Harmonia Philosophica (Main Thesis)
Author: Spiros Kakos
Religion-Science Philosophy articles series
Credo quia absurdum!
I believe because it is illogical!
We all look at the same one reality with the same tools. However we almost never agree. Why is that?
The answer I give in this article is that we just use different words to describe the same things, or see the same thing from different point of view. As Parmenides said, the “IS” is one and that same “IS” is what we all try to approach and explain. A unification of all opinions looks as the best way to look at it…
For example, the world can be eternal (as Heraclitus said), but at the same time have a First Cause (as Aristotle said) the Absolute Infinite that was first discovered by Georg Cantor and actually contains all “lower-level” infinites. We could be indeed constrained within the existence of the world that exists (as Sartre said), but given the fact that the world is infinite that constraint is not a constraint at all. Mathematics can indeed contain universal truths, but their expression may be imperfect due to the imperfections of humans. Evolution could happen due to natural selection, but maybe that selection has a purpose after all. And humans helping other people who are meant to die is simply the most direct hint that the theory of evolution is not the answer to everything. We may be lifeless sets of electrons and protons, but it is the life-giving force of Henri-Louis Bergson that gives us the strength to deny our own existence. Faith is based on logic analysis while logic is based on faith to some axiomatic truths. And these a-priori truths are nothing more than the inner wishes of logic. No big philosophical question has been answered by anyone. The continuous quest for answers is what has value. Science is one of the tools we have to reach the truth, and not a perfecto tool that is. Nor is logic. Let us not forget that greatest scientific breakthroughs have been based on illogical bursts of inspiration based on instinct and intuition. Delaware Indians cannot refer to a “thing” as it exists on its own, but only in the context of a specific situation. In that way they do not have a word for “snow”, but they do have words to say “yesterday it snowed” or “the ground is covered with snow”.  Who tells us that our language, with so many Platonic dogmas embedded in it, is more “correct” than that language”? Nuer Indians do not have the notion of “time” in their language as we do. Maybe if we learned from these different perspectives, we wouldn’t need thousands of years for Gödel to come and tell us that time may be just an illusion.  Scientism, materialism, idealism, theism, atheism, not one of these philosophies has answered all questions. We must use all of them and not be dogmatically stick to just one. The separation of state and church must be complemented by the separation of state and science, that most recent, most aggressive, and most dogmatic religious institution, as Paul K. Feyerabend once said in “Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge” (1975). Logic is based on axioms, which some claim that they are based on data from our senses. But sometimes the results of logic go against what our senses tell us. Honey is sweet, but people with icterus taste it as bitter. What is the “reality” after all? Who’s reality is more “valid”?
All these antinomies show us what we cannot see because of our stubbornness to use right-wrong distinction: that the world is “ONE”. As Parmenides said, there is not “right” and “wrong” – something cannot “not be” right. The distinction between “real” and “not real” may after all be insufficient to explain the true reality of our world. And remember that one has to be “logical” to understand a logical argument, but what kind of credibility does an argument has if it can persuade only people who are already trained to accept it? Logic kills fantasy, and we must remember that it is the latter which has been the source of all great human progress during history. Human kind cannot stand the teachings madness and death can give and that is why the boundaries of madness where always defined by the state authorities and not by any objective criterion. Men give their lives for some higher ideas. Maybe their heart knows something that their logic cannot even glimpse at? Every day we try to drive ourselves higher than our material body, like madmen we strive to create in fields that modern materialistic science cannot even see – poetry which you cannot understand fascinates you, like your Sein (The ONE Sein) which you cannot see pushes you to something more meaningful and of higher essence than your Da-Sein. All of our cells change, but we remain the same. Our Sein seems to be independent of the matter which nevertheless constitutes our Da-Sein. Children listen at their teachers for years and only after they have learned to think as their teacher do, do we let them think “freely”. But how “free” can they be then? Western medicine tells us that its medicines are “better”, but what about the medicines Indians used for thousands of years? They were banned not after careful examination, but after the white people simply wished to state their superiority to other races. How “free” can modern Western medicine be, when it is dictated by pharmaceuticals that control governments, states and even the EU? Is health “better” that sickness? What about parents who wish their children to get sick so as to develop antibodies? What about people who were always isolated from microbes and then died on the first time they encountered one? Our bodies – because of “too much health” – have begun attacking their own selves thus increasing the autoimmune diseases greatly. Maybe health AND sickness is the better way to live… Nothing “right” or “wrong”. Just one world and one reality…
Those who believe in scientism want more “control” over nature and reality. But what is “control” for? What do they want to control? Would someone like to BE controlled? Would someone like to control his feeling, to be able to start and stop loving someone else by just pushing a “button” inside him? And if more “control” is the main goal, why not follow the path of people with faith in a God, who because of that faith are in a state where they feel and “live” a life of complete control over everything? Which control is more “valid”? Those who believe in scientism think that the lack of “data” and “information” is the great problem science will solve and – thus – save humankind of its problems. But none of the most important issues humans face are related to lack of information, as the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew correctly points out: The important problems of humans today are related to lack of trust, love, patience, understanding…
Man has to awaken to wonder – and so perhaps do peoples.
