Perhaps it's the empiricist in me, but I try to distinguish between reality and hyperreality. There are innumerable ways that we can perceive the world, some more and some less informative, and while in practice these are the only conceptual contact we can have with reality (at least insofar as the rational mind goes), ultimately reality is unitary - we all inhabit the same world, we just perceive it differently.

Eisenstein is a fascinating and profound thinker, and a great deal of what he writes resonates with me. The main point of departure for me is in a sense aesthetic. His vision ultimately seems to resemble a world of peaceful, bucolic villages where everyone lives in harmony with their gardens and sings songs while holding hands around the fire at night. This is very appealing at one level, but it doesn't seem to leave much room for adventure and excitement. The energy is very feminine, very Mother Earth - there's little of the Sky Father in it. Where do energetic and ambitious young men fit into this vision?

Now, Eisenstein himself is a remarkably nuanced and careful thinker, so he'd probably have a very good answer to that. The audience he attracts, however (judging by the tenor of his comments section) is very much dominated by irredentist 70s hippy feminist women, to whom the central vision he articulates is particularly appealing. I suspect this audience colors his presentation via the usual parasocial feedback loop between readers and authors, which in turn leads to certain neglected topics in his vision.

What does that vision look like, in other words, when we include violence, crime, and war as eternal and quite possibly essential elements of the human experience?

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We might even witness a sort of reality split, where one part of humanity will go one way, while the other will attract a different future.

I think this is the most likely scenario. Covid split Western society in two. The division between those who accepted the narrative and those who rejected it will only be amplified in the coming years. I don’t think we’ll see a violent civil war (that requires too much effort), but unless some kind of massive disaster occurs, I think we will eventually end up with two distinct cultures.

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This is a fantastic piece.

To my mind, where people go wrong is believing in *moral* relativism. I think in the overwhelming majority of cases, moral rules of thumb are correct, and those are ~intuitive. It's when language is introduced into the equation that things get tricky; that's when you get people doing thought experiments like the Trolley Problem.

But relativism has a place--non-moral systems with which humans can model and understand the world. There's nothing inherently wrong with relativism in epistemology--different systems are appropriate for different tasks; for example, various spiritual/religious frameworks are appropriate ways to understand man's place in the universe, whereas materialism is probably more appropriate for engineering problems, and there's no conflict.

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I hold out hope that Collingwood was wrong on this point. Maybe he deals with these objections, but 1) if we can't help but think them, no new APs should be possible. Obviously they are possible, because they happen, so we CAN help but think them - at least SOME can. 2) To say they have no truth value seems to have different implications than to say we cannot KNOW their truth value. The former implies that ultimate reality is less rational than our physical reality. I'm with Whitehead here: ultimate reality should be MORE rational, i.e. the pinnacle of the qualities we see on our level. It also seems to imply that there is no "deep" reality with features that could in principle be known. (If there were such a deep reality, it would by definition be "true".) As for the latter, that we simply cannot know, perhaps that is the case, but I find it overly pessimistic. It implies there is a level past which we can never transcend.

But still, great essay! And I agree that regardless of the truth value ;) of Collingwood's take, his project of metaphysics as the study of the the history of APs is helpful, regardless.

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There is a handful of truths that are so fundamental to our existence that to deny them would amount to denying everything we know or think. I am referring to the laws of sense/meaning: non-contradiction, excluded middle, identity. Apart from these, in particular regarding issues that require complex interpretation and in all empirical sciences, there evidently are deeply entrenched organising/simplifying beliefs that fit what Collingwood called ‘absolute presuppositions’. This does not imply relativism, since the absolute presuppositions were never known to be true, but merely believed to be true (falsely, since such believing to be true violates the law of non-contradiction). When absolute presuppositions collapse, there is a fallback position, consisting in the capacity to think and the rules it must follow to create meaning, build a ‘new’ world, on new presuppositions.

Applying the fundamental laws we can indeed know that existence is intrinsically relational, because relations are what it means to co-exist and interact, but this is trivially true. The interesting take on relationality is that our individual existence is conditional on some special relations, which we must actively maintain, or perish.

Relations are not equal in this ‘ontological’ sense. Most relations that are contingent, nothing of existential significance will happen if we reject them. These are the kind of relating ‘to something’: kicking a ball, seeing a tree, appreciating art etc. The special kind of relations are ‘to and from’, symmetrically, reflexively. These are arguably necessary for consciousness: seeking your kind of consciousness in another and thus recognising them as a being of the same kind. So the shift in humanity, in human consciousness, can be caused only by our changing choices and attitudes about reflexive relations, and what kind of beings do we think/choose to belong to. Certain aspects of our former kind will then atrophy, no longer supported by the former kind of relations, while others might (or might not) emerge.

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> One thing seems certain to me, however: whatever we think about Collingwood's idea, tracking and studying the development of deeply held presuppositions avoids many of the problems associated with the philosophical cage fights we are all familiar with and can produce great insights.

Except that even studying the history of metaphysics requires one to rely on metaphysical presuppositions.

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Jan 19Liked by L.P. Koch

I feel the idea that the universe is generous isn't new, but maybe it's just me.

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Jan 17Liked by L.P. Koch

Some paragraphs on the topic of metaphyics.

In this dark time when the gross realist seculariztion of the global human collective is at its zenith of global, social, economic, and cultural power, and a dark collapse of the human world is becoming more and more acutely evident, it should be useful for humankind to understand that it has, for many centuries, collectively repressed the primitive but also natural ecstatic urges and potentials of humankind, including the magical urges of the human psycho-physical body-mind-complex.

Both "official" institutional religion and secular scientific materialism are magic-paranoid, and, altogether, anti-ecstatic traditions, rooted in fear of the natural magical-power potential of human beings, both individually and collectively. Both have, for many centuries (especially in the Western world), been actively instructing of propagandistically coercing humankind to disbelieve and without the exercise of true discriminatory intelligence, to dissociate from all modes of association with magical, and metaphysical, and even Spiritual, and, in general, ecstasy-producing ideas and activities.

The process of negative indoctrination to which humankind, and, especially the Western world, has long been subjected by both its secular and religious "authorities" has, actually, been a magic-paranoid, political, social, economic, and cultural effort to enforce a gross realist or thoroughly materialist, and, altogether, anti-ecstatic, anti-magical, anti-metaphysical, and anti-Spiritual model of life upon all individuals and collectives..

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Jan 17Liked by L.P. Koch

But what social phenomenon now controls and is now changing the entire world?

Social media of course - twits and Screenagers now rule the world!

See Douglas Rushkoff's book Screenagers

A phenomenon in which a teeny-weeny minute fraction of the countless millions (even billions) who are involved in and are essentially controlled by it would never ever have even heard of the word metaphysics.

The fake illusory social "identity" of countless millions of such Screenagers centers on their I-phone. They go into existential panic via the phenomenon of Nomophobia (no mobile phone) and FOMO (fear-of-missing out). They spend many hours each and every day transfixed by their Precious

Nicholas Carr via his book The Shallows and his Roughtype website describes the situation

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Love this offering of the "new stories"! Yes, yes.

As it happens, when we see a (particular) species of bird in our garden, or on our way here and there — my wife and I — she scientist, me engineer / philosopher — regularly perceive is presence as a sign / reminder of God's grace towards us, regarding our prosperity; such delight is upheld in our worldview, by a myriad elements of a shared lifetime of enchanted experience (interspersed by trouble, suffering and responsibility, last anyone imagine we have a bed of roses — which are thorny, anyhow!).

Whom would: have your materialistic, mechanical world; it holds no enchantment for me.

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