20221001003308 ⭐ towards a theory of introduction

Preliminaries for an Ethics of Introduction

§1 Prefatory Remarks

¶1. Pedagogy or the theory of education begins with the theory of introduction, from the Latin intro- meaning “inside, from within” and “ducere,” meaning “to lead.” The Italians, for better or worse, retain the latter in their epithet Duce, the Venetians in their veneration Doge, both meaning “leader,” both cognate with the English Duke. If, then, the pedagogue is to lead, he is to be a Duce, a Duke of the land of knowledge over which he presides. So must the pedagogue always begin with the introduction - he must take the role of duke and lead his unwashed masses into paradise.

¶2. Or so hitherto-existing pedagogy and the western tradition of logocentrism would have us believe. Unrelenting self-criticism can and must render the pedagogue’s dukedom a democracy, his leadership only a moment of an organic set of knowledges created and re-created through collective practice. This means initiating students into knowledge, himself pointing and guiding the way. It also means, then, that once Logic has been brought to bear on that knowledge, the pedagogue cannot rightly continue merely introducing. Introduction must pass into justification, and justification into conclusion, or the right end of education proper. It is this total, organic movement of pedagogue as scientist and spokesman that dissolves western logocentrism. Only Christ, Marx, and to a lesser extent Dewey have practiced it.

¶3. Thus, an ethics of introduction entails an ethics of justification, sketched elsewhere in the System of Premissive Philosophy. It also entails an ethics of conclusion, sketched elsewhere in the Unassailable Premises. The ethics of introduction, however, have not been sketched outright. Their justificatory and conclusive grounds exist in the previously referenced documents. However, the meaning of introduction and its right practice have not yet been elucidated. I do so now.

§2 Compulsory Education

¶4. Introduction entails, at its most compulsory, a general course, composed of a general content and a general form. The general content consists in preliminary exposure to cases on which the object in question turns. The general form consists in provisional logics, or orders of inference, sufficient to suture the general content consistently. That is, introduction knits a web of inference, descriptive and predictive, that is self-consistent as extended across its general content. Introduction fails at the limits of the general course - the student who raises a question at such a limit is rightly rejoined by the teacher “that is a topic you will cover next semester.” Thus, disciplines’ progressive penetration into their objects occurs with increased semantic content, or increased representational mediation. As this increases, memory is more keenly fixed on the object as represented by the discipline. Hereby, control is awarded to he or she who memorizes, since they have in memory ready-for-prediction all salient qualities of the object. With increasing content comes increasingly robust modes of inference - moving from linear equations to regressions, from patterns of aporia to learned ignorance. This, then, is the logic of specialist education. As one specializes, they learn further cases on which the discipline turns, each with a greater degree of subtly, each sublimated into a more robust logic.

¶5. Thus, introduction per se will and can only offer a generalized exposure and a generalized reasoning. It will, of necessity, be unfit for advanced learners and, to the contrary, will be wrong at moments from an advanced perspective. Thus, although 2+2=4 is “a priori” for the 2nd grader, its empirical aspects are picked up by the high-schooler, who sees its emergence in his science courses. It would be out of turn for this high-schooler to correct the second grade teacher for failing to teach this emergence, since the a priori moment was a precondition for his own knowledge of that empirical emergence. More than this, he has not realized the teacher’s own delimitation of her sphere of pedagogy as situated in making possible that precondition. The same can be said of every other kind of reasoning.

¶6. The critical core undergirding the high-schooler’s contention is: towards what is all education making possible, and why should momentarily wrong half-truths be taught in service of fuller truths? When is the most-full truth known? At such a juncture, epistemology becomes political - the partiality and finitude of human knowing invokes the division of epistemic labor. For, if one discipline’s fullest knowledge serves and perpetuates a set of wrongfully-instituted practices, then the partial logics are as equally wrong as their more complete counterparts. Economics can be critiqued on such grounds, from its Crusoeism to its instrumentality - these introductory topics prime pupils for more refined cases, impossible without those very topics.

