Knowing is Caring



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Fragment 179, word count: 621.

Tags: caring, knowledge, learning, sensibility, phenomenology, sensation, time, representation, evidence, Edmund Husserl.

Caring is more important than sensation in the perception of anything, and caring is personal. Knowledge is always dependent on and derived from someone’s caring. It is always an elaboration, specification, and development of caring. Knowing is a personal effect and consequence of caring. That means that perception, as a means of coming to know, is also an application of caring, a personal act of anchoring care in certain particular actualities presenting as phenomena. Caring and what it is that cares are not adequately presented by a description of the most immediate actualities to which this caring is anchored. You can’t get anywhere near understanding the richness of a moment of personal caring (the living moment of a sensibility/ intentionality*) by mapping the most evident actualities it is conscious of. Phenomena don’t count as anything without being identified within the context of a perceiving sensibility. Larger dramatic vectors of personal caring are necessarily involved. Not only is the gaze of consciousness a gaze into nature from a particularly embodied drama, it is also a creative act in the drama, a move forward motivated by personal drama, and meaningful because of the essentially dramatic integration of knowledge and personally intended interventions. A perceiving and learning gaze is a personal drama in the act of building and playing out, of extending itself by going on living in the world.

Since Edmund Husserl (1858-1938), a definitive move of philosophical Phenomenology is to remove any suggestion of deriving from perception any knowledge of a Kantian “thing in itself” as absolute reality, so, bracketing off the question: does this experienced appearance represent something that is completely independent of being perceived?. What is bracketed off is the question of the representation of phenomena, the question of whether or not they represent, depict, or disclose some existent object which is independent in its reality of being perceived or not being perceived, being cared about or not. In this context, phenomena are technical objects of consciousness definable with maps of sensations, positioned quanta of sensory stimuli with specific qualities. They are impersonal arrangements of appearances (sense data) that may suggest an internal integrity. “To the things!” declare Husserl’s phenomenologists.

However, instead of putting attention on what might or might not be on the ‘far side’ of phenomena as given in sensations, it is decisively more important to deal with what is on the ‘near side’ of phenomena, the source of caring that is reaching future-ward through its sensory display. No matter what uncertainty there might be about sensory appearances as true depictions of impersonal actualities that lie beyond, there can be no doubt that the shape of caring in phenomena truly represents a personal sensibility and intentionality*.

Fragment 123, February 8, 2018, Brentano’s Gift (word count: 999)

Fragment 165, July 5, 2020, The Genius of Ephemerality (word count: 595)

In spite of the fact that the technical definition of phenomena excludes the personal, there is a sense in which actual phenomena must always represent a person, by a kind of backward representation. A personal ideality is always the matrix of phenomena. Whatever definitions might be imposed on phenomena, they are primordially experiences, and experiences are always acts of an experiencing sensibility, a person living a particularly embodied life. The most important representation by phenomena is a person, what it is that cares and brings caring to this existence. Caring is personal, a complex personal vector of drama within a willful sensibility. It isn’t possible to reveal what it is that cares and constructs a life of dramatic movements of caring by using descriptions of phenomena that bracket off the desperate ephemerality of what is personal. Although what-it-is-that-cares is never a phenomenon, the existence of phenomena is necessarily the existence of a unique dramatic ideality that is expressing its caring in its engagement with these phenomena.

  • ‘Intentionality’ in the sense of a pre-conceiving of future interventions in actuality for specific purposes, a poise within the anticipatory ideation of agency.

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

The World that Matters



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Fragment 177, word count: 450.

Tags: sociability, human attachment, war, caring, perception, knowing, collective identity, herd mind.

