Nietzsche versus Socrates
Nietzsche identified the DOUBLE ERROR in language, which meanwhile plays the FOUNDATIONAL ROLE in Socratic logic. For example, we can explore the TRUTH of the logical proposition ‘The Town is Growing’ or ‘The Boy is Growing’ and we say we can establish truth or falsehood in this case by MEASUREMENT, but in order to MEASURE the GROWTH of the TOWN or the Boy, we must know the LIMITS of WHERE THE TOWN STOPS and the COUNTRYSIDE BEGINS, or WHERE THE BOY STOPS and the ENVIRONMENT BEGINS.
Thus, to establish the GROWTH of a FIGURE, we must assume that FIGURE and GROUND are TWO. This is an abstract LOGICAL assumption which conflicts with our INTUITION that FIGURE and GROUND are ONE (e.g. mitakuye oyasin means ‘everything is related’) and that our visual perception of the TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM lets us select-and-NAME transient formings, whether hurricanings or humanings, that are continually outwelling (emerging) and inwelling (subducting), at which point we can use NAMING and GRAMMAR to RECAST these NAMING-instantiated THINGS-IN-THEMSELVES as having their own GRAMMAR-given powers of LOCAL SOURCING of actions and development.
When we say ‘the Town is GROWING’ or ‘the Boy is GROWING’ we make two errors;
FIRST ERROR: Using NAMING to impute THING-IN-ITSELF BEING to a dynamic form within the transforming landscape.
SECOND ERROR: Compounding the FIRST ERROR with GRAMMAR that imputes to the NAMING-instantiated notional LOCAL THING-IN-ITSELF, its own powers of LOCAL SOURCING of actions and developments.
REASON aka RATIONALITY is based on this DOUBLE ERROR as an EXPEDIENT for reducing NONLOCAL TRANSFORMATION to LOCALLY incipient actions and developments, … which is why Nietzsche asserts that our belief in REASON is a crazy-maker.
“Reason” in language!—oh what a deceptive old witch it has been! I fear we shall never be rid of God, so long as we still believe in grammar. – Nietzsche
To assert that ‘The Town is GROWING” introduces LOCALITY and EXPLICITNESS but it is at the expense of acknowledging NONLOCAL TRANSFORMATION which is NONLOCAL and IMPLICIT, however, it is the REALITY of our sensory experience of inclusion in the TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM aka the Wave-field aka the Tao.
The following excerpt from a paper contrasting the philosophy of Socrates and Nietzsche points to Socrates giving a foundational philosophical role to RATIO aka REASON and to Nietzsche’s rejection of giving a foundational philosophical role to RATIO aka REASON.
CHICAGO PUBLIC LAW AND LEGAL THEORY WORKING PAPER NO.438
NIETZSCHE AGAINST THE PHILOSOPHICAL CANON
Brian Leiter THE LAW SCHOOL THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO April 2013
Socrates is the patron saint of Western philosophy, the defining figure in the canon, primarily in virtue of representing commitment to three theses widely thought to be distinctive of philosophy. These three theses are, of course, not precisely claims Socrates himself endorsed, but they do capture, I believe, his legacy in Western philosophy. We may characterize these as follows:
1.Philosophy, as the “love of wisdom,” aims for knowledge of timeless and non-empirical truths, including truths about the good and the right.
2.Knowledge of the truth is the overriding value in philosophy and is also essential for living well.
3.Philosophical knowledge is acquired through the exercise of reason, understood as a faculty that can operate independently, in whole or in part, of a posteriori evidence.
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If Socrates is the patron saint of the philosophy canon, then Nietzsche, unsurprisingly, is the patron saint of the anti-Socratic—or what I will call the “anti-philosophy”–canon; that is, Nietzsche holds that:
1.The aim of philosophy is the legislation of values, not knowledge of the truth; indeed, there are no timeless, non-empirical truths, and no truths at all in the realm of value.
2.Knowing the truth sometimes has value, sometimes does not, but it is certainly not the overriding imperative of philosophy and its relentless pursuit is, in fact, incompatible with living well.
3.The faculty of reason is inadequate to secure knowledge and truth a priori; indeed, the deliverances of philosophical reason are both hostage to the a posteriori inputs supplied by the world and subservient ultimately to the non-rational, or affective, parts of the psyche.
