Blesok no. 31, March-April, 2003
Virtuosity of Truth
“When I listen to a beautiful melody played on piano and I experience that eternity exists for me only, should I believe that this is really so? Which myth should I believe in, the one about Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Jehovah, or the one about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sai Baba or the super heroes of Marvel Comics? Maybe I should believe the statement: “Jesus was black”, or the claim that “man” comes from another planet?
I can assume myself, for example, that the believer, the man, actually sees God as the man with the ideal falus, that is, the man without a falus, or the ideal man? Or that the woman believer sees in God a confirmation on the ideal nature of the being that has no falus, or the ideal woman?”
What in all this can I believe? Should I search for truth in my assumptions or in the claims of others?
Let me assume that: “I believe in everything and I believe to everybody!” But, why would I do that? Is it possible? Do I care about truth? I am not against anybody, I believe all of them, and why should I not believe everybody, why should some be right, and some wrong? Should I believe that some are right and that the right to truth is given by some higher instances? And there are many higher instances, man invents them, oh, I’m sorry, he finds them everywhere. Still, the best of all us that the higher instance that everybody stands for gives them the exclusive right to reach for truth and make it accessible to everybody who might not be interested in what they have to say.
Is it maybe that by chance some have superior nature and they are predestined to understand truth, and the others are inferior in their nature and live in misconception? What are the myths of superiority and inferiority, or predestination, fatalism, imperatives, principles, substances, essences or some selected with respect to others who are forgotten or neglected? How come some are right and the rest are not? Who should I trust and according to which system of reference should I show/prove that it is the one, selected discourse that expresses truth, and all other are false stories?
As a matter of fact, we all tell a story in which we try to describe ourselves, to find our place in the endless space called world where we are really so small and insignificant that it is the same as if we do not exist at all. Is there a better self-description than the one in which we are the centre, the axis of all events, where we are the most important? A self-description with which we fill in the emptiness of the feeling of importance in this whole huge world that is so little accessible to us, and we persistently try to explain it with funny anthropocentric extrapolations?
Nevertheless, forget everything, we will be the most important, We are not the most important, but we can and we should be the most important four ourselves first of all, not in one story where we will dominate and rule the world and others, but in a story where we will be the most important side issue in the world. Therefore, I believe everybody, because everybody has the chance and right to fill in, that is, self-describe their life as a project, in a Sartre’s meaning of the word project.
As he says, each individual is a personal project in which we select a man, and with this we also select humanity: “I am thus responsible for myself and for everybody and I create a certain image of the man I select; by selecting myself I select the man.”
Opposite to this, there is a generally accepted view about what I will name “logohuman”. It is a man who is absolutely convinced in his own existence and confirmed self-presence, a man with an origin, roots, who is at the same time a creation of God and his own ratio. He doubts everything, but he knows there is something more. He is absolutely convinced in his created nature and in his completely finished determination. He does not doubt the marked and the markers that fully express the intrinsic nature of the marked.
Logo-human is the most appropriate description of man in this metaphysical school and spirit of thinking, because all definitions determine man through a logo-centric perspective, as a creature who takes his marks from the logos, then he is logo-produced, All partial attempts to define man as homo sapiens, homo faber, homo religiousus, zoon politicon and similar are logo-produced, that is, they are marks that either directly belong to the term logos or come from derivatives of this term.
When it is said that the synthesis of all partial definitions determines the term man, why don’t we define ourselves as the creatures of logos (whatever we mean by this term) when these definitions are any way logo-derived?
Still there is a big problem with this way of inductive conclusion that again returns us back to the beginning from where all the search for the hidden truth starts, from the very root of the whole metaphysical horror, or the search for the logos in its original, perfect and uncreated form.
What the metaphysical thinkers tried to define and understand took them so far and exhausted them so much that all of that dispersion of thought instead of cosmos, order, system brought an original chaos, disorder and deconstruction.
What should be done now, how should be think and whom and in what should we believe? Is there any need to believe or is it a kind of atavism of the metaphysical heritage from which we will never completely set free? What human project do we address now, because the logo-human project is at the end of its existence in the sense of a referent absolute criterion according to whose directions the project should be made. It lives, but it is not the only way to look at thing, luckily. The metaphysical perspectivism is left to the pores of time that will slowly but surely remove it from the domain of truth as well as the influences of its apostle philosophers.
