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Section Index

  1. Fabrics and Reality
  2. Reflections
  3. Discourse
  4. What You See
    Is What You Believe
  5. Descriptions
  6. Symbols and Content
  1. Deconstruction Again
  2. Fiction
  3. Fragments
  4. Originality
  5. The Chicken and the Egg
  6. Back to Concepts

  What's Related  
  Subseq. Pages - Essays & Papers  

caveat: As can be inferred from the date of publication, this article may no longer represent my current views and style. It remains here for archival purposes to provide a sense of documentation and should be treated as such.

1: Fabrics and Reality

While the previous article, The Fabric of Reality, had its main focus on physical and mathematical problems concerning reality, this page tries to continue the discussion on a more theoretical basis, a basis of literary science and philosophy. It is to be understood as a continuation with a slightly different focus on the object of discussion: the faces of the unexplained.

Again I will reflect upon this topic in interconnection with other topics on this site, with topics like Star Trek, The X-Files, Babylon 5, other shows and science fiction in general. Again I intend to stay close to the thematic conception of this site, and again this is my personal view, you might very well have another opinion on certain topics - feel free to give me some feedback.

I've spoken about a fabric reality would consist of, and immediately I came across questions of physics amd mathematics and religion and philosophy. Everything, any of those sciences concurring and colliding, seeking answers each in its field of options, and by these options both enabled to find a truth and hindered from objectivity - not out of intention, but out of necessity. Those restrictions allow us to create order within chaos, but what if there is nothing but chaos in the world, order being merely an illusion deluding us?

With everything not just connected at some point but deeply intertwined, it might seem difficult to arrive at a truth - and difficult it is. Not just because the means for this search can never be objective, but also because we ourselves are in no way able to be objective. We are subjects, subjected to the world, subjected to reality, subjected to agendas partly or completely unknown.

I have been inspired to discuss these topics firstly by reading a lot of books on elementary physics and associated problems within philosophy, and secondly by a seminar held at the Humboldt University of Berlin that was meant to be an introduction to post-modern literary science in the summer semester of 1998. But I will not stick to those ideas exclusively, I tend to develop those thoughts into a slightly different direction. But on the Selected Bibliography page I intend to refer to some of the ideas that made me write these pages.

June 19th, 1998

2: Reflections

We cannot help but think about what happens around us, we can neither totally ignore our surroundings nor our own physical constitution; that we're consisting of matter and energy dictates certain restrictions and limitations for us, freedom always being a relative concept: Every day we have to eat, to drink, to sleep, and if we don't, we will die sooner or later.

Our physical needs seem very clear. And what about mental and spiritual needs? What about properties of ourselves that form our character, that make us unique but at the same time make us belong to this world? What we perceive through whatever senses determines what we think. We do not have a choice - we cannot avoid every contact with the material world, and even physical needs count among that. We cannot deny our experiences, cannot deny our perceived past, cannot deny our sources - as well as we can't grasp all of these factors completely. Everytime when I try to remember my age I get accross this - I always have to calculate it using my date of birth; does this make me senile already in my twenties?

We cannot deny who and what we are. We cannot determine this either, but, well, that's another issue. In fact, it is connected with this one, but I'll just talk about it later. - Denial of what we are is possible, but not believable. The times when scientists could publish their works without mentioning their sources are over. But there is another level of reflection: To make known that you know that what you write is (hopefully!) read by a reader. So why not address the reader? Why not talk to them? Why not include some lifesigns, some self-reflections? You may have noticed that I've been doing so since the beginning, that I'm even now talking to you, personally. I don't know you, but I talk to you. Think about it: Here I am, talking to a complete stranger. What intention would I have to do so?

So after being aware of what I am doing right now, I have two choices: To stop it (to avoid further humiliation) or to continue (to get heard). I prefer the latter, but this choice has again made me think about what exactly it is that I'm doing; and why I'm doing it. External and internal factors intertwine, thoughts originate somewhere to manifest themselves, getting typed into my computer. Are those thoughts my own? I better hope they are, for I don't want to plagiarize. But that's not what I wanted to say: What makes me think what I think, and then, WHO AM I and WHAT DO I WANT. I cannot answer any one of those questions to a full degree.

