text suggest a meta-level of meaning delimitation, unnoticed strands of hidden variables which -after analysis- prove to contain infinite reiterations, with unexpected & unparalleled complexities. Has Heidegger's conception of truth after "die Kehre" as "a-lethèia", i.e. both unhidden & hidden inspired Derrida ? Truth as both presence and absence. Western philosophy and the sciences have tried in vain to reduce truth to the presence of facts and/or discourse. It is impossible to know reality-as-it-is. No empirico-formal statement can be made about the essence of being. All this belongs to the realm of absence. A metaphysics of absence starts by investigating the possible intrusions of absence once its domain has been established (by the negation of the presences of being). "The power that manifests itself stands in unconcealment. In showing itself, the unconcealed as such comes to stand. Truth as un-concealment is not an appendage to being. (...) Since being means emerging, appearing, to issue forth from concealment - concealment, its origin in concealment, belongs to it essentially. This origin lies in the essence of being, of the manifest as such. Being inclines back toward it, both in great silence and mystery and in banal distortion and occultation." Heidegger, M. : An Introduction to Metaphysics, Yale University Press - Yale, 1959 (translated by R.Manheim), p.102 & p.114. (§ 3) A possible system* begins with a critical inquiry of the boundaries of reason, mind and their cognitive mechanisms, mental operators, systems & models. Reason (cf. Kant's "Vernunft") is a higher faculty involved with the extension & unity of all operations & activities of the mind (cf. Kant's "Verstand"). Its logic is monadic. Kant tried to avoid the consequences of the possibility of reason to perceive its own activity in a purely intellectual way (cf. contemplation). The step from a imaginary, regulative focus to the transformation of reason under the influence of the intellect is not taken, although the necessity of unification is clearly seen. A theory on transcendental unity should satisfy the need for a harmony between reason & intuition. The study of Fichte, Schelling & Husserl is rewarding. The human mind, ruled by reason, is characterised by an "essential tension" (cf.Kuhn) between idealism & realism, the metaphysical outposts of erroneous mental activity caught in an ontological illusion (erecting a theory of knowledge on the dogma of either subjectivism or objectivism). Both possibilities have to be superseded. A trichotomic logic is able to solve the problem of the justification of knowledge. Replace :
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Modern Dualism
object of knowledge equals reality "res extensa" with : realisms versus idealisms facts versus mentals subject of knowledge
equals mind "res cogitans"

Postmodern Triadism
object of knowledge the "real" (world) "our" reality "my" reality "my" theory subject of knowledge "our" theory the "ideal" (theory)

(§ 4) Only when knowledge is justified should it be used in social formations & taught as a fact able to influence the sustainable harmonisation of life on Earth. This justification is never final and therefore more than a linear "calculus" of mentals is necessary to understand the cognitive mechanism of reason and its inclination towards the unconditional ("das Unbedingte" - cf. Kant). Wisdom becomes possible by allowing all possible interactions between both approaches of our physical brain, i.e. digital, linear, sequential & verbal versus analogous, chaotic, parallel & non-verbal. Philosophy starts with mentals and is optimised by the stern training of the rational mind focused on the global, universal, cosmic meaning of humanity. Logic & epistemology formulating the norms of thought & knowledge. Next the intellect may join.
Dutch readers may consult : Prolegomena (1994) & Kennis (1995)

(§ 5) A second step implies the study those mental operators involved in the process of emancipation of the mind after the formal-operatoric phase has been implemented. This state of wonder, awe, perplexity, sheer suddenness comes natural when consciousness is daily engaged in spiritual activity and the mind is given over completely to the will to love wisdom. So wisdom is a spiritual marriage, a free state (cf. Chockmah-consciousness in qabalah) arrived at when the monad is permanently present in the now of consciousness. When -in Husserl's words- the natural state has completely, through the method of bracketing, been put out of action, i.e. all possible concerns for spatio-temporal existence ("Dasein") have been thoroughly eliminated, then and only then a new sense or region of "Being" ("Sosein") may by won. Wisdom implies abstention. For what remains when the world, we & our thinking have been bracketed ? Where does consciousness abide when Seen & Seer are absolutely divided (cf. the Western theory on contemplation & the Eastern Yoga) ? Mysticology shows how self-conscious spiritual evolution is linked with a re-equilibration of the
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cognitive apparatus after a major actionable crisis involving the formation of a new permanent focus of consciousness. The circular, egological & solitary mind is permanently infused by the intellectual light existing within a self-emancipated contemplative reason. Ego & Self define an elliptical, altruistic & participationistic local field, enabling a loving & caring activity engendering charity, compassion & a global awareness.
Dutch readers may consult : Kennis en Minne-Mystiek (1994)