Science is a way of sending him to sleep again.
How can someone fly if all he has been taught is how to crawl? A genius is the most illogical creature – every single great breakthrough in science was based on great illogical leaps of faith. Logic is a great tool, but sometimes it becomes synonym to the “status quo” of the way people think during a time period if history. And in that case you cannot progress if you think “logically”…
If you believe something “because it is logical” then you are nothing more than a slave to the current axioms of your time.
For thousands of years we thought as “right” the axioms stating that “negative number times a negative number provides a positive number as a result” or that “there is only one parallel line we can draw from a point outside a line”. But when we thought to question these “truths” we suddenly “discovered” the imaginary numbers of the non-Eucledian geometries. And we were startled to see that these new “weird” theories had practical implications.
We should be startled though: the truth is as “true” as we think it is.
Logic dictates that in order to “prove” something you must complete your syllogism. But can a syllogism be completed? No. The infinite number of causes that leads to the First Cause is what makes certain that a logical syllogism can never be completed. What generates our “certainty” that a syllogism can be completed? Faith? Antinomies and paradoxes seem to be embedded in everything, even the most pure mathematical logic. We should accept their existence, embrace their nature and trust what we believe if we want to “understand” the cosmos as it “is”… After all who verifies that our faith in the axioms of logic are correct? Why not be illogical as Zenon and Democritus? Why not be illogical as Einstein and Newton? Newton found his idea of gravity as “so absurd that I do not think anyone will believe it”.  But we did believe it… Maybe we should start believing things we consider as non-logical? Maybe as G.K. Chesterton once said, “The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason“.
All science is based on the axiom that a proposition can be either true or false.
de omnibus dubitandum est
However there are substantial evidence indicating that a logical proposition can be true and false at the same time [dialethism]!  Consider for example the logical proposition “this proposition is false”. Is it false? If yes, then it is true. Is it true? If yes, then it is false. Logic is so illogical that can drive someone into the conclusion that his logic is wrong… If I say “you are right” and what you have said is that “I am wrong”, then who is right after all? Know that the antinomies exist and do not try to “understand” them.
As Shestov correctly states, to “understand” is not the same as to “know”.  If you try to understand something you actually try to fit it into your current way of thinking, thus altering it in a way that you loose the “truth” in it. And let us remember that in the ancient times of Homer the notion of “illogical” did not even exist. Everything that was said was part of “Logos”.  Only after 2,500 years of civilization have made some “truths” embedded in our brain as “correct” have we started to believe in fictitious contradictions like “logical” – “illogical”…
If a crazy person tells you he is crazy, would you believe him? If you dream of something illogical, will you question your logic or your dream? When you talk to yourself, who is doing the talking?
God may be dead as Nietzsche said, but only if Man is dead too, as Adorno postulated… We may be free to decide as Sartre said, and this freedom could have its basis on the natural laws… The world may be eternal, but that may have given the probability of the existence of a God the chance to manifest itself. And God may see us arguing for this and that while He drinks his decaf coffee… Because even He cannot escape the antinomies… A priori truths may be embedded into our brain, but only experience can help us know them. A posteriori truths may be the result of logic, but that logic has to be based on some non-“a posteriori” truths. Logic cannot look at itself without the danger of antinomies popping out, but the things which refer only to themselves are the only “real” things, as Kant said.
We may be the only beings in nature conscious of the mortality of our DaSein, but all-wise nature may have given us this tragic knowledge only because we can bear with such knowledge due to the immortality of our spirit (Sein).
