Carlo Suarès : Critique of Reason Impure : The solemn deception of words without content
(Extract from Critique of Reason Impure by Carlo Suarhs. 1955 Stock Edition)
Having gone around its limits, the human mind is forced to stop, not because it is paralyzed, but so as not to disengage. If time does not exist, nothing "happens", there are no "events": everything "is". But if I recognize that, for my mind, time exists, it will be more reasonable - and more profitable a thousand times - to find that, for me, only the "event" exists, that nothing "is". So, abandoning the vain questions, the "why" and the "how" regarding the timeless (a word that does not make sense for my reason), because all these questions will inevitably be temporal, therefore absurd , therefore absurd my answers, I will satisfy my reason where it is. Perhaps I will thus have a possibility of knowing what it is made of and why it can exist only on "principles" of which it itself notes the absurdity. And above all, I will not pay for words. Miserable, anxious, conditioned individual; unable to see the collective world in which I am immersed, because it is too complex; unable to represent the universe to which I belong because I learned that all representation is daydreaming; what do I have left, if not think the thinkable, know the knowable, explain the explainable? And if this resolution is that of common sense, I will have to turn my back on Revelations, religions, theologies, philosophies, everything that man has accumulated during his history, in order to translate, (from betray) the unthinkable.
He convinced himself that "the beginning is the word" and that the word is the creator of the thing. Our mind has a faculty of abstraction. To abstract is to extract by thought an element of a relation and to grant it an existence independent of this relation. This existence, therefore, becomes what is called an "idea". This widespread idea is what philosophers call a "concept". Concepts, therefore, exist: one cannot deny their existence as concepts. But is this fact proof that the concept relates to something that exists? Plato asserts it in his own way, Descartes affirms it too. Philosophies so numerous, so venerable, so impressive by their learned jargons are installed on affirmations of this order, that the public, in spite of the observations that the common sense of each one is able to make, is somehow hypnotized . However, while contemporary philosophy has long abandoned these dead ends, official teaching persists in a scholastic point of view, which consists in establishing an agreement between "revelation" (religious, called intuitive) and a reason based on the practice of syllogisms. In order to create for this purpose a center of cerebral animation, these teachers, going from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas, to Descartes, to Epicurus, to Plotinus, to Kant, to Schopenhauer, arouse criticisms and controversies whose the effect is to circumscribe thought in a common field of disaffected religion.
This scandal is in all respects similar to that of the Icole des Beaux-Arts, when over several decades she persisted in teaching academic art and ignoring the artistic renaissance marked, at these beginnings, by the Impressionists , later by the cubists. The aggravating circumstance, borne by official philosophy, is that misconceptions are more dangerous than bad painting. They spread under the cover of words whose generalized meaning vaguely indicates a certain fashionable conformism. This is the word "Cartesian". The Frenchman readily calls himself "Cartesian". For the Frenchman, to be "Cartesian" is to use only reason; it is to hold for truth only that which is evident and clear; it's even having a method for thinking right. In support of this myth, the official manuals, while noting (necessarily) that Descartes' thought is no longer valid, proclaim that his "way of thinking" remains. However, from Newton, Descartes fell. A century has therefore not passed without the details of Cartesian doctrine having perished. But if these details fell, his spirit survived. We have said it many times: Descartes was the father of modern philosophy. He understood better than anyone the need to free him from research, from all authorities and to rely only on the evidence of reason, calculation and experience [ 1 ].
Nothing is more contrived than this presentation. For if "in the search" Descartes sought to free himself, he, on his "departure" expressly affirmed not to free himself, not to want to free himself. As for this "father" of modern philosophy, isn't that a lot ... adds Mr. Cresson of having known how to write as a precursor "the world is only a mechanical problem"? Thus, in 1950, when for half a century, science was forced to reject as being a simple "idea" without real basis, the mechanistic notion of the world, the official professors do not know. He obviously still sticks to the notions of extension in itself and movement in itself.
