Philosophy is the quicksilver that revelation was sent down from on high to preclude humanity from having to touch, for touch it enough and we will surely become “as mad as a hatter”.
“A coherent philosophical footing” is an oxymoron that is bested only by the term “philosophical faith”. Philosophy is for those who have failed to attain the certainty of faith. And so the solution is to recognize the need for a stability whose only basis can be revealed knowledge concerning the world beyond the ken of human perception.
Arash Najaf-Zadeh (The European New Right – A Shi’a Response: A Radical Critique of Alexander Dugin, E. Michael Jones, and Alain de Benoist, pgs. 60-1)
I heard, then, that at Naucratis, in Egypt, was one of the ancient gods of that country, the one whose sacred bird is called the ibis, and the name of the god himself was Theuth. He it was who invented numbers and arithmetic and geometry and astronomy, also draughts and dice, and, most important of all, letters. Now the king of all Egypt at that time was the god Thamus, who lived in the great city of the upper region, which the Greeks call the Egyptian Thebes, and they call the god himself Ammon. To him came Theuth to show his inventions, saying that they ought to be imparted to the other Egyptians. But Thamus asked what use there was in each, and as Theuth enumerated their uses, expressed praise or blame, according as he approved or disapproved. The story goes that Thamus said many things to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts, which it would take too long to repeat ; but when they came to the letters, ” This invention, O king,” said Theuth, “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories ; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.” But Thamus replied, “Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another ; and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practise their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding ; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.
Socrates [Phaedrus, 561-3, Plato: Euthyphro Apology Crito Phaedo Phaedrus, Translated by Harold North Flower, Harvard University Press]
Two men were wandering when they came across a strange signboard which said, ‘We Teach the Learned How to Learn’.
The men were puzzled. Anyhow, they followed the directions and reached the spot where they saw an old man surrounded by his young students. The men calculated that that old man must be the one they were concerned with. They uttered the greetings and shared their amazement and curiosity. In order to quench their thirst, the old man decided to conduct a little demonstration. He inquired one of them if he could identify the thing standing just across from where they were all sitting. The man replied emphatically that that was a tree.
The old man said, “Did it itself give you this introduction of itself?”
Perplexed, the man said, “How can it be possible? It is a description I bestowed on it.”
The old man said, “When each and every element of its account emanates from the name you confer on it then how can you say that whatever you know is what the object truly is? It means that you had a certain conception of this thing and upon encountering it you enshrouded it with that conception. How can you claim to know it?
Remember, our being also gets mingled with our sense data and abstractions which cripple our claims of knowledge. Our being blocks our perception. And, therefore, we need illumination to overcomethis darkness.
So, what is knowledge?
Knowledge is the cognizance we attain when we discern things under the divine light of the All-Knowing (Al-Alim, one of the attributes of Allah Almighty).
A misalignment between ontology and epistemology will not generate awareness but vacuous conceptual impositions on things.
Heidegger was trying to revive the meditative mind in the Western tradition which had become disoriented in the glitter of the calculative mind. The vocabulary he deployed to communicate his thesis was bound to put off his readers because, perhaps, his receivers were and are largely metaphysically ill-prepared to appreciate the context. Now, interestingly, when I read his work in Persian or Arabic I instantly understand what he is up to, which, unfortunately, I can’t describe in English since it would again be a transference from a highly metaphysically alive tradition to a calculative, mechanized and technologically driven one.