Recognizing the presence of a separately embodied intelligence, another caring, sensitive, knowledge-building, and future-opening agent, is a different order of perception from recognizing sand or a piece of wood. There is a kind of perceiving going on in the recognition of another future-inventing agent that requires something other than an empirical explanation. Recognition of caring is crucial in this perceiving and another person’s caring is not an arrangement of sense-data, not a visual impression nor any other sensory impression. Sensory perception cannot assemble an objective image of whatever questing sensibility is expressing the arc of its personal drama in its acts, a drama formed of complex expectations, vectors of intention in action, and this moment of open possibility. Sensibilities as creative shapers of actuality require a conception such as ideality or intentionality that distinguishes them from strictly perceivable actuality. There is an absolute dependence on inherently personal, interior, sources of knowing in the recognition of another sensibility, since familiarity with sensibility as such is entirely self-acquaintance. This is more like a rationalist sort of knowing. * You know your own sensibility by self-creating and inhabiting your drama. We find in the presence of other caring agents a reflection and a variation of our own dramas of fear and delight, misery and ecstasy, and there is an irresistible sense of enlargement, of energy and exciting possibility, in this not being alone.

It isn’t long into a person’s life before the most important and interesting focus of awareness is an ambient collective of separately embodied intelligences: bodies expressing the spirituality, ideality, or intentionality that is caring sensitivity, searching curiosity, and ever-increasing knowledge in aid of the actualization of personally created intentions. Of course a person learns a sense of location within a structure of surfaces and objects, of food, shelter, and footings for power-projecting activities, but constellations of other people displaying caring intentionality always form the core and organizing pattern of the world that matters.

Hive Minds Make War

The reality that hive minds make war confronts us with the challenge of conceiving a way for people to express and enjoy the profound human talent for interpersonal attachment and social interconnectedness without constructing or participating in collective identities which prevent personal creativity from forming an identity grounded on spiritual autonomy and individual agency. We can be sure that the surrounding population of separately embodied idealities remains personally crucial even when an individual dismisses the misconceptions, prejudices, and superstitions which form the common currency of a human hive mind, herd mind, or collective identity. In the arc of human interconnectedness, the socio-cultural formation of herd identities, hive-mind identities, will become an artifact of the past.

 * Compare Avicenna’s “inner senses”, in particular: wahm. The sheep recognizes the wolf’s hostility. This is empathic recognition of an outside intelligence with conscious intent and emotional force in that intent. See p. 137 of:

Philosophy in the Islamic World: Volume 3 of: A History of Philosophy without any gaps, written by Peter Adamson, published by Oxford University Press (2016), ISBN 978-0-19-957749-1.

Embedded links:

Fragment 124, February 19, 2018, The World that Doesn’t Matter (word count: 750).

Fragment 112, August 2, 2017, Social Contract as Hive Mind (3) (word count: 390).

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

Nietzsche’s Drama



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Fragment 176, word count: 895.

Tags: embodiment, spirituality, nihilism, Christendom, Copernicus, Darwin, creativity, culture, individuality.

Christianity taught, and European Christendom accepted for centuries, that the human spiritual drama, our unique opportunity for ethical elevation by coming to know and align with the transcendent deity, is the purpose of all existence. Humans were thought to be the primary achievement of the all-creating God. Born as an exile into an initial state of disgrace within the lusts, pains, and thrills of a mortal body, each human is capable of recognizing its existence as more authentically one of transcendent spirituality and changing its way of life to express that spirituality. The worldly society of Christendom, controlled at all levels by the hierarchy and laws of the Roman Church in partnership with the secular military aristocracy, was accepted as the means by which individuals were guided to the spiritual life, a state of grace whose reward was blissful immortality. In the sixteenth century, within a broad advance of science, Nicolaus Copernicus discovered and revealed that the human home planet was not the centre of God’s cosmos, suggesting a more marginal status for human being. In the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin presented findings suggesting that humans are indistinguishable from animals, just naked apes, driven by instinctive drives and passions beyond individual control, with no qualitative specialness placing us in a uniquely elevated category. For much of the educated stratum of nineteenth century Europe, this apparent loss of human standing in the great scheme of things was a revelation of nihilism, a catastrophic loss of purpose and value. This was the context in which Nietzsche conceived his mission of thinking.

