Be Cruel

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					Philosophical Poems, for fb4864b9-9a25-41a2-b3fa-14f6cc1e6b6c.doc.                                                          1

                                                                     It expected respect - just as every fucked-up grown-up
                                                                     you dared to disobey demanded so much from you.
Be Cruel!                                                            The adults who tried to take control of the show that
                                                                     was your life.
Foucault said: Be cruel!                                             But with acts of insurrection, no doubt, you showed
Too far?                                                             them a quicker brain and stronger will.
Too much?                                                            Your rude self never gave up the fight for some
But there’s a light side to this brutal command.                     freedom.
It’s extreme, sure, but it shows you how far you could               Never stopped wanting to be free of the dictats spat
go.                                                                  out by goody-good grown-ups.
And just how little you’ve gone.                                     They tried to take control of your naughty life when
                                                                     you lived in your naughty, happy little world.
Cruelty calls you from afar. Can you hear it?                        But now your conscience is still your master.
If you can, you will know how far away it is.                        Bite it back.
How far you need to go before you could even dream                   Be free!
cruelty,                                                             Be cruel!
Let alone be cruel and live the Marquis’ perfect life.
Be mad for just one day… One hour! One bare
minute!                                                              What Can Be Shown, But Not Said
Live outside Reason’s prison.                                         (A argument between a Platonist and a
Live on sense and decency’s edge.                                      sceptical natural scientist.)

As the non-superman said: Be free of the conscience                  A 20th Century Moral Realist:
that bites you.
Act before you think too hard or too long.                           Moral properties can’t be studied like beans or protons
Or act with no thought at all!                                       are studied.
Disregard the other – every other.                                   There are no microscopes for such things.
Fuck all who dare trespass the depths of your                        Nothing can smash them in a cloud-chamber.
otherwise feeble self.                                               They aren’t open to dissection.
Make the world in your own image.                                    And to claim that morality ‘expresses only feelings’ is
Cease being the other’s image.                                       to shovel dirt on something both perfect and
Stop the inner killing-thoughts of those for whom you                necessary.
care too much.                                                       Such socio-pickings at the moral body rob it of its
Stop their corrupting beliefs from shaping the pliable               ancient meaning.
clay of your self.                                                   Morality is crucified by psycho-fact; by number-
To affect total control. - total self-control, you must              crunching survey; and by the dirty data that raids its
cease to care too much…                                              once-supreme land.
Or cease to care at all!                                             You can’t - you mustn’t! - bring it down to nature’s
You must break the links that connect you to stronger                low state.
selves.                                                              It is a check on that very thing.
You could be happy.                                                  Something beyond it and, at times, inscrutable.
You could enclose yourself within your bounded                       To naturalise is to destroy and rob a precious thing of
mind.                                                                its value.
Your self is now as small as some minds are.
Come sweet tomorrow, your self will be as wide open                  Grubby little positivist! Don’t you know that science’s
as your mind is now.                                                 realm is minute compared to realms outside of space
                                                                     and time?
So why not be cruel? Cruel for one intoxicating day?                 So take your clinical hands off all these things!
For one naked minute?                                                Things that exist in worlds more abstract but real.
Look, Bad Conscience no longer watches you!                          All you have is a mere jumble of facts.
But if it does, bite it back!                                        I can take you to these worlds.
Regain what it stole from your fragile self in the days              But firstly, take off your white coat.
of bad conscience.                                                   Lift up that guard that you call ‘science’- the prison of
That fucking thing tried its pious best to destroy you.              the soul.
To annihilate the self within.                                       The wall you place between yourself and the
To turn you feeble and meek. To turn you moral slave.                transcendent.
                                                                     A guard you made for yourself against these other
When young and trusting of the adult, you listened to                worlds.
proxy - Bad Conscience.
Saw it as the pure grown-up within.                                  These worlds don’t need you; or need any of your
It demanded obedience.                                               kind.
Philosophical Poems, for fb4864b9-9a25-41a2-b3fa-14f6cc1e6b6c.doc.                                                                2

