202110071459 📃 attempt at the creation of a social technology
¶1. What had been said before about the immanent structure of consciousness as regards its self-understanding has only been said necessarily. That is, I have only so far conceived of consciousness descending outside itself and into particularity and concretion as it must do so - as it cannot fail to do so. It must be in tension with itself and must, furthermore, clear away such tensions in the acts of its immanent realization. Its acts are in this way nothing other than itself moving in and for itself.
¶2. But if we want to give form to consciousness as possibly graded, not necessarily, then we must have a view towards something other than the mere schemstism of mental technology. Indeed, the prior discussion was nothing but the working out of mental technology. We must now employ this technology as it is possible.
¶3. What do I mean? Nothing but this: with the consciousness necessarily understood, we can begin to understand the possible shapes it takes outside of this necessity. For, properly speaking, necessity is for consciousness not its ground but its unground, its anteriority outside of itself which makes its freedom possible. Necessity is the dogmatic posit spoken of before, but understood as the totality of consciousness. Only when we shackle this totality to its proper place do we free ourselves from it. Only in the conception of a possibility, then, do we actually make something possible.
¶4. The task at hand in this writing, then, is to conceive of the possibilities of consciousness, beginning with transcendental apperception as the sum sphere or deepest point of departure for this possibility. Indeed, what previously culminated in mental technology was only one possibility, albeit a necessary one. If we wish to express ourselves, we necessarily employ mental technology. But if we wish to do something otherwise, we then employ it. What else we wish to employ, then, depends on the dogmatic assertion of what it is we want. What, then, are the possible wants of consciousness?
¶5. From Hegel, we know that recognition is perhaps the height of consciousness. Under Kojeve’s scheme, this becomes desire. Under Marx’s, labor-power’s creativity. Under Heidegger’s, ownmost potentiality for being. In each of these schemes we see that sociality is what consciousness wants, but this is only a necessary posit and not yet a possible one. Sociality is the deepest ground of consciousness, and thus it is that end towards which we sought to employ mental technology at all. Indeed, it is the final telos of transcendental apperception, so that no thought can be had of an object without a view towards its social communication. Again, however, all of this remains necessary and is not yet possible.
¶6. Though we want sociality, we must realize that to achieve it the pure employment of our mental technology is insufficient for it. We require a social technology, something which takes up the mental in itself and employs it so that it itself can be realized. We thus see mental techniques as a cog in the great machine of social intercourse - the former is not merely its lubricant, but indeed that first sprocket about which the rest of the machine turns. Mental technology is, then, conceived in the abstract, that ultimate sprocket and that causa prima through which abstract social movements occur. If we want to understand all of this concretely, though, then we have a view not towards social consciousness and social technology as it must be, but as it can be.
¶7. Thus, the first step in achieving an immanently conceived social technology is the transition from necessity to possibility, from ”must” to “can.” This is so on two fronts. First, the mental always stands as necessary, again because of its preliminary dogmatism. Thus, the social as its “other” and as its negation must be not-necessary, and therefore possible. Thus, if we are to step out of ourselves and truly descend into the practice of mental technology, an act which entails the recognition of its service to social technology, then we must have a view towards possibility and not the mere necessity of thought. That is, we cannot engage in a social technology except through mental technology, and we cannot do this by negating the mental as the All about which any possible technology can emerge. Some Other appears on the scene, a fact we have already acknowledged in developing a mental technology. Yet, social technology is none other than the systematic technique of responding this otherness, whereas mental technology was the mere technique of imposing ourselves onto it as our own other for it. Second, however, social technology must have a view towards possibility because of the necessity of mental technology’s own inner insufficiencies. Indeed, we did not conjure the otherness of the mind out of nowhere - it is a fact of the mind, one which can be overcome only in society.
¶8. Therefore, with this task in view, we can now begin to imagine possibilities for consciousness possibly, and not necessarily. This is the most difficult task for this writing, for the vision or foresight with which we attempt to understand social consciousness not only faces alterity in its own self (as dogmatic), but beneath itself (as subconscious), beyond itself (as the Other), but also in its own self-understanding (as dialectical). For the dialectic had so far understands itself necessarily, as it must — if it merely took itself to be possible, we would not be engaged in it! And yet we are engaging in it with a view towards such an end — the possible. Though this is paradoxical, we must work out how it is so, for though no one thinks except necessarily, no one also speaks except possibly, as he knows that his own sense of necessity is futile so far as it runs up against the infinity of perspectives over and against him. Thus the task at hand is not impossible, but difficult, so far as it entails a clarifying of the uncritical, unthought consciousness evident in the regular concourse of life.
