I just watched this on Netflix and highly recommend it. The trailer on Vimeo is below. Thanks for the tip, oneanna.
I just watched this on Netflix and highly recommend it. The trailer on Vimeo is below. Thanks for the tip, oneanna.
Trump humiliates Turnbull (Spicer repeatedly called him ‘Trumbull’) in their first phone conversation. So what does Turnbull do?
He goes into parliament and, from behind parliamentary privilege, tears strips off Labor (note the American spelling of the name of Australia’s oldest political party) opposition leader Shorten. The Australian media, stung by Turnbull’s humiliation – their humiliation – make him out to be a big man. Wow! Can’t Mal dish it out!
Then Turnbull goes to the US and meets Trump (who keeps him waiting – the meeting was already to have been as short as ‘decently’ possible – mutter, mutter). Turnbull’s obsequiousness towards him is truly repulsive – his comments through a frozen mouthful of teeth facing the cameras, his body almost climbing out of his chair as he leans towards Trump (who clearly couldn’t have cared less), his hand thrust out desperately for the approving touch of great power (see second video). This time Turnbull degrades himself.
Now, with the scoreboard at 2-0 (one of those an own goal), he bides his time, waiting for a good excuse, then goes for Trump (full steam ahead lads!) behind his back, in ‘fun’ mode – true Ozzie style (‘Maate! Only jokin’!’). Remember, this is the leader of Australia publicly mocking the leader of another nation.
Listen to all the Aussies lapping up his performance in the second video (you’d swear it was canned laughter dubbed onto the Ozzie Oscars) – before they all fall back into line to lick the arse of the next American after ‘Harry’ Harris and ‘Send in the drones’ Obama only too willing to use their land and federal parliament from which to threaten China (the Ozzie media’s recently been awash with another round of dark, dire warnings about those scheming Chinese).
Yet again, what does this say of the attitude of the US capitalist class to Australians?
And much more importantly, what does it say of Australians?
13.6.6 The cognition of absolute truth – God is a Proclean ‘syllogism’ (concluded)
Cusanus’ contribution to Neoplatonism, as discussed (13.6.2), was based on his overlay of the Trinitarian myth across Proclus’ triad, which triad and adaptation Hegel used in his philosophy to both disguise and illustrate the stages of the Neoplatonic process, better anchoring Neoplatonism in the world, to maximise the mytho-poetic potential of his philosophy1 for the optimal conveyance of its content and to fully explore its potential in conceptual, representational and logical language.
Just as Hegel discussed the syllogism in his Science of Logic, Cusanus did so in De venatione sapientiae
This art [of the syllogism] the master-inventor handed down to an obedient student and gave instruction that he construct syllogisms in accordance with all the modes set before him. To some extent, perhaps, the artistry of the world is like this.2
It would appear from this that Cusanus subscribed to ratio – Hegel’s Verstand. Further, Hopkins wrote in a note to this
Every complete syllogism consists of three propositions: two premises and a conclusion. Each of the propositions has both a subject-term and a predicate-term. The two premises must have one term in common (either both subject-terms or both predicate-terms or the subject-term of one and the predicate term of another) so that altogether there are only three different terms. …3
Yet in the second last paragraph of the final chapter – Chapter 39, ‘Summarising conclusion’, Cusanus indicated how different from academic analysis was the nature of his reasoning
All men, not unjustifiably, praise the great Plato, who ascended [inferentially] from the sun unto wisdom by way of a likeness. Thus too [proceeded] the great Dionysius, who ascended [inferentially] from fire unto God, and from the sun unto the Creator, by means of likenesses-of-properties which he expounds. Likewise also Gregory the Theologian, in his theological orations against the Eunomians, urges that [this ascent] be made, because in this present world—where we know in part and prophesy in part—we must ascend by means of a mirror and a symbolism, as the divine Paul reports.4
Cassirer correctly wrote that
(To formal logic Cusanus objected that the absolute and unconditioned can never be caught in the net of syllogistic logic. …On this basis) every kind of ‘rational’ theology is refuted – and in its place steps ‘mystical theology’.5
Weeks’ point that the tri-unity of God is fundamental to German mysticism6 can be seen in Cusanus’ triad – modelled on that of Proclus