(§ 6) The postmodern distinction between presence & absence initiates a postmodern spectrology, or a revision of the modern postulate which affirms certain texts to be omnipotent when delineating "reality". Our postmodern metaphysical scheme breaks away from the notion of a unique material universe (in vogue since the rise of modern classical physics). Instead hylic pluralism is part of our metaphysical research programme (cf. Poortman). Matter is understood to operate several strands, layers, planes or strata of manifestation, each having its own particular dimensions & properties (cf. late Stoicism). So material pluralism goes hand in hand with the idea of multiple universa (cf. quantummechanics). What modernists call matter is seen as the most coarse expression of the material operator of the universe. The core of being implies continuous creative change. Modern conditioning limits the subtle capacities of our sense-organs (through the lateralisation of the neo-cortex) blocking the direct experience of the meta-nominal strands of matter. Postmodern philosophy should help to unleash these potentials. Moreover, besides the logocentric reality-for-us, importance should be given to reality-for-me and the phenomena of (auto)suggestion (placebo & nocebo), fiction, imagination and peripheral events, such as parapsychological facts (telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance), visionary experience, magical, prophetic & mystical states of consciousness. The relationships between reality-for-me and reality-as-such may allow for a non-verbal understanding of the subtle, invisible, seemingly absent fields, currents & interactions between the solitary individual, mostly unconscious about them, and reality-as-such. A postmodern spectrology is not Europacentric and so is able to incorporate elements of African philosophy (cf. the elaborated power-ontology of spirits & the spirit-world), Indian Hinduism (with its multitudes of devas & gods) and the Western belief in "pure spiritual entities" like angels (with or against the order of things). Instead of discarding these signals of a veiled, shadow-world as mythological, fantastic, unreal, imaginary and of no real importance to existence of humans on Earth, moderate postmodernism should be aware of the impact of the invisible, intangible, hidden, occult layers of reality. "As we saw, a comparison of the evidence for telepathy and that for clairvoyance suggests that the mind-mind relation and the mind-matter relation are the same kind of relation. This suggests in turn that what we know from within as 'mind' and what we know from without as 'matter' are not, in themselves, different in kind. The fact that the mind's outgoing paranormal causal influence includes both thought-transference and psychokinetic changes in 'inanimate
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matter' suggest the same thing."
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.277.

The categories of a possible postmodern spectrology are primordial to understand the spiritual experience of the majority of our fellow human beings (alone, in magical groups, sects, churches, religions or mystical movements). These considerations also change our speculative perspective on pre- and postlife conditions (death no more than a one-way gate between visible & invisible ?) and the way to deal with (the angel of) death ...
Dutch readers may consult : Kennis & Minne-Mystiek (1994) & De Mystieke Theologie (1996)

These premodern relationships of postmodernism are not a return to irrationality (superstition) confusing knowledge (cf. Sokal & Bricmont, 1998) but the acknowledgment that a valid & arguable metaphysics has more than a heuristic (inspirational) value for the sciences. Indeed, metaphysics is the inevitable origin of all possible scientific activity (cf.Popper on the "theoryladenness of observation", "metaphysical research programmes" and the inability to banish metaphysics). Instead of criticizing the so-called "abuse of science" by postmodern philosophers, physicists should (to say the least) elucidate their own subject matters. They should not trust their naive "solid state" realism for it leads to a "perverse reason" (cf.Kant on the "transcendental illusion"). The discovery of a new kind of language (transposing the mathematical "reality" as precisely as possible) will be necessary to accomplish this. However, if too much specialization does not leave them with enough free study to acquire a grand historical perspective on the activity of knowledge, then surely they are not very well placed to understand those philosophers who dare to speculate (yes, often in vain) and share their regulating universal possibilities to the collective consciousness of humanity. "La critique est aisée et l'Art est difficule."
Destouches : Le Glorieux, 2.2

