Sunday, August 23, 2009

A rant on Kant?

What with Google and its rivals, I am fast losing my detailed memory, but there are things Google can't supply-- like what did the 14th centruy Caliph of Bagdad say to the man lost in a labyrinth, where he had been cast by an enemy.
"Pray to God. He will cast your enemy into a straight labyrinth which is the most complicated and cruellest of all.".
This comes from Borges, and lord what do you know? Google now has most of that Argentine Dante's short stories now up, if you look hard enough.
And yet, I am not converted. Google has won at condensed book learning, at epistemology.
But we writers eschew epistemology and go into the inquiry into the ultimate reality, which is metaphysics. We want to out-Plate Plato, out Schop Schopenhauer, Call Kant a Kant.

Modernist writers have for the past 160 years rejected all science, all philosophy, even all common sense for, I suppose, an inquiry into the ultimate reality. Metaphysics.

Take Poe. He invents the detective novel, yawns and goes off into the Maelstrom, both of his life, objective reality and philosophy.
His atttitude coould almost be given to satire:
Quoth the Raven--how the f*ck should I know?
And we don't know.
The universe is a huge computer and we have only just mastered Cobol to find that particular protocol obsolete. The universe is so, so much older than we; it has worked out all the kinks, it has had so much more time. We're only here for a flash, a flea floating down the river of ether-- a flea with an erection, demanding the drawbridge be raised Never mind the Al Gores and the David Suzukis. They don't know, in spite of the bullshit and the intrusiveness into our lives.
Well, in literature we had modernism--let you pen go where it will, even if it is guided by the devil--and now it's postmodernism--"all is bullshit, fare thee well."
Well, not so fast.
This is the age of the average man. This is the age of the untalented. Reality TV for all....Hollywood, wondering why nobody attends movies any more ..Blackberry-wieding bearded idiots who can't drive.
We really need an owner's manual to life.
Maybe get it from the strangest sources. Like singer Alanis Morisette :

What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it quite figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette

Up yours, the Suzukis and Gores, who think they know something...Examine what they really say. They don't know anything. And the anti-smoking Nazis as well.
Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Strike a blow for intellectual and personal freedom.



Charles Gramlich said...

Lana and I were talking about this last night. We humans know so little and call ourselves wise.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Thats the whole nut and its shell. We know very little and yet think of ourselves as intelligent beings. Are we? Let's take a look at the state the world is in and how humanity has become the gum stuck on the bottom of every governments shoe.
Can we still say we are intelligent when we cannot seem to blame ourselves for the problems our economies are having. We whine and moan give me bigger and so the car industry does and with that size a huge price tag and even larger gas tanks and we pay them. Then when everything goes to hell we blame, compain, and whine because gas cost so much, cars are too expensive, and the government is in our business. Well let me see we elect men that say one thing and do another, we re-elect them and then blame their party... wait for it....... who marked the ballot? Oh yeah we did, so who is to blame?...oh yes wait for it again...... We are.
Our gas situation would be so much different had we done the smart thing like Brazil and made ethanol out of sugarcane in the 70s. We now would be 90 or more percent dependent on ethanol (100% homemade)and the small percentage left using gasoline would never need to be imported because we could support the oil needed for that.

We are a bunch of whiners getting out knickers in a bunch after allowing the government to take more control then it was ever meant to. So who is to blame? Say it with me.....WE ARE!!!

Sorry for the rant....

soft love,
T said...


Comment certainly accepted.

Now watch the U.S. oil interests try to brand Brazil President de Silva into a Brazil nut. They certainly went after Chavez in Peru. said...


Old Play Dough says that's the first stage of wisdom...Especially after a crack on the head. Like "I don't know nothin'.

the walking man said...

This is where being unteachable in my youth has allowed me freedom in my age. "Conventional" wisdom isn't either conventional or wise.

I will smoke 'em and vilify the fuckers that tax 'em yet I know whom I vote for...freedom isn't found in knowing it is found though in learning. said...


That's why I kind of dig Mahatma Gandhi.
freedom isn't found in knowing it is found though in learning.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Maybe I should do a Google search to learn how to cultivate tobacco plants.

ivan said...


Apparently, generic tobacco does no harm. Not as godawful as other pollutants in the air.

Mona said...

Tell Kant, that there are no Categorical Imperatives Nyah Nyah!

Knowledge and philosophy I don't dig!
Philosophy is like a prostitute, it can go with anybody! To every philosophy, there is an equal and opposite philosophy!

Truth is ultimate. I agree cent percent with Walking Man here!

Anonymous said...


You're way ahead of me on Kant.

I was trying to explain a' posteriori to my students and got a laugh.
Some had been in a halfway house for men.
But strangely, the great Einstein took quite a few clues from Kant.
But I guess it was all a' priori.
And then the poor Japanese got it a' posteriori. Boom! What a blast.

Mona said...

For what fear of an end, a'priori, did you have to assume anonymous means to communicate??? said...


Heh-heh. Clever!

Less a'priori than just jumbled fingers on the keyboard. I pressed Preview without putting in my name and URL, so it came out anonymous.
I sometimes think with me in my dotage it's more like Professor Laure Peter and his Peter Principle rather than the canny Kant.

I especially like Peter's Pretty Pass Syndrome: "My, things have come to a pretty pass!"


benjibopper said...

K'naan (the rapper):

"Any man who knows a thing knows he knows not a damn damn thing at all."

ivan said...


Yep. Pop music can explain.

Who put the bomp
In the bomp bah bomp bah bomp
Who put the ram
In the rama lama ding dong

Who put the Soc in Socrates?

Mona said...

Well, thank God that it is only being raised to a level of incompetence than Parkinson !

ivan said...


Yep. Parkinson's Law.

People have told me repeatedly to "stay small, or you'll go crazy."
I went large, got overwhelmed by too many jobs, too much work, too much paper, too many people and staff--and, well, I did go crazy.
Dean said, "You're not as good as you think you were."
I said, " I know." :)