Tuesday, 22 April 2008

In the Beginning Was the Word

I was engaged in Socratic dialogue with an intellectual vagabond, of which human type was mentioned recently, and of which type of intellectual exchange was dealt with some times ago here in mind-expanding glory. The following brief exchange occurred with the mentally active vagrant, the pithier remarks being mine.

"A word must mean something."
"To say God is to imply the existence of something referred to by the word."
"So either God exists or don't use the fucking word."
"What about a unicorn which, as far as we know, merely exists as a creature of the imagination, without real external substance?"
"Well the unicorn is a simple case. We know what we are referring to by the word. To talk about the non-existence of something is to talk about the non-existence of that which is referred to by the word denoting this thing. One of course cannot argue against the existence of the word itself.
So what does the word 'God' mean? One natural meaning is the First Cause, the instigating force of life. Since noone will deny that life exists, if we consent to view life and the universe as existing within the temporal framework and its intrinsic concern with beginnings, then naturally we cannot do without the First Cause. So it can be fairly said that within this causal scheme of things there is no such thing as an atheist, or one that denies the First Cause. But immersed in the artificial world of the isolated ego, the atheist position, in touching imitation of Hollywood's intellectual grandeur, decides on God in the form of an explosion: a big bang, rendered in capitals to reflect the bigness of the bang. The separating ego doesn't like to feel challenged by existence. What more fitting for a dumbed down sense of life than this Big Bang God. Absolute truth in the form of absolute idiocy. Though idiocy is being a bit unfair, introducing an order of intelligence wholly absent to the nature of a big bang, which is devoid of all intelligence."

At this point I offered him some loose tobacco and a Rizla which he gratefully accepted. Some minutes of pleasant smoking later he continued.
"What produces the big bang? We'll accept its existence as a working hypothesis. Nothing existed prior to existence, or rather nothing didn't exist, there being no anything prior to existence. So Nothing produces a Big Bang. What could be even more desirable than a God in the form of an explosion; answer nothing. We require a God, cannot do without transcendence, and so nothing is deified as Nothing. Thus nihilism, and we should realise that nihilism is not the absence of belief. It is an active belief in Nothingness, and belief requires an intellectual entity believed in by the believer. It is the active positive belief in an absolute negative, which is an intellectual impossibility. Intellectual stupidity pushed to its rational, irrational nonsensical conclusion. Thought that to be true must be meaningful used to produce a theory that denies all meaning. Also we clearly exist within a somethingness, which puts this belief in nothingness in an awkward position. If nothing and nothing but nothing existed, then the idea of nihilism would be eminently rational, fitting the facts admirably, but in the blatant presence of this somethingness within which we dwell and of which we comprise, it becomes more than a little inadequate."

At this point, I produced for this loquacious down and out a copy of an earlier piece of mine that I thought he might find interesting.

To say anything is to involve oneself necessarily in an acceptance that the language one is using is real and imbued with meaning; that the words one is using- if used correctly, ie meaningfully- are meaningful. This is the necessary ground from which one can say anything. So to ask the very question- how can I trust in the reality of the 'real'- is to begin with the foundation that language is real and that one is engaging in a meaningful and real act. To accept the reality of anything- in this case, language- is necessarily to accept the reality of reality. Reality cannot exist within unreality.

The position of Doubt is contrarily a nihilistic intellectual proposition in the true sense, within the framework of which one cannot grant oneself the liberty of believing language to be real and intrinsically meaningful. And so, within this framework of doubt the question of doubt cannot be asked, as to ask the question requires an acceptance of the very reality or meaningfulness of language which doubt, if true to itself, must doubt. And so, since the question of doubt cannot be formed, then doubt cannot exist, as doubt requires a mind utilising language so as to doubt.
Doubt is an intellectual activity, and all intellectual activity involves a faith in the language one is using, be it mathematical, linguistic or otherwise. This is the necessary ground.
All in all, the sceptical position is self-contradictory, and should be destroyed as a sensible proposition immediately at source.

To sum up: To ask the question of Doubt is to accept the reality of the language used in the asking, which is to refute the question.

He readily agreed that the identical situation prevailed regarding language and the intellectual theory of nihilism. All nihilists are merely dilettantes, dipping their toes into this imagined world of absolute meaninglessness, he said. Though of course, if they were consistent about their meaninglessness, then the idea of nihilism couldn't be formulated in the first place. The very existence of nihilism as an idea contradicts the idea of nihilism.


Anonymous said...

Hi Im from Melbourne.

Yes the moment you enter the "world" "created" by words you are trapped in a never-ending infinite maze of dualities.The klik-klak machine of yes/no/maybe.

Please check out this reference which is from a book titled The Transmission of Doubt---doubt(of the inherent Radiance of Being) being the primary mood of our "culture". And even of ALL "hopeful" exoteric religionists.


And the cure?



Real intelligence is silent, tacit, wordless.

Andrew said...

I'd agree real intelligence is silent, there is where reality and the mind is to be experienced. The end of subjectivity. Though while within the world of words confusion tends to reign, it should be still clear that even there the intrinsic intelligence & meaningfulness of that world is the ground. Language being intrinsically an intelligent world must be able to trace the errors of the dualists, false idealists to their error conceived source.