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from Postmodernism
to Hyperglobalism or Planetarism

 Can postmodernism be defined ?
How did modernism evolve ?
Postmodern logic to keepsm a particular logic ?
Building a hyperglobal system*
The path to hyperglobalism ...

©  Wim van den Dungen
Antwerp, 2017.

'Un point vivant ... Non, je me trompe. Rien d'abord, puis un point vivant ... A ce point vivant, il s'en applique un autre, encore un autre ; et par ces applications successives il résulte un être un, car je suis bien un, je n'en saurais douter (...) Mais comment cette unité s'est-elle faite ... Tenez, philosophe, je vois bien un agrégat, un tissu de petits êtres sensibles, mais un animal ... un tout ayant la conscience de son unité. Je ne le vois pas, non, je ne le vois pas.'
Diderot, D. : Le Rêve de d'Alembert, mid 18th, Gallimard - Paris, 1935, p.677.

'On pourrait donner le nom d'Entelechies à toutes les substances simples, ou Monades creées, car elles ont en elles une certaine perfection, il y a une suffisance qui les rend sources de leurs actions internes et pour ainsi dire, des Automates incorporels.'
Leibniz, G.W. : Monadologie, 1712-1714, § 18.

'... the empirical consciousness of the manifold, given in any intuition, is subject to a pure self-consciousness a priori, in the same manner as the empirical intuition is subject to a pure sensuous intuition which likewise takes place a priori.'
Kant, I. : Critique of Pure Reason, 1787, B:142-146, § 21, Note (translated by M.Müller, 1966).

'Consciousness, then, in its majestic sublimity above any specific law and every content of duty, puts whatever content it pleases into its knowledge and willing. It is moral genius and originality, which knows the inner voice of its immediate knowledge to be a voice divine ; and since in such knowledge it directly knows experience as well, it is divine creative power, which contains living force in its very conception. It is in itself, too, divine worship, 'service of God', for its action is the contemplation of this its own proper divinity.'
Hegel, G.W.F. : The Phenomenology of Mind, 1807, chapter 8 (translated by W.Orynski, 1960), my italics.

' ... because their own civilization hardly goes any further back than the Graeco-Roman period and derives for the most part from it, Westerners are led to believe that it must have been the same in every other case and they have difficulty in conceiving of the existence of entirely different and far more ancient civilizations ; it might be said that they are mentally incapable of crossing the Mediterranean.'

Guénon, R. : Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, Luzac - London, 1945.

' ... every apprehension of a particular empirical thing or specific empirical occurence contains within it an act of evaluation. What distinguishes empirical reality, the constant core of objective being, from the mere world of representation or imagination, is that in it the permanent is more and more clearly differentiated from the fluid, the constant form the variable. The particular sense impression is not simply taken for what it is and immediately gives ; instead we ask : will it be confirmed by experience as a whole ?'
Cassirer, E. : The Philosophy of Symbolic Form, vol.2, chapter 1 (translated by R.Manheim, 1955).

'The Enlightenment of modern times advanced from the very beginning under the banner of radicalism ; this distinguishes it from any of the earlier stages of demythologization.'
Horkheimer, M. & Adorno, Th. : Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944, my italics.

'... whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so because he had adopted (...) some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour ; an adoption which may be called 'irrational' (...), we may describe it as an irrational faith in reason'.
Popper, K.R. : The Open Society and Its Enemies, Routledge & Kegan - London, 1966, vol.II, p.231.

'The reclassification of academic philosophy as one of the human sciences in this respect has a significance far beyond simply professional concerns. I do not think that philosophy as legitimation is condemned to disappear, but it is possible that it will not be able to carry out this work, or at least advance it, without revising its ties to the university institution.'
Lyotard, J-F. : The Postmodern condition : A Report on Knowledge, footnote 29, 1979, my italics.

'... le vivant fonctionne loin de l'équilibre, dans un domaine où les conséquences de la croissance de l'entropie ne peuvent plus être interprétées selon le principe d'ordre de Boltzmann, il fonctionne dans un domaine où les processus producteurs d'entropie, les processus qui dissipent l'énergie, jouent un rôle constructif, sont source d'ordre.'

Prigogine, I. & Stengers, I. : La Nouvelle Alliance, Gallimard - Paris, 1979, p.178, my italics.

'Strange attractors are encountered in many (nonlinear) physical, chemical and biological systems that are 'not integrable' and therefore show ultimately unpredictable, chaotic behavior. In fact, the usual 'textbook' cases, nicely integrable, are now recognised as singular exceptions ; the real world outside the textbooks, including romantic attraction, remains largely unforeseeable, moving along strange attractors (...) Strange attractors often do have structure : like the Sierpinski gasket, they are self-similar or approximately so.'
Schroeder, M. : Fractals, Chaos & Power Laws, Freeman - New York, 1991, p.28.

'(...) the present movement is based on the awareness that the continuation of modernity threatens the very survival of life on our planet. This awareness, combined with the growing knowledge of the interdependence of the modern worldview and the militarism, nuclearism, and ecological devastation of the modern world, is providing an unprecedented impetus for people to see the evidence for a postmodern worldview and to envisage postmodern ways of relating to each other, the rest of nature, and the cosmos as a whole.'
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality : A Postmodern Exploration, State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.xiii-xiv. 

'Unfortunately, some critiques go beyond attacking the worst aspects of science (militarism, sexism, etc.) and attack its best aspects : the attempt at rationally understanding the world, and the scientific method, understood broadly as a respect for empirical evidence and for logic. It is naive to believe that it is not the rational attitude itself that is really challenged by postmodernism. Moreover, this aspect is an easy target, because any attack on rationality can find a host of allies : all those who believe in superstitions, be they traditional ones (e.g. religious fundamentalism) or New Age.'
Sokal, A. & Brickmont, J. : Fashionable Nonsense : Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, St.Martin's Press - New York, 1998, p.203, my italics.

'Non-cellular pluralism, in which various outlooks are constantly competing with each other, is not an evil that is to be resisted - that only results in suppression (cf. the totalitarian states). On the contrary, it forms the medium par excellence in late-modern society ...'
Hellemans, S. : 'The many faces of the world : World views in agrarian civilisation and in modern societies', in Perspectives on the World, VUB Press - VUB, 1995, p.101.

'Although, as Joseph points out, temporal and frontal lobes are admittedly involved in religious symbolism, Joseph locates the 'abode of God' for each individual within the limbic system. Here also is the seat of 'limbic-religious blood lust' and 'limbic taboos, such as eating and sexuality'. Because 'sex and food (along with fear, rage, and aggression) are probably the most powerful of all limbic emotions,' they are also probably chief 'motivators' of religious ritual. An alternative account of the prominence of food and sex in religious ritual might be that controlling them is a good way to keep religion in mind : religion motivated abstinence fires religion-mediated desire.'
Atran, S. : 'The neuropsychology of religion.', in : Joseph, R. : Neurotheology, University Press California - California, 2002, p.184.

'Speaking paradoxically we may say that incompetence, having been standardized, has now become an essential part of professional excellence. We have no longer incompetent professionals, we have professionalized incompetence.'
Feyerabend, P. : 'From Incompetent Professionalism to Professionalized Incompetence', in : Science in a Free Society, 1978, p.183, my italics.

