Mono / Poly

Mono               -           Poly
One                  -           Many
Masculine        -           Feminine
Efficiency        -           Redundancy
Narrow            -           Wide
Specialist         -           Generalist
Vertical            -           Horizontal
Inner                 -           Outer
Objects             -           Relations
Communal        -           Individual
Self-identity      -           Self-division
Universal          -           Particular
Spirit                 -           Soul
Transcendent     -           Immanent
Rationalism       -           Empiricism

Mono - one way for everyone - promotes the collective by making all conform to a single norm. Differences are discouraged.

Poly, on the other hand, allows divergence, and thus promotes the freedom of the individual; to roam and become distinct.

We like it when a thing is only one thing. But society is always two things: it’s the thing that alienates you, and it's the benevolent father; always.

[Jordan B. Peterson]
'Joe Rogan Experience #958 - Jordan Peterson'

It's not Christian love that's conquered the world; it's not its sophisticated interpretations, sophisticated theology.

It's successful because it mobilizes the will, and the will needs fundamentalism or it doesn't know what to do.

Fundamentalism serves the hero myth. It gives you fundamental principles - words, truths, directions. It builds a strong ego. It is American psychology. No Hermes, no Dionysus, no Aphrodite in it at all.

Utterly monotheistic because there is only one meaning, one reading of the text - like, for instance, the one meaning of Christ's suffering.

[...] anything that doesn't fit within that unity is split, or schizoid, a hysterical complex or autonomous or whatever else, and you have lost the fact that you are a bundle of many levels, people, noises, impulses, trends, personalities, possibilities and no two days are the same and no two voices are the same and one is a loose structure of many beings - Jung called them complexes.

But as long as one lives in the myth of unity one is forced into commanding the psyche to obey the principle of unity and the unifier, the ego, creating this monstrous Western ego, which then has to be subdued by all kinds of Christian virtues: tolerance, self-control, patience, humility, charity, obedience, poverty ... all this huge ascetic structure to deal with the Monster which is created by its own dogma!

So that the repression which Freud placed at the basis of our relation with the unconscious is nothing more than the Christian myth at work in us each, cutting us off from our innate polytheistic imagination and renaming it, the unconscious.

[James Hillman]
Inter Views, p.81-2

It is conventionally held that ancient polytheistic humanism collapsed because it was unrealistic, a highly artificial system.

But there is a sense in which it was realistic, as we should expect in any religion springing from Greek origins.

The gods on Olympus at least represented actual human attributes, or varying and often conflicting archetypal human tendencies; while the Hebraic system - the uniting of desirable (moralistic) human attributes into one god - was a highly artificial procedure.

In many ways the Greek system is the more rational and intelligent; which perhaps explains why it has been the less appealing.

The Hebrew god is a creation of man; and the Greek gods are a reflection of him.

Nonetheless, periods of history come when it seems clear which serves the general need best. Monotheism saw man through the dark ages that followed the collapse of the Roman empire; but today the benevolent scepticism of humanism seems better suited to our situation.

[John Fowles]
The Aristos, p.114-15

Whether something is monolithic, binary, dialectical, or meaninglessly plural is a function of your distance from it.

When you're very close to something, all you can see is oneness, pure dominance by the thing of all others. For a baby, Mother's breast is the entire universe. For a fundamentalist, it's God.

When you're a bit further away, a tidy binary replaces oneness. There are men and there are women. There's East and there's West. This is the distance journalists live at. The world of journalism is always seeing small fluctuations in the relative positions of big, established binaries like these.

'Binary hopping' 

In psychological inflation, as Jung developed the idea, the personality is ‘taken over’ by a single archetypal pattern. 

A person’s perceptions, values, and behaviour are driven by an image which has its source outside the individual, in the collective or objective psyche. Personal identity is engulfed by the archetype. One’s perceptions of the world, one’s thoughts about it, one’s values, are shaped by a single image.

Ancient cultures explained it as coming under the power of a god. Where we see someone as having a “power complex” or a “mother complex” or just as “falling in love”, the classical Greeks would have seen an individual driven by Zeus, Demeter or Eros.

Analogously we can talk about cultural inflation, in which a nation or society, or at least a substantial part of the population, is taken over by an archetype, so that the group’s perceptions, self-image and behaviour are formed by a single archetypal pattern and driven by a single archetypal energy.

Domination by a single pattern to the detail of everything else can be considered a form of pathology (personal or societal), though some pathologies (e.g. falling in love) are obviously more benign than others.

[Bernie Neville]
‘The Charm of Hermes: Hillman, Lyotard, and the Postmodern Condition’, Journal of Analytical Psychology (1992), p. 347

According to the research, three key bodily systems - the neurological system, the endocrine system, and the immune system - function independently yet work harmoniously together.

There is no central system which integrates these three systems. Each of these functions within its own integration, and, in addition, they function well as a whole though not integrated by a central control.

Taking a hint from the above, I think that the human psyche also should be seen as a "supersystem."

