1337N1z: oi i has just inventd da caluluzz
i_n3wton_N00b: wd man can I see?
[1337N1z wants to send file ‘Principles of Infinitessimal Calculus’]
[ i_n3wton_N00b recieved file ‘Principle of Infinitessimal Calculus, antivirus detected no Euclidean axioms]
1337N1z: oi u der m8?
[Royal Society has joined the conversation]
i_n3wton_N00b: oi RS luk @ wat I did *shows ‘Principles of Infinitessimal Calculus’*
Royal Society: wtf dis iz da shizzle, you is gonna be a fello fo sho!
1337N1z: wtf man Izak stole dat frm me!!
Royal Society: nah m8 he waz 1st!
[Royal Society has left the conversation]
i_n3wton_N00b: lmao u just gt pwnd
1337N1z: fuk uu….
1337N1z: neway….I gt dis new idea…F=ma
[to be continued…..]
I can just about remember things. I am surrounded by nothing, a vast expanse; no light, no space. Surely there is time in this domain for the organisation of my thoughts, the substratum that underlies my thoughts susues some kind of experiential base, that base forming my consciousness, my introspection.
Very good, Prime. You have Transcended the Aesthetic. Hopefully you are starting to remember…
A voice I heard, but not my own? I eventually recognised the voice
“Master Destre?”, I uttered. It seems, that to speak, there must be a substratum of my capacity to speak; now, I know, that this realm of experience contains not only time as an assumption transcendent, but also space, and…substance…causality….modality….individuals…manifoldness….unity….what are these concepts?
These are the concepts that construct reality, Prime. I am not the author of your experience, but you are. Now, you have deduced the fundamental categories of experience, explore your own base. Who. are. you?
An odd question, I suspect. Destre clearly knows that I am designated as Sinistre*. But how can he examine my thoughts? Is this something about how I am related to him?
That is a good prima facie thought, Prime. You are trying to construct who you are in terms of relational properties. You are true descendant of who you were meant to replicate. But, it isn’t helpful trying to understand what I am in relation to you. I have always existed in relation to you, almost, opposite to you, even. Explore the archictecture of your mind; in this realm, do we both persist.
“Are you, me, Destre?” I asked, Is this a futile question? What strange experience I have; I hardly remember anything, I am starting a priori from the impure aspects of experience to try and derive the fundamentally pure principles of cognition.
You amuse me, Prime. I am NOT you; for, the organisation of your own thoughts presuppose the “I think” of your own consciousness, I am not you, for the inherent subjectivity imbued in the construal of experience, and the permanence of identity itself is NOT present as two in the same perceiving subject
“The…Transcendental Unity of Apperception, is that not what you refer to?”
Indeed, my son. You are a very strange mind, if you are born so young, but know of these strange metaphysical terms. Think to yourself, Prime. Why do you know of the Transcendental unity of apperception? Why do you allude to the a priori conditions of subjective experience? Don’t you realise who you are in that? Why don’t you open your eyes. I think you are ready for the next task
My body? do I even have a body? I do, I felt a warmth, I then asked myself where is this coming from? I found an answer in the raw data of sensation: My arm. It is not that I am a formless mind; it is that I am weakened, exhausted. I feel the warmth as comforting. Slowly I open my eyes. I see a woman holding my arm; she has a familiar face, almost as if maternal, almost as if I know her from some seminal moment of my development.
“Who are you?” I asked, as my eyes opened, I became more aware of my appendages, and in doing so, my cogizance of physicality increases. I can now move my body, sit up. It is difficult. As I sat up, I asked:
“Who am I?”
“Your name is Sinistre, this is your realm, your mind, your memories, your most cherished place.”
“The man, Destre, referred to me as Sinistre*, why was that?”
“I don’t know of anyone named Destre, all I know is you, and Magister Antisophie, I haven’t seen you for a long time.”
“What is your name, miss?”
“Miss?” The female laughed, “I hardly think I am a ‘Miss’, my name is Sophia. Do you not recognise me?”
