I and Ye

In the beginning of John, John speaks the word of the word, to us, as the beginning of every beginning.

1 In the origin The Word had been existing and That Word had been existing with God and That Word was himself God. 2 This One himself was at the origin with God. 3 Everything was in his hand, and without him not even one thing existed of the things that existed. 4 In him was The Life and The Life is The Light of men. 5 And The Light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.

The Book of John, the first five verses above from the “Aramaic in Plain English” translation, is as ontology preferable to all philosophy that proceeds from any other origin or idea of origin or of the undeniable and irreducible: is preferable, because certainly true, to effectively all of philosophy on this question at the origin of questions, and certainly to all attempts in words to begin at any other theoretically undeniable. “The word” is not or never merely congeries of sounds or symbols but the primordial actuality for discourse of discourse itself. The discourse (the word) may or perhaps must propose its own existence as thought, but its certainty is only of its occurrence as discourse.

In that sense, discourse or the possibility of thought precedes thought, and in the beginning is the word always. In every beginning and pervading all that ever can follow are the presumptions of the discourse. Before “I think therefore I am,” there is the presumption of the thinking: of the meaningful thought; of the coherence and contradictability presumed by the “therefore”; of the placement of the thought attributable to the thinker as speaker or writer before others, of the I before the Ye. I think therefore I am only is undeniable if to think is to be as an “I,” if being-thinking presumes a thinker and necessity, if the proposition “there is thought” (“there are propositions”) necessarily implies an act or acts of proposition or attitudes of proposition distinct from an attitude or attitudes or orientations to receive propositions: To presume that to think implies the undeniability of subjectivity in being is to presume a universe in which there may be truth or falsehood meaningful to beings: The “we really are” silently precedes and envelops any and all actual assertions “I actually am.” Before Hume’s melancholic retreat from radical doubt to common sense, and on both sides of it, is the prior possibility of doubt or of inquiry, as within any statement of radical doubt is a statement of statement and thus the always immediate contradiction of radical denial. Before and pervading every notion of an “explanatory gap” between “physicalism” and “panpsychism” or between any physicalism-materialism-naturalism and any idealism-spiritualism, is the notion not just of the notion in the abstract, but precisely of the explanation: Of a conveyed thinking in relation to purposeful inquiry.

Every questioning of worlds initially and consistently, as inescapably and irreducibly, proposes proposition: I and Ye. No speaker speaks other than under the presumptions inherent in the act of speaking. We do not yet know who or what “we” are, or I do not yet know what I may be, or what it may mean at all “to be,” or what further meanings of meaning may force themselves upon whatever may be or upon whatever I might be or upon us, but no one who writes or reads, or speaks or listens, or no writing or speaking occurs except under the obvious presumptions of expression: of speaker about whom or about which we do not yet know anything at all other than that the word is conveyed by a speaker called “I,” from the location fixed by whatever organs of expression within and as of a substantial world; of listener or always potentially listeners – “you” or “we” or “Ye” – about whom or about which we do not yet know anything at all other than that the word is conveyed to him or them or us or it; of medium, which implies not just a substance of conveyance of speech but a universe that we call a physical universe of which that substance is also part as are our mouths and ears and hands and eyes; and of purpose or meaning or end, of intention in relation to change, that the world prior to this incident of utterance and the world subsequent must not be entirely equivalent worlds, will differ at least by the fact of utterance but under assumptions of actualities of meaning conveyable from speaker to listener in the spoken and heard: of life, shining in the darkness, which does not overtake it.

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  1. […] presumes faith, hope, and charity, or a necessarily pro-social and transmortal concept. For John, as we have noted, it was easier but not exactly simpler to say that in the beginning was the Word. In Islam and in […]

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