With God removed from the human situation, the Christian drama of existence faded out and with it the sense of meaning and purpose derived from that drama. Reflecting on human history soon reveals that no eventual outcome of biological evolution can give value and meaning to human existence, since it is unknowable, nor can the historical progress of human civilization do it since that reveals no verifiable arc toward a fulfillment. In the absence of these large structures as navigational guides the problem of meaning and purpose becomes entirely the individual’s problem and actually defines, on Nietzsche’s view, the monadic singularity of the human individual, the loneliest loneliness. As it happens, however, the fundamental nature or quality of individual spirit, the will to power, contains within itself a dramatic dynamic capable of achieving happiness, and so defeating nihilism.

For Nietzsche, the universal ethical and existential imperative for every individual is self-perfection, though that achievement is possible only for strong domineering spirits. Only the strongest spirits are capable of the happiness of self-perfection because only the strongest are capable of self-domination or self-overcoming by sublimating the instinctive animal impulses (Dionysian) into products of a dominant personal rationality (Apollonian), imposing a unifying form and style on all expressions of that sublimated energy. This Dionysian – Apollonian dialectic is the intrinsic dynamic of the will to power, the fundamental living force. Culture that is elevating to behold and appropriate is created from the sublimation of bestial impulses and instincts. Even though those impulses and instincts originate in and always declare the body, without them there is no energy to be sublimated into high art and culture. Strong and passionate impulses require an even stronger force of rationality to impose form and style on them. Artists and philosophers, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Socrates, are typically the people who discipline themselves to sublimate their great passions into creative activities. Nietzsche calls such spirits ubermensch, higher men, the only people of value in his estimation because in the ecstasy of their original creation they uniquely manifest authentic individuality. Specimens of higher men are rare and occur unpredictably in various times, societies, races, and ethnic groups, and it seems that for Nietzsche they are “The Elect”, forever predetermined for blessedness. The rest of us are a herd of doomed beasts of no interest or value, sometimes spiritualized to some extent by encountering the achievements of the higher ones.

There are striking similarities between Nietzsche’s conception of the drama and tragedy of existence and the previously dominant one from Christendom. Nietzsche was the son of a Lutheran clergyman and the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree. Separation of people into The Elect and the damned is one similarity. Both dramas involve a tension or dialectic between animal embodiment and some version of a transcendent spirituality which exerts itself against animality and offers a happier and more authentically meaningful life. In Nietzsche’s version, however, the impulses of the body are never left behind but always remain the source of life’s energy. In addition, Nietzsche’s spiritualizing, sublimating, force is militant rationality, giver of expressive form, stability, and style, replacing the poor Christian spirit of meek obedient submission, self-denial, mortification of the flesh, and altruism.

Such was Nietzsche’s revaluation of all values. It is philosophically unusual in recasting the Christian drama by eliminate a commanding and controlling deity while still finding a way to divide blessed from damned. That vision clearly doesn’t defeat nihilism for everyone, only for the precious few his message was apparently designed to reach. However, if we discount Nietzsche’s peculiar aristocratic exclusivity, we can appreciate his “Yes” to embodiment as inseparable from the ecstasy of personal creativity, his close attention to the interior experience of creativity and its independence from any conformist herd mind.

Sources and Inspirations

Walter Kaufmann’s book was the source for the sketch of Nietzsche’s philosophy included in this posting.

Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, written by Walter Kaufmann, published by Princeton University Press (1950), foreword by Alexander Nehamas (2013), ISBN 978-0-691-16026-9.

Zarathustra’s Secret, written by Joachim Kohler, translated from German by Ronald Taylor, Published by Yale University Press (English edition June 2002), ISBN-10: 0300092784, ISBN-13: 978-0300092783.

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

Superego and Self-Possession



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Fragment 175, word count: 604.

Tags: war, dystopia, creativity, gratification, reality, hive mind, 

Every instance of collectivism known to us is dystopian. All are institutional systems of human-on-human macro-parasitism: exploitative, unequal, misogynistic, devoted on principle to arbitrary hierarchies of gender, race, and class, poised for overwhelming violence, controlled by patriarchal factions which channel disproportionate benefits to themselves at the expense of the marginalized majority. This is not a product of divine will or natural law, but an historical aggregation of inventions, actions, communications, and imitations by individual humans in particular situations. The existence and effective activity of creative ideality at the level of the embodied individual completely invalidates any claim of an immutable natural order or a fixed hierarchy of being. Reality as experienced is completely structured by the interests, ideas, of particular humans, which means reality is mutable because ideas make up much of its structure.


