2015 in review


Thanks to all who have taken an interest in and viewed, read, commented on or follow my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Q: How did Hegel overcome Kant’s phenomenal/noumenal dilemma?

Hegel with his Berlin students, Sketch by Franz Kugler

Hegel with his Berlin students, Sketch by Franz Kugler

A. By plagiarising Plotinus.

‘Consider sense-knowledge: its objects seem most patently certified, yet the doubt returns whether the apparent reality may not lie in the states of the percipient rather than in the material before him; the decision demands intelligence or reasoning. Besides, even granting that what the senses grasp is really contained in the objects, none the less what is thus known by the senses is an image: sense can never grasp the thing itself; this remains forever outside.

…The only way to this is to leave nothing outside of the veritable Intellectual-Principle which thus has knowledge in the true knowing (that of identification with the object), cannot forget, need not go wandering in search. At once truth is there, this is the seat of the authentic Existents, it becomes living and intellective: these are the essentials of that most lofty Principle; and failing them where is its worth, its grandeur?

…Thus veritable truth is not accordance with an external; it is self-accordance; it affirms nothing other than itself and is nothing other; it is at once existence and self-affirmation.’

Plotinus, The Enneads (Abridged), Trans., Stephen MacKenna, Penguin, London, 1991, V.5.1-2



Plotinus’ subject and object and the activity of self-knowing

8-cell human embryo, day 3. ‘The vision has been of God in travail of a beautiful offspring, God engendering a universe within himself in a painless labour…’ The Enneads, V.8.12

8-cell human embryo, day 3. ‘The vision has been of God in travail of a beautiful offspring, God engendering a universe within himself in a painless labour…’ The Enneads, V.8.12

The One generates the second hypostasis Intellectual-Principle (Divine Mind) which in turn gives birth to the world of reflexive consciousness with its activity of self-knowing, and to Soul.

Knowledge by Intellectual-Principle – a unity-in-multiplicity – requires an object. ‘Either we must exhibit the self-knowing of an uncompounded being – and show how that is possible – or abandon the belief that any being can possess veritable self-cognition. To abandon the belief is not possible in view of the many absurdities thus entailed’ (The Enneads, V.3.1)

On the division necessary for the creation of philosophical (conceptual, spiritual) objects Plotinus asks ‘How is the self to make the partition? The thing cannot happen of itself. …The intellectual object is itself an activity, (my italics) not a mere potentiality; it is not lifeless…’ (V.3.5)

For Divine Mind, knowing its objects in their ‘life’, in their movement, equates to knowing itself. Plotinus asks ‘Now, can (Intellectual-Principle) know those objects alone or must it not simultaneously (my italics) know itself, the being whose function it is to know just those things? Can it have self-knowledge in the sense (dismissed above as inadequate) of knowing its content while it ignores itself? Can it be aware of knowing its members and yet remain in ignorance of its own knowing self? Self and content must be simultaneously present…’ (V.3.1)

Plotinus continues ‘Unless there is something beyond bare unity, there can be no vision: vision must converge with a visible object. …If there be no distinctions, what is there to do, what direction in which to move? An agent must either act upon the extern or be a multiple and so able to act upon itself: making no advance towards anything other than itself, it is motionless, and where it could know only blank fixity it can know nothing. …the intellectual act will always comport diversity as well as the necessary identity…If (the Intellectual-Principle) had to direct itself to a memberless unity, it would be dreasoned: what could it say or know of such an object? …In sum, then, a knowing principle must handle distinct items: its object must, at the moment of cognition, contain diversity; otherwise the thing remains unknown…Similarly the knowing principle itself cannot remain simplex, especially in the act of self-knowing…’ (V.3.10)

The ‘knowing principle’ is the activity of self-knowing – Intellectual-Principle and intellectual activity are the same. That activity is driven by contradiction1 and is known perspectivally.2

Divine Mind gives birth to objects as the embodiment of its outgoing creative power and in its contemplative recollection of and desire to unite with the One. This very activity means that it is incomplete. But the conceptual and spiritual development of its multiplicity (deepening self-knowledge rising from the particular to the general) brings it back to the One, enabling union with (vision/knowledge of) it.