M. Cresson, more Cartesian than Descartes, confuses point of arrival and point of departure: He (Descartes) has released this incontestable truth: the first of our certainties is that which we have of the existence of our own mind [ 2 ] . In a previous passage: Shouldn't we repeat with Montaigne: "What do I know?" And doubt everything? wonders this author. And he adds: It is at this dramatic moment in his doctrine that Descartes discovers a first certain and absolute truth. This truth is the unforgettable "Cogito ergo sum", "I think therefore I am" [ 3 ] . And further [ 4 ] "I think therefore I am"; this proposition is sheltered from all the fallacies of the skeptics. It provides an unshakable basis for Cartesian dogmatism.
An apparently conclusive but, in fact, illusory argument is called fallacy. Let us note, first of all, that this author accepts, from the skeptics, the tendentious definition of Descartes: "the skeptics who doubt only to doubt and affect to be always unresolved" [ 5 ]. In truth, the skeptic is, quite simply, the one who doubts. Now, Mr. Cresson's assertion that the "cogito" is a "first" truth is contrary to what Descartes himself says, even though it has become, as a result of no one knows what a retreat, not the "arrival" that it was, but a "departure" ... When I said that this proposition: "I think, therefore I am", is the first and the most certain that presents itself to the one who conducts his thoughts by order I did not deny for that that I had to know before what it is that thought, certainty, existence, and that to think it is necessary to be, and other similar things; but because these are concepts so simple that by themselves they do not make us aware of anything that exists, I have not judged that there should be no enumeration here [ 6 ].
Nothing is clearer than this text: Descartes declares that, for everyone, "thought", "certainty", "existence", the notion that "to think you have to be", and a thousand other ideas, if Numerous that cannot be counted, are known so immediately and so clearly by consciousness, that it is not even useful to speak of them. Now, it turns out that being, thought, certainty, existence, are, on the contrary, the object of all philosophies, of all religions and that these words (these ideas, these concepts) are interpreted through them in every possible way, into discordant systems. If these words had a real and obvious meaning, they would coordinate with each other, they would not remain "abstractions", that is to say elements of a system that pretends to ignore itself, although there are . Descartes is only looking for a keystone, an idea that will situate him, Descartes, in his relationship with his faith, which will put him face to face with himself, in an act of reflection, or rather pseudo-reflection: "I think therefore I am" is, suddenly, the discovery, the discovery of the sophism thanks to which Descartes will justify Descartes. If there had been only the honest observation of the phenomenon which consists in thinking, Descartes would not have failed to say quite simply: there is thought, thought thinks "I". Because he would have seen that at the end of the pre-reflexive state (where the I does not ask myself , does not notice itself, does not demonstrate its own existence, does not return to itself ) the problem that presents itself (with these two terms "I" and "think") only exists in the field of thought. It is included in the field of thought. It is thought. "I" is thought, as soon as I think it. But no: Descartes is, according to him a "thing", an "I", and this "I" thinks. This "I" which poses to itself only by an act of thought, which is perceptible to itself only as thought, this "I", Descartes imagines it existing in itself and starting to "think". Now, the most curious thing about this false discovery is that it was entirely included in a prefabrication, which Descartes reveals to us, without suspecting that he is not revealing it to himself: "I have not denied that it was not necessary to know before that to think it is necessary to b e. This "it is necessary to be" is one of those vague and indeterminate formulas which abound in Descartes, "it is necessary to be", does not tell us "who" is, "what" is, or how to be is. We see how this pseudo-reflection, this false thought, starting from itself, comes back on itself, imagining that it has discovered something: to think it is necessary to be; I think so I am. Back and forth movement: since I am, I think; since I think, I am.