I have repeatedly discussed different levels of consciousness while also indicating that even logically conflicting things will coexist in the mind of a human being. Indeed, that coexistence has value.

I am inclined to think that our human mind maintains integration in each of the different levels of consciousness. In addition, as a whole it functions as a supersystem without a center. In short, I think that the psyche as a whole, when it is healthy and functioning well, does not need to have an integrative center.

Some might say that, if a system as a whole is functioning well, you call it "integration." For integration, we tend to think that a principle or rule exists which should be central and controlling. I think that things - including human beings - work well beyond the center or principle which man creates.

I described my great trouble being caught between Eastern and Western cultures. While in such suffering, I believed in the integration of the two and talked about it easily. But, after trying hard many times, I gradually came to know that it is, in fact, impossible to "integrate" them.

It even seems dangerous to attempt quick integration, as I have realized that people who attempt it tend to ignore things which are "inconvenient."

So it seems likely that a new science would not try to develop a system of knowledge featuring simple, logical integration [...]

If we are to develop this new science of the whole, we must open ourselves to imaginative ways of thinking and perceiving and summon up our most determined efforts.

[Hayao Kawai]
Buddhism and the Art of Psychotherapy, p.140-1

With all such control phenomena, a critical issue is robustness: how well can a system withstand small jolts. Equally critical in biological systems is flexibility: how well can a system function over a range of frequencies.

A locking-in to a single mode can be enslavement, preventing a system from adapting to change.

Organisms must respond to circumstances that vary rapidly and unpredictably; no heartbeat or respiratory rhythm can be locked into the strict periodicities of the simplest physical models, and the same is true of the subtler rhythms of the rest of the body.

Some researchers [...] proposed that healthy dynamics were marked by fractal physical structures, like the branching networks of bronchial tubes in the lung and conducting fibers in the heart, that allow a wide range of rhythms.

Fractal processes associated with scaled, broad-band spectra are 'information rich.' Periodic states, in contrast, reflect narrow-band spectra and are defined by monotonous, repetitive sequences, depleted of information content.

Treating such disorders [...] may depend on broadening a system's spectral reserve, its ability to range over many different frequencies without falling back into a locked periodic channel.

[James Gleick]
Chaos, p. 293

'Wittgenstein develops a style of writing which is radically errant, which unlids all the accidence concealed by "normal" uses of words in order to show how many different routes it would be possible to take from any given point in their discourse - routes which we had simply not thought of because we were bemused by normality.'

Once 'ordinary language' is shorn of its residual metaphysics - the idea that ultimate truths are somehow vested in our normal, everyday habits of usage - linguistic philosophy takes on a very different aspect.

Rather than reinforce existing conventions or naturalized 'forms of life', it works to reveal the unlooked-for possibilities latent in all communication.

Plato is the prototype of all those unfortunate philosophers who must resort to writing in order to communicate their thoughts, but who lay themselves open, in the process, to all manner of unauthorized reading and interpretation.

[...] language is subject to a generalized 'iterability' - or readiness to be grafted into new and unforeseeable contexts - such that no appeal to performative intent can serve to delimit the range of possible meaning.

[Christopher Norris]
Derrida, p.  178, 187, 191

Jim Rutt: Another theme that I […] took out of what I read of your work is that you certainly encourage dissent and diversity […] but at the same time, if one’s trying to make an organization work you have to manage the signal to the noise. Not all opinions are equal. How do you encourage dissent and diversity without being overwhelmed by crankery?

Dave Snowden: […] First of all, I say we need to shift from homogeneity […] I disbelieve everybody should have the same values, the same goals, and the same objectives, because that destroys. That makes systems non-resilient.

[We need to shift] into what I call coherent heterogeneity. 

You have to have differences which can come together in different ways. For example, I’m Welsh. If you meet anybody from Wales, the first thing they’ll ask you is where’d you come from, because we have to establish some way in which we can have a fight with you […] but when the English come we’re Welsh.

That’s an example of coherent heterogeneity. Now what we can do with the attitude map that I mentioned earlier is we can measure the level of cognitive and behavioral diversity in your organization, and we can identify outlier groups that you should pay attention to, rather than them getting drowned out by middle management.

That’s the key thing that comes out of the attitudinal mapping. You have to maintain diversity in the system, but you have to maintain diversity which isn’t freakish […] You actually need to get around those sort of problems by providing interactions between dissonant groups.

I present a situation, I’ll get everybody in the workforce to interpret it. I’ll then get dominant views, but I’ll get 15 or 16 clusters of outlier views. I let the clusters run a small safe-to-fail experiment and we see what works. That’s a key conflict resolution device. Effectively I do what’s called a shallow dive into chaos. I move into an unconstrained system to actually statistically map onto a landscape, and I know which ideas are coherent enough to explore even though they’re different, and which are actually nonsense.

A lot of our work has been to produce objective quantifiable measures of coherence within an organization, so you know which dissonants are worth talking to and which aren’t. That’s actually a relatively simple process.

