the residual dilemma

To celebrate that which came after Henri Bergson ushering William James out of the delusion of rationalism:
Let us leave out the soul, then, and confront what I just called the residual dilemma. Can we, on the one hand, give up the logic of identity?—can we, on the other, believe human experience to be fundamentally irrational? Neither is easy, yet it would seem that we must do one or the other…
I told you that I had long and sincerely wrestled with the dilemma. I have now to confess (and this will probably re-animate your interest) that I should not now be emancipated, not now subordinate logic with so very light a heart, or throw it out of the deeper regions of philosophy to take its rightful and respectable place in the world of simple human practice, if I had not been influenced by a comparatively young and very original French writer, Professor Henri Bergson. Reading his works is what has made me bold. If I had not read Bergson, I should probably still be blackening endless pages of paper privately, in the hope of making ends meet that were never meant to meet, and trying to discover some mode of conceiving the behaviour of reality which should leave no discrepancy between it and the accepted laws of the logic of identity. (from A Pluralistic Universe)
Any stitchings of subjectivity and explanation committed to “making ends meet” outside of instrumentalism betray the richer, more applicable wildness of our experience. Reality is far more vast and implicated than could ever be domesticated via conception.
Alienation is thus only ever a temporal achievement: the ego’s revenge project on ontological vulnerability – not an originary condition of anything existing. We remain conditioned and dependant in all ways that matter; entanglement as ultimate affordance. Identity is a false closure; and closure is death.
The struggle to embody this wisdom-as-orientation is the struggle to enhance our attempts to communicatively adapt. Better to live in openness and committed to perpetual adjustment than to dream ourselves upon an alien death.

2 responses to “the residual dilemma

  1. I like your conclusion. But I think there’s a much more simpler solution: It appears to me that the problem that you’ve been grappling with is based in the idea of having one mind, or one thinking, so to speak, one person, one self, one thinking being, etc., to which thoughts must be able to reduce to some sort of solution in graceful unity.

    Personally I think the problem may be that you’re stuck in philosophy as the only manner that has a solution, or by which to find a solution. As though philosophy is the biggest category there is and within philosophy all other categories must submit. I think that is the fatal flaw.

    I think you should read James Hillman, particularly the book called healing fiction.

    Perhaps he might break you out of your one dimensional philosophical thought?

    He’s a great example of someone who discusses the solution that I had come to buy an acting a partition. And this is to say that the only solution is that there are two irreconcilable conditions by which any being exists. And by this too with us open the door to the multiplicity of objects that do not reduce to one thought or a unitive philosophical ontology.

    But it is interesting reading what you have to say for sure. And it sounds to me, if I might say, kind of mournful and sad. And I don’t mean to patronize you but I feel sad for you somehow. 🙂. But I doubt that you’re a sad person also. So it is also interesting to me that your philosophy And writings and the referred authors are so caught in a moment. It seems to me that so intelligent of writers would have found a more obvious solution.
    Anyways I’ll shut up now.

  2. … oh; like, I feel like you might be familiar with Hickman. What is it; SE Hickman, I haven’t forget I stopped reading him so long ago. Dark ecologies I think his blog is. It seems to me kind of ridiculous that one would surround oneself theoretically in the way that he does, and then talk about his life in a totally different light. And then get offended and start defending his opaque and verbose discourses against the suggestion that some sort of partition might exist that he’s blind to.

    But maybe you don’t know of him, so I’ll shut up.

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