“Pataphysics is for Baudrillard a reservoir of metaphors, a supply of cheap textual pranks and looks awry (at science in particular). It is a learned and obscure French institution that travels well, provides aesthetic atmosphere, and is never below a low blow.”
Genosko, Gy. : 'The Drama of Theory : Vengeful Objects and Wily Props.', in : Baudrillard, J. : A Critical Reader, Keller, D. (edit), Blackwell - Oxford & Cambridge, Mass., 1994, my italics.

“Our school books are outdated, and even university textbooks tend to reflect only 'well-established' knowledge. Facts and hypotheses that do not readily fit into the current way of thinking -the reigning paradigm- are generally ignored, if not supressed. When it comes to pet theories and cherished opinions, scientists are as human as anyone else. This is true whether we are considering physics, chemistery, astronomy, archaeology, or historiography (the description of history). (...) Generalists -scientists or scholars who attempt to see the larger picture- are few and far between, because they are generally not encouraged by the academic establishment. Hence we are left with bits and pieces that seldom fit together, giving rise to anxiety rather than understanding.”
Feuerstein, G., Kak, S. & Frawley, D. : In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, Quest - Madras, 1995, p.xvi.

Can postmodernism be defined ?

Author Brief analysis Text
Friedrich Nietzsche

Rejects nihilist belief in the unreality of this world and seeks the authentic individual 'overman' who embraces life without mummifying it in Apollinian ideologies.

'The Madman', in The Gay Science, 1886, section 125.

Modernism is an expansion of instrumental rationalism, bringing liberty, material well-being, the 'disenchantment of the world', permanent dissatisfaction & the 'iron cage' of alienation.

'Science as a Vocation', lecture, 1918.

Enlightenment's tendencies are self-negating (or dialectical). Enlightened reason rejects all metaphysical & religious sources of value, adhering to power & self-interest only. Enlightenment is the only road to social freedom but this always leads to totalitarianism

Dialectic of Enlightenment,
Ludwig Wittgenstein

TLP '6.54 My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way : anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them -as steps- to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it). He must transcend these propositions, and then will he see the world aright.
7 What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.'

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TLP), 1921.
On Certainty,

Science does not proceed by patient accretion of facts but by revolutionary interpretive shifts in which one 'paradigm' replaces another. It is not clear whether the meanings of the terms of one paradigm can be translated into the terms of another, suggesting the discontinuity & incommensurability of scientific progress. The change from one paradigm to another is not wholly justifiable or rational.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,

His careful analysis of language called attention to the deep paradoxes and undecidable problems implicit in texts. The tradition of presenting reality in representation (the philosophical tradition) is always maked by mediation, distance, plurality and uncertainty of meaning ('différance'). This contrasts with the spoken word, with its apparent immediacy of meaning and connection to the living presence of the speaker. Through deconstruction he tries to read texts critically, displaying the self-undermining elements (written down in the magin of the original text under scrutiny).

Of Grammatology,

Transcendence is a state of separation opposing itself to the flowing of all that is. There is not first an ego for which the object is, separated by its transcendence. Rather, subject & object are simultaneous hypostatizations of interrupted flow. The 'I' lacks all distinctness, haemorrhaging freely into death, lost in 'immanent immensity', which is without separations or limits.

Theory on Religion,

Science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit. The only principle that does not inhibit progress  is : 'anything goes'. Science may be advanced by proceeding couterinductively, through the pluralistic proliferation of theories & the use of irrational methods of support. A new breed of intellectuals rose to power : the professionalized incompetent.

Against Method,
Science in a Free Society,

Our 'language games' no longer require metanarratives to justify the utterances made in them. No legitimation is necessary beyond expediency. The production of knowledge is analyzed in terms of discontinuity, plurality and 'paralogy' (logically unjustified conclusions). Justification, system, proof & the unity of science do no longer hold.

The Postmodern Condition : A Report on Knowledge,
Knorr - Cetina

The anthropological approach of the knowledge-production in laboratories shows the importance of indeterminacy & contextual contingency -rather than non-local universality- as inherent in scientific progress. Scientific change & discovery go hand in hand with an opportunistic logic, marked by local, contextual, socially situated breeds of action. The idea of the unity of science should be reconsidered.

The Manifacture of Knowledge, 1981.

The traditional philosophical pursuit of ultimate, transcendental, foundational knowledge is not a valid or desirable enterprise. Philosophy can not justify any program of political reform. Philosophy -like rhetorics- makes different world descriptions only look attractive. Our vocabularies can not be grounded in an appeal to 'objectivity'. The pragmatic alternative sees legitimation as 'solidarity' or culture.

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature,
'Solidarity or Objectivity ?', essay, 1985.
David Ray

'Parapsychology provides evidence against the intellectual adequacy of the late modern worldview, evidence that is particularly dramatic.

This is not to say that the case against the truth of atheistic materialism rest only, or even primarily, on the question of the genuineness of the apparent paranormal interactions investigated by parapsychology. (...)

Nevertheless, parapsychology may turn out to be of decisive importance in moving our culture from a modern to a postmodern outlook.'

Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality,

(§ 1) It was Joseph Hudnut who, at Harvard with modernist Walter Gropius, in an article published in 1945 spoke of 'the post-modern house'. With his report to the Province of Quebec's Conseil des Universités called : The Postmodern Condition : A Report on Knowledge (1979), Lyotard introduced this notion into contemporary philosophical discourse, and proposed that his own commitment to this new and emergent global movement be grasped as a reaffirmation of the authentic modernism (to be found in Adorno's philosophy for who the Enlightenment is the only road to social freedom, inevitably leading to totalitarianism). Can the latter be avoided ? Lyotard was a pro-modernist ! Eco rightly claims postmodernism to be the avant-garde of the modernism of the 21th century, while others say that by depending too much upon a subjectivist and non-social conception of rationality, it moves towards irrationalism (Habermas, 1985).

'So one of the key shifts to the Post-Modern world will be a change in epistemology, the understanding of knowledge and how it grows and relates to other assumptions. Not only will it emphasise the continuities of nature, but the time-bound, cultural nature of knowledge. (...) It will not embrace an absolute relativism and contend that one scientific hypothesis is as good as another, or as Jean-François Lyotard has argued, a complete scepticism and an end to all master narratives and beliefs. Rather, it will support relative absolutism, or fragmental holism, which insists on the developing and jumping nature of scientific growth, and the fact that all propositions of truth are time- and context-sensitive.'
Jencks, Ch. : 'What is Post-Modernism ?' in Cahoone, L. (edit) : From Modernism to Postmodernism : an Anthology, Blackwell - Oxford, 1995, p.478, my italics.

Jencks definition of postmodernism (in Jameson, 1994) as 'double coding' is interesting. The combination of modern techniques with 'something else' which does take into account history and which is able to communicate with its end users in a modular way is indeed typical for the postmodern approach and its entanglement with art and the religions.

'But no matter what any given Web site specializes in, this principle will always hold true : The quantity of people visiting is far less important than the quality of their experience. Contrary to what some people believe, the Web is not a mass medium. It's a niche medium, a personal medium, and an interactive medium.'
Schwartz, E.I. : Webonomics, Penguin - London, 1997, p.27.

Postmodernism is per definition multi-cultural, pluralistic & eclectical. It challenges the fossilized limitations invoked by societies embracing the monolith of fossilized modernism and its madness. Each culture has its right to exist in harmony with other cultures. To foster the differences between cultures is to cultivate the strength of humanity as a whole. This is another form of sane globalisation, incorporating the economic principle, but largely extending and transcending it into the neo-humanistic domain of well-being, wellness, health & prosperity, expressed locally, but thought globally.

