I’ve been kinda paralyzed for the last few days. Even the times that I was able to begin writing a post, I ended up deleting them. Fortunately, I’ve become familiar enough with this mode of thought to realize this frustration merely precedes some kind of immense, general, conceptual breakthrough.
Whether I can express the breakthrough is another thing. Ah, whatever I’ll use that to transition. Gird your loins for TRUE RAMBLE.
I’ve noticed similarities in form between Marx, Freud, and Hegel. They are all cursed with the diarrhea of the mouth that characterizes someone who is trying to explain a dynamic system that they’re watching in their mind’s eye. I think it is not an accident that they were all inspired by Goethe’s human chemistry to achieve extremely similar systems within their fields of interest: politics, psychology, and philosophy.
At this point I ought to admit that I haven’t even read Freud, Marx, or Hegel, so I’m working with FEELINGS. Rolling eyes, but moving on. The important thing is whether I’ve received the correct impression from disconnected hearsay. The fun thing about this is I get to test the predictive accuracy of my theory like an archeologist simply by going back and reading these books.
Imagine that Copernicus had watched the motions of the planets in retrograde all his life, then for a couple of months he becomes depressive, and then one night he has a dream. In the dream, he sees the planets orbiting around the sun, and then his dream vision zooms in to the perspective of one of the planets, and from this planet he observes the other planets in retrograde motion. “Eureka!” he exclaims, “This explains everything!”
But imagine further that this version of Copernicus has no recourse to astrology, astronomy, physics or mathematics. In this imaginary world, he has no education, so he can only explain his insight in words. And he has to explain that, contrary to the blindingly obvious fact that we can see the sun moving around the earth, it’s really just a complex optical illusion. (Given the fact that most of Copernicus’s audience in real life had no recourse to astrology, astronomy, physics, or mathematics even among the educated set, it is small wonder Galileo praised him for his triumph of pure reason over empirical observation.)
In this imaginary world, Copernicus is stuck sounding off like any old crackpot on the internet. He’d be raving on street corners about “untangling strange loops” and trying to use analogies, and maybe trying to illustrate how paths of orbits with a big piece of wire he found in a back alley. It would be like trying to explain to a bushman how to operate a CNC machine over the phone. By virtue of his pseudo-insanity, this theory would never reach the ears of anyone respectable with such education, intelligence, and curiosity as Galileo who might recognize that the madman is actually correct, against all odds and observation.
Now, Freud was attempting to reduce psychology to a mechanistic system similar to Newton’s, by making use of analogies to the new science of thermodynamics. As I’ve said before, I think he was certainly on to something, and I believe his fame can be explained by a combination of strange factors. On the one hand, he was capable of achieving unexpected and striking successes in a popular science (popular, hence all the charlatans and idiots). On the other hand, he was unable to effectively communicate how the system in his head worked: as evidence, very few people in the world can make effective predictions using his theories. The system in his head admitted of complexities whose proper explication required partial differential equations and multidimensional functions full of mountains and ravines, rather than the three-second soundbites and affinity charts to which popular psychology must be limited for the sake of its audience. The truth of this difference is expressed perfectly in the rejoinder “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
There’s a battle in Vox Day’s fantasy novel A Throne of Bones where Marcus, the young, highly intelligent, well-read upstart gets his army to the high ground “the fastest, with the most”. According to the rules of warfare as they exist in books, this means he’s supposed to win. Well, his uncle Magnus shows up with a smaller army, draws up battle lines, and immediately trounces Marcus’s superior army from the low ground. This excellent anecdote expresses the difference between an educated novice and a master general: Marcus reads books on war, Magnus writes them.
This disparity between Freud’s ability to apply the ideas, and his inability to explain them, gives rise to his reputation as either a wizard, a charlatan, or a madman. I hope I’m not treading into blasphemous territory here, but C.S. Lewis’s well-known trilemma seems to apply to Freud as well:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.
The difference being, naturally, that Freud was not claiming to be the Son of God. Now, this is further complicated by the fact that rich people, women particularly, are absolutely entranced by faddish, esoteric nonsense. I suspect that if Freud could have achieved similar fame through pure charlatanry and stage magic, filling his office with colored lights shining through kaleidoscopic “magic” crystals, the same hordes of rich women would have flocked to his psychotherapy sessions. Actually, why am I even trying to illustrate this? There are easy examples I could be citing, not least of which is that guy who makes his living by staring at restless, rich idiots with holes in their pockets.
In the case of Marx, we find the creator of the most successful political mind-virus of all time. Marx and his pal Engels were, like Freud, trying to formulate a thermodynamics of political and economic theory. The Communist Manifesto now has a comparable death toll to disease or starvation. Do we think this is an accident? A hilarious mishap?