Ambient society presents itself as the indispensable means for realizing every individual’s vestigial core being, the truth of who and what we really are. As young innocents we are guided by its assertions of what we must do to manifest and display our quality and potential. Since we need to function within the norms of our society to survive, we accept its sovereignty, its hierarchy of esteem and supervision, as a guide or roadmap of personal expectations and intentions. Civilization is a structure of increasingly prized and exclusive gratifications instituted as rewards and incentives through which people prove and reveal themselves. Internalizing norms means submitting to supervision within the chain of official power, doing a personal best with the incentives and rewards, conceiving an identity within exemplary career arcs in their cultural context encompassing nature, community, human fulfillment, and the supernatural, which, taken together, define a culturally stipulated collective orientation, effectively a human-style hive mind. Hive minds make war.


Given the profound dystopian characteristics of all known societies, it is not surprising that individuals experience a discordance between cultural role models (presented in schools and popular culture, for example) asserting praiseworthy behaviour, values, aspirations, and beliefs, on the one hand, and on the other, their own actual experience of gratifications, reality, and fulfilling self expression. This discordance reveals important aspects of existence as an individual and is inescapably political in the broadest sense. The individual, as a fountain of creativity and freedom, is inherently greater than the cultured conceptions of any hive mind, always bigger than placements on offer within competitive hierarchies or culturally identified functions (tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor). The felt discordance is a questioning of not only the narrow functioning of institutional sovereignty but also the wider systems of authority (economic, patriotic, religious, and social) which are the cultural foundations of sovereignty. The experienced discordance manifests an antagonism felt by individuals against any conception of them as owned, as property for use by some external entity.

The socio-cultural formations which are collective hive-mind identities have dominated much of human history but will eventually be an artifact of the past. Human hive minds, each unified culturally by false metaphysical assertions and shared narratives featuring emotionally triggering tricks, are always dystopian in conceiving value in exclusivity. Happily, you don’t have to wait for the ultimate fall of dystopia to be free of it. When you encounter creative personal interiority, ideality, as the fountain of value it is, you don’t need to construct an exterior ego-facade of trophy possessions. You don’t have to peg your value to markers or applause from the ambient cultural and economic system. Even within dystopia, it is already common for people to quietly experience their best gratification from creating and nurturing instead of from trophy gathering.

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

Freedom and Actuality



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Fragment 174, word count: 176.

Tags: consciousness, agency, freedom, drama, ideality, perception, personality

The presence of a quality of stimulation from somatic sensitivity, say vision, or even a combination of many different sensory qualities, does not as such qualify as consciousness. Consciousness can lack any and all sensory stimuli. Rather, consciousness is a questing vigilance, a searching, or a recognition in forwarding the care-drama or sensibility of an embodied agent in a life in the world. Forwarding a personal care-drama is the act of a person as ideality, a point and arc of agency projecting itself as a particular caring into the absolute incompleteness, the non-existence, that is the future. This point and arc of dramatically caring agency, personality, cannot be constructed from sensory qualities but instead is what recognizes sensory sensitivity as presenting things of interest, certain things that matter personally. Conceptualizing freedom requires this life of ideality which is inseparable from the absolute incompleteness of existence in the passing of time. Freedom is real because of the co-existence and co-involvement of creative ideality and the absolute incompleteness of the world of actuality.

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

Absolute Incompleteness



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Fragment 173, word count: 202.

Tags: spirituality, time, agency, care-drama, existence, eternal recurrence, effort, embodiment, consciousness, freedom.

