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: James Corrigan’s Philosophy Compared to Randy Dible’s Philosophy
As interpreted by Randy Dible 30 Miramar Avenue, East Patchogue, NY 11772 MostConducive@origin.org
The fact that James Corrigan and I are not yet done with our schooling further exemplifies our malleability in the flux of reality, which we seek to describe, yet we have both developed convictions about things to stand on (metaphysical systematics, shoulders of giants) to see the bigger picture of generalities and ultimate reality, and about what things will be stable, and what will lead to our greater eventual fall. I will refer to this metaphor of ‘things to stand on’ by the term ‘metaphysical system’. Convictions are a hard thing to shake. We must bear in mind Peirce’s dictum “Do not block the road to inquiry.” Simultaneously, we have to get our bearings, some bearings, some parameters, with which to navigate the course to our destination. And yet! at the same time, we must recognize why it is that we seek to navigate at all; where we plan on going, and of what significance our expressions about the way could be, in light of the fact that ultimate reality is always already, and ever-present. So there is another metaphorical situation of people, philosophers, trying to stand, and build, to reach the Heavens, to reach God, but encountering the diminishing foundational problem (at least it’s diminishing), and the inaccessibility problem (called ‘aporia:’ the inaccessibility of the transcendent). James Corrigan and I have solutions to this, by adopting the school of thought called the Perennial Philosophy, generally associated with non-dualism, and James Corrigan is a nondualist. I wonder if he would paradoxically also be a non-monist, and non-pluralist, simultaneously (at the same time); I feel that this position, although logically paradoxical, is far superior. But even superior to that, may in fact be far simpler. One can insist that one is not an ‘-ist’ or ‘-ism’, which would indeed be true, but would that qualify as a metaphysical system?
Perhaps it would if one were insistent. So I insist, to assume the existence of this system of transcending the all-embracing identity, separate from the position of negative identity, but this is no position at all! At there we would be left with nothing, purely and radically nothing. Logically, pure and radical nothing may indeed be the case, but more than logically, there is obviously something (such as such), so the assumption of ‘nothing’, would have to either be so far out that the boundary is vague and any grasping it distant, or there would have to be a distinction, a boundary between ‘pure and radical’ nothingness and anything, which would itself be something. The only alternative to pure and radical nothingness would be what I call ‘the Absolute Infinite’, although Corrigan calls it ‘Omnific Awareness’. My term for ultimate reality means Infinity, that is not some perverted, watered-down notion of it, or predicate of it, as we find in mathematical infinities, which are more appropriately ‘indefinitudes’. Corrigan’s term for ultimate reality is ‘Omnific Awareness’, and it means that ultimately, beyond experience and existence, is an awareness of all awareness, awareness itself, and Awareness is all-creating, allmanifesting, and all-the-more-synonyms. Awareness is what lies behind stars and under hills, and empty holes it fills. But also the phenomena, the objects of awareness are awareness, awareness ‘animadverted’ (“The act of bringing some phenomenon forth into the world, and a consciousness of it, by the advertisement of Awareness upon It.” from his Glossary). Awareness and the Infinite (or ‘Omnific Awareness’ and the ‘Absolute Infinite’) are quite different, but in these systems taken to be equally general and ultimate. Well, without further analysis, my system and Corrigan’s system seem pretty similar. The only discernable difference from what was written or read of this essay so far (which might have seemed like a pretty good description) is that I call it ‘the Infinite’, and he calls it ‘Awareness’, but otherwise the structure seems the same, indeed most of it is. But there is a qualitative difference that I haven’t yet found outside myself, my big difference: Difference itself, or Distinction itself, in my system, is the central point, the Self, which I call ‘pure’ subjectivity, which is the same as ‘pure’ self-reference, or self-referential Being, the source or origin, being-in-itself. Of course, the self is not to be found by the self, for that would be to objectify subjectivity, thereby annihilating it. This notion of pure (I could just as well qualify it as abstract or transcendental) subjectivity is the first and only impossibility, from the ‘perspective’ of the Infinite (of course this ‘perspective’ is a false assumption, a metaphor, an imaginary notion, not Real) and its very negation. Yet it is within this absolute impossibility that our whole contexture (ontological domain, from mathematico-cybernetician Gotthard Gunther’s notion of ‘contexturality’ as a logical domain) of Being exists, and has it’s ‘reality’ (not really reality: not ultimately), for things exist in reference to other things which exist, and without this inter-
