Research Home

Date: First of May, 2003 2:57am (again)
Subject: riding the rails.

Home again.  Home now is Amtrak.  This month I'm riding the rails, a post-modern hobo; have laptop, will travel.  I've been reading Glas this trip.  That Derrida is a nut.  We've gotten sidetracked in Fruedianism now, perhaps the single inexcusable tendancy in his philosophy.  But heck, he married a Psychoanalyst, so what would you expect? Still, there's a lot of really good material...


This figure of the ramp has a general bearing for the whole of speculative dialectics.  Whence the impossibility of stopping a concept's determining limit.

Staircase: one stair against another.

What is sought here is a starcase that is not Hegelian, a slightly silly way of saying another staircase of the spirit from which to understand, to climb up and down, to dismantle the Hegelian course [demárche].

No longer can one even say, "it (ça) begins or ends with love." "I begin with" or "I end with" equals: "the I begins where it (ça) has begun before the I believes" and "the I ends where it (ça) continues to begin again," already.

A remark to the proceeding paragraph [quoth Hegal]: "Love means in general terms the consciousness of my unity with another, so that I am not in selfish isolation but win my self-consciousness as the renunciation of {Aufgebung, the dispossession of} my being-for-self and through knowing myself as the unity of myself with another and of the other with me."

The movement described is thus the relief {la relève} of a dispossession, the Aufhebung of Aufgebung by which I find again in the other what I lose of myself.  But this repossession has already begun to make love passon beyond itself, and the family into the law, and so on. The remark immediately turns on itself {sondern, aber, but, but): "But love is feeling, i.e. ethical life in the form of the natural.  In the state, feeling no longer is [ethical life in the form of the natural]; there we are conscious of unity as law; there the content must be rational and known to us.  The first moment in love is that I do not wish to be for me an independant person and that, if I were, then I would be lacking and incomplete.  The second moment is that I attain myself in another person, that I count in the other for what the other in turn attains in me." (pg. 17-8; Derrida, Glas, 1974/1990)

And this is why I had to read Hegel just now in "school".  He's back.... the above is Derrida reading Hegel, for an audience.  In this case you and me.  The bold is me reading derrida reading hegel.   Now, let's read the bold via Gautamist philosophy.

In Being (to use the Hegelian term) there is no-self.  Feeling is one of the five aggregates; the others being consciousness, perception, matter, and mental formations.  The Abhidhamma recaculates the five aggregates as four conditions; consciousness [citta], mental factors, matter, Nibbana;  we don't really count Nibbana, because it is "unconditioned" or beyond the scope of this discussion. 


The things contained in the Abhidhamma, spoken of therein, are altogether fourfold from the standpoint of ultimate reality: consciousness, mental factors, matter, and Nibbana. (Abhidhammatha Sangaha, 1.2)

What is relevant here is the mental factor of feeling according to the Abhidhammists, and The aggregate of feeling according to Siddhartha himself.  Feeling stands beside sensory perception and mental consciousness, i.e. consciousness of the illusory "I."  Feeling is to be understood as, yes, tactile feeling, but more generally as well, in the sense of self-awareness; as such, feeling, too, is illusion. 

So now what is love in Buddhism?  hahaha.  sorry.  Don't know if I can rattle it off.  But it has something to do with compassion, and something to do with loving-kindness;  Both excersized from an internalized awareness of no-self [an-atta].  Incidentally, atta correlates to atman in the Sanskrit, and consequently to the highest realization of Hindu tantra, the paramattman, or highest-self.  We shouldn't forget that Guatama was the leader of an anti-brahmanical cult, turning on their head several key concepts of Hindu religion, while remaining within the discourse, internal to the system they were rebelling against, hence, within. 

"What we are seeking here is a staircase that is not Hegelian... to dismantle the Hegelian course."  Indeed.  Conviniently, We are also seeking a staircase that is not Deconstructionist, Abhidhammist, or Suttantist.  We are seeking a side which does not involve taking sides!  Ultimately, the truth is within each of us; these philosophies are toilet paper [china: a shit-stick], and nothing more.   And that within is a convention of understanding, a function of object-ive perception.  A function of separation, An atomization of the universe.

Its frustrating to me that we still have to discuss matter as if something is there, when popular knowlege holds that what we percieve is the repellant force of atomic energies, not atomic particles.  The bondary between things is an illusion.  The separation is the result of different aggregates of energies, not any intrinsic property of the so-called matter.  Yet, its too late to explain this to Gautama or Hegel or Derrida.  The texts have been written, and we are stuck with the staircases as designed. 