On the positive side, the multi-cultural, pluralistic & eclectical characteristics of postmodernism are to be noted. On the negative side, its relativism, skepticism, irrational atheism and a too subjectivistic take on rationality are to be avoided. Postmodernism cannot last, for it is defined as something 'after' modernism. A return to modernism or hypermodernism is also to be avoided, for modernism remains entangled with nationalism and virulent nihilism. An argument for hyperglobalism is made. This is defined as a planetary movement, integrating freedom of speech, liberty, democracy, solidarity and spirituality beyond nationalism and internationalism. It favors a planetary political & economical system, assimilating the best of ecology, technology and world-wide communication and interaction.

(§ 2) Perhaps the most important finding of critical modernism (formulating the possibilities of thought) is the inherent limitations of human knowledge, both subjectively (the capacity to know) as objectively (the theory-ladenness of all observation). It took two centuries to relinquish the foundational intent still present in moderism (cf. Kant's synthetical propositions a priori). A certain rule of reason is temporarily considered to be true by a limited set of highly specialized sign-interpreters. Their belief in some reasonable conclusion is relative, fallible & open to refutations (cf. Prolegomena - Kennis - Clearings).

A more systematic criticism reveals knowledge has no ontological foundation. This means, contrary to the modern, foundational approach, postmodernism disposes of a unique tool : the a priori principles of thought which we have been using all the time and which are conditioned by the transcendental 'I Think' (of all times) of the subject of cognition.

Using our conceptual mind we never know (or have experience of) reality-as-such (which is as an ever escaping horizon). Critical science as final truth is then a regulative idea, but not constituting the possibility of knowlege. Critical epistemology, ethics & esthetics are anti-ontological.

The conclusions of these disciplines should have practical consequences. Indeed, these may (and often do) run against established habits of thought, such as realism & idealism, engendering a schism between the logic of science & its sociology (cf. Popper & Lakatos). Between the idea and the fact falls the shadow, as the poet says ...

A critical philosophy moving beyond counter-intentional modernism & the colonization of knowledge (in the modern media money, eros and power) will acknowledge the importance of the tools given by a strictly nominalistic inquiry into the nature of the human mind in particular and the 'fact' of reason (cf. Kant's 'Factum Rationis') in general. Aware of the ontological illusion even the untricked, conceptualizing mind can not avoid, a moderate postmodern criticism tries to cover the differences between presence & active absence.

Surely this 'postmodernism' is the prelude of a cultural movement not yet identified ?

'It is the vote of everyone concerned that decides fundamental issues such as the teaching methods used, or the truth of basic beliefs such as the theory of evolution, or the quantum theory, and not the authority of big-shots hiding behind a non-existent methodology. There is no need to fear that such a way of arranging society will lead to undesirable results. Science itself uses the method of ballot, discussion, vote, though without a clear grasp of its mechanism, and in a heavily biased way. But the rationality of our beliefs will certainly be considerable increased.'
Feyerabend, P. : Against Method, Verso - London, 1975, p.309.

(§ 3) The distinction between radical postmodernism and mild or moderate postmodernism (also called 'constructive postmodernism') is justified on the grounds of the argumentative weakness of both Lyotard's paralogy or Derrida's deconstruction.

Habermas & others are right in pointing out Lyotard's view on rationality is defunct on logical grounds. For some logical rules are necessary a priori. Transcendental object & subject (cf. Kant's 'I Think') can not be eliminated from thought and so they constitute the empty, groundless ground of knowledge.

Stressing discontinuity does not desolve continuity. Nor is continuity interesting & revealing without discontinuity. Who will deconstruct deconstruction ? How did deconstruction emerge ? In Derrida's mind ? A moderate postmodernist is aware of the necessities implied by transcendental logic, without however falling into the traps of realism, idealism or a metaphysics of logocentric presence.

'From the point of view of deconstructive postmodernism, this constructive postmodernism is still hopelessly wedded to outdated concepts, because it wishes to salvage a positive meaning not only for the notions of the human self, historical meaning, and truth as correspondence, which were central to modernity, but also for premodern notions of a divine reality, cosmic meaning, and an enchanted nature.'
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.xiii., my italics.

How did modernism evolve ?

Historically, modernism has gone through several stages :


Muslim scholarship

Regarding the many historical influences determining the outbreak of the Renaissance, the earliest phase of humanistic modernism, at the end of Medieval Europe, one should not (as was & is usually done by Europacentrists to suggest the originality of modernism) underestimate the major role played by the masters of Arab (Muslim) sciences in general (their translations of and learned commentaries on important works of Greek thinkers like Aristotle, neo-Platonists like Plotinus and Hermetical authors) and great thinkers like Avicenna & Averroes in particular.

Both continued to be published despite the Christian (read : Roman Catholic) reaction against Islam & the Arabic language. From the twelfth century onward, the influence of Avicenna's medicine can be traced in Salerno & Montpelier, whereas his philosophy influenced Paris & Oxford. Hence, the system of Thomas Aquinas (who produced the sum of Medieval scholastic thinking built on the ideas of Aristotle) would not have been possible if the Arabs who conquered Spain had not enjoyed translating so much into living European languages (Toledo, Cordoba). Individual universal scientists like Avicenna influenced William of Auvergne, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Spain, Duns Scotus ... Averroes influenced Paris, Bologna, Padua, etc.

Although Gilson doubts the existence of a genuine 'Latin Avicennianism', he demonstrated the existence of an 'Avicennizing Augustinism'. In the Arab worldview, both theory & practice are considered, both the formal reasons (forms) as well as the physical, sensoric data. Avicenna changed the middle term of the syllogism (the metaphysical cause) into an empirical one, thereby adapting it to the ends of an inductive science. In his Shifâ, Avicenna criticized the Aristotelian theory of projectile motion (the Achilles' heel of peripatetic physics, the grand metaphor of pre-modern thought).

If there is a void in which a body could move, its force ('mail qasrî') would not be dissipated but continue for ever. A body moved by a given force has a velocity inversely proportional to its 'natural inclination' or weight and the distance traversed with constant velocity is directely proportional to its weight (cf. Galileo's 'impeto' and the 'momentum' of modern physics, i.e. mass times velocity). Clearly these insights were being put to paper long before the cherished founding fathers of the myth of modernity.

'By all accounts the most cultured country in Europe, al-Andalus possessed and cultivated all the sciences known at that time. (...) Essentially it was a land where religion and science worked together, and many visitors were drawn by the extraordinary achievements in agriculture, irrigation and scientific research. The Moors transformed the Iberian Peninsula into one of the most successful economies of the time. Cordoba and Toledo became the western arm of a great cultural explosion : scientific knowledge which had originated in India, China and the Hellenistic world was sought out by Arab scholars and translated, refined and augmented in various centres of learning, starting at the Persian city of Jund-i-Shapur, where several scholars from Plato's Academy went after the school was closed down in AD 529, and moving on to Baghdad, Cairo and then Cordoba and Toledo, from where this knowledge was disseminated into Western Europe.'
Hirtenstein, S. : The Unlimited Mercifier, Anqa & White Cloud Press - Oxford/Ashland, 1999, p.11.

