vineri, 5 august 2011

The Loneliness among Others: Descartes and Ramon Lull


Descartes emphasizes that his proper medium for meditations was gained by isolation among a crowded town.

Is a technique of philosophizing in need to give an account of the relation of its author with other people?

A negative answer is supported by all possible instances of other techniques that are mastered by the specialized workers or artisans. They would never make public expositions of their techniques, but only of the products obtained by using them. The techniques are rather placed on the level of the intimacy of the artisan and, moreover, such high specialization in using certain techniques gives him the identity as an artisan. Thus, we may say that the relation with others is obviously not on the level of techniques, but on that of the identity of an artisan in respect of the identities of other people who benefit or would be indifferent as regards the results of his works.

For this reason, Descartes’ claim of loneliness as a requisite of developing his meditative exercise is not necessary. Or, we dare say that is the sign of a lack in his identity as a philosopher. His loneliness should appear as a result of his meditations and not as a prerequisite device.

When the philosophical discourse establishes from the first move its departure from other people, this means that it confesses its author’s weakness or his weak believe in his own philosophical identity. Such weakness spreads between the lines of his discourse, that becomes kept in the constrains of denying its lack of reliability. The symptoms appear under the guise of crowding philosophical concepts, as if the left crowd of people is theoretically regained, or by presenting the philosophical ideas as a common good. Descartes thought of his meditations that shows so certainty as any other obvious thing from the common experience.

The claim of certainty for cogito, ergo sum may be interpreted as a strategy of defense against other human beings who move among a lot of certainties. They are exactly those people among who Descartes isolated himself. Of course, they are always much more than cogitative things and they are aware of this in their everyday life.

Another kind of loneliness we met in Ramon Lull’s mystical account of the relation between the Lover and the Beloved divine being: The Lover was all alone, in the shade of a fair tree. Men passed by that place, and asked him why he was alone. And the Lover answered: “I am alone, now that I have seen you and heard you; until now I was in the company of my Beloved”.

It is a loneliness about which the others put questions and is not the preliminary confession of the lonely Lover. It is that loneliness of any artisan when he shows his identity among others, and not his techniques.

And the philosophy should be closer to such love, if it wants to gain a relation with the object of thought and not only a negative separation from the rest of human beings. In this case, the philosophical discourse will undertake all the possible certainties met in the common life, if its object of love is the life itself and not a divine being. There would not be neglected the plurality of language forms that extend above the limits of a conceptual frame.

If the men pass by the philosophical discourse and affirms the loneliness of the philosopher, it is a good sign that the philosophy is not astray from his identity as a philosopher. There are many chances that any of these men who would want to stay for hearing the philosophical discourse will find that the loneliness of the philosopher is in fact a vivid companionship even with the people among he isolated without claiming this.