¶9. With Deweyan pragmatism in view, we recapitulate to transcendental apperception as the work of consciousness towards continued existence. Other ends must be comprehended herein, but this teleology fundamentally comprehends transcendental apperception at its most basic—unifying conscious experience for continuity therein or, more simply, existence. (Existence is, then, continued experience).
¶10. And yet we are left with a conundrum - how is it that what is essentially towards a contentless and intentionless end, existence, accrues intentionality? How does the unconscious, in other words, become conscious? This is the basic problem of all philosophy of mind, and we can take no pains to solve it now, for its ontological and epistemic problems are manifold. What we can say, however, is this - with respect to the question of society and its dialectic with individual consciousness, we are faced with the problem of this consciousness and how it is at all. Being faced with it, society can be nothing other than an attempt to either (a) ignore or (b) answer the problem for, if we are to move into the scene of the social, we must move past the basic problem of our own existence. The very idea of ¶9, then, must be considered transcendently rather than immanently for, if it retains immanence in consciousness, then all society would be taken up beneath it, and nothing would retain possibility for society except the insolubility of how it is that it came to be at all as an aggregate of individuals who themselves have not yet understood how they came to be. This problem thus bears the power to overtake all other possibilities. Being that it doesn’t, we must inquire how it is that consciousness brackets it off and moves into a realm of possibility which is more actual than this.
¶11. Indeed, to solve ¶10, we must look for the point of departure for consciousness to exist its personal self-enclosure, whereby what enters its intentions is no longer itself but another self before it. We are after ¶5’s recognition, therefore. But how do we look for it? What enters on the scene for consciousness as an other against its own concerns for itself, against that which poses a fundamental ontico-epistemic problem for it, that is, how it exists at all? Following Kant, we might pose the aesthetic mediation of apperception, namely, space and time, or the concretion of experience. This, however, doesn’t appear on the scene as such, but in service of a manifold set of connections between the self and others, connections which become possibly shareable under certain conditions which take up aesthesis as their own point of departure. By this, I mean that once we enter into conversation with others, we do so on the basis of where and when we have been, exposing these only through some diverse set of intentions. We use them as grounds for speech, but never do we say them outright and in their own terms. We do not express them for themselves, but for another, namely, intentionally and towards some social end.
¶12. Thus the problem is still unsolved, as the gap between transcendentally apperceptive consciousness consciousness is more of a jump, a leap of faith, occasioned (as Kierkegaard might say) by an encounter with another which (as opposed to the entrance of the eternal into history) is characterized by the entrance of subjective alterity into an objective frame of reference, transcendental apperception. But this encounter and occasion cannot be as simple as a diagram which might appear as follows:
No, the encounter must have a necessary structure, or else it would not descend into actuality. Indeed, it would not be a thing at all producing any results if it did not have a set of necessary conditions for its appearance. The possibilities before and after the encounter must undergo a kind of transformation whose existence, like anything else possible before consciousness, has a rationally-adduceable content. It is not sufficient to say that a thing happens and that its own inner world is closed off to us. Indeed, if this is so, then we should hope for nothing at all but to live dumbly in our own worlds! And yet we don’t do this - if we can rationally propose a content and form for the world at large, we can propose one for our own world. This is the task of the solution to ¶10.
¶13. Thus, if consciousness is running up to the encounter, it must undergo a sort of descending down from its own stylite heights, down to earth and the world of many men. It must forego its dense theorizations and encounter others in the Commens, speaking only so far as common linguistical sense allows him and her. But what is a common linguistical sense, and how does the mind approach it from transcendental apperception? As we uncovered in ¶11, aesthesis is a moment of this descent, but as we also found this moment is bound up essentially with an intention which is already on the move towards the man one is about to encounter. Desire is thus a motor towards this encounter, whereas fear perhaps acts as a resistance. But these two have no base or ground except as presupposed by an already-evident aesthesis, one which is acting up towards the moment that one should encounter the other. Thus we must wonder - how does aesthesis enter the scene over and against transcendental apperception? Desire. But how does desire enter the scene? The hope for a pure answer to this question seems somewhat futile, as we uncovered in ¶6 of 202110062343 📃 immanent structure of social communication. For here we found the unconscious to be an essential operator of transcendental apperception and, as the ground for experience, we thus must be aware that the unconscious will continue to operate at all subsequent levels of thought.
