The Nine Muses The Philosophy of the GOOD


Intelligibility – The Great Mystery

I said in another essay 1 that existence was embodied in Heidegger’s concept of Dasein. It is, in fact, the conscious will. If anything characterizes the will, besides the control it exerts, it is the acquisition of knowledge from the perceptual process. When I say knowledge I mean something that is intelligible to the will. Intelligibility is that really indefinable yet always present part of knowledge that is even beyond truth or meaning. It actually “defines” our reality. Remember I said Percipio ergo sum, non "Cogito ergo sum". 2 Perception is the most important part of being. We have certain modalities which allow us to make our perception (or reality) intelligible to the will: time, space and causality. They really make that fuzzy Gestalt of the present-perception intelligible to us. Within the time and causality modalities are interwoven inextricably, the concepts of succession, change and duration. The naked sensations, or as I call the totality of them, as existents, the continuum, are clothed in these things, in order to make them manipulable by the will. If there is an interface between the mortal and the immortal it lies in these very things. They are mortal since they are really not a part of the will, but a part of the sensational framework the body presents to the will. They are not even known by the will, but must be very painstakingly discovered and learned by it. They form the framework within which the continuum is presented to the will. They go before reason, or are the foundations of reason, since they seem to be present in the lower forms of life, before reason allows self-awareness to appear. They are not a part of the continuum, but clothe it; why, because they are a part of every existent yet not the existent; in fact, they “exist” in the perception even if there are no existents present (except of course the bodily image). They are like a stage and all its appurtenances which holds the actors (the continuum) on it and allow the play (reality) to unfold. The will itself is molded by these things in its interaction with the continuum, and the result is the Ego. 3

Are these modalities and this framework (and by the way these “modalities” are not really there so to speak, as separate entities called modalities, but are again the result of our “abstracting” mechanism which abstracts them, as things, out of the total “intelligibility framework” that clothes the continuum) relative to the will itself, or do the words relative and absolute even have any relevance with respect to them? Although these modalities are a part of the personal reality (representational framework) of the individual, they are shared (as a representational media) by all humans; therefore, they may be considered both relative to the individual Ego, yet absolute to the mortal world. Let me explain this.

What I have said about these things seems to imply that we have reached the point of the unexplainable with these modalities since they actually make reality intelligible. As Kant’s Critical Philosophy tried to prove there is a point beyond which we cannot discuss certain things and that is when we come to just what intelligibility is. But we see that we can still use them, in an analogical way to form concepts from which further deduction is possible. Mathematical Philosophy is bound up with the proof of consistency for mathematics. But it would seem to me that consistency concerning such things as quantity, number and infinity 4 can never really be proven since these things lie at a much deeper level than even meaning or truth or even logic itself. They lie at the level of that “form” of things that actually make them things. Even below abstraction which allows us to divide or separate things out. They actually define division or separation itself, so they can’t even be spoken of intelligibly because there is no language to use at that level. 5

What I find amazing is that these things are not “mystical” or “spiritual” but bound to the mortal world of matter. They are sort of the “missing link” between mortality and the unexplainable “I” of the will. How could they arise in Nature through Evolution, unless they were directed to this end. I see this as truly Divine Intervention; not a real physical type of intervention like a miracle, but an influence that leads toward an end that is preordained. And that is why I came to the cosmology I did. There is a Divine purpose acting not to force or coerce but to gently guide Nature in the right direction. Just as it acts in man, devoid of coercion but real enough to attract him through that inner voice to a final unity with all of the Universe. It continues in its influence imperceptibly, making man’s History one of overall progress, despite the lapses and futility of failed individual life. Perhaps one day man will see this and take the step which will finally lead his societies out of the wilderness of greed, and the stupidity and futility of power and hurt. And create a humanity that no longer creates so many miseries and casualties along the way. We will follow eventually, but the steepness and difficulty of the path is totally in our hands.




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1 The Essay "On Perception, Existance and Symbolization"

2 This is Latin which means: I perceive therefore I am, not "I think therefore I am"; the latter was said by Decartes.

3 The Ego is molded by the mortal world (and its intelligibility), even though it is a part of the immortal will.

Also here I will give another way of viewing intelligibility.

Another way of viewing intelligibility is by seeing it as a type of interpretation at a very basic level in the perceptual process.

