Marseille Symposium – November 29 – December 1, 2013 Conclusions of the symposium by Fernand Schwarz
I would like first to thank Guy Ferry. It is with him that we gradually built up the idea of this conference. It has not been easy. I also thank him for this synthesis that synthesises my own, and deserves another conference.
If it had been up to me, I would have remained fixed on the idea of the Nine hypotheses. For me, each has its own life, and Plato not having made a choice, these Nine hypotheses are a circuit. When you get to the ninth hypothesis and everything seems to lead to nothing, everything restarts towards the One, with nothing. This observation is another topic for a dialogue that we can discuss in the future.
In any case, I have learned a lot by organising this conference. Each roundtable deserved a separate symposium. We will see with Hermes Institute, how to implement this in the future.
Concerning the many questions put to me while I walked through the corridors, that of how to live the One and the many simultaneously, remains especially salient. The tendency of everyone is to take refuge in either the One or the multiple; but in truth, it would be an error to do so. Plato understood that we can not think of “difference”, as we have discussed in this symposium, as a simple lack of identity.
The idea of Being can not be conceived of as only being the same idea. It is essential that there is also a particular idea, a specific idea of difference. But this difference can not be reflected or reduced to negating the same concept. I will clarify this issue. Difference is not the absence of the same concept. Platon captured an idea and gave it a very important concept: the “other”. The other is another idea of the same. It is the relationship of the other and the same, and the same to the other, which allows the management of the One and the multiple simultaneously. He obviously adds to the same and the other, the idea of Being. To be the same and to be the other, to be the other and to be the same. Put simply, it is a dialogue that should be encouraged at the dawn of the 21st century. Being the same and the other, and thus becoming a supreme genera that promotes the idea of identity and difference. It is for this reason, that I propose to raise the level of debate and categories, and not to just simply stay with the idea of identity and difference; but to understand all the ontological and hénological consequences above, that come from this debate.
What is my concern? It is to not reduce the great difficulties of our society. People are in distress and suffering; and this can not be reduced to a simple sociological or ethnographic generality. We must understand that our society’s problems have a metaphysical origin and are not just material. The great contribution of philosophers in the classical manner such as Socrates and Plato, was their explanation of how society can manage the “other “and “same”, if we accept a common point of connection. Hence, the creation of metaphysical goods is a first priority. The starting point of social bonding is neither the economy nor the industry. The economy, industry and consumer products are the consequences of this link. We must pay attention here. No philosophers in the classical manner proposed an economic theory; and if they did, it was in an ecological sense, and not that production brings happiness . Eudemonie forms inner happiness, and it can only be shared by persons capable of producing metaphysical goods priorly. And this is not as distant or as lost as you think. Fraternity is a metaphysical good. Showing fraternity vis-à- vis others is the creation of a metaphysical good. Courage in the face of adversity; loving as you have spoken of at this conference, and righteous acts are all the production of metaphysical goods.
When these “goods” i.e., qualities or virtues are affected or corrupted by materialism: and you think that you can buy justice, you can consume love, or that we can declare brotherhood … in this case, these words are no longer metaphysical goods. They no longer encourage anyone to produce metaphysical goods, because we have reached the opposite state: these extraordinary words become empty of content. Hence, to pass from the logos to praxis, from thought to experimentation, we need to add “life”. We need continuity in our actions and our thoughts; i.e., experimentation with our thoughts that enrich our consciousness.
We must accept contradictions and paradoxes, including our own human frailties, so that we become stronger, so that we enrich and vitalise these ideas again through concrete experimentation. Otherwise, anything that allows you to experiment remains a dead letter.
We must significantly reawaken citizens’ initiative and not soley instituitons; because I do not believe in the latter. We sometimes have remarkable institutional speeches, but why do they not work in practise? Because individuals are not a part of these discourses needed to produce metaphysical goods; but rather to find a sponsor, and to act according to the money given. Hence, by submitting ourselves to materialistic conditions, in producing goods linked to intelligence, consciousness and spirituality, we are in total contradiction with the philosophical forms that produce metaphysical goods. Thus, we can not enter into these dialectical forms which are pure sophism. We have not talked very little about sophists, but there are many today.
We must simply accept to do what we can with the resources we have, including those we have within ourselves, even if at the beginning they appear to be virtual. By putting them in action, they become powerful. We need to change our perspective. I like the third hypothesis, and I will finish my speech with it: the One “is” and “is not” at the same time. What does this signify? This reminds me of an old Egyptian saying, which perhaps Plato heard of.
At the birth of the world, there is a Being who awakens his consciousness. He emerges from the Chaos and becoming conscious of himself he establishes a certain order. He is called Atum, the Demiurge of the oldest school of wisdom that I know of, Heliopolis. I mention this because we have texts that relate to this. How can one define Atum? He is the one who “is” and who is “not yet”. He “is” because he produces all that can be. But, he is not “yet”, as everything has yet to be manifested.
We are the same . We act, so we are . But we are not completed beings. Our room for improvement is fabulous. We must seize the opportunity: we can become much better . We have a future. Thank you !