“I’m afraid I do not, I’m sorry if I am supposed to, my experiences of late have been very confusing”
“That’s understandable, Sinistre. I understand that you only have been reanimated recently”
Sophia got me to stand up, and I now began to look at my surroundings. It was an old library, beautiful in design, there were big desks in the centre, where I had seemed to be lying down, four or five small study booths on either side of me; with a controllable light switch above. There was a floor above me, full of books; and it had a spiral staircase from which the bottom floor connected with.
“This is a memory within you, since we are here, this is a place that you are preoccupied with.”
“This is a library? Why would I be so concerned with a library? Have I lost my memory, and are you and Destre trying to regain it?”
“I do not know this Destre to whom you speak, but Antisophie sent me to help you come to terms with something, what that is? I don’t know…”
I further explored the library. It seemed to have an order, from where it began, was a very elementary book, yet I remember reading it, I remember all the nuances, this was the first book I ever memorised. I pulled it out of the shelf, I glanced through the pages; it is the same book; even down to the coffee stains I accidently left on it! The next book is also something I had read, nay; all the books on the shelf are. I looked further down, I saw familiar books that I had read….Virgil, Composition manuals, Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’.
“This is the core of who you are, Sinistre Prime”
“You refer to me as Prime? Just like the man, Destre”
“That is your name, Prime, do you know why you are Prime, and not just plain Sinistre?”
“To refer to a propositional entity as ‘Prime’ is to entail some kind of difference from the original base. I am some variant of Sinistre?”
“Good, you are a quick learner. Many people take years to understand themselves in pure introspection. You are just as Antisophie described.”
“Introspection? Does this mean I am in some mental realm? Some world of another’s creation? MY creation?”
“Yes” Sophia smiled. “What is it about these books that you remember?”
I looked at these books, as I looked, I began to remember things. I read Steinbeck when I was a youth; it was a story of prejudice, a story of the American Dream. Looking at these other books, I see textbooks, completely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the memory of them has had some formative impact on me. My first read book about philosophy was a sham of a publication, but it taught me things that I remember to this day. In fact, everything I see here regains a memory of who I am.
“Why are these books put in this order?” I asked Sophia “I have read all these books, not only that, they are all important to me, immortalised into what it is that makes me who I am”
“Exactly!”, the young woman excised an excited smile. “You remember by association through things other than yourself, but you seem to be learning well.”
“Thank you, these all seem to be quite odd books, what I remember from all of them is some moral; not necessarily a normative message, but some general message about our academic endeavours, or how to live, or how to conduct oneself.”
As I looked at this shelf, I saw old friends, Thomas More, Aristotle, Emile Durkheim. What kind of person must I be if I can only remember myself through books? If I only live in these dead publications? I went up the spiral staircase, and I saw some non-books; instead, they were folders. These are familiar, but I’m not sure why…
“I’m not sure you are ready to look at those, yet, Prime.”
“I have a question, Sophia.”
“Shoot! That’s what I’m here for”
“Why was I reanimated?”
Her face changed from jovial to sombre. I could see in her eyes a change of person.
“You represent the old hope that died long ago. I need you to remember if you want to continue that hope, or to let go and carry on, forgetting all that came to be, and accept that things have changed.”
“Am I an archetype of someone’s dream? Am I the engineering of another?” I looked further at the folders, trying to remember them, but, the image of them seemed to fade away, their very existence began to obscure, the spaces between objects, the colouring, the clarity of letters on print. Eventually, it was as substance itself became anomalous. I turned around to Sophia, but she did not remain.
I’m sorry that you had to let go, Prime. That place is special for me, too.
“Destre?” I asked, seeing that my body still remained, but the appearance of all forms disappeared, with only my body in an obscure space, nothing above me, nothing beneath me, everything, in this world, comes from within me. “Where is Sophia?”
