Sub-Cognitive Fragments (#1)
There is a craving that is neither simple stupidity, nor its opposite: I want to think. It might be designated blogger’s hunger (or curse). Though trivially pathetic, it is not only that.
In the end, there is no case to be made for philosophy, unless it can teach us how to think. Reciprocally, anything that can teach us to think is true philosophy. (That philosophy would not be mistaken for a joke.)
There is a weak interpretation of this demand, which is quite easily met. If the only thing requested is a discipline, such that thought — which is already happening — is guided, and corrected, then logic suffices to provide it. The fact that philosophy typically understands its responsibility this way fully accounts for its senescence and marginality.
The craving to think is not, primarily, an appetite for correction, but for initiation. It wants thinking to begin, to activate, and to propagate. More thinking comes first (or fails to). What is required is a method to make thought happen. The philosophy thus invoked is a systematic and communicable practice of cognitive auto-stimulation. I do not believe this philosophy yet exists.
There are candidates for para-philosophy, which is to say, for things that makes thought happen. From the perspective of doctrinaire neoreaction, one might begin with the fatal trichotomy: religion, heredity, and catallaxy. Ritual traditions, eugenic programs, or market incentives can be proposed as social solutions to cognitive lethargy, but none promise a tight-loop catalysis. (Each nevertheless deserves extended attention, elsewhere.)
Any para-philosophy is a cognitive loose-loop, and there are a great number of these. They range from scholastic and physical training regimes, through psycho-chemical modification, to cognitive science and artificial intelligence research. We know that geo-historically, thought has been made to happen. What we do not (yet) know is how to make more of it, or how to address the urgent craving: I want to think.
Thinking is so rare and difficult that it is always tempting to be diverted into the question: What is messing with our brains? There is no reason to think such an inquiry is doomed to fruitlessness, but if it eventually offers solutions — rather than excuses — they are almost certain to be long-loop remedies.
Philosophy as cognitive method is an instruction manual for using the brain. There are many disciplines that can help to explain exactly why we do not already have one, since this is a fact that is roughly coincident with sophisticated naturalism in general. Biology has ensured that the privileged user of our brains is not ‘us’.
The possession of such a ‘mind manual’ would define a self-improving AI. As technology threatens to bypass us, it would surely be surprising — and even despicable — if people didn’t increasingly plot to take over their own thought processes, and run them. That is the future of philosophy.
A ‘private’ motive for acceleration is that right now, urgently, I want to know how to be able to make myself think.
With pseudo-syphilitic arrogance I insist: This is the sole philosophical position.