coherence of hetero-reference, there would be no existence (for existence is not Reality, is not ultimate reality). And all this intercoherence of hetero-references (objects) grants the captured feeling of concreteness to the forms (which capture, the ‘capta’ or data); thus the illusion of concrete “reality.” My point is that my system is absolutely unique in that it posits that difference itself/ pure subjectivity/ in-ness (in, itself)/ pure self-reference/ Being/ Being-in-itself/ my radicalized notion of ‘the Infinitesimal’/ the Same (as contrasts ‘the Other’)/ The One/ Oneness/ the unicity of unity, the unity of the unit, pure singularity are all the same ‘big difference’, and they are all synonymous notions which point beyond themselves as only mere references, indications, mere traces of the penultimate reality, and this is the closest we can get to the Ultimate! We must keep in mind that we are on this side of the Distinction, within the realm of Being, and so must bear in mind the difference between difference and reference, the distinction between distinction and indication. It is funny that this distinction is a selfreferential distinction (albeit an asymmetrical one), for my thesis is that distinction is selfreference, itself. Synonymous with our positions are the terms ‘Surjective’ and ‘Superjective’, respectively, Corrigan’s technical term, and my own. But what is surjected (like injected, with the prefix indicating the ‘upon’ relation) onto the world is not the same in our systems: his is Awareness, and mine is the Infinite, and mine requires a big difference before the world is made (‘animadverted’ or otherwise distinguished from ultimate reality, however the derivative and consequent, antecedent reality takes shape). This big difference is my distinction between distinction itself, which I take to be pure and radical oneness (as Michael Lambert of the series “The Highlander” would say “There can be only One”) and ultimate reality that I call the Absolute Infinite, and they are not the same. My non-dual ultimate reality differs from Corrigan’s and most philosophers’ systems in that it is divided, and the very division itself is this oneness. Yes, oneness, the non-dualist’s category of the ultimate, is not my ultimate, but my penultimate, and also called ‘the same’ (as contrasts ‘the other’ or ‘the Infinitely and Totally Other’) is the oneness, and perhaps surprising to most monists, it is ‘the first distinction’, difference itself, identity and difference as pure self-reference, being in itself! And it is not ultimate! It is the center and source and wellspring, indeed, as the act of distinction, of the world of forms, but it has nothing to do with the world’s content as value, significance, meaning, semantics, ethics, aesthetics, and overall axiology. This distinction within the formless as the source of form, as the ‘first distinction’, is utterly unique to my metaphysical system, and I take it to be true. Corrigan doesn’t speak of the source as a distinction, but as Awareness, and although this sounds different, it is not, I am in complete agreement with Corrigan, although he may not be in agreement with
me, yet. For to me the label ‘awareness’ isn’t as precisely defined, and this source is pure subjectivity, the Spirit which animates us, pure self-reference, and one half of the pure formulation of consciousness (the other ‘half’ of course being superjectivity, objectivity, as subject and object only have meaning in reference to each other, as in Whitehead’s system, to which I am sympathetic). I do not say that pure subjectivity has its source in pure superjectivity (in the Absolute Infinite, which is what I call pure superjectivity, which Whitehead doesn’t) because that would be to connect them, yet either one is totally abstract and only the One, pure subjectivity (‘the Infinitesimal’ in the sense of there being only one such entity; ‘the One’) is a source, the source of all Others (note the plurality; be keen to what Heidegger calls the onticoontological distinction, that between Being and beings), but the One comes up with itself by itself, as if the Infinite could bootstrap itself, as if God could grasp itself, which it cannot, but in ‘trying to do so’ (to use a human metaphor, which is suggestive, but fails to give attribute to God) attains the imagination of a one-way blindness, which is to say it can see, it looks in and God’s seeing becomes itself, the Self, the Spirit that thinks it is separate from God (or ‘ultimate reality’). And this separation, this spacing, of itself from itself by the creation of