You must grasp, and soon, the ‘hard’ fact that you                   Derrida the Joker
need them.
Without an awareness - a free acceptance – of the                    Once the joker on the scene.
abstract externals of your concrete internals,                       He philosophised with a smile on his face.
your soul will remain a sham-of-a-soul.                              A modern-day Protagoras to our little Platos.
A soul drowned within the mud of brute fact.                         He knew the Tradition’s big joke.
One so stuffed with data, so blocked with evidence,                  And the big joke that was the Tradition.
that it chokes on what it thinks worthy.                             To him it wasn’t a joke to take all as a joke.
You demand evidence for the truth that doesn’t show                  To joke about the transcendent light of Reason.
under a microscope, or when tested for its reality.                  The light which lit up the metaphysician.
Experiments serve only to muddy the water between                    That sanctified the systems in which many travelled.
you and a clear-water reflection of truth.
That vision of the un-testable; the un-quantifiable; the             Derrida played with the Tradition.
inscrutable and immutable.                                           He used a language that played with the sign.
                                                                     But it acknowledged that play.
Keep your hands off its singular sphere!                             And all within the Greek-Jew’s syntax and semantics.
You cannot see this transcendent world.                              Not even Derrida could transcend symbol-systems that
You haven’t the soul to do so.                                       dreamt of Reason’s reign - as if it would someday still
Don’t force others to be storm troopers for positivism;              come.
and fight its colonial war against the Transcendental                He would have had no language with which he could
Trinity: the Transcendent, the True, and the Beautiful.              aim his deconstructing arrows.
Please don’t snuff out the metaphysics we dare                       His own concepts remained purpled by the Tradition.
practice in public.                                                  Remained part of the Tradition.
Please keep your white coat within your white                        He knew that the supplementation of system with
laboratory.                                                          system would never erase system itself from the
Let your dark mind look, with its microscopic eye, at a              Tradition.
slab of matter, sprawled out, corpse-like, on your                   The Derridarean technique?
clinical white table.                                                To untie, quietly, the tight strings of each system.
                                                                     To turn its concepts against its concepts.
A Philosopher-Scientist:                                             To turn one single concept against itself.
                                                                     And to break logical law with logical law.
You ask me, and my ‘kind’, to step inside; to show -
not say – these possibles of worlds now impossible to
                                                                     Derrida knew the Tradition well.
                                                                     He knew it enough not to try and overcome it, a la
The only requirement, a self-deluding faith and a
metaphysics like your own.
                                                                     not to politicise it, a la Marx;
Such a faith would help me to leap that chasm
                                                                     not to stamp it meaningless, a la Carnap;
between worldly facts and your purer truths.
                                                                     not to ostentatiously ignore it, a la Heidegger;
You imply they’re waiting for me – even me! - on the
                                                                     not to naturalise it with physic’s sharp light, a la
right side of the divide.
Does this strange world somehow surround you?
                                                                     and not to try to free the flies from the fly-bottle, a la
Or is it within you?
Can you simply dip into it (whatever it is, wherever it
                                                                     The last named, the Austrian preacher, already knew
is) whenever you feel like it, like a boy plunging into
                                                                     that the flight-from-language and our favoured
his own biscuit tin?
                                                                     mystic’s showings, not sayings,
Who gave you - you self-styled moral philosopher -
                                                                     is a transcendence too far.
the keys denied to men like me?
                                                                     A transcendence of philosophy itself.
Who let you in to this realm of abstract beings, supra-
                                                                     Thus in a language sometimes fuzzy, sometimes
natural properties, and truths shown, but not said?
                                                                     flaccid, he spoke to the fuzzy and the flaccid.
Shown only to those with a faith like your own.
                                                                     And spoke to them of the fuzzy and the flaccid.
I need the faith that’s fit for the vision you, and only
you, experience – experience on tap!
                                                                     The Greek sophist, with whom Derrida was compared,
                                                                     was only an anti-dogmatic; just like Hume later.
The things of which I, and every philosopher, speak,
                                                                     Even if a paid anti-dogmatic.
and must only speak, should be said clearly.
                                                                     He was still in revolt against Plato’s absolutism.
But the unearthly and insubstantial things of which
                                                                     (Plato the aristocratic didn’t need payment.)
you’ve just spoken, can only be shown, not said…
Or so your preacher and teacher said.
                                                                     Plato liked his things immutable.
That man you so adored.
                                                                     The Sophist bent Plato’s ruse.
That genius from Vienna.
                                                                     He showed the Athenian public that what’s the case on
                                                                     Thursday, is not the case on Friday.
                                                                     That p and not-p have equal weight.
Philosophical Poems, for fb4864b9-9a25-41a2-b3fa-14f6cc1e6b6c.doc.                                                          3

