Capitalism and Communism Have Merged: Don’t Take Freedom For Granted!

It may seem unexpected to suggest that freedom is a lost value. Are we not in a democracy? Are we not even, according to some conservatives, “too free” and not responsible enough? Perhaps we have been so in the second half of the twentieth century, but things have changed imperceptibly. We live in the era of automatons and the art of being free is lost. Worse, the total monitoring of our actions, coupled with an ubiquitous police of thought, makes us live rather in a period of totalitarianism, even if apparently smiling.
Intelligent and different minds, in times of freedom, make their ideas heard without fear. Today, they prefer to keep quiet because ideology is back. And indeed a unique form of thought is established, one that is most compatible with commercialism: the freedom to consume outweighs the freedom of expression, so that those who do not agree with the values ​​or the absence of values ​​of our civilisation seem doomed to identify with so-called “reactionary” thoughts: nationalism, traditionalism, communism. Radical Utopians today are moribund because they are precarious; or they are confused with the creators of digital start-ups. At first, the latter have a seductive language that everyone takes for a desire to create a better world. Then we realise that they work mainly for the success of a completely deregulated capitalism, imposing their market shares in an oligopolistic way. They are ambiguous beings, as is freedom today, between progress and subjugation, which La Boétie called “voluntary servitude”. What is happening?
Capitalism has absorbed communism, not by killing it, but by merging with some of its characteristics. First, the bureaucracy. It infiltrates everywhere today: the natural is the enemy of the regime. It is necessary that the words and gestures of the worker are controlled, conformed, timed, corseted. Everyone spends too much time filling out forms, which are not more lightweight because they are online. Then, egalitarianism. The hunt for elitism and difference is a war against the heads that stick above the values ​​of the system. We want the lowest common denominator. Under the pretext of humanism, we create regiments of sentimental idiots, infantilized, incapable of logical thought and firm decision. We produce a uniform humanity, and behind speeches of tolerance we prepare the automata of tomorrow. A humanity, a Reich, and a führer who has no face, because his name is Big Brother. George Orwell was right when he described 1984: it’s happening today.
But this painting is too black, and a flame remains, of course. Freedom is in our hearts, buried somewhere under comfort, conformism and the fear of loneliness or social rejection. What is then true freedom? To live the life that our soul suggests to us, to make the world our intimate co-creation, and to cultivate early enough the necessary intelligence to understand our desires, keeping the noblest, the most authentic. To be free is to be able to surround ourselves with peers and create the community we wish to create without artificial obstacles. Freedom is about being aware of our automatisms. It is obvious that we are beings of protocol, of conditioning, if only because we are prisoners of a language, of an era, a society, laws, our body. But by understanding ourselves we gain the right to say NO to those who do not understand us or who do not want to understand us. In the end, freedom is the love of mutual understanding rather than common imitation. Freedom is the love of parallel universes, of possibilities. It is the fidelity to the idea that whatever our comfort, or our distress, a world that is no longer open to radical change, to experimentation, and to the consideration of all ideas without moralistic condemnation, a world that is not multiple and deeply pluralistic, is a dead world. Liberty is, as Rabelais put it, a temple above which is marked the formula Do what you want. When we have solved the political equation in which every living being does what she wants, we will have crealised the state of freedom. It is an asymptotic utopia, an impossible one, but one can be faithful to its ideal. Because if you do not target the stars you will not not take one step forward.

Manifeste du Créalisme (11 years later)

 The original text of the Manifesto of Crealism (2007)
 
 

Luis de Miranda

Manifeste du Créalisme

Huit points pour un infini debout

 

1 Au coeur du réel agit une création continue, matérielle et spirituelle. “Le monde est/doit être ma création” est l’éthique différentielle des sujets singuliers. Vérité dont l’événement inter-relationnel ne cesse de surgir çà et là au fil de l’Histoire. Vérité souvent oubliée face aux humiliations décourageantes du “monde comme il va” et des “humains comme ils sont”. Le créalisme n’est pas un anthropocentrisme qui séparerait artificiellement une nature-objet d’un humain-maître et possesseur. Il y a des complicités et des affinités actives entre le cosmos et celui qui se rend digne de l’écouter et de l’oeuvrer.

 

2 Le capitalisme altère le monde et pousse les humains à vouloir altérer leur corps et leur âme selon des standards anxiogènes. Ce qu’il s’agit de viser (tant d’autres l’ont mieux clamé avant moi), c’est à une altérité différentielle en acte, une éthique amoureuse, politique, érotique, esthétique, cosmique, professionnelle faite d’ascèse aventureuse et de tentative héroïque de ne pas monnayer ses extases. La stance contre le nihilisme hypnagogique passe par cette exigence apparemment mégalomaniaque de déconditionnement en devenir, une politique po(i)étique qui tente de redonner à l’imagination désirante, à l’idéation volontaire et généreuse, à l’effort d’invention et de soutien de structures nouvelles leurs lettres de noblesse en matière d’existence.

3 Bien entendu, à l’échelle in-dividuelle, les résultats ne sont pas souvent spectaculaires. Le créalisme est une autodiscipline parfois ascétique dans un monde où les complicités durables sont rares (l’envie compétitive a colonisé toutes les sphères, y compris là où la tradition l’attend le moins), les obstacles froids fréquents (idiotie et indifférence) et les puits de mélancolie omniprésents. Mais le créalisme est aussi une extase sensible et mentale, une source et une manifestation de joie.