Reflections are the first step towards revelation; we don't get answers for free, we have to look, sometimes we have to fight for them. We fight fate and destiny, not knowing at what costs, not knowing to what end - we cannot force the truth to come to us; it reveals itself, looking for a ground that is fruitful and productive. Self-reflection and self-questioning keep us from overestimating ourselves.

June 29th, 1998

3: Discourse

To describe the world 'as it is' one would need words or images or any other means to illustrate one's perception. Let's not yet discuss that 'as it is' issue, but first the very means of description. I've already stated that to perceive something also means to change something[1] - so how do we know that what we describe doesn't just exist because of our description and convention?

How to describe something while being aware of all those influences and interconnections? We can only use language, any language, to do so - and language can mean written or spoken words, pictures, sounds, emotions, touch, smell; anything that we can use to transport information is language. But knowing of the difficulties, how to be precise and exact without leaving some facts out?

The answer: It's not possible. That's both the problem and the chance for scientific and philosophical writing: A writer can write something, knowing that someone else will one day modify these thoughts as well as the above writer is following an older tradition themselves. One can always create or utter something new, not because of originality but of combination and modification. But what is it what we describe? How to describe ideas and concepts whose range is rarely definable and whose influence reaches into infinite other areas? Those discursive ideas would be described within a discourse (Latin: a running about [discurrere], from there, French: speech).

A discourse would be a field of description that can be described in a non-definable way by talking about it or not talking about it (and by this way implicitely defining the issue discussed). This discursive approach allows us to talk about something while making absolutely clear that one can never grasp the concept completely.

How many discourses are there? Just one: The universe and its origin; the whole reality itself - for it is all connected and intertwined[2]. But this discourse being of such an immense extension, it's no use trying to deal with it in whole; the discourse that resembles reality has to be divided into smaller parts, always not forgetting that this is an artificial construction, it is a model that we can deal with. The difference is just that we now know of the connnections, that we no longer treat an issue as if it was a singular and isolated event; we have at least to try to imagine the comlete complex. And for some areas it really makes no sense and is not at all practical to go into too much detail; sometimes isolated models work perfectly well (e.g. when I want to put on my shoes), but sometimes they don't (e.g. when predicting the weather). It is not our fault, it is due to the discursive nature of reality.

June 30th, 1998

4: What You See Is What You Believe

I've already shifted the focus of my efforts to perception[3]. While what I did in this essay was mainly influenced by physics and some general thoughts, I will now concentrate on some other fields of research, on a more anthropological approach. That's what this essay is meant for. To state it first, I'm not really a fan of post-structuralism if this new kind of philosophy again tries to banish metaphysics and religion (As you might have noted already). But I can fully identify with seeing reality from a more deconstructing perspective. I just can't think of us being able to reveal all mysteries and myths of the universe, neither by thinking nor by science. This would also contradict post-structuralism if the principles of this approach were applied to full extend: For all our signifiers, all our means to classify and catalog and understand the world have proven insufficient and will continue to do so.

All science, all research, all philosophy and theology and metaphysics and art and all other forms of expression must use some means of expressing themselves, means to articulate, to demonstrate, to explain their efforts. They denote and signify the reality from their own perspective, avidly creating ways to explore the world and to make these explorations known. This enterprise of knowledge-seeking, this process of progressing has to create signs, symbols, signifiers for the things to be described, to be signified. But nature doesn't reveal itself through signifiers, it is us who through our very special ways of perception perceive the world in our own special way.