And nothing is easier for us than knowing "who" is this "I" who plays this comedy of thought, since he takes the trouble to describe himself minutely in this autobiographical narrative that is Discourse . Having devised a method, and wishing to take the time to examine it and implement it, Descartes applied himself to composing a character and placing him in a situation as comfortable as possible, in view of this work. to execute: as it is not enough, before starting to rebuild the home where one lives, that to knock it down and make provision for materials and architecture, or to practice oneself in architecture, and besides that of having carefully drawn the design; but that it is also necessary to have provided for some other, where one can be accommodated comfortably during the time that one will work there; thus, so that I would not remain unresolved in my actions, while reason would compel me to be so in my judgments, and that I would not give up living from then on as happily as I could, I formed myself a moral by provision which consisted only of three or four maxims, which I would like to share with you.
It is only to reread these maxims to see the character: The first was to obey the laws and customs of my country, constantly retaining the religion in which God gave me the grace to be instructed from my childhood, and governing me, in everything else, according to the most moderate opinions, etc; my second was to be the firmest and the most resolute in my actions that I could, etc ... (Everyone knows that in 1633, when the old Galileo risked the stake, Descartes avoided publishing his Treatise on the World , because this publication would certainly have prevented him from being "accommodated comfortably"; the firmness of his resolution had found its limits). To these first two maxims Descartes adds a number of comments and reflections of practical philosophy on the art of living in peace, and concludes: After having thus assured myself of these maxims, and having set them apart, with the truths of faith, which have always been the first in my debt, I judged that, for all the rest of my opinions, I could freely undertake to dispose of it.
Now, on examining "all the rest" of these opinions, which Descartes is willing to get rid of, we see that there is no question in his mind, as we have wanted to teach for three centuries , of "clean slate" but to build a good house in Louis XIII style. Descartes' thought, brought back within the limits that it has - quite honestly - assigned itself, discovers nothing, by the very fact that it does not conceive of its own going beyond. We have seen by what movement back and forth it returns on itself and pretends to discover what in fact it contained. This process is total, since having proclaimed her I think therefore I am, here she is [ 7 ] in the need to prove the existence of God to get out of the "cogito ergo sum".
I will close my eyes, he said, I will plug my ears, I will divert my senses, I will even erase from my thoughts all the images ... etc., I am a thing that thinks ... he continues. Here are his observations: "Descartes" notes that "he" is a "thing"; Descartes notes that this "thing" thinks. This fiction, J.-P. Sartre deals with it, not about Descartes, but by analyzing "the flight from anxiety" [ 8 ]. "What I am trying to flee" (in front of the anguish) says Sartre, "it is my very transcendenc ..." Now, we have seen Descartes flee from his transcendence, by establishing the limits of his doubt. "He" (the "thing") has built a house in which "he" (as "thing") has only one desire: to live as happily as possible. Then, the "thing" closes the eyes, and "believes" in this fiction that his ego becomes the origin of his acts as others of his own, as a person already constituted ... This freedom which would worry me if t were freedom " in face "of the Ego, I try to transfer it within ... of my Ego. It is a question of seeing the Ego as a little God who would live in me and who would possess my freedom as a metaphysical virtue. It would no longer be my being that would be free as being, but my ego that would be free within my consciousness [ 9 ]. Of course, this "little God" is the "immortal soul" in which the "thing" called Descartes believes, and this "thing" which only exists through its conditioning of the Louis XIII period, flees its transcendence by postponing the her desire to feel free, in a Method where thought is "on the spot" while giving itself the illusion of movement. It would no doubt be appropriate to examine here whether Sartre is right in thinking that consciousness is always consciousness and to what extent it is only played tricks in bad faith. But we were at the fallacies and the need to get out of the "cogito ergo sum" by proving the existence of God, that is to say by returning to the starting point of this tautology. (Remember that a tautology is a useless repetition of the same idea in different terms and that, if this idea did not recognize itself during its journey, it is because it necessarily relied on false reasoning).
