202111111447 📃 clarifying private consciousness

¶1. The clarification of private consciousness is the precondition for the clarification of all social phenomena. What is meant by private, here, is the statement of what can accrue only to a subject in his or her own recollections. Private consciousness is thus reflective consciousness. Yet, this is also an impulsive consciousness, for the accrual of the intentional “this” to the subject may either be in the form of a practical or theoretical syllogism, the former impelling to action and the latter to mere consideration (itself mediated through a practical syllogism culminating in consideration-as-act).

¶2. Now, the intentional “this” stands apart from the substantial “this” in that the latter appears before consciousness as a tactile object in “sense-certainty” (cf. [@hegelPhenomenologySpirit2013]). By contrast, the intentional “this” is noetic, enduring as something like a Husserlian intentional object [@moranPhenomenologyReader2002]. Thus it does not endure for consciousness as though might some “this” outside of us but, rather, endures as a this inside of us. The language of “this” as the sine qua non of our model is taken from Aristotle, particularly in the Categories and in the Metaphysics [@aristotleBasicWorksAristotle2001].

¶3. Yet we understand the “this” as an index and not a substantive, the former is taken as an object whose existence its essence. The substantive exists through itself; the index exists through another [@sebeokSignsIntroductionSemiotics2001]. On these terms, especially via Peirce, all objects are signs, whether intentional or substantial. Thus, we do not posit the intentional “this” as a pure and complete sphere (a la Parmenides [@curdPresocraticsReaderSelected2010]) whole and complete in its entirety. Rather, we posit it in consciousness as an index to a preconscious manifold, itself a bubbling up of an infinitely unconscious inchoate mass [@freudOutlinePsychoAnalysis2010].

¶4. We do not posit the index for its own sake, moreover, but itself as an index. That is, we perform the act of positing not even itself as something full and complete in its entirety, but as an intentional choice directed towards determined ends. In this sense, we understand a pragmatic and naturalistic view of mind, one which does not affirm its being simpliciter nor idealiter but, rather, effectively and purposively (cf. [@deweyExperienceNature]).

¶5. With these postulates in mind, we can recap as follows: private consciousness, understood intentionally, as an index, posited purposively. These are the preconditions for understanding all that follows. Let anyone who reads this read and re-read the preceding sections until he understands my meaning. If he does not, let him read the sources cited.

¶6. I can now call back to ¶1 with the following clarifications in mind. By “private consciousness,” firstly, I affirm wholly and entirely (as Hegel does in the Phenomenology and in the Encyclopedia Logic [@hegelEncyclopediaLogicBrinkmann]) that consciousness is an immanent dialectic between appearance and essence, a dialectic Dewey affirms in [@deweyReflexArcConcept1896] and [@deweyExperienceEducation]. James also affirms this in his [@jamesPragmatism], as does Peirce in [@peirceArisbePeirceConsequences1868]. Thus, private consciousness is in no way a substance unto itself, nor do we claim it as such. Once more, it remains an index to whatever monadicity or oneness is evident in the self qua self. That is, we cannot deny that the self as a posit exists in and for itself. It is discretely located in time and space, at least if sense-certainty is to be trusted. Therefore, we posit its intentional essence similarly, as discretely located in time and space. Yet, this is not itself private consciousness. What I mean by private consciousness is that sum totality of intentional experiences which accrue to this discrete intentional essence. Now, the discreteness of the essence is itself in process, and it is here that Hegel, Dewey, James, and Peirce enter the scene. Consciousness qua discrete and individual is in process. Therefore, it is an inchoate mass of meandering movement which escapes primitive discussion. Private consciousness, however, does not oppose this meandering but rather indexes it, by adducing signs of this manifold movement. Private consciousness is the self-awareness of the manifold movement; indeed, on Freud’s terms, private consciousness is consciousness proper, real awareness here and now, whereas what has thus been described as the “intentional essence” of the discrete and atomic individual as the inchoate mass of movement in preconscious and unconscious life.