Spirituality has nothing to do with inherent guilt or fear and love of a higher power or supreme Being which is removed from the desperate care-drama and agency of living an always incomplete existence. Spirituality has everything to do with awareness of the passage of time because the personal drama of caring depends on ephemerality to extend, shape, and renew itself, opening its ongoing by intentionally inventing acts based on expectations and suppositions learned and abstracted from a career of caring and effortful engagement with the world around. Any moment of consciousness is loaded with abstractions that frame and locate an immediate effort. We have to disconnect understanding time from cosmic loops and circles, the apparent paths of stars and planets that have been observed and identified from eras immemorial by people watching the sky. Theirs was a vision of completeness in eternal recurrence. Instead, time is the asymmetrical continuity of context that consciousness supposes in orienting its desperately creative plunge into freedom that is its enduring incompleteness and the incompleteness of the world. The intentional ongoing of individually embodied consciousness constitutes spiritual (subjective) reality, and spiritual reality connects irremovably to absolute reality. The personal exists as absolutely as the cosmic.

Embedded link:

Fragment 169, October 25, 2020, Wildcard Time-World Idealism (word count: 1,230)

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

Science and Empathy in Defining Dystopia



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Fragment 171, word count: 780.

There is a western consensus that the rapid launch of mathematical science in seventeenth and eighteenth century Europe drew the decisive line in human history, the crossing of which heralded a future with unlimited improvements in all human affairs. There was some speculation that after understanding the energies of nature humans would use them first to perform essential production work and then venture on to accomplish our fondest hopes. It was thought to be self-evident that ingenious mechanisms for channelling energies far greater than human and animal muscle power would free people from the physical burden of work and create such abundance that none would suffer privation. This, roughly, was the theory of science for a better world, material progress. It didn’t work out because understanding the energies of nature did nothing to change the cultural limits on how the wealthiest groups distributed empathy toward other breathing beings. The result is that now, in the early decades of the twenty-first century, the idea of progress, Better World Theory, is confused and seriously disputed. Developments in digital technology over the last half-century have given a new boost to STEM-based hopes for a better world, although weapons of mass destruction and climate change loom larger than ever and technology still doesn’t break down the cultural barriers to expanding empathy.

The reasons for intractable and extinction level problems in this age of mathematical science, which promotes itself as the means for solving all human problems, cannot be discovered by scientific research. Materialist science cannot settle the culture war between the core values of patriarchy from feudal Christendom along with other antique societies which similarly control strictly and sparsely licensed empathy, over against an emerging conception of culture and society based on a universality of empathy. Nostalgia for an imagined past along the lines of feudal Christendom is still widespread and a characteristic feature of fascism, a worse dystopia than what we have. From this perspective, what makes a society dystopian, a mortal danger to itself and others, is a poverty of empathy.

Populist Sense of Loss: Birthright and Patriarchy

The sense of loss that drives right-wing populism results from progress made in extending empathy, bringing with it some degree of dignity and equality, to previously denied people, and especially from the successes of feminism and its inexorable drift of values toward nurture and away from the masculine culture of dominance-derived pride. Right-wing populism is nostalgia for misogyny, racism, celebration of masculine strength, patriarchy, and terror of a supernatural masculine mind in the universe at large which decrees all those dystopian arrangements and certifies their eternal endurance.

There is also a populist rage against the elite status and honour of education and scholarship, of expertise, study, scribal skills and their culture, because they override the tradition of birthright. Birthright claims to be the decree of nature or the almighty creator, in which people are born to a certain social status as a man or as a person of the dominant race, a meaningful niche with a certain richness of rights, privileges, and dignities. In a world of education, there is no birthright. Everyone must accomplish what they can through effort and ingenuity. That has given women, racial minorities, and marginalized groups generally, a way to bypass birthright in dominant cultures.

The broadening of empathy is not an accomplishment of science or technology, and not likely to be helped by artificial intelligence. It is instead a product of the two culture engines identified as threats by the political right-wing: the culture of nurture and attachment cultivated mainly by women, and the scribal culture of broad literacy, inquiry, and scholarship. The posture of inquiry that is philosophy, for example, covering the whole of culture and experience, arises from a judgement, beginning from Socrates, that generally accepted cultural assertions are poorly supported by evidence and are often mere superstitions or misconceptions.