To this end, it seems useful to leave Descartes where it was, in its time, and to approach it through these teachers who have given themselves their mission and to distort it, by granting it the transcendence that he had refused, and to popularize the teaching of philosophy in tendentious textbooks [ 10 ]. Having taken from Descartes his style and the touching flavor of his human experience, Mr. Cresson did not hesitate to leave in his presentation (evidence of the existence of God, according to Descartes) only words without content. We have, in principle , wrote M. Cresson, only two really sure ways of knowing: 1. intuition; 2. the deduction. Let us note in passing, the curious use, by a professor of philosophy, of the words "in principle", in the way that one would say colloquially: "in principle, the trick which I am going to show you should succeed, but one never knows" ... Indeed: intuition, continues this author, is the mental operation by which thanks to a simple direct "inspection of the mind", we perceive with indestructible certainty certain truths. Example: if it applies to the analysis of the notion of the triangle, our mind immediately sees that the triangle has three angles, that it has three sides, that it is a closed figure, etc. These immediate truths are simple notions. There are in all the studies we do. They provide us with our starting points "the absolute of the question" [ 11 ]. And further: But here is the decisive proof (of the existence of God). It is known as an ontological argument. Formulated long ago by Saint-Anselme and discussed at length, it takes on a mathematical aspect in Descartes. Once the notion of triangle is posed, we know by a simple analysis that the triangle necessarily has three angles and three sides. Likewise (sic) the notion of God. Let's define God absolute perfection. We immediately see the need for its existence. Indeed absolute perfection is the sum of all conceivable perfections (sic). Now existence is perfection. Therefore absolute perfection would not be absolute if it did not exist. Existence therefore absolute perfection would not be absolute if it did not exist. Existence therefore belongs to him as necessarily as to the triangle its three angles and its three sides. So there is the existence of a perfect God demonstrated three times ... We will resume the first two proofs later. It is, to begin with, the process which consists in "posing the notion of triangle and likewise posing" the notion of God. There is confusion in the meaning of the word intuition, which is different when it addresses the senses (to vision, to image) or on the contrary claims to attribute to a transcendence that I do not know of the qualities that I believe to be able to imagine.
It is not true that the "triangle" intuition is an immediate and simple notion. I wish it could have become one, but it is not difficult for me to remember the time when, as a child, I learned to call a triangle, not only cutouts in the form of equilateral triangles, but "also." The other images, which hardly resembled them, whose three sides and angles were very different from each other. And the notions: straight lines, angles, intersections, etc all had to pass through my eyes, by my hand which traced them, by my memory which retained them. The triangle "intuition" simply a condensed image, an idea which has no abstract except its capacity to adapt to all possible images of triangles. This is how I "pose" the notion of the triangle. But it is impossible for me to pose the notion of God "in the same way". Impossible, because it does not address my memory, my senses, or anything that I can perceive. The definition of the triangle results from the observation of the existence of triangles; while by a reverse operation Descartes-Cresson would like the recognition of the existence of God to result from its definition. It can only result if the definition has content. The definition "God is absolute perfection" has no content. The only contents that we can grant to the word "perfection" are those which relate to the use of this word in a given order of property (the Parthenon is a "perfection"; the cathedral of Chartres is "a perfection"; this pink is "a perfection"; the frost patterns on this window are "a perfection", etc.).
These perfections are in the comparative sense. They are all "conceivable"; so that when M. Cresson tells us that "absolute perfection is the sum of all conceivable perfections", we do not understand, we do not know by what turn of his thought he imagines himself saying something. Does he add the Parthenon, Chartres, this rose, this frost and the indefinite series of all that he conceives as being relatively perfect? No doubt not. Perhaps he imagines making the sum of more abstract perfections, perfections in the state of concepts, such as Justice Charity, Virtue, etc It is by this, in the passage from the concrete to the abstract , that the device is playing. Because, to consider for example the idea of ??Justice, it is not necessary to be a scholar to realize that it only exists in relationships: relationships of res judicata to the one who exercises judgment and to the one over whom judgment is exercised; this relation is an action, and this action has an effect: if it were without effect it would not exist. In addition, Justice is a choice between at least two judgments: one that is considered good and one that is considered bad. And this choice is exercised by comparison with values ??of judgment. And what would these values ??be worth if they did not derive their existence from the existence of different elements of comparison? Abstract justice without subject, object or effect is inconceivable.
