So Upset at Myself
This isn’t poetical. This isn’t musical. This isn’t philosophical. This is a temper tantrum. I’m so mad at myself for being so hard on myself. I’ve limited my own possibilities based upon an unjust prejudice of self-understanding, which, up until now, has grounded my purpose. I could have been a better activist for phenomenology. I could have been a better activist for hermeneutics. I could have been a better activist for science, in general. But, more importantly, I could have been a better activist for myself, and my life would not have been so irrationally unsettled for the past couple of years. Or maybe I can fit a purpose to my sufferings in squalor, banished from the light of academic premises on account my inept accounting for rigorous edicts enacted by truly entitled authority.
For now, while I digest my situation and think of a way to properly, formally, address my pathetic amalgamation of angry assertions, here’s what happened: almost five years ago, I presented a certain philosopher’s ideas in such a way which applied said ideas to a problem in quantum physics. I attempted to show how application of this philosopher’s message dissolves the problem, as a problem to begin with, and allows the paradigm to be as an index for scientific self-understanding; that is, allows science to understand itself, its own foundational assumptions, in a meaningful manner. Gadamer’s hermeneutical approach sheds light on the common history of assumptions which ground purposeful analysis of, and discoveries in, nature. These same material, corporeal assumptions, though, are not available for question in physics, as they are THE assumptions which allow for real value, and so leave self-evidence in paradox. But Gadamer, in a phenomenologically retrospective manner, shows how natural assumptions are an index to a lived perspective cultivated by historical participation; and in recognizing this common misunderstanding, one may positively participate in methodical communion with other perspectives in common truth, without contradiction of self. Boundless horizons mark this relation, as well as annul polemics in the name of this relation, without excluding them from participation in terms of this relation.
One professor told me I should edit and publish my findings. Every. Single. Other. Philosophy professor of mine told me, in some way, shape, or form, that I was unphilosophical; too subversive; too creative; incapable of demonstrating the critical reasoning skills necessary to do highfalutin philosophy. And I believed them. And I should have, for one may always improve upon oneself. But then I took their criticism too seriously, and such criticism became too real, as I then based my whole worldview, my whole perspective on their negativity. I did what I always hate to see others do, that is, negatively contradict oneself; fully negate oneself; completely reduce oneself, one’s perspective, one’s world, to a single idea encompassing all meaningful reality (which, in my case, was that I was a complete dunce who chooses inappropriate methods of wisdom-loving). I barred myself from seeing that which grounds my perspective, and the entailed possibilities of thought which could clarify my misconceptions. Paralyzing negation and grief could have been for me an advantage had I not participated in this negation in terms unclear! Their criticism sparked such an emotional response out of my person that I was unable to properly apologize for my thoughts. Because I served as a sensitive ‘lil artist, barely able to stand the demands of the light of day, I was unable to become clear.
Is this to say that had I edited and published my findings, I would have solved a huge problem for science? No. But the softer humanities need a little tender, loving care, if one asks me. These modes of expression are subtly abused by the “discoveries” of theoretical science, which emerge as novel when there exists in them no respect for the begetting isnad of thought that accounts for such radical insight. And in being jipped from credulity, my field of choice, and my own self self as a participant, is impoverished. Does the Continental camp at least gain an “assist” in the scientific conclusions to follow in the third link given? Does the philosophy-writ-large camp receive any reference from modern physics? And what of religion? Poor religion has been boasting of the existence of other-worlds and other-worldly-entities since the dawn of time! Does this field of study get credit? If not, then the social sciences and the more “feathery,” “vague,” and “too creative”-philosophies and arts are second-class citizens compared to the naturally prepossessed philosophies and sciences, in and of themselves; doing the ignoble work of round-about-ways to truth, in order to include as many possibilities as possible- how brutish!
