You know you’ve gotten pretty deep into philosophy when you decide that you are trying to describe something that you think may be inherently impossible to describe. In one of my recent posts I talked about Hegel’s project, which I believe to be an attempt to capture humanity as a continuous entity. We pick up the torch where our parent’s generation left off, and we in turn hand it over to our children’s generation, and this flow of humanity is the world spirit. As I said before, in my undergraduate thesis I try to express a similar notion about knowledge. A problem that I have had difficulty surmounting however is that what I’m trying to say is that all human thought is transitory – a statement which seems to contradict itself. If I have grasped something meaningful, then the very idea I have grasped cannot be abovethe process of knowledge, but is merely a temporary expression. To put it another way, I feel that what I have said is true – not necessarily the way I have said it but somehow in the spirit of what I have expressed. However, this feeling cannot be demonstrated in a non-transitory way (if it is a true feeling), for any expression of it will disappear as surely as any dogmatism.
This is in large part what inspired my previous post about feeling. It seems to me that in a way the feeling is the enduring reality, while the expressions of it are merely temporary ideas. I don’t mean that others necessarily have the exact same feeling, but that it is in the feeling that I have gotten hold of reality. The only way to share the feeling however is to try to express it as an idea, but what I really want to share is the feeling. That being said, I do not want to downplay the value that I see in the expression of this idea and ideas in general. The whole continuous process that I am trying to express is the continuous development and exploration of ideas: we should not be settled in our feelings but should instead develop and express them. At the same time I think all of these ideas shall inevitably fade away – not in a futile sense but as necessary predecessors to new ideas and expressions. The purpose of the activity is not to get anywhere though; the purpose is nothing more or less than the ideas themselves.
The pursuit of knowledge is subordinate to humanity, I would concede to Hegel. Human existence however is of essentially the same nature – its purpose is nothing more or less then developing itself in all its instances.
Let me know what you think, and thank you for reading,