¶7. The transmission of knowledge, then, must proceed as a kind of highly self-conscious, highly self-critical indoctrination. Dewey says as much in his “Experience and Education” and “Democracy and Education.” The absence of self-conscious self-criticism is the precondition for the charge of propagandism, the foremost charge levied against Marxists by liberals. One can say the same of any “novel” theory - he who invented it is a prophet, those to whom he indoctrinated are his disciples. This externalist charge of “blind faith” comes about at every turn from outside any discipline; however, every discipline faces it most acutely at the level of introduction. Here, as already said, especially of the introducer is he who invented the theory being introduced, the introducer is the Duke of his estate of knowledge. Thus, in introduction, the dependence of the pupil on the pedagogue is most acute, most cult-like, and most explicitly a mode of indoctrination. For, rather literally, introduction teaches the main doctrines.

¶8. The above can be summarized as the personal limits of all compulsory education. Such limits occur in both the pedagogue and the pupil, as:

  1. A limited attention to future speciality (¶4)
  2. A limited content according to what can be taught now (¶5)
  3. A limited logic according to later refinement (¶6)
  4. Pedagogical Self-consciousness as recognition of 1-3 (¶7)

In the pedagogue, the above are completed as self-consciousness. In the pupil, the above are completed as submission to the introduction, questioning for justification, and practice during conclusion. The above constitute generalized, universal limitations to all education in time and space. These are, then, the aesthetic limitations of all education.

§3 Chosen Education

The Attention Economy

¶8. Now, to the contrary of compulsory education, chosen education faces the above limitations and further limitations according to the capacity of pupils to freely choose. Compulsory pedagogues will face such limits as well when, for instance, a pupil drifts to sleep or explicitly asks of the fecundity of his work - “why are we even learning this?” Here the compulsory pedagogue relies on the Division of Labor as his ultimate justification for his work - “you must learn this because it is what society demands you learn.” In this way, the compulsory pedagogue is an avatar for the process of social indoctrination, or self-formation within the grid of doctrines pre-given by society. The chosen pedagogue, however, can only justify his work ultimately on freedom itself. In this way, the philosophy of freedom must be the chosen pedagogue’s philosophy. Otherwise, the pedagogue affirming not-freedom, he is open to the entirely correct charge of indoctrinating followers and establishing a cult. Freedom is the lynchpin holding together all teaching which opposes this horrid educational telos.

The Economy of Choice: Freedom and Necessity


¶9. But if there is a freedom of choice, then there is an economy of choice, or a management of that freedom according to its possibilities. Such an economy depends upon the historical-empirical milieu of the pupil. That is, if a potential pupil is to choose education, they must do so necessarily in and through the historical-empirical conditions of that choice. That transcendental ego which conditions any possible choice, that infinite “I Am,” is limited into finitude by the mass of objects which surrounds it, the encoding of history into those objects. No African American child living in the derelict slums of Harlem or O-Block could choose to be educated by a video on Differential Equations, save that child who has overcome the institutional conditions that render such education unlikely. We can, then, assert a correlation between the environment of the possible pupil and the strength of possibility with which he or she can become an actual pupil per their choices. The management of freedom by the possible pupil increases as the management of necessity decreases. Or, as Aristotle says in the Politics, leisure is the condition for philosophy; or again, as Josef Pieper says, leisure is the basis of culture. Thus, the economy of freedom broadens as the economy of necessity closes - the more secure is the possible pupil’s material conditions, the more free he or she becomes to choose to educate themselves. This, which I call the first Law of the Economy of Freedom, follows doubly from (1) the absence of conditions which secure freedom’s actualization and (2) the positive demand that freedom be sundered into necessity so that security be achieved. Or, in plain terms, he who cannot yet eat has even less time to read!