[Jim Rutt & Dave Snowden]
'EP11 Dave Snowden and Systems Thinking'

Freedom of the will so construed is not the absence of causal determination but a harmony among all of a person’s preference schemes. It is a state in which desire follows thought, and action follows desire, without tension or struggle, and in which the distinction between choice and constraint may well be thought to disappear.

Nietzsche is very clear about the extraordinary difficulty with which this state of harmony of thought and action can be reached […] success consists in having the minimum level of discord among the maximum possible number of diverse tendencies. 

“The highest human being would have the highest multiplicity of drives, in the relatively greatest strength that can be endured. Indeed, where the plant ‘human being’ shows itself strongest one finds instincts that conflict powerfully (e.g. in Shakespeare) but are controlled.”

The creation of the self therefore appears to be the creation, or imposition, of a higher-order accord among our lower-level thoughts, desires, and actions. 

It is the development of the ability, or the willingness, to accept responsibility for everything that we have done and to admit what is in any case true: that everything we have done actually constitutes which each one of us is.

[…] we are always finding ourselves in new and unforeseen situations; we constantly have new thoughts and desires, we continue to perform new actions. In their light we may at any point come to face the need to reinterpret, to reorganise, or even to abandon earlier ones.

To desire to remain who I am in this context is not so much to want any specific character traits to remain constant: the very same passage speaks of “multiplicity of character considered and exploited as an advantage.” Rather, it is to desire to appropriate and to organise as my own all that I have done, or at least that I know I have done, into a coherent whole.

It is simply to become able to accept all such things, good and evil, as things I have done. It is not to cultivate stable character traits that make my reactions predictable and unsurprising. 

[…] it is to become flexible enough to use whatever I have done, do, or will do as elements within a constantly changing, never finally completed whole.

[Alexander Nehamas]
Nietzsche: Life as Literature, p. 187-190

For Aristotle, an object had a clear purpose set by its designer. An eye was there to see, a nose to smell. This is a rationalistic argument, another manifestation of what I call Platonicity.

Objects seem to have invisible but significant auxiliary functions that we are not aware of consciously, but that allow them to thrive - and on occasion [...] the auxiliary function becomes the principal one.

[...] anything that has a secondary use, and one you did not pay for, will present an extra opportunity should a heretofore unknown application emerge or a new environment appear.

The organism with the largest number of secondary uses is the one that will gain the most from environmental randomness and epistemic opacity!

[Nassim Nicholas Taleb]
The Black Swan, p. 318-9

Brian Arthur in a brilliant book, shows the degree to which technology innovation depends on exaption rather than adaption.

Exaption is more important than adaption; traits that evolve for one context accidentally get used in a different one and we get true innovation. Most of human development including language is the result of exaptive processes. There are some related techniques here, the use of metaphor for example can allow association or linkage of ideas in new ways.

[...] we need to create the conditions for innovation. Now critically that means that we need to focus on a degree of inefficiency [...] Managing for exaption requires a degree of mess [...] You can’t determine in advance what innovation is needed, you have to create an ecology in which novel solutions can emerge. 

Innovation never happens within a formal highly efficient system. Yes, when the informal system makes the bureaucracy work despite itself you get considerable innovation. However this is generally invisible to the formal system.

[Dave Snowden]
'A grain of sand: Innovation diffusion', '… forever blunt and merciless'

In an accurate language, meaning would be a one-one relation; no word would have two meanings, and no two words would have the same meaning. 

In actual languages, as we have seen, meaning is one-many. (It happens often that two words have the same meaning, but this is easily avoided, and can be assumed not to happen without injuring the argument.) That is to say, there is not only one object that a word means, and not only one possible fact that will verify a proposition.

The fact that meaning is a one-many relation is the precise statement of the fact that all language is more or less vague.

[Bertrand Russell]
'Vagueness', The Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy, 1:2, p. 90

We may be seeing the beginnings of the reintegration of our culture, a new possibility of the unity of consciousness. If so, it will not be on the basis of any new orthodoxy, either religious or scientific. 

Such a new integration will be based on the rejection of all univocal understandings of reality, of all identifications of one conception of reality with reality itself. 

It will recognize the multiplicity of the human spirit, and the necessity to translate constantly between different scientific and imaginative vocabularies. It will recognize the human proclivity to fall comfortably into some single literal interpretation of the world and therefore the necessity to be continuously open to rebirth in a new heaven and a new earth. 

[Robert Bellah]
Beyond Belief: Essays on Religion in a Post-Traditionalist World, p. 246

A certain distance too from oneself is necessary. A “clinical” eye in regards to oneself, one’s faults, is required for this mindset. 

In our time this can be achieved in part by embracing spirit of true science, whereas for man of Bronze Age it was easy to embrace because he saw things that happened to him, including the great motions of the spirit, the feelings that troubled him, as instantiations of various gods, for which he was not responsible, and which he could therefore judge and evaluate externally. 

[Bronze