Alexandrian Hermetism & Medieval Hermeticism

n Alexandria, the Egyptian 'mysteries' got integrated into the Greek system of theosophy, parts of which were later recorded as the Corpus Hermeticum (ca. 150 BCE - 150 CE - cf. the Tabula Smaragdina), which relied upon the correspondence between the small and the very large (at work in cosmology, astrology & magic - cf. the influence of Ancient Egypt on Greek thought). When asked by their radical Muslim conquerors of the 'first hour' to which 'prophet' they belonged, some of these texts were invoked by some groups living in Harran in the 8th CE. In this way, Hermes became one of the 'prophets' accepted by Islam (as 'Harranian Sabeans') and the teachings of Hermes
could become part of Islam, especially through Sufism, mathematics & science. This could help to explain the change of mentality on the part of the Muslims, who no longer considered everything Greek as pre-Islamic (ignorant) and hence refuted by the Koran and the teachings of their prophet of peace, Muhammad. 

'Although this complex of theosophy and practical knowledge of the esoteric arts that we call Hermeticism does not begin to emerge as a clearly recognizable entity until the late Hellenistic period, its origins are to be found in the variegated patterns of antique esoteric throught and religious practice : the ancient magical and religious traditions of Egypt and Mesopotamia ; the quest of Greek science for the cosmic glue ; the religious philosophy of Pythagoras and his disciples, of Plato and his successors, and of the Stoic doctrines of fate and universal sympatheia ; the rites of the mystery cults of Asia Minor and beyond ; the astral and planetary worship of the Semites that found a home in both Greek philosophy and the westernized cult of Mithra, as well as the dualism of Persian Zoroastrism ; and finally, the figure of the savior-messiah that emerged within Hellenistic Judaism. The mystical powers of Hermes exerted themselves far beyond the pagan world of late antiquity, transmuting medieval Christian and Islamic understanding of the relationship between rational knowledge and revelation.'
Green, T.M. : The City of the Moon God : Religious Traditions of Harran, Leiden - Brill, 1982, p.85.

The 'school of Harran' produced the Picatrix (Ghayat al-hikim), a work on astrological magic which would have such an influence that it became the ultimate Christian example of the 'forbidden book'. Hence, with the mathematical & practical aspects of Hermetism (or Egypto-Alexandrian gnosis), came a particular worldview (the 'Orientale Lumen') which was easily assimilated in the context of an absolute monotheism (like Islam, allowing Allah to have His Most Beautiful Names), but which had to go undercover when it reached the Christian West via Andalusia, for next to the so-called 'philosophical Hermetica', Hermetism had a 'technical', magical & occult side.

Muslim scholars studied and adapted the Hellenistic heritage. Besides (Platonic) philosophy, the Alexandrian corpus contained a vast storehouse of practical knowledge, ranging from grammar, logic and rhetorics to irrigation, astronomy (astrology), medicine, technology and administration (not to mention medicine & magic). This 'old knowledge' enabled them to develop their learning. With the translations of the works of Aristotle, Muslim thought peaked.

However, when after the disappearance of the Alexandrian school, Arab astronomers took over scientific research there, they overlooked the extremely important discovery of the heliocentrist Aristarchus of Samos and accepted Claude Ptolemy's geocentric theory as the last word in astronomy. We had to wait for the Renaissance and Copernicus to rediscover this major scientific fact.

The Holy Office of the Inquisition

Another major influence on the rise of modernity was Christianity's failure to develop a sane, constructive & non-defensive attitude regarding nature and its driving force, sexuality. Modernism did not arise in the context of Islam, because there the study of nature is not divorced from religion or spirituality (the signs of The God, 'Allah' are everywhere). In Christianity, natural inquiry was disregarded & often diabolized as a kind of necromancy. Natural study & heresy walked hand in hand. The Catholic viewpoints on nature were salvic, not scientific. As a result, natural science was dogmatic, not empirical.

This was not the case in Islam. Indeed, the teachings of the Koran did not move against man's inclination towards natural inquiry (knowledge for the sake of knowledge), neither were they exclusive or in principle directed against other religions & their revelations (as was the centrist Roman Church). Their concept of heresy also totally differed from that of the Church (in Islam, a heretic is someone who attributes a second to The God). Furthermore, the Church militantly defended outdated cosmological ideas and cherished mistaken beliefs. No intellectual able to read could be satisfied with such a grotesk situation. By adhering to irrational beliefs against natural inquiry, Christianity
promoted a study of nature divorced from the religious perspective. This hastened its own downfall and invited materialism.

It is often repeated that the Renaissance makes use of the 'ad fontes' principle, a return to the Late Hellenistic Greek & Roman philosophers, authors & poets, deemed 'classical' and interpreted in a particular, reductionist way. Today we teach this holds true even more than we have realized, for Hermetism and the famous 'Orientale Lumen' expressed the thought-patterns of Egypt's last millennium & its famous Alexandrian school (dissimated by the early Roman Church). However, the irrational side of Greek culture (as revealed by its mystery cults, its music, drama & chorus) was selectively underestimated by our European humanists, who stressed its Apollinic qualities (cf. Nietzsche). Regarding the many hermetical disciplines which emerged & flourished in Europe, the same questionable reductionism occurs. Moreover, the return to the Greek and Roman sources was a return to a specific segment of Late Hellenism. It did not assimilate Ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, Minoan or Mycenaean cultures, nor the varieties of religious and philosophical strands that came to life in Alexandria and later in the Roman Empire (Gnostics, mystery cults, Christian heretics etc).

Our picture of Antiquity needs to be reviewed. With it, our view on the European Renaissance will surely change.

The rise of the European Renaissance is unthinkable without : 

  • the Egypto-Alexandrian 'pagan' heritage which influenced all Mediterranean civilizations and beyond ; 

  • all Greek & Roman sources ;

  • Arab scholarship influencing medieval Europe ;

  • the dogmatism of the Roman Church, which made her cling to outdated and nonsensical ideas about nature (and forced West-European intellectuals to reject her so-called Divine revelations with the same harshness as they were enforced).

The RISE of Modernity :

1. Humanism : 
starting with the Renaissance in 13th century Italy
and reaching the North of Europe around 1650 :

  1. a non-radical, nominalistic denial of the conceptual realism of scholasticism ;

  2. observation, experiment & a bricoleur-mentality deriving from the individual ;

  3. a focus on solving practical problems.

In a moderate postmodern perspective, humanism is one of the 'nuggets of gold' in the dross of the destructive history of modernism and its co-relatives : 'enlightened' dogmatism, fanatism, reductionism, militarism, materialism, 'free market' consumerism etc. Humanism may be called 'possibly' constructive, because historical humanism was anti-ecological and focused too much on the freedom of the human individual and too little on the balancing-out of this freedom with responsibility (towards oneself, the future of humanity and the many other living creatures visible & invisible). It led to atheism, agnosticism or scepticism. 

Neo-humanism has to be truly ecological, global & sharing. Because it does not built its epistemology on a model of exclusive presence, consistency & determination, it retains the pre-modern, mythical relationship with nature, the cosmos and the Divine and is hence able to reconstruct this pre-modernism with the best tools of the so-called 'modern' mental operation (cf. Piaget's formal-operatoric phase of cognition pertaining to empirico-formal object-knowledge - cf. neurophilosophy). 

A mature version of historical humanism preluding modern rationalism can be found in the writings of Michel de Montaigne, who, in order to escape arrogant dogmatism, embraced classical scepticism (cf. his Apology of Raimond Sebond). The move of humanism to rationalism (cf. Descartes' Discours of Method) was intepreted by Toulmin as rationalism's answer to the initiating force of humanism (cf. Cosmopolis : The Hidden Agenda of Modernity, 1990), for in his Apology, Montaigne wrote that we can not be sure of anything unless we find the one thing which is absolutely certain.

