Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (16)‏

by richibi

 The School of Athens - Raphael

                                             The School of Athens




Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2013 22:47:05 +0000
To: Richibi’s Weblog
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus

As I said at the very beginning, you are “sensitive”, and I was right, because you rightly perceived that I was becoming impatient. My apologies. Patience is not my forte. 🙂 However, you have not “touched a nerve”, as this is by no means an emotional discussion from my pov. I have no intention to “vehemently reject” your position (after all it is yours not mine), but only to share my perspective, including what I perceive to be irrational arguments.

Here are the two statements you made;
” I, and the “demented” Nietzsche, incidentally, equally fervently mistrust, even deem fundamentally impossible”,
“I do not profess to “know what Nietzsche believes or “fervently mistrust[s]‘”.

Is that not a self-contradiction?

You say that you’re making an interpretation. But, what is knowledge but an interpretation? A translation from the concrete and the objective to the abstract and subjective, just as we translate a work of literature from one language to another? By interpreting Nietzsche to yourself, you gain a rational understanding of him, and by interpreting him to others, you share that understanding.

I think an important distinction should be made between a) the belief in the existence of Absolute Truth” and b) the belief of one’s monopoly of the Absolute Truth. You seem to be passionately rejecting b), which is quite understandable. But Platonism is not b) but a). It does not claim monopoly of the Absolute Truth, but instead, Plato and Socrates both exhort their listeners to pursue Beauty, Goodness and Truth, to pursue virtue, to be the lover of wisdom, which is the literal meaning of “philosophy”,

According to Einstein, this pursuit of the Absolute Truth is also the guiding principle of the scientists. Without this passionate pursuit of the truth, we would never discover that the earth is not flat. Now think about this: Can you still insist that it is uncertain whether or not the earth is flat, that it is impossible to have a rational understanding of the shape of the earth?

You argue that uncertainty makes people less likely to kill. But most people who kill are not driven by belief in the Absolute, but by their lust for pleasure, wealth and power. Some may kill in the name of Truth as a disguise for their ulterior motives, but it would be unfair and irrational to blame the Truth for their acts.

I’ll refrain from discussing the Catholic Church, partly because to me this discussion is about Platonism, and Christianity is not Platonism (though they share many similar aspects), and partly because I’m not associated with the Catholic Church and frankly don’t know enough about it to say anything useful


first of all let me raise a glass to our conversation,
a toast that it might live long
and thank you for your continued respectful and
penetrating participation, I will endeavour to as
assiduously hold up
that said, we get into, as I see it, the question
posed by Wittgenstein, an obstacle of the
most impenetrable sort, the egregious
unreliability of language, what do you mean
when you say something, and how does that
synch with the other guy’s interpretation of it,
or, indeed, girl’s 
your meat could be my poison, my Plato,
your Proust   
indeed which one of us is right about this,
is Plato a saint or a sinner, a boon or a
though Proust, of course, would remain 
unquestionably and irreversibly here,
ever, surely, for both of us, benefactor
of positively Promethean, natch, 
what has become here then of the
Absolute, gone up in a whiff of, just
as insubstantial, smoke, the exhalations,
note, of a fully material mens sana,
sound mind, which can be nothing
without the enveloping corpore sano,
sound body   
should there, in the instance, however, 
be a One, an Absolute, we would not, nor
can anyway ever, from our intrinsically
divergent perspectives, be able to, in
any meaningful way, know It
more practically and topically, when
my mother had her living room walls 
painted, my blue was her green, or vice
versa, in either case adamantly, trying
both of us to eke out from each other
concessions to a position, undyingly,
each, though ever politely, both, held, 
a model accommodation, which is to say,
without the often attendant bombs 
we remained puzzled, however, each,
ever, by insidious, and inescapable,
doubt, who saw the right colour 
there is a technical solution to my mother’s
wall, I know, but only after great psychological
adjustment, even torment, will the blue think
his or her visual impression another colour  
and who is mistaken 
or can some people be ever right, 
and ever wrong
this, incidentally, is the central problem
of philosophy, not just our own central
and its resolution the central problem
of politics
in this instance when her cataracts were
removed, her blue became green, or vice
versa, I’d have to be in her apartment, I
can’t remember which colour, right now,
it was I saw, another philosophical
conundrum, but surely, you get the
picture, interpretation is highly
subjective, and porous 
which is why Science requires absolutely
unanimous approval, if you’ll forgive this
metaphorical only use of that prickly
adverb here, to determine Its still 
fundamentally ever tenuous theories
we’ve even only recently deconstructed
even time,
or Time
now there’s a God for you, Giver of context
however, even there, It would appear arbitrary,
there may be another Reality beyond our
particular three-dimensional Plato’s cave
but I digress
my misuse of the word “know” in citing
my apparently contradictory statements,
is at fault, I can never know, I can only
interpret, with custom we have come to
accept our suppositions as fact, and hope
that everyone else will do the same, which
we mostly do, except when we have wars
because of some intractable position,
where someone has set a price on his, her 
incontrovertible, but still fundamentally
arbitrary, opinion, even of ownership,
family structure, interpersonal affairs,
like this one 
but we are talking with only air, no
concrete certainty    
I believe Nietzsche, in other words, to
have thought my thoughts, or I, rather,  
to have incorporated his, but that is only
my understanding of it, which surely I
propound, though I might quite possibly
be wrong, but, Nemo, I can’t remember
the last time I was, I could check, I keep
a tally
scientists, I believe, are indeed seeking
always to know, perfecting their idea of
Reality, but Truth can only be the sum
of all things we think It is, nothing else,
nothing more, after all what other entity
that we know knows anything at all
about It, about Truth
we can only think there is a Real out
there, and make the best of It, the rest
is, Shakespeare again,  
           “…………………………………. such stuff
           As dreams are made on; and our little life
            Is rounded with a sleep.”
                                             The Tempest – act 4, scene 1
                                                                            lines 156 -158
cheers ever