Thursday, August 25, 2011

Temporary but Unrepentant Umbilical to Furthur Thought-Insanity, Part XXI

Orla-O(1): “You gave us a theory of the Enlightenment couched in terms of a problem of postmodernity : the problem of totalization. Not only is totalization not perceived as a problem by the Enlightenment, it is seen as a way out of the Enlightenment's problems: of custom, tradition, dogma, or what Hegel called ‘the immediately given.’”

Carlos-O(1): “ Yes, and the funny thing is, I repudiate the postmodern. I regard the postmodern as ‘counter-enlightenment.’ I want to get away from the postmodernapproach to philosophy. The idea is to go back to the Enlightenment’s approach. To tackle a postmodern problem (being generous here and saying these problems belong to an era which is accurately named postmodern.) To take or retrieve something from Enlightenment philosophies and apply it to a contemporary problem. I perceive something limiting and debilitating in postmodern thought, while on the other hand I sense a great Enlightenment clarity, effectiveness, thoroughness, precision, and refinement. I am embarrassed by the label postmodern. I reject it. I feel misunderstood when I am called postmodern.”

Orla-O(1): “If you repudiate the postmodern, I have to inform you that your theory is a baffling set of contradictory affirmations and denials. At the very least, you must acknowledge you’re guilty of an anachronism.

(Author-O(1)’s note: yes, guilty of an anachronism. Tsk, Tsk.)

" You are affirming the Enlightenment, but as your use of totalization is explicable only as that term is used in postmodernity, you also affirm postmodernity. If you take the postmodern problem of totalization seriously you affirm postmodernity. If you affirm postmodern thinking calling totalization a problem, properly speaking you need to deny Enlightenment thinking. If totalization is the problem you think it is, Enlightenment thinking isn’t worth the time of day. Reason cannot go mad according to the Enlightenment thinkers. Reason is freedom. Reason cannot deny freedom. There cannot be reasonable prisons, in the final analysis. There cannot be reasonably increasing enslavement of human beings. (As accidents or counter-trends of progress, there could be increasing enslavement or incarceration or other manifesting of unfreedom-- but what can’t happen is that these be traced to reason in itself. In other words, to reason in its essence.) If you affirm Enlightenment thinking in terms of postmodern thinking, (the problem of totalization is the result of postmodern thinking), your theory rephrases into, ‘Enlightenment is the overcoming of Enlightenment.’”


Blogger Christoffer said...

This is a sort of a guess, but I think that no enligtenment thinkers, touch upon the concept of Totalization. Maybe the word does not exist at the time. Can we find it anywhere in their works? (Descartes, Locke, Hume, Hobbes, Kant, Leibniz and so on) Maybe something to google for or look up in a library search machine. Totalization is a problem introduced into the culture in modernity, as a consequence of enlightenment. Hegel exemplifies this, I think .. I consider Hegel a modernist thinker.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not adamant about whether Hegel is an enlightenment thinker.

(However, I don't agree with you that modernity is a consequence of the enlightenment. I think the enlightenment AND Hegel-- are consequences of modernity. To put this in terms I don't like using, "the age of reason", "the age of enlightenment", "the age of idealogy", "the age of analysis" belong to the category of modernity.)

What I am adamant about is,

1) Totalization IS NOT a problem of modernity, whether of the age of reason, enlightenment, ideology, analysis, or however we want to segment or specify MODERNITY.

(I don't know the answer to your question of when Totalization was first used in modernity. I suspect, along with you, its first significant use is Hegel's.)

2) Totalization IS a problem of postmodernity.

3) This change of Totalization's status,meaning, or significance (only that it changes is what I am marking and drawing attention to) between modernity and postmodernity is impossible to ignore without destroying the encounter of postmodern and enlightenment thinking.

For example in the case of Orla calling Descartes a "rhizome".

(NB: Descartes probably isn't an enlightenment thinker, but I don't think we've been lazy or sloppy including him as one.)

"Rhizomatics" is a response of postmodern thinking to the postmodern problem of Totalization. Descartes did not face the postmodern problem of Totalization.(This is of course true even if Descartes never thought in terms of Totalization one way or the other.) To understand Descartes as a rhizome is to misunderstand and misconstrue BOTH Descartes AND the nature of our own philosophical problems.

Carlos' brief theory of enlightenment, which appeared harmed by an error of anachronism, to say the least, rather now appears to be an important philosophical discovery, if we can continue to invent his discovery.


6:31 PM  

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