Early on in the twenty-first century, the political left-wing might be desperate in its struggle against advances by traditional patriarchy in a conservative, neoconservative, and neofascist onslaught, but in a long historical perspective the political right-wing is at least as desperate because people generally have become and continue to become more nurturing and to embrace nurturing ethics and values. Violence is less tolerated in many cultures than it was even one generation ago, although there are still forces striving mightily to legitimizing authoritarian patriarchy and top-down human-on-human macro-parasitism, brandishing and glorifying the tools of violence. The truth about individual human spirituality is that the potential for empathy is inherent and as near universal as we need for a better world.

Embedded links:

Fragment 165, July 5, 2020, The Genius of Ephemerality (word count: 595)

Fragment 99, November 2, 2016, What is Patriarchy? (word count: 3,700)

Copyright © 2020 Sandy MacDonald.

Consciousness is a Time-Wave



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Fragment 170, word count: 377.

Consciousness can’t be adequately described by even a complete catalogue of its objects. Objects have only a passing and tentative almost-presence unless they are made to matter by a rich personal context of ideality. Consciousness is formed of anticipatory intentions of agency and the reasons for agency within a personal life-drama. There is an emotionally committed questioning, a desperately caring gaze from an ever-learning knowledge-poise of orientation with its bearing onward, defining a point and arc of creative agency improvising the personal drama which is an individual embodied life.

We individually create a supposition of not-yet and been-and-gone defining a newness and incompleteness as the primordial context in which we exist as dramatic free agents, leaping future-ward in our drama, aware that everything in our envelopment of entropic actuality is falling away continuously. The supposed content of not-yet and been-and-gone is changing constantly. Knowledge and expectation are forms of supposition that constitute a drifting context-content slipping into proximity and then into an increasingly remote separation, a sense of things slipping by and falling away in the ephemerality of objects. Such is the context of personal agency as it leaps into anticipated openings of not-yet. That everything actual is slipping away is essential to the drama of individual human existence, to the willful creative leap open-ward which answers it as a moment-by-moment affirmation of a power of living to open reality and make it unexpectedly more than it was. Ideality moves to make actual a specific not-yet, to realize a new non-actuality, and that is the creativity for which freedom is possible.

The medium (non-actual past and future) in which time-waves exist is not independent of the knowing, curious, questioning, dramatically desperate agents who propagate ourselves in ceaseless ephemerality. Consciousness thinks itself as a time-wave, a formation of ephemerality through which freedom is possible in the genius of ideality as not-a-thing but a self-propelling continuity of creative expression across time. It is a fountain of future possibilities from which is enacted, having learned and conceived aspirations in been-and-gone, an original arc of developmental continuity that is the personal drama of life-creation.

Embedded links:

Fragment 124, February 19, 2018, The World that Doesn’t Matter (word count: 750)

Fragment 118, November 8, 2017, A Point of Dispute with Post-Modernist Theory (word count: 1,656)

Copyright © 2020 Sandy MacDonald.

The Edge of Existence


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Fragment 178, word count: 1,044.

tags: existence, metaphysics, time, creativity, freedom, caring, drama, agency, empathy, science, religion, politics, patriarchy, civilization, malaise.

The difference made by recognizing a bit of metaphysics, specifically a certain conception of ideality, is a much needed and long overdue disruption of two canonical but failing universal explanations: religious personification of nature and the materialist fatalism of science. Thinking of ideality as embodied (discontinuous and discretely located) points and arcs of creative intentionality* opens a way to recognize human-scale freedom and creativity as real without wildly speculative and implausible personifications. Human reality is a beach where a personal interiority of ever-reshaping dramas made of caring and ideas (expectations and hopes, questions, aspirations, and intentions) gush out in deliberate activity and wash actuality. Features of brute actuality can be shaped into culture by these actions. Culture in this sense is any product of intentional craft, any effective application of purposive ideality to the merely natural material of actuality: the carved wood, the ploughed field. Freedom is real in this tumbling co-existence of gushing creative ideality and the absolute incompleteness of existence (both ideality and actuality) as witnessed in the endless passage of time. Any serious conception of freedom requires enduring points of ideality actively living, forming actuality, at the incomplete edge of existence, continuously actualizing a stream of spontaneously invented intentions within a personally learned and learning context of expectations. Knowledge is always an elaboration, specification, and development of personally created dramas of caring.

