Posts Tagged ‘Zeno’

Philosophy Is Moody

October 7, 2014

Philosophy Is About Moods, Systems of Moods, Not Just Systems of Thoughts

Science creates extremely precise systems of thoughts. This is why it is obsessed with equations, which are, first of all, rigid structures.

Philosophy is the domain of guess work. That makes it crucial to all new fields of enquiry: they all have to start somewhere, most often with guesswork (although serendipity can play a role, as when Fleming discovered penicillin).

As it is rich with possibility, rather than been just tied to precise logic, new philosophy is more about vague emotion, per force, than the new science, or the new law, it will orient towards, and give rise to.

If philosophy cannot teach precise things, precise things comparable to Einstein’s gravitational equation, what does it teach?

Some have accused me of making the mistake of judging a philosophy by the philosopher who created it. However, I am not that naïve. Instead, I enlighten the former with the later.

Montaigne’s philosophy may sound plutocratic friendly to a sharp critic (much of his essays have to do with the lives of plutocrats, generally heaping praise on them for astounding prowess on the battlefield, or the fairness of their magnanimous rule). A look at Montaigne’s life confirms that here was a man of wealth and means, closest, and most obsequious, to the highest (such as his friend and accomplice Henri IV), and who knew how to advance himself that way. So Montaigne’s plutophile tendencies are confirmed by the considerable interest he had to wallop in the mud.

In striking contrast with the haughty objections of my critics, many hold that philosophies are ways of life, they are nothing without the examples of the lives of those who proposed them.

Some have tried to make philosophy scientific, thus throwing unwittingly, the stillborn baby with the bath.

Verily, science itself is often not that scientific, except in a very restricted sense. Much scientific progress is about finding that science one thought was well established, urbi et orbi, is actually false, in some circumstances.

On second inspection, Einstein’s equation is not that precise: as Einstein himself admitted, the right hand side of the equation, the mass-energy tensor, is junk. (Quantum Field Theory has confirmed this.)

But Einstein’s equation is at least very precise in a very restricted domain (say in Earth’s orbit).

Not so with philosophy.

Instead of building systems of thoughts with extremely pointed relevance, philosophies are more general: they build systems of mood. Perhaps, instead of just living inside neuronal networks, philosophy will be tied to more vague emotional structures: organs such as the amygdala, or glial networks.

Philosophers create moods. Philosophies are, to a great extent, moods.

What a better example than “Stoicism”? “Stoic”, initially a place, a portico, from which a philosopher taught, became an adjective, a noun, a concept. And certainly a mood.

Same for Mr. Sade, and Mr. Maso.

It ought to be obvious that nature did not wait for the guy from the portico, or Sade, or Maso, to invent stoicism, masochism, or sadism. All what the philosophers found was labels, distinctions, and the revelation of the moods to go with them. They did not replace 600 million years of evolution.

Creating a nefarious mood is how Heidegger helped to generate Nazism: in conjunction with the respect he was endowed with, as the young rector of his university, and his aura as master thinker, by writing an unreadable book, Heidegger sang the praises of Nazi philosophy.

Heidegger extolled the Führerprinzip, the exact core of Nazism. Thus Heidegger made many clear statements supporting Nazism before critical junctures. Such as a major referendum in Fall 1933.

Heidegger’s philosophy (love of Führerprinzip), and Heidegger himself, the philosopher, helped the establishment of Hitler’s dictatorship. Big time.

Similarly Aristotle celebrated what he celebrated as the “first and most divine“, and… “straightest” regime, kingship.

Unbelievably, some philosophers assert that these political positions of Aristotle have nothing to do, and did not help the man closest to Aristotle, and also the worst king ever, Antipater, the single handed destroyer of all Greek civilization.

Aristotle clearly asserted that democracy was the “least bad of the deviant regimes”. Yes, deviant. Aristotle said democracy was the “rule of the indigent”.

Certainly those clear, stridently anti-democratic statements of Aristotle generated a mood of admiration for kings such as Aristotle’s closest souls, or aristocracy in general, (“straight” regimes), while heaping contempt on “devious” democracy.

Aristotle created a mood, as the Nazi philosopher Rosenberg created a mood. Rosenberg was, rightfully, hanged at Nuremberg. Heidegger should have been punished, at the very least, with a long prison sentence.

While Aristotle’s closest associates established “aristocracy”, and plutocracy, all over, Zeno was born.

Zeno was born in an age when stoicism was as far as one could disagree with what came to be known as the “Hellenistic” regimes. The mood was definitively to let kings and aristocrats rule.

And to view We The People as “indigent” (to call the master aristocrat, Aristotle). Was Aristotle the Rosenberg of the Greek world? Just asking.

“Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. (It’s named after the portico from which he taught.) The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection”, would not suffer such emotions.” (Per Wikipedia.)

What is a “destructive emotion”? Is anger a destructive emotion? Is anger towards a lion destructive? Is that bad? Shall we go on our four and bleat peacefully instead? Notice the naivety: persons of moral and intellectual description do not suffer “destructive emotions”.

So if you want to destroy Xerxes’ fleet at Salamis, are you imperfect?

Clearly Stoicism was the perfect emotion, the perfect mood, for the Hellenistic dictatorships. In the entire Greek world, youngsters who aspire to wisdom were taught that they should not destroy… their masters, the heirs of the closest friends of Aristotle, the heirs of the court which Aristotle knew as a child.

Naturally most Hellenistic regimes allied themselves with Carthage against the Republic. The one and only directly democratic republic in existence at the time. Rome.

The Roman Republic wiped out Aristotle’s insufferable children of greed.

We The People won then. But, before soon, the leading classes of Rome, including Cicero, were worshipping at the altar of Aristotle’s mood: kingship is “first and most divine”. Hence the Princeps (“First”) and most divine Augustus, soon to smother civilization below his family.

Time to learn something.

Aristotle put us in a very bad mood. And Zeno’s sulking did not help.

Patrice Ayme’


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