202112251155 📃 notes for difference Making
¶1. I’ve saidthat the Self-as-Different against an Other-as-Same is an illusory binary, and one whose reality is only given to consciousness in depression. The true sense of difference is one of agential humanism and personalism ( ), such that the self feels itself in love to be a one-among-many and, therefore, a Self-in-the-Other. In this way, the Self is not a cosmologically different thing, a Messiah of sorts. Rather, the Self is a Difference in virtue of itself — it is a being in the world with a unique haecceity which can only be imputed to itself. This is the true difference of the self. Thus, the Self is different as much as any other self is, and that which is perceived to be the same among those selves is only so in virtue of the implicit recognition of ownmost possibility for being present in the Self ( ). What this means for us, therefore, must be unpacked.
¶2. Qua present-to-consciousness, the model being sketched here admits of three entities, sketched already in my, particularly in ¶18. Here, the entities in mind are Self, Other, and Others (or Many). This relates to the issue of sameness and difference for, in an instance of recognizing the Same, the Different redounds to the Self, but only as humanistic and personalistic as described above if it is to be real and honest with itself. (Messianism is certainly real, but totally dishonest. It verges on illness. It is the merger of the concrete with the abstract, the historical with the eternal (cf. [@kierkegaardPhilosophicalFragmentsJohannes1985]) Such a merger is possible only in thought and not in concrete-historical being).
¶3. The Self as Personally-different means that it has a power to affect difference. As Cosmologically-Different, it is a Messiah. Denying this as we did above in ¶2, only personal-difference is left. Personal-difference redounds first to the personal experience of Sameness. As a matter of quantity which redounds to the oneness of the Self, this is Sameness in quantitative society. We, as one, make a difference herein via our being in qualitative society, for we as Selves are the sine qua non est qualis. Because quantitative society is a whole, we thus first notice Sameness in the whole.
¶4. Noticing this, we have recourse to qualitative society and therefore ourselves as a quality therein. We make the difference in the whole as ourselves.
¶5. Making this difference, we strive to do so beyond our mere being as Dasein. For, indeed, each Other in the Many (the Whole), is different in himself. Yet, this difference collected together redounds to the Same in our consciousness. This is so because the Whole has not been acknowledged as such by that whole.
¶6. This cannot be the case because the Whole can only be seen by a Self, and only a Self can speak it, for it is his perception of the whole. This perception redounds to our being in ¶4. But, what was analytic and universal there becomes synthetic and particular here. This is our really-effective difference-making power: that unique perception of the whole and its structure that only we as individuals can sense.
¶7. In these four steps, the Self sees its power to make-different. What must it now do to make-different? In simple terms, it must publicly articulate what it has seen for itself, namely, its own power. It does this, first, by claiming its power for itself — its own unique ethos as a being-in-the-world. This is, in short, the public statement of the circuit of difference-making in consciousness, transposing it outward from what was private to what can now be an object of social discussion.
¶8. Hereafter, the Self articulates the Whole as he or she sees it. Now, the Whole-for-itself is of such complexity as to be impossible to articulate in time, for if one could do so, he would reproduce the Whole entirely — the map would become the territory. Wanting to evade a desert of the real (cf. [@baudrillardSimulacraSimulation]), moreover, we must articulate the whole not in mere dialectical speculation, but in dialectical speculation from an existential standpoint. Here we merge Hegel and Heidegger into one: the whole not as the abstract theoreticians in their libraries and labs would have it, but as Man in the world must have it if he is to live well in that world. Discussing the Whole, then, we must ultimately point it out as false. Before this, however, we must point out the working of the Whole, or the self-created means by which it continues to exist. We thus articulate the whole in several parts. First, from the standpoint of the abstract participant in the Whole, the Whole serves him. He, therefore, has an interest in perpetuating it. However, the Whole serves him doubly: actually (as given) and possibly (as manipulable). As given, it is a set of rules which he knows guarantees him something. As manipulable, it suffices for his cunning to act itself out and, thereby, take for himself what he can over and above the rules. The abstract Whole comprehends only these rules in a-historical synchrony. The concrete Whole, contrastingly, comprehends these rules in historical action, development, and therefore in historical diachrony. We need not discuss social structures yet, for we are concerned here with the function of the Whole as a structure present to the consciousness of an abstract individual. He creates structures in the Whole as he envisions it.