But as soon as we conceive it, it is in space and time that we give it its existence. And, as we have seen above, space and time are always relative to a system of references. Let us add that to say that absolute perfection is the sum of conceivable perfections is to eliminate from its field all imperfections. This so-called absolute perfection would therefore exist side by side with the world of innumerable imperfections and would therefore exist only in comparison with it. Thus, insofar as I introduce into the notion of absolute that of perfection as opposed to imperfection (since I put it aside by the very choice that I made of the word perfection) I have deleted the absolute. Nobody, no spirit can conceive this assembly of words "absolute perfection". And here is the last proof: If we "define" absolute perfection God, and if we could conceive absolute perfection, we would affirm by that that we conceive God, which is absurd. We must therefore admit that this "definition" is inconceivable, which rejects in the absurd everything that we deduce from it.
Let us return now to the first proof of the existence of God according to Descartes, in the words of M. Cresson: I have the idea of ??perfection and I am imperfect. This is the starting point for the first of the Cartesian proofs [ 12 ] . Let us start from this double fact and reason. An imperfect worker cannot do a perfect work . Being imperfect, I was therefore unable to fabricate the idea of ??absolute perfection myself. For the same reason no imperfect being could give me this idea. If I have it, it must be because it was put into me by a being capable of creating it, that is to say, by a perfect being. This perfect being must therefore exist; otherwise I would certainly not have the idea that I actually have it.
Prestige of words and comparisons! The worker "manufactures" and, similarly, by "manufacturing" the words " absolute perfection " I have "fabricated" the idea, that is to say that I, imperfect and therefore ignoring perfection, I see myself in the process of "manufacturing" a perfection that I recognize perfection although I do not know it, being imperfect. "Recognize" what she does not know is the return on herself of this false thought which - as we have just seen - does not "recognize" in the words "absolute perfection" this very God that she does not know .
Perhaps it is man's misfortune to be able to pronounce so many words: I infinite, Perfection, Timeless, Absolute, God, Eternity , by which he is bewitched in the hope of escaping from himself, in a transcendence which he does not find by this means. This means is that of false thought, of false abstraction. The only valid abstractions are instruments of the intellect which are constantly verified by experience. "Triangle" is true, "God" no. The results of mathematical calculations are considered accurate by physical science when observation verifies them. And mathematicians use it judiciously without making the vain effort to make it thinkable: all the calculations contain unthinkable and absurd signs like 8 (infinity) or negative roots. These signs, whatever their apparent unreality, are necessary for calculation and its engagement in reality. This is the correct method. This is the one that it is high time that philosophers adopt. It is legitimate, in discourse, to introduce the unthinkable only when it is necessary for the development of the thought of the thinkable. The unthinkable, after all, and when we have gone through the philosophies, is none other than my ignorance, since it is all that I ignore and can only ignore. I therefore want to call him God, but his existence, the existence of my unthinkable ignorance, I no longer have to demonstrate: I see it.
In seeking to observe the current crisis, we have seen that this observation has not yet been established in a fairly obvious and general manner for two main reasons: the complexity of this crisis, and the fact that minds are engaged in its subject to false simplifications by means of words which do not have the content which they claim to have. While the problems of men as a species are those of existence: food, shelter, clothing, the search for their solution is abandoned in the pursuit of nonexistences such as: competence, security, freedom. The events which follow each other daily are thus only the unhappy, indeterminate and uncontrollable result of the actions of individuals or groups, whose power is proportional to nothing, and whose psychological motives do not hesitate to make them turn. back to the goals they proclaim. We are launched into disasters in order to avoid them. Insecurity is fabricated by the word security which has been substituted for its primitive and concrete meaning: food, housing, clothing. Food, housing, clothing have moved far beyond the reach of the vast majority of men, because the concrete, real, everyday content of these words has been replaced by the psychological, unreal and illusory future content, of words such as security, nationalism, capitalism, communism, God, materialism, etc We were then brought to analyze the content of some of these words and we looked for it by way of example, in one of the philosophies the more famous, that of Descartes. Our analysis revealed to us that, in this case, certain words without content are the expression of a false thought. We have seen, still studying Descartes, that false thought has, as a basis, an individual fabricated "below" the doubt that he projects on himself, "below" the reflection that he has consented to. exercise on the constituent elements of his thought. He says to himself "thing" (I am a "thing" that thinks). The analysis of bad faith that this state entails no longer to do after Sartre; we have only pointed it out in passing. However, let us add this: according to Sartre [ 13 ], we cannot be anything without playing at being ... If I am a waiter, it can only be in the mode of not being. And this is true, if I could "be" a waiter, I would suddenly constitute myself as a contingent block of identity. This is not true: this contingent being and in itself always eludes me .
