humans: unity in diversity
and/or diversity in unity?
(philosophy of non-generic universality)
Resumé. La philosophie de l’universalité non-générique est un concept proposé pour décrire la diversité de l’Etre et espécialement la richesse de l’être humaine.
Les topiques discutés ici sont surtout ontologiques, mais on a des informations provenant de la science de la complexité, de la littérature etc.
1. Let’s make an observation: exploring the relations between the One and the Multiple, we will be in a paradoxal situation, because we will try to realise an analysis that largely overpasses the borders of the rationality stricto sensu.
That is why this suicidal attempt will be a contest for all those who love meditating in the dangerous proximity of the a-categoriality and pure transcendentalism.
The topics will be suggested here, is far more important than those in fact referred.
2. I have proposed the concept of “non-generical universality” almost 20 years ago, in an attempt to explore the final implications of 2 observations:
a. The presupposition of the universality in any philosophical approach of the Being.
b. The presence of several concepts of universality in any philosophy, at least implicitly.
The starting point was the Romanian culture, of course. In my country, from time to time, it various philosophical essays were realized radical critics of the classical reason and were essayed some larger explanations of the human being’s unity and/or diversity.
Let’s take some cases.
a. The famous philosopher Stephan Lupasco attacked the idea of the tertium non datur, proposing the concept of an included tertium.
Also unsatisfied by the classical contradiction, he has forged a dynamic logic of the contradictory, in which the One is (passes into) the Multiple and the Multiple is (passes into) the One. Here any element is always associated with an anti-element, any process with an opposite process, any being with a contrary being etc.
b. Mircea Florian too, thought we must re-think contradiction and accept an asymmetrical relation between its 2 “poles” / “terms”: one of them is always more powerful / prior face to another one. The second, the recessive “pole” / term” is always much more interesting for the philosophy.
As an example, in the relation between the Multiple and the One, the second is recessive, because it „cannot be thought without the Multiple, but only in and by the Multiple. The One is recessive because from the pure Multiple we have outgoings into the One, but from the pure One we can win the Multiple only by an arbitrary jump. (...) In fact any multiple is this or that multiple, which means the one is in a recessive situation”. Moreover, „the totality brings in evidence not the unity, but the Multiple ... the Multiple in unity”.
That is why „thinking always finishes in the collision with an un-totalised Multiple”.
c. Constantin Noica, great onto-logician, considered the limits of the classical logic as a “war logic”, “the logic of Ares”, a logic characterized by the formula “all X are Y”.
Unsatisfied, he proposed another logic, in which the accent is given to the medium term of the syllogism.
From this point of view, only the One is not contradicting the Multiple, but the Multiple contradicts the One. The One is distributing itself everywhere without being divided itself.
There were above some illustrations of the interest of the Romanian philosophy for the relations between the One and the Multiple, between unity and diversity, with strong implications on any methodo-logic.
But those attacks against the solidity of the Organon could be continued with others, against the last defence line of any cached Weltanschaaung conception.
3. Let us admit that behind any philosophical approach of the Being, there is the presupposition of the universality of the Being (as identical).
In the attempt to unveil the background-presence of the universality in any philosophical approach, let us observe the universality as a basically & necessary condition of the any general propriety and of any classical science.
We are presupposing there is something irreducible behind, at the basis, as ground of any being, any knowledge, any values etc. because in any order we must eventually stop: anagke stenai. No matter what is supposed to be this principium, we are also presupposing it has to be common to all the beings, processes, phenomena etc., to have the largest generality, to be universal.
So much that universal has to be One.
But, accordingly to Aristotle, the One itself has never the nature of a genre[i].
That’s why we can conclude that the universality itself cannot be universal, cannot be One.
Let’s observe, too, that this non-generality is an onto-logical and not a simply and only an epistemological one.
There are degrees of the universality, like there are degrees of the infinity. There are also different types of universality: by inclusion or by exclusion (like it is in aesthetics, for example), absolute or relative (like those of the Lord face to that of the Human Being), internal or external (like in the living beings, mono cellular or multi cellular, continuous or discontinuous etc.
So much that we can agree that the universality, the One, the Being is non-generic.
On the other hand, we are presupposing, too, that the universality of that One must be always & everywhere the same, that the universality must be the same, identical.
Or, let’s observe that we do not have the same idea, the same conception about the universality, because different people have different ideas about universality. And it cannot be in otherwise, because we are searching the universality, but we have a personal history: ein Vernunft aber bleibt stehts Zukunft.
Existing different types of universality, it is obvious that those different ideas of universality will illuminate the non-unitary proprium (nature) of the universality itself. May be this is why Aristotle said: „the Multiple is not, in an absolute manner, the opposite of One”[ii].
Being un-identical everywhere and every time, the universality is un-unitary (null-unitary), too. In fact, the Being is nullifying everywhere its original unity. The endless search of the universality became eventually an ontological reality.
4. Some unattended favourable arguments for the idea of the non-generic universality, of the non-unitary One could be indirectly found in various researches.
a. In the science of complexity, for example, we are not passing from pure Chaos to maximum Order, but from a minimum structured and structurable Chaos to the Cosmós: the Being is becoming an Order because it has the propriety to become an Order.
Obviously, in such researches, there is the presupposition of the universality and of the universality of the universality, in a sort of a new kind of Weltanschauung, of imago mundi.
b. In mathematics, there are some objects that overpass the borders of classical universality, like the Möbius’ band, the Klein’s bottle or the Rubik’s cube.