¶10. Now, after the First Law follows a Second, namely, that freedom passes over into subjection as security passes over to gluttony. That is to say, when security has been sufficiently sated, the freedom to choose passes over into the unchosen satisfaction of desire. As unchosen, satisfaction thereby subjects the possible pupil to itself. Instead, that is, of exercising one’s freedom to choose, materiality so inundates the possible pupil that their freedom is overwhelmed, caught in the dizziness of its own freedom. The resulting anxiety is its own insecurity, one which only a subjection, or total loss of freedom, can overcome. In this way, the existential situation of the possible pupil becomes one of mental obesity, as the weighing of choices by both sides of the scales of justice leads to the breaking of chains, the collapse of the ratio between any one choice and another. Having undergone what can only be called a lobotomy of choices, the possible pupil wants only that their freedom be managed for them, that someone else take control. What has entered the scene here is called, in common parlance, “clickbait,” for men wishing to remove themselves from the pains of freedom are reeled in by means of satisfactions which distract and divert.

¶11. Such divertissements often occur coterminously with the negative of the First Law. That is, he who cannot eat is too tired to read, so he foregoes his choices at the hands of another who can satisfy him. Or again, having subjected his will to that of another throughout the day on pain of suffering or starvation, this subject wants only that they are comforted as a balm for a return to the same subjection the next day. Such “choice” to undertake the balm is only another form of subjection, albeit one that comforts and slackens the will rather than tightening it for the idle calculations of an external master. This dual subjection is the clear and distinct consequence of the absence of choice, the domination of the economy of freedom by the economy of necessity - it is in such conditions that a populous is rendered docile and impotent. For, instead of their self-consciousness being raised to the level of choice, all possible choice is sundered beneath the almighty “need to eat.” We can call this dual corollary of Laws (1) and (2) Law three, namely, that the increase of compulsion increases the degree of subjection, doubly diminishing freedom of choice.

¶12. Summarizing, then, the three laws of pupils’ attention economy are:

  1. Freedom of choice increases as necessary compulsion decreases. (¶9)
  2. Freedom of choice decreases as the number of choices increases. (¶10)
  3. Compulsion and subjection mutually reinforce each other, doubly diminishing freedom of choice. (¶11)

¶13. The same laws hold good of the chosen pedagogue’s attention economy. (Note: The chosen pedagogue is always a possible pedagogue, for he does not become as such except until he has been chosen as such. It is such choice which momentarily actualizes his being as pedagogue, for only there has he concretely entered into a pedagogical relation between himself, his subject-matter, and his audience. The possible pedagogue is thus something of a rhetor, as will be said below.) For the possible pedagogue, existing in a liminal space between compulsory education and pure subjection (ie. mere entertainment) has neither the security of the compulsory pedagogue nor that of the subjecting entertainer. The former is more or less guaranteed funds from the State or some private corporation, the latter always from some private corporation by filling men’s minds with some embalming fluid which renders them limp and submiss. The chosen pedagogue’s aim is to bring blood to boil, to render firm and erect and what the entertainer leaves limp. This can become its own perverted fetish, as Orwell has so aptly written of the “Five Minutes’ Hate” in 1984. The possible pedagogue, that is, finds himself within the economy of necessity and must be and do according to his confinement therein.

¶14. It is this fact, that the possible pedagogue remains in his own state of precarity, which renders him something like a rhetor, as said above. The rhetorical position of the chosen pedagogue demands his raising the blood to boil through some kind of passion. Though the image suggests a hateful passion, this needn’t be so. For, the heat of love kindles each to turn to their neighbor out of the fiercest desire and throw themselves on them in mutual self-sundering. These petit morts lead to emotional bonds - none of which would be possible without the boiling heat of desire. Men are self-fashioned anew after melting in the flames of desire - they become. What the chosen pedagogue must always do, to secure his position in the space of economic reasons, is stoke the flames of desire to the passions of his interest - either love or hate. In doing so, the chosen pedagogue transmits not merely information, but a feeling which binds men to him. He melts them down for their up-building in his image. Here again the cultishness of the affair enters the scene, since such bonding and building is at root among the most dangerous of human relations. It is for this reason the most volatile, bearing the most potential, for it alone is the most distinctly human.