Now, we have seen, during his philosophical comedy, Descartes play not to be Descartes ( ... I will now close my eyes, I will plug my ears, I will turn all my senses, I will even try my thought all images , etc.) This is the reverse process to that described by Sartre.
Sartre cannot "be" a waiter, because this block, this "thing", which would be a waiter like the inkwell is an inkwell and the table table, he knows that he escapes him. He escapes him both in his past and in his future. In his past, because at any moment he has the ability to pose his anguish, that is to say his freedom, in front of and as outside of this self-object, and that, consequently, he does not do not know, at this instant, "who" will act, react, think, if it is this me-object as it would be if Sartre "was" a waiter, or some unforeseen, some new possible suddenly arising. And now that doubt about the past has opened the door to the indeterminate to come. On the other hand, what does Descartes do? In the maxims he gives himself, he constitutes this block, this "thing", with precision, with care, with great deliberation of purpose ( so ... that I will not give up living as happily as I could ... ). Descartes, for starters, manufactures Descartes. "It is" Descartes in the way Sartre cannot "be a waiter" (or something else). It is that, it is this thing. And this thing is made in such a way as to live as comfortably as possible, following one of these bad faith comparisons which take the place of reasoning: does it not propose to develop a method in the manner of architecture, and shouldn't the architect be well installed to draw? So here he is installed and installed in his chair. He closes his eyes, plugs his ears, in other words pretends to empty him. The void of what? He had taken the trouble to tell us: after having assured myself of these maxims, and having set them apart, with the truths of faith ... etc ... I judged that for all the rest of my opinions, I could freely undertake to get rid of it . Empty well relative, as we see.
This "all the rest" is obviously all that will not make this "Descartes" object run the risk of experiencing anxiety in finding itself conscious outside of this self. In other words, this entity, having deliberately chosen the elements best made to constitute itself comfortably, is persuaded that these elements which it - knows well - no longer exist within it except in an inanalysable way: they are suddenly a thing, a single thing, a thing that claims to have an immediate, direct, indestructible, absolute view of itself. The look thrown at herself by this combination, she calls it "intuition". It is, as we have seen, one of the two ways of knowing "really safe", which we have "in principle", according to some teachers! To know what? They don't say it. This "immediate view" is in the truest sense of the word an illusion, since it makes the appearance of an indecomposable block, of a unique element, take on a reality which is very complex and consciously fabricated. This pseudo "thing that thinks" was therefore first thought and assembled. She only thought afterwards. And this second thought can only be a reflection of the thought that has constituted "thing". This is important and explains why, turning in circles on itself, it discovers nothing, never transcends itself, in fact does not think. This reflection of a thought is not thought, is not source, because it can only use the elements that it has or rather that have it: these elements are those that, barricaded against doubt, en bloc, were welded to each other inside these barricades, of which they took the form, like a metal in a mold of sculptors. In truth, man has become his own statue, in the image he has of himself. This image, let us not forget, does not want to be an image and pretends not to be one; her self-contemplation rejects into nothing everything by which she perceives herself and retains of herself only all that she needs to feel perceiving herself, without seeing herself.