Derrida too cast off the objectivisms of Western
philosophy.                                                          The antidote? To develop yet harder-headed analytics.
The ones that eternally reoccurred from Plato’s day to               (Ones who could out-analyse their fellow analytics.)
our own.                                                             Only then could he carry out the scorched-earth
And cut out the lust for system.                                     analyzes he needed to burn such abominations-in-
For a categorial prison in which the object could be                 thought.
kept bounded and safe.                                               He wanted to cut out the cerebral infections then
He saw the primacy given to the Same.                                finding their place, very quietly, at the Academy.
He saw the degradation of the Other – Levinas’s                      Oh to be free of Continental pretence!
Other.                                                               To be free of Derridarean play!

All the above is magnificently displayed.                            Descartes’ Prize of the Indubitable
Derrida offers us p to chew on.
Then ten not-p’s to wash it down.
                                                                     The indubitable! Oh yes! What a prize!
And all before breakfast.
                                                                     (Or so Descartes thought.)
He fondles, but doesn’t abuse, the laws of thought.
                                                                     And so one evening, while sitting in the oven, he
Laws on which all systems, it was said, depend.
                                                                     journeyed through his un-mapped mind.
He even tried to argue that A didn’t equal A.
                                                                     Why? To find a firm ground on which science and
That identity is an illusion of metaphysics.
                                                                     philosophy could securely rest.
A nice little fiddle with the law of identity.
But a bogus one, logically speaking.
                                                                     What was his inner world like?
If A doesn’t remain A, but becomes B.
                                                                     A place from which his body was expelled to the
Then it’s still the case that A is identical to A - it is
                                                                     world outside his head.
equal to itself
                                                                     He didn’t give a shit’s worth of respect for the sensory
And now B is identical to B.
Anyway, he showed that logic has been used as a
                                                                     Think here of old Plato who edified the mind in this
weapon by the powers that be
                                                                     manner; and long before the Father of the Modern.
A weapon against the Un-Same.
                                                                     Plato didn’t go for the Abode of Sensation.
                                                                     It was a place where grubby bodies feast without
His comedic tone, even when displayed with
                                                                     philosophic care -
hyperbolic frill,
                                                                     bodies still desiring yet more of the same.
can be seen in the endless citations that titillate the
French philosopher so much.
His philosophic-prose shows that philosophy is                       The only sure thing was thought itself.
literature; and that literature is philosophy.                       His thought or his thinking itself.
He didn’t need the tight fit between singular term and               His doubting his thinking.
its awaiting reference;                                              Doubt was the first thing he didn’t doubt.
or the feigned reciprocity of transcendental signified               The thing he needed for all that followed.
and signifier.                                                       The knowledge was the axiomatic point from which
We get, instead, a giddy lattice-work of citation and                beautiful chains of deduction would flow –
citation and citation…                                               all the way to God’s existence.
                                                                     And then, in time, to that of his body and the world
There have been counterattacks against post-                         outside his head.
structuralist hegemony.                                              Plato before him needed neither body nor sense to take
Derrida was seen, by Analytic’s god’s-eye-honesty, to                him to the non-spatiotemporal realm he loved too
be the villain of philosophy.                                        much.
Take Professor Hugh Mellor. He is known at                           One which housed the Form of the Good; along with
Cambridge (even outside it).                                         many others.
Cambridge had been a citadel against all things
Continental.                                                         Descartes needed his clear and distinct ideas to
(Or at least the philosophy departments were.)                       guarantee themselves.
Its walls were defences against post-structuralist                   And to guarantee truth and certainty.
raiders and the pseudo-intellectual viruses they                     His soul craved for the indubitable.
brought.                                                             It became the axis around which science and
The date of controversy? 1992.                                       philosophy could rotate.
The prof. tiraded against Derrida with ungraceful, un-               But he didn’t have the right – the Cartesian right! - to
analytical words.                                                    smuggle in the I to the proceedings.
He thought the French philosopher ‘wilfully obscure’.                He nonetheless did so.
A ‘mystery-monger’ who uttered ‘trivial truisms’ and                 He also sneaked in God to legitimise his system and
‘silly falsehoods’.                                                  give him antidotes against unmitigated doubt.
Everything he said, in fact, was ‘nonsense’.                         (And he threw a few fish in the Christian’s direction.)
Nonsense that even he didn’t ‘really believe’…                       God as provider of clear and distinct ideas.
Philosophical Poems, for fb4864b9-9a25-41a2-b3fa-14f6cc1e6b6c.doc.                                                             4