It is true that clarity is the good trust of the philosophers. Nevertheless, life is a very complex & serious matter. Are thinkers like Lacan & Baudrillard to be blamed because they tried (probably in vain) to construe parts of their thoughts with misunderstood mathematics & physics ? This has nothing to do with pulling the reader's leg ! It is part of an emerging culture need to grasp brand new revolutions like spacetime relativity, quanta & chaos. The real value of something is to be decided by history. We can only be thankful for all possible intellectual failures & missteps. They carry us to our new horizons. Not our dogma's, scientific beliefs and other constructions of the mind. Moreover, the postmodern difference (introduced by Derrida) between "presence" and "absence", rooted in the linguistic fact that most words are equivocal and ambiguous -lacking the cherished "rock bottom" neopositivism conjectured- can be traced in the writings of many mystics of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian & Muslim orientation, implying that linguistic equivocality

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does not belong to the superstructure (Staal) erected on the original experience of the Absolute -the Most Hidden-, nor is the fact that it is part of our postmodern methodology a landmark in the intellectual history of humanity. Nevertheless, it is an important property of language which especially comes to the fore in mystical discourses. The Islam mystic philosopher Hamadânî (1098 - 1131), a precursor of the Sufism of Suhrawardî (1153 - 1191) and Ibn'Arabî (165 - 1240), based his thought on the distinction between the "domain of reason" and the "domain beyond reason" (Izutsu, 1994). Words belong to the material realm, but their meaning is immaterial. Words are equivocal. Especially in the case when a word is backed by genuine mystical experiences does semantic uncertainty spring out. Then the extremity of equivocation ("ghâyat al-tashâbuh") is reached, and one and the same expression is used coherently and simultaneously at more than two different levels of discourse (cf. the exclusive position of the poet recuperated by Heidegger after "die Kehre"). Hamadânî was especially interested in the levels of discourse associated with the "domain of reason" (cf. "presence") and the "domain beyond reason" (cf. "absence") ...

Building a postmodern system* ...
(§ 1) No text makes absence present. The longing for a systematical approach can not be eradicated (for -as Kant put it- our minds need architecture) and no system is without false doors, paradoxes, incompleteness & indeterminisms. A complete, consistent & deterministic system of nature, man, the world & the Divine is not possible. It would be too much of a modernism to add : "a priori". The demon of Laplace has been exorcised. The human mind is not equipped to merge the dyad in the monad, although it can not remain one or evolve without the latter. So the monad can not be excluded. The logic of mind & reason is based on a fundamental dualism it is unable to escape or transcend except when under the direct influence of enlightened reason using a non-verbal intellectual perception which triggers new ways of action causing a mental crisis which shapes new mental operators. "An emerging discipline of experiential neurology will include within its broad scope such topics as meditation, preconscious functions, absorptions and insight-wisdom. Its mission will be to uncover the mechanisms by which each one transforms experience and behavior." Austin, J.H. : Zen and the Brain, MIT Press - Massachusetts, 1998, p.697. The rational mind can only articulate, define, postulate, verbalise facts, i.e. the result of the combined activity of subjectivity (its theory, frame, view, perspective) and the presupposed signals of reality-as-such (possibly a universal illusion). (§ 2) A systematical approach allowing for deconstruction generates a system* which is catalytic, creating catharsis. This means it offers to its readers models of growth without imposing itself as a dogmatic or complete design of existence. It also implies deconstruction
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of all important false exits to the transcendent, including the notion of a systematic approach allowing for deconstruction. Let us consider another obvious accomplishment of late modernism :