The image is undone, "nullified" as an image, claims to reduce to zero the distance which separates it from the consciousness of "being"; reduced it to zero thanks to the magic operation of invisibility; settles in consciousness, haunts her, vampires her and reduces to this nothingness to which she claims for herself, the faculty of seeing things as they are.
Now it is not difficult to see that false philosophical thought is the daily and constant weapon of our statesmen, our party leaders, our staffs. If men met in order to solve the problem of their material needs, they would adopt the best possible solution for this purpose, taking into account their technical means. These means being virtually unlimited, the problem, in fact, no longer exists. But, from the moment it ceased to exist it became insoluble to the point that we are forced into the conscious destruction of the human species by itself. And if it is constant that our pseudo-leaders profess to bring to the solution of a problem that does not exist, discordant solutions made of words without content, it is that the crisis is in thought.
Everyone utters "absolute truths", "eternal values", relating to the individual or to the community, to the person or to humanity in general. And this claim to the universal, it is not difficult for us to see, is advanced by conditioned men but whose conditioning is in their view clothed in their eyes with the magic hood of invisibility, or is clothed in it at means of justifications. In this chaos of ten civilizations which collide today, each one claims to give in legacy to "the" Civilization. There is, in the minds, first belief, faith, representation of the universe and of man, spiritualist or materialist, metaphysical or historical, and then thought. As if it could be objective, as if it were never anything but a scholastic, made to reconcile a faith and a reason. There is a non-coincidence between individuals prefabricated by their particular civilizations (the way Descartes is manufactured before manufacturing his method) and the notion which has only the value of a myth, of a human Civilization . And there is non-perception of this non-coincidence. Wanted non-perception, but would not be correct to attribute to bad faith alone.
The difficulty is in the fact that this global Civilization is the only alternative to destruction, and that, of these two issues, the only thinkable is destruction. The other is not in any way. The single word civilization is contradictory, as it results from its own definition. Destruction is thinkable because it only goes one way. Everyone knows what a destroyed city, a destroyed family, a broken life, a deprivation, a collapse. But if we make the idea of ??Civilization the opposite of destruction, we introduce something else entirely, that is to say, not only a construction, but an elaboration, a becoming, stable relationships between individuals, by means institutions and accumulations of all kinds (material and intellectual).
A civilization, as we understand it, pretends to transform the savage, who is conditioned without knowing it, into a conditioned individual, knowing himself as such. The civilized, behaving civilly and civilly, is necessarily defined by its relations with the civilization of which it is not only the expression, but the being. Because a civilization does not "is" if there is no one to be it. It's obvious. So the civilized person embodies the definition of his civilization, and p artant his own (we have just said that he is conditioned knowing he is such). And if his particular situation allows him to settle in his condition, so that he "does not give up living as happily" as he can do it; and to be satisfied with it, therefore to live this sort of digestion without feeling it (which is the characteristic of an easy digestion), here it is, philosophizing and turning its back on its own definition which is to be conditioned by such and such, knowing it. In fact, it becomes the voice of a civilization that has become a "thing" ustifying itself to be what it is, and having absolute value. Naturally, the course of history does not take this claim into account. Wars and revolutions are responsible for proving that it is only what it is; that it has become the opposite of what it is. "She" is the voice of those who, despite everything, "do not stop living there as happily as they can". Their conditioning has become moral and religious value. Civilization no longer builds, destroys, and, finally, projected beyond its goal, is nothing more than destruction, and words without content. These words are those which, in each civilization, express the fundamental postulate of freedom as a wanted acceptance of a reasoned conditioning.
This is the process of civilizations whose end we live. And this moment is particularly frightening that if it is true that the savage is conditioned without knowing it, we are savages in the true sense of this word; however, if it is true that a civilization is a new conditioning in order to establish stable relationships between individuals, we know that this goal is no longer conceivable these days, because a universal civilization should exclude all conditioning of consciousnesses with a view to establishing a means, whatever it may be, to achieve this goal. Should this means be coercion, a dictatorship in order to redistribute production and consumption? Or a strangely effective gospel of universal love? Or a victory of a system, that is to say of a particularistic conditioning which, victorious, would spontaneously transform into universal value? As we can see: the apparently nonexistent problem of food, housing, clothing, has no solution, because its solution is only in the means adopted, and that this means, we do not find not.