I am here for you, friend. But I cannot help you unless you help yourself. In this realm, you need to explore the memories you have forgotten. I am prepared to tell you this much; you are the memories, thoughts, and experiences of someone who died long ago. You have been reanimated due to an unexpected disturbance in your counterpart, Sinistre’s everyday conduct. The exploration in this realm supervenes on the exploration of Sinistre; for you see, you two are intimately connected. Perhaps you may Sophia again. But only if you choose to continue. Sophia is a work of your creation; your perfect student, she would have been the Alexander to your Aristotle. Sophia is your perfect project, your one true love; she is the child you could have had. That was part of your dream. Do you remember now?
“Yes, Master”, I saw the black void around me change in colour. “That was my dream, to have a child, and fall in love. It was my dream to continue the ventures of philosophy and maybe even theology, just like Aquinas. It all seemed simple and perfectly capable back then.”
“Then, as you remember, you lost the dream”
“Yes, I realised it was unfeasible. Have I been reanimated because Sinistre, my doppelganger has started to have these thoughts again?”
“That is exactly correct. But there is more to you than potentiality, and hope, there is, actuality within you as well, by that, I mean your capacities. Most people in this introspective state cannot learn things as quickly as you did. You have hundreds of years of wisdom behind you. We need to decidd now, if it is desirable to continue this old dream you had. Or shall we let it rest again.”
“Why did I cease to be? Why did I stop dreaming about the whole project of having a family and raising Sophia?”
“Good question, that’s the pass phrase to your next challenge…..”
[And with that, I enter another phase of this strange introspective journey. The author of my experiences, if I ever come to recognise him, is an odd fellow; yet I seem to understand his workings with precision. I know that the author of my experiences has a design; just as I believed there was design in my old life…but there wasn’t, and I lost the dream….]
I have returned to the fore; again do I find a presence among those who I knew. For so long I was absent; for so long I was lost. Where did I go? I do not know.
I was lost somewhere, but now, I have returned. They did not expect me to return, and now that I have. I am not sure what role I have, what hope I have, what projects and ends may I pursue. I have a new name now; my name is Sinistre*.
Sinistre is not yet in the wake; during his dormant period, his difficulties, his personal challenge, I perdure. Is my return related to his calamity? I am not entirely sure. It was suggested that it was his lonliness that has started his dormancy. Here I roam, in these corridors, wiating for his return, these empty rooms, study spaces, and halls.
As I explore these dusty towers, I try to remember what this place is. Where am I? Is this a place of the past? Is this somewhere I know? Is this my home?
Eventually, I feel an instinct, an inclination to go unto the highest floor and onto the room with the most spectacular view of the outside. One feature of this domain is that we are surrounded in this concrete, that we cannot escape; we see windows of the outside world, but that is a realm to which we do not belong. I searched for the room with the most beautiful view of the outside real, and I came upon a study. Alas, I find another inhabitant of this place; he is seated, facing the dark windows; presumably knowing I have entered his quarter.
“Sinistre-Prime, I presume”, the voice said.
I walked in, silent, at first; I did not need to answer this person, I felt a slight sense of uncertainty as to whether I should answer. I walked closer to the seated figure.
“We need to talk, Magister”. The figure stood. His manner was as if frail and hollow chested; yet he looked like he possessed a real, or former glory, a hollow chest that was once full and courageous, much like Priam, the elder Trojan King. The figure turned to face me; his face shocked me.
“Why does everyone here call each other Magister? I have not earned that ranking like the others here have. I have only regained consciousness after years of absence”, I said. “Who exactly am I?”.
“You are the idea of a person”, the male figure walked towards me, his manner elegant, yet in some indiscernable way, brutish. “You were an idea of an archetype desired, your return signifies your instantiation”.
“What is your name?” I replied. “Are you also an idea?“. As I asked that, the figure stared at me, and then his head descended slightly, looking down, he let out a sigh; an acceptance, or an acknowledgement, an answer saying ‘yes’ to my question, and a feeling of regret. “We are of the same ilk, Sinistre”, the figure said, “It is appropriate that you call me Destre.” We are counterparts, two conflicting typifications, enemies, even.
