Reality: An Open-Ended Question?

Does thinking approach reality as a problem?

To think is to think about something, and to think about something is to think about this rather than that. The presupposition of a this-or-that dichotomy seems to be the operative condition of thought, a presupposition that may be an effect of (or perhaps is the same as, or perhaps is an instance of) an anterior pre-reflexive (precognitive) movement or engagement.

Inasmuch as there is thinking involved in the process, if reality is posing itself to itself as a possibility for itself, then such a self-posing—in which reality offers itself up to itself—would be a kind of “question” which opens up the possibility of something other to be the case, something which is “not this” but could be “that”…the possibility of a solution, possibility of something truly other.

So the movement or engagement referred to above (that anteriority of thought which is simultaneously its condition) seems to be a drive or a seeking of a solution. Almost like a kind of “propulsion” by which reality throws itself to itself (or perhaps, we can also say, throws itself into itself.)

Now what is interesting is that this solution need not have either the negative status as the solution to a problem or the positive status as the solution to a project. These are differing ways of orienting oneself to the notion of solution within the mode of thought itself, but the real status seems to be inaccessible to thought itself precisely because the genesis of the condition of the possibility of a solution is anterior to thought.

This means that the solution to the problem of reality that thought itself generates cannot be found within thought itself; it must be sought outside of thought, which is also behind it, with it, and beyond it—a space in which there is a collapse of past, present and future and where temporality does not succeed chronologically but axiologically. Which is to say that time increases not in terms of the accumulation of durations (which is an effect of the grammatical, linear form that thought takes) but in terms of ascension through higher coordinations of value, where the movement itself loses itself in the very motion of its movement, where durational time ceases to exist.

So if thought ceases, and durational time ceases with it (effectively being the end of time as we know it in thought) what can be said to remain? To go further in this regard within thought itself is to remain locked within thought, yet again re-creating the entire problematic of thought itself. The only thing left, it seems, is to join the movement.

3 thoughts on “Reality: An Open-Ended Question?

  1. I’m about to say something really dumb, because I barely understood what you wrote. But it did get me thinking… What if reality is extremely deep and chaotic? What if what we know about the material world barely scratches the surface of what reality is? What if reality is a continuous and chaotic unfolding of the infinite, and that what we see and touch is only the encrusted outer layer of reality? What if reality goes farther and deeper than we can ever imagine, has untold dimensions and a chaotic coming into existence at every moment? What if there are dimensions of reality that we will never experience or know or understand? I read something similar on the Spiritual Naturalists website:https://snsociety.org/the-soul-of-the-matter/

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  2. That was not at all dumb! In fact, it is very much in tune to what I am concerned with in this post. Admittedly I do realize that it can be cryptic for some, and I tried to be careful with my wording but I can see why it would be difficult to understand…though your response does show that you’re following my line of thought, I think.

    In general I was thinking about how thought generates its own problems, because the reflexive nature of thought can’t ever quite grasp what it’s referring to. This seems to be the result of what Alfred North Whitehead calls the “bifurcation of nature” where nature is rendered to thought as both “the nature apprehended in awareness and the nature which is the cause of awareness”(1), where the former (nature apprehended in awareness) is appearance and the latter (nature as cause of awareness) is reality. So thought seems to necessitate an assumed “split” within nature and it is this dualistic nature of thinking (this-or-that) that seems to obscure reality from itself. I say reality obscures itself from itself because thought is within reality (It doesn’t make sense to say that thought is outside of reality).

    Where I talk about time, i’m thinking of the way that time feels in the way thought divides up the world (a repetitive sequence of self-same durations; “clock time”) and speculating on the how time is experienced in a mode of awareness that is not obscured by the dualistic operations of thinking. I see this as the difference between the experience of time when performing disinteresting labor (time “weighs” one down) v.s. the experience of time when performing love or art or cultivating clear awareness through meditation (time “stands still”).

    Hope that helps a bit. Thank you for linking me to your post!

    (1) https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Whitehead/Whitehead_1920/White1_02.html

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