In short, the crisis is serious because it does not exist. If it existed, it would have a remedy. Is there, in the observation of this crisis which is not what it is, only the observation of a human-reality, which would be by nature unhappy consciousness, without possible overcoming of the state of woe? [ 14 ]
That is the essential question. Thus the observation of the crisis of our civilizations led us to words; these to philosophical thought; this one to pose the problem of human reality, reality which, nowadays, lets itself be glimpsed, according to Sartre (and maybe we are there on the threshold of a discovery) only through a consciousness desperate to perceive the nothingness of his being. Had this desperate awareness of not being, of being nothing, hitherto hidden its tragic reality, dreaming of the mythical allegories of its many religions? And today, faced with the ineffectiveness of these religions, is it forced, by renouncing the various representations of man and the universe that made up the images it made of itself, to disappear at his own eyes?
Theoretically, as well as in fact, "human reality" is. Theoretically, but not in fact, it should therefore not be the subject of a problem, but of a simple observation. To "seek" it is not to find it. To "find" it is to know where to look for it. We never deduced anything coherent from these simple aphorisms. Indeed: it has been proven that if I "know" where to look, it is because I have already found it, and the mystics have in turn affirmed that if I "search", not knowing where to find, it is which I have already "found", too. These logomachies, fights, disputes or puns, which have fueled philosophies across the ages and continents, have only hidden the following vicious circle: man "thinks", "thinks" is not knowing how to recognize themselves; or again: man seeks to think himself, which, also, is not knowing how to recognize himself. We have seen (Descartes) a man "thinking" himself, therefore not seeing himself despite the fact that he had "landed". Before going further, we have to examine this phenomenon by deepening and widening the field of our observation, because an example, however valid it may be, cannot give rise to a sufficient argument in itself. We will then see what can happen if, giving up "thinking", in other words if, abandoning the philosophies of "ideas", we can "try" to think of ourselves as a phenomenon. And, to this end, we will examine Sartre's essay on "phenomenological ontolgy", that is to say his attempt to found a science of Being-in-itself, of transcendence, starting from the existence of the phenomenon. We will see that it has failed, and, in our opinion, that one cannot go further, neither better, nor more acutely in this way. We will therefore retain his experience as valid for the moment, and all the more valid, since the discoveries he made along the way will help us to get out of the vicious circle. With these remarks we will end the first part of this work. In the second part we will offer a field of observations and observations concerning the biology of the for-itself. We will abandon the self as unthinkable, but we will use this sign in the way that mathematicians use the sign 8 to designate infinity, provided that we no longer find it in the solution of equations. We will therefore not retain, we say that the for-itself and will pursue it through its developments, from the mineral to men and women, through the kingdom of insects. And, coexisting with the for-ourselves we will see the other term of Knowledge assume no other name than the there-is, sufficient in itself, because it contains all the mysteries and the unthinkable abyss on the edge of which thought cannot even bend. In the name of reason we will do our part, as it is, congruent, which means exact and not insufficient.
1 Descartes, son vie, son oeuvre, son philosophie , by Andri Cresson, book from th e collection, edited by Imile Brihier, member of the Institute, 1950.
2 P. 68.
3 P. 31.
4 P. 33.
5 Method , III, 6.
6 Quoted by M. Cresson, p. 129.
7 III Meditation, op. cited, p. 125.
8 J.-P. Sartre: " Being and Nothingness ", p. 80.
9 Sartre, cited work.
10 collection, cited above.
11 Book cited, p. 23.
12 Book cited, p. 34.
13 Book cited.
14 Book cited, p. 134.
La solennelle duperie des mots sans contenu par Carlo Suarés - 3e millinaire