Quora answer: Are there things that are truly unthinkable?

It is a little known fact that there are meta-levels to the concept of Being that is if we apply Russell’s type theory to the kinds of Being discovered in Continental Philosophy as I have done in order to answer the question what is emergence in my first dissertation. Now what is interesting about the meta-levels of Being is that they describe the steps on the way to the unthinkiable. We start in Pure Being which the normal way we think about Being as a pure plenum of presence as described by Parmenides. Then later we discover the ideas of Heraclitus that the world is pure flux and change always changing itself and producing myriad varieties of every kind of opposite in the process which is Process Being, i.e. becoming. But eventually we find the the Timaeus that there is an odd third kind of Being that Heidegger called Being crossed out, and Derrida called Differance, and Merleau-Ponty called the Hyperdialectic between (Process) Being of Heidegger and Nothingness of Sartre. Hyper Being is very hard to think, but we can think it as the expansion of being-in-the-world. Merleau-Ponty breaches this idea at the end of Phenomenology of Perception, and explicitly names it in The Visible and the Invisible. In the Visible and the Invisible he contrasts it to Wild Being which must be the dual Hyper Being that is the contraction of being-in-the-world.

Now Deleuze made a great effort to think Wild Being in his work with Guattari calledAnti-Oedipus and Thousand Plateaus which talks about the rhizome and lines of flight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gil…). It is also attempted by John S. Hans in The Play of the World. And also by Cornelius Castoriadis in what he calls magma (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cor…). Wild Being is almost impossible to think, and that is because its best metaphor is the Mandelbrot set which is a plane of isolated points that each have intensities that come from their lines of flight, and whose structure is an infinite rhizome that can be explored to any depth by zooming in on the complex plane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man…). But beyond Wild Being there is still one more step which is Ultra Being that is a singularity and is literally impossible to think. Ultra Being are those singularities that Alice called the six impossible things that she believed in before breakfast, saying that impossible things can be believed in even if they cannot be properly thought as actualities. We can approach these singularities in thought from many angles but we cannot actually think them because they are like black holes in our conceptual field. Philosophers are always getting accused of looking at the sky and falling down holes in the ground. Watch out you don’t run into one of these critters, they can be terrible fearsome.




Posted February 10, 2011 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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