A good way of describing the perceptual process would be by analogy. For instance, we might think of a word processing program that opens a document file for that program. Within that file is the content of say a letter we have saved. But along with the content (the words and the grammar of the letter) is also a type of markup or meta-language, that also describes the way the program will display the document (letter content). Similarly, the sense organs of a human perceiver in taking in the information of the mortal world (the world in it self), adds to these sensations (the bare knowledge of the continuum) a sort of markup or interpretation which allows the representational system of the perceiver to make the perception intelligible to the will. So there is this primary interpretation of the mortal world occurring at the level of perception itself. We might call this the “intelligibility interpretation”. This intelligibility interpretation is a part of the human organism, so it is a shared interpretation that all humans exhibit, which forms their basis for further interpretation through the logical and symbolical systems of thought.

We see here that the modalities are not a part of the continuum, but something added to them either by the sensations themselves or in the process of perception. We can see that this must be true since distortions of time, space and causality can be induced through drugs or physical damage or defects (and these are not shared among perceivers); and further, that the modalities are shared by the sensational processes themselves; for instance, touch has a space sense built into it, and even time through a progression or succession feeling. So time is mortal and begins and ends with the perceiver. Time is seemingly absolutely measured through repetition of an external (world in itself) existent induced change; but the change is what is shared not really time. Whatever change is, it is a part of the existents (remember we are ourselves perceiving existents) in the external world (world in itself), since it persists there, and affects the time modality in each perceiver. Change of some sort is an absolute necessity of perception itself (either in or external to the perceiver). Change is even a part of thought, because even thought has succession made known through change (thoughts have order in a succession).

Space travel has even made some scientists and science fiction writers believe that there might be other organisms in the universe that have a different “intelligibility interpretation”. This might be possible since their existent might be of a different nature from ours and create a different interpretation for their will. But if this is so how could we ever communicate with them? Their intelligibility would be different than ours. Researchers have thought that other creatures, like Dolphins might be in this category; but we can communicate with Dolphins somewhat, yet these animals don’t seem to have reached the important threshold of self-awareness of the will.

So in a way we can view intelligibility itself as a type of interpretation of reality, at the level of our species, instead of the individual organism. It is an absolute interpretation, that creates the standard for the human species, and lies outside of free will, in that it makes free will possible.

4 As to infinity: it is a possibility that can never be reached. It is by definition never ending. It is always approachable but never reachable. It has no actuality so an infinite number is meaningless since number is actuality. As a limit it is approachable, with the proviso of unreachability. As a symbol, it symbolizes a limit, or a meaningless non-entity. Its meaning is created, not given. As an attribute it has reference only to the imaginable not the actual. God is the only infinite being since His being can always be approached but never grasped. God as totality is the unapproachable limit of all things. These two statements define the paradox and the contradiction of God – He is both The One and The Many. His intelligibility (for man) is beyond the intelligibility of the mortal world, and lies in the intuition of the will.

5 They (the modalities) actually define the mortal world and everything in it. So they are the form of the mortal world, and although they are contained in the representational apparatus of the individual, they still “absolutely” define the mortal world for all humans similarly, as is demonstrated through the communication of meaning between individuals, which is made intelligible to all through them. So they are both relative to the individual and absolute to the mortal world itself. We might say they are the language of the mortal world that actually creates truth and meaning for humanity.

This brings up a question about truth and meaning. If intelligibility actually defines truth and meaning, and is absolutely relative to the mortal world, then truth and meaning are relevant only in the mortal world. This is correct, but our intuition allows us to transcend this “absoluteness”, by feeling an absolute truth that exists beyond the single viewpoint of the perceptual apparatus and intelligibility of the individual. This is the GOOD that allows us to transcend the intelligibility of the mortal world and approach the intelligibility (we cannot reach it, but we can approach it) of the totality of God.

This also suggests the difference between conceive and perceive. We can conceive of things that we can never perceive. For instance we can conceive of an intelligibility that is different than our own, but we could never be able to perceive it even as an imagining. So we can also conceive of the intelligibility of God, although we can never even imagine what it would be like, so too the GOOD allows us to adopt a viewpoint that is unperceivable, yet feel its rightness. Is this departing from Berkeley’s maxim of the non-existence of the abstract concept? Yes, and no. Yes, we are in effect going outside of intelligibility by conceiving something non-perceivable, but we are considering something outside of the mortal realm. We cannot look to reason for any aid here since we are essentially beyond reason. But that is exactly what the intuition is, something beyond reason, and in this case even experience. Like infinity we can approach such conceptions but we can never actually get hold of them.

In relation to concepts derived from the modalities of intelligibility, I would think that these concepts (as in mathematics) can only be thought of as indefinable, or created by us (as Euclid defined his axioms).

Originally Published:

May 8, 2008


June 29, 2014