¶9. But we have an issue with this analysis, for the Whole is present to us in virtue of our own unique ethos or being-in-the-world. Therefore, we must begin from the structure of the Whole as it works for us and in our experience. Now, we must do so in an intentional selection of the diverse manifold of experiences we have for, once more, our map cannot become a territory. This time, however, the map at hand is a map of our experiences rather than a map of the Whole. We cannot re-create ourselves entirely. Rather, we must confine ourselves to a narrative which represents our experiences in essentia to some viewer. Thus, we (1) posit a Whole from a given experiential standpoint (ours) and (2) from a given intentional standpoint (also ours.) Thus, in (2) we say not a Whole as such, but the “Whole” of money, the “Whole” of property, the “Whole” in short of any subject-matter as it functions in and for itself. Thus is an immanent juncture of subject and object, where the immediate presence-to-consciousness of the subject-matter is the ground for its explication and being as a Whole. That is, that we can say a subject-matter coheres into a Whole is the grounds for its being as such. For, if we did not perceive it, we would not believe in it. Perceiving in it, we analyze our perception and, thereby, the thing itself. Thus we comprehend a MFM’ circuit, where preliminary Matter begins from our standpoint, formal analysis dissects it, and Material reintegration proceeds as a consequence of our analysis. (cf. Dewey in [@deweyExperienceEducation])
¶10. What follows now is the essential reason for undertaking this process: the critical turn. Now, the critical turn redounds the the positing of the Whole as an object of functional human consciousness. That is, although the Whole’s double-barreled positing is both for-itself and for-us, we are positing an internal, self-regulating Concept and one whose being as a Concept must fulfill certain aims and ends for-us. These are Dewey’s ends-in-view. Thus, the critical turn first requires a crystallization of the Whole for-itself, or an apologetic reading hereof. This is what the Whole does and what it maintains. This can only be a minimal moment, however.
¶11. After apologizing for the Whole, we now use our ethos (1.) and experience (3.) as grounds for suspicion and, finally, critique. For, if the Whole were true, we could not fathom or experience (3.). Indeed, we would instead experience a Whole which was in perfect concord with itself, so that any experience of this Whole would redound to it. By this I mean that that a true Whole would admit of a structure present-to-consciousness whose very being was incapable of warranting an interior negation, or a critical possibility. A true Whole, the All, comprehends all criticism and therefore exists beyond it. Any other Whole, by contrast, is false analytically because only the One Whole is itself the True. There is, analytically speaking, always room for improvement on the false Whole, for the false Whole will always fail to adequate to the True. In other words, any self-coherent structure must be false because it is not that supreme self-coherent structure which really and truly is Being as such. Any structure less than Being comprehends in itself a moment of non-Being co-constitutive with its Being, such that it is always in movement and becoming in diachronic, processual unfolding. Therefore, all subject-matter beside the One/All is a priori false and open to criticism so as to adequate it to the One. But as a universal matter, such a priori reasoning is insufficient for the empirical work of adequation. Improvement must occur in-time and not sub specie aeternitatis, that is, a priori. Therefore, (1.) and (3.) are our particular being in-time which corresponds to the universal knowledge of pure possibility (that is, possible adequation to the One).
¶11R. Remark: we must undertake this method because of the impossible distinction between the a priori and the empirical. Always embodied, all empirical events rely on a priori logical form and, therefore, already implicate an empirical logical content. These are impossible to separate. Yet, discussion depends on discursive reasoning or an account of either valid or defeasible logical form. Therefore, we must have a formal method in place if we are to ensure the grounds of our reasoning’s applicability to our content. For, if we merely attack our content forthright, we will be open to methods of immediate criticism ourselves, and our work will become nothing but a further moment of Sameness in the Whole. The aim, here, is to create a difference-making procedure whose very Sameness is a Difference, for it is seeking difference at all times. We are attempting to close off criticism to us and to, instead, direct all criticism towards the Whole and its parts, rather than us as a part thereof. Of course, we are a part thereof, so we must displace this fact if we are to give ourselves a privileged position in doing what others must do as well. Or else, contrarily, we ourselves will be open to that bad infinity of ad hominem criticisms which all men love to spout at those who see the Whole as false — “But you’re a part of the whole!” “But you don’t live up to your principles!” “But your knowledge is insufficient!” and so on and so on. We anticipate these criticisms and, anticipating them, we wish to gut them of their Spirit and make them dead lifeless skeletons of reasoning, formal nothings which have no content behind them. Their form will be taken up in ours and, thereby, their implicit content will become a moment of ours as well, such that even a criticism of us becomes a criticism of the Whole and, thereby, a further churning of the critical technology we envision. In short, we will turn all things towards the One and bring all plurality towards it in eternal, unending rotation as in Hildegard’s cosmic wheel. Love will be the law, love under will.