 

4 Le créalisme pose le primat de la créativité au coeur de l’être, et loin d’être agencé aux seules disciplines artistiques, il concerne la dynamique d’extension des territoires vivants, une praxis éprouvable et collective de la singularité. Sous cette acception, le Créel est un bourgeonnement imprévisible, un tissu vif d’interrelations à vocation non-déterministe, tandis que le Réel est son compost, son encadrement automatisé.

 

5 Pour ceux qui croient en “Dieu”, le créalisme revient à supposer qu’Il n’est pas figé une fois pour toutes. Son identité change sans cesse à mesure de sa co-création par ses créatures. L’univers est une partition musicale en constante (re)composition, au fil de laquelle les improvisations sont toujours possibles. Nous sommes tous plus ou moins divins selon les moments de notre vie, tantôt dormeurs avides, tantôt acteurs et senseurs du Créel. L’accès au dialogue lucide avec les forces aimant(é)es du monde est plus aisé lorsque le sujet tient une certaine ascèse antimimétique et maîtrise ses pulsions de consommation et de régression, au prix d’un effort de renoncement aux (dé)plaisirs pavloviens. Pas facile, car le totalitarisme de la consommation et de la fange sans cesse nous mobilise en excitant nos neurones fatigués de ses messages en apparence contradictoires (fausse liberté de choix entre l’hygiénisme et le caboucadin). Chaque jour, le système capitaliste dépense des sommes énormes pour nous débiliser. Mais heureusement, même les débiles sont mentaux…

 

6 Contre les castrations des sinistres contempteurs d’envol, contre la colonisation de l’intime par les impératifs publicitaires duplicitaires, les créalistes ont toujours été de relatifs sacrificateurs de confort standard (un certain luxe leur est pourtant essentiel). Ils ont été des filtres de l’être, des haut-parleurs, des raffineurs de chaos. Suivons leur exemple, ou supportons encore et toujours les conséquences schizonévrotiques d’un monde rendu stagnant par notre abandon ou notre collaboration avec la misère marchande, la morose émulation simulatrice, la soumission à l’argent que nous confondons, comme l’écrivait Marx, avec autrui. Agir ou subir la honte quotidienne que tentent de nous infliger les soldats (autant de femmes que d’hommes) de la société de classes. Se faire so(u)rcier des formes, des intensités et des coïncidences, plutôt que d’accepter la banalité des codes d’une époque saturée de culs-de-sac.

7 Une situation de bouillonnement amoureux, des synchronicités, un désir de justice allant au-delà des revendications salariales, une belle joute sans hypocrisies entre adversaires nobles. Tout sauf la pusillanimité des élans atrophiés, l’abrutissement des stimuli et l’idiotie affamée, larmoyante, ricanante, fataliste. L’Histoire est triste ? Deleuze disait : “L’histoire désigne seulement l’ensemble des conditions si récentes soient-elles, dont on se détourne pour ‘devenir’, c’est-à-dire pour créer quelque chose de nouveau.”
8 Le créalisme est une politique du Réel en tant que co-création en devenir, où le sujet cohérent-actif occupe une place co-centrale avec l’harmonium cosmique, où l’imagination, la passion, la volonté, l’art, le désir, l’amour redéfinissent sans cesse, au présent et en acte, les conditions de possibilité d’une vie désaliénée, d’une existence libre.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Can Public Intellectuals Help Us Think? (on Jordan Peterson, Slavoj Zizek, and Co.)

You will not be able to stay home, brother
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and drop out
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip
Skip out for beer during commercials
Because the revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised.”

Gill Scott Heron

 

We sometimes speak of public intellectuals to designate a figure who is invited to think the world in the media or public space.

But the adjective public seems in fact to be redundant.

It is impossible to be a private intellectual as one can be a private detective.

While the private investigator seeks to solve domestic cases, most often the intellectual cannot seriously say that he is dealing with domestic thoughts.

Thought cannot be a domestic matter, otherwise it risks self-destruction.

As the philosopher Deleuze said, it is not true that each of us can have his own private portable philosophy.

Philosophy is not a solipsistic nor autistic practice like listening to music in public spaces with headphones on, to negate the other or the possibility of an encounter.

We often hear the expression “my philosophy of life”around us, but if there could be as many philosophies as human beings, it is not certain that we could communicate or speak the same language.

In fact, when the average person speaks of her personal philosophy of life, she refers to some maxims borrowed here and there, of the type “man is a wolf for man”, or “do to others what you wish that others do for you”, or “women are emotional and men are logical”.

These are acts of faith pertaining to collective webs of belief.

To believe that your thoughts belong to you only is narcissism and immaturity.

One is always thinking with others.

Philosophy is the study of the consequences of our beliefs.

Philosophy is the never ending process of lucidity about our webs of beliefs, our belonging or lack of belonging to such and such web of belief.

Of course, we can also create concepts, but even this creative thinking is a co-creation.

Even the greatest philosophers produced their system within a network of thinkers that we have forgotten because we live in the ideology of the self-made man or woman.

Even small portable pseudo-philosophies like mindfulness are collective creations related to our tendency to imitate others, our tendency to negative groupthink or to positive cognitive esprit de corps.

Philosophy cannot be private or domestic.

It is the essence of philosophy to be public and political.

To think seriously is to think about, with or against the world, the cosmos, society.

This is why the “analytic and logical” philosophy, which dominates in the Anglo-Saxon countries, as opposed to what is called the “continental philosophy”, is often a parody of philosophy that seems to put society in parenthesis like mathematics or physics put human consciousness in brackets.

Any process of symbolic production that excludes the subject is not thinking but calculating.

The intellectual is the one who knows that to think the world one must think beyond private and domestic affairs, but also beyond science.