¶7. What is revolutionary about this vision is that we understand all heretofore adduced terms as indexes, as merely purposive, and make no claims to their intrinsic validity. (To hell with metaphysics!) For the point of their being adduced and being posited is clarification, and it is their own positing which warrants the clarification itself. In this way, we can understand all that has been said thus far to engage in a kind of vicious circularity, but this needn’t be so.

¶8. It is clear that between one man A and another B each will discover things differently in and between them. What is also clear is that each bears a commonality which acts as the ground to adduce this difference. This commonality is language, the difference being experience each expresses. Experience expressed itself is, however, an index of the manifold relationality of discrete objects to other objects — indeed, each man could only share experiences whole and entire with another man if he or she was that man, as we learn from Leibniz’s law of the identity of indiscernables. (We, here, are merely transposing what he has established Metaphysically into the realm of Mind and Intentionality). Therefore, if discussion is going to occur, difference must be acknowledged as a point of similarity, such that difference itself accrues back and yet redounds to commonality.

¶9. But let us suppose that B rejects A and does not wish for his sentiment to accrue to commonality but, rather, that A take up a reconstitution of his experiences in the framework dependent on that proposed by B. That is, B wants A to take up his frame of mind and his “grid,” so to speak, for organizing ideas. He does not want A to do so absolutely but, rather, for him to see it as a relevant means of organizing information in the mind, one which is equally as valid as that proposed by A. What B wants, then, is not an uncritical redounding of difference to commonality but a critical redounding. That is, B wants to extend difference into the realm of discussion and into the light of day, so that it becomes not an object of uncritical and mystical consciousness (cf. Marx in [@kolocotroniModernismAnthologySources]), of the so-called “just-so-ness” of life, but rather anticipates this lack of criticism and instead confronts it.

¶10. What we know for certain is this — just as much as the intentional “this” indexes a manifold and multitudinous unconscious movement, so will the critical project merely index a manifold and multitudinous mystery of mankind. Folly will follow us wherever we go, regardless of our adopting the billy-goats’ beard or the Paracelcian garb [@erasmusPraiseFollyOther1989]. We must, of course, relax ourselves from the seriousness of life and embrace folly, laughter and all.

¶11. But, as Marx has said, all hitherto philosophers have interpreted the world — the point is to change it [@marxThesesFeuerbach]. We can only change the folly ascribed in ¶10, we can only address it for what it is — mystical consciousness. There is about us a many-sided mysticism, one which I can describe severally as each one of its moments appears. Sex is one of its heights, for all things sexy become taken up by us in an uncritical and impulsive manner. But sex is also affiliated with general aesthetics and attractiveness, and these too are uncritical. We can also relate these to general ideas of death and security, or the sense in which each person “must” be so that others perceive him as right and proper. There is also a mysticism of sociality, whereby men are compelled to talk about meaningless drivel, if only because they are proximate to it, see it, and take up an opinion on it even though their investment therein has a net cash value of a meager two cents. The mysticism of money and having rears its ugly head here, as “to have” is an index to mysticism of man’s place in the world as a discrete object, what he has collected, his “magnetism” as a laborer, and so on. But I, a Perseus of ideas, intend to chop the head off this Medusa, turning all men to stone in their magical morass. But perhaps like the Hydra chopping off one head will make many return. If this be so, I am of that empiricist, Bacononian faith — the more we chop, the weaker the branches grow back. Perhaps I am wrong in this, perhaps not. Whatever the case, I believe that my view of the world deserves its spot in the plurality of views which meet us everyday. Only by cutting them down to size will my own be able to enter the light of day, entering outward from the dark night of my soul. I presume, then, that a sense for universal mysticism can be understood and uncovered, and that it is the task of my work to uncover it, criticize it, and circumcise it as did Abraham, that father of the faithful the world over.