Man may be meant to rule the Earth, but only in harmony with the other species. And harmony in theory and in praxis can be obtained only with “primitive” thinking, beyond any dogmatism. This primitive thinking – if and when conquered by humans – will be the more advanced conquest we have ever made. As Oedipus represents the hyperbole in questioning (Levi Strauss), we may have to behave like Persival and be silent for things we cannot “see” (Wittgenstein). We have gained much with “logic”, but even more with “illogical” thinking. In order to complete our journey, we must go where we started it. (Logos was born in Silence)
People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
We all discuss with each other. However Schrödinger said that we all perceive only ONE consciousness: our “own”. We can never be aware of the consciousness of others. Could that mean that there is actually only ONE consciousness in the world?  And that single consciousness could be the real source of the Carl Jung’s collective unconscious…
Primitive people of the caves had a more pure thought, which was not influenced by theories for the artificial definition of “true” of “false”. Primitive people thought and believed that life does not end with physical death. Primitive people thought more freely – they did not have thousands of years of civilization behind them to talk on their behalf. Primitive people thought that life does not end with death, since they were not taught the (artificial?) idea of “time” on which all pseudo-philosophy of “existence/non-existence” is based. Maybe things we cannot easily define, do not actually exist. I exist now in Kythera on the year 2010. No matter how much “time” passes, I will still exist in Kythera on the year 2010…
Primitive people lived much healthier lives than we do.
But they died younger.
What does that tell us about death and life?
Could death be something “good” in the context of Nature?
Is that opinion illogical enough so that we can believe it?
How can you feel relaxed, if you don’t get tired first? How can you live if you don’t die some day?
At the time before Socrates in Greece, the idea that things “change” was a topic of discussion between philosophers and not a matter solved. And it is very important to remember that when one opinion prevails, it has a tremendous effect on the future – thus making it profoundly vital for everyone to question everything over and over again… When we understand that the more recent information ir not necessarily more “valid” than the older ones [Levi Strauss], we will learn many things we have “forgotten”… How can a thing be changed without losing its identity? Perhaps things do not change eventually, said Parmenides. The cells which constitute our body as humans are changed several times during our lives. How do we know that we are who we think we are? Is there a “reality” beyond what we see? Finally the theory of Democritus and Leucippus (according to which things are changing) prevailed over the theory of Parmenides, and that has defined profoundly our scientific thinking ever since. Is that what is actually happening though? 22
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) has created a genetically modified apple that does not brown after being cut.  Is an apple that does not turn brown after being cut an apple?
What are the essential characteristics an apple has? How many characteristics of an apple can we change before we stop talking about “apples”? Are things really different or is the world ONE as Parmenides said? What actually is “is” ? What makes something what it “is” ? If we change one characteristic of something, is that something the “same” ? Yes? What if we change two characteristics? Do we still have the “same” thing? If we change all characteristics of normal “apples” as we know them now, in 2010, will they still be “apples”? Imagine the same questions for humans and your mind can blow up… If all of our body cells change continuously – even the cells of our brain  – are we still the “same” person? If yes, what about the change called “death”? Is that also a small “characteristics change” in our body and existence? Do we still remain humans, as apples that do not brown are still “apples” ? 
How can something “change”, if change means that it is not the same “thing” anymore?
Moreover, many physicists have begun formulating theories in which the concept of time does not exist.  Gödel had even found a solution to the equations of general theory of relativity in which time t is deleted. Ultimately is it not true that time is an entirely artificial construct? Is it not true that what we make as the passage of time is merely the movement of the clock figures?
If things like the concept of “change” and “time” do not exist then what could be the meaning of “Death”, since death is based on those concepts? 
And as the ” What does it take to believe in Death ” series of articles in the Harmonia Philosophica portal suggests, the things which you have to believe in order to uphold “mortality” as true are much more than the things you have to believe in order to hold “immortality” as the norm…
If something is an apple and then turns into an orange, then maybe it was never an apple and it was never an orange – the most probable is that it is something else which can simply turn into an apple or an orange…
Believing in the uttermost power of one or the other philosophical theory or scientific theory could be well “founded” some years ago. But in the face of recent discoveries of Gödel, Russel and others it is really hard to “believe” in the *truth* of anything else than the world itself. We must understand that philosophy is not fast food (another great antinomy of our time). We cannot simply choose the theory of our liking and deny the fact that every theory is based and tries to describe the SAME reality. We must cook all ingredients carefully in order to have a good result…
You know you have consciousness, but how can you know others also have?
If you dream in a shared dream, you will always think you are the only one dreaming…
In the long going materialists-dualists debate, people tend to refer to a material brain. However we should all get used to the fact that modern science agrees that matter is mainly empty space that only appears to be solid when two structures that are of similar wavelength interact. We have lived for such a long time with the conviction that matter or at least particles exist, that we have a very hard time to even consider that all might be energy in various states of polarization and swirling at incredible speeds. Matter is energy in a very intense and specific condition of aggregation. Particles are just packets of energy. This world is immaterial anyway.