To think domestically is called worry.

To think mathematically is called calculation.

To really think is to go beyond personal concern or scientific concern and put thought back into a political, civilizational and even cosmopolitical context.

Philosophy is embracing the Other, or as Hegel said, to have the courage to look at the Negative in the eye and walk through it.

Philosophy is although a deep meditation on what we should call positive.

A web of belief, what Foucault called a discourse, revolves around one or a few hyper-positive values, absolutized axioms.

Whether we are aware of it or not, we tend to follow, in our everyday life, absolutized axioms.

It is important to be aware of the rules and axioms that shape your life, to take ownership of these axioms, to co-create them, to embody them consciously, because we don’t want to be puppets of values that are killing us.

What is familiar? Who is the same? Who is the other?

Sometimes we see the other as a monster, a dragon for example in Peterson’s terms.

What is a monster?

A monster is a reality that has not been yet de-monstrated.

To think is to de-Monstrate the other: to decipher a world ofso-called opaque “monsters”, to decipher the symphony of our times behind the cacophony of opinions.

Now, once established that the true intellectual, the thinker, is always a thinker of the public, of the world, and of civilization, there is however a difference between the mediatic intellectual and the intellectual who writes or thinks for the happy few.

One of the criticisms that some mediatized intellectuals address to those who are not in the spotlight is that they are not read, they have no followers on the internet, in short that they have no social impact.

One of Jordan Peterson’s models is Nietzsche.

For Nietzsche, the past was key to understand the present. He wrote: Direct self-observation is not nearly sufficient for us to know ourselves: we need history, for the past flows on within us in a hundred waves.”

Here we must remember that Nietzsche, who certainly became a posthumous media intellectual, during his lifetime was only read by a dozen people and had to self-publish some volumes of the Zarathustra, because he could not find a publisher for his masterpiece.

No publisher saw it as a masterpiece.

Very few saw Nietzsche as an important man.

But in one hundred years, we will probably still read Nietzsche.

Even today there are hundreds of powerful, exciting thinkers who never go on television and who are not onFacebook or Twitter.

There are also intellectuals who are popular for their least interesting, easy book, while their more difficult work is not read.

This is not new. Many thinkers are known for a single sentence or for an ism, like Sartre’s existentialism.

Almost no one has read the 700 pages of his Being and Nothingness, but a few used to know the sentence “existence precedes essence”.

The problem today is that when I ask university students I sometimes teach “who was Descartes?”, they have forgotten.

I have realised by teaching pupils or students between 15 and 30 years old that what used to be part of the general culture of an averagely educated man is lost, and that many young people have been deprived our cultural references that predate WWII.

Classics are not known by name anymore, and even less read.

Without reading some classics of western civilisation we lose our capacity to evaluate the present critically.

Being only in the present, online, is very dangerous.

To think properly we need to confront the pillars of the history of philosophy and of literature.

We need to dialogue with the dead.

We also need to be familiar with the history of modernity, at least.

Can we learn and assimilate the foundations of western culture by listening to contemporary public intellectuals?

When a thinker is invited by journalists on a set, several factors can prevent thought from manifesting itself and developing in a fecund way.

The intellectual is a figure largely produced by text, reading and writing, that is to say that thought is produced by a series of editorial revisions, several drafts, or several simultaneous readings which spread out over decades, while orality and interview involves improvising, here and now.

A Youtube introduction to Hegel or Freud by someone else will never replace the confrontation with Hegel’s Freud’s original words.

Classics are very different from what we say about them.

You need to discover your own Freud, your own Nietzsche, your own Plato, your own Whitehead.

Now, does that mean we should not pay attention to living intellectuals and read only classics?

Yes.

And no.

A living famous intellectual can be positively influential, if he or she creates a desire for thought, a desire to train the muscle of thought.

This seems to be the case of Jordan Peterson, among others.

But a mediatic intellectual can also be negatively influential if he or she is used by the system as a means to prevent people from accessing more fundamental thoughts that are more radical.

For example, the Marxist and Lacanian thinker Slavoj Zizek is often used as a joker that might prevent many people to read Marx or Lacan.

It is also possible that Jordan Peterson is used to deflect the desire of a certain part of the population for more radicality and to lead them towards a semi-radical domesticated position.

The relative scandal that Peterson or Zizeck create is still acceptable by the mainstream media.

They might be shocking for some, but they are less shocking than people who you will never see on television.

The revolution will not be televised.

This has to do with how much the audience can take emotionally.

Our emotional muscle, today, is generally hypertrophied while our thought muscle is atrophied, so we often react and are trained to react without really understanding the logic of an argument first.

All possible radical propositions are not heard in the media, and semi-radical thinkers are used by the media as diversion.

An intellectual who wants to be in the media without taking the risk of simplifying his or her thinking must stay in tune with his deeper system.

This is difficult because our inner system is a web of belief that is a process, and because of the respect any serious thinkers owes to the past pillars of our civilisation.

The respect for tradition slows down the process of thinking because it syncs it with natural growth in a world of artificial growth.

It is important to slow down in order to think, in order to extricate ourselves from imposed and trained automatisms and all the mimetic habits that transform the social sphere into a deadly trap.

This takes time.

Natural growth time, not media time.

To be a public intellectual is to help co-create relationships that are lucid forms of well-belonging and natural spiritual growth.

I all boils down to the idea of primary source.

One could argue that all major thinkers are trying to decipher what is our primary source, or as Aristotle put it, our first mover.

Who is your first mover?

What is your primary source?

What is the first mover of our society?

