Trans Philosophism Book Review


Review: Desh Subba's Trans Philosophism by Nicola Tenerelli ForPsiCom - University of Bari -

It is Desh Subba's essay, Trans Philosophism, published in 2021 by Xlibris, English language, is a study that could initially appear as a philosophy of history: "What is presented herein: public made law, rule, constitution, state, court, and government to direct, control and conduct the societies that they developed via theism, the theory of evolution, political theory, Marxism, and now Fearism. Lineage, tribe, caste, and nationality were constituted later. Now, we are living within its periphery. " (p. 47)

Desh Subba's work takes on particular interest because it offers thinkers an unprecedented reinterpretation of the history of philosophy, made by a Nepalese thinker who passionately digs to verify the cornerstones of Western thought, making them his own and reinterpreting them. It often happens that they ask me for an interpretative judgment; I point out that my philosophical training is linked to Western culture; my mind and I are damned tied to a logical structure, a mindset, inescapably Western. It is impossible to take a further logical position, although the strength of philosophical thought is expressed primarily if it translates into freedom, intellectual autonomy. In fact, the goal of philosophy is achieved when the mind takes on a further point of view, knowing full well that it cannot transcend itself and its own essentiality. The substratum of the mind is the rootedness it possesses in nature - time and place - a kind of Aristotelian power (δύναμις) which produces its otherness while remaining linked to its life. Reading Desh Subba's essay first of all invites us to discover what Trans Philosophism is.

                                                                                                                                                         Nicola Tenerelli

                                                                                                                                        Universita degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

With narrative wisdom and philosophical competence, the Author guides the reader in the unprecedented analysis of thinkers such as Hobbes and Marx, Sartre and Foucault, Heidegger and Derrida.

The hidden purpose of the mighty volume is to show the contemporary subject how to understand its complexity in order to become master of himself: this result can only be achieved by seeking the anfang of human action, understanding what is the fulcrum that moves human life. The philosopher manages to Trans philosophism (sic!) By deconstructing history, creating a genealogy of humanity: he will thus discover that the principle from which historical existence moves is fear; the Author can therefore state, paraphrasing Existentialism is a humanism: "It is new path for a new century - 'Trans Philosophism - (existence of) fear precedes essence'." (p. xvii) Using the method of exploration typical of philosophy, Desh Subba produces a re-proposition of Being in an existent key, moving from the moment immediately following the Sartrian being-thrown, and reconstructs the history of humanity that slowly evolves, interacted by the ontic thrust of fear. The production of structure - in the Marxian sense - has always been moved by the constitutive fear with which man must coexist; the eternal inner conflict of the fearful self generates the facts, determining history as a result of the struggle between fear and its overcoming. The transphilosophist understands that fear is the lever with which the human has produced History, but fear increasingly gives way to the spirituality of human beings, producing survival and growth, from the cave to the spaceship: "Fear existed along with the existence of human beings. It encouraged us for further progress. This is a reality hidden behind the motion of civilization and the cyber globe. Tomorrow it will reach space and the galaxy. It is still going on and human existence remains continuous. The globe goes back to the void along with the end of fear. We are born as complementary. We act in different parts till our tasks remain significant. It's like a dream in a play. Our roles end with the end of the play. "(p. 78) we are not faced with the Feuerbachian materialist vision, in which the concept of fear would be considered the anthropological principle according to which every activity can only be called human, even the existence of God. 9937719075?profile=RESIZE_400x

Desh Subba's Trans Philosophism intends to suggest a new path.

Although not mentioned in this demanding work, many of the principles of the New Science of Giambattista Vico echo, for which man must not delude himself into discovering the laws of nature, since this approach to the world would presuppose both the desire to be able to reconstruct it. Out of nowhere, let it be the arrogance of being able to discover the mystery of existence. Man can only know the only reality he has managed to produce, History, his history, but he must carry out this genealogical reconstruction by placing himself methodologically distant from the Western philosophical tradition: "[...] I utilize the basic reference from Viktor Afanasyev, Marxism Philosophy A Popular Outline. The origin of philosophy is the beginning of creation. It depends on how it has been narrated. A lot of philosophies have come into being while attempting to explore answers to questions. The planet we live in can be divided into material and spiritual. People with a material faith see everything material and the people with spiritual faith see everything spiritual. Yet, all theories developed to look at the world are incomplete. Similarly, the truth we believe in is typically mostly surficial. " (p. 62)