Everything is Energy. All is One.
Do lobsters feel pain? (source) Do you feel pain? I do not know. How could I know? Small simple questions indicating the answers to all major philosophical questions… Only 1 (Leibniz, monads) exists. Everything else is a tautology. (Wittgenstein, mathematics) You can understand only you. Only you can feel your self. You can only talk about your self because only you exist. See the whole cosmos through self-reference…
Every kind of knowledge is tautological in nature. [see “Knowledge. Tautology.” @ Blogger]
We can only know what we already know.
And although we like to believe that we can get over the past,
our future is always stagnant in that original first thought ever made…
The only thing we can control is our mind.
The only thing that exists is our mind.
Our life is not our own. And yet we feel and act like it “belongs” to us. Sorrow and grief concentrate more energy. Could they be the meaning of life? Should every man seek actively his own thorns (σκόλοπες) ? (see here)
The leaf which falls down in the Fall is not consolated by the fact that new green leaves will come into existence. It cries out “I am not one of these new leaves!”. Oh you poor leaf! Where would you like to go? And where do the other leaves come from? Where is the Nothingness or the abyss which frightens you? [The World as Will and Representation]
Maybe with death we all return to the “matrix” from which we came into being in the first place, as Schopenhauer said. Maybe we are all entangled into the phenomenon of personalization – which is only an illusion (Gr. Φαινόμενον). Maybe death just destroys this kaleidoscope which makes us see “many” consciousnesses where only the One exists…
Logos is the child of our civilization, not the other way around (Durkheim, Mauss). And as Levi Strauss found out, the “σημαίνον” can easily switch places with the “σημαινόμενον”: the child becomes a parent after only one generation. How many times has our child – Logic – been a parent to things that we try to test if they are “true” based on their own parent? Aristotle defined Logos as something which can revel or conceal (απο-καλύπτει or επι-καλύπτει) things. And Heidegger correctly pointed out that the latter (the concealing function of Logos) is something we must look at carefully…
If every philosopher has logical arguments to what he says, then maybe the extreme – no matter how unlikely – is the solution: that everyone is right.
The irrationality of a thing is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it. (Friedrich Nietzsche, “Human, All Too Human”, aph. 332) The irrational is a proposition with no convictions. What a better way to approach truth, than without any belief (axiom)?
Maybe we should go back in time to find answers to the great questions. Because when it comes to The question of “reality”, the more old the answer is the more valid it seems, as Heidegger says. To question is good, but only if the right question is asked.
And as Impressionists once upon a time tried to forget how to paint in order to paint, we must try to forget how to think in order to really think …
Note from the author
The Greek text (can be found here) presents more examples in its effort to unify all philosophical theories under the same umbrella and more analysis on why being illogical could be the most logical thing to do… In any case, you can contact me directly (via email or comments in this page) to ask anything you want.
- Στους αντίποδες του ορθολογισμού, Λεβ Σεστώφ, εκδόσεις Printa.
- 10 επίκαιροι διάλογοι με τους Προσωκρατικούς, Κωνσταντίνος Βαμβακάς, εκδόσεις Σαββάλας.
- Άκου ανθρωπάκο, Wilhelm Reich, εκδόσεις Ιαμβλιχός.
- Heidegger, George Steiner, Fontana Press, 1978.
- Farewell to Reason, Paul K. Feyerabend, 1987, ISBN 0-86091-184-5, ISBN 0-86091-896-3.
- The meaning and limits of exact science (Sinn und Grenzen der exakten Wissenschaft), Max Planck.
- Nature and the Greeks, Erwin Schroedinger, εκδόσεις Τραυλός.
- Η ανθρώπινη κατάσταση, Χάννα Αρέντ, εκδόσεις Γνώση.
- Η εικόνα της φύσης στη σύγχρονη φυσική, Werner Heisenberg, εκδόσεις Σάκκουλα.
- Περί της αθανασίας του ανθρώπου, Williams James, εκδόσεις Printa.
- Η Μοναδολογία [La Monadologie], Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz, εκδόσεις Εκκρεμές.
- Η ιστορία της τρέλας, Μισέλ Φουκώ, εκδόσεις Ηριδανός.
- Λογικομίξ (Logicomix), Απόστολος Δοξιάδης ( http://www.logicomix.com ).
- Το Παράδοξο, Doris Olin, εκδόσεις Οκτώ, Αθήνα, 2007.
- Φρήντριχ Σίλλερ, Περί της Αισθητικής Παιδείας του Ανθρώπου σε μια σειρά επιστολών.
- Kierkegaard – Shestov – Feyerabend…
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