What is the primary source of this society?

Does your primary source and the primary source of your society coincide?

If not, then we have a problem to solve!

As a philosophical counsellor, in my consultation office in Kungsholmen, it is my job to have individual conversations with people who want to connect to their primary source via thought.

Psychology, philosophy, feeling, vision, and community are all important in the confrontation with our destiny.

“The Revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not go better with Coke
The revolution will not fight the germs that cause bad breath
The revolution WILL put you in the driver’s seat.”

 (I wrote this text as support for the keynote talk I was invited to give at The Syntheist Node in Stockholm on 18 May 2018 – the theme of the conference was Jordan Peterson.)

On Duty – The Philosophy Whisperer

How to be Epic? “What should I do?” Most philosophical texts on duty begin by citing Kant’s question. Is it a duty to quote Kant when philosophizing about duty? In a certain academic discourse, yes. For duty is first and foremost a matter of “discourse” in the sense of community of practice and belonging. If you are part of a group of bodybuilders, your duty is to go to the gym several times a week. It’s a question of identity and collective consciousness. But does this mean that the isolated individual does not have duties towards himself?

To answer this, let’s go back to the source: etymologically, the duty is a debt, a transfer of belonging. How can I have a debt to myself? The answer is easy and is it even indebted to the literature on personal ethics, moral commitments, good resolutions, will, self-discipline, etc. But a devious mind might wonder whether the philosopher, as a good moralist, does not himself have the professional duty, the obligation to advise autonomy, to speak of duty towards oneself in the sense of respect for one’s commitments and one’s “highest values”. A thinker is not expected to sing the lack of responsibility, fun, suicide, inconsistency. Duty is associated with a form of predictability, trust. It is expected that the bus driver will drive his bus by respecting stops and schedules rather than suddenly dropping everyone in a ravine or taking them on an improvised trip. Duty is the courage to do what is not necessarily creative: to repeat, preserve, conserve.

That’s why in a time like ours, where creativity seems to be a categorical imperative, many are confused. They initiate risks that they do not push to the end, for want of control. Our era is full of flabby souls, beings who sketch adventurous actions out of a duty of originality but who do not lead them to completion by cowardice, conformism or prudence — they are rarely punished in our coolera, if by the gloom of their existence or the anger of the lured. But let us now consider a more taboo idea than the duty towards oneself.

Imagine a tyrant or emperor who considers that everyone owes her something. All would have the duty to dedicate their work to her and a part of their life, their time, or their body. Such a situation moves away duty from the lyric field (I owe myself) and puts it back into the political field (you must, we have the duty). If this tyrant is a State, then an entire nation is bound to serve the order. These are the two dead-ends of our modernity: the individual most often fails to be a being of pure duty to himself, that is of pure integrity, because lyricism, theI, is a position that cannot erase the desire for enjoyment; on the other hand, the citizen fails to be a perfect subject of the State because voluntary servitude is not totally possible for a conscious subject (but it is possible for an unconscious subject, and that is why Big Data and Google are coming to use us right now, because we are not well aware of our electronic servitude). How can one escape dialectically, or rathercrealectically, from the duality between the lyricism of duty and the sacrifice of collectivism? By a virtue that our modernism has forgotten or relegated to fiction: the epic sense.

Being epic is a co-creative middle ground between the lyricism of the ego-trip and the servitude of bad esprit de corps. It is a co-creative esprit de corps that blends community and personal heroism. The Greeks placed in the epicthe highest degree of humanity, as if the epic group were a super-individual composed of individuals who themselves do not yield to their fate. It is perhaps our highest duty: the duty of a destiny.

And there is no lonely destiny. Even a Van Gogh is the collective product of many human efforts and desires, a network of admirations: his brother, collectors, art critics, paint manufacturers, and so on. The folly of a Van Gogh is to believe he is alone in the world. The madness of a Caligula is to refuse that one is always alone in the face of one’s destiny. Between the two, there is for example the group Nicolas Bourbaki, who managed to unify and revolutionize the mathematics of the twentieth century because its members abdicated their ego under the same pseudonym and worked together, without failing, towards the same cognitive conquest. It was a group where everyone had a strong voice to be heard in the process of steering an ideal towards a common vision.

Visionaries have a duty to see and a desire to grow. Duty and desire then merge into the same integrity that meets history. Have the chance to be at the right time in the right place, of course, but also be ready to act — that is, to die — when you have to.

“War is Justice” (on Heraclitus)

Note for the Process-Oriented Philosophy Seminar

Session of 3 May 2018

 

We start with this Fragment from Heraclitus.

“We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice, and that all things come into being through strife necessarily.” Heraclitus, Fragment B80

We are speaking of becoming as “coming into being”.

Not just flowing, not just passing, but coming into being.

There seems to be a qualitative change here, between non-being and being.

What does it mean to be a being?

Does it have to do with matter?

Does Heraclitus mean that material things are the result of conflict?

It seems that we are also talking about not-yet-being.

The strife itself seems to operate in a realm before being, since things come into being through strife.

We are distinguishing a state of pre-being.

Heraclitus says that strife, conflict is the spiritual (not-a-being) engine of coming into being.

Strife seems to be a state of affairs before things come into being, since they come into being through strife.

Unless we are talking about a recombination of things into other things.

Unless we are talking about strife as the encounter between entities, points of contact.

But Heraclitus is talking about the Logos, about God, about the absolute.

He is not an empiricist.

Heraclitus says that strife is justice. And war common to all.

Which means that war is the universal common ground.

Being a universal, strife is not only a thing itself, and it is not simply the mere contact between things

Or if it is this contact, it is as a universal relation between things.