Desh Subba's wit invites reflection that takes into account the constant clash from which cultural achievements and changes, all forms of collectivism, life and relationships are born. The essay interprets the history of Western thought as the history of the contrast between materialism and spiritualism - Plato and Aristotle, which Raphael in the School of Athens depicts one pointing to the sky, the other to the earth -: this dichotomous vision must be overcome. To do this, the transphilosopher declares himself to be a Mateidealist, engaged in the simultaneous knowledge of his matter and his interiority, since both are part of the world, where everything is in everything, and in all things there is the intellect - The (things) that mix together and separate and disjoin, all the Intellect has known (Anaxagoras, DK 59 fr. 12) -. "Fearism is a Mateidealism. To understand, to make somebody understand and to feel frightened are related to Fearism. It originated in the ancient period. Socialism and capitalism remain meaningless unless each applies a theory of subsistence. So, philosophy should explore these issues to reach depth. We are working in a task force on the exploration and resolution of equivalent issues. It focuses on subsistence. " (p. 76)

Desh Subba's tension is all concentrated to demonstrate that there is inseparable unity between knowledge and life; understanding that everything is one - men and nature - represents the last form of awareness that can lead the subject back to greater moral solidity, being able to grasp being to free himself from fear: it is the attempt to reach the top of the mountain more unexplored to be able to look the other way, with the hope of freeing oneself from the torment of the unknown! "Why does it birth fear? And I found the nectar of fear in the mount Kumbhakarna Himal. There is a myth in my village, on the top of Kumbhakarna Himal, there is herbal plant of immortality. It is hard to climb and with a steep summit. Phoktanglungma (Phoktang means shoulder and lungma means Mountain) named in local Limbu Language. Originally it looks like one side of a broken soldier. Villagers maybe made the myth up because it is hard to climb. Many beautiful mountains of Nepal which are virgin are not open for climbing. I was looking for a metaphor of fear, and I found genesis of meaning. " (p. 423)

At the end of the reading of Trans Philosophism, agile thanks to clear writing, is it necessary to resist the usual Western temptation to deconstruct and decode Desh Subba's thought in order to attribute to it an ism - utopian? pantheist? -, making it immediately understandable, and then putting it aside. The Author's message is important with which he invites us to educate the intellectual capacity to understand a further project, because it is in the strength of human beings to be able to renew and grow, recognize themselves in others and overcome errors. The trans-philosopher Desh Subba suggests to human beings that the time has come to build a "fear-free-zone" (p. 438), a possible social place, a collective experience that makes history. The greatness of a man is to be a bridge and not a goal: in man, it is possible to love that he is a transition and a sunset (Prologue of Zarathustra, 4): only by getting rid of his own Icheit is it possible that every man learns to reduce at a minimum the ancestral coexisted fear to help create a more just and shared world.

Note: Originally it is written in the Italian Language. With the permission of the author Nicola Tenerelli, I have posted an English translation via Google, for English readers’. Original Italian text can be read at this link.

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  • Trans Philosophism, A Review by D. Ngan

    May 6, 2022

    Desh Subba's book Trans Philosophism, published in 2021, is without a doubt, an ambitious attempt to systematise the entirety of political philosophy through the lens of fear. That is to say, in reality, a significant portion of philosophy itself, tackling not only our way of understanding, interpreting, and coping with the world, but reflecting upon our self-image, psychology, and sense of meaning, how we come to live our lives. As suggested in the title, this is not just philosophy, this is a work of humanity. It takes the humanities and supports this with all the branches of science (and human systematic endeavours) in its venture. It is for this reason that this can only be an ambitious attempt, as its ultimate success can never be achieved, without a thorough and complete comprehension of all of the fields it attempts to analyse, cover, and involve. 

    That being said, that is not the goal. As in the tradition of Kant, the purpose is to merely outline a principled system, in which the details can be filled out in the future. The thesis is simple, we have, are and will be moved by fear. It progresses therefore, given our awareness of this fact, how exactly does fear play in our endeavours, what can we do with it, how can it be overcome? Given we are moved, how do we take over the reins and use fear to move us in a direction we want to go? Subba’s main argument is that given philosophy have seemingly neglected fear and been silent on its role in human anthropology, Trans Philosophism, as the title suggests, is the next step forward for philosophy. Only by reframing existing philosophy through this mindset, can it progress in a way that not only connects with other disciplines, but remains ‘practically’ relevant to our lives by contributing to conservation and public health. In the opinion of this reviewer however, that the work, although interesting and insightful, does not necessarily deliver all that it promises. What this book currently offers, still leaves a lot to be desired in some parts, and misrepresents philosophy in others, but I do believe that it is the starting point of something substantial. 