¶14. The encounter with the other thus encompasses (1) intentional aesthesis (2) Commens and (3) unconsciousness. With all this in view, the approach of the transcendental appercept towards the Other Self is still rather obscure, though it is becoming clearer. As the Other approaches us and we them, we can consider them only on two accounts: out of love and out of its opposite. The opposite of love cannot yet be defined, for love’s own immanent constitution has not yet been defined. Suffice it to say here that love is ultimately a mode of emotional play and carelessness, where Others encounter each other freely and openly (a la Milton), and have no view towards instrumentality. Thus, not-love (which is not hate), is neither free nor open, typically instrumental, emotionless, and work-like. These are the elements of hate, though we hesitate to pit hate against love absolutely. These are thoughts for another time. For now, these preliminary remarks must suffice for our discussion to continue. We follow the opinion of St. Paul, St. Augustine, and Aristotle on this front, moreover.
¶15. Thus, the approach out of love is not only free approach in method but in content, as the movement out of transcendental apperception and into the loving act occurs out of freedom and in freedom. The hallmark characteristic of freedom, however, is its primarily qualitative gesture towards consciousness, as discussed in ¶12 and ¶13 of 202110062343 📃 immanent structure of social communication. This is why the approach out of love most often occurs when two are in private - they have only each other and, outside of the fundamentally quantitative presence of society, they can freely and openly find each other in and for themselves. There are no quantitative fetters, and so the face-to-face flies freely as do doves carrying leaves of palm and olive, signifying the movement of Christ down Jerusalem on that holiest of Sundays. Here the Logos treads through the divine city where Melchizedek once anointed Abraham, the father of Faith in the True. Here, then, between two Men, does the Logos (or reason) find itself manifest, the Essence of the True born out for each as the donkey trots and the palms fall.
¶16. In society, by contrast, the quantitative impulse arises against the face-to-face, and thereby prevents it from being exercised in and of itself. Concretely, this means that when I face someone, though they face me, they also face others at the same time. Thus, the qualitative enters into a rigorous dialectic with quantity, as each of us must “face” each other in dense simultaneity. In this, we face no one. Instead, all quality collapses into a purely quantitative mass, and we face nothing but society itself. Indeed, all persons’ ownmost possibilities for being become mere moments of society, all quantity reduced to a function of quantity, whether spatially or temporally. Thus all emotion can be divested from a face-to-face encounter, as everything can be taken up under a normative ideal as to how (1) society should function and (2) how its members should function so as to constitute its aggregation. This is not, consequently, an ascent out of love but out of its negation, whatever that is.
¶17. This last move, associating the negation of love with quantity, is a difficult one, and I hesitate to make it. For, can love be quantitative? I think so, at least so far as one loves a community. But therein he loves a quality thereof, not anything quantitative about it. For the quantity appears as a relation of monads to each other beneath a genus and, consequently, their internal content is once more divested from his consciousness. Thus, I suppose, we do have to say that love cannot be quantitative simpliciter, but only so far as quantity is a moment of a quality. Love is only qualitative in consciousness.
¶18. But if quantitative consciousness cannot occur out of love, then how must it occur, and how can a quantitative consciousness be transformed in its natural dialectical mode into the qualitative? Indeed, whenever we “pull someone aside,” we enact such a transformation, but once more only as dialectical. We might sketch this dialectic as follows below:
A description of this diagram. First, quantitative society essentially arises from the unity of an Other and its dialectical relation to the multiplicity of a many, or Others. This qualitative unity, which arises in the midst of the transformation between quantitative to qualitative society, appears as focus, so that we focus on this or that person. Thus focus is the transformation of quantity into quality for consciousness, but what happens hereafter? The face-to-face, by contrast, is the dialectical relation between our own unity and that of an other and is, in this way, qualitative. But this is not, however, society, as society is primarily quantitative. Qualitative society, as discussed, is thus something of a misnomer, as it entails the transient movement back and forth for the other (according to consciousness) between its being in the face to face and its being in quantitative society. We too as a self make this movement, and it is our understanding hereof which constitutes quality. Society simpliciter is, in sum, the transformation for consciousness between its being in a qualitative society (with quantitative society as its moment) and our being in the face-to-face.