Strife, even as relation, is an idea, and moreover it is a universal idea, an absolute.

Which means that strife itself does not change.

This is why Heraclitus says that he speaks of the One.

“The waking have one common world.” Fragment B89.

Logos is One. “It rests by changing.” Fragment B84.

Hence the idea of necessity, which means that we are not talking about pure randomness.

For Heraclitus, the Logos, or God, is War as an absolute.

It is the contradiction itself, the idea of opposition.

This might seem to be logically contradictory for the following reason:

The idea of war supposes a dualism.

If you only had the One, how could it be at war with itself?

If you hold the proposition that God as One is Strife, then you might lose the idea of Unity, since the idea of war supposes A and B, at least an antagonism, a non-identity, a difference.

But there is a possible solution here to the apparent contradiction:

The idea that One and the Multiple are the same.

The idea that God or the Logos is at the same time One and Multiple.

And if all things are necessarily produced by such a God, it might mean that beings are themselves at the same time one and multiple.

That seems to be the essence of the strife that Heraclitus describes.

War is Justice and War is God seems to mean that One and the Multiple are the same.

That One and the Multiple are the same is perhaps the logic of all process philosophies.

Are we used today, in everyday life, to that way of thinking?

We are used to count.

And when we count, we distinguish one and the multiple.

When we count, the multiple becomes a sum. And one becomes a unit, a digit.

A digit seems to be different from a sum of digits.

Let’s now for the sake of heuristics try to apply Heraclitus to the way of thinking that counts.

To say that the One and the Multiple are the same, transposed to the realm of numbers and things, would be to say that one object is the same as many other objects.

Let’s say something apparently absurd for the sake of thinking forward:

One umbrella is the same as twenty cars and five baguettes.

How could we accept such an equation?

1 umbrella = 20 cars and 5 baguettes

This seems absurd.

But not completely. In fact, we are familiar with one mode of thought in which this equation is not surprising.

Imagine that the umbrella is entirely made of pure gold and that its value in dollars is $400 000. And imagine that we are talking about a specific model of car that costs $19,999 on the market. Both suppositions are very probable.

Then the equation would be true, in the world of money and exchange-value, which is a way of thinking among others.

Ways of thinking create acceptable worlds on premises that might appear absurd from the perspective of another way of thinking.

What I wanted to show here is that process philosophy is a way of thinking, in which the one and the multiple are the same, and in which there is becoming in the form of a coming into being, which means that there is a constant movement between non-being and being.

Sometimes Heraclitus calls this multiple a surfeit, an excess, that which is overabundant. I called it the Creal.

The philosopher Gilbert Simondon speaks of supersaturation for the multiple and crystallisation for individualisation, and we will come back to this later in the seminar. Alain Badiou also tried to think the one and the multiple, and so did Deleuze, and others. We will meet some of them in due course.

Let’s remain with the Greeks for the moment. How can non-being become being?

For Parmenides, this was impossible, because being is and non-being is not. For Plato, this was possible because in fact all beings related to ideal eternal paradigms that modelled their evolution. Think about the human foetus that develops a program that seems to be predesigned and yet we do not know here it is predesigned that the foetus will become a baby with, if all goes normally, two arms and two eyes, etc. For Aristotle, the passage between non-being into being was allowed because of the distinction between the potential and the actual.

But can we point to a very precise moment were the potential is becoming actual? Isn’t it like Achilles and the Tortoise, impossible to distinguish?

In the history of philosophy, all of these explanations were shown to contain logical flaws.

Today we can say that the problem is the following:

If we are to think that one and the multiple are the same, can we think it in a manner that remains multiple?

If we build a system of thought to explain how things come into being, that system will be one, it will be proposed as a fixed unified explanation, itself outside of becoming, and therefore suggested to war and conflict of ideas, and ultimately obsolescence.

Can we move into a way of thinking that would at the same time be one and multiple?

Shouldn’t we look for a style of thinking rather than a system.

I call crealectics this style of thinking. Not only from creative dialectics, but also from Creal and ectics: Ecto in Greek means outside.

There is a movement from the inside to the outside.

Creal-ectics looks at how the invisible-multiple becomes exteriorised as beings.

Perhaps is it not even a style of thinking.

Perhaps it is a way, in the manner that oriental spiritualities have ways.

The way of the warrior, the way of the monk, the way of empathy, the way of thinking.

We have just landed in a common space that is perhaps a new way of thinking.

Or perhaps just the desire of a new way of thinking.

A desire is already much.

 

 

Universalia Sunt Crealia

 

Reism is the doctrine that only things exist (from the Latin res, “thing”). In translation studies, realia are particular elements that cannot be translated into another language. A reist theory of aesthetics would be the assumption that an artefact can never be transferred into an emotional understanding, but at best artistic objects would be strange things that differ from everyday realia and therefore generate at best a questioning or a puzzlement. It is nevertheless difficult to see how we can share a common world in a reist universe.

Qualism is the philosophical doctrine that there are subjective mental aesthetic states, called qualia. Qualia introduce a form of perspectivism in the perception of reality. Art objects being more singular and unfamiliar than everyday objects, they would generate ever multiple and diverse qualia, thus introducing a form of relativism in the aesthetic experience. In a qualist universe, it is difficult to see how a form of intersubjective agreement can be reached.

I propose to call crealia the kind of monads that support the aesthetic perception. Can crealia be seen as the dialectic (or better crealectic) concept of monads generated by the sublation of reism and qualism? Objects are in constant flux and cannot be taken as a fixed substantial reality. Affective subjects are a solipsistic construct that should not be thought of as separated and different from the cosmos, a position that would equate to a form of dualist reism.