¶15. The chosen pedagogue qua rhetor is thus so doubly: (1) because rhetoric secures a position in the economy of necessity and (2) because rhetoric scalds men, allowing them to heal with greater bondage to the pedagogue. This bondage must itself be collapsed as the introductory work shows its insufficiencies, though more on this must be said below. Now, (1) needn’t be so but per the first law of attention economy, the pedagogue can choose to say more when he knows he can, and this can only occur as compulsion decreases. Until this point, freedom is constrained by necessity, and what the pedagogue can choose to say is limited by his speculations as to the demands of the market - for he must reap its rewards, securing its demands. He can proceed to make his own demands, but only insofar as he is secure in his doing so.

§4 Introductory Researches

¶16. Now, because both pedagogue and pupil are subjects of an economy of necessity and freedom, research cannot proceed as if it existed upon secure grounds. The security of research has its condition in the first economic law, so that one is free to choose more to read provided that there is some guarantee that there be a return on such reading. Now, without this guarantee, such freedom diminishes. Likewise, because of the constraints imposed per the third law, one neither can nor should anticipate that the depth of problems to be solved by introductory work is commensurate with that depth which proceeds out of secure grounds. For, with greater freedom in hand, the secure researcher can dive into deeper problems - their mind is set upon them over a greater time period both exteriorly, they can gather more materials to read, and interiorly, they have more time to remember all that they have read. Thus, at the outset, depth cannot be on hand for the possible pedagogue, for they are an insecure researcher, at least insofar as the economy of freedom and necessity is concerned.

¶17. Per the plan for all of my resources, I define my own introductory pedagogical work triply as presentations, speculations, and reflections. The first merely represent some historical material as an introduction thereto. The second generate some new information as an introduction to a new mode of being in the world. The third introduce myself to my audience. Now, because I think like Hegel in a rather ecstatic and self-circular fashion (as recounted by Magee in Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition), ecstasy must be a moment of my work, or else it is not mine. More is said on this below in §5 and §6 on introductory writing and presentations. Here, the ecstasy of research means a certain *hopping and skipping* across disciplines and histories to capture the *rapture of reason* in its own workings. This sense of extraordinary discovery, of reason’s experience of its self-growth in investigative fervor, seems to be called “hyper-fixation” among those with Autism and ADHD. Never having been diagnosed with either, I can only use this label metaphorically for my method. For this is an embodied method, and it reflects an experience which gives itself over time, which even in this writing commands that I continue out of a feeling to perpetuate what has fallen into my lap. I am caught in a causal chain, and each word as I now write pours out of me - this I cannot help, this I cannot change. For it, whatever that fervor is, now is in control - I am only its viceroy. More will also be said about this in §5.

¶18. The research process is, for me, a process of self-discovery. This is distinctly not the research-process of academics, businessmen, or scientists, each of whom is after what has been called in the System ¶2 the “ens realissimum,” a so-called “objective truth.” Though this latter term is mystifying, as it most generally means a truth de re, valid for all possible knowers in spite of those knowers. This global maximum about which the truth function proceeds is truth at its most robust, and from it introduction generally shrinks. Introduction, as already said in §2 (¶4-¶5), admits of simplifications dependent upon the pedagogue. Hereby, introduction never offers truth de re, except insofar as one or two formulae used by advanced scientists or artists can be given. Rather, all introductory truth is de dicto, or per the words spoken by the compulsory pedagogue, who relies on the division of labor as the implicit-rhetorical basis of their dictation. Not so for the chosen pedagogue, who must ground his implicit-rhetoric upon freedom and choice, as already said. Therefore, because freedom is the apex of choice, only that which maximizes the self-consciousness of freedom justifies the de re aspect of the researches conducted by the chosen pedagogue.

¶19. Put another way, because the economic laws of choice proceed in proportion to the freedom to choose, research itself can only be justified insofar as the empirical ego subject to the law is themselves enabled to choose with greater fecundity. Thus, research conducted must doubly maximize the freedom of the researcher and the possible pupil, insofar as both experience the ecstasy of reason’s self-discovery in and through confrontation with the experience of that which it sought to research. Only this satisfies these laws, for the freedom of choice is created through experience, as said in the System (esp. ¶52 and ¶69). And these experiences secure freedom, for the economizer is shown when and where an alternative can exist to compulsive necessities regularly faced. These compulsions are sundered in reason’s ecstasy, for it feels itself broken free from the chains of its self-imposed necessity. In the rapid movement of inference, thought opens up a world and freedom becomes true.