In the early days of photography and filmmaking the only possibility to portray the world was in colors of black and white and shades of gray. But while thus produced products showed a world lacking all other colors, that of course wouldn't mean that there wouldn't be no other colors in reality. The color was a mask that like a veil transformed reality; the means to make reality visible, transparent, the means that were meant to explain and portray reality had to pay tribute to technology, to the very means themselves: Fortunately an obvious difference from 'reality', a difference that is easily to recognize (for those who can see colors). It is a difference that should make us aware that this example is of course not just a single incidence, all of our perception undergoes this process of transformation; indeed, transformation is necessary to perform a measurement. This range of error can often be roughly calculated or estimated, but due to chaos theory this is only possible to a certain extent[4].

Visibility is not a given condition, it is always a matter of interpretation. Or analysis? The process of interpretation has this subjective, this very personal but also determined touch of creating an image of reality, an image of an interpreted object that the perceptor will come to accept as the only existing, the only true alternative. But reality is shaped not only by envisioning, not only by perception - mostly it is anticipation what forms our view of the world. We expect something to be true, and through whatever means, through bending reality, warping theories and mixing concepts together, we might very well prove something being true, without even creating a contradiction. That's due to the innate logic of all scientific ideas. The effect will again be its own cause[5].

Seeing is believing - but is not-seeing not-believing? This is a question whether or not metaphysical aspects are worth to be considered. The acceptance of truths that are not so easily to be seen, perhaps not at all to be seen but to believe or to guess, does this contradict logic? But then, what is logic? Isn't logic again a doctrine that hinders us from having a wider perspective? The approach some kinds of philosophy have, to accept only reason and rational thinking, isn't that kind of naïve? Isn't it again a set of rules that often isn't aware of its own limitations? I don't mean to abandon logic, but to question it as the only means to discover reality. Intuition and belief can often be a good addition to it. Believing in something that isn't visible isn't an antiquated concept, no, on the contrary: The development of e.g. television in the last decade of the twentieth century would be contradictory to that. And then, who are we to judge other people's belief without questioning our own?

July 6th, 1998

5: Descriptions

Is it significant to differ between signifier and signified? Isn't it already obvious that a written sign, a language symbol, a letter or a word, a line, a dot, a sound or any other element of speech isn't the same as the object denoted? I think we all know that we could live without language, not at this level of civilization, but somehow we would survive. Would we? Wouldn't this include the necessity of being alone? Because language isn't just what this special term would mean. Language, or better: communication, can be anything from a gesture to a poem, including every form of expression.

Language is the only way for a species to exist as a community or simply to interact. There would be no necessity for communication between a cat and a mouse; they would know their role as prey and hunter. But for a group of cats it would be something completely different: They have to communicate, to define their own individual areas of interest, to signal their willingness to mate, to teach their offsprings some necessary things. Communication is the basis of social behavior firstly amongst the members of one species.

But it can also be of significance for members of different species: Except the cat-mouse example, except from the merely food-chain relationships within the animate world, there can be other interactions between different species, for instance if different kinds of birds shared their living space with each other. Or, of course, the relationship between a human and their pet, or between the pets, between cats and dogs. A cat might not talk or speak, but it can communicate with humans, and humans can communicate with cats. When I interact with our cat, there is not even the need of verbal articulation, he and I can very well share a moment together, feeling and perceiving through visual or other senses what the other wants or thinks.

But could I share complex thoughts with someone who had no concept of signs, of language as we know it, of verbal or written articulation? It would be quite complicated, if not impossible, for a species to make progress and work together without developing a set of signs for communication. Language, complex language, is the basis for all organized interaction on a larger scale - if this organization structure is not prescribed or supported by genetics, as in the case of ants of bees. They have a sort of social structure, but their structure is limited to just this one concept, there is no individual development, they act like drones (no pun intended, well, perhaps a little one), they aren't able to overcome the given structure. They have no active descriptions of their own, their world is fixed - at least, as far as we now know.