Divinity is Infinite Oneness, Infinite Equality, and Infinite Union—in such a way that in the Oneness there are Equality and Union, in the Equality there are Oneness and Union, and in the Union there are Oneness and Equality.7
The triads of Proclus, Cusanus and Hegel – as does Plotinus’ Intellectual-Principle in its working – all conclude in a perspectival cultus. While absolute truth is beyond one person’s grasp, an infinity of finite ‘minds’ embodies it. It is not we ourselves who know, but rather it is God who knows in us. Cusanus wrote towards the end of De docta ignorantia
Therefore, this union is a church, or congregation, of many in one—just as many members are in one body. each member existing with its own role. (In the body, one member is not the other member; but each member is in the one body, and by the mediation [my italics – cf. Hegel] of the body it is united with each other member. No member of the body can have life and existence apart from the body, even though in the body one member is all the others only by the mediation [my italics] of the body.) Therefore, as we journey here below, the truth of our faith can exist only in the spirit of Christ—the order of believers remaining, so that in one Jesus there is diversity in harmony. …The church cannot in some other way be more one. For “church” bespeaks a oneness of many [members]-— each of whom has his personal truth preserved without confusion of natures or of degrees; but the more one the church is, the greater it is; hence, this church—[viz.J the church of the eternally triumphant— is maximal, since no greater union of the church is possible. …8
Hegel wrote towards the end of his Encyclopaedia Logic
Every individual being is some one aspect of the Idea…It is only in (individuals) altogether and in their relation that the notion is realised.9
Of the Idea he wrote
The idea as a process runs through three stages in its development. The first form of the idea is Life: that is, the idea in the form of immediacy. The second form is that of mediation or differentiation; and this is the idea in the form of Knowledge, which appears under the double aspect of the Theoretical and Practical idea. The process of knowledge eventuates in the restoration of the unity enriched by difference. This gives the third form of the idea, the Absolute Idea: which last stage of the logical idea evinces itself to be at the same time the true first, and to have a being due to itself alone.10
Being, Life, Intellect. Science of Logic (Being, Essence, Concept), Philosophy of Nature (Mechanics, Physics, Organics), Philosophy of Mind/Spirit (Subjective Mind/Spirit, Objective Mind/Spirit, Absolute Mind/Spirit). Emanation, perspectival development and return. The roots of the ‘syllogism’ of the German Proclus are not traced through any structure of validity but through Cusanus’ Trinity and Proclus’ triad of triads to Plotinus’ contemplation on the relation between Being, Intellectual-Principle and Living Form.11
1. Magee wrote: ‘Hegel claims that the results of theology (true theology) turn out to be indistinguishable from those of philosophy: God is revealed to be the Absolute, and the Christian Trinity to be a figurative way of speaking about the three moments of the Absolute: Logic (or the account of the Absolute Idea), nature and Spirit.’, Magee, The Hegel Dictionary, op. cit., 245-246; again, ‘The Trinity, for Hegel, is a kind of mystic representation of the three moments of speculative philosophy.’, Ibid., 52. ‘Hegel conceives the first moment, the Christian “Father,” as “God in-Himself,” in potentia. God is the eternal Logos; hence, Logic. Exactly as do Eckhart, Cusa, Böhme, and Goethe, Hegel conceives the second moment, the “Son,” as Nature. Through the third moment, Spirit, God achieves full actuality as “objective” and “absolute” Spirit…Spirit is the most adequate “embodiment” of God.’, Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, op.cit., 122. Magee joins Hegel in disguising the influence of Proclus’ triad, of Neoplatonism – in Cusanus’ De docta ignorantia, the ‘second moment’ is not the Son (‘Christ’ doesn’t even occur in Book II) but the universe into which is contracted the Trinity (see De docta ignorantia II,127,7 [‘The trinity of the universe’] 75), Christ being the subject of the third book. Hegel’s distortion, as I have discussed (18.104.22.168), is in his wordplay ‘Nature is the son of God, but not as the Son, but as abiding in otherness’ (my italics), Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, op. cit., 14. Understood literally, these words are neither Neoplatonic nor Christian.