The insurmountability of the norms of knowledge
In Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies we find this curious thought : "...whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so because he had adopted (... ) some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour; an adoption which may be called 'irrational' (... ), we may describe it as an irrational faith in reason". In order to understand man's activity of acquiring knowledge and moreover, to consolidate it in a ground outside knowledge, Popper seeks -by a decisionistic strategy- to put the choice for rationality in the domain of irrationality. The question remains whether it is possible to choose for reason starting with the irrational ? This is contra-intuitive. If epistemology has to answer the question of the possibility of knowledge, then we expect it to work out a set of necessary categories. The choice for reason is not irrational, but is the result of reason's self-reflections and reason's praxis. Because the grounding activity of reason shamefully contaminates epistemology, we shall have to leave the above mentioned strategy and opt for a set of basic norms that are not to be justified. This changes the descriptive problem into the normative. We will call this basic system like Kant a "Factum", more precisely a 'fact of reason (of ratio)'. In his Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, Kant refers in his discussion of the statute of the moral law to a primitive, undeniable fact that cannot be justified from earlier grounds and therefore is inexplicable. Norms are the baseless foundation of knowledge. Kant writes that the moral law is "das einzige Faktum der reinen Vernunft". The normative basic system of knowledge appears -in a consciousness thinking on a reflective level- as a 'collection' (of set) of norms which can not be proved by reasoning, but which are inevitable presupposed in each cognitive act. They form the ungroundable basis of knowledge. In other words they are the rules of the game of true knowledge we have been using all the time. In this way a circle appears : starting from human cognition, the conditions of the possibility of knowledge need to be examined (so that we may
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indicate the limitations of this cognitive power). So, talking about knowledge, we come across norms that have to be presupposed in each action of cognition. Afterwards it is discovered that the "Factum Rationis" was the necessary inalienable condition for this conceptual self-exploration of thinking ; a conditon that cannot be grounded by itself, but which already supports the building of knowledge. These norms clarify the notion 'rationality'. The relationship 'rationality' versus 'irrationality' can indeed be worked out epistemologically in the light of a possible demarcation between science (true knowledge) and metaphysics (speculative knowledge). In this way, the "Factum Rationis" is the primitive term of the wanted epistemology (compare it with the notion 'person' in Strawson's anthropology). "How is knowledge and the progress of knowledge possible ?" This question is often answered by grounding the possibility of knowledge in a sufficient ground that tries to exceed (or move beyond) knowledge and hence is no knowledge anymore. This foundational, sufficient ground (or base) -which is 'knowing' besides the knowledge it tries to ground- can only support the possibility of knowledge if this 'non-knowing' point of view would be able to give a justification of the possibility of knowledge. Such a 'nonknowing' point of view is however completely dogmatic (as will appear from the discussion with the intuitionists), and knowledge -if epistemology wants to stay free from internal contradictions- can not be justified by a 'knowing' that has to be understood as 'non-knowing'. Hence, the grounding strategy has to be rejected. Indeed, a preceding non-knowing point of view isn't possible as it is this selfsame knowing caught in an illusion. The question of the conditions relating to the possibility and the progress of knowledge can on the other hand also be answered by finding a normative system of basic principles or basic categories (cf. the neo-Kantians and Strawson). Norms that determine how to think about 'knowledge'. Norms that indicate how progress of this 'knowledge' has to be understood (and has already been understood). In what follows, we are going to search for this system of basic principles. The fact that these basic norms -indicative of how we must think 'knowledge'- in their turn cannot be justified by means of knowledge (cf. the circle-reasoning) could be interpreted as to imply that the decision to well or not use these norms is an irresponsible (because unjustified) one. This is what Popper suggests. Wrongly. Analogous to Kant who wrote about moral basic norms, we will show that it is inevitable that some norms of knowledge
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have to be presupposed (if we want to think 'knowledge'). It is evident that each cognitive act presupposes a cognitive object (the known), a cognitive subject or subjects (the knower(s)) and knowledge (about the object as experienced by one or more subjects). Without a cognitive object there is no 'knowledge' as the knower (cognitive subject) cannot put something 'before him', while whithout a cognitive subject the same goes (there is no instance that 'knows' the known). This obvious fact cannot be grounded in proceeding knowledge, and also cannot be alienated from the process of cognition. Hence, cognitive object & subject are the limiting conditions of the possibility of knowledge. If denied, a circle-reasoning appears : what is being denied (the fact of reason), has to be presupposed in the denial itself (the denial is the object, the negator the subject). Taking knowledge as fallible means giving up all attempts of grounding knowledge. This break with the classical model of rationality also implies abandoning the closed Cartesian subject, in which a lonely, almost solipsistic cognitive subject is confronted with the cognitive object. 'My knowledge' can only be 'my' knowledge if put within the framework of intersubjectivity (the open subject-model). Just as the "Factum Rationis" cannot be grounded in a preceding 'nonknowing' point of view, but can be explained in reflection, so the cognitive subject and the cognitive object have to function as the two ends of the yoke (or cross-beam) on which the 'limiting framework' may be hanged. Grounding these notions means that this system of basic norms becomes exceeded so far as these be thought as structural elements of the cognitive subject (cf. idealism) or as ideas that indicate the minimum basic structure of reality and by which the possibility of knowledge of this reality can be understood (cf. realism). Dutch readers may consult : Prolegomena (1994) - 9.3 The Rules of the Game of True Knowing (1999) (§ 3) Four levels of organising are defined within the present possible system* : (1) Corpus : a body of former books in file-format & (hyper)texts ; (2) Pneuma : the deconstruction of the text operating parallel to (and in) the text ; (3) Self : confrontation of text & pneumatic text with a global, multi-cultural audience ; (4) Spira : symbols of growth & general conclusions regarding the system*, i.e. the isolation of
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a meta-cultural, perennial factor (equi-aeonic or remaining identical in all ages), namely : planetary participationism & the sustainable harmonisation of all living beings on Earth.