the notion of the Self, is the primary illusion upon which all other have existence. Pure subjectivity is the primary illusion, hence the term ‘penultimate reality’. It is the point at which the pen strikes the ‘unmarked’ ‘page of assertion’ (Peirce’s term for Spencer-Brown’s ‘unmarked state’) in the Book of Life, the only book that gets written, as Derrida says in speaking of Edmund Jabes’ metaphor of ‘The Book’ (in Writing and Difference), in the attempt of articulation, of expression of God, for every act of arche-writing (what I think of as the programming of experience-existence of events and entities, or ‘eventities’) is an attempt, a necessarily failing attempt, at the Book of God, and ends up in the Book of Life, in which all things are writ. I have spoken of the form of my ‘big difference’, but what of its content? Or, rather, I have only spoken of the frame of reference, what form will I distinguish? The little difference positively grows and multiplies and generalizes and gets vague and grows more, and little differences arise, which eventually grow up and branch out, but this is only positively. Ultimately, it makes no difference, so this (this difference, this stasis of being) must not be ultimate. But this derivative and consequent world of many separations is just as much to be thought as connections, as difference and identity are isomorphic. So it is Indra’s Net, or The Matrix (like the movie of that title), indeed it is a network (like the movie Network) and matrix, for it is a system, of nodes and modes (points of negation or simply marks, and modifications or models, respectively). Each node (difference, negative) can be thought of as a mode (modality or
modification), and vice versa, for it is all imagination (in light of ultimate reality), especially thought. Corrigan speaks at length about imagination in the normal sense of mere possibility, which is fine, that’s how he uses the term. But I use it differently, in a more expansive sense, including all things, the very basis of my metaphysical system, the first distinction, the act of difference, being an imaginary act upon which all other distinctions depend, and so are also imaginary. My sense of ‘imagination’ is all-inclusive, just as the finite is a reality included in the reality of the Infinite. Precisely, and technically, my employment of “imagination” has to do with extensionality, the difference between being and non-being being a ‘becoming’ from one to the other, or other to the one, as in electric engineering, the state of change from charge to no charge, or from open to close, or from zero to one, is represented by the simple equation which solves as both simultaneously, and so is the becoming, which logician George Spencer-Brown calls “oscillation without duration”, or “the first time”, time in itself as extensionality, in my system. This equation extends the domain of the real numbers, also called “the continuum”, (meaning our realm or continuum of the dimensionality of subjective experience) in a new dimension, the very step of adding a dimension by the expression “the square root of negative one”, the imaginary number ‘i’. This is the imaginary third value, added to classical logic, allowing the logical transition from the Boolean One to the Boolean Zero, which is a strictly two-value system, simply called ‘logic’. It is also the method of the prima ratio, the rationality of reality in the sense of rationing out only finite bits, in the sense of a one-way blindness (in the direction of time) of the veils we set up to construct our experience, the logical steps we (abstract subjective forms on the way from pure subjectivity to the gross subjective form of the four-dimensional continuum, and colored as the ego) took (veiled ultimate reality) to get this. We set it up and forgot that it was us to pretend it’s not all just God pouring God into God, because that wouldn’t allow any space to breathe, to live. There is no room for even a Principle of Life in the unconditioned axiom of Love. In my system, pure subjectivity is The Principle, the very point, the Principle of all Principles (certainly of first principles, as it is the principle of firstness and the singularity of unity), and this I call the school of life as pure subjectivity, as pure self-reference. And in my system, Love is pure superjectivity, not an emotion, but the state the Hindus call Ananda or Bliss, not the electric ecstasy, more than that, the bliss of Nirvana. I call it Profundity, the source of all meaning, value, significance, the Axiological Axiom, the Axiom of all Axioms. If the Absolute Infinite can be called a ‘source’ or ‘origin’ at all, it must not be that of any distinctions (of any distinct events or entities) as these have their source in penultimate reality, the first distinction. Instead, it is the valuational source, the fact that all values, when freed from the forms that