Since the European codification of mathematical science in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, after nearly a millennium of theocratic Christendom, the most innovating civilizations have been stuck with a dysfunctional codependence of scientific materialism and immaterial angels and demons. Both religion and science have ongoing appeal, science from rapidly developing commercial applications, especially communication and data processing technology (innovations in entertainment with advertising), vaccines of course; and religion from a most primitive reflex to personify the world, which is to suppose that purposive intentionality creates everything. But the binocular culture which perceives with the materialist lens in one eye and the world-personifying lens in the other is spectacularly unsuccessful delivering peace and justice in its political and governance arrangements, and no wonder. Science and religion have in common a fundamental legitimation of patriarchal hierarchy as core social organization. To be clear, this is top-down human-on-human macro parasitism, various forms of the master/ slave relationship. Religious personification asserts that such organization is the eternal divine plan (divinity is the primordial master), and scientific fatalism that such a food chain is made inevitable by immutable forces of nature. These are both conceptions of existence as profoundly complete, without any possibility for the creation of real novelty. In that context governance is a matter of imposing on everyone an orientation up the hierarchy for a sense of direction derived from an overarching culturally stipulated drama.

Culture in this sense is the complex system of imitative, repetitive, and normative human activity that expresses and sustains a collective’s sense of unity and identity. This is the sense in which culture, in the context of patriarchal parasitism, imposes a hive-mind on its participants. This has produced and maintained dystopian political regimes poisoned by the history of war culture abetted by religions that demand irrational credulity and fervent expressions of reverence and supplication upward, situating deity at the apex of human hierarchy. Outsourcing the determination of reality to a God, impersonal Platonic Ideas, or even just nature denigrates human ideality by alienating the creative work of conceptualization actually required and accomplished by individuals orienting ourselves in the world. It represents human interiority as a passive recipient of a pre-completed world, including the social and political world, and has the effect of cementing individuals into a mass mythology of inadequacy and dependence. Science further denigrates personal interiority by reducing it to biologically pre-determined lusts and reactions to external stimuli, and religion denigrates it as an engine of error and misery, completely hopeless without the controlling intervention of some more perfect and powerful personification.

Individual ideality, however, is profoundly more active and creative than religion or science can recognize. The primordial act of self-creation by every ideality is the supposition of time. Ideality is the non-actuality which supposes. Every ordinary living consciousness is a self-creating time-wave, living in and through a constant flight through time. A time-wave is a dramatically-propelled progressive change of suppositions. One vector of this flight consists of things slipping by and falling away, and the other vector is a dramatic personal leap into a supposed future. Time is a personal dimension of ‘metaphysical’ non-actuality in which, oriented with knowledge, expectations, and questions abstracted from a supposed ephemeral past, an intelligence creates specific intentions to project itself with a degree of creative freedom into an ever-newly-opening not-yet or future. This being-in-time distinguishes ideality from the natural world within which we build lives. Time is the opening of freedom-from-nature at the edge of existence and as such the transcendence that spiritual interiority brings to the beach of reality. With an appropriate sense of this interiority the personal importance of competitions and appearances falls away. The reason for a culturally obligatory reliance on socially constructed outward representations of personal identity with trophies (possessions, status, career path, social network, costumes, titles, personal hero story) is that there is no comfort with any conception of personal interiority in the culturally dominant conceptual system.

The political difference made by recognizing persons universally as metaphysical engines of spontaneous creativity, exploiting a precarious position at the edge of existence by improvising a desperately caring drama of sensitivity and personal expression, is a flattening of the political landscape. There is no justification here for master/ slave social organization. There is no general disrespect or denigration of humanity/ personality inherent in this conception. The political imperative changes from imposing control via belligerent us-against-them hive minds to cultivating and encouraging autonomous creativity and person-to-person interconnections shaped by empathy.