How to structure philosophy ?
A) HISTORICAL Philosophy : Logistics of philosophy on the basis of past facts. This type of philosophical activity is truly academical. The distinction between philosophy and the logistics of philosophy or academical philosophy is interesting when we try to understand this activity from the outside. Logistics implies the use of quantity, the order of numbers and a model of the processes involved. When these facts are expressed as well-formed-formulas, a "scholastic" system of philosophy unfolds. Most pre-modern & modern systems imply ontological dogma. The regression is stopped by some authoritarian set of ideas made universal & necessary by a limited subset of subjects. Exceptions do exist. Think of Gorgias, Siger, Ockham, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein or Feyerabend. B) SYSTEMATIC Philosophy : Topology of philosophy on the basis of different objects of investigation : - Normative Philosophy : the rules man should mind in following disciplines : (1) logic : order, meaning & symbolisation : true/false (2) epistemology : theory on knowledge & method : corroborated/falsified (3) aesthetics : the exemplar & emancipation : beauty/ugliness (4) ethics : theory on just change & geo-politics : good/evil - Descriptive Philosophy : philosophical investigations into psychology, economics, sociology, politicology, religion, mysticism & other areas. C) THEORETICAL Philosophy or Metaphysics : Meta-nominal speculations on nature (natural philosophy), humanity (philosophical antropology), being (ontology), God (theology), language, history, religion, etc.

A possible moderate postmodern system* of philosophy :
The Corpus is the "body" of a moderate postmodern philosophical system*. Its method is open & flexible without negating the reasonable. The influence of this rigidly sustained philosophical discipline should not be discernible in the final product, i.e. solved problems (and the emergence of new ones).

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So to its readers, the Corpus offers cognitive instruments which they can & must use in order to construe their own new insights. The Corpus holds totalizing rational claims, seemingly fulfilled through a body of texts (on epistemology, anthropology, aesthetics, physics, metaphysics & mysticology). These texts contain the knowledge necessary to allow its readers to deal in a creative way with the fact that the knowledge produced by our minds is incomplete.