For living communities, for those bound on complex communication, it is necessary to share descriptions, to make explorations and inventions known, to organize an exchange. Contact with another civilization has always brought progress. Or, simplier and much more personal, learning a foreign language, learning about a foreign culture leads to an imput of new concepts, new ideas as every language (now I really mean language in its usual context), as every single language means another view of reality. For a present-day language learner, this might be a one-sided experience, but for a first contact situation this would mean that the very attempt to communicate could and will create a strong bond, a productive exchange of concepts and descriptions. And in the end, this might very well be why we are here: To perceive this world and find descriptions for it as already described in Genesis 2,19:

And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof [6].

July 7th, 1998

6: Symbols and Content

Communication consists of symbols, symbols that tell us what we are speaking about. Symbols are conventions, derived throughout a long and complicated historical process. The age of our language, of our verbal communication, cannot be exactly determined for its sources are not just the immediate origins. English hasn't been English all the time, and before there was present-day English there were Anglo-Saxonian dialects, Scandinavian and French, the latter based to a great part on Latin on which Greek had had a great influence. But Latin and Greek as well as Germanic languages have a common origin, the Indo- European language, originating from the surroundings of a tribe, of a group of people somewhere in the Northwest-Indian region. When it spread apart, it took the linguistic heritage with it. Indo-European is the earliest ancestor to be reconstructed, what came before cannot be determined any more, at least not yet. Our history is fixed, written into our language, and so are the concepts we think in.

Thinking is mostly based upon communications - we think in the symbols we have derived or gathered during our lifetime. The symbols have become familiar to us, we use them every day, not thinking anymore about the symbols, about the elements of speech, we just use them to interact and to communicate. The symbols are now part of an automatic process that equals contents with symbols; like a computer we instantly translate our internal code, our inner need for utterance into the proper linguistic forms.

What we call by name and how we call it is not determined by nature. Linguistic utterance, linguistic denotation is arbitrary, there is no deep reason why we call a tree a tree, a stone a stone, a cat a cat. We can tell why we call a computer a computer because it computes, but if we trace back this word to its Latin origin and arrive at 'com-putare', get rid of that prefix, we get the stem 'put' with its verbal suffix. No one can tell what this stem means, 'putare' means something like to believe, to calculate, to think. But at the very basis of the word, we cannot determine why it has been formed that way. Either there is no reason behind it, or the reason has been lost throughout history.

We have to make sure that what we think we know is just that: we think we know. Knowledge is hidden behind these symbols, the content might be known, but the symbols limitate our freedom of expression. That's why it is necessary for language to change with our progressing civilization - new concepts (or just old concepts told in a new way) need to be told, and they might need new manners of expression.

When we have realized how artificial, how arbitrary, how constructed and how undeterminable language is, we might understand that all our doing, all our efforts can have just limited success - for we need language to communicate, it isn't possible without it. Even telepathy would need a sender and a receiver that can exchange concepts they store in their minds, encrypted in text and images: We cannot talk about something we don't know about. But knowledge and storage of knowledge is based upon symbols, upon signifiers that represent a certain content and that we can assign to a meaning.

July 7th, 1998


What has been done so far, what has been said, explored, talked about: all that had to do with our view of reality. This view determines our doing, our thoughts and action, it is about our motivation, our source of information, our access to the truth. We can look for the truth in several ways, we can choose a more scientific or a philosophical or religious approach, we can try each angle of perception and each perspective we know of - but we won't arrive at the absolute answers.

During the nineteenth and twentieth century there have been various developments in science and philosophy that focused on this aspect. Chaos theory, quantum physics, cloning, space expeditions within our solar system, the development of cyberspace have opened our eyes to perspectives that are not any more science fiction. Media like telegraphy, telephone, television, video, cinema and internet have changed a world that for centuries, for millennia had been very much fixated on local events, on small communities.

Today's world is a world of mass media, of mass population, of mass communication. We have access to knowledge and to information that is in every way extraordinary. We just have to switch on the tv to see events or places anywhere on the globe. We can communicate via e-mail instantly and without local restrictions. Technology has created a global community. This community is by no means perfect, and technology is still the privilege of those who can afford it.