2. Nicholas of Cusa, De venatione sapientiae (‘On the Pursuit of Wisdom’), 1462-3, op. cit., 10,4, 1286. The Chapter title is ‘How one is aided by an example from the art of logic.’
3. Ibid., n. 25, 1359-1360
4. Ibid., 115,39, 1349
5. Cassirer, The Individual and the Cosmos in Renaissance Philosophy, op. cit., 12-13
6. Weeks, German Mysticism – From Hildegard of Bingen to Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Literary and Intellectual History, op. cit., 34
7. Nicholas of Cusa, De coniecturis (‘On Speculations’), op. cit., II,173,17, 252
8. Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia (‘On Learned Ignorance’), op. cit., III,256,12, 146
9. Hegel, Hegel’s Logic, op. cit., 275
10. Ibid., 279
11. Of Hegel’s ‘divine triangle fragment’ of 1804-5 Magee wrote: ‘It seems clear that in this fragment…Hegel is developing the outlines of his philosophical system. And to do so, he is employing the language and style of Boehme. Hegel’s first triangle, “God the Father,” is analogous to the later Logic (with its threefold structure of Being-Essence-Concept), while the second triangle, of the Son or earth (my italics), corresponds to the Philosophy of Nature (Mechanics-Physics-Organics). And the relationship between the two triangles is strikingly similar to the relationship between Hegel’s Logic and Nature: it is the telos of Idea to become embodied as the natural world. (In Hegel’s words, the “Idea of God” becomes “the universe of God.”) In the third triangle, God intuits the Son, or earth (my italics), as himself, and achieves self-consciousness, a moment that approximates the role played by Spirit in Hegel’s mature system. Spirit—human Spirit—brings the system, and reality itself, to completion when it recognises that it itself is the embodiment of Idea, and that all of nature (as well as history) is intelligible as a kind of progressive unfolding of its own being.
What is particularly odd about the triangle fragment is that it is so close to Hegel’s own description in the Lectures of Boehme’s Trinity. We know that during roughly the same period in which he wrote the triangle fragment, Hegel altered his philosophical system from four divisions to the familiar triad of Logic, Philosophy of Nature, and Philosophy of Spirit—the same triad seemingly depicted in mythic, Boehmean style in the fragment. I would like to suggest the possibility that Hegel’s study of Boehme’s Trinity played a role in helping him to formulate his system as tripartite. I do not mean that Hegel got from Boehme merely the idea of a three-part system. Rather, I am suggesting that it may have been Boehme’s peculiar interpretation of the Trinity that helped Hegel to see specifically how his own system could be unified in a tripartite form.
To put things in the starkest possible terms (and at the risk of repetition), the tripartite system that Hegel eventually arrived at in Jena:
1. begins with the Logic, which expresses a self-related Idea that is nevertheless mere Idea; an inchoate reality (“God in himself”), which then,
2. “freely releases itself” as nature, a scale of forms (described in The Philosophy of Nature), imperfectly expressing or embodying Idea, culminating in,
3. Spirit (the subject of The Philosophy of Spirit), which understands itself as the final flower of all that has gone before—as the fully adequate embodiment of Idea; self-related Idea made flesh in the form of living, human self-awareness.’, Magee, ‘Hegel’s Reception of Jacob Boehme’, op. cit. Magee’s description of Hegel’s triangle fits the order and philosophical development of both Proclus’ triad and Cusanus’ De docta ignorantia – both of which Neoplatonic parallels Magee, in his determination to argue the influence of Böhme on Hegel, ignored. I will discuss Magee’s views regarding Hegel, Böhme and Hermeticism next.