(1) Tractatus Logico Tragi-Comicus (1992/2000, English) (2) On Seven Ways of Holy Love (1993, Dutch) Translation from Middle Dutch into contemporary Dutch of the mystic text of Beatrix of Nazareth (1200 - 1268), prefaced by a short introduction. (3) Towards a Cybernetic Anthropology (1993, Dutch) Conventional but eclectic study of man, examining -through a functionalistic approach- the cognitive genesis of the 4 nominal dimensions of consciousness, taking into account the ideas of S.Freud, L.Kohlberg & A.Maslow. (4) Towards an Aesthetic of the Excellent Exemplaric & the Sublime Beyond (1993, Dutch) Esthetical theory inspired by Kantian exemplarism leading to the sublime integration of harmonisation (order) and disharmonisation (chaos). (5) Sepher Yetzirah (1993, Dutch) Translation of and commentary on the first chapter of the Book of Creation. (6) Knowledge and Love-Mysticism (1994, Dutch) On love in the work of Beatrix of Nazareth, the mystical knowledge-manipulation and its strictly negative & symbolic theology. Provided are : a general and contextual study of Flemish mysticism, a commentary on and critique of Beatrice's treatise and a study of the totalizing mental operators supporting contemplation and the yearning for God, i.e. the contemplation of God through God. (7) Prolegomena or the Rules of the Game of "True" Knowledge (1994, Dutch) Epistemological inquiry into the unfounded foundation of all thinking in the light of a critical, strictly nominalistic & moderate postmodern view on science and rationality. Preliminary to Knowledge, Chaos & Metaphysics (1995).
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(8) On Seven Ways of Holy Love : an Interpretation (1995, Dutch) Complete revised interpretation of the text of Beatrix of Nazareth, preceded by philological & biographical data. (9) De Deo (1995, English) Short summary of the axioms of an apophatic & qabalistic theology. Knowledge, Chaos & Metaphysics (10) Volume 1 : Knowledge (1995, Dutch) Epistemology (theory & practice of knowledge) preceded by a study of transcendental logic. A moderate postmodernism resulting in the methodology of a refined participative observation. Study of Western metaphysics & criteria for a valid immanent metaphysical project. This work was introduced by the Prolegomena of 1994. (11) Volume 2 : Chaos (1996, Dutch) The myth of chaos in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Judaism & Christianity. Scholastic & rational chaostheory. Short history of modern physics (classical, relativity, quantummechanics). Philosophical inquiry into the meaning of (postmodern ?) chaostheory in general system theory & the evolution (process) of living systems. (12) The Mystical Theology (1996, Dutch) Translation of and commentary on the book of ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite. (13) Q1 (1996, Dutch) Translation of the earliest layer of the sayings gospel. (14) The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali (1997, English, hypertext) (15) Q1 (1997, English, hypertext) (16) Le Yoga-Sûtra de Patañjali (1997, French, hypertext) (17) The Gospel of (according to) Thomas (1997, English, hypertext) (18) On Seven Ways of Holy Love (1998, English, hypertext) (19) The Third Life (1998, Dutch & English, hypertext)

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(20) The Rules of the Game of True Knowing (1999, Dutch & English, hypertext) (21) The Memphis Theology (2001, English, hypertext) (22) The Didache (2001, English, hypertext) (22) The Great Hymn to the Aten (2001, English, hypertext) Ongoing articles : Introduction to Classical Yoga (1997 -, hypertext, English) Mysticism, Spirituality and the Unknown God (1997 -, hypertext, English) The One-fold God : Singularity & Plurality in the Name(s) of the Divine (1997 -, hypertext, English) Towards the Jubilee of the Historical Jesus ? (1998 -, hypertext, English) Essay on Theodicy : the Scandal of Evil ? (1998-, hypertext, English) Essay on Sûfî Themes
q q q q

On Being and the Majesty of the Worlds (1999, English, hypertext) Against the Free Will (1999, English, hypertext) On the Water of Life (2000, English, hypertext) On the Polished Mirror (2000, English, hypertext)

(§ 1) As soon as the textbody of the system* is large enough, a hermeneutic metalevel was created. This textual metalevel pours the initial corpus-text in software devised to hyperorganize it. Thus different approaches to the problem of textual critique can be applied together. A critical deconstruction (false exits being "marked" using an asterix) will counter the claims expressed by the texts. (§ 2) This metalevel, called "Pneuma", will be co-responsible for the further development of the body of the system*.