A second development, not completely aside from technology, is to be found within philosophy. We may perhaps have overcome certain models of thinking, we may have added and modified certain thoughts. Some basic things have stayed the same. But what has changed is our confidence in the complete investigation of our world, of reality. That's the reason for philosophy drifting away from metaphysics: We can neither prove nor deny any meta-physical structures, be it fate, telos or God. That conclusion is somewhat funny, for it is already an integral part of the Bible: the concept of God can never be completely grasped. So, now at last, philosophy seems to have understood it - understood both: That, firstly, religion can't be an object of the scientific method (because this method would fail inevitably) and, secondly, we shouldn't overestimate our capabilities. Cogito ergo sum is a nice statement but much too anthropocentric.

Modern philosophy in a way has to be something like an anti-humanism: That doesn't mean that it is not any more humane or trying to set moral and ethical standards, but there is much more to the universe than just humans. Anthropocentrism doesn't help us understanding the world, and its end is part of the deconstruction process that enabled us to see that neither the world is flat nor that it is the center of the solar system nor the center of the universe. We have finally come to realize that we as humans aren't the center of the world either.

July 11th, 1998

7: Deconstruction Again

To deconstruct means to question. Deconstruction questions everything that is metaphysical, everything that cannot be derived from physis - everything that is just based upon appearances and assumptions. This process of deconstruction is a natural one, it belongs to the scientific method. The new aspect of this kind of deconstruction which poststructuralism is about is that it goes much deeper, much more beyond the surface of illusion that we have created or that reality has created for us.

Deconstruction means to question everything, question every single bit of information. Everything that is superficial, everything that is just loosely attached to some concepts but not really proven, the act of proving itself - nothing is to be spared. Deconstruction reveals the structures behind the structures, it reveals some mechanisms that are hidden, it explains them. Deconstruction is supposed to create transparency.

Transparency means creating a sharpened awareness, creating a deeper understanding for certain processes, for certain facts. Facts! Can we really determine facts? Or can't we just approach them, working with probabilities and possibilities and uncertainties? But though we think we could know everything - what a deeply 'scientific' belief.

No, deconstruction will not find the final answers. All philosophic ideas have been modified or dis'proven' by subsequent philosophers. So if history doesn't come to an end during the next years or decades, this approach of deconstruction will be succeeded by another variant of revealing the truth. The quest for the truth never ends, it just changes its face. And the search will never come to an end, never arrive at a final result - for we have no choice but to trust our senses. We are dependent on them, our means of investigation are our limitation.

The aim of deconstruction is not chaos, it is solidification of our knowledge - if we become aware of our limitations, we can value our options much more. It is us who have to live in this world. We name the things that we perceive. Those names have to be exposed as what they are: Just names, artificial and metaphysical structures. They are images and represent a form, they are constructions that create the illusion of knowledge, the illusion of familiarity, the illusion of truth. We have to know the flaws of our means to be able to see behind the masks of reality. But naming is creating.

July 11th, 1998

8: Fiction

Fiction is all around us. Fiction is facts created, images made, stories told. Everything that is man-made is fiction. There is not really anything like non-fiction, it is just the amount of fiction that can perhaps be considered as being greater or smaller in certain elements, certain aspects, certain reflections of reality. Fiction is supposed to be of artificial character. It is also supposed that there is a separation between fiction and reality.

What would that reality be then? A reality without fiction - that would be quite an empty world, so empty that there would be no living creatures to observe it, so empty that it would not be subject to any kind of perception. No one, not even God, would see it. Non-fiction reality would thus be something that - in the strictest sense - would not exist, because no one could ever prove its existence, there would not even be belief in it - for faith or inspiration or imagination is also an act of perception.

