Kierkegaard, Goethe and the ontological tertium non datur

Again a blog post of Nick Nielsen triggered me spontaneously. In order to give the reader the chance to follow the development and following thougts, I am so free and copy’n’paste the short discussion from Facebook.


 Mark Lambertz: I experience the imperfection as perfection. The non-stopping transition as a ever-evolving chance. What a joy one could experience to accept his incompleteness, while balancing over this very thin rope in order to approach a/”the” complete state. y=1/x.

Geopolicraticus Strategist: Then you are in the good company of Kierkegaard (Lessing has said: “If God held all truth enclosed in his right hand, and in his left hand the one and only ever-striving drive for truth, even with the corollary of erring forever and ever, and if he were to say to me: Choose! — I would humbly fall down to him at his left hand and say: Father, give! Pure truth is indeed only for you alone!”) and Goethe (Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, Den können wir erlösen.).

Mark Lambertz: Oh man, you give me really each time new ‘thought nuts’ For the moment I will say: My answer is a clear ‘Jain’ – the combo of Ja (yes) and Nein (no). Will get back to you – there is also still your question open ‘What is it that makes us think?’ But now I will walk on a Croation mountain with Renata – maybe this will help in sorting my thoughts.

Before I try to break down my (transitional ;-)) answer to the shortest possible amount of words, I want to explain my personal background/self-education, since I believe that it would help to put my answer into context. Or to describe it in a satirical way: I have the black belt in complicated intros! 🙂 Also I want to apologize if the following text sounds too much like a soul strip – but since it is a personal question I have to be personal.

At first: I have never read a complete book of any philosopher. My philosophical knowledge is a wild mix of magazine articles, essays, fragments of blog posts that I have read and discussions with friends who *really* studied (BTW: I was once officially subscribed in an university, and I think I saw the faculty building almost 12 times from the inside – including the registration and de-registration).

I spent almost 18 years in building and co-leading a digital agency in Germany. My whole “career” was/is characterized by transitions. I started as a network administrator and 3D artist/3D modelling. After ca. six months I started to “program” HTML (non-linear storytelling). About three years later I switched towards the primary role of project management (by then my company had already a small programming unit). Then I changed my role again and focused on concepts and consultation. And in the last couple of years my focus was infilled with pure strategic work and new business development (and still to much project management – that is the problem when you acquire new clients – they do not want to let you go, once you convinced them…). Of course there also some very personal changes/transitions I have experienced, but for the moment I will not to mention them, because I hope that the basic point has already evolved: I am not the greatest “linearist”. >Even though I secretly wish it would have been that easy – I have made a consistent experience of non-linearity. Life told my this story.

So … why do I wrote “Jain”? Because on the one hand I feel as if my whole life was and is a continuous balancing act. On the other hand I do not trust zero/one – black/white-patterns. There is IMHO no perfection – and if one day “a god” would appear in front of me, I would challenge this “star maker”. Because deep down to the bone I am a scepticist – enriched by a certain flavor of optimism and hidden idealism. Therefore the Kierkegaard example fits to me only up to a certain extend. It fits, since I do not “believe” in absolute perfection (believe in terms of: proven by my subjective life experience). One could say that I am a “relativistic relativist”. But yes: for sure I would like to know the “essence” – and I would no hesitate a nanosecond to get “Gods answer”. Actually somebody must hold me back, not to give God a 360°-Chuck Norris-round kick in order to get the “final” solution.

But after I would have smashed him down (in a sports man style, not like a aggro kiddie nowadays), I would be VERY skeptic if this appearance is really God. So some tests would be obligatory:

  • Make him prove that this is God (e.g. by creating a new universe or healing my *fucked up* varicose leg veins)
  • Making jokes about himself (because one can not be God if “it” is not able to make jokes about himself)
  • And some other ideas, which I might publish another day 😉

Probably still, after all these tests, I would doubt that this is really God. I do not know why, but this positive-skepticism seems to be somehow deeply imprinted inside of me.

Regarding Goethe: Yes, that is a stance that I can agree with. I think it is worth to “optimize” ourself = our civilization by at least trying harder, in order to get closer to something that could be named “absoluteness” (not in a calvinistic diligence-context/manner).

But this absoluteness is to me nothing but a ever changing/transitional momentum of existence. We as a civilization may have a common, higher meaning/use (e.g. survive, develop, explore), but we are judged for our current decisions (inequality, super basic existential needs for the critical mass on this planet, funding of important scientific questions). Therefore I always ask myself: is “it” good enough (no matter which existential subject is concerned) ? Is it sustainable? Will it “really” pay off the “higher” goals? Must it always be a decision between A and B? Is it really (in the ontologically sense) a tertium non datur? I guess I am aware, that we as humans have probably an evolutionary need to break down questions into yes/no-patterns. But this pattern seems to me to be too comfortable. Too easy. Paracelsus once said (freely quoted): Poison is a matter of the dosis.

So … I am honestly interested, which philosopher might be close to what I have written.

PS: Sorry for closing the comments, but I am sick of fighting spam. But I will add your reply to this post, in order to complete this sequence (if it is worth to you to answer).