¶19. But herein, though we have discussed the behavior and immanent structure of society, from the vantage of our own consciousness, we have not yet adduced how this immanent structure is built in our midst. We know it is founded on focus, and we know this focus is mediated by (1) intentional aesthesis (2) Commens and (3) unconsciousness as described in ¶14. But, however, our focus is essentially a thing in motion and disabled to our understanding, for it is constantly involved in the dialectic evidenced in ¶18. Indeed, this was the use for the immanent structure, to bring to the understanding its own inability to focus when it claims to do so. For, no matter when we focus on an other, we have in mind both his quantity and quality for us, and the both of these are in perpetual tension for consciousness at a primordial level. Thus, if we make the approach out of love, we cannot approach out of pure or private love, as completely qualitative. We must approach out of a kind of public love which comprehends quantitative society in itself.
¶20. The question for focus, then, is this: how can love be publicized? Such a publication entails, for consciousness, a mutual cognition of its qualitative and quantitative moments, such that “love” is expressed in the face-to-face and yet is open to quantitative society. For, if our public love too heavily indulges in a face-to-face, we alienate others and create a coterie. The essential problem for this question is this: how can transcendental apperception descend into our Other of focus?
¶21. Here mental technology enters the scene, and we engage in technical communication, at least so far as we perform the face-to-face. We do this essentially to disseminate our transcendental appercepts, or our ownmost views. The essential question for this move, however, deals with the tacit 3-part problems grappled with once focus was asserted. Indeed, how we moved from one to the other has not yet been established, but was glossed over as we moved into the immanent dialectics involved in focus. Thus, the performance of mental technology, and the place where I myself have most tripped up and where the real work of this writing must begin, is the execution of this technology as mediated by aesthesis, unconsciousness, and the Commens.
¶22. Now, given that the transition from transcendental apperception to social focus occurs in a manner whose structure or form is capable of rational reconstruction, we might concern ourselves with this form before we dissect and clarify its content. But, because nothing actual is as such except as its form and content are unified, the form will give us a view into the content, which will give us a further view into the form, and so on ad infinitum in dialectic. We can say the same about the particularity of this content as, given that the transition we have in mind is the root of all social activity - as it mediates from the question of the self to the question of the other and thus makes it possible - what we are dealing with is none other than the problem of One and Many as it exists socially for consciousness. We cannot be too judicious in dealing with this problem and, indeed, the structure of aesthesis, unconsciousness, and the Commens must each independently be considered in their respective turns, then once more in connection with each other, if we are to have a full and complete view into this transition. Such a task will be completed at another time. Because, at the present moment, we are after social technology as practicable, we will endeavor now to give an overview of these so far as they (1) exist independently and indifferently (2) exist together (3) exist teleologically as the motor propelling the transition from individual to social consciousness.
We conceive of the “this” as embedded in both space and time, which we conceive as bounding spheres for consciousness. The center is space-time, that sum total bounding for the this. Thus, the “this” is most properly in its own space and time, yet it extends and pushes outward into its own conditions for conceivability into the relationship of its own space to its surrounding space and its own time to its related time. Thus, if I remember seeing Mr. X at Panera last week, I conceive of the particular time and space. The conditions for this conception are Panera in general and last week in general and, therefore, because these are constitutive of the conception, it itself fuzzily pushes into them and them into it, so that such generalities interpenetrate the conception. The conception itself is thus bounded in and for itself within the conditions for its speakability (see ¶6 [[ 202110062343 📃 immanent structure of social communication#^e5681e|here ]]). Again we invoke Dewey and James for the sufficient condition which enables the congealing of the conception into itself out of the general a priori of aesthesis - work and function. We conceive of the experience as a particular situated in a spatio-temporal matrix because it will serve us in some way to do so. What this service is remains to be seen, and must be dealt with elsewhere. Service, function, or purpose, as will be shown, is the ungrund for the three principles (aesthesis, unconsciousness, and Commens) adduced above.
¶24. Moving on, then, we see the unconscious in a Freudian sense as that deepest ground of human existence and tendency which resists introspection. When we spoke of unconscious bias before, then, we had this in view—the fact that all we can speak is itself mediated by something beyond (and beneath) what is speakable. Thus, when considering the transition from apperception to social focus, the unconscious’ role is rather obscure, as this is the very nature of the unconscious as a posit. We must merely mention it here as a moment of otherness internal to the transition from apperception to focus, one which holds us back from complete confidence in the transition as it occurs. We must remember that a moment of unconfidence and automatic induction is present, driving us from behind.