So when there is no reality without fiction, what then is a reality with fiction embedded into? Fiction means that something is created, made, (manu)-factured (The difference between fact and fiction is not so great as one would think. Seen etymologically, 'fact' originates from Latin 'facere' [to make, to create, to affect, to do], and 'fiction' from 'fingere' [to make, to shape, to imagine, to fabricate]; but the given translations are just a small selection of possible meanings; in general 'fingere' seems to focus more on the creative, artistic properties of creation while 'facere' is the more general verb). Thus, as we have to use words, our concepts of fact and fiction seem to differ a bit from our verbal expression!

When we describe reality, what we do is to name it, to shape a complex set of variables into an image, a model, which we can both understand and explain. We denote the world around us, that enables us to speak about it[7] - without language, without communications we would not be able to share our views and thoughts and ideas with others. But this process of denotation is in itself a limitation, we create not an identical image of reality, we have to simplify and to adjust our picture to known concepts. A tree is a tree, I can't call it differently for no one would understand me.

What we use as an explanation is our past or are examples. But by telling them (or even just by writing them down, even through the process of historiography) we tell not facts but fiction - we do not tell about the 'bare facts', every utterance necessarily contains fictive elements - language itself as well as personal attitudes, tradition, agendas. There is no objectivity - there is no easy way. Everything has to be questioned, deconstructed, but that doesn't mean that we will arrive at perfect results. They might be better, but just in the moment of explaining the new results we again create fiction from facts that again are hidden behind fiction. Fiction doesn't mean that it consists of lies, no, it is just not possible to deny individuality. Not even a cybernetic single-minded collective like Star Trek's Borg could manage that: Perception means change[8]. There is no way around it.

July 12th, 1998

9: Fragments

Fragments will be our only form of articulation, fragments that are what remains of our thoughts when we speak them out, fragments that indicate that all we say and do will never be completed, never come to an end - there will always be tasks to be finished, there will always be something to be improved. There is no perfection, but there is the desire, the need to create something perfect. But we will never reach this aim, we can come close to it, but never reach it. The sooner we realize this the better.

Why can there be no perfection in our material world? Call it dust to dust, call it no peace in our time, call it everything flows; call it evolution. There is nothing like a static world, there is always movement, always development, always flurries in the flow of time and space. No way to stop it - civilization cannot exist without nature, it cannot exist in contrast to nature, not in opposition to nature. Civilization is an artificial construction, a fragment in itself: The illusion of greatness will vanish with time, the flow of time will destroy the illusion and expose it as temporary: Of all the great Greek and Roman monuments of architecture just some remnants have survived, and they wouldn't have survived if they had not been protected by civilization. A garden that is not taken care of regularily will soon re-evolve into some jungle of weeds and bushes.

Another fragment of civilization is tradition: What we accept as our past, our culture, our lifestyle, all this is just a fragment, a victim of incomplete historiography. Fact and fiction cannot be separated[9] - personal perspective is interpretation, but interpretation is again fiction, bound to the restrictions of language and perception. Tradition and historiography transfer the perception of historic events through time. They do not and cannot transfer the real events, they can just cite sources - but those sources are again subjective, subjected to the influence of personal perception and interpretation.

Both historiography and literature work with canonizations. Those selections are proposed as revealing the most important examples of their category and time, but by whose authority? Who sets the variables, who decides what is within or without the canon? Sometimes canonization or selection leads to the inclusion of sources that seem important in our eyes but didn't have a great influence in their time; and then there are sources that have had a great impact on their time but are not mentioned or not analyzed appropriately.

Are there single incidents of fragments? Or doesn't the discourse of fragments widen into every area of our lives? But can there be something as completeness? Or isn't this approach much too optimistic, much too unsubstantial? There can be hope for complete revelation - but not within philosophy, not within science. The restrictions of matter can only be overcome when matter is overcome - this is a religious issue, as it would seem.

July 12th, 1998

10: Originality

The question of originality is not just a question of the first cause, of the creation of the physical universe, it is also a question which tangles some aspects of fiction. It is about the origin of written and spoken words, the origin of thoughts and ideas, the origin of both fact and fiction. It is a question that - when brought to an end - will arrive again in the realm of metaphysics and religion. Is that necessarily so? Isn't there another choice, a chance to trace back fiction and facts without having to lead philosophy back to something we cannot explain?