2. Rationalism of Nature :
starting in the first quater of the 17th century :

  1. mathematics of the final foundation of knowledge in a clear, distinct, continuous, certain & absolute sufficient ground, the final truth of which is to be intuitively grasped ;

  2. systematic observation & formalization of facts ;
  3. focused on a closed, knowledge-founding & dualistic worldview & anthropology.

3. Empirism of Nature :
in the 18th century :

  1. mathematical certainty & impressions are the foundation of knowledge (phenomenism) ;
  2. systematic observation & its formalization ;
  3. sceptic agnosticism which undermines positive science, scholastic & natural metaphysics.

Undoubtedly, since the 17th century, European intellectuals had been discussing theoretical problems from the sideline. No practical consideration motivated them. Nor was there any longer a strict clerical approach. But conflicting 'systems' emerged like mushrooms. The three main protagonists were 'God' (the unknown absolute thing), 'res extensa' (the extended thing, i.e. physical reality) and 'res cogitans' (the thinking thing, i.e. the subject, 'l'être conscient').

In rationalism, there always remained unexplained differences between the 'ideal' and the empirical 'real'. In empirism, the origin of mathematical truth is unexplained and empirical comparisons ask for a non-empirical standard or law, which brings us back to rationalism. Because of the cultural weight of the churches, God was not eliminated, but underwent a transformation. The Biblical God was replaced by the 'God of the philosophers'. God became the light of the intellect of the rationalists (denied by Kant without eliminating the notion of a priori ideas of reason) or the universal observant (cf. Berkeley's 'esse est percipi'). 

The ZENITH of Modernity :

4. Criticism :
at the end of the 18th century :

  1. a systematic, transcendental investigation of the objective boundaries of 'Verstand' (mind) & 'Vernunft' (reason) operating in the subject of knowledge and the elimination of the ideas of God, Soul & World as the constitutive cornerstones of knowledge ;

  2. Copernican Revolution : man imposes Nature his own a priori categories ;

  3. focused on a new, scientific (immanent) metaphysics which does not move beyond the boundaries necessary for mind & reason to function properly.

The influence of Kant is so vast, that Western philosophy may be divided into pre-Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy ! The first task of philosophy is to ask : 'What can I know ?' or 'What are the limits of my possible knowledge ?' The re- & deconstruction of the 'Transcendental Doctrine of Elements' of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft (1787) is probably the most valuable jewel in the chest of a moderate postmodernism.

Reducing Kant's philosophy to the Kritik der reinen Vernunft would be misunderstanding him (although it is his greatest work). Recent studies show how Kant was preoccupied with an 'immanent' metaphyics, i.e. one not trespassing the boundaries of reason. He did not develop such a speculative science, but (as his Opus postumum shows) was aware of its possibility. How strong was the influence of Protestantism on his distinction between 'pure' and 'practical' reason ?

5. Technologicism :
from 1850 till Worldwar II :

  1. metaphysics & theology are negative values, facts are positive (Comte) and science is able to work in a way which does not involve subjectivity at all (Weber) ;

  2. sense-data are the foundation of knowledge & the emergent technological materialism ;

  3. a definite movement towards a new, secular scientific class fashioning their logical-positivist monolith which dictates atheism or agnosticism and reductionist humanism.

The emergence of idealism shows how the modern, analytical approach and its intellectual criticism were rejected by those romantics who stressed their intuitions & creative imaginations and who described Nature as a living organism. Hegel (the Augustine of the romantics) returned to a pre-Thomistic epistemology which gave him the unrightful right to attain absolute knowledge. This giganto-brontosauric system is proof of the small error needed to create massive redundancy and nonsense (cf. Ockham's Raizor).

'Hegelian science' was (of course) not able to maintain itself or withold the rise of materialism, scientism & the Europacentric secular 'barons of science', serving capital & industry. With technology, science found its idol (golem or monster) and got more and more compromized by the many offerings made to it by the higher & middle classes living in the crystal palace of their belief in linear growth. The materialist monolith took shape.

With the Victorian age, modernism was at last made 'fashionable sense' for everybody, except for the exploited classes, i.e. the silent majority. Science began to play its dirty, so-called objective role. It did not bring into effect the principles of truth, but justified the media power and money, and their degenerating consumerism. Science was so-called without 'values' and 'interpretations'. It became what it had rejected : a vain dogma of vulgar objectivity (instead of a dogma regarding God). Scientists were the new priests. Amen.

The miracles of old re-emerged in the world of machines & mathematics. Except for two dark clouds (the speed of light and the ultraviolet-catastroph), Lord Kelvin described how blue the skies of physics were. At the end of the 19th century, scientists had been able to put some of their (in fact conflicting & incomplete) empirico-formal equations regarding Nature into practice. Some of the 'closed system' or 'black box' machines they invented worked, as did their many negative side-effects, considered as unimportant or limited, and this to their own peril and that of many generations to come ...

Indeed, eventually, the side-effects of these 'nature mortes' heat the world in the name of freedom and prosperity. Idle glory ! Thermodynamics confusing 'energy' with 'heat'. Energy being a difference between potentials and not a movement of molecules causing friction to make steam ...

Two distinct periods spring to the fore : one in which a 'Newtonian' paradigm still dominated and another characterized by amazing (instrumental, functional) discoveries in the absence of a grand physical theory at least able to reconcile the two rivals at hand : relativity (the very large) and its envisioned determinism and quantum (the extremely small) and its probabilism.

How do we act when we know something is wrong ? Institutionalized science retained the oldest trick on record : put your head in the sand and hope things go away !

DUSK and FALL of Modernity :

6. Institutionalism
from 1945 till early 70 :

  1. rapid, massive global divulgation of the black box-model (closed Carnot systems) ;

  2. valid knowledge is tested & consensual : a scientific elitism with its given discourses, conventions, parlances and local logics - science as the servant of industry, the military, the 'powers that be' ...  ;

  3. focused on the illusionary metaphysics of permanent scientific discovery & material growth ;

  4. repression of the first person perspective, of creativity, inventivity & humanity ;

  5. negation of the results of observational psychology and the cult of sense-data, instrumentalism and strategic communication.

the rise of the 'postmodern avant-garde'
from oilcrisis till 2000 ?

  1. globalization of egology, destruction of ecosystems & social depravity ;

  2. rapid moral degeneration, corrupt status quo, the rise of counter & anti-cultural movements, the institutionalization of incompetence, massive global squandering of material resources ;

  3. virulent nihilism, death-art, the cult of irrationalism & the rise of posthumous modernism, technocratic science, militarism, narcissism & consumerism ;

  4. total misunderstanding of the needs of humanity & its survival ;

  5. collective forms of psychosis & hysteria, rise of violence, insecurity & global ecological catastrophes ;

  6. fall of communism and the assimilation of socialism and ecology into late capitalism and its inherent Plutocracy : enlightened egoism.

The end of the worst century of history proved to be as dark as its beginning. This despite techology, 'modern' this-and-that and the cynical display of hollow Lunar grandure and achievement (growth) the posthumous modernists (scientists & politicians alike) enjoy. These are great times for pessimists, cynics, sceptics and doomsday thinkers.

Suffering remains a fact despite more than half a century of serious institutional globalization and the rise of expensive international organizations, NGO's and so-called democratic peace-keeping forces. Instead of helping the poor not to fall in the same ecological & social abyss, the West has divulgated materialism, negativism, nihilism & consumerism. It has given knowledge, but no tools. The rich became and still become richer every day. The poorer ever more wretched. In this way the rich squander the wealth of the future. The 'lost generations' do not want to be responsible for the damage caused by their parents. The link with the past is often broken. 

