Lately I have been hearing ‘antihumanism’ as a term being brandished around a lot more to refer to postmodernism (pomo). While it is true pomo is in some ways antihuman in its outlook it is by no means its main tenet.
I was hard-pressed to find anything in specialist dictionaries and general encyclopaedias with the entry ‘antihumanism’. A search of books came up with more. Most books with the word title were written in the turn of the century and were invariably contrasted against ‘humanism’. My point being this is a term that does not stand on its own, that it is always determined against humanism as disparate arguments.
Antihumanism is not a tradition but a group of thinkers and philosophies which have criticisms against humanism but is not a full blown -ism in itself. Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Heidegger are not “antihumanists”. Positivism and science, structuralism, poststructuralism, and postmodernism are not antihuman philosophies. The label is one of convenience, not one of coherence.
Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one — when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural — if the object and yourself are separate — then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.
I wonder if Husserl had read Basho or know of this quote. I wonder would he have agreed with it, would he have thought that what Basho is describing is that of the phenomenological project.
This being one with the object of perception had fascinated me in my early days. But as I grow older I have accepted that we will be forever separate from the object in question.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. That we can imagine to be one with the object is an important aspect of being human. But to remain in the illusion of oneness would be a counterfeit of sorts as well.
In my opinion, it is important to return to reality after insight, if you choose to call it that.
An object exists independent of our perception or conception of it. Michael Dummett is against this stance and calls it “colourless reductionism”.
Interestingly it is, in my opinion, precisely that reality is “colourless” that our minds colour it. It is the necessary part of our being conscious of our reality. And again, it is precisely because we erroneously supplement to the reality with minds that perhaps we need to reduce (remove) what was added to it.
On the soul. – today, the soul has lost its presence. Even if we are to accept it in some form it is as a metaphor or as a construct to further give us a purpose or meaning. We are undoubtedly purpose-seeking, meaning-making entities. And that is our characteristic. Our imagination is our greatest gift and our ultimate curse.
On the mind. – There is no metaphysics, that is, there is no mind. It “exists” insofar as a concept and as a process. It has no physical existence that can be found other than physical procedural evidence.
Just as light behaves like a wave and a particle, space “behaves” like an object. A position cannot be occupied by both space and an object, two objects, or two spaces at the same time. We infer space from objects. We cannot directly observe space. We can only ever infer its behaviour from things (objects).
In this Radiolab podcast about Einstein’s brain is an interview with a neurologist named Sebastian Song (spelling?). He says forget about relativity we cannot even explain what a thought is. We can point to where a thought occurs in the brain but we cannot say how a thought is made there.
If a thought is a thing then something should remain and dissipate at death. But nothing “dissipates”. Only the process called thinking and life ends. The body remains without the process of thought, that is, when thinking ends we are no longer alive.