Indeed, many problems appear in an analysis of the domain of reflection of the metaphysical discourses via the constructs of the political onto-theology, via the complete social sphere of being, psychological profiles of individuals, as well as many other implications that appear in the social tissue of the beings called human community.
Man who was being realized as a project until now is dead. He has been dead since the very beginning of this project. Where there is more space for bare abstractions than for many specific human projects he has been dead since the very beginning of this big human project. All possible human projects are basically abstractions, but where the individual exists to serve the society and higher ideals, ideals for big human projects, instead of vice versa, that the society and ideals serve the individual, we have the occurrence of totalitarism, fascism, nationalism and all kinds of repressing types of –isms and wars.
It is shown by psychological, epistemological, social, national, economic, state, racial, and any other wars. It is because of the single reason, because someone knows what the truth is and what justice is, because truth is on his side and in its name the biggest good?/crimes? on humanity are made.
I do not want to repeat the mistake of the critic who criticized the one who claimed that he had understood truth and proclaimed the end to the search, and by criticizing him he made the same mistake, that is, claimed that the understood truth is not the truth, but something else and represents it.
I would also not enter the schizophrenic division to binary metaphysic oppositions, where there are endless circular or elliptical comings to the same, always the same story about the logos or its synonymous derivatives such as God, various substances, credos etc.
So I do not speak the truth, what I speak is in the following model of thinking, which states: “Epistemology as a realistic conception is pragmatically sterile and axiologically schizophrenic, while epistemology as a pragmatic conception is desirable.”
Why do I say desirable and not only truth? – because there is no absolutely true model or system of reference that I could address, nor am I psychic to be able to predict.
But an analysis of the systems of values that were and have been in so far would show that everything that has happened in any social area is metaphysically based.
What the hell do I want then?
“I want to play with discourses, to play with truth, to constantly slide through the fortresses of truth and destroy the walls of its magnificent fortifications. Because as a scared child that hides behind the high walls, the realistic conception of truth floats in the air and waits for the judgment day when the gravity will pull it in a downfall and land it! From the world of ideas, in the country of game, where everyone’s game is equally fun and interesting and nobody’s rules are privileged, but they are constantly changed depending on the tastes. It is more and more aware of it.”…
No, I do not say that an ultimate relativism or a final subjectivism should come to force, I am saying that I want to be aware that truth outside the language entities, outside sentences does not exist, that:
“To say that the world is out there, that it is not our construction, means to say, according to common sense, that most of the things in the space and time are consequences of the reasons that do not involve human mental states. To say that the truth is not out there means simply that where there are no sentences there is no truth, that the sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human constructions. Truth can not be out there – it can not exist independently from human mind – because the sentences can not exist in such a way, or be out there. The world is out there, but the descriptions of the world are not. Only the descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world in itself – unassisted by the describing activities of the human creatures can not”.
Instead of going back in an attempt to locate a source of the existing, we need a multitude of rivers of thoughts that flow in the same river, which will not increase the power of logocentrism, but they will be different language truths, multitude of language truths that will make a restored river deep and rich with life, and not a dead one, static and filled with various toxi-thought waste of the industry of consciousness…
I was reprimanded for not making any direct correlation between theory and practice. I have to notice that in the are of social activity of the individual this does not apply, and it is more obvious in the areas of political-social practice. The theory is the one that gives the frame and direction of thinking, as well as the equation that determines the parameters, that is, the borders of the action requested by the individual. If we ask some man according to the “instruction” (read: “equation” – which in this case gives the frame with thinking parameters) to distinguish even from odd numbers, to write all odd numbers to hundred and one, why does he continue counting further, hundred and three, hundred and five, etc?
It is the same with all discourses, they give the framework in which they look for a certain way of action and behavior on the side of the individual, as well as a given goal that should be achieved, but the individual always continues by inserting (seemingly new) value elements outside the given framework.
What must not be forgotten is that it is that framework that is responsible for starting a process of actions that would by all means go beyond the given framework. This bridging, by the individual who acts, of the inter-axiological abyss is part of the logical process of thinking that is the foundation of the notional process of thinking, part of the training where the person trained is no longer at the training field and he is expected, based on the training acquired, to handle in a newly occurred situation. We remain at the conclusion of a situation that indicates that what we always try to transfer like a theoretical framework of a certain individual cognitive experience, manages to get away from the cognitor, precisely with its specific of contingent and unrepeatable individual cognitive act.
