• thewonder
    I have decided to post half of this Nominalist essay here because I am looking for advice in my philosophical writing. I have some difficulty organizing my thoughts and am looking for critique on the style, structure, content, and whatever else there is to say about this essay. I feel like it's not terribly clear, which could just be because it is unfinished, as well as that, though I did purchase two texts written by William of Ockham, I don't really know anything about Nominalism.

    Note: While I do recognize this as "gobbledygook", calling something "gobbledygook" isn't terribly helpful advice.

    Everything simultaneously exists within two states. The first of which is like a hypo-state comparable to something like Erwin Schrödinger’s depiction of the atom. This we can call the realm of Potentiality. The second of which is that of Actuality, which, to us, can be described as an immanent process of becoming that we experience trough a subjective relationship to a totality. Were I well versed in quantum mechanics, I would probably invoke wave-particle duality as a metaphor for our Metaphysical, here referring to the study of that which exists, state. True non-existence implies a total absence of something like energy. As everything is comprised of and effected by something like energy ad infinitum, there is, from a Metaphysical standpoint, nothing that we know of experience that does not exist.

    The existence of essence assumes that a scientific methodology can be applied to Ontology via something like the Symbolic. Such an assumption is no more absurd to me than the postulation that there exists a divine order that is said to be maintained by a hierarchy of angels. To classify Being as if it were some particular fauna is like interpreting an Abstract Expressionist painting through the lens of theoretical Mathematics. There is no arch-language to describe any sort of ostensibly, as I do fail to understand the relevance that an imaginary height has to Linguistics, “higher” truths. We can, therefore, conclude that the Symbolic does not exist, or, rather, that it is only as if it does exist because it is believed to. What remains of the Symbolic is the specter of essence.

    I should like to, here, take a point of departure and talk about the Ship of Theseus. I, quite radically, posit that to replace even a single part of the ship, as a new assemblage is created, would imply that a different ship has been made. The name, “The Ship of Theseus”, is merely a way of referring to the object. It does not ascribe essence, as a referent merely focuses attention upon some particular existent by isolating it from everything else. If essence were to exist, it could only be described. As everything exists as Potentiality, and, therefore, as not yet having been manifested, and as Actuality, and, therefore, in a continual state of becoming, we can conclude that there is no such thing as essence.

    In “The Same River Twice: A Cursory Essay on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness”, I claimed that his philosophy was “ultimately too fixated upon the nothingness at the heart of Being not to imperil becoming an ideology in its own right” and later went on to state that “negation merely delimits Ontology.” I was, perhaps, too critical of Sartre. What his “nothingness”, to me, expresses is a lack of essence. I am told that I am a certain person of a certain age with certain qualities. I have a name, Social Security Number, and bank account. It runs totally contrary to everything that we are taught about ourselves as individuals to suggest that, with each and every sentence that I write, I become a different person, and, yet, I believe that I do. The problem of “bad faith” exists because people are unwilling to cope with that the absence of the Symbolic can no longer be plausibly denied and that, because a person becomes anew in each and every given moment, they are totally lacking in any essential qualities. I make mixed-media collages, typically with paint, vintage magazines, and found photographs. Am I a “painter”? An “artist”? A “Dadaist”? Or, do I merely have a hobby? I can ascribe descriptors to my person because I like the roles that they will offer me in society. I could write a manifesto and create a movement rather than claim to utilize “juxtaposition” because I think that that would be passé. There are a set of aesthetic orders that I choose to associate with by how it is that I have described my art, and, yet, the status that both they and I retain is, as it only exists because it is believed to, somewhat illusory. In good faith, I can claim to create mixed-media collages. In bad faith, I would state that my work has “proceeded from Dadaist contextualization of “found objects” as an exploration of the politicization of private life within Postmodernity”, though may need to should I ever want for my art to find its way into a gallery. I tend to juxtapose things like images from The Troubles with found photographs of people on vacation, but, honestly, hadn’t put any thought into Dadaism, “found objects”, the politicization of private life, or Postmodernity whatsoever. I just sort of got buzzed, put on some music, and glued a bunch of images onto the cardboard canvases that I had created with house paint. Were I to repeat such lies, however, for long enough for me to forget well enough that they were, in point of fact, lies, to speak with a certain degree of confidence and charm to their veracity, I could, perhaps, become not only a member of an aesthetic order, but even someone who can decide as to how it is that that order is maintained. I tell all of this to you to draw a comparison between what I surmise of artistic pretense and what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari called a “regime of signs”. Such “bad faith” is what makes it as if the Symbolic exists because it is believed to. It is a collective delusion engendered more or less by an appeal to social capital that is akin to certain aristocratic interpretations of the divine. Because essence is often supposed to be deigned from the Symbolic, through an occasional appeal to some sort of hierarchy of forms, be they either Platonic or Aristotlean, I, myself, often wonder, to reject essence is to leave oneself without any terra firma, as almost none of Western Philosophy is willing to go so far.

    The realization that we exist as an ever-changing assemblage of constituent aspects does not necessarily result in an encounter with nothingness, but...

    It's then supposed to go into how the lack of essence is similar to the Lacanian lack, how everything should be mediated by the Imaginary, and then to come back around to the original ideas somehow, but, as I was writing this, I had thought that it was already a little too all over the place and haven't really been able to get any further. I guess that I'm looking for advice upon how to organize one's thoughts for the most part, but will appreciate any sort of critique whatsoever.
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