It is not said that one cannot trace back the origin of certain ideas, but it is not possible to trace them back completely. It is again infinite diversity in infinite combinations. And it is chaos theory. Scientific theories mix with other concepts and try to explain and investigate certain issues of philosophy. But are those ideas new? The concept of humans not being capable of explaining the world completely is something that can be found not just in post-structuralism but also in the Bible and with Greek philosophers (Socrates / Plato).

To know that one knows nothing - that's part of that game. That's part of both modern and ancient and medieval philosophy. This part got lost during 'Enlightenment' and Rationalism. Cogito ergo sum - I think therefore I am. This is not the philosophy of humility, not of realization. The questions are: Do we think? What is thought? Who are we? What is existence? What is cause and effect? What I've posed as questions is the analyzation of every word used in this statement. I am aware that this probably will lead to no other result than confusion and the realization that we indeed will not know everything, will not even have the capability to know anything. I'll pursue this chain of thoughts during the rest of this essay.

Cogito - I think. The entity known as 'I', the person we identify with ourselves, who is that? What is our self? We use and handle words and images we cannot even explain! This body, is this just an assemblance of matter and energy that on the very basic level is just part of space, part of spatial matter, quantums of energy that exist in space and time[10]? This body, by the discourse of biology and medicine defined as human, contains a neural network that extends from the brain in the head and from the spinal cord to the nerves that fill the body and collect information about the body itself and about the exterior. Like a computer, this neural system performs basically two functions: To control and enforce that the body is working, that means to support the biological functions - those basic things are mostly processed by the spinal cord. The brain has control over the head, over visual and acoustic and olfactory and touch-related senses. The brain collects information about the outside and calculates our actions and reactions. But how much of this is programming and how much is us? The thoughts we think, the thoughts we think we think, what are they? Plans of action, calculated by a neural processor? There are more, much more things than just reflexes. What makes me write this? What makes me think about this stuff? (Again - 'me', 'think', causal thinking).

Sum - I am. Again: Who am I? What is existence? Science cannot answer this question, philosophy neither. Why? Because we are ourselves the subject of observation - can a lab rat analyze itself? All information we have is the information given to us, it is information that is obvious because it is subject to the scientific method. But what about our identity? Our own self? Can philosophy include metaphysical answers to sustain morality and ethics? Yes, it has to! If it wouldn't, no one could use language (which belongs to metaphysics[11]), no one could use science (because of the inavailability of language and because the aim of science is in itself meta-physical[12]), there would not even be philosophy (for the same reason). So there is a contradiction between science, philosophy and metaphysics, religion? This contradiction, this opposition is an artificial one - created by us, created by those fields of research themselves: We cannot handle this large single discourse reality is, we have to divide it to at least to try to grasp it. This limitation is our only hope for understanding. Just as I have to structure my essays and paragraphs to arrive at some answers and to give myself a hint of what it is I am talking about, just like this, there have to be different fields of research. But we should not forget that everything belongs together. So what's the answer of this paragraph? I have tried to walk my way around it, but that is not possible: The ego that is included in the above mentioned form of esse, to be, this 'I' cannot be explained by material research. To escape this I'll call it soul - again a temporary and material concept, but at least it is clear now what I'm talking about. Well, relatively clear. We still don't know what a soul is. But it is also a figure of philosophy as Socrates / Plato include it into their thinkings.

July 13th, 1998

11: The Chicken and the Egg

Let us continue the previous chain of thinking. Up to now we have seen that all those definitions that seem to define who we are consist of metaphysical aspects, relate to metaphysics even if they don't want to. Metaphysics form the invisible structure around and within reality, a structure which can just be guessed, never really proven. We might see the walls of the house from the inside, but we cannot look outside, cannot see the house, the universe, from an outside perspective. We are born into this house and die here, our origin and our future lie outside these walls. We can hear some noises, see some footprints that seem to reveal the character of the constructor, but those are just distant traces.