¶12. Now, the experience of the posited Whole is, as said in ¶10, the Whole is proposed for-itself and for-us. This dual account allows us our apology, a thing which is doubly for-itself and for-us. The structure here is complicated, for all Concepts are fundamentally human and therefore always for-us. Thus, any self-justification for-itself is always a moment of a broader scheme for-us. Yet, this scheme for-us must redound to the scheme for-itself, or else there is no discussion at all. For, indeed, a Concept which does not exist for-itself is no concept at all. It gains its Conception from its specific difference from that generality of the All for-us, all the things humanity is. In being specifically-different from us, it is allowed to exist for itself. Yet, once more, this is only a moment of its explanation as a part of us and therefore a being for us. We can thus envision the following metaphysic:
¶13. The A cycle illustrates the simultaneity of the constitution of the Concept for-itself and for-us. The whole of A encompasses both moments. The arrow from “Humanity” to “Concept” is its procession out from us and, therefore, for itself. The arrow line from “Concept” to “Humanity” contrarily is its procession out from itself and, therefore, for us. The whole cycle illustrates the simultaneity of these and, furthermore, that no Concept can be articulated “objectively” but that, rather, the truth of the subject-object dialectic (Humanity-Concept) is the Subject, us, so far as we are the ones who realize this dialectic self-consciously. The B cycle is the A cycle, but purely from the vantage of the Concept. The A cycle is, then, the B cycle but purely from the vantage of Humanity. The B cycle is the moment of objectivity posited by us, as subjects, so that the Concept can be taken on its own terms apart from us. This is the essence of the difficulty of both our language here and all thinking about human understanding: WE (Subjects) are always the ones thinking yet, intuitively, we know we must be thinking about things other than ourselves (Objects). Thus, the A and the B cycle are identical, but considered from their respective dialectical parts. A is a Humanity-Concept, Subject-Object, cycle. B is a Concept-Matter, an Object-Interior cycle. The interior is the core of the Object, or the Object in-and-for-itself, “objectively” in common parlance. The subject-matter is that which all Subjects would, under ideal conditions, recognize to be the supreme reality of the Object — it is the object “as it is in reality,” in Nagel’s “view from nowhere.” The B cycle is, therefore, that asymptotic assent whereby all things become clearer, our meanings becoming more explicit. This is advance in knowledge of reality. This advance intersects with our self-understanding of the Concept to which we refer — it is our self-conscious, manipulable acting out of the B cycle. But the A cycle is nothing other than an acting out of the A cycle, so far as we understand that the A cycle falls short of a movement already present in the B cycle. We might articulate this concretely as (A) a group of scientists talking about a subject and (B) a scientific investigation of that subject. As the men talk, they gradually come to see what each other means. As the investigation proceeds, the scientists have more to discuss. As the scientists discuss more, they have more loci for investigation. Thus, (A) is the social-discursive Subject-Object dialectic. (B), by contrast, is that moment of that dialectic which understands the object to be in-and-for-itself entirely alien and as a condition for (A). The previous sentence, moreover, only articulates (B) from the vantage of (A). (B) by its own lights is investigation into reality as such. (A) by (B)’s lights is the dissemination of true reality. Thus, A is essentially discussion (the social, the ideal), B is essentially investigation (the material, the real). (B) is naive (Aristotelian) realism, (A) naive (Berkleyan-Platonic) idealism. (C), the implicit dialectic between these, is Hegelian-Deweyan pragmatism. ^49ae7f
¶14. Now, the apology for the Whole occurs (A) discursively and (B) investigatively. That is, we apologize for what the Whole gives us as human beings in our social intercourse and what it gives us materially and tangibly. Both apologies reflect the necessary dialectics between Subject-Object and Object-Interior as well as the relation between these in the sum-total process of investigation Dewey calls “Inquiry.” We are all in a great discursive process of knowing the world as it really is — the apology, essentially, accounts for all relevant data that attest to this discourse. We are thus apologizing both for the Concept’s self-existence and its existence for-us. We thus have four apologetic claims in total: a discursive apology via discourse (the legitimacy of the Concept semantically), a discursive apology via investigation (the legitimacy of the Concept semiotically), an investigative apology via investigation (the legitimacy of the Concept epistemic-agential), an investigative apology via discourse (the legitimacy of the Concept *metaphysical-agential*).
