Clarion call

As usual we have to take umbrage in etymologies: axios meaning “worthy”; this, apparently (there are scholarly doubts) from, ἄγω ‎+ τιος, to “draw down”, presumably in a scale — and thus also examination. This gives us a procedural account of primeval axiology; on the one side, not moral, but practical; on the other, predicated on some truth to the scale. The hastened reactionary reconstruction here would raise truth itself to the status of arche-axiology and arche-value. (Reactionary positions from the gut are usually much more informative than left-progressive ones; one of the reasons why high theory defaults to the left is that it’s needed there.) But this epistemorphization is a tough pill to swallow; it implies an original breach in the is/ought firewall and demands an account of how the firewall came to be either re-proofed or erected in first place.

Yet — this breach is really only a problem if we can’t penser General Axiology without this diachronic perspective where each move forward/upward in abstraction requires an account of its zero-to-one shift. We can see how this is not the case in mathematics, where theoretical advancement proceeds in full disconnect of the pedagogics of more elementary themes. This may also help to understand how philosophers and divines become dazzled and lost in the shimmering wisdom of mathematics: mathematical theorems are instantly synchronic and fully disconnected from the toil of their construction. Is this due to their rigor? Not at all — this is due to the μάθημα that it rightly owns and rightly honors. In other words: mathematics is true because mathematics is true: it’s in the core definition of “truth”. Everything else has an impoverished, contingent truth to it.

So what of General Axiology? It must either engage with its diachronic dilemmas xor postulate a synchronic position, somewhat like the solution to a system of equations. The diachronic dilemma has a black core, poisonous and radiant — the Truth. Realization of this core entices us to think that the path out of our predicament lies in proving that it implies our silly improv sociopolitics, or in occupying it somehow — making Truth to actualize the Worthy Thing. Both are traps, I tell you. If you knew what the ultimate Worthy of Worthies is, you’d know the content-matter of General Axiology — we’d be in General Axiology already.

This is why theory (the theory of the theory of …) remains relevant, and perhaps moreso than when I started engaging with it. We have to experiment with means of evoking the synchronic vision of General Axiology; we have to take wild stabs at it, however convoluted and indirect in our methods. We have to try to suspend ourselves from the diachronic configuration in which the problems that we have continue to arise. Theory and its latin equivalent speculation both mean “to see”. This is also why writing flounders and refuse calls for clarity — the vision is unspeakable.

This is also why I need you to actually read through most of the mess that comprises asemic horizon.

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