We need to examine how crealia can be compared to what Whitehead calls “actual occasions” as “monadic creatures” that do not change but “become”: “Each monadic creature is a mode of the process of ‘feeling’ the world, of housing the world in one unity of complex feeling, in every way determinate. Such a unit is an ‘actual occasion’; it is the ultimate creature derivative from the creative process.”

We need to examine how the actuality of crealia can be distinguished from the objectivity of realia and from the subjectivity of qualia. Is such actuality to be understood in terms of acts of a “superject”, and how does this understanding incorporate an element of virtuality or potentiality? What is universally actual and how does the Whiteheadian concept of “actual occasions” allow us to understand the artistic, cosmic, and quotidian aesthetic feeling?

 

Feeling the Flowing Present, Becoming the Becoming

Some people ask: why is my capacity to grow so related to the experience of becoming imprisoned in loops of enthusiasm followed by deception? It seems like a rollercoaster or a golden prison of over-confidence and collapse.

Our capacity to grow is conditioned by the very way in which we formulate and verbalise our decisions to change.

For example, if I say that I want to be a better human in a way or another, I am assuming that I want to remain a human, that I am such thing as a 21stcentury human in a given society. We might be so obsessed by our personal change that we don’t think about questioning the very idea of being a human being, a given person in a given society, an individual.

“I am a human”: we take this for granted. And inevitably we might fall, sooner or later, into the trap of de-compensation, loss of direction or faith in this given human that we took for granted, or in the world that we have partly built for us. Even the construct “human” involves many limitations: it is an object of belief, a historical construct.

The construct “better human” might negate the idea of “bad or weak human”, but it confirms the construct “human” and might be like adding decorative plants or increasing the size of the window of our prison cell.

In Process-Oriented philosophy we start with one only assumption, which is not a thing but a welcoming of the feeling of becoming. Not becoming this or that. Simply becoming. Flowing. Creating and being created by life.

The belief in a creative flow is not a belief in something immediately real in the way society recognizes things as real: houses, contracts, legal persons, citizens, bills. The ultimate given of process-oriented philosophies is a creative real, what I call a Creal, what Whitehead calls “creativity”, what Bergson calls “creative evolution” or “life”, an ever-changing infra-reality of flowing potentials, waves of infinite possibility, subatomic infra-structures in constant reconfiguration. The idea of infinite probability is impossible mathematically, but it might be an inspiring way of talking about the Creal.

This is the tabula rasa of process philosophy. This is where we start: the feeling of pure becoming without destination. The feeling that becoming is a divine common ground, a Creal with a capital C.

I am crealing. You are crealing. We are crealing.

I can forget for a while that I have a name, that I am supposed to be a human, that I have a given body, a given family and a job, or an absence of family, an absence of job. I can move closer to the creative flow and its desire without object.

How? By feeling it.

Whitehead speaks of “the ontological principle”. It is the principle that every actualised reality is interconnected in the cosmological creative field, and that things, institutions, statuses, names, ideas like being human, being a salesman or a philosopher, are perhaps perceived as more actual, but are less real that the invisible metamorphic field that underlies them. “The universe is solidarity”, writes Whitehead in Process and Reality. He adds: “Creativity is the universal of universals characterizing the ultimate matter of fact.”

My subjectivity and my living power emerge afresh via this meditative feeling. Whitehead adds: “Feelings are variously specialized operations, effecting a transition into subjectivity. They replace the ‘neutral stuff’ of certain realistic philosophers. An actual entity is a process. […] This use of the term ‘feeling’ has a close analogy to [the] use of the term ‘enjoyment’; and also some kinship with Bergson’s use of the term ‘intuition’.”

We enjoy the Creal as immanent universal enjoyment, we feel it as desire-without-object. It is exploding slowly and confidently in all possible directions. There is no right direction prior to the subjective feeling of “right direction”. There is no definite formula for being a better human. Of course, there are criteria of excellence in a given social game, such as playing classical music. But even the most skilled pianist will be a mere technical boring machine if he or she does not connect to the Creal when playing.

We are all — or we should all be — familiar with the Cartesian cogito: every time I doubt, every time I question the reality of this world, it is I who questions it, said Descartes, and therefore I am.

The process-oriented cogito is somewhat different, or more precisely considers the question from a different angle. It says: I feel the creative flow passing through me, therefore I am a participative perspective on the cosmic becoming.

Once familiar with the Creal and its modus operandi, its crealectics, we might be able to actualise such and such reality in a more fruitful way. It will take some time, some work, some discipline, some faith, many battles against the zombies of individualistic and prosaic realism, fights against the automated beliefs and codes of a given society. But no matter what my desire for excellence is, if I lose the connection to the Creal, I will become a mere social machine and I will eventually stop working properly. Out of flow, out of order.

By becoming the Creal, identifying with it, letting it grow on me, I become conscious of my active role of creator of realities. This is done by forgetting temporarily who we are as a tagged human, with all the labels that stick to us or that we believe stick to us when we meet someone or find ourselves in a new situation where we are expected to perform. Even supposedly pleasant labels, like honorific titles or money are superficial, convenient at some point, but potentially obstacles to the full development of your highest destiny, if any, and sustainable gratitude. Failure and success are not always easy to distinguish.

Being a human does not fully define me. I am only partly a human, from a certain perspective and in a given society and ideology. Being a man does not fully define me. I am only partly a man, from a certain perspective and under a given society and ideology. Your age does not define you, nor does your past, because feeling the Creal and diving into it is a constant — at least partial — rebirth, for the simple reason that ultimate creativity is constant renewal.