My texts are always

under construction, witness : Self

(§ 3) Offering this philosophy for free to an audience through the WWW of the Internet is the Self-level of this system*. In the past authors were unable to share their work in this manner.

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Commercial criteria have infested free study and reduced altruistic sharing so dramatically that positive, creative, inventional & anti-modern texts are repressed, denied and their authors marginalized. This situation has dramatically changed ! The Internet & the CD-Rom offer the most creative, ecological & globalized solution for this problem of corrupt censors & too-wellpaid-experts. Through it a New Age of Information & Consciousness may be forthcoming (matter being consolidated by the global use of clean energy & the just distribution of wealth). (§ 4) No human creative work is created "ex nihilo". Ideally, the further development of this moderate system* will thus be influenced by a large multi-cultural community of signinterpreters.

The spira of this system is its inner twist, i.e. its growth-symbols & conclusions, guiding people to solve their questions about the origin, meaning & finality of human existence. It is evident that the information presented in these pages are most surely unable to convey all the arguments in favour of the conclusions reached. More work has & will be done. These conclusions constitute the first approximations. They act as floodgates between levels of critical introspection (pneumatic in the first degree, Selfmatic in the second, spiramatic in the third). This relative framework is an abstract of the basic tenets or options found in the body of texts. Because of permanent criticism the network of each conclusion is liable to change & become more complex when more texts (corpus, pneuma & Self) materialize.

The criticism of our moderate postmodern position :
(1) a discourse in which knowledge is eternalized is rejected without negating eternity ; (2) focus on a pluralistic, faillibilistic & multidisciplinary approach of rationality instead of a onedimensional model ; (3) avoids a vision of science in which the uniqueness of scientific knowledge -when considering the different ways to organize society- is emphasized ; (4) replaces the confrontational dialectics between science & metaphysics with the idea that metaphysics can not be eliminated without hurting the scientific ideal, i.e. information of which one can say that is true knowledge ; (5) avoids the foundational approach in which all true knowledge has a sufficient ground (in experimental data and/or in theoretical constructs) ; (6) confirms the Piagetian theory that cognitive growth is the result of conceptual conflict (between an individual & his intellectual peers) rather than conceptual similarity (between individuals) ; (7) scientific knowledge is seen related to 2 of 3 approaches to reality : (a) reality-for-me (the personal approach) : can be known by experiencing & conceptualizing the constituents of my own personal experience ; (b) reality-for-us (the intersubjective approach) : can be known by conceptualizing the
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constituents of the experience of reality shared with others through facts (experiment) hand in hand with dialogue (and if necessary argumentation) ; (c) reality-as-such (the transcendent approach) : has to be postulated as knowable without us being able to mentally encompass it, implying that facts (considered as revealing this or that reality-as-such or reality-as-it-is ; cf. Kant's "Ding-an-sich") have always to be thought off as open to further corrections (an ever escaping horizon, needed to satisfy reason's longing for the unconditional - cf. Kant's "das Unbedingte"). Reality-as-such is the object of a transcendent metaphysics*, moving beyond the limits imposed upon our mind. Science is not equipped to enter this realm of things-as-such. Transcendent metaphysics* implies a non-verbal & unknowing intuitive insight into the order of reality-as-such & beyond (i.e. absolute reality - cf. kataphatic theology).

Symbols of growth & conclusions :
The categories of these conclusions are : 10. Holism : The world (nature, cosmos, universe & humanity) is a continuum of being encompassing continuity (symmetry, order) & discontinuity (symmetry-breaks, chaos), in which members have their proper explicate fields of manifested existence as consciousness, information & matter and maintain mutual, fruitful, dynamical & intelligent operations. All explicit parts float in an implicate (neutral) superforce (cf. "entelechy"), refuting the idea of the world as a collection of "disjecta membra" (the world as "nature morte"). 9. Hylic pluralism : The world is a (dis)continuum of being in which material, informational & conscious processes take place in a 10-dimensional way, i.e. matter embraces both ordinary, nominal or fourdimensional matter, and its finer, more subtle manifestations. The latter imply planes, strata, levels or subworlds of being, or sets of coherent existence. A 10-dimensional model of being is developed. 8. Organicism : The parts of the world are like the organs of a body. The universe is limited & temporal. To understand a part of the world one should make sure that all possible connections with the other parts of the world are not artificially reduced to that number figuring in one's own theory. The logic of organicism does not exclude chaotic functions from the description of life, nor is this necessarily linked with a pyramidal information-format. Stochastic, coincidental events are seen as part of the opportunistic logic of life's evolution.