The modern human seem to be afraid to live his or her life without the illusionary securities of the material operator and is stuck with an uneasy security. The structural deficiencies of latter day modernist societies (democratic, dictatorial or savage) are such that helping is sometimes ineffective. A global solution is the only way out. A fair redistribution of wealth the moral of this tragic human story.

The 'idealist' version of posthumous modernism (the point of reference constructive postmodernism has to assimilate without its ontological presuppositions) :

Jürgen Habermas

The pessimism of Adorno & Horkheimer is the result of an instrumental interpretation of rationality leading to the 'Dialectic of Enlightenment'.

Rationality is communicative or inherently linguistic & argumentative (social). Each communicative discourse is based on the assumption that power & self-intrest do not rule supreme. A sincere, truth-governed speech is possible because 'a moment of unconditionality' of truth & freedom can not be excluded, despite money & power, which may colonize knowledge.

Theory of Communicative Action,

The 'realist' version of posthumous modernism is the connection with the principle of reality which constructive postmodernism needs to maintain in order to think anything as real, however not without first bracketing the ontology of the real in the domain of epistemology and the other normative discipline, such as ethics and esthetics :


The real world exists independent of ourselves and touches us each time we experience something (to kick and to be kicked). Scientific theories are not to be justified by means of induction. A scientific theory explains how it may fail. If it does, it lost correspondence with reality and can no longer be true. Theories are built on piles driven down from above into the swamp, not down to any given base, although they are really firm enough to carry the structure.

The Logic of Scientific Discovery,
1951 - 1956.

Hyperglobalism or Planetarism :

8. Anonymous
21th century

  1. world wide communication between peoples ;

  2. strong popular movements reacting against the status quo ;

  3. inability to keep problems hidden and localized ;

  4. power of the anonymous reflex, international networks of activists, mass reactions against destruction of the ecological, social, economical and political balances.

  5. integration of perspectivism, faillibilism and criticism of science, ending the dogmatism of materialism and virulent atheism & nihilism ;

  6. increased consumer awareness and the power to manipulate supply by drastically changing demand ;

  7. genuine power given to the United Nations ;

  8. end of capitalistic globalism and birth of planetarism, the responsible leadership of spaceship Earth ;

  9. awareness the problems facing humanity can no longer be solved by nationalism & internationalism, but only on a planetary level, prompting a Global Economical, Political & Ecological System or planetarism.

Postmodern logic to keep.

(§ 1) The 'logic' of postmodernism may be discovered in the texts of Lyotard, Rorty, Foucault, Derrida, although the latter (often called a poststructuralist) does not use the term to define his views. Are these but semantical futilities ? The 'logic' of postmodernism is binary, often non-Fregean and a-formal but often analytically sharp, simultaneously refined & grotesque. 

Derrida introduced so-called 'deconstruction' into Western philosophical thought. According to Derrida, Western thought as a whole is a philosophy of presence. Socrates, who inspired Plato when the latter wrote the first texts of Western philosophy, did not write. However, because Plato listened to Socrates and textualized his words, Socrates is said to be present in our minds when we read Plato's text (we, not present when Socrates was uttering his own words !). The text is said to refer to something outside the text itself.

'Ce renversement cohérent, soumettant la sémiologie à une 'trans-linguistique', conduit à sa pleine explication une linguistique historiquement dominée par la métaphysique logocentrique, pour laquelle en effet il n'y a, il ne devrait y avoir 'de sense que nommé'. Dominée par la soi-disant 'civilisation de l'écriture' que nous habitons, civilisation de l'écriture soi-disant phonétique, c'est-à-dire du logos où le sens de l'être est, en son telos, déterminé comme parousie.'
Derrida, J. : De la Grammatologie, Minuit - Paris, 1967, p.75, my italics.

This presence is summoned up by the text to sustain a mental mechanism through which a certain conscious unity of the text and the presence outside the text is realized. Spoken words are considered to be symbols of mental experiences and written words are the symbols of spoken words (cf. Aristotle).

'It is impossible for the same attribute at once to belong and not to belong to the same thing and in the same relation. (...) Hence, all men who are demonstrating anything refer back to this as an ultimate belief ; for it is by nature the starting-point of all the other axioms as well. (...) Even in the case of this law, however, we can demonstrate the impossibility by refutation, if only our opponent makes some statement.'
Aristotle : Metaphysics, IV, iii 9, 12 &  iv 3-4.

This logocentrism is also a phonocentrism : absolute proximity of voice and being (through text), of voice and meaning of being in words, of voice and the ideality of the meaning of the text. Derrida does not reject this ongoing philosophy of presence and 'coming out by day'. Because his deconstruction takes place 'in the margin' of the presented texts, it seems that presence & absence form a pair.

This is the crucial insight. We should not deny absence its meaning. We should criticize and demolish the walls of signs enslaving the logos to phonemes 'in the margin'. In a constructive perspective, deconstruction is a continuous movement, a 'perpetuum mobile' within thought, allowing the endless creation of new perspectives on both texts and words spoken in the presence of interiority (sense of identity) and alteriority (sense of difference). Postmodern thought is unsettling in the isthmus between the philosophy of appearance (of 'phusis') and that of the eveningland (of the hiddenness of the nocturnal, of mystery, of death, of ghosts, of the wide expanses of the multiverse).

Deconstruction takes place in a consciousness aware of the pair and of this formidable difference between the so-called presence of being in texts and the absence of the being of the man Plato knew, Socrates. Derrida claims that there is nothing outside the text, but this is clearly an idealistic overstatement.

Modernism (in its many variations, both as a method and as a cultural meanstream) may hence be understood as an exclusivism of presence, or, in the language of Jung, it is Animus-obsessed (paternalistic, authoritarian, phallic, dogmatic, inconsiderate and unrefined).

(§ 2) Logocentrism is the (symbolical) determination of the being of an object as presence. In this way, linguistics remains completely enclosed within a classical conceptuality in which false doors, i.e. a transcendental signified, occur. By marking these in a text (for example by adding an asterix*) one menaces the history and the life of the spirit of self-presence, one menaces substantiality. For by allowing the text to summon a presence outside the text we delude ourselves by creating a fiction through the medium of that book, programme, film or file. So although deconstruction does not interfere with the summoning of the spirit of identity, it adds little destructive notes in the margin of the text. These openings are the ones camouflaged by our foundational intellectuals, those who think that thought has to rest on a sufficient ground (i.e. ideality or reality) and a logic of identity (cf. Leibniz).

The comments in the margin unveil the hidden escape-roads present in the text.

Indeed, many passages in a text suggest a meta-level of meaning delimitation, unnoticed strands of hidden variables, which -after analysis- prove to contain infinite reiterations, with unexpected & unparalleled complexities. Has Heidegger's conception of truth after 'die Kehre' as 'a-lethèia', i.e. both unhidden & hidden inspired Derrida ? Truth as both presence and absence. Western philosophy and the sciences have tried in vain to reduce truth to the sole presence of facts and/or discourse. It is impossible to know reality-as-it-is. No empirico-formal statement can be made about the essence of being. All this belongs to the realm of absence. A metaphysics of absence starts by investigating the possible intrusions of absence once its domain has been established (by the negation of the presences of being).