‘Thus the Intellectual-Principle, in the act of knowing the Transcendent, is a manifold. It knows the Transcendent in very essence but, with all its effort to grasp that prior as a pure unity, it goes forth amassing successive impressions, so that, to it, the object becomes multiple: thus in its outgoing to its object it is not (fully realised) Intellectual-Principle; it is an eye that has not yet seen; in its return it is an eye possessed of the multiplicity which it has itself conferred: it sought something of which it found the vague presentment within itself; it returned with something else, the manifold quality with which it has of its own act invested the simplex.

If it had not possessed a previous impression of the Transcendent it could never have grasped it, but this impression, originally of unity, becomes an impression of multiplicity; and the Intellectual-Principle in taking cognisance of that multiplicity knows the Transcendent and so is realised as an eye possessed of its vision.’ (V.3.11)

Here, prior to the fertilisation of Christianity by Neoplatonism and the conflation of the hypostases by the Christian mystic Böhme and the consummate Neoplatonist Hegel is their source for God’s requiring diremption from himself in the world through his other, Christ, to enable the process and completion of his self-knowing and its resolution in a unified perspectival cultus of the Spirit.


1. ‘In that Intellectual Cosmos, where all is one total, every entity that can be singled out is an intellective essence and a participant in life: it is identity and difference, movement and rest, the object moving and the object at rest, essence and quality.’ (V.9.10)

2. ‘…since the object of vision has variety (distinction within its essential oneness) the intuition must be multiple and the intuitions various, just as in a face we see at the one glance eyes and nose and all the rest. But is not this impossible when the object to be thus divided and treated as a thing of grades is a pure unity? No: there has already been discrimination within the Intellectual-Principle; the Act of the Soul is little more than a reading of this.’ (IV.4.1)


 Plotinus, The Enneads (Abridged), Trans., Stephen MacKenna, Penguin, London, 1991


Our ‘minds’ are images of Infinite Art

Two cosmic jets beam outward from a newborn star. Half a light-year span across Herbig-Haro 24, 1,300 light-years away in Orion B molecular cloud complex.

Two cosmic jets beam outward from a newborn star. Half a light-year span across Herbig-Haro 24, 1,300 light-years away in Orion B molecular cloud complex.

‘…every mind…is a perfect and living image of the Infinite Art.’

Nicholas of Cusa, Idiota de Mente (‘The Layman on Mind’), 1450, in Nicholas of Cusa on Wisdom and Knowledge, Trans., Jasper Hopkins, The Arthur J. Banning Press, Minneapolis, 1996, 531-589, 13, 149



Review of Last Cab to Darwin

Michael Caton, Last Cab to Darwin

Michael Caton, Last Cab to Darwin

An excellent Aussie movie – that’s the problem

It’s an excellent Aussie movie – because it so well depicts, unintentionally, the fundamental problem of Australian culture.

Particularly, it is another brick in the very large wall of Aussie stoic ‘decency‘ (‘behaviour that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability’) in the face of loss, failure and defeat. Last words in the movie: ‘No pain any more’…’There goes the sun.’

Burke and Wills, Ned Kelly, Waltzing Matilda, Gallipoli, Lasseter, Phar Lap, Dad and Dave, Whitlam on the steps of parliament house… the list goes on and on.

It amounts to a commitment (with regard to this film, saccharine, with regard to Whitlam’s removal by a U.S. and British supported coup, grim) which is extremely damaging to the vision which is required in order to build this country and to which a healthy culture would respond positively.

Australian film-makers should reflect on what they already know – that film is a powerful medium – either to reinforce cultural stereotypes or to challenge them.



Images: top/bottom

I highly recommend the much more thorough review of the film which can be accessed via the ‘top’ link.

The business of war




Hegel fails the test of dialectics

Michelangelo, ‘The Awakening Slave’, marble, c. 1520-23, Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, Florence

Michelangelo, ‘The Awakening Slave’, marble, c. 1520-23, Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze, Florence

‘…art has the vocation of revealing the truth in the form of sensuous artistic shape, of representing the reconciled antithesis…’

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics, Trans., Bernard Bosanquet, Ed., Introduction and Commentary, Michael Inwood, Penguin, England, 2004, 61

The representation of reconciled antitheses is used to maintain dominant ideologies. It comforts and reassures.

The greatest art is that which represents antitheses unreconciled. The subject is left unresolved, uncertain, open – it entices with pathways inThe audience are either frustrated or forced to think.