There are certain rules within this house which is our temporary home and our universe. Those rules are mirror images of the rules that were used when this edifice was being constructed; these rules have to stay the same as the house has not just been built some time ago but is being built and improved all the time, for the outside knows no time as we do. Our house is a construction based upon space and time, and it may very well be that space and time have been invented for this building - space and time might exist only here, may perhaps only here be able to exist. One of the rules we seem to observe is causality.

Ergo - Therefore. A reason demanding a result - a simple equation, state A is transformed into state B with the help of energy, of a cause. This mathematical model is nothing else than just that: A model. Although it seems to hold true somehow, this is just the superficial element. I'v already tried to explain my thoughts about that[13]. What is demonstrated with that proposal? What can it be used for?

Apart from the explanation of probable physical phenomena like anti-time, this way of thinking might lead again to a metaphysical approach. If we thought about the universe as kind of a balloon or a bubble that grows out of the outside of the house, out of subspace maybe, and if the universe and all its inhabitants receive all their energy just from this connection; if every single part of our material world were linked to the non-material world, we couldn't talk about origin and cause and effect anymore. If what we experience here is just a projection of what happens or exists in the non-material, non-temporal outside, what sense would a causative thinking have?

What if our form of existence were the only form in which change and experiences could be made? What if this is not possible in the non-material world? What if we are just the impulses the non-material origin would need? A relation that is bilateral - with us being the natural extension of the non-material? It is like the chicken and the egg - the connections would be much more intense and much deeper than anyone ever suspected. A relation that is just to guess, not to grasp.

July 13th, 1998

12: Back to Concepts

So now I have to come to an end with this essay. How to finish something that is about discourse, about a subject that not just changes, but about a subject that very much is change? Every conclusion, every result, every attempt to finish it would seem ridiculous and artificial. Well then, but just by using language I am creating something artificial, something constructed, something that perhaps isn't even really here. Away all the safety of school, away all the times when what our teachers told us was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Am I instigating and indicating some resignation? In a way, yes. But on the other hand, why? This situation has always been this way, it has never been easy. Every attempt to simplify things has gone wrong, every attempt to use force to enforce laws against nature has proven wrong. Every time when someone thought they knew everything, every time when mankind thought it had explored everything, every time a ruler thought they would have built an everlasting empire - on every single one of those occasions the assumption of having reached a conclusion was wrong.

But what are we supposed to do? To sit back and do nothing? Well, even if it were true that all we could really know is that we know nothing, that is not entirely true. We can know things that fit the temporary and artificial world we live in. We just have to realize this artificiality. Is that relativism? I don't think so. Deconstruction doesn't mean destruction[14].

Philosophy has to rely on metaphysics, whether it wants to or not: There is no choice. Only metaphysical structures can hold the laws of morality and ethics, only the knowledge of metaphysics can allow us to see where our limitations are, only metaphysics allows us to describe this world. Metaphysics means the invisible frame, the parameters that allow us to play our games. We might feel free to try to live without it, we might feel free to try to know everything - but the realization in advance should save us from too much disappointment.

I haven't answered one question yet, a question I posed two parts ago - that of originality. If we cannot locate the origin, all our doings and all our writings can only be reflections of the world around us - both inside and outside the house of our reality. All we can do is use the themes and symbols and images we are confronted with, individuality can just vary the themes, rearrange them somehow. Do we have a free will? I strongly hope we have one, and to a certain degree I think that we can think freely. But the limitations of our will are those of metaphysical nature: Language, location, time. We do not know the future, we do not even know the past completely. We live in the moment of thinking, and we are part of the discourse of reality. Does this make us fact or fiction?

July 13th, 1998

(The entire essay was minimally reworked by January 17th 2001, concerning spelling and minor corrections, while the substance of it was left intact.)


[6] Gen 2,19; King James Version

For a bibliography, please check the Selected Bibliography page.

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