¶20. Put yet another way, my introductory work privileges the experience and, somewhat cynically, sensual excitation of subject-matter over and above its truthfulness de re. For, in place of a brute factuality I raise an ownmost facticity, or the experience of the empirical ego moving with me as I present my findings. For this is a spiritual work, as said in the “Documents for Edification” ¶6. And spirit’s self-raising to the level of self-discovery or the pluming of its own depths is a truth de re, albeit one directly opposed (as said above in ¶18) to that truth de re which passes as objective. This is a subjectively objective truth, or a truth about men which proceeds in and through their mutual recognition of each other’s experiences as human. This is not to say that the subject-matter presented is something like a facade for a deeper spiritual work - such a sundering of form and content would allow falsehood to function spiritually. This cannot yet be true and, if only in the long run, the noumenal quality of scientific truth must show itself up against the spiritual bonding created through the pedagogy sketched here. For, if such “harder” truth does not shatter the dreamy softness of this pedagogy, then that softness will be perverted into unpredictable ends. In this way, this pedagogy cannot pretend universality, except insofar as men pick it up on their own terms as a further education in and towards freedom. Only through such competing narratives and formulations of the ego’s self-discovery might a genuine universality, at home in its multitudinous polyvocity, thereby arise.

¶21. Therefore, the method for introductory research as I consider it now follows something like this. First, I wonder what men must hear - what, if they heard it, would settle some problem? Second, I begin an initial arche-writing, per Derrida, which attempts to capture a primordial truth as I feel it. As I write, I unfold this primordiality in my own experience as need be, appropriating texts that speak to my concerns (per Heidegger). If the arche-writing is too diffuse, I will focus on one public text, either a piece of media or an event. if the arche-writing sufficiently grounds thought and action, I will begin jumping from source to source to tell my story. In either case, the appropriation ultimately justifies a moral claim, emergent out of the writing which descends out of the arche-writing. This claim follows in dialectic with the research process - though an initial thesis claim may be raised, research will so complexify this claim that what results will both be evidence of the primordial claim and its insufficiency. That is, the research will show itself as a practical consequence of the claim, an action which made the claim true by raising it to truth. Thus, if for a video on geometry I believe that men must hear of its deductive rigors, this will be made true through its complexification in a historicizing of its dialectico-genealogical position in whatever literature is relevant to the claim. Hereby I will make the claim true through my writing. This picks up Foucault and Hegel thereby. For we write how history tended towards the problem through the loss of what the literatures said. By recovering these literatures, we raise to self-consciousness both the problem and its possible solution. This can be summarized as follows:

  1. What must men hear? What would settle a problem they have raised?
  2. Arche-writing, as a setting down of primordial truth through my ownmost experiences
  3. Literature appropriation, either as (a) media/event for analysis (b) source-jumping.
  4. Crystallizing the writing as a genealogical narrative of progressive discovery, with its moral claim
  5. Making the moral claim posed in (1) and crystallized in (4) true through practical complexification

¶22. The method above thereby unifies self-discovery with truth, so that I am made with the claims. Hereby, the audience (or possible pupil) is enabled to travel along with me through the genealogy: they learn both about the subject-matter and its truth, themselves. For we together become the de re truth of the subject - we become through it. This is, we might say, a form of creative non-fiction and, as such, is only as true as the practices it produces.

§5 Introductory Writing

  • disclosure of pragmatic position: its truth is its practice
  • disclosure of creative non-fiction → perpetual wrongness, perpetual glazing over
  • disclosure of subject-position

§6 Introductory Presentations

  • imagination as method
    • imaginative connections
    • imaginative presentation - use of images as a metaphorical explanatory device
  • self as substance, substance as subject
  • the factor of time

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