Many of us were taught that if we were intellectually rigorous and honest, we’d approach the truth, but what if it wasn’t so simple? What if we can be wrong because we are intellectually disciplined? The Conflict of Mind will explore this possibility and argue that it is not enough to be a good thinker: we also need the right mental models. But even if our epistemology is advanced, there are problems we cannot escape.
Essays in this collection will explore topics like how what we believe is right is organized by what we believe is true, and yet our capacities to know the truth are essentially limited. We need falsification to think for ourselves without going mad, but not everything true is falsifiable. To avoid repeating history, we need to be motivated to change how we act, but ideas are never as motivational as experiences, and once we begin experiencing a repetition of history, it’s too late. We need philosophy to avoid bigotry and totalitarianism, but philosophy itself can become a source of bigotry and totalitarianism.
To live with a brain is to live with a problem, and if we solve the problem, we’ll lose our minds. The brain is a challenge that must instead be managed—learning how to manage it will require our very best. The hope of these essays is to help.
“A phenomenology of lacks” is an “art-form” that maps out what it’s like to experience something that’s not entirely there or not always around but that was nevertheless apprehended. What kind of world are we in where this kind of mystery unfolds? Hard to say, but the answer will not be found in a purely physical consideration of reality. As hard as we’ve tried to escape it, we must return to metaphysics, but if we do, we might find a freedom there we long forgot that we possessed.
Metaphysics seems to be a study of what is “non-physical,” with a special focus on the “forms” that render matter intelligible. Phenomenology, on the other hand, is primarily an act of apprehension and “moments” versus an act of judgment and systematizing. Metaphysics has a long history of being associated with “systems building,” so what does phenomenology have to do with metaphysics? In this treatise, which arose from the discussions of Thomas Jockin, Javier Rivera, and O.G. Rose, it’s argued that phenomenology is the key methodology for “the new metaphysics.”
Didn’t Derrida deconstruct all metaphysics? Only metaphysics which rely on “ontological gaps,” but there is a whole world to be found in the realm of “metaphysical apprehensions.” Apprehensions are primarily based on the act of perceiving the world versus the act of thinking about it, a distinction the treatise elaborates on. Still, thinking plays a role, because what we can experience in perception are quick moments and “glimmers” that are gone just as soon as we notice them. To keep those moments in mind, we must think about them, which means we must focus on “lacks.” Lacks are not nothing, and how they are distinct is a main concern of the treatise.
“Thoughts" is a collection of a hundred reflections by O.G. Rose, author of "The Conflict of Mind." Readers can enjoy the reflections in conjunction with each other or treat the collection like a box of chocolates, for each reflection is a completed insight. “Thoughts” reveals how our ideas are like eyes, giving perspective on everything in life and that we all see from somewhere. Titles include:
Ideas Are Practically Eyes
Hope Entails Expectations, but Expectation Isn’t Hope
You Couldn’t Have Been Listening…
MAD Capitalism and Mixed Market Rationality
Art Is a Source of Mental Models
Reality Handicaps Preventative Measures
Absolute Moral Conditionality
Arguing Hume Through a Wedding Venue
Everyone Is Rational
Feeling Good About School
The Exit of References
Introspection, Empathy, Judgement, and Justice
Call of Design
The Best of All Possible Prisons
Nonrational Responsibility as Ontological Necessity
And many more. A complete table of contents can be found here.
Our identities, religions, nationalities, occupations, life choices, philosophies, political ideologies, political leaders—none of these are “given” anymore: whatever we face, we find ourselves full of questions. “Is this true? Is this best? Is this valid?” We live during what James Joyce in “The Dead” called ‘a thought-tormented age,’ which, as James K.A. Smith put it when writing on Charles Taylor, is to say that our world is a ‘contested, cross-pressured, haunted world [...] [T]raditional definitions of reality which previously provided stable [guides] for living everyday life (in courtship, marriage, child-rearing, religious faith and practice, interpersonal exchange and the like) are increasingly fluid, fragmented, and deprived of plausibility.’ Individuals today have more freedom than ever before, but at the expense of “givens” which would help them determine what they should do with that freedom. Choice has increased while direction has decreased, so where should we go now?
As warned by thinkers like Peter Berger, James Hunter, and Philip Rieff, under these conditions of incredible freedom, humans are likely to become existentially and psychologically anxious, and in this state, everything solid can become liquid and incomprehensible. In order to restore “order,” with increased freedom can come the increased appeal of escaping freedom into totalitarianism. At the same time, “givens” were deconstructed because of what Hannah Arendt called “the banality of evil”: sources of order can legitimize force and forcefulness. Have we escaped oppression through a means that makes oppression appealing? Can we change course?
If you are in Europe and Amazon will not let you purchase paper copies of any of our books, try Amazon.de (Germany).
*Thanks to Max Macken for the tip!*