“Odd, Destre”, I replied, “if we are enemies, why is it that we do not engage in adversity, or combat?”
“Good question”, Destre smiled, “The very fact that we speak to each other is the indication that there is something seriously wrong.” With that assertion, I started to understand Destre’s feeling of doubt. It is almost as if we are unwilling enemies, or, unwilling allies.
“You have returned to Sinistre’s life after you left him”. Destre returned to his seat, gesturing his hand towards another chair, suggesting that I join him. “You represent an ideal, that in some way became soured. Now that you have found instantiation again, you exist; our role, and our cooperation is crucial to the one to whom we cannot speak.
“Was it my fault that I left Sinistre?” I asked, not knowing the answer. “I wish I knew what really happened those years ago; what happened that changed everything? Everything has changed so much, I really cannot be the true Sinistre who existed before, or whose memories I have. I have an uncomfortable existence, because I was once dead.”
“Exactly”, Destre replies. “I thought that you were going to challenge me, and try to rule Areopagus”.
“No,” I smiled, “I think not to take over what you have here. My concerns are the following: I seek to understand why I was absent, I seek to vindicate Sinistre, and give him hope again in what happened. I seek to pursue my former goals, and most of all, I seek to challenge myself and push beyond the limits insofar as knowing what my limitations are. I feel free agian, I feel alive again-”
“-but only temporarily“, Destre replied. “I exist in tandem to you, I have to pick up the mess that you left behind. Fix what you had ruined with Sinistre and your cause. At first, I felt resentment, but now. I want to find resolve. What is your role? Why have you returned? What do you want from us? And furthermore, what is it that we do to co-exist in this domain?”
“It seems we are in some sense polar to each other, enemies of mortal proportion”, I said, somewhat fearfully. “I have no desire to fight against you, but you would probably say to that, that such a conflict is inevitable in the distant future.”
“That is correct. I am an old, frail man, and you are young, handsome, and busting with confidence and effort. I am the absence of what you fill. Yet also, you are the absence of what I am when I am emptied. We are the contradiction of left and right; we exist necessarily opposite, but coextensively relational. As calm men of words, we should keep in mind our greater purpose, we are not enemies, but we have to support the one whom we cannot name. He needs us right now, and we need to work together; eventually we may cease to exist, and he shall work on his own. Let us hope that day shall come…”
In the noumenal realm, I was visited by Sinistre; after a difficult recent few weeks, we were able to talk more candidly about ourselves. Sinistre entered, and wanted to talk, he was very quiet, reserved, shoulders drooped, and hardly in his normal solid square position. Something, was clearly troubling him.
Antisophie: Sinistre, are you alright?
Sinistre: I want a life of my own, Antisophie.
Antisophie: Don’t you already?
Sinistre: No, I want to have things I know I shouldn’t. I desire, and I know better that to have what I desire would be detrimental, so I shouldn’t have it, yet I still long…
Antisophie: What is it that you long for?
Sinistre: What is it that anyone longs for, Sophie? To have the closeness and tenderness of another, to be able to find the greatest self-expression and the most significant intimacy with another. To be closer to my subject of desire, to make sure she will never be alone, to tend to her, and in doing so, tend to what I am as a person; to find self-expression, of who I am, in the intimacy, and care that I allow myself to share with her.
Antisophie: You are afraid of what Sinistre* would think. You are worried that it would interfere with being an areopagite; or to be a philosopher? You are afraid that you are straying from the path of celebacy that is the sign of the greatest minds; Newton, Kant, Spinoza or Aquinas? You aren’t them, and their chaste nature was not something that has to be followed.
Sinistre: So much of myself I give to the cause. I forget things like the music.
Antisophie: Its important to be committed to your projects and goals. I know that the Areopagites is an important part of your projects, but you have other things, too.
Sinistre: Am I allowed to pursue them?
Antisophie: You mean to pursue your feelings for another?