¶15. BUT, knowing that our ownmost experience does not suffice for the All established in ¶11, we claim that the Concept’s services to us in the apology can and indeed must be reformed. They can be reformed because the a priori necessity of ¶11 and, more importantly for an audience, because of the ownmost experience sketched in ¶9. We see that the services evident in the Concept fall short of human experience and, falling short, we can apply the a priori necessity of ¶11 to claim that, if we do not reform the Concept itself, then we are living in an absurd condition.
¶16. To critique, we simply refute the 4 categories of apology. That is, we point to how the services designated in the apology (1) fall short and (2) are constitutive of the issues raised in our ownmost experience. Critique from (1) is easier, for its complaints are empirical. Critique from (2) is stronger, however, because its complaints get at the immanent constitution of the Concept itself. It is only (2), therefore, that constitutes the possibility of an absurdity. (1) merely redounds to a moral claim — “this is unjust,” “this isn’t right,” etc. (1)’s moral claims are, however, consequences of the 4-fold services sketched in the apology. That is, we intuitively sense how things are to work and, moreover, that they fail in working as they claim themselves to. Therefore, (2) brings to the clear light of day what all men already know. It does so, however, in clear expression and in a manner which all can share in, rather than understanding it privately in their heart of hearts.
¶17. Having (2) established, we come always to four critical conclusions constitutive of all problematic situations:
|semantics||our meanings are unclear|
|semiotics||our signs do not refer|
|epistemics||We don’t know what we’re doing.|
|metaphysics||We’re not doing what we think we’re doing.|
The first two categories claim issues in consciousness, immanent to living as a knowing human-being. The second two categories claim issues in material reality, transcendental to living and considering the human situation as such. Only in the second category do empirical-scientific issues enter the scene. On these terms, we find that the Whole is false, both for-itself and for-us.
¶18. Having established these as problematic conclusions, we can confirm not only the critique of the Concept as valid, nor merely the need for the reconstitution of the Concept. Rather, we can begin to reconstitute the Concept itself. This reconstitution and reconstruction of the Concept occurs positively after Critique.
¶17. (3.) in the 6-fold critical procedure is the point of entry for the Self as Difference-Maker in the 4-fold self-affirmative procedure. For the analysis of the Whole in (5.) occurs essentially because of the agent’s own experiences in (3.) — this is a metaphysical move, not merely a rhetorical one. For the metaphysics of experience gives the agent undertaking (5.) a ground in his own consciousness for that very undertaking. He thus compares (4.) against (3.), a fact which makes-difference because of the 4-fold self-affirmative procedure.
¶18. The “absurd” condition sketched above follows severally. Materially, it follows directly from the problematic conclusions of all critique. Once more, materially, we are after as follows in a true Whole:
|semantics||our meanings are clear|
|semiotics||our signs refer|
|epistemics||We know what we’re doing|
|metaphysics||We’re doing what we think we’re doing|
These can never be absolutely the case, less we consume all objects of our thought. Indeed, then, the finding of problematic conclusions is not a difficult procedure — they are always out there in the world ready for us, we simply need to find them. Therefore, our condition is always absurd so far as we do not have the Ideal conditions of a true Whole. (Why this is absurd runs as follows. P1. Meaning, signs, and agency are the conditions for truth. P2. But these are false. P3. The conditions for truth are false. P4. Therefore, the true is false. C. This is absurd. Falsity follows from the experiential metaphysic of ¶11. This particularity is summarized in P2 for, if P2 were true, the experiences of ¶11 would not have been. But they were, so something universal conditioned them. This is P2, the falsity of meaning, signs, and agency.)
