Friday, 29 August 2008

A Foray into Will vs Consciousness: Some Remarks

Peakian Dyad may be viewed as Will rather than Consciousness:  Reflections after reading Woodsprite's Critique of Dark Knight. . .


Kant tells us that "the world is empirically real but transcendentally ideal",  and in terms of the dyad,  one could say that this describes the eidolon and the daemon.   I have often thought that  -  philosophically speaking  -  the distinction between will and consciousness is an extremely important one when viewing the daemon (as Tony has conceived it).

A text which I have been reading lately  -  by Chris Hedges,  author of American Facists,  and now a polemical speaker against both fundamentalist Christians and atheists in America  -  points out the contrast most aptly.  In the model which Hedges uses  -  and he draws on Schopenhauer,  Nietzsche,  and Samuel Beckett to make his point  -  will is the ground of life,  and not consciousness.  This leads to a very important and telling conclusion:  Memory   is not what we conceive it to be in the rational mind,  not at all.   For concsiousness is a surface and a pretense;  thus does memory in its authentic state arise from willing alone.  Schopenhauer  -  and Nietzsche after him  -  has said that our true self is "  a secret self,  which knows only willing."  Memory in this sense works secretly,  and comes and goes unbidden by our rational constructs.   It is "not consciouss recollection of life"  says Hedges.  It is rather,  "wisdom".  Hedges asserts that knowledge is the domain of science,  but wisdom belongs to "real memory".

I had often thought,  after "meeting" Tony through email,  that it would be a profound debate,  to question him on whether he believed his "daemon" conception is conscioussness or will.   This feeling of mine increased several-fold when it became clear to me some months ago that Tony had a philosophical partner at his side  ( Le Marcs).   That this question is one in  which the entire debate between science and spirituality hangs,  to my thinking flags it as material for public discourse.

  Memory and will lie in the substrata of life,  and contain secret quasi-alchemical powers,  which consciousness  -  "the parasite of will",  says Schopenhauer  -  misunderstands.    Now that Woodsprite (Di)  has posted on the forum her beautifully written and reasoned critique of Dark Knight,  I think that this debate can extend beyond Tony himself,  and his Philosopher;  it can be taken up on forum,  whether under the categories of philosophy,  consciousenss,  or even  -  if we want to stick with Di's example  -  Itladian film.  For Di has said that she cannot conceive of the character of the Joker as being daemonic,  in the Peakian sense,  for 2 reasons:  1.  He does not recollect Batman's life  2.  He is not the upholder and moral guide of Batman.  These assertions are indeed true,  when viewed through the lens of consciousenss.  However,  when viewed through willing,  I argue that Joker may be seen as both containing true memory and as being an upholder of a kind of morality  ( Nietzschean morality).  And anyone who attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week would be hard-pressed to say that Barack Obama does not seem an incarnate example of Schopenhauer's "Will and its Representation"!   In any case,  at some point this discussion ought to be taken up on forum.  I would be interested in hearing others' thoughts on this matter. 

14 comments:

SM Kovalinsky said...

I wanted to reiterate that I was truly impressed with Di's critique; only it got me reflecting on the different lenses through which Peakian theory may be understood.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: Hi there, I hope the Denver Conference was as enthralling as you hoped it would be!

Please excuse me but I am only logging on via wifi from a lush canal-side tavern for 30 mins, so I will comment further on your post another day but I am very interested to hear that Hedges draws upon Nietzsche and Samuel Beckett (as I have done similar in a recent thesis of mine to the Beckett Foundation)

*how interesting*

I can't comment on the Batman stuff obviously!
*smile*

Nice to see you back SMK!

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Oooooh, forgot to add, VERY interesting comments re Memory SMK, very interesting indeed.

*strokes goatee*

More later.................

SM Kovalinsky said...

Yes, absolutely, it was electrifying and utterly enthralling, and all I hoped it would be, and then some. Yeah, this Will is very much a theme in Beckett's play "EndGame' and Hedges makes much of it in speaking about memory. You certainly might comment on the Batman part, if only in terms of what Di has so thoroughly explained in her very fine critique, but certainly a lush canal-side tavern and while stroking your goatee would not lend itself to such a condescending maneuver ( just joking, naturally).

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Naturally, yes!
*smile*

Anthony Peake said...

SM: I am very interested in following up on the writings of Chris Hedges. Can you point me in the direction where I may read some of his essays?

SM Kovalinsky said...

Well, right now I am reading Hedges' book, " I Don't Believe in Atheists"--which is a very, very misleading title( as misleading as your Cheating the Ferryman when transformed into ITLADTESOWHWWD!!!) It is published by Simon and
Schuster, NY 2008. It has a chapter called "The Illusive Self", and the sections on memory, Schopenhauer and Beckett are wonderful. He believes that will, and not consciousness, is the ground for true memory and true living---like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche before him. This is a tool for analysis of your dyad, I do believe.

Aloha Gary said...

Aloha Susan Marie,

I am afraid I am unfamiliar with the distinction of Will vs Consciousness to which you refer, if it is possible to give a simple summary, could you please explain for me? thank you

aloha
Gary

Aloha Gary said...

On the subject of memory, there is a group of Hawaiians who believe that ALL behaviour is driven by memory rather than the conscious mind, and when wishing to change behaviours we must first clear the underlying belief-memory or value-memory.

check out:
http://www.hooponopono.org
articles section
"There's Got to Be an Easier Way"

for a longer explanation of the principles

aloha
gary

SM Kovalinsky said...

I suppose the best synopsis would be to compare the emphasis Plato and the NeoPlatonists put on consciousness, with the emphasis of will that marked Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Consciousness is viewed as the transcendent by the former; as mere mask, surface pretense - even parasite or symptom - by the latter. Will implies something arising from the dark and secret recesses; consciousness is rational, a construct. Or so goes this particular argument. Memory arising from consciousness is somehow inauthentic, to S.: He feels it is a pose, a censored whitewash, while memory arising from will is dynamic, vital, profoundly mysterious. I hope that helps??? Aloha.

Aloha Gary said...

Thank you for your help Susan Marie

Mahalo
Gary

woodsprite said...

Gary: I struggled with Schopenhauer's definition at first because his understnding of "will" nd "consciousness" are the opposite to what I would expect. I would have thought will was the more rigid thinking and consciousness the more creative but he defines them the other way round.

I wrote a piece which I posted on the forum about this topic.

I would be grateful for feedback as I'm not sure I got it right.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Di, I read your fine piece on the forum. Thought it very philosophical, especially as you posed it as "a reply". If you really want to be in the style of the APA, call it, " A Reply to Kovalinsky"--LOL! I have posted my remarks to you on the forum, beneath it. Thanks for the email, Gary; much appreciated!

Karl L Le Marcs said...

I still ask:

From whence does Will originate if not from Consciousness?