The Iconoclast: Preview V
The exit and entry of conviction between the superset of sub-questions and the unbounded meta-question institutes an economy between iconoclastic and dogmatic modes of thought.1 When a sub-question decays and becomes unfashionable agents of the meta-question challenge its presuppositional foundations causing it to crumble like a besieged fortress. Dogmatists defect, scattering out of the lost cause. These defectors join adjacent sub-questions in membership or re-calcify their dogmatic thinking creatively into new sub-questions.
A rare occurrence for a cognitive subject possessed by a dogmatic mode is to truly ‘exit’. Adopting the iconoclastic mode, this ‘exit’ results in the ultimate defection into destructive cognition. Utilising the aggressive philosophical energy of the meta-question they join the exceptional ranks of the Iconoclast. This, naturally, can only be endured for so long as all human thinkers must eventually make a judgement to arrive anywhere and so retire back to the sub-questions.
The Iconoclast2 is intellectually analogous to the archetypal trickster.3 This makes them a necessary agent of entropy and mutation which balances excesses of dogmatic order (self-reinforcing structures). Iconoclastic cognition is a bolt of lightning which re-energises fallen states. This is neither an entirely positive or negative thing. The Iconoclast performs a necessary intellectual function in tearing down corrupted or useless intellectual structures but also leaves us in that ultimate skepticism of the Pyrrhonian tradition. This whirlwind of destructive and untethered thinking de-anthropomorphises stripping the human subject of the calming backdrop of certainty. For the human subject this mode of inquiry invokes crises of meaning.
The Dogmatist,4 on the other hand, serves as a sobering agent. Dogmatic presuppositions ground cognitive activity so that sub-questions can be elucidated and developed. It is constructive dogmatic activity which has constructed the great intellectual cathedrals of science, religion and the philosophical schools. These triumphs, however, come with the price of a necessary close-mindedness resulting from the fact that dogmatic inquiry has bounded presuppositions as a pre-requisite. In the intellectual economy as much as this lends itself to constructive inquiry it is also prone to corruption of honest thought and myopic sight. The Dogmatist often can’t see the forest for the trees.
The Iconoclast is Icarus, blinded by the light of intellectual glory in exception. Vainly flying too close to the unattainable sun: the complete understanding of the meta-question. The Dogmatist in unity with their sub-question wants to force the infinite meta-question into their fixed structure. The Dogmatist attempts the construction of the Tower of Babble in an act of headstrong hubris. The intellectual obesity and extravagant corruption corruption of the Catholic Church called out for the Iconoclast in the form of Luther. The iconoclastic rebellion against the unified church then regathered into a multiplicity of diverse alternate religious sub-questions through the reformation. Superstition and supernatural metaphysics made us blind for millennia calling for the dogmatic utilitarian sight of scientific inquiry made possible through the assertive certainty of materialist dogmatism. The zeitgeist calls for acts of iconoclasm and dogmatism according to the intellectual economy, the challenge for us being: which mode should we employ in the present?
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Jung, C.G., 1991. The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Routledge., p.255. On the Psychology of the Trickster-Figure