¶25. The Commens, however, are the most potent source of mediation in the transition, for they essentially occur co-constitutively with aesthesis to warrant focus as a ground for mental technology. Our vision here essentially poses aesthesis as mediation-for-self and Commens as mediation-for-society. We thus have something like this in view:
By co-constitutive, I mean that the aesthetic impulse doesn’t begin searching for experience except as it witnesses from without in the moment intending to act a locus for the aesthetic-object sought in the Commens as it presently presents itself. Yet, the Commens won’t present itself as capable of bearing the object except as it is brought to mind and shaped for the group a person is in front of. These two thus begin their work together and at the same time, so that one neither begins to think of experience nor the group except in light of the other.
¶26. With all of this said, then, the inner structure of the Commens must now be brought into view. We have already discussed our view of society and, in some respects, our discussion of the Commens will look somewhat similar, for the Commens is nothing but the communicable moment of society, where society is the totality of communication and action in dialectic. What we mean by the Commens in particular, then, is all that can be said by us and understood by others and all that can be said by others and understood by us. The Commens is thus the “common stock” of knowledge had between all people in one’s view at any point in time. We never know the Commens per se, but we suppose it as an epistemic posit so as to ensure that, for instance, we don’t search our aesthetic repertoire for experiences which those around us may find revolting, shocking, or damning. The Commons thus has an element of kairos, or timeliness, for us—we posit it so as to say the right thing at the right time. All of this tells us what the Commens is and how it functions, but not how it is structured. We proceed here now.
¶27. The inner structure of the Commens, as epistemic, thus accounts for three things: (1) aesthesis (2) speech-habits (3) unconsciousness. These 3 are really six, however, as each can be posited for an individual and for the group that any individual takes himself to be a part of as he or she posits the Commens. Aesthetically, the Commens comprehends both the sum intersection of all possible communicable experience for the group and the sum union of these. These are distinct, for the latter is far larger than the former. Aesthesis in the commens is the distillation of the latter into the former, so that all possibilities for all members of the group collapse into an intersection which all accept readily and which none balk at. That is, the Commens is always in a tendency towards unity and order out of disunity and chaos. It never achieves this, though, and if we could speak of a so-called “perfect” Commens or Commens idealiter, we would only have the intersection in view, as perfect intersection of aesthetic contents for all members of a group entails the utmost unity of experience. This is the asymptotic limit which the Commens attempts to approach—it never does so.
Speech-habits are a crystallization of aesthesis, as they mediate between consciousness and activity as speech-acts. The Commens, in addition to tending towards an aesthetic-experiential unity among its members, is also tending towards an active unity, so that nothing among the Commeners is done (as above expressed) in a manner which others balk at. Each sees the limits of his activity and acts within them accordingly. So far as speech-habits are invoked on this front, they designate an act which can or can’t be said because others have or haven’t said it. Here we have in view numerous things, especially: sense of humor, inside jokes, turns of phrase, invocations, references, etc. In short, this is everything which can be concretely distilled from the abstracta of the Commens aesthesis. It thus feeds back into the aesthesis, as references become experienced to be referenced to in the future, and so on ad infinitum.
We must make room in the Commens, then, for activity in and of itself, or all that is done without being said. We have not, in some sense, fully considered how this plays into the totality of the Commens as posited, as up until now most of our concerns have been rooted in communication, with language as its foremost point of departure. Yet, we have not yet considered activity as a communicative locus. How will this fit into our system so far conceived? This much is hard to say, but it must be considered at a later point in time. Indeed, a proper system for conceiving of action and activity must be wrought, for how it is that men act for society and for themselves is a matter not indifferent to speech and intentional expression thereby.
Grades of social consciousness
|1.||transcendental apperception||subject-object unity||how is it that the subject exists against the object?||portends to overtake all possibile consciousness|
|2.||Focus||taking up an other as an object||how can love be publicized?||dialectic between transcendental apperception and otherness|
|3.||Mental technology||dialectic of dissemination||how to execute itself in light of the transition from (1.) to (2.)?||unclarity of the transition|
- Transcendental apperception
- aesthesis (ownmost experience in space-time)
- unconsciousness (what we can’t yet know)
- the Commens (what is collectively posited)
- Mental technology
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