¶19. What we are after are the stronger formal conditions of falsity. In formal falsity, unclear meaning, empty signifiers, insufficient knowledge, and poor actions reaffirm themselves as though they were true. Lacking reference to the whole, they take their own inner movements as sufficient for the whole when composed thereto. That is, the man in his own epistemic-metaphysical bubble, the accountant, lets say, believes his semantics, semiotics, and agency to all be true towards the whole of the human condition, but only unthinkingly so. He believes this because he, in his everyday life, sees meanings, signs, and actions cohere in truth for the fulfillment of the tasks of accountancy. We can apply this to all specialized fields. The assumption for each is that, when taken in sum, the Whole will similarly cohere as True. This is false form, or the incoherent non-discussion of multiple discourses of meaning, signs, and agencies. This incoherence is nothing but a restatement of ¶18. Formal falsity, however, is that set of conditions whereby a false Whole functions as true. That is, it is not only that state of affairs where we can point out material falsity but, moreover, where we can say that such materiality works for some at the expense of others. It is, in short, a state of dislocation where some see the emptiness of prevailing semantic, semiotic, and agential forms and, seeing them, use them to their advantage. It is in this structure wherein the falsity of the Whole truly appears.
¶20. Thus, the formal conditions of falsity express, on one hand, that minimum functioning of the whole which allows it to work for its participants — this is the set of rules and their consequences which guarantee participants success. This is the Whole as all men see it. Second, we describe the Whole’s failures and how it can be manipulated at certain agential junctures. This is the Whole as cunning men see it in addition to what all men see. (Cunning men know that they see what all other men do not.) Finally, we express the contradiction between these, so that having entered into the mind of the Cunning, we can point directly to the parts of the Whole which make it false — not merely the Cunning themselves, but the material conditions wherewith they can enact their schemes.
¶21. What I have established here I take to be a complete, self-contained recipe for change. It may itself change but, as of this moment, I can envision no greater explication of its contents. We begin from the experience of the Whole and end in a critique of the conditions for its possibility. All experiences here are valid, almost all critiques also valid.
¶22. Now, the question remains: what is to be done after the critique of the whole? How can the whole be reconstituted in toto? This is a project for another time but, we can adduce the following preliminary steps. (1) a call to literacy, providing men with literature to educate themselves. (2) a call to discourse, providing men with a space for education. (3) creating alternative circulations of semantics, semiotics, and spaces of agency.
The procedure of difference-making in consciousness:
- The Whole is the Same. (¶3.)
- The Self is Different. (¶4.)
- But the Self is in the Whole and sees the Whole. (¶5.)
- The Self can make the Whole Different because of its own being and seeing. (¶6.)
The argumentative structure for all difference-making:
- Statement of unique ethos. (¶7.)
- The positing of a Whole. (¶8.)
- from our experiential standpoint (¶9.)
- from our intentional standpoint (¶9.)
- 🔑 Our ownmost experience of the posited Whole. (¶9.)
- Apology for the Whole. (¶10.)
- in consciousness / discussion (¶14.)
- in our hands / material reality (¶14.)
- in consciousness / discussion (¶14.)
- Critique of the Whole. (¶15.)
- how the Whole falls short (¶16.)
- how the Whole contradicts itself (¶16.)
- how the Whole falls short (¶16.)
- Conclusion: the Whole is false. (¶17)
- material conditions of falsity (¶18)
- formal conditions of falsity (¶19)
- the working Whole (¶20)
- the manipulable Whole (¶20)
- Contradiction between (1.) and (2.) (¶20)
The above can be summarized in 6 more easily digestible propositions:
- I am a unique agent.
- I live in a Whole of some sort.
- I have experienced this Whole.
- The Whole works by serving certain interests.
- But this whole denies other interests simultaneously. This denial is a condition for its services.
- This Whole is therefore false, because (4.) contradicts (3.)^[material falsity, “falling short”], and (5.) contradicts (4.)^[formal falsity, “contradiction”]
Table of claims, with respect to Money
|number||step||claim / description of claim|
|1.||unique ethos||I have made and spent money.|
|2.||positing of a Whole||Money works on an underlying logic of scarcity.|
|3.||ownmost experience||Anecdotes and stories about monetary scarcity.|
|4.||Apology||Money wins (A) relations and (B) commodities.|
|5.||Critique||(A)’s relations are impoverished. (B)’s commodities are empty.|
|apology||claim, with respect to Money|
|semantics||Clarifies the meaning of “value.”|
|semiotics||Signifies loci of “value.”|
|epistemics||Allows us to know and see where “value” is.|
|metaphysics||Allows us to enact value.|
|critique||claim, with respect to Money|
|semantics||“Value” becomes a matter with respect to Money itself.|
|semiotics||Signs and signifieds become confused.|
|epistemics||Knowing becomes incoherent.|
|metaphysics||Value becomes meaningless, poverty ensues.|
This line appears after every note.