'The power that manifests itself stands in unconcealment. In showing itself, the unconcealed as such comes to stand. Truth as un-concealment is not an appendage to being. (...) Since being means emerging, appearing, to issue forth from concealment - concealment, its origin in concealment, belongs to it essentially. This origin lies in the essence of being, of the manifest as such. Being inclines back toward it, both in great silence and mystery and in banal distortion and occultation.'
Heidegger, M. : An Introduction to Metaphysics, Yale University Press - Yale, 1959 (translated by R.Manheim), p.102 & p.114.

(§ 3) The first step involves a critical inquiry of the boundaries of reason, mind and their cognitive mechanisms, mental operators, systems & models. Reason (cf. Kant's 'Vernunft') is a higher faculty involved with the extension & unity of all operations & activities of the mind (cf. Kant's 'Verstand'). Its logic is monadic.

Kant tried to avoid the consequences of the possibility of reason to perceive its own activity in a purely intellectual way (cf. contemplation). The step from a imaginary, regulative focus to the transformation of reason under the influence of the intellect is not taken, although the necessity of unification is clearly seen. Kant's modernism did not allow him to perceive the gross contradiction built in his grand intellectual monument. How does Kant know intellectual perception is impossible ?

A theory on transcendental unity should satisfy the need for a harmony between reason & intuition. The study of Fichte, Schelling & Husserl is rewarding. The human mind, ruled by reason, is characterized by an 'essential tension' (cf. Kuhn) between idealism & realism, the metaphysical outposts of erroneous empirico-formal mental activity caught in an ontological illusion (erecting a theory of knowledge on the dogma of either subjectivism or objectivism). Both possibilities have to be superceded.

A trichotomic logic is able to avoid the problem of the justification of knowledge.

Replace :

object of knowledge
equals reality & facts
'res extensa'
versus subject of knowledge
equals mind & theories
'res cogitans'

with :


object of knowledge

subject of knowledge

the 'real'
the 'ideal'

(§ 4) Only when knowledge is justified should it be used in social formations & taught as a fact able to influence the sustainable harmonization of life on Earth. This justification is never final and therefore more than a linear 'calculus' of mentals is necessary to understand the cognitive mechanism of reason and its inclination towards the unconditional ('das Unbedingte' - cf. Kant). Wisdom becomes possible by allowing all possible interactions between both approaches of our physical brain, i.e. digital, linear, sequential & verbal versus analogous, chaotic, parallel & non-verbal. Philosophy starts with mentals and is optimized by the stern training of the rational mind focused on the global, universal, cosmic meaning of humanity. Logic & epistemology formulating the norms of thought & knowledge. Next the intellect may join.

See also : Prolegomena or the Rules of the Game of 'True' Knowledge (1994, Dutch), Knowledge (1995, Dutch), Clearings : On Critical Epistemology (2006), Intelligent Wisdom : from Myth to Nondual Thought (2007), Neurophilosophy of Sensation (2007), Criticosynthesis (2008), Critique of a Metaphysics of Process (2010 - 2012), Book of Lemmas (2014), The End of Materialism (2015).

(§ 5) A second step implies the study of those mental operators involved in the process of emancipation of the mind after the formal-operatoric phase has been implemented. This state of wonder, awe, perplexity, sheer suddenness comes natural when consciousness is daily engaged in spiritual activity and the mind is given over completely to the will to love wisdom. So wisdom is a spiritual marriage, a free state (cf. Chockmah-consciousness in qabalah) arrived at when the monad is permanently present in the now of clear awareness. When -in Husserl's words- the natural state has completely, through the method of bracketing, been put out of action, i.e. all possible concerns for spatio-temporal existence have been thoroughly eliminated, then and only then a new sense or region of 'Being' may by won. Wisdom implies abstention, negation, restriction. For what remains when the world, we & our thinking have been bracketed ? Where does consciousness abide when Seen & Seer are absolutely divided (cf. the Western theory on contemplation & the Eastern Yoga) ?

Dutch readers may consult : Kennis en Minne-Mystiek (1994)
For English readers : To a Spiritual Brainmind (2003 - 2007), Does the Divine exist ? (2006), Intelligent Wisdom (2007)

(§ 6) The postmodern distinction between presence & absence initiates a postmodern spectrology, or a revision of the modern postulate affirming certain texts to be omnipotent when delineating 'reality'. Modern conditioning limits our sense-organs (through the lateralization of the neo-cortex), blocking the direct experience of the meta-nominal. Postmodern philosophy should help to unleash these potentials. Moreover, besides the logocentric reality-for-us, importance should be given to reality-for-me and the phenomena of (auto)suggestion (placebo & nocebo), fiction, imagination and peripheral events, such as parapsychological facts (telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance), visionary experience, magical, prophetic & mystical states of consciousness.

The relationships between reality-for-me and reality-as-such may allow for a non-verbal understanding of the subtle, invisible, seemingly absent fields, currents & interactions between the solitary individual, mostly unconscious about them, and reality-as-such. A postmodern spectrology is not Europacentric and so is able to incorporate elements of African philosophy (cf. the elaborated power-ontology of spirits & the spirit-world), Indian Hinduism (with its multitudes of devas & gods) and the Western belief in 'pure spiritual entities' like angels (with or against the order of things). Instead of discarding these signals of a veiled, shadow-world as mythological, fantastic, unreal, imaginary and of no real importance to existence of humans on Earth, moderate postmodernism should be aware of the impact of the invisible, intangible, hidden, occult layers of reality. Significance and relevance should be distinguised and applied.

'As we saw, a comparison of the evidence for telepathy and that for clairvoyance suggests that the mind-mind relation and the mind-matter relation are the same kind of relation. This suggests in turn that what we know from within as 'mind' and what we know from without as 'matter' are not, in themselves, different in kind. The fact that the mind's outgoing paranormal causal influence includes both thought-transference and psychokinetic changes in 'inanimate matter' suggest the same thing.'
Griffin, D.G. : Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality, State University of New York Press - New York, 1997, p.277.

The categories of a possible postmodern spectrology are primordial to understand the spiritual experience of the majority of our fellow human beings (alone, in magical groups, sects, churches, religions or mystical movements). These considerations also change our speculative perspective on pre- and postlife conditions (death no more than a one-way gate between visible & invisible ?) and the way to deal with (the angel of) death ...

Dutch readers may consult : Kennis & Minne-Mystiek (1994) & De Mystieke Theologie (1996)
For English readers : the Jesus-people, Sufism, Ancient Egypt and Royal Yoga.

These 'pre-modern' interests of postmodernism are not a return to irrationality (superstition) confusing knowledge (cf. Sokal & Brickmont, 1998) but acknowledge a valid & arguable metaphysics has more than a heuristic (inspirational) value for the sciences. Indeed, metaphysics is the inevitable origin of all possible scientific activity (cf. the Popper & his 'theory-ladenness of observation', 'metaphysical research programmes' and the inability to banish metaphysics). Instead of criticizing the so-called 'abuse of science' by postmodern philosophers, physicists should (to say the least) elucidate their own subject matters. They should not trust their naive, childish 'solid state' realisms for they lead to a 'perverse reason' (cf.Kant on the 'transcendental illusion'). The discovery of a new kind of language (transposing the mathematical 'reality' as precisely as possible) will be necessary to accomplish this. However, if too much specialization does not leave them with enough free study to acquire a grand historical perspective on the activity of knowledge, then surely they are not very well placed to understand those philosophers who dare to speculate (yes, often in vain) and share their regulating universal possibilities to the collective consciousness of humanity.