    To forward his argument, Subba claims, requires an acceptance of a reunification of two ideas: materialism and idealism. In order to progress, one must recognise that the material facts of the world interact with one’s conceptual interpretation of it to live our lives. The world of our minds is as much related, even to go as far as part of the world of the material (a sort of panpsychism). We do not come separately into this world, nor do we live apart from it, we come out of it. Part of it, from it, we arise, and therefore to persist within it, requires the breaking down of the artificial barrier we have constructed between mind and matter. Only through the lens of the emotional (specifically fear), can we make sense of the branches of knowledge we have built with the intention of classifying the material world. And through that lens, can we move beyond our intellectual endeavours as a mere academic conquest to construct a body of knowledge, into a way of thinking, resulting in a way of life (not dissimilar to ideas of Nietzsche). This is of course, not new. From the Ancient Greeks to Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, to Kant and the German Idealists, they all ask us to not forget the fundamental purpose of philosophy, its namesake, the love of wisdom. My interpretation of Subba’s underlying point is that wisdom is not just knowledge, wisdom is a quest for how to live life, to live well. Understanding the world is one thing, understanding our place in it is another, and to live in it, is entirely different and inescapably essential to our being.

    Subba’s writing is poetic, vivid and full of energy. The use of cultural and historical stories, tales, and literature, combined with striking imagery is aptly used in his work to combine the intellectually analytical, with the emotionally phenomenological. Stylistically, like the philosophical works of Plato, Descartes, Hume, you are not being lectured and walked through a precise and rigorous argumentation. Rather, you are going to be taken on a thought experiment, a journey, a guided self (human)-reflection if you will. This is a work for those who have had some experience and background in political philosophy, and yet, does not require one to be an expert academic. Nonetheless, without being somewhat familiar with topics this book tackles, it will be difficult to follow on the deconstruction. The underlying idea and motivating principles though, will be apparent in a more intuitive sense and can be made sensible to any reader.

    That is not to say the work does not leave the reader with a desire for clarity and rigour. Ambitious as it may, it can only be, as I humbly see it, a starting point (albeit an interesting one). It leaves many critical questions open, and it does get carried away by the majesty and grandeur of its scope, given its relatively reductivist project. To opt for a singular lens of fear to understand human motivations, constructions and endeavours is the first hurdle that immediately comes to mind. Many critical questions can be asked here, such as the relevancy of fear in all philosophy, or whether other emotions play a part, but I will just consider what I take to be a fundamental question here. As Subba points out, it would seem apparent that fear precedes our desires, hence our numerous desires to address said fears. However, it would seem that ultimately one basic desire precedes all fears and desires, the desire to survive, to continue.  

    This discussion is far from new, as to note one relevant source, the Buddhist notion of the twelve links of dependent origination. Within it, fear only starts to occur near the end of causality. Before fear, there must be a life to speak of to which our fear is built upon. In the Buddhist picture, before life, there is becoming, attachment, desire, sensations, sense impressions, sensory capacities, name and form, conditioned consciousness, volitional action, and ignorance. It seems immediately odd to start or stop with fear, as arguably many conditional links precede it. Questions precede the notion of “if fear, then what”, such as first of all, what is fear, and whether it can be understood by more primary conditions.  

    This then brings us to a field of contemporary philosophy neglected by the book, the philosophy of emotions. Given the work’s affective expression of human endeavour and evolutionary ethics, it is regrettable that such a key field of philosophy that engages directly with this is not discussed. As mentioned before, the success of this project requires comprehension of all of the fields it attempts to cover, and while complete comprehension is too much to ask, given the scope, basic comprehension must be held to account. Current work in the philosophy of emotions can give us insights as to what sort of relationship emotions (and fear) has with our biology, values, agency, and epistemological contributions. More analysis on fear and emotions would be required to get the project going. Relevantly and unfortunately, there are a couple impressions given by Subba that are simply inaccurate. I will simply raise two.  

    One, contrary to the picture the book paints, philosophy has not been silent on questions of fire and weapons. The study of such fields has rightly become their own branches upon which the tree of philosophy grows (that of science and anthropology, for example). Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and from its branches lie specific expertise. Two, there are philosophers who write and express extensively about the conservation of the planet, that work with health science, and health care. It would seem that the long-cultivated misrepresentation of a philosopher, whether dressed in togas wandering and speculating from far away, or mesmerised with their own thoughts in an armchair in front of a fireplace needs updating. Philosophers are already engaged, rightly so, in the practical application of our thoughts and theories upon our lives. 

     Trans Philosophy may be claiming to be the next step of philosophy, but I worry that Philosophy has long moved on. I believe that Trans

    Philosophy is not the next step, but merely a step into a specific direction of Philosophy. It is not breaking into new ground as it ambitiously claims, but in my opinion, making its way forward, as many philosophers are doing, into another direction of expanding our insight into the world. Human endeavours are not arrows, they are not linear steps, they do not exceed, surpass, and replace each other in neat and simple layers. They are expansive circles, bubbles, and balloons. I hope to see more of where this goes, slowly, and ideally, with rigour and clarity. 

    Trans Philosophism, a Review — Phi Magazine - Φ
    Desh Subba's book Trans Philosophism , published in 2021, is without a doubt, an ambitious attempt to systematise the entirety of political philosop…
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