We are stuck with love.  Or is love the way out?  If we follow the Hegelian argument outlined above, The feeling self is craving the other.  The craving is based in the desire to become one with another; to be no longer an individual self.  And for this same reason, Gautama and the Brahmanic religions of india have all perscribed Brahmachariya, or chastity, to those seeking release.  But here, the difference is still an illusion;  In both cases, the ability of "the self to pass out of itself" is root.  The notion of separation, illusion.  And though the action described/perscribed are polar; they point to the same central theme of loss-of-self-in-other.

Its really not necessary to consider the direction of the pursuit.  Whether we going out or in we are acknowleging the possibility of movement for the only possible stillpoint in our universe.  Alongside the notion of anatta is the notion of impermanence [anicca].  Impermanence begs the question of clinging which arises out of craving which arises out of desire.  Which in turn begs the quesiton of praxis.  Whether we are seeking in love or renunciation, we are still acknowlegeing the possibility of change.  Change of state is critical to all discussions of the ethical.  Derrda(Hegel), the f(x), implies also that movement is possible "from something out of nothing,"  from self, out of other.  There is no flaw in any of these systems internally.  Only in their relative objective base of utility.

If one is seeking self-annihilation, it seems, beside "using the knife" (pali idiom), one has the choice between renunciation and carnal love, with purgatory everywhere in between.  This implies in turn a reality to the distinction.  Which ignores the fundimental concept that we are already no-self.  There is no movement in reality, only in Hegel's perverse anthropomorphizing of terminology.   There is no there there.  There is no here here.  These are mainly linguistic constructs, conventional means of speech [vohara].  But as there is no necessity to these differences, there is no difference regarding their starting point.  Perhaps the fatal flaw of Abhidhamma/Abhidharma philosophies is the assumption that one can start from a perspective of enlightenment and unfold outward.  In truth, the conventional knowege of the "I" is the fundimental basis.  And there is no elseware to be once that I goes away.  Whether we use the knife, fall in love, or attain Nibbana/Nirvana the result is the same; self-concept has not moved; self-knowlege has simply changed.  The only thing binding the I to the eye is the persistence of visual stimuli;  use the knife on the eye, and you eliminate the arising of eye-consciousness.   Likewise, in love, the dissolution of self is unavoidable, else it is not "true love."  But is this the same as renunciation?  Yes and no.

In renunciation, for the Brahmachari, it may be the case that it is not enough to seek escape from isolation in another person.  It may be the case that this means is not enough to end his feeling of isolation.  It may be that she sees a bigger "other" than could be encompassed by a singular individual.  Or it may be that other-self is truly as illusory as one's-self... Are two then alone, in isolation, together? 

"One wears the robes of a monk because of dullness and stupidity, one wears the robes of a monk because of sinful desire and moved by desire, one wears the robes of a monk because of madness and unbalanced mind, one wears the robes of a monk thinking: it is praised by the Buddha and his disciples; but there is one who wears the robes of a monk just because of absence of desires, because of contentment, because of eradication of sin, and because [the life is] needed, wears the robes of a monk." (95)  

Thus there are five kinds of monks in the world.  One, simply for absense of desire.  Without desire there is no craving, without craving there is no clinging, without clinging there is no rebirth, old age, suffering, or death.  Yet the body dies eventually in all cases.  Hence, here again, the so-called difference is an illusion.  The path of the knife, the path of renunciation, and the path of true love; all three end in Death.

Where could this go, if not in a circle.  But will that circle describe new territory or walk in the cow-paths of history?

So this is what my head is doing, at 4:46AM (central time/GMT -6), somewhere in eastern North Dakota or Minnesota.  I am riding the Empire Builder, which follows the Lewis and Clark route, circa 1805.  Lewis and Clark were discovering the Northwest Passage while Hegel was sending the Phenomenology of the Spirit to press.  Meanwhile, almost exactly 200 years later, I am sitting on a train watching the tracks all merge.  I do not see the relevance in emphasizing the difference in all these systems.  Derrida employs freudian phallocentrism to Hegelian readings of the New and old testiments.  I apply a different set of tools to the same.  Where is the truth? 

The truth is in the question.

And what is the question?

No, seriously, what is the question?  I don't know anymore.  For me, it is "How do I talk about it?"  Not so much 'what is the it to talk about?'.  Nevertheless, I have to face the fact that there are exceptionally few people who have now read this far.  For very few people have the time, patience, or desire to do so.  So now what is the question?  It wraps itself around the audience.

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