They took Descartes out of his internal prison.                      (End piece. Much later, Putnam told a very odd tail.
So as to place him, at last, firmly in the external world            A tail about men being but brains in a vat.
– once forbidden to the doubting subject.                            Brains that floated in a liquid nutriment.
Methodic doubt - hyperbolic doubt - was needed to                    Brains which had pseudo-sensations fed to them
establish and guarantee the certainties that were later              through implanted electrodes.
found down the deductive line of epistemic inquiry.                  Brains sold a simulacrum of the world.
                                                                     This time the deed was done by a mad scientist, not
To say again. The Cogito told him that one thing only                Descartes’ demon.)
remains after the ravages of doubt - doubt itself.
Thought or thinking itself.                                          Bivalence Rules!
Thus thought was deemed mind’s essence.
And extension, the essence of matter.
                                                                     Either this is the case, or this is not the case.
                                                                     Not neither this nor not this.
From such scepticism, dualism was born.
                                                                     Bivalence rules; OK?
(Or from dualism, scepticism was born.)
                                                                     The case is clear, or it is unclear.
Nothing could be more unlike than mind and matter.
                                                                     Not neither clear nor unclear.
As with the ancients, Descartes found something of
                                                                     There is no link between something’s being the case,
man that lifted him above the material world.
                                                                     or something’s not being the case.
Just as the Soul had saved man, so the mind – the
                                                                     Bivalence rules!
Cartesian mind - transported man from nature to a
                                                                     Truth is not sullied by untruth’s presence.
holier place.
                                                                     It is pure and precious – but only when clean of
A place a thousand thinkers had already deemed
man’s true abode.
                                                                     That claim is either true, or it is not true.
And all guaranteed because man’s essence is thought.
                                                                     Not neither true nor untrue.
Spinoza’s monist continuum - between rock and
                                                                     Bivalence rules!
blasting star, between the virus in the blood and the
                                                                     There is no hesitant play in such cases.
mind in the head -
                                                                     There is no third value or option.
was rendered impossible.
                                                                     The nature of truth, I say again, is pure and precious.
And man was saved again!
                                                                     Untruth’s ugliness is as pure as truth’s beauty.
Not this time by a feathery Platonism or a cloudy
                                                                     But in no way as precious.
                                                                     Pure truth can only be seen, by the naked mind,
but by a thoroughly modern philosophy.
                                                                     through an act of intuition or insight.
A philosophy in tune with science and logic.                         Its light can fix on the reality that is truth.
One that clothed itself in the individualist nature of
                                                                     This man is a good man, or he is a bad man.
One that could take the self out of the world.
                                                                     Not neither good nor bad.
Once free, the sundered soul could float on God’s
                                                                     Moral bivalence rules!
                                                                     His mind is spoiled, or it is unspoiled.
                                                                     Not neither spoiled nor unspoiled.
It all began when, at Renaissance-end, philosophers                  There is no mean between dualities defined by want of
dug up the graves of the Greco-Roman sceptics                        gradation.
(left in weedy isolation by Christian thinkers).                     The words must state clearly the case at one axis; or
The neo-sceptics tailored the ancients to a modern                   what is the case at the other.
mind that worked its way on science and the world’s
very existence.                                                      Now bivalence rules!
And because such sceptics had the trump card
(as they always did and do),
the only way Descartes could shield himself from their
utter scepticism was by embracing one more
hyperbolic than theirs (at least for a short time).
He created a scepticism so deadly that not even his
sceptical contemporaries could question it.
One that denied the provable existence of the world.
One that claimed the body’s existence couldn’t be
proved and asserted its contingent nature.
All this in the hypothetical scenarios so loved by the
Now it was Descartes’ turn.
He gave birth to a demon that fed us lies about the
And upheld the possibility that dreams are all we have.
Philosophical Poems, for fb4864b9-9a25-41a2-b3fa-14f6cc1e6b6c.doc.   5

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