The last one, for instance, is a good illustration for a type of non-generic universality, because, in order to obtain a good arrangement of its surfaces, we do not have rules about what to make, but what to make not.
In any ontology we are in a similar situation: searching the unity of the existence, of the Being we do not have rules but only interdictions, but only to reject the diversity. Like in the Upanishads, we cannot tell what the Being is, but what is not: neti. It seems we have the right to observe and understand only the precariousness, the weakness of the Being.
c. In philosophy, an unattended argument for the non-generical universality is offered by the search of the specificity of a philosophical demonstration.
In the Romanian culture, such an attempt was made by Constantin Noica. He has proposed an analysis of the specificity of a philosophical demonstration, starting from the One / Multiple dialectics, in the Plato’s Parmenide dialogue. He obtained the result that the philosophy is a pure, free and un-practical hunting of the Being’s global structure.
Philosophizing means to follow each and all the consequences of a theoretical perplexity and failing in each and all of your demarches. That exploration, even exhaustive, has no success and do not conduct to any answers, but only to the structure of a game, instead.
5. Let’s see some other facets of the non-generic universality.
a. Exploring the non-unitary One, the null-generic universality of the Being, is to explore universalities.
That is why Wittgenstein has created the metaphor of the rope.
b. The Being is not unitary, even it is One. Based and originated in One it cannot however has its nature.
„The road to One supposes the paradox of the implication in the Multiple and the conquest of that One, by a concrete and lucid experience”, wrote Constantin Noica.
The One is linked with the Multiple, in a different manner in which the Multiple is linked to it. Their relations are not symmetrical. The un-roll, the deployment of the One is different from the depletion, the roll of the Multiple.
c. The structure of the categories of any philosophical search is also applicable for the any cosmological model of the universe.
It shows that the presupposition of the generic and unitary universality has its limits. In fact, this conception is implying a direct attack against the last fortress of the classic conception on reason: the basic logical principle of identity.
6. In order to obtain a design of the consequences of the non-generic (null-generic) universality, let’s make some short illustrations and observe that a language, a society, a culture etc. are all such non-generic (null)-universalities.
a. Indeed, the universality of a natural language is over passing the logical universality.
It seems to be more related to the abduction than to the deduction (as it is the case with the classical idea of universality). That is why we can understand something irrational, but intelligible, but we will never understand what it is not inteligible.
The non-generic universality is the true source of the pluralization of the languages, of our post-modern linguistic diversity.
b. From this point of view, the classical approach of the reason need to be replaced with an aproach making from the rationalities or even from the intelligibility the source of the knowledge.
The null-unitary One becomes the principle of the continuous pluralization of the Human Being and of our societies.
So much that the classical anthropology became post-modern anthropologies.
c. From the non-generic universality point ov view, the ethics of difference and tolerance, are more important than any classical universalist ethic.
The right to difference could be onto-logical founded now.
d. In cultural and political studies, the difference, the Multiple is also prevaling the unity, the One.
Indeed, let’s observe that "no culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive" (Gandhi).
Obviously, the examples of the implications of the idea of non-generic universality and of the null-unitary (non-unitary, un-unitary) One, in philosophical or social sciences researches could indefinitely countinue.
7. Such questions in the study of the universality can be found in contemporary science, too.
a. In a web discussion with topics from the science of complexity, Will Dye is asking: “What do we really mean by "universal"? I suspect that there are many types of universality”[iii].
b. In mathematics, the implications of Gödel theory about the inconsistence of any formal system are over passing the frames of any universal structure.
c. In cosmology all the imaginable cosmological models could be reduced to only 6 pairs of opposite concepts: infinite-finite, homogenous-inhomogeneous, isothropic-unisothropic etc.
So we are observing that in scientific studies there are some good exploration of the richness and irreducibility of the real world.
8. The non-generic universality of the Human Being makes inepuisable our existences.
That is why it seems to be more apropriate that any other philosophical idea, in order to explain and keep the Human Being’s fundamental diversity and politropy. It became the principle of any post-modern approach.
It is also an invitation to accept the prevalence of the Multiple / diversity of the One / unity, in the Human Worlds, as a natural and irrepresible fact.
As for the perfect universality we could agree that the One, as generic universality, can be known by God only. That is why only He has the general rule and everything else is Multiple and diverse.
9. At the time it was discovered, the non-generic universality seemed to unveil a characteristic of the Romanian philosophy itself.
But then, I discovered that attacks against the hegemony of the principles
of the classical logic and rationalismus
were counted for the entire
We lived in a tyranny but has not forgot the mystical approach of the Being. That is why our post-modernity is more senzitive one. Our allergical sensibility face to any temptative of generic universality is real.
From this point of view, any generic universality is just another type of excess.
So much that the dictatorship of the democracy is equal dangerous for the irrepressible human diversity like it is the tyranny.
In an attempt of conclusion, let’s agree, refrasing an idea of Plato, that evil means not to think that there is something irreductible in all the beings, but to consider it exists in a reducible and unique manner, instead.
[i] Metaphysics, X, 2, 1054 a.
[ii] Metaphysics, X, 6, 1057a.
[iii] Toy-world assember demo: http://discuss.foresight.org/critmail/sci_ nano/4359.html