The often lamented malaise of civilization is the result of extreme cultural denigration of humanity/ personality combined with a romantic overestimation of the explanatory power of mathematical science. These have killed off innovative thinking involving metaphysics, but only a certain metaphysical reconceptualization can amend the currently toxic cultural legacy.


* ‘Intentionality’ in the sense of pre-conceiving future interventions in actuality for specific purposes, a poise within the anticipatory ideation of agency.

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.

Dissent by Metaphysics


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Fragment 172, word count: 680.

tags: spirit, hive-mind, identity, sensibility, culture, self-possession, caring drama, dissent

It is not unusual for some individuals to recognize a personal discordance with mass identities, cemented into uniformity, as they are, by collectively sharing an orientation up toward a commanding height of metaphysics that denigrates human existence among ideas of disembodied demons, deities, and ever recurring cycles and circles of events and personal incarnations. It is widely recognized that shared stories and emotional triggers distributed on popular media, under the control of a few corporate owners responsible to certain investors and advertisers, contribute mightily to a shared sense of reality which is the human equivalent of hive-mind. In the individual’s quarrel with hive-mind dystopian regimes, the individual can’t do much about mechanisms of mass control except to shift focus onto the deepest level of politics: conceptions of creative power, freedom, and self-possession at the level of the individual.

Without recognizing the reality of actual creative agency, the enactment of spur-of-the-moment aspirations or intentions from conception at some moment through subsequent time, the idea of spirit is entirely unnecessary, but with such a recognition the idea is indispensable and profoundly important as a transcendence within reality. Creative agency is a drama of perfecting expectations and inventing intentions for effective self-declaration. To be experienced, reality must come within that caring drama of a personal life in the world. Expectations, purposes, intentions, or aspirations are states of ideality that occur only in clusters that have the dramatic structure of a personal “I”, a sensibility that is the living experience of some individually embodied personality. As well as coping with the falling away of all particular states of actuality with the passage of time (the ephemeral situation of bodies on planet Earth), the main drama for every spiritual being involves the value experienced from nurturing, caring for, and creating enduring relationships with others, sharing the drama of expectation and self-declaration, mutually reflecting the super-reality of living consciousness, collaborating as pilots of a searching, questioning, gaze.

Only the original drama of caring conceived by each individual confers a shape of relevance and importance on brute uncaring actuality, the envelopment of inertial and entropic nature. The specific caring of every person enchants the entirety of existence, makes it dramatic, makes it matter, certain parts more than others, crucially different for every individual. Every person has the same transcendent creativity in building a life’s drama within its enveloping world. However, there have typically been assertions that certain individual dramas must be disabled in order to enable others to play out more favourably. In that context the individual sensibility or orientation is the matrix of politics, the essential battlefield in the wars of hive minds.

To a considerable extent, our perceptions of things are culturallyimposed on our expectations. Given the fact that ideas (expectations, purposes, intentions, or aspirations) occur only in the living experience of some embodied personality, the history of ideality is the history of the interplay between cultural influences and personal inventiveness in forming ideas for the arc of orientation and bearing of lives, the mutating expectations that people suppose over generations about nature, culture, themselves, social interconnectedness, and sacred transcendence. The community master narrative over-represents the perspective of the most acquisitive and competitive stratum of the social order, glamourized to reinforce inequalities of wealth and power, often expressed in stories of apparently exceptional persons: kings, princes, aristocrats, military and police officers, the very beautiful or lucky.

Culture is not nature, and not divine intervention, but a human and political interpretation of experience, an expression of what mattered previously in the caring drama of certain people. Everyone’s personal state of orientation is culturally influenced, guided, and enriched, situated at some place in the historical and political evolution of a mutating culture. From recognizing that this culture is not the end but yet another in a string of badly flawed iterations, individuals can use the inherent creative power and freedom of spirit to recognize their self-possession and to own a measure of participation and control in conceiving the ongoing evolution of their society and culture.

Embedded links:

Fragment 167, August 28, 2020, Contesting the External Almighty (word count: 3,104)

Fragment 101, December 18, 2016, Metaphysics Matters (word count: 1,550.)

Copyright © 2021 Sandy MacDonald.