Provisional remarks on Saturday 5 December 2020

After the ground-breaking work of Kant there was not much to do for philosophers. How to you follow on from Beethoven?

So attention turned to other matters, such as what was driving the history of the world (Hegel), or the distress of mankind (Schopenhauer). Where Schopenhauer spotted reproduction (as his successor Freud, sexuality) as a secretive driving force, another inheritor of Hegel sought the answer in economics (Karl Marx).
Then came the contemporary of Marx, Nietzsche, who for me, and in defiance of the contempt of most philosophers, stands head & shoulders above the rest.
In his late work N. came up with the idea of The Will to Power as a driving force. I believe this is best understood as being descriptive, but his denigrators (and, separately, those who abused his work for their own ends) thought that he was praising (the will to) power (the will to power not being quite the same as power itself).
The merit but also weakness of Nietzsche’s thesis is that Power might be expressed in all sorts of devious ways. Like sexuality, and maybe femininity. This was his accusation against Christianity, which he saw as exercising power by pretending that it was devoted to something else.
The Christians meanwhile were turning to Love, as better to promote than God. So God became Love.
PAUL objects that all these mono explanations must fail. They only work by assuming different kinds of power, or love, or capitalism, so they turn out to be somewhat empty.
This is where one can rejoice in dualism, which, at least, introduces an element of straight differentiation into the debate. For all the objections to Descartes, many will still wish to distinguish materialism from spirituality. True, these may form a continuum, but one can surely be more or less materialistic, from which it may be inferred conversely that a more spiritual approach to things might supplant Puritan materialism.
This said, we might suspect that dualism, too, has had its day.
There is another dualism, though: Good And Evil.
The peril here is Manichaeism, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, a heresy, despite which the Churches succomb to it periodically.
Not only the Church. Woke, too, sees everything in terms of Good and Evil.
Most wrongdoing and misfortune, tho, is not due to Evil, but to people naturally preferring self-interest, within bounds, and getting the bounds wrong. There is weakness of will, but also misjudgement of all manner of things. Regularly, people also get carried away with one obsession, such as accumulating wealth, or travel experiences, or sensory pleasures. Or praise (adulation?) even. Avarice, gluttony, hubris.
PAUL says that: There comes a point when the all-too-human (reference Nietzsche’s early book of this name) turns suddenly to evil, like the fresh milk going sour. There are mathematical equations (trajectories) that demonstrate this. Tipping points.
Nietzsche takes a different line. He distinguishes two dualisms: Good versus Evil, and Good versus Bad. The aristocratic spirit sees the world in terms of Good & Bad, whereas the slavish (Christian) spirit in terms of Good & Evil.
PAUL does not believe in God. At least, he does not pray to God, which has to be the litmus test of belief. PAUL does, however, sadly, think there is evidence for the existence of something akin to Satan. There are forces at work in the world which go beyond weakness of will, misjudgement, and all-too-human aberrations. As was observed in a bygone time: some people spend a lot of time devising ever more bizarre and cruel forms of torture. For them, it is not enough to kill their enemy. (Or the Other, or the disbeliever...). This gives them a sensation of Power.

My diagnosis is that mankind is suffering from Hubris.
The idea that when a supposedly universally lethal virus comes, it is the responsibility of Govt to make it undeadly. That when the sun grows hotter, it is the responsibility of Govt to stop earthly warming, rather than accomodating to what should be a welcome change. Not that Govt is much use at all the things it should be attending to, such as finance, taxation, criminal justice, etc. Grandstanding, tho, is great, and it is this that is Hubris.
This said, we do need to designate the Dark Forces behind the assault on common humanity. Some will be engaged only – only – in the reckless pursuit of profit. But others in this concatenation of interests imagine that they know best for the world and have taken on themselves to impose this solution, without presenting it for critical examination and in defiance of the basic human and children’s needs to see faces, breathe freely, hug & kiss, gather together. Not to mention the vaccines that may reaonsably be suspected of having a different agenda (culling, sterilisation).
I have no compunctions about calling these forces Evil. These people have refused dialogue, have suppressed inconvenient videos on the Internet, and now it is too late. We are at war. Füllmich has praised the US legal principle of Discovery, which says that, if vital information is suppressed, let alone misrepresented, that side in a dispute has lost.