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Rodin on Descartes

Rodin on Descartes

“The Thinker” – Auguste Rodin

just saying

Richard

Nemo – “Ennead I” by Plotinus (17 )‏


Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 00:08:23 +0000
To: richibi@hotmail.com
From: comment-reply@wordpress.com
Subject: [New comment] “Ennead I” by Plotinus
 

Richard,

You wrote, ” 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”

Our opinions are not “intrinsically”, but “accidentally” divergent. If they are intrinsic, they would not be affected by changes in our circumstances. But often times our opinions are affected by external circumstances. Therefore, they are not “intrinsic”. For instance, your story about the color of the wall reminds me of a similar story of how the English chemist John Dalton discovered color blindness. He himself was color blind but never realized it until his mother (or aunt) disagreed with him on the color. Without such a defect, there would be no disagreement.

Truth cannot be a sum of opinions or even an unanimous decision of all people. Why? Because the sum of contrary opinions amount to nothing, and the sum of contradictory opinions only lead to confusion, since people are never unanimous about anything.

To use a classic Platonic analogy: If you have a serious disease and want to be healed. Will you call everyone in from the street, hold a public assembly and have them vote for a treatment of your disease? Of course not. You’ll seek out the specialist in the field and have him examine you and give you the proper diagnosis and treatment. Because he possesses the knowledge, whereas the others don’t. Even a grain of truth is worth more than a boatload of false opinions.

Having said the above, however, I agree that the truth may be multifaceted, like the color of light shining through a prism. Because our senses have their limitations, we can only see part of the spectrum, similarly, our rational faculty may also be limited, and we only see the Truth in part. This is why dialogues such as we’re having are meaningful. That we may see the rainbow, while not losing sight of our own color.

“So please your majesty
That we may wake the king: he hath slept long.”
King Lear Act IV Scene VII

 

 

oof, Nemo, again where do I start, I’ll try to
tackle merely Truth here, deconstruct It, so
that we can know what we’re even talking
about
 
what do you mean by Truth
 
 
something corresponds to what it is that
we see, hear, feel, I would think, to be
locked in my head, my spirit, a fundamental
unity, without the support of an underlying
Reality, would be horrible, a profound, and
unbearable, solitude, I don’t want any more
to even try to imagine it, though, in my
youthful invincibilty, I once did, it would
nearly drive me, sometimes, I remember, 
crazy 
 
I would try to guess what people would
say in their next breath and found that
mostly I could do it, that mostly I could
get it right, which didn’t do much for an
outside Reality
 
but, again, babies must learn to separate,
not easily, their suddenly unfamiliar world
from their initially undifferentiated senses,
their identity from what we understand to
be Reality, I’d been merely atavistically
revisiting that fundamental experience 
 
I first fell in love, incidentally, when I met
someone I wasn’t able to preempt, to my
utter fascination, at which point I was
forced to acknowledge not only Reality
but also probably a Heaven, it has
become a condition, I fall in love with
only people from other planets, or, if
you like, dimensions
  
 
so, Nemo, I am also subservient to an
ideal, or even an Ideal
 
but it, or It, is my utter fabrication, though,
manifestly, not an uninformed one
 
my Truth is that ethereal, a bedrock, 
however, of my nevertheless basically 
nebulous view of life, made out of,
indeed, thin air
 
my opinions are therefore entirely
speculative, except for my
understanding of myself
 
I think, according to Descartes, therefore
I am, and of that, of myself, I am not at
all speculative, for I think, listen   
 
 
Truth, incidentally, is a function of our
species, assuming that it is a formal
Reality is akin to placing ourselves,
as we once did, at the centre of the
Universe, we were apparently
egregiously wrong about that, it
seems to be generally now agreed,
I suspect an Absolute, or Idealized,
potential Reality, is asking for hubris,
and too often, incidentally, we get it,
see wars, torture, man’s inhumanity
to not only man
   
 
about the world which has mathematical
dimensions we are mostly in agreement,
two plus two will always equal four in our
rational construct, and Science seems to
flow pretty smoothly from that
 
therefore Truth with respect to matter I
will not question, it is the grid we are all
at least comfortable with, like speaking
the same language, despite its even
basic insufficiencies, these fairly easy
mostly to patch up with persistence
and ingenuity   
 
but Plato’s Truth, Ideal, or Absolute, is
of a more noumenal, spiritual, which is
to say, abstract, order, and as such, like
Beauty, is in the eye of the beholder,
Truth is what we think it is
 
is John Dalton wrong to have seen a
divergent colour, and who could tell
him that his blue was green, his red,
orange, when these were categorically
his impressions, dissent is a matter
merely of concensus  
 
Truth, I believe, is our accommodation,
and is no more than the sum of its
collective parts, the truths that
scientists unearth are Science, not
Truth, Reality, not Wisdom     
 
other worlds would have entirely
different conceptions of the Universe
for being other than we, us
 
we are assuming we have the answer,
Nemo, to imponderables 
 
therefore, not Philosophy, I insist,
but Art, and metaphorical rather
than categorical imperatives
 
see Beethoven for that, and / or Proust   
 
 
Richard
 
psst: according to these two excellent
          programs,
 
                  Bernard Williams on Descartes      
 
                  Bernard Williams on Descartes (cont.)
 
           two parts of an interview with an
           authority on Descartes, I could’ve
           easily been a figment of his
           imagination for sounding nearly 
           word for word, to my surprise
           and delight, very much like him
 
           though he probably wouldn’t,    
           by my calculations, therefore,
           have loved me