Sunday, August 28, 2011


Is important itself an important concept?

I suppose the title of this post triggered a reflex that that to which the word "important" refers, is important, demanding attention.

But this post is not about mere psychology. That would be insufficiently codgitative.

Again: is importance itself important?

It seems not, since every indication or assignment of importance in the world--to money, to blood, to water, to fire--is itself contingent, and therefore not intrinsically important, but merely important.

If, then, important is not an important category of being--if, that is, importance is a fable stitched upon the austerity of natural existence--, then we must suppose the absence, or perhaps opposite, of importance is itself important.

So, then, let us consider if non-important is important. Manifestly, it is not, since every actus indicationis is as anthropomorphic and statutory as the importance we stitch upon nature. Even when the actus indicationis points at "non-importance".

What, then, can we say? Neither importance nor non-importance is fundamental (or, fundamentally significant) to nature.

Yet, even this bifurcation is one which we impose. Moreover, it is one that is inescapably important, since the dialectic between important and non-important keeps the mind in its only viable tension, and thus keeps the mind in an important, and imported, way. Perhaps someone will suggest we deactivate our minds, in a Zen way, but that itself is an injunction based on the importance of mental tranquility, or on the non-importance of dialectic, etc.

Nevertheless, the above conclusion is still too merely psychological. We must seek a point of metaphysical resolution. Or at least a momentary denouement.

We cannot go without assigning either (state of) value to the world. That is the psychological dialectic.

But, more importantly, we cannot even speak of a world of diversity apart from our perspective in it, and the world itself has produced "us" (qua valuators). There is no us (qua generative rational dimension) without the world, yet there is no "world" *qua discrete object) without "us" (qua delimited field of reference).

And so it seems inescapable to assert that the world not only bears within it the generative power of reason, but also bears within it the mark of a bifurcation between important and non-important. There is, by an ineluctable dialectic necessity, a field of being which transcends our linguistic ascriptions (e.g. important/non-important) to it. Thus, the world is both a field of rational order and a field of scaled valuation. If that is what physicalism wants, it may have it. But then were are speaking something so close to theism that the victory against theism is surely Pyrrhic.


It may be your reflex to say that, like all my writing, the conclusion was "pre-laoded" or casuistically inevitable, but in point of fact, I began this codgitation with a simple question in mind."Is the word 'important' itself important?" If not, then there is an important reason for denying it an important status, and anything with the ability to confer importance on action, apart from the linguistic marker for importance, is something much more than naturalism affords.

But I must accept that Marcel is out, and Maddox is in. So woe unto me.

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