'La critique est aisée et l'Art est difficule.' 
Destouches : Le Glorieux, 2.2

Building a Hyperglobal system* ?


(§ 1) No text makes absence present. The longing for a systematical approach can not be eradicated (for -as Kant put it- our minds need architecture). However, no system is without false doors, paradoxes, incompleteness & indeterminisms.

The conceptual mind is not equipped to merge the dyad in the monad and survive. The logic of mind is based on a fundamental dualism conceptual thought is unable to escape or transcend.

This discursive mind can only articulate, define, postulate, verbalize facts, i.e. the result of the combined activity of subjectivity (its theory, frame, view, perspective) and the presupposed stimuli of reality-as-such.

The insurmountability of the norms of knowledge

In Popper's The Open Society and its Enemies we find this curious thought : '...whoever adopts the rationalist attitude does so because he had adopted (... ) some proposal, or decision, or belief, or behaviour; an adoption which may be called 'irrational' (... ), we may describe it as an irrational faith in reason'.

In order to understand man's activity of acquiring knowledge and moreover, to consolidate it in a ground outside knowledge, Popper seeks -by a decisionistic strategy- to put the choice for rationality in the domain of irrationality. The question remains whether it is possible to choose for reason starting with the irrational ? This is contra-intuitive. If epistemology has to answer the question of the possibility of knowledge, then we expect it to work out a set of necessary categories. The choice for reason is not irrational, but is the result of reason's self-reflections and reason's praxis.

Because the grounding activity of reason shamefully contaminates epistemology, we shall have to leave the above mentioned strategy and opt for a set of basic norms that are not to be justified. This changes the descriptive problem into the normative. We will call this basic system like Kant a 'Factum', more precisely a 'fact of reason (of ratio)'. In his Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, Kant refers in his discussion of the statute of the moral law to a primitive, undeniable fact that cannot be justified from earlier grounds and therefore is inexplicable.

Norms are the baseless foundation of knowledge.

Kant writes that the moral law is 'das einzige Faktum der reinen Vernunft'. The normative basic system of knowledge appears -in a consciousness thinking on a reflective level- as a 'collection' (of set) of norms which can not be proved by reasoning, but which are inevitable presupposed in each cognitive act. They form the ungroundable basis of knowledge. In other words they are the rules of the game of true knowledge we have been using all the time.

In this way a circle appears : starting from human cognition, the conditions of the possibility of knowledge need to be examined (so that we may indicate the limitations of this cognitive power). So, talking about knowledge, we come across norms that have to be presupposed in each action of cognition. Afterwards it is discovered that the 'Factum Rationis' was the necessary inalienable condition for this conceptual self-exploration of thinking ; a conditon that cannot be grounded by itself, but which already supports the building of knowledge.

These norms clarify the notion 'rationality'. The relationship 'rationality' versus 'irrationality' can indeed be worked out epistemologically in the light of a possible demarcation between science (true knowledge) and metaphysics (speculative knowledge). In this way, the 'Factum Rationis' is the primitive term of the wanted epistemology (compare it with the notion 'person' in Strawson's anthropology).

'How is knowledge and the progress of knowledge possible ?'

This question is often answered by grounding the possibility of knowledge in a sufficient ground that tries to exceed (or move beyond) knowledge and hence is no knowledge anymore. This foundational, sufficient ground (or base) -which is 'knowing' besides the knowledge it tries to ground- can only support the possibility of knowledge if this 'non-knowing' point of view would be able to give a justification of the possibility of knowledge. Such a 'non-knowing' point of view is however completely dogmatic (as will appear from the discussion with the intuitionists), and knowledge -if epistemology wants to stay free from internal contradictions- can not be justified by a 'knowing' that has to be understood as 'non-knowing'. Hence, the grounding strategy has to be rejected. Indeed, a preceding non-knowing point of view isn't possible as it is this selfsame knowing caught in an illusion.

The question of the conditions relating to the possibility and the progress of knowledge can on the other hand also be answered by finding a normative system of basic principles or basic categories (cf. the neo-Kantians and Strawson). Norms that determine how to think about 'knowledge'. Norms that indicate how progress of this 'knowledge' has to be understood (and has already been understood). In what follows, we are going to search for this system of basic principles.

The fact that these basic norms -indicative of how we must think 'knowledge'- in their turn cannot be justified by means of knowledge (cf. the circle-reasoning) could be interpreted as to imply that the decision to well or not use these norms is an irresponsible (because unjustified) one. This is what Popper suggests. Wrongly. Analogous to Kant who wrote about moral basic norms, we will show that it is inevitable that some norms of knowledge have to be presupposed (if we want to think 'knowledge').

It is evident that each cognitive act presupposes a cognitive object (the known), a cognitive subject or subjects (the knower(s)) and knowledge (about the object as experienced by one or more subjects).

Without a cognitive object there is no 'knowledge' as the knower (cognitive subject) cannot put something 'before him', while whithout a cognitive subject the same goes (there is no instance that 'knows' the known). This obvious fact cannot be grounded in proceeding knowledge, and also cannot be alienated from the process of cognition.

Hence, cognitive object & subject are the limiting conditions of the possibility of knowledge. If denied, a circle-reasoning appears : what is being denied (the fact of reason), has to be presupposed in the denial itself (the denial is the object, the negator the subject).

Taking knowledge as fallible means giving up all attempts of grounding knowledge. This break with the classical model of rationality also implies abandoning the closed Cartesian subject, in which a lonely, almost solipsistic cognitive subject is confronted with the cognitive object. 'My knowledge' can only be 'my' knowledge if put within the framework of intersubjectivity (the open subject-model).

Just as the 'Factum Rationis' cannot be grounded in a preceding 'non-knowing' point of view, but can be explained in reflection, so the cognitive subject and the cognitive object have to function as the two ends of the yoke (or cross-beam) on which the 'limiting framework' may be hanged. Grounding these notions means that this system of basic norms becomes exceeded so far as these be thought as structural elements of the cognitive subject (cf. idealism) or as ideas that indicate the minimum basic structure of reality and by which the possibility of knowledge of this reality can be understood (cf. realism).

(§ 2) A systematical approach allowing for deconstruction generates a system* which is catalytic, creating catharsis. This means it offers to its readers models of growth (modules) without imposing itself as a dogmatic or complete design of existence.

It also implies deconstruction of all important false exits to the transcendent.

How to structure contemporary philosophy ?



A) HISTORICAL Philosophy :

Logistics of philosophy on the basis of past facts

B) SYSTEMATIC Philosophy :

Topology of philosophy on the basis of different objects of investigation :

- Normative Philosophy : the rules man should mind in following disciplines :

(1) logic : order, meaning & symbolisation : true/false
(2) epistemology : theory on knowledge & method : corroborated/falsified
(3) aesthetics : the exemplar & emancipation : beauty/ugliness
(4) ethics : theory on just change & geo-politics : good/evil

- Descriptive Philosophy or Metaphysics : philosophical investigations into psychology, economics, sociology, politicology, religion, mysticism & other areas.

In a traditional sense, metaphysics implies nominal (rational) & meta-nominal (intuitional) speculations on nature (natural philosophy), humanity (philosophical anthropology), being (ontology), God (theology), language, history, religion, etc.


Study of the integration of the philosopher in his or her society.

My texts are always under construction


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initiated : 09 IV 1996 (Brussels at 12.10 UT) - last update : 31 XII 2015 - n°36