capture them, don’t become meaningless, but explode to the supreme value, to the supreme quality of all qualities, the quality with no qualifications, the Absolute Infinite. This is how I see this foundational axiology, and this is why I also term my category of the ultimate ‘Profundity’. Indeed in Corrigan and most other metaphysical system, meaning is valued greater than structure. It is actually silly to state it as such, for of course the greater meaning is meaning itself, the greater value is value itself, and the axiological holds over the structural, in general. This is not the case in less general articulations, such as ethics and aesthetics being of greater use value in applications mixed with various structures, but this departs from our most general, metaphysical discussion anyway. Corrigan on Consciousness From page 11 of “An Introduction to Awareness,” “…consciousness ‘stands’ between the viewer and the world and thus by studying our consciousness it is possible to learn something about the relation between the self and the world.” And later on that page: “Any experience of consciousness consists of the sense of the consciousness, which is its content or what it is of, and the lived experience of that sense.” On page 19: “…Awareness and consciousness are also frequently interchangeable…. The intuition that it [the distinction between awareness and consciousness] expresses is that it is the act wherein awareness adverts and seizes upon something, that we call consciousness.” Page 22: “Awareness is immanent within consciousness…” “…consciousness is always consciousness of something and it is to be distinguished from awareness, which gives rise to it.” And precisely put on page 24: “To summarize: Awareness is to be distinguished from Consciousness. Consciousness is the denoting of animadversion, thus consciousness has content; it is consciousness of something. Awareness grants existence and it is the source of the apodictic validity of our experiences, but awareness has no attributes, and while an abstract idea of it exists so that we may talk about it, it itself does not exist; yet Awareness, because it is the only arbiter of existence d is thus fundamentally implicated in existence, is real and is the only possible reality given consciousness of anything; therefore existing things must arise derivatively from this activity of Awareness, which we denote as Being.” And lastly, a declarative formulation is given on page 165, to begin the chapter called “Toward a Reformulation of Consciousness”: “Consciousness is immanent experience of the world.” Randy on Consciousness
In Process and Reality, Alfred North Whitehead’s basic unit of actuality is the ‘actual entity’, which is precisely the subject-superject, which he indicates is the reality behind references to any ‘subject’ or individual. But subjectivity, in my usage, also has a pure form, which is the generality of subjectivity itself, ‘pure subjectivity’, which is transcendental, and has the most special position in my metaphysical system. Pure subjectivity, to me, is the center and source, which is ever present, for it is presence itself, and is the very notion of ‘itself’ as much as ‘the self’, for it is ‘the subject’ in the most radical sense. And to make this point even more radical, I add that ‘there can be only one’ such entity, and it is the abstraction of oneness, one. In my system, subjectivity is the immanent part of consciousness and superjectivity is the transcendent part (pure subjectivity is transcendent, but subjective form or conditioned subjectivity is always immanent to consciousness). The precision of my definition of subjectivity (which is the very epitome of precision), lends itself to the precision of my definition of consciousness itself: Consciousness is the subject-superject (Whitehead’s ‘actual entity’). In conclusion, it becomes apparent to me in this text that the metaphysical system presented is simple, despite the technical phraseology and neologisms: existence is the animadversion of Omnific Awareness upon itself, in itself, which ultimately leads to the presently given experience we have, but this is not Ultimate Reality; Omnific Awareness is. And this system is basically sympathetic to mine, and I really like it, but it is not mine, mine is different. In this paper I have read very deeply into this system, through my own (as is my natural inclination), with illustrations from other aspects of my speculative philosophical experience (here, notions taken from Whitehead and Derrida mostly, but adapted, modified to disengage the baggage, also with old metaphysical specifications of common notions; an ambitious enterprise unique to myself). And this is by no means a complete analysis; neither a dry analysis of the text piece-by-piece, nor a finished project of interpretation. James Corrigan’s book is an example of the kind of work I would like to do one day
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