The process-oriented philosophy cogito is: I feel the cosmic essence of becoming, therefore I am. I think about how the Creal gives way to given realities, therefore I am.

Because I am not only the Creal, I am also the way the Creal is actualised into realities. This way is crealetics. And I am likely to be also the points of contact between the Creal connectome, its moving constellations, and reality. These fecund nodes of crealisation, these microcosmic points, crealia rather than realia. We might look closer, later, at how certain “analytic philosophy”, which historically has developed in part as a reaction against process philosophies (against Hegel and Whitehead for example, and against British idealism), how this analytic disenchantment has debated over and over about realia, things, but not, as far as I know, about crealia.

The creative flow is not just a name. The Creal is a feeling. A feeling is a fact, even if it cannot be measured.

A constellation is both a reality and a convention. We can combine stars (starts?) the way we desire and see different patterns in the sea of crealia.

This is the tabula rasa that we must start with on our journey to understand process philosophy. It is not a table, of course. And it is not empty. It is a ground of fluxing abundance that can be felt to begin with, even if somewhat confusedly, vaguely. It can be felt as curiosity, as gratitude. It can be felt as nourishment, as enjoyment. It can be felt as creative desire. Philosophy is also a feeling and an art of intuition. Crealectics can also be the reading of our futures.

Creative desire without object, prior to a goal, is not a weakness. Creative desire is our common sense of the divine.

If we focus on becoming a better or stronger human, without questioning what human means and if and how we are humans, we might eventually become a competitive commodity without soul, and eventually break or dysfunction. If we focus on being this or that, more this or more that, we will fail because we will become a function, even if it is a super-function. We are not nothing, but we are no thing.

In process-orirented philosophy, our source is a Creal, a warm flow of pure becomings. This is the divinity that we co-create together whilst welcoming it. The Creal is the energy, the field behind the actualisations humans and non-humans bring into the world.

Does the Creal have a function? We will think about it.

Manifesting, producing, proposing, elaborating realities and roles is fine. But this is secondary and can become soulless, de-spirited. What comes first is an active surrendering to the flowing immanent Spirit, to become the Creal that is our feeling soul, the universal — and multiversal — common desiring soul. Infinite moving potentialities. A grace of abundance and freedom. This is the ontological principle, the solidarity between all that is and all that is not yet and that will never be. This connects us as a common field, and to connect in Latin is religare, a term that gave, etymologically, religion. Hence the connection between process-philosophies and a form of religiosity, an immanent faith. We will explore this sense of the divine, slowly, without rushing into pre-defined conclusions. The concept of Creal is also a way of avoiding the complicated term “God”.

For the moment we can say: the Creal is our holy Grail. We are the knights of Creal. The Creal is not a giant Jacuzzi for indolent post-adolescents. The Creal is our crusade. We bring peace, freedom, joy, self-discipline and non-forceful mastery. We wish not to kill but to win our battles simply through spreading the gratitude of natural spiritual and immanent growth.

The Creal of process-oriented philosophy is a non-objectal “giveness”. Whitehead writes: “Potentiality is the correlative of giveness”.

Giveness gives itself to those who connect to the flowing present by welcoming it, by — at least partly — becoming it.

We are becoming the becoming. Crealing is healing.

 

 

The POP Workshop | Process-Oriented Philosophy with Luis de Miranda

Who’s POP? Let’s unite theory and praxis, let’s become a hive-mind and embark on a journey of slow thinking, a rewarding voyage through the major texts of process-oriented philosophy. Free entrance, freer minds @ the Library of Noden. First date 18 April 2018 at 19h40, and then regular sessions will be held. Sickla industriväg 6, 131 34 Nacka. More info here.

reality-réalité.jpg

What if creation was time and time was creation?
 
Process philosophy is based on the premise that Being is a dynamic creative Becoming, a flow of possibilities.
 
The continuously creative nature of being and how it is actualised into different human or meta-human realities should be the primary focus of any comprehensive philosophical account of reality and of our existential, political, social, or divine place within it.
 
Western metaphysics has long been obsessed with describing reality as an assembly of static analytic entities whose changing features are taken to be secondary and derivative. The usual modern realistic view considers the earth as a stock of thinks, usually “not enough”, and humans as needing to produce ever more to avoid “chaos” and corruption. From less things they want to produce ever more things. Abundance is considered to be the ever-delayed product of anthrobotic manufacture. This view buries our souls under a world of things and an intricacy of stress.
 
For process philosophers the adventure of philosophy and life begins with a creative flow of infinite potentialities. It is the source that is over-abundant even if invisible. To make a harmonious world is to do less with more, not more with less: to prune a branch of the infinite tree of life into a coherent and harmonious structure of actualities.
 
Process-philosophy proposes questions such as:
 
How is the Real produced by a continuous cosmic creation, a “miraculating immanence” (Deleuze/Guattari), a “Creal”?
 
How do we understand and co-create the emergence of novel organic actualities or “nexus” (Whitehead)?
 
How do we learn to live in a non-dualistic spiritual and sensual world in which praxis and theory are two aspects of the same process?
 
How do we keep safe from the deadly realistic view of the world as mere aggregation of finite measurable commodities?
 