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7. Agapism & Erotism : Universal spiritual love hand in hand with passions strong but bridled in every way, are the only valid means to achieve a permanent & ever-growing state of happiness. 6. Creationism : The world has been created, is permanently recreated and will eventually end. Creationism values creativity as a very important intellectual property as such, both for the individual as in society. 5. Autocriticism : No philosophy, science or common view regarding the world is completely without unsolved paradoxes, flagrant incompleteness or shameful contradictions. Moreover, a philosopher should construe his (her) system* in such a way as to make sure his (her) messages comes across while the means to do so (the texts) hopefully auto-deconstruct themselves by uncovering their proper absurdities. Philosophy does not prove like mathematics. Like art, philosophy shows. 4. Unicism : A major regulating idea (as in science) is the unity of all possible knowledge. To have both variety & unity is possible if unity is always reached at but never attained as such. 3. Symbolism : Cognitive growth beyond the nominal level of formal-operational conditioning necessitates (besides nominal signs) the use of totalizing visual matrices (symbols) enabling the emotional hemisphere to form an understream of conscious emotions triggering new processes of imaginative thinking (cf. action, meta-action = emotion, meta-emotion = thought, metathought = intuition or intellectual reason, etc). This imaginal activity is contains & shapes the forms which make reason heuristic, inventive and spontaneously suggestive of the unity contemplated at the summit of the immanent metaphysical speculation. 2. Apophatism (from the Greek "apo" + "phatis" or away from the divine tale) : The essence of the Divine can not be known or experienced. In the creation-myths of Ancient Egypt (Memphis & Hermopolis) a pre-creational realm is invoked using what Gardiner calls a "virtual adverb clause" as in "he has had not yet ..." (Egyptian Grammar, § 402). The First emerging from the primordial ocean (opening chaos) or "Abyssos" is "Atoum", "He who is Integral and Differentiates", the "father" of gods & goddesses. The virtual adverb is suggestive of the distinction between a realm before and after creation. What can be said about the pre-creational ? The most popular God, namely
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Amon, was called : "the Hidden". In the tradition of qabalah the Absolute (the Divine) = YHVH ALHYM (Yahweh Elohim). YHVH = God = {Ø}, unknown, uncreated & creating. ALHYM = Elohîm = Divine Beings, known, created & creating, of which the First (1) is called "Kether", the Crown or Creator of our cosmos. For the Greek neoplatonist Plotinos the One is ineffable (Ennead, VI.9). For the Christian ps.-Dionysius the Areopagite, the essence of God can not be known. He is totally different than everything we can attribute or deny. He is beyond affirmation and denial ("hypertheos"). In the tradition of Sufism the essence of the Divine is unknown (nobody known Allah's Face but He). Divine existence is the Self-Disclosure of Sheer Being in an infinite number of Divine Names, origin of all of creation (cf. Ibn'Arabî). Here "Allâh" ("The God") is both Essence (His Face) and Existence (His 99 most beautiful Names). So the Divine is bi-polar : transcendent (essential) as " God" but immanent (existential) as "Creator" of our Cosmos. 1. Pan-en-theism (all is in God) : All happens in the Divine. The word "God" denotes the essence of being, which is ineffable. The modalities of "God" (attributes, names, worlds, strata, planes, kingdoms, stations, states, events etc.) exist in & are part of the oneness of Divine Existence and nothing falls out of this Unity of Being. The transcendence of the Absolute is absolute. Hence the absolute absoluteness of the essence of being as such. The immanence of the Absolute is absolute, but in the sense of Self-disclosure and the possibility of relative existence within Divine Existence.
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