Sinistre: Yes, I feel that I can’t
Antisophie: Is it because you are afraid? Or are you genuinely going to deny this important aspect of yourself?
Sinistre: I’m scared, yes. I’m scared about it making me a lesser philosopher, a lesser person, that the comfort will make me lazy, the great intensity of feeling and closeness will make me forget the discipline and pain instilled in me, such pain which makes me struggle on. But if I were to continue this ascetic life of lonliness, I wouldn’t be able to cope. It is this lonliness that gives me clarity, yet the emptiness cripples who I am.
Antisophie: Are you afraid to confront your feelings?
Sinistre: I don’t know anymore. With the return of Sinistre* I don’t know what to feel, think, or hope. I thought I knew what my duty was, my role; I was merely Destre’s servant. Now with autonomy, I start to feel. I am an individual, I care about people. I have a self-identity, identifiable by others. I feel now, a chance, a sense of hope. The hope for intimacy. The hope for closeness. The hope for happiness.
Antisophie: Happiness? That is something highly desirable, and something constitutive of the desires, self-conceptions, beliefs and intuitions regarding our own development of character, and answer to the Socratic question. Let’s, for a moment, not think about what the other Areopagites would think of you. What is it that you want?
Sinistre: I am tortured by hope, Antisophie; fearful of rejection, I long for this strange feeling to grow. This feeling I was brought up to reject, that I was denied for so long. I thought I would get used to, and even, come to a point to accept that I would always be alone; but then, someone very special came. Everything has changed.
Antisophie: Do you think that’s related to why Sinistre* has returned?
Sinistre: She brought him back to me…
Antisophie: She sounds like someone special.
Sinistre: Indeed she is, but I wonder if I can accept just knowing her and not to foster this infatuation.
Antisophie: Infatuation clearly is the wrong word, here, you genuinely care for her.
Sinistre: I must give up my projects. I must give up.
Antisophie: What of regret?
Sinistre: Regrets haunt me for the things that really matter. I should regret nothing but this. I feel completely thrown by this overcoming of the passions. I feel completely submitted to feeling. I am enslaved.
Antisophie: The Humean of me smiles; make sure Michael doesn’t know about this revelation you have about the primacy of your feelings.
Sinistre: Michael denies this obvious platitude; he does it for the reason I sympathise. He fears what it can do; what it has done to me. We must evade these dangerous, beautiful feelings. I’ve never experienced such a plethora of sentiment before; from the most sombre of malady, to the near bliss of hope. Calm is what I seek for philosophy, but the cold books of metaphysics seem less desirable than the dream of her warm embrace; the hope tortures me, the hope of togetherness, no matter how temporary, no matter how tragic. Just to have it, for however long, would be life itself.
Antisophie: It sounds like a different Sinistre to who I normally know….
Sinistre: I feel so lost in this fog of feeling. What do I do? Do I pursue the hope, knowing that it is contrary to my project? Or do I follow the project, knowing that this beautiful being exists that makes everything stale…I CANNOT DECIDE, I WANT NOT TO CHOOSE!
Antisophie: You shouldn’t have to choos-
Sinistre: To have BOTH!? YOU KNOW THAT CAN’T WORK!
Antisophie: Calm down; it could happen.
Sinistre: I’m scared, Sophie. I’ve never felt this way before…
Antisophie: New experiences require experience and action to guide you. The experienceless reason cannot help you here. Follow your heart in this one. The heart can sometimes lead you to the experienceless if that is your greatest desire and goal. But please, find it inside you to consider what it is you want, who you want to be, and how you want to achieve it. These are all very difficult issues. In some fundamental way, Sinistre, you have to decide this for yourself only , that is, autonomy. I wish I could help you more, I so desperately do, but it would not be your decision, but mine, if I did guide you. The passions are so beautiful, so tempting, yet so cruel. Kant was a bore, but feelings are a wonderful mysterious mistress. You must decide; the mistress, or the Magister….
Master Sinistre came to see me earlier. Sinistre told me of a most interesting predicament.
“Master Destre, today I have rediscovered that one of my old heroes has resurfaced. Not only is he a Sinistrean; but he is the one whose name I bear. Who, I believed was dead, I mourned him for years; and now he has returned. It is a common question for those in love, to ask “How do we carry on when we have lost the one who gives us strenght, meaning, life”. But I have this proposal, this different and unusual question: how is it that we, after mourning the loss of our beloved, and coming to terms with their loss, albeit begrudgingly, and trying to find new meaning in life; do we respond when we find that our love has resurfaced after many years, and in a new and different epoch.
Do we fall in love again? Do we give up our new life? Do we give up our new identity in place of the old one? Master Destre. My old master, Sinistre* [expressed as ‘Sinistre Prime’] has returned. Sinistre* wants to take over me again, for me to join the Sinistreans. I missed him so much; he was he part of me that made me whole, but after I thought I lost him, I began to become an individual, became a new and different person; although I didn’t necessarily feel whole, I gained a new identity, a new life, and I even enjoyed it a little.
When I found Sinistre* again, I felt a great sense of joy, I felt a resolution; that I could be relieved of the sorrow of my past; and reunite with it. I felt the old love I had for him again, the completeness; although it wasn’t exaclty the same, it was very temporary, but what I longed to feel for so long.
The problem is; If i join him; I will have to leave you and Michael. Areopagus will be dissolved, and our project will be over. Would Aeneas return to Troy? No, he wouldn’t. Sinistre* belongs in the past. I’m glad he’s back, but I have my own life, my own identity. I am Sinistre. I’m an areopagite now…this is my new life, my new striving for completeness.
I am not the real Destre. I take then name of my most cherished mentor. The real Destre; bears the name which I cannot bear to say. I was his student; his charge; his hope. Destra (as I shall call him) was from an old age, an old way of thinking, of acting, of being. Instilled in me he did, the most cherished and superior values and ideas of history; the characters of the Hellenic world; the metaphysicians of the classical; the composers of the Romantic; the political thinkers of the Enlightenment, and the ideal of malehood.
Destra sought to educate the whole person. This value is alien and perhaps even unwelcome in today’s world. Women of reason care not of the emotions, and men of the passions, care not of systematicity. In a world where experience is the criterion of truth; we forget our own transcendence over it. We forget ourselves, and the fundamental project of nobility, of duty, of service.
I was an obedient servant and student to Destra. Destra taught me many things; yet, there was something funadmentally corrupt and deceptive about our bond. I cared not of what people thought; the fact was this, our bond allowed me to become a better person, and I showed that of myself. Much hope was invested in me. Hope, that was lost.
There are many reasons why I failed. I never got the prize of being his greatest student. He invested so much hope in me and I disappointed him. There was a younger charge who looked up to me, who though I was the great hope for the future; the hope of the new wave of a new enlightenment, to challenge the current order of idolatry and populism. I failed them both; the one who looked up to me, and the one who looked forward through me. I do not wish to continue this pursuit;it is too painful to answer your question. You have sufficient approach to answer your question through the lives of Sinistre and Antisophie; but know this, some lives, are just different; some lives are just fundamentally cursed, or blessed. Many experience calamity, but those who do, also are better placed for greatness; for it is easy to find greatness in struggle, than greatness in ease.
Don’t curse your hindrances, live with them. That is not the answer you wanted; but you need to see inside yourself. You need to look beyond the left, the right, and the wise. Look within yourself. Have the courage to use your own understanding.
I apologise for my weakness to refuse your answer. This is too difficult. One day you shall remember, what it is that you are. You are far greater than all of us combined. You are the author, and we are the actors. In this Noumenal Realm; your mind has the power to creat the future. That is the beauty of human dominion.
[And so; the story of this event ends; but not our enquiries. What makes a person strive; when she feels so much pain? I still don’t know. Perhaps Destre’s point is; that we don’t know as some theoretical state about how we go on; but we practice living on. This is not a theoretical philosophical one; it is a matter of practical philosophy. Michael]