Metaphysics of Wonder - Kazis Kripaitis
1. Cosmos speaks now through my stylus; cosmos reads here world-riddles you yourself have written! Yes, happy and ineffective! But would you read me if my voice were less nontransitive?
2. This text is part one of a two-part work. Volume One details the ontology, logic, and metaethics of the principle theory and Volume Two relates the ideas to the lived experience: aesthetics, society, politic, how to live, and sundry existential topics.
3. Write to be read from beginning to end and complicate piecemeal citation intentionally. Read thoroughly and skip not the Foreword – write the Metaethics assuming the reader has read the Logic. Analogy: record, not mp3.
4. On style, avoid contemporary reference. This text should remain as readable now as it was then.
5. Reader, use libraries and tools when unfamiliar terms or ideas appear — invest time in the footnotes, endnotes, appendices, and paraphrased translations.
6. Assume all sciences are a matter of physics and regard psychology neurologically. Epistemologically, assume a hybrid irrealist realism of adequate knowledge.
7. Refer to specific quantum physics experiments. Section G, Physics, covers a lay-person’s overview of the cited experiments, but a deeper understanding of each is required to comprehend this book.
8. Avoid over-simplifying complex scientific ideas, and avoid the complex maths of cited science.
9. Do not make the mistake of fusing or confusing science and mysticism – they each do this without the meddling of authors and dabblers.
10. Assume a deeply underlying relativity to qualities and values, metaphysical qualities like time, and epistemological values like intelligence. Stay within the context of a universe which is at once temporary and eternal. This work does not shy from necessary contradiction: for example, seek to uncover a potentially absolute metaethical principle, which may then be regarded by science; the mother of law is chaos, the father of chaos, law.
11. Refer to any subject exhibiting personality as a person – include insects and ultimately, all sentient subjects. Propose that perception and personality are interdependent. (2)
12. Assume that humans are, first and foremost, animals. Humans have brief spikes in our days when we exhibit compassion or complexity, but otherwise, we run an auto-pilot program found in most people. At our best we are ambiguous and relative in our distinction from other species, while at our usual worst we are blameless and at least as adorable as the possum.
13. Engage an exploration of things as systems with committed parsimony and flexible ontology, allowing systems to be defined and valued differently at different moments.
14. Circumvent the discombobulated style of modern philosophizers; their only audience is the academy. Bring these words down to the earth and deliver a philosophy useful to all. Play with words, but dizzy not for loss of lunch.
15. Seek not the reader’s agreement or approbation. By tradition, philosophers seek to convince their reader by the clarity of their reasoning, the strength of their argument, by that which is so clear and obvious. This work assumes the reader will disagree with the arguments, knowing that there are more perspectives needed to corner the absolute. Pursue the consequent discord and discourse.
16. Stive not to perfect existing philosophies; even the best are lacking and require reformulation, while none can ever be more than adequate. For example, the entire history of discussion on ‘universals’, or ‘irrealism’ vs. ‘realism’. While some philosophies are proximate or parallel to my insights, none reconcile my views.
17. Make no theological claims or disclaims; assume that the cloud of the unknown will always be larger than the gaps science is able to fill with its foam. That said, and for the purposes of the present goal, defer a default to scientists over theologians, thinkers over poets, analysts over mystics.
18. Completed in 2020 by a Vermont native in the spare-time of the Emersonian tradition, this text was not motivated by obligation or written to popularize or deflate. It wants to speak at once to an under-educated audience who will need to look-up many of the ideas and words, while offending the over-educated as little as possible.
19. The author disclaims authorship of this text, with the secret hope that it will resonate with the ages, perhaps by being re-written or translated. This, like the pock-marked pencil-and-paper manuscript itself, is a gesture of reflexive interrogation of the text with its own potential. All phrasing, postulates, formulas, and ideas, except those that are otherwise clearly cited, are my own.
20. With all of the force and fire of my Samogitian and Sicilian ancestry, a curse hence on the dastard soul who would claim my concepts as their own; always attribute this text to the name Kripaitis and rework solely to improve or update style.
21. Trot the gulf between science and existence with light feet and a fool’s grin: this work wants to resolve the dysfunction between physics and knowledge, a dysfunction I regard as a great disappointment of our time. Are we ready to find god in nature? Until recently, physics was a branch of philosophy called natural philosophy – a philosophy of nature. What is nature that we are no longer mindful of it? Slow down… stroll the old yard!
22. Define wonder, this volume’s fulcrum, as a bursting forth of the spirit’s enthusiasm correlated to the swelling of fresh and unexpected intuition, to the rich, cultivated mulch of wild awe. Astonished by the absurd grandeur of the cosmos, gobsmacked by the inexplicability of the quantum world, surprised endlessly by animal intelligence – how much wonder is cauterized by information age sobriety and the irrealist impulse to explain-away? Wonder fetters ontology, for ontology is in part a reflection of the idea that things are a certain way, and that the way cannot be easily explained-away. And? A bath in the fountain of wonder, so we may wash ourselves of social grime. Why? Among so many reasons, because the failing of relativist and probabilist physics to synchronize is not a failing but a demonstration that reality itself is wondrous and does not satisfy the needs of logic. This book elevates the absurd, spurring the reader to live higher by embracing the intoxication.
23. Author and reader are busy collaborating in my pages – leave them to it! I translate into syntax and semiote, that you may plant in your garden of grammar and sign. You translate again into the deeps of mind as wordless, meaningful, harvested interpretation. In our game, words approximate the continuum of meaning, seeking the identical across the continuum of minds, always adequate, forever failing.
24. So much structure, yet here are only wireframes. Verily, this work would unriddle the world, but in diluting mysterion, would accidentally reveal ever more insoluble riddles! We wish to cover ground, with no time for beauty and elusive parable.
25. This book, at term with itself, must be written. The scholars have failed, locked into subjects determined by career necessity and peer-review pressure. The scientists are spineless, and only so happy to be free of the philosophy from which the academy safeguards them. The artists burn bright but eventually lose faith and fire, realizing how little their dazzling innovations change the world. No end in sight, but what is missing, and why? Only bravery and brains bind the three. Yet, the science exists, the philosophy awaits, and the fighting artists are legion! This book would paste epoxy with two gifts: one on the world and one on truth. Somehow the world has missed the connexion between philosophy, science, and art – this essay is as ligament; somehow, we have failed to see that everything is true and lawful chaos permits truth its useful uselessness!
26. We must be harsh with ourselves, honest about what we face, not too optimistic to realize that we are mostly doomed to reason, not intoxicated by idealism, ready to fight! Reason dictates perceived reality, while the actual world giggles at us in our infancy even as it giggles at itself. Beyond the reality we perceive, we live sometimes in the actual, so it is not foreign to us – no ‘man vs. nature!’ And yet, we refuse to wear this badge of honor, we do not see that we are the living, breathing, creative aspect of the actual, we do not master this rank and make art of which the universe can be proud - of which the actual could actualize pride in its own art! This work wants to step in the right direction, clearly, plainly.
27. All sympathies and apologies to the reader for the annoyance of aesthetics, for the cloying irritations of style, unintended pretensions, and the other frustrations you will encounter herein. This text now goes forth to seek its exegesis!
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