I am not saying that there should be a control over the validity of the thoughts of the individuals and their way of thinking about the world, I am speaking about the need of locating and differentiating the intra-language linguistic-social constructions of reality that produce violence regardless of the form of theoretical discourses in which they appear.
Each language project is a project that is a subject to potential additions in the lexicology and movements of the meanings that are of asynchronous character, and which will cause additional unpredictable additional of the meanings. We can not determine the exact moment of occurrence of the language and the origin of the idea of its functional usage, nor the success of this idea.
Language as a code is abundant in language viruses that are subject to and transparent of the constant language mutation, that is, it always escapes the attempt to be tamed and it remains open and subject to new mutation at each additional shaping.
The one who has been trained, after he had expanded and added to the value frame of action, starts to train others, but he does not stop expanding its own frame while training.
There is an awareness needed about who creates the frame, if it s heritage from a higher instance that tells us realize me, or if it is a linguistic-social construction that is no more valuable than the other linguistic-social constructions and it is only my personal product. So, I am completely responsible and i have no other criterion that I can use to judge somebody’s life story or project except whether it involves violence in its realization or not. Everything that is used to reach for somebody’s integrity (corporal intellectual, emotional…) by violence and imposing in utterly inhumane.
“Man is free to be free” (Nelson Mandela), I would say; man is additionally free to become aware of his virtual position in the world of discourses that is also virtual. Most important of all is to understand the virtuality of the discourses of truth.
Everything is possible and everybody is right, but not because truth gives them legitimacy and it is on their side supporting tem to play messiahs or apostles of truth.
“Where there is violence there is no politics, that is, there is no political life, and ultimately, there is no man”.
The game “get the truth and own it” should be replaced with the game “understand the truth as a field for the game and reshape it”, or “accept the emptiness and fill it in with meaning consciously”…
Translated by Elizabeta Bakovska
1. Here we speak of relativizing discourses when they are thought through other perspectives, as in this case via some gender or postcolonial critique of religion or via some sub-cultural critique.
2. Let me explain, here I do not talk about believing in legitimacy and justification of the postulates and programs inside discourses that produce certain practices of living and behavior, as well as the political effects of violence. Nor that the discourses should a priori be considered legitimate and justified as long as the opposite is proven. I speak about the fact that there is no reference point or criterion of evaluation, except, as I will try to show in this text, in a “pragmatic: frame of considering the social habitus where the violence is the only criterion of whether something is plausible or not as a discourse of a certain social practice.
3. Immediately after football, of course.
4. When I say that we select a man, I do not assume a selection of an already ready product as if it has been given already and we select him among many options. This is rather in the sense of selecting one’s own self-description that can be new or an already existing paradigm, base don which we will build our identity. On its side, as a possible paradigm, it reflects upon others. See: Z.P. Sartre, Egzistencijalizam je humanizam (Sarajevo: V. Maslesa, 1964).
5. Instead of God here there can be anything that is an immanent or transcendent essence, for example, any creation principle such as nature, energy or something that is or ideal, abstract natures like Plato’s ideas, for example.
6. Why do I say that it (the truth)is more and more aware of its fall. It is not an individual, constant, independent entity, but I name it as such on purpose, just as its parents, the philosophers, gave it birth and grew it up. It will fall, and a new truth will replace it, a pluralism of truths that will not be relativism, but an awareness of its own social and epistemological constructs.
7. See: Richard Rorti, Kontingentnost, ironija i solidarnost (Skopje: Templum, 2001) str.22. where he speaks of truth only as a language entity, and not as something outside language, immanent to the world that itself has a language that it addresses us in.
8. According to Wittgenstein’s indication of familiar similarities they are not new, and therefore, they are “seemingly” new values.
9. Using the equation for training and action of the value frame in which the individual has been trained.
10. Language virus is a word, term in general that has already gone through a process of unpredictable addition in its meaning, and which is further a subject of the same endless process.
11. In the meaning of unused capacity of the complete human knowledge and horizons that it opens in a pragmatic frame of thinking.
12. Put in the context of Aristotle’s understanding of politics, as a non-violent way of surviving in community with the others, constantly in a dialogue and agreement without applying violent means and methods. Wherever there is violence there is no human behavior, there is only a pre-political state, wilderness. See: Branislav Sarkanjac, Makedonski Katahrezis (Skopje: 359º, 2001) str.137.