In the Name of Us.
We shall try to produce it for a myriad of reasons. To see the history of what has happened to us. Before the revolution, everybody was into politics and ideology. After it, there was a time that psychology and psychoanalysis was ‘in’. Those who thought, apparently refrained from the collective. The problems were to be solved in an internal world. Today it seems philosophy has got the upper hand. The situation is amazing: every publisher will accept a translated book on philosophy. You are here for the sake of it; a session like this is not easy to hold in any other part of the world. I cherish this chance of talking to you. You’re the ones who extract the words. It’s because of you that we have the right to say ‘us’.
1. We cherish the fact that shall is oriented towards future. This marks the fact that our philosophy is a philosophy in progress, not a retrospect.
The problem with Nietzsche is that he does not speak ‘in the name’ of life. The name of his philosophy is ‘will’. The will as existence is to betray life in many respects. It leaves no space for the wisdom of letting go. It has to ignore the definite weakness of human beings as far as willing is their only opportunity for changing their environment. It is not just a matter of abandoning ‘pity’ as a tragic strategy, it is also about ‘not forgiving’. The notion of sin becomes central to Nietzsche with eternal recurrence. This is the stupid part of his philosophy, the part ‘in vain’ where he tries to make will measurable, to give rigidity to life, for if it happens ‘once’ it cannot be as rigid and ‘hard’ as he desires. It is this classical desire of Nietzsche that betrays life. Thank God he is not as consistent as he could be.
What is wrong with using words such as capitalism, post-modernism, multiculturalism and the like, to think our situation? Nothing apart from the fact that one cannot analyse specificity with notions that result form global abstraction that prevent forms of life from appearing and recurrence.
The problem is not Capitalism as such, but what an economic system (or any system whatsoever) can impose that disrupts the procedures with which one constructs his/her form of life.
Our situation is unthinkable. This is because the words used for thinking our situation are insufficient. And what happens if we don’t think our situation? Our main axiom will be a belief in what thought is capable of, even in a situation such as ours.
Should philosophy of us be ambiguous? Should it be fragmentary? Should it have a zip?
Aphorism? Far from it. We have no intention of stabbing deep and hard.
Descartes wrote, ‘Cogito Ergo Sum.’ He should have said, ‘Cogito Ergo Sumus.’ For the existence of thought, of language proves the existence of human being as a kind. Language is a band. Thus, we shall say: ‘Cogitamus Ergo Sumus.’
There is deep selfishness in philosophy. The selfishness of the ‘I’. One usually does not say ‘philosophy’, but the ‘philosophy of’. The philosophy of a name. The philosophy of Kant, of Hegel, of. And these are those who have dedicated themselves to truth-seeking, to understand how things are and how one is. They have considered mind as a judging machine. A sorting machine. And no matter what they say, they are after universals. As such there is no place for ‘mistake’. For a philosopher, practically there is nothing more important to ‘inscribe’ his thought, and thus himself, in philosophy. As such, he will make it such that it is not easily refuted. In his ambition, he is very similar to an artist. In his methods for approaching it, it might seem that he is not.
Eraser is what is left out in the act of writing. The truth of writing is not only the binary opposition between text and margin, but also that it tries to be ‘precise’. This happens most of the time when a text is printed. To print, usually means to make a private text public. A printed text is essentially different from its manuscript. The greatest difference being the omission of mistakes.
What is our objection to a Nietzschean or Derridean philosophy in terms of their method? That they integrate in their method what they leave out in their thought. Derrida’s objection to Foucault should be returned to him: if it is impossible to write the History of Madness with sanity, then one shouldn’t print what is to explain deconstruction. No philosopher in the history of philosophy allows for mistakes. Even Socrates, who believed he is just moving forward without first ‘locating’ the truth, would not accept to ‘turn back’.* Anything settled in a previous discussion was a ‘foundation’ to him. Is anything wrong with that? Is philosophy not a kind, or shall we say, the most profound way of ‘truth-seeking’? We shall.* This is what we will try to incorporate in every sentence. Shall we? To ask this is to move forward with the permission of other’s who will share a thought. Ultimately, we arrive at this question once again: is thought a single or a collective act? What will a collective philosophy look like? What shall be its methods?
Way of thinking. Methodology. Is there a ‘way’ that can escape ‘methodology’? Is ‘plurality of methods’ an alternative to this? As usual, we shall find our answer in art. Shall we? An artist is someone who can tackle the problem of ‘style’. In art, style is an issue that cannot be left out. Every artwork defines a new style. Yet, if we accept styles as the only existing common modes of expression, to say something common in a new style appears, theoretically, impossible. But in art, the possibility of the new* is an axiom. We shall look for a new way of thinking which is, at the same time, very common. We shall talk and gather what we say. We shall examine, search and probe; we shall have ‘subjects’ and points of reference, rendezvous as it were. We shall design a plan, one that we might not refrain to be faithful to. This is a philosophy that should be able to ‘stop’.* We shall stop, not at the point of non-sense*, but were continuing is ‘worse’ than stopping or changing direction. And this is a very common procedure in art.
In Critique of Judgment, Kant considers three maxims for an enlightened way of thinking: (1) to think for oneself; (2) to think from the standpoint of everyone else; and (3) to think always consistently. Although we might find ourselves closer to the 18th century philosopher than to the so-called post-moderns, we shall make certain changes to his statement. Our maxims would be: (a) to think for ourselves; (2) to think in terms of our situation; (c) to think continuously in a productive way in the face of whatever threatens the lively flow of our life, i.e. our way of life. This would be to change our way of life as a result of a change in our thought. We substitute the term ‘consistently’ with artistic, as a check for philosophic thought.
A common act of a painter is to step ‘back’ and look at what he has done. This is not only to judge different part in comparison to one another, but also to compare it with (or rather, to see how it functions in the context of) what is common, which is not to say, to check if it conforms. Rather to see what you have done. To see is always to see ‘in the light of’. What we shall try to see here, is in the light of us.
What is ‘bad’? Can we do away with ‘badness’? Can we go beyond the good and evil, as Nietzsche supposed? Yes and no. More accurately, why should we? What would be left of art, if nothing is different? One the other hand, how can art happen in a system of fixed values? In other words, how can art exist with beings and without becomings? Every subjective becoming has to pass through good and bad.
We shall try to experience the joy of creating a philosophy.
 Immanuel Kant (1987) Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar (