Namesake – an attempt at humor gone awry: Do you exist? . . .

May 28 2011


Do you exist? We must to fit highly technical, large thought process into a very small product and service. We need you to possess broad concepts of marketing, education, branding, social media, the whole modern way of communicating in one person.

Namesake link:

Now as a philosopher I have a hard time resisting a statement like “Do you exist?”. I suppose you are addressing that to some figment of your imagination, but I cannot resist thinking you might be talking to me. But then probably everyone who reads your description of the person, who can do everything, thinks that you are describing them. It is a bit of an affront to ask others whether they exist or not. But this brings us straight to Husserl’s big problem that his phenomenology could not handle, at least at the Cartesian Meditations stage, called Intersubjectivity. Once you have bracketed everything, then you have the problem of solipsism. And to me it sounds as if you have a really bad case of that. It starts when you think you have this earthshaking idea that cannot be expressed succinctly. Then the next stage is desperation because no one else is getting what seems too obvious to you. And finally the desperation becomes too much to bear and we start looking for a savior, someone who can come in and express all the things that you have not been able to express with the simplicity and grace that is so needed to get your message across.

I know exactly how you feel. I have been there myself. Like the old man that Nietzsche describes as holding his lamp in broad daylight, being laughed at by the masses that just don’t understand what he sees that they cannot see. I have been there at the edge of the chasm beyond which only crackpots lay, out beyond the barrier reef between our world and reality, seeing what no one else can see. And like the old man is Coleridge’s tale of the ancient mariner we search for just one who will listen to our crazed story, our visions, the wonders we have seen which amaze us so. I know, brother, what you have been through and what you are looking for out there on the edge of the existence, on the headland above the world. And that must be why you say, do you exist? Do any of us exist? Is there anything beyond the fullness of this void?

I have been wrong before. And I am sure I will be wrong again. But I see from your answer that we are like kindred spirits. I too have written long posts that others would like to have simplified, and searched for that one person who can simplify my vision into a simple, concise vision, that all can understand, even the last men, the blinking ones. But no, I go on, and on, and on, and on, writing these posts that no one can bear to read, not even myself. Because the vision is too strong, and the flesh is too weak, and yes, it is fun sometimes. But no I am not getting paid by the word as did Balzac or Dickens. Yet I write for the ubermench, for the ones who see the last god passing, and the own who will come that will make my vision simple and clear, like a haiku, written on the verge of the unknown, the unknown unknown, or even the unknowable . . .

What should you know about me? Only that I like you search for the one who will make my message clear. who can cut through the wilderness of my thoughts, and be the perfect one who can do everything that is needed to get the message across. We are like signals passing in the emptiness of the night, the ones who search for the bearers of their messages, the ones who can bear the signs of what is to come, the ones who are crazy as all get out with the wondrous vision of Xanadu on our lips.

. . . . . . .

In the meantime, I could not help but think of your search for someone who could simplify and state your message, as similar to the responses I get to my long and somewhat onerous books, articles and posts, and the various comments I have gotten over the years is that all I need is someone to summarize my work in a clear and concise fashion which is an impossible hope of those who have other things to do in their lives but read this kind of stuff I produce.

It is very unclear what you are looking for, and trying to do from your description. However, I might be able to make some suggestions that could be helpful because I have struggled with precisely this problem for my whole intellectual career. I have packaged my theory, which took over two thousand pages to first describe as I discovered it, into just a few sentences, but it has taken me years to distill it down to that. And those years were joyous years of fascinating discovery and intellectual adventure. However, even though I have it down to just a few sentences, that you have to think about carefully, still people don’t get it, don’t understand its import. What you are asking for is something very difficult.

Even if you get a very simple and concise formulation it may not have the impact you desire. And the process by which something is distilled down by someone else is instead usually a transformation and interpretation that many times is wrong.

However, I will point you to my dissertation, which is called Emergent Design in which I talk precisely about this problem you have raised. It is at The answer that I come up with is quite surprising; at least it was to me. Design of complex technological systems that have many interdependencies, for instance Mars Rovers, do precisely what you are talking about. Many different technological issues are fused into a very small package, by a very difficult process involving group thinking, and teamwork many times for years. Anyway, I try to get to the heart of that process in my dissertation, and you might find that interesting, if you can manage the highly technical language, and the large and visionary thought process, that is packaged into a quite small package of a few hundred pages.

The upshot of the whole thing is this, and it is a quite surprising result, I believe. You are talking about Synthesis which is achieved according to Hegel by Aufhebung (Sublation). In that process things that appear disparate and in conflict or contradiction are subsumed into something that encompasses the whole mess that appears prior to sublation.

Now what I discovered during my research is something interesting that I do not think has been fully appreciated, but is a point brought out by Deleuze in Difference and Repetition. What Deleuze says is essentially that repetition is in actually that which CANNOT be repeated which he calls Repetition with a big “R”, and is the same repetition that Kierkegaard and Freud held in common which was the key to their thought according to Zizek. The model is in mythology of the primal giant in Indo-European myth who when he is killed gives rise to the aspects of this world though the distribution of his body into the landscape. But Indo-European myth has the idea of sacrifice as the key ritual action, by which the initial harmony (RTA) is supposedly restored by the act of dismembering an animal. You see the irony in that? We are trying to restore order and cosmic harmony (RTA) by the repetition of sacrifice which actually destroys organic unity in live animals and produces death, and dismemberment, which we in turn share with the gods. All Indo-European societies have some form of this primal mythic motif.

We are constantly trying to create emergent synthesis through reductive analysis. It is doomed to failure.

The goal of Repetition (wholeness again) cannot be achieved by the repetition of acts of dismemberment and sacrifice.

It turns out that in the design process we use pictures, plans, and models to approximate the whole form, but all those things together cannot create it.

But there is another strategy which approaches the whole form in a different way. It sees the whole form as part of a super-synthesis with the pictures, plans, and models developed in the design process. Once we form the super-synthesis then we can take that gift and unwrap it to get the synthesis of the whole form. In fact a gift with its wrapping is a precise analog to what we are saying because it has one, two and three dimensional around the gift object itself which is three dimensional. In other words the Gift as we give it wrapped is in fact the super-synthesis embodiment in our culture, and it is composed of the string, the paper, and the folded wrapping topologically by the string and paper to create a three dimensional envelope around the object of desire, i.e. the gift object itself, the desire for which is enhanced by its being veiled.

Now here is an exercise I suggest to you. Your “highly technical, large thought process” is composed of slides, a path through the slides, and the message that is inside that is all wrapped up and presented to your customer as a very small product or service. The very small product or service is the pristine whole form as synthesis. But the briefing charts you want produced that distills down the large technical thought process, are two dimensional, and the path thought that storyboard is one dimensional, and the briefing as a whole is the packaging that surrounds the large ideas that you want to get across in your clear and simple message. In other words the “highly technical, large thought process” is the whole supersynthesis which is the gift as a whole with its packaging. You want the packaging defined so that the mess can be sorted out, and you can access the whole form synthesis inside, i.e. the crystal clear, and simple ideas that your audience will get immediately.

The idea here is that the synthesis is easily split from the super-synthesis, but is impossible to achieve from the other parts of the super-synthesis that are added on to the synthesis or whole form. The implication of this is that the mess of the “highly technical, large thought process” is actually the super-synthesis itself seen by an anagogic swerve, and that if you can take that perspective on it and see through it to the synthesis within, then you can easily access the synthetic object that cannot be built out of the wrappings.

I don’t know if this will help you, but it is my gift to you for your grace in putting up with my strange form of humor that perhaps you thought was at your expense, but was really at my own expense.


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