Here is that presentation (excuse all the “I”s, for it was a live presentation):
Here is the abstract for that presentation:
Now, do these need editing? Why yes ma’am, they do. But does this form get Gadamer’s message, and my application of Gadamer’s message, through to whomever? Why yes ma’am, it does. Or it least with a “charitable and accurate” eye, one may find the deepest available sense to it. I didn’t see the value in myself or my capabilities. And in not taking seriously my thoughts, they remained obscure, incommunicable to those unwilling to examine the common history of terms; without which clarity of any sort is impossible. There’s a pattern of correlation between my own self-loathing and that of “less-direct” philosophies. It is not the case that “frivolous” methods maintain no value; rather the case is that users of such aesthetic methodologies, like myself, at times don’t know how to rise to the occasion of translating representative realizations into arbitrary terms. This is because our purely, “disinterested” vantage point is didactically structured to the purely deductive disinterestedness of scientific pursuits. And so these methods, or rather I, the projecting self in this scenario, cannot get credit for cultivating such ideas as ideas, themselves- we are thus misappropriated as incorrect outside of deductive form. This misappropriation allows literal sciences to swoop in with the correct sense of self-evidence, avowing concepts previously referenced- like many worlds- as holding value in only one manner. The less precise sectors of the humanities, writ large, are second-class citizens in comparison to the hard sciences insofar as they continue to allow their methods to be measured as purely arbitrary. If the “feathery” methods could combine forces with “efficient cause” and efficient, formal means a little bit better, then their role amidst a sea of cold logic may gain respected perspective. And questions of material and final causes, which allow for the natural measurement of many worlds, may better fall into place.
This is where phenomenology and its legacy can now come to a clear purpose for me, once more (beyond landing me in situations by which i get my ass-beat by encouraging my smart mouth)! Phenomenology, which positively represents naturally negating assumptions as a pure philosophy of science, may tighten up the rather confused messages involved with more lively-expressions of lived-experience, and allow them to logically sing! Could this be what Sartre has been getting at??!! (I’ve hated him for so long because of his examples concerning “bad faith”- why’s the woman in bad faith just cuz she doesn’t wanna hold your sweaty, slimy hand? and why’s the wait staff in bad faith for being good actors? huh? huh? HUH?!) I can’t even believe it, but I’M AGREEING WITH HIS SAYING IN HIS INTENTIONALITY: A FUNDAMENTAL IDEA OF PHENOMENOLOGY, “No more is it necessary to dispose of the effeminate philosophy of immanence, where everything happens by compromise, by protoplasmic transformations, by a tepid cellular chemistry. The philosophy of transcendence throws us on to the highway, in the midst of dangers, under a dazzling light.”
Inspired by Husserl’s original method, and the school of thought which follows suit, the greater scope of the humanities may participate in scientific conversation with equal validity. And it is assumed that such equality in conversation leads to an enrichment of said conversation. And with a more enriched conversation, based upon equal contribution between formal presentation and “intentional-content”, all of the arts and letters may achieve their individual goals swiftly, and with greater truth; value; meaning. For look what’s being ‘discovered’ now: the conclusions of which drawn yearrrrrrsssss prior by means of questioning into prejudice that binds together the natural sciences- a questioning prompted by obscure philosophers and references (“mathematical” as well as “non-“) by whom wayyyy more radical and efficient implications for scientific thought are conceived than the themes explored in my presentation:
Don’t you all worry. I will find a way to remedy this destructive drive, held deep within the origins of my impulse, which has barred myself and the greater scope of the humanities- which as a discursive field of inquiry (or inquiries) grounds scientific inquiry in the first place- from receiving the honors “we” deserve [(or at least which I believe “we” deserve) I hope that the “greater scope of the humanities” does not mind me speaking on its behalf in this instance]. Gadamer allows one to point out that the many worlds theory, as it stood five years ago, contradicted its own purposes, by pointing out a better perspective from which on may approach the problem concerning how it is the many worlds communicate without sacrificing objective indubitableness. And Gadamer wrote many years before the physicists in this article came to such conclusions! But had I, and the “feathery” humanities by willful extension, been better able to present such ideas in a crisp, clean fashion, so as not to add further confusion to a world of conversation which already makes little sense, maybe this perceived tension between science and the greater scope of the humanities would dissolve… Whine. Whine. Whine. Complain. Complain. Complain. Bitch. Bitch. Bitch.
here’s a link which would better explain what I mean by “intentional-content” (look to section 3, specifically, although I believe the whole read to be enjoyable, on the whole)
here is a link better highlighting bad faith:
here’s a link better demonstrating how far back into history, and how complex the concept of multiplicity gets:
(and don’t forget to look at the links for contextualism and perspectivism!!)
here is a link highlighting my reference to the four causes:
here’s a link to a video of an inspiring thinker who radically questions into the foundations of science, in a cogent manner which I deeply admire and long to emulate:
here are some links to the discussions which follow the exposition of this whine-and-cheese-fest, which were helpful in editing this very whine-and-cheese fest by means of the “charitable and accurate”- as well as uncharitable and inaccurate- treatment my “arguments” and I originally received on the reddit:
Copyright Keli Birchfield 2015