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Fragment 150, word count: 428.

Philosophy as an interior act and process of self-directed reorientation is possible because of a personally interior fountain of spirituality: questions, intents, evaluations, abstractions and ideas which give structure and movement to experience. Ideas are always and only features of an individual person’s orientation and temporal bearing in the world, but everyone’s ideas are influenced and often imposed by an ambient culture. Every individual is colonized by the culture into which he or she is born. Agents of cultural communities strive to particularize, distinguish, and glorify their collective by stipulating key communal ideas to form a human sort of hive mind. The posture of philosophical questioning arises from recognizing that lived reality is mutable because ideas make up much of the structure of that reality, and that generally accepted cultural stipulations are often just superstitions and toxic misconceptions. Philosophy as an interior act and process is a personal assertion of spiritual individuality by moving beyond cultural stipulations. This builds from features of experience that would be just as they are without a person having learned to be part of a nation, a religious community, an ethnic group, a linguistic community, a socio-economic class, race, or gender; encountering the way personality lives beyond and beneath any cultural qualifiers and categories such as linguistic ethnicity, skin colour, body size and shape, age, giftedness, education, social status, or nationality. Here in Socratic innocence is a spiritual fountain positing non-actualities in the shape of time, anticipating the ever decreasing remoteness of multiple possibilities, variously probable occurrences presenting opportunities for acts of agency to improvise an embodied life in the world. In positing time as it does, personality creates teleology, freedom, and itself as active and effective ideality. Freedom is the power to posit. Rocks and rivers don’t posit anything, but only fall.

Certainly there is the brute actuality of rocks and rivers, but there are also active occurrences of supra-actuality, separate embodied points and arcs of intervention  imposing locally invented novelty onto the shape of the fall lines of actuality. Any politics conceived for a strong nurture of freedom must recognize this spontaneous creativity, novelty, and indeterminacy within brute actuality, a conception of transcendence at the level of the embodied individual. Philosophy as the interior act and process of a particular supra-actuality calls up the perspective of sentient being simply as such, of teleological being, living personality in the most general sense. In removing itself spiritually from culturally structured collectives, in finding the way to be most alone, this interior act must embrace the most universal empathy.

Copyright © 2019 Sandy MacDonald.