¶12. Thus, I do not see this as a circular project despite its self-justification. For, immanently, its justification is absolutely for itself. It has transcendental justification, rather, in the discordance between B and A above as concerns the manner in which difference redounds to the commons. A merely wants commonality “pure” and simple, whereas B wants to deface such purity. To use a metaphor, A is the man of the 1950s who uncritically wanted a virginal wife, “pure” and simple, just because that was what he was taught he was to want. He could no tell us why virginity was to be prized, why it made her pure, or how it advocated simplicity in her. Now evolutionary science can give credence to some of his views, but only so far as they are prejudicial indexes of a state of affairs itself already mystified in conditions of sexual and material scarcity. It cannot give us a view into overcoming those very conditions nor how to think once they have been overcome. Indeed! B in this case is the man who sees that such virginal conditions have been overcome. He sees that there is no sense in which virginity need mean anything at all, except as it redounds to the free choice of the subject towards or against the act of sexual encounter. A’s apparatus of purity does not think it. B’s apparatus of impurity has not only thought it, but refuted it.

¶13. Such is the difference between A and B in the realm of mystical consciousness more generally. Whereas A wants simply to laugh and revel in human folly, B sees that it is this very impulse which, in its uncritical attitude, has become folly itself. It is the act of dismissal which has furthered dismissal itself.

¶14. It should be clear to the reader that I am man B, and that I am the one who wants others to see things from his point of view as valid. It was thus necessary for me, in a transcendental sense, to engage in immanent justification of this view and to transform it in close dusting off and archaeology from an antique relic chipped away from the womb on which I was crucified to a scientific object of social discourse, a piece of human technology for reforming and critiquing social consciousness as such. We thus see this as nothing circular at all. Rather, we see the immanence of a view, what is intentionally present to human consciousness privately, as our point of departure for the conducting of the project.

¶15. The project itself thus has nothing to it but this—the clarification of private consciousness. What this means for us is a new kind of hermeneutics of the self, one which, like that of Freud, intends to reduce and “shrink” complexities down to size for discussion, but not in Freud’s absolute manner. Rather, because we have understood discussion points and private consciousness as indexes to a manifold, we leave room for discussion open. In this leaving open, we do nothing more than lay the groundwork for a new kind of discussion and a new kind of criticism. Indeed, I imagine a view and a point in time where men and women can merely say my name and say, “Following Himmelberger’s Method, I’d like to look at things this way.” Then, having heard my method, conversation can fall away from mysticism and, instead, become a real face-to-face matter, as Levinas has so eloquently described it ([@moranPhenomenologyReader2002]).

¶16. What we have, then, is a token of language, an index, which can itself act as a button, more or less, for triggering a mode of social behavior and consciousness which opens itself up for all. I call this mode of social consciousness free dialectics. The justification once more becomes not circular but linear, for the aims of the project are not only its own reform but the reform of matters outside of itself. What we are after, then, is the triggering of a universal-therapeutic disposition, where each man can, with the adequate weight of all thinkers I have rallied behind me, act as analyst for another, where each can form the deepest bonds with his neighbor, and where all men can finally escape everyday mysticism at the push of a button. No longer must the introvert hide behind his dense analyses, no longer must the shy man and woman smile, nod, and fake a laugh because they, like all else in the room, have felt the tide of emotional sentiment flow in this or that direction. No! The narcissism of childhood returns in a sublated form, and all men can, by simply invoking free dialects, SPEAK THEIR MINDS.

¶17. Silence falls away, and mysticism collapses beneath the bonds of communication. That silent, apophatic lie which Plotinus and his followers so gracefully have understood and articulated can finally come crashing down, and speech can, in the end, be spoken. What he and Proclus made of it, though, was thus — silence is the final cloud of unknowing, that luminous darkness (to use Bonaventure’s phrase), which we arrive at and approach through, as the Hindus have said, that divine “not this, not that,” neti neti. We arrive through Hegel’s determinate negation, a precisely catophatic procedure. We thus can only make silence real by arriving at it in speech. And we can only do this by closing off that anterior mystical silence which prevented speech in the first place! Thus, it is not only right, but our divine imperative to bring life itself under the aegis of reason, to make all things reasonable, and to criticize them until the calm repose of joy and self-disclosure are all that are left to hand. The toys and trinkets of the Brahmans have fallen away. In their place, the universal words and signs of love.

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