abstractivism

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, truth, values, culture, nihilism, moderns, and abstractivism

The "fragility of the truth" in the first place reflects the vicissitudes of the VALUE which truth inevitably has to be, a premier victim of a value-sterilized dysculture, i.e. of a licentious universe where every kind of vile and insidious way to abort what is true, right, just, good, rational, etc. has become all-too possible.  The suppression and dysmorphia of the truth are an accomplished science in banauseia, which intrinsically "respects" nothing (certainly not "truth," the most manipulable of all illusions within this subphilosophical species).  The "death of God," over two centuries ago by now, was merely the early-phase onset of a much more profound, much more structurally corrosive species of nihilism:  moderns were naively glad to be liberated from such a megalo-fuddy-duddy as the ever-prying Jehovah, and it never occurred to them to wonder just what sort of marvelous new cultural solvent had such remarkable acidic power to dissolve thousands of years of accreted religious barnacles.  What ELSE could it cleanse away or annihilate?  And really, what was it itself, the nameless new world-force of banausic "disillusionment" or Cartesian-skeptical "clarity"?  Destroying all alternative mythoi and perspectivisms and norms, what did this <abstractivism> itself have for its latent character and its covert teleological drives and its totalitarian cultural-ideological destiny?  How would it succeed in transfiguring the very modes in which we live and communicate, corrupting everything with an unspoken, unfelt, unseen, scent-free shell of dysrelatedness, a Midas-touch of an interval of distantiation or pathos of unfelt apathy toward all that is natural, human, social, historical, actual, etc.?

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, war, abstractivism, conscience, scientism, consciousness, modernity, and nihilism

Just as totalitarian epochs have aptly been described as nightmare-interludes in which a society's continuity of "normalizing" self-consciousness lapses into a black pit of nescience and denial (a collective urge of wanting NOT TO KNOW--see Arendt's ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM), so too with war itself, which is inevitably some species of demoniacal terrorism:  even the "victors" in a modern war are victims, dehumanized utensils for imperialist policy; and those who inflict hideous suffering on others are traumatized to the end of their lives by the horrific things they discovered they were capable of doing.  John Huston's lines from CHINATOWN--"Most people never have to face the fact that, at the right time and in the right place, they are capable of anything"--is meant as an obliquely self-incriminating insight into the covert nihilism of modern hyper-power and macro-wealth; but in truth, in essence, it is just the knife's edge of Goethe's superb aristic and contramodern verdict:  "Everything that sets our minds free without giving us mastery over ourselves is pernicious."  The quintessential dementia of modern "consciousness" is just its sheer self-abstraction from conscience, from community, from values, from religion, from culture, from purpose, and from its own reason. We have been trained to "know" banausically, to know without caring, without judging or evaluating or grasping the larger significance of anything. That is what is called "science" and "fact" and "information."

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, myth, abstractivism, scientism, literalism, and culture

Myth is not what we most readily-most facilely, and typically abstractly-take it to be: "exotic stories" from cultures unlike ours. Myth is a mode of culture itself, which precipitated those stories and gave them their power and form over the mode of mentality or personality to which it is a historical-psychological correlate. Myth is a way of being, a mode or dimension of subjectivity, an organic system of concretely grasped value-principles concentrating the meaning of human life into a pre-philosophical metaphor, a nuclear parable or potent allegory: we recognize it in primitive or premodern peoples, we see it-briefly-in the sparkling imagination and spiritual life of children, before our distinctive modern culture crushes their morale and introduces them to the prison of compulsively literalizing ways of seeing things, the prevailing prosaic, banal, fact-ridden existence to which literalized and abstractivized mentalities can of course see no alternative. Moderns know myth, as they know anything, only as what they have dissected it into, what they have "scienced" or intellectualized.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, gnosis, rationalism, abstractivism, logicism, phenomenology, and aristeia

Gnosis is cultured and critical evidentialism, it is "phenomenology" i.e. Aristotelian concern and respect for the actual and self-governing shape of the phenomena; it is a self-critical recognition that mind should not be arrogantly and unilaterally dictating its own preferred and self-flattering "laws" (logicism, rationalism, a-priorism, theologism, ideologism) to actuality. It is the true aristeia or wisdom or moderation (in Greek the same word, sophrosyne) over against the intellectual hyperactivism of Platonic abstractivism and its high-handed philosophical mandarinism: it is all too easy for facile or self-uncritical "mind" to spin out a self-coherent "noetocosm" that routinely and methodically purges all the polemics and trauma from its controlled noosphere. But this projected and constructed order is not something truly known or understood as true or actual, it is merely something logicistically obligatory to take for granted and to think in terms of.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy and abstractivism

Left-brained phasis or noesis is capable of being "critical" of the naive sympathies and subjectivisms of right-brained gnosis (immersed in its own undifferentiated immediacy), but of course it is NOT capable of being critical of its OWN peculiarly alienated (detached or dissociated or abstracted) ways of positing and relating to its intellectual constructs. We have a pre-self-alienated mode of immediacy that feels and (mis)takes this feeling for thinking, seeing and reasoning; and we have a self-alienated mode (psychological self-disengagement, "abstraction" or formalizing / bourgeois dissociation) that reduces its own feeling-components to something neutralized and manipulable, and this more sophisticated / noetic / abstractive mode mistakes its self-distancing or emotively chilled attitude for "truth" and "objectivity" when in actuality it is only a sort of psychic anesthetic.  Abstractivism is in actuality a form of LOCAL anesthetic that only works on its own feeling or intuitive consciousness, like those disinfectants or "deodorants" that do not counteract odors per se but rather cripple or benumb your sensory receptivity to them.  Thus, instead of actually understanding and mastering one's feeling-life, abstractivism is a normalized or conventionalized modus vivendi that merely withdraws from its own more primitive strata of being.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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