This ongoing workshop of multiple sessions will be a patient and pedagogic process of thinking together across the writings of, among others, Heraclitus, Hegel, Bergson, Whitehead, Lacan, and Deleuze. You do not have to attend all the sessions. This event is in English, it is free of charge and will take place at the Library of Noden. Please bring something to write on. No specific training in philosophy is required, as we will move on slowly and clearly, together as a hive-mind. But a desire to think will help. To think is like breathing or walking: it is a fundamental aspect of being human and it balances our life. Do not let your thought muscle become atrophied.
 
The POP workshop will be orchestrated by Luis de Miranda, Doctor of Philosophy, philosophical counsellor at The Stockholm Philosophical Parlour. http://luisdemiranda.com
 
No previous reading is required, as the workshop will function as a live reading group. But the following text can serve as an introduction: “The Concept of Creal: The Politico-Ethical Concept of A Creative Absolute” (a text that can be dowloaded here: https://philarchive.org/archive/DEMOTC-3)
This event is not for profit and donation-based. All proceeds go to the Node, and we encourage you to contribute to the community’s self-sustainability by donating per session and/or become a monthly donor at http://syntheistnode.se/
or with SWISH 123 023 10 68
 
Welcome!

 

The River of Difference: Rereading Heraclitus

Famous fragment B12 of Heraclitus has been translated has follows by Professor Jonathan Barnes, an international authority in Ancient philosophy:

On those who enter the same rivers, ever different water flows.

This of course can be understood as another way of saying that one cannot bathe in the same river twice. Because the river is changing all the time. But this translation is remarkable because it suggests more than the idea of universal change.

On those who enter the same rivers, ever different water flows.

This can also mean the following: if one is persistent, visionary, and passionate enough to stick to the very same belief without changing, this courage of holding on what you believe will produce multiple fruits. The water of Difference will flow upon you if you persist in entering the same river. Repetition will produce a state of exception.

Why crealectics rather than dialectics?

The following text is not meant to be read dogmatically, but as part of a process of thought. Feel free to engage with it, comment, specify, explore, criticise. Think with me.

 

One of the possible short definitions of dialectics, etymology-based, is: to think through.

This sort of process should not imply necessarily a dualism of the positive and the negative.

If one thinks through the Creal, through the invisible multiplicities that are the subtle stuff in which we are immersed, we are not only getting through the negative, but through all sorts of crealia, most of them probably indefinable in human language, because human language cannot express A and non-A at the same time. Crealectics does not objectify the negative nor the positive. At the level of crealia, nothing is positive or negative per se, not even only posinegative or negapositive, but infinitely charged in ways we cannot clearly imagine or formulate, although we can feel it confusedly.

I proposed to call crealia (rather than realia) the multiple points of contact between the Creal and the Real. The Real is made of objective realities, bodies, consciousness, objects, institutions. The Creal would then be the pre-objective and pre-conscious reality. Perhaps a proper definition of the Creal should include the Real. Perhaps we should posit that the Creal is the Real + the flowing immanent subtle potentialities that are not actualised yet, a.k.a. crealia.

To this we should probably add the desired idea of One, or unity.

Why do we need to presuppose a Creal? One way of answering is to speak of desire. We have in us humans not only the capacity to desire such and such thing but also the capacity to desire in general a reality that would satisfy our deepest aspirations. Perhaps we also possess the capacity to feel a desire without object at all, a pure desire which is not a desire of anything in particular. Whitehead speaks of appetition, a term he takes from Leiniz and the Monadology. He also speaks of unrest, a term he attributes to Samuel Alexander: “Every ultimate actuality embodies in its own essence what Alexander terms ‘a principle of unrest’, namely its becoming.”

Becoming as pure desire.

But if this is a desire without object, should we still call it desire? Desire seems to presuppose a lack, the idea that something is not fulfilled. I have hypothesised that the fundamental lack at the core of the Creal, is the lack of one. This would be a logical consequence of the idea of pure multiplicity. I often write that the cosmos is a love story between the Creal and the One, a story that is dynamic because the Creal and the One are two sides of the same coin: they touch each other yet they constantly miss each other. This point needs to be specified. But let’s postulate for the moment that the universal principle of unrest is the lack of one. Everything desires to be one yet fails to ever be absolutely one because everything desires to be multiple at the same time. Hence the process. In other words, desire goes in opposite directions, not just two directions, since the multiple is multidirectional. Crealectics supports at this point the idea that our fundamental desire is a desire of unity and multiplicity, therefore it is a tourbillon, aspiring to all directions and to unity at the same time or alternatively.

This does not appear to be a binary or trinary process involving the positive, the negative, and the synthesis.

To feel the potentialities of life as pure potentialities might be called a desire without object or a desire with an infinite number of objects. Which means that these crealia are good, because we can only desire what is good. It does not means that the object of desire is good in itself, it becomes good intentionally, by being qualified by desire. We have a “conceptual prehension”, to use a Whiteheadian term, of possibilities that are perceived as good, but not yet as possibilities of this or that.

Perhaps this is what a crealia is, a pure vibrating string, torn between the multiple and the one. In such case, all crealia would be infinitesimal zones of energy capable of playing a role in the actualisation of the Real and the virtualisation of the Creal.

In other words crealia would be like pluripotent spiritual cells.

I would not call them monads, like Leibniz, because I don’t think crealia “have no-windows”. Crealia have an infinite number of windows.

Crealectics names the actual method of description of the unfolding of the Creal because the Creal is the source, but also because dialectics seems too simple, binary or trinary. Obviously, this is reminiscent of Deleuze’s critique of Hegel, which I propose we now read closely.

Hegel is believed to have said just before he died that no one had understood him properly. Perhaps Hegel himself was a crealectician? This means we also need to read Hegel more closely. The fruits of these tasks will be the topic of future posts.