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Modern physics clearly supports the conjecture of Nietzsche, that RATIO aka REASON is too limited to employ in a foundational role in understanding the world of our sensory experience of inclusion in TRANSFORMATION. In other words, to say ‘the TOWN is GROWING’ is useful for communications in that it employs a DOUBLE ERROR to conceptionally (notionally) BREAK INTO the transforming relational continuum by injecting the abstractions of LOCALITY and GROWTH. This DOUBLE ERROR, while effectively creating a SUBSTITUTE REALITY that is EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT, is NO LONGER REALITY although it can serve as a BOOTSTRAP TOOL or WITTGENSTEIN LADDER in that it can serve to INFER the NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT Wave-field reality (the reality of our sensory experience in the all-including, transforming relational continuum).
That is, when we say ‘the TOWN is GROWING’, what is going in the transforming relational continuum is “TOWNING” wherein TOWN and LANDSCAPE are ONE and what is REALLY going on is TRANSFORMATION of the LANDSCAPE. However, since TRANSFORMATION is where everything is in flux, so that we must pass over it IN SILENCE, it is expedient for talking-based sharing purposes, to portray FIGURE-and-GROUND-as TWO so that we can discuss what is going on with the TOWN AS IF IT WERE INDEPENDENT OF THE CONTINUALLY TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPE. Thus we could continue to describe the activities in the TOWN as the landscape in which the TOWN is situated began sliding down the mountainside on its way to dropping off a cliff into the ocean.
In other words, NAMING establishes a NOTIONAL LOCAL THING-IN-ITSELF EXISTENCE within an ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTE REFERENCE FRAME which psychologically constructs a substitute reality wherein the TOWN is GRAMMAR-endowed with power to do ITS OWN GROWING and PRODUCING.
NOTA BENE: There is, IN REALITY (i.e. in the transforming relational continuum), NO LOCAL THING-IN-ITSELF WITH ITS OWN LOCAL POWERS OF SOURCING ACTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS. The pseudo reality of the TOWN that is GROWING larger is a SUBSTITUTE REALITY, which SIDESTEPS the ineffability of the transforming relational continuum wherein everything is in flux which means that forms that WE USE THE DOUBLE ERROR to MAKE LOCAL AND EXPLICIT are APPEARANCES that are IMPLICIT and NONLOCAL. For example, there is TOWNING and HUMANING within the transforming relational continuum but there is no TOWN-THING-IN-ITSELF and no HUMAN-THING-IN-ITSELF in the transforming relational continuum.
We need to construct a SUBSTITUTE REALITY in order to speak in terms of TOWNS and HUMANS. This is where we employ the SOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY
3.Philosophical knowledge is acquired through the exercise of reason, understood as a faculty that can operate independently, in whole or in part, of a posteriori evidence. -Socratic view cited by Brian Leiter
And when we switch to this SOCRATIC LOGIC/REASON BASED understanding, …’Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!’
In other words, our psyche has just stepped out of the reality of our sensory experience which as NIETZSCHE informs us, comes to us from the “non-rational, or affective, parts of the psyche”.
3.The faculty of reason is inadequate to secure knowledge and truth a priori; indeed, the deliverances of philosophical reason are both hostage to the a posteriori inputs supplied by the world and subservient ultimately to the non-rational, or affective, parts of the psyche. Nietzschean view cited by Brian Leiter
We understand this INTUITIVELY because INTUITION can reach understanding that lies beyond the reach of the oversimplistic RATIO or REASON based psychological representations which we have DUMBED DOWN so as to render them capable of being captured in language.
“TOWNING” is an IMPLICIT feature within the TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM wherein FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-ONE.
“TOWN” is an EXPLICIT FIGURE in the sense of FIGURE-and-GROUND-as-TWO, that we say GROWS or DECLINES or spreads out this way or that way, and because we imply with NAMING and GRAMMAR that IT has the power of LOCALLY SOURCING its own actions and developments, we synthetically LIBERATE it from the transforming relational continuum (the TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPE) so that it CAN BE “SEEN” (in our mind’s eye aka psyche) to BE a NAMING-instantiated INDEPENDENT THING-IN-ITSELF with its own GRAMMAR-given powers of LOCALLY SOURCING actions and development. This use of NAMING and GRAMMAR thus supports the construction of a SUBSTITUTE REALITY wherein the TOWN (and HUMAN) is seen as having its own powers of GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT and PRODUCTION, as if it were an INHABITANT of an absolute and independent HABITAT wherein FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-TWO.
We WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS, as EMERSON has pointed out, are letting the TOOL of constructing this SUBSTITUTE REALITY, ‘run away with the workman’. That is, rather than remaining HUMANINGS in the TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM, we make ourselves out to be INDEPENDENTLY EXISTING THINGS-IN-OURSELVES with our own notional GRAMMAR-given powers of LOCALLY SOURCING actions and developments.
This is NOT REAL, but rather it is a SUBSTITUTE REALITY that allows us to INFER the INEFFABLE-because-IMPLICIT-because-NONLOCAL Wavefield reality aka the Tao.
We WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS, thanks to the mesmerizing appeal of the synthetic precision of SOCRATIC reduction of reality to a RATIO aka REASON basis, have let this reductive tool of SUBSTITUTE REALITY CONSTRUCTION, “run away with the workman, the (local) human with the (nonlocal) divine” – Emerson.
The dysfunctions as a result of employing this SUBSTITUTE REALITY “LITERALLY” include the political splitting into CONSERVATIVE and LIBERAL. These polarizing categories are both based on belief in LOCAL SOURCING. It should be noted that this SOURCING is INNATELY AMBIGUOUS, since in our SUBSTITUTE REALITY, we cut into the transforming relational continuum and speak of, for example, the HURRICANE that is sourcing a stirring up of the ATMOSPHERE, or is it that the ATMOSPHERE is sourcing a stirring up of the HURRICANE?
This ambiguity only arises when we introduce the SUBSTITUTE REALITY that is EFFABLE-because-LOCAL-and-EXPLICIT, so as to SIDESTEP the INEFFABLE-because-NONLOCAL-and-IMPLICIT REALITY of the Wave-field aka the Tao.
Because REASON has such a strong appeal in our WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENCE, we have fallen into the habit of letting “the tool run away with the workman, the (local) human with the (nonlocal) divine” – Emerson.
In other words, we have developed an ADDICTION to the LOCAL DETAIL and PRECISION that comes with speaking in terms of ‘THE TOWN THAT IS GROWING LARGER AND MORE POPULOUS AND PRODUCTIVE’. This is a SUBSTITUTE REALITY (it substitutes for the relational TOWNING in the transforming relational continuum wherein FIGURE-and-GROUND-are-ONE).
IN REALITY, THERE IS ONLY “TOWNING” WITHIN THE TRANSFORMING RELATIONAL CONTINUUM, WHEREIN FIGURE AND GROUND ARE ONE, AND WHERE, AS SCHROEDINGER ASSERTS, SUBJECT AND OBJECT ARE ONLY ONE.
The problem is NOT that we have developed language that ‘communicates’ by constructing a SUBSTITUTE REALITY wherein FIGURE-AND-GROUND-ARE-TWO, … which lets us ISOLATE the FIGURE and make it the center-piece of the new SUBSTITUTE REALITY such as “THE TOWN” which is thus no longer a NONLOCAL, IMPLICIT TOWNING-in-the TRANSFORMING LANDSCAPE, but is now a LOCAL, EXPLICIT thing-in-itself with its own GRAMMAR-GIVEN powers of LOCAL SOURCING of actions and development.
The problem is instead that we WESTERN CULTURE ADHERENTS have fallen into the habit of employing the SUBSTITUTE REALITY …. NOT JUST AS A TOOL OF INFERENCE, … but as THE OPERATIVE REALITY. Thus, when we speak of GROWTH we start IMAGINNG THAT GROWTH IS REAL, as in the GROWTH of the TOWN and substituting this PSEUDO-REALITY for the real reality of relational transforming in which there is TOWNING.
SOCRATIC BINARY LOGIC BASED REASON, as EMERSON and NIETZSCHE have pointed out, is holding our psyches captive, thus we orient to a GROWTH ECONOMY which BLINDS US to the real reality of TRANSFORMATION, so as we push for GROWTH of cultivation and industrialization of the land, we lose track of the REALITY that what is REALLY going on is TRANSFORMATION which IMPLICITLY includes the DECLINE of the Wilderness that is reciprocal to GROWTH of cultivation and industrialization.
In reality, there is neither GROWTH nor DECLINE (these are both RATIO-based abstractions), there is only TRANSFORMATION.
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