Tangent time: Consider how insulting it is to be compared with Elliot Rodger. I should certainly hope that if I set myself to killing some folks that I could do better than a measly six. I mean, there are six people in this Starbucks right now and, unarmed, I figure I could get most of them before anyone was the wiser simply by hiding behind the door in the women’s bathroom. No wonder Rodger was miserable- a man who can’t do violence properly is not a man. /tangent
Back to Marx: the man achieved precisely what he set out to do, allowing that he doesn’t seem to have been much concerned with economics. His genius was simply to prod people in the direction they already wanted to go, like pushing a snowball down a hill. Think about the perfection of his applied methods for eating away at the foundations of civilization- mass, universal education a la John Taylor Gatto, giving women the vote- these were all included at the very beginning! The conclusion is inescapable: Marx was ever and always crafting a weaponized political ideology. It is curious then that his monumental achievement- destroying occidental civilization with a book, as in dead trees– to my knowledge, has NOT been successfully explained or imitated. He has attained similar historical status to Freud as some confused mashup of wizard, charlatan, and idiot.
Now, Hegel…this is the most interesting one, and I think his ideas were the most difficult and most strictly mathematical, and therefore his situation bears the most similarity to that of imaginary Copernicus above.
I’ve been thinking about conic sections a lot lately, and how they arise from slicing planes through a cone. Depending on the plane, you can get circles, ellipses, parabolas, hyperboles, and even the absolute value function. Furthermore, this “plane slicing” is where partial differential equations come from. Therefore, anywhere in nature we find ourselves looking at a parabolas and ellipses (like the trajectories of objects under the influence of gravity), we should assume these come from slicing some sort of cone which represents the greater principle, and we should try to imagine what that cone looks like. This process for doing divining a cone from a parabola is described by Newton and Leibniz. As that Riemann for anti-dummies guy put it, Calculus is about differential equations. That’s what is was made for and that’s what it is about.
It seems to be the case that everything in physical reality is described by differential equations. Why is this? Why isn’t reality…I dunno…more discrete like Legos or pixels on a computer screen?
More about cones: imagine the light coming from the sun, but just in 2-D for now. The sun is sitting on the origin and light is expanding outward as a perfect circle because the speed of light is constant from any observer. If we add a third dimension for time, sticking upward out of the 2-D plane, then the expanding circle of light draws a cone with its point at the origin. We can extend this analogy to spacetime, where we use expanding spheres of light, instead of circles, to draw a 4-D light cone. Now, I’ve learned a little about special relativity, but I’ve never learned anything about general relativity, and it seems like this is the basic idea and the rest is just slices and 4-D conic sections and partial differential equations in space and time.
Now, something else about cones: they are basically just 3-D isosceles triangles. An isosceles triangle is fully defined by the point at the top (the height) and the distance between the other two points (the base). A cone is also fully defined by its height and the distance between two things on the base. A 4-D cone is also fully defined in the same way.
I think this is the idea Hegel was getting at. What if we decided to start calling the two points at the bottom of the isosceles triangle something weird, like the “thesis” and the “antithesis”. And then we call the point at the top the “synthesis”. Then the dynamic situation between the thesis and the antithesis in any comparable situation, full of conic sections and partial differential equations and ravines and mountains and stuff (call the dynamics the “dialectic” or something), can be explained quickly and simply by identifying the synthesis. Shit gets interesting quick.
The really interesting thing about Hegel, if I’m on the right track, is that he was applying this idea to philosophy (abstractions and generalizations), meaning he was trying to define every dynamic, cone-shaped system that could conceivably exist. He wasn’t talking about things, but rather talking about talking about things, which means that he said everything that can be said about things. Or at least that appears to have been his goal. As it says in Heaviside’s NH signature, he was trying to achieve infinite reason- that is, he was attempting to trace the storied but elusive prisca sapientia, the “science of all sciences”. He was therefore the intellectual scion of the alchemists, and perhaps the greatest of them. Einstein may have been the last, as illustrated by the “light cone” idea and the bust of Goethe that he kept in his study (and complete, multiply-redundant collection of Goethe’s books).
Again, this is all assuming I’ve got the right idea here. My reading lists are pretty pathetic. I’ll have to get around to reading some of this stuff someday between the useless proletarian make-work.
I now believe that one way or another, Goethe had obtained understanding of a piece of the sacred geometry and was able to communicate it reasonably well to his disciples. This would seem to explain the similarities.
Though this theory doesn’t require the edenic mythos, I can’t help but theorize about the edenic implications. This all seems to relate back to the idea that melons have a genetic affinity for the knowledge of sacred geometry. Subconsciously, they are empirical reductionists for thermodynamic systems, which means that if they are in a complicated system of many particles they will begin to get a “feeling” for the most important governing dynamics, and eventually be able to apply small forces at the right times to achieve large scale effects through resonance. This is the elusive “knack” that Kratman describes so well in Carrera’s son Hamilcar, and this is why melons only have the knack in complicated systems of human particles like business, politics, and war. Hence also their fascination for secret knowledge of sacred geometry: it is part of their genetic inheritance, but in most cases they no longer have the intelligence for even the most basic ideas that I’ve tried to illustrate above, excepting such almost-throwbacks as Goethe. Hegel seems to have been something else. I’ve previously identified him as an aspiepath, and that still seems to work because his fascinations were more mechanical in nature.
Well, I hope all that was as fun for you as it was for me. Publish button.