13.6.6 The cognition of absolute truth – God is a Proclean ‘syllogism’ (continued)
The significance of triads to the Neoplatonists of late antiquity, their belief that being is before the thinking subject and that ‘all things are in all things, but in each after its own fashion’1 come together in Proclus’ triad of triads – Being, Life and Intelligence2 which he suspended from the first, unparticipated hypostasis. He systematically explored in this triad the potential of all three terms in their inter-relationships. To repeat, Prop. 103 from his Elements of Theology is
All things are in all things, but in each according to its proper nature: for in Being there is life and intelligence; in Life, being and intelligence; in Intelligence, being and life; but each of these exists upon one level intellectually, upon another vitally, and on the third existentially.3
Proclus’ argument for this proposition is
For since each character may exist either in its cause or as substantial predicate or by participation, and since in the first term of any triad the other two are embraced as in their cause, while in the mean term the first is present by participation and the third in its cause, and finally the third contains its priors by participation, it follows that in Being there are pre-embraced Life and Intelligence, but because each term is characterised not by what it causes (since this is other than itself) nor by what it participates (since this is extrinsic in origin) but by its substantial predicate, Life and Intelligence are present there after the mode of Being, as existential life and existential intelligence; and in Life are present Being by participation and Intelligence in its cause, but each of these vitally, Life being the substantial character of the term; and in Intelligence both Life and Being by participation, and each of them intellectually, for the being of Intelligence is cognitive and its life is cognition.4
Each term in the triad and each predominant term in the sub-triads mediates the other two terms which mirror it, bringing out an aspect of them such that they form a coherent triad or sub-triad.5 The sub-triads are a yet more thorough means of exploring and determining the relations between the terms within the overall triad which, as previously stated, are not only to be regarded as three aspects of a single reality but three successive stages, predominating in turn, in the Neoplatonic process. This is how Hegel used his philosophical ‘syllogism’.
In On the Theology of Plato Bk IV, Ch. III Proclus wrote of the three gods Being, Life and Intelligence
All things therefore subsisting in these Gods…they are divided triply…Eternity, therefore, abides stably in the first triad. But the triad posterior to this, is the supplier to wholes [and therefore to all things,] of progression, motion, and life according to energy. And the third triad is the supplier of conversion to the one, and of perfection which convolves all secondary natures to their principles.6
He expanded on each sub-triad, comprised of ‘an appropriate peculiarity…an all-various multitude…of powers, and a variety of forms’
The intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods therefore are, as I have said, triply divided. And essence indeed is that which ranks as first in them, but life is the middle, and intellect the extremity of them. Since however, each of these three is perfect, and participates of the intelligible monads, I mean of the essence which is there, of intelligible life, and of intelligible intellect, they are tripled according to the participation of primarily efficient causes. And the intelligible of life indeed possesses essence, intellect, and life intelligibly; but the intelligible and intellectual of it, possesses essence, life and intellect, intelligibly and at the same time intellectually; and the intellectual of it possesses these intellectually and intelligibly. And every where indeed, there is a triad in each of the sections, but in conjunction with an appropriate peculiarity. Hence three intelligible and at the same time intellectual triads present themselves to our view, which are indeed illuminated by the divine unities, but each of them contains an all-various multitude. …Each triad therefore comprehends in itself a multitude of powers, and a variety of forms, producing intelligible multitude into energy, and unfolding into light the generative infinity of intelligibles. And we indeed, being impelled from the participants, discover the peculiarity of the participated superessential Gods.7
Proclus wrote of his triad of triads that
according to the order of things, the intelligible and intellectual monads generate about themselves essences, and all lives, and the intellectual genera. And through these, they unfold the unknown transcendency of themselves, preserving by itself the preexistent cause of the whole of things.8
Hegel, as quoted in his discussion of Proclus’ triad (11.3.6), recognised this
These three triunities make known in a mystical fashion the absolute cause of all things, the first substance.9
and made it the basis of his own philosophy. The same ‘objective rationality’, the same ordering of the terms, rebadged as Logic, Nature and Spirit, the same ‘mediation’ of the other two terms by the predominant one in, effectively, a triad of triads, occurs in Hegel’s ‘doctrine of the triple syllogism’10
