I have written a little bit on the subject of absurdism and existentialism, and these were criticisms. In some ways, criticisms are the lowest forms of articulation, because they lack any kind of meaningful stakes. This isn’t to say that they lack purpose, or that they do not offer significant insights, but it is to say that it’s very easy to isolate yourself by only having critical examinations.
Without a centrality of the spiritual, the transcendental and the authentic conviction which contrasts what you criticise, then you are little more than an opportunist, preying on the inventions of others.
Moreover one could make an appeal to virtue, and say that if you criticise others then it is only sporting to reveal your own perspective as to permit people to make redressals.
All true convictions have an element of faith. To live entirely in a faithless universe is to live in a world without time. In Heidegger’s ontology of being and time, we learn some extraordinary truths to faith and what I call the saprological nature of time.
I am currently writing a book about this, although it’s a slow effort. I need to do a lot of research to assure the book is meaningful. So far I’ve worked on it for about a year, and my estimate is that it will likely take me two more years at the very least.
But to understand what I mean by saprology, then I would invite you to examine Heidegger’s ontology as a kind of window. Heidegger says that time is a fleeting resource that purely exist within the span of a human being’s consciousness. That our true experience of time begins at birth, and ends at death. I think this is a very good premise, but I do not think life and existence are the same things.
As such, I look at saprology. Which is the study of decay. Often used within the fields of winemaking and ecology. What I propose is that there is a temporal element to saprology, and thus, I refer to my philosophy as Temporal Saprology, or maybe Saprological Materialism, I haven’t made my mind up yet.
Because the decaying nature of existence is not something one should underestimate. You are born into a society that was built by millions of dead people. Buildings, inventions, civics and civilisation are all products of the saprological element to the human condition. The dead are our stewards, and their labours are what permits us to find such an accommodating existence.
Similarly, when we die, our contributions to the world puts us in a similar state of saprological existence. Perhaps after I die, people will still read this piece of writing. That’s a good example. But it also pertains to buildings, resources, laws, customs, arts, language and just about anything else that holds further permanence than our own existence.
It is fundamentally speaking a noospheric analysis. I’ve spoken about the noosphere before, so I won’t go in on it too much here. But noospheric philosophy is based on the idea that since records, language, communication and ideas can live beyond a singular mind or speaker, that it exists in parallel to the purely corporeal nature of being, we see a kind of sphere of thought forms emerge.
A field of knowledge that manifests itself throughout civilisation and history. From the cave paintings of prehistory, to the peer reviewed studies of nuclear physicists.
As such, it is both physical and metaphysical. The geometry of the noosphere is metaphysical, but the noosphere itself is as physical as the Tabula Rasa or the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Saprology is therefore, in a sense, a materialistic exploration of life after death. Albeit perhaps not life, but certainly proliferation. This is why I am a Stoic. As far as I can see, the ultimate product of our existence that finds great momentum in the saprological realm, is virtue.
Knowledge, labour, compassion and the civilising forces of community and honour are generally the things which makes saprology rewarding to the generations of the future. If you do good unto others, then the immediate material aspects of such good. Whether it is to feed, clothe, shelter, heal or ease the pain of others, is very fleeting. People eat the food, they wear out the clothes, they live and they age and they die. Very few forensic traces of goodness will survive saprology.
But the virtue of such things, and the exemplary existence of such virtues on the other hand, can live on through millenniums. From the martyrdom of the Messiah, to the heroic deliverance of Vladimir Ilych Lenin. The greatest virtues become exemplary to us.
Diogenes of Sinope, in his strange pathology wherein he saw purity in poverty, is a good example of this. All he even took to his name was virtue. He was homeless, destitute, naked and yet wealthy to the point of where he was admired by Alexander the Great, who was likely the richest and most powerful emperor in the world at the time.
I don’t believe in hero worship, but I do have many heroes. They are not people I regard as supreme, but they are people who I regard as inspiring. I do not see myself as lesser to them, but I do dream of the day I can regard my efforts as equal to their accomplishments.
I think that the ultimate lesson of Saprology and Stoicism is to devote oneself to the people, and to life, and to not only live according to our nature, but to truly explore and reveal such a nature. To live in such a way as to make it an evidentiary matter that the universe is a place of wonders, truth, decency and compassion.
To heed that ancient call that stirs the soul, that makes one look upon the infinity of things and stand on the edge of something that is uncomprehending, vast, and fascinating, and powerful. Something that, like a Gaelic folktale of faire kingdoms, offer a morbid invitation to precarity, struggle, hardship, downfall and yet extraordinary and sublime truth.
The raw and elemental nature of life that envelops one into madness, that forms itself into a singularity of contradiction, where to inhale the crisp sea air of a winter morning is to exhale the thick and ruinous smoke of opium resin. A wonderful tribulation of madness and clarity. Where to arrive in Paidea is to wander through Hades.
Only a fool would fear death when there is so much excitement to the art and craftsmanship and elegance of decay. To know that you leave this world not only having found happiness in your circumstance, but to know that you shall bring such a circumstance to others for many generations to come.
This I think is a vital examination of the purpose and discipline of Stoicism.