In their objective sense, the three figures of the syllogism declare that everything rational is manifested as a triple syllogism; that is to say, each one of the members takes in turn the place of the extremes, as well as of the mean which reconciles them. Such, for example, is the case with the three branches of philosophy: the Logical Idea, Nature, and Mind. As we first see them, Nature is the middle term which links the others together. Nature, the totality immediately before us, unfolds (my italics) itself into the two extremes of the Logical Idea and Mind. But Mind is Mind only when it is mediated through nature. Then, in the second place, Mind, which we know as the principle of individuality, or as the actualising principle, is the mean; and Nature and the Logical Idea are the extremes. It is Mind which cognises the Logical Idea in Nature and which thus raises Nature to its essence. In the third place again the Logical Idea itself becomes the mean: it is the absolute substance both of mind and of nature, the universal and all-pervading principle. These are the members of the Absolute Syllogism.11
1. “The general principle…that ‘all things are in all things, but in each after its own fashion’, is ascribed by Syrianus…to ‘the Pythagoreans’, and by Iamblichus to Numenius. …it is explicitly laid down by Porphyry and from Iamblichus onwards is much resorted to. The later school saw in it a convenient means of covering all the gaps left by Plotinus in his derivation of the world of experience, and thus assuring the unity of the system: it bridged oppositions without destroying them…The formula was taken over by ps.-Dion. …to be echoed at the Renaissance by Bruno, and later given a new significance by Leibniz.”, Dodds’ commentary, Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 254 ↩
2. ‘Such, therefore, is the order of this triad; so that what is divine indeed is unmingled and ranks as the first; that which is immortal is the second; and that which is intelligible the third. For the first of these is deified being; the second is life subsisting according to the immortality of the Gods (my italics – cf. Hegel’s Nature); and the third is intellect, which is denominated intelligible in consequence of being replete with union.’, Proclus, On the Theology of Plato, op. cit., Bk. I, Ch. XXVI. He wrote of the triads of this triad: ‘here the first triad is essence, life and intellect, with appropriate unities. For essence is suspended from the first deity [of this triad,] life from the second, and intellect from the third. And these three superessential monads, unfold the monads of the first triad. But again, the second triad after this, was in the intelligible order, a superessential unity, power, and intelligible and occult life. Here however, essence, life and intellect are all vital, and are suspended from the Gods who contain the one bond of the whole of this order. For as the first unities were allotted a power unific of the middle genera, so the second unities after them, exhibit the connective peculiarity of primarily efficient causes. After these therefore, succeeds the third triad, which in the intelligible order indeed was unity, power, and intelligible intellect; but here it consists of three superessential Gods, who close the termination of the intelligible and at the same time intellectual Gods, and begird all things intellectually, I mean essence, life and intellect.’, Proclus, On the Theology of Plato, op. cit., Bk. IV, Ch. III. ↩
3. Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 93 ↩
4. Ibid., Prop. 103, 93 ↩
5. Dodds exemplified Proclus’ application of mediation to Being: ‘This may be expressed by saying that the triad is mirrored within each of its terms, so that while e.g. the first term has Being as its predominant character, it is at the same time Life and Intelligence sub specie entitatis (under the appearance/aspect of being). The scheme is elaborately worked out in Th. Pl IV. i-iii; its purpose, as we there learn, is to reconcile distinctness with continuity.’, Dodds’ commentary, Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 254 ↩
6. Proclus, On the Theology of Plato, op. cit., Bk. IV, Ch. III ↩
7. Ibid. ↩
8. Ibid. ↩
9. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6, op. cit., vol. II, 344 ↩
10. Hodgson in Hodgson, Ed., G.W.F.Hegel, Theologian of the Spirit, op. cit., 277 ↩
11. Hegel, Hegel’s Logic, op. cit., 250-251; Cf. The Elements of Theology, Prop. 148 ‘Every divine order has an internal unity of threefold origin, from its highest, its mean, and its last term. For the highest term, having the most unitary potency of the three, communicates its unity to the entire order and unifies the whole from above while remaining independent of it (prop. 125). Secondly, the mean term, reaching out toward both the extremes, links the whole together with itself as mediator (prop. 132); it transmits the bestowals of the first members of its order, draws upward the potentialities of the last, and implants in all a common character and mutual nexus – for in this sense also givers and receivers constitute a single complete order, in that they converge upon the mean term as on a centre. Thirdly, the limiting term produces a likeness and convergence in the whole order by reverting again upon its initial principle and carrying back to it the potencies which have emerged from it (prop. 146). Thus the entire rank is one through the unifying potency of its first terms, through the connective function of the mean term, and through the reversion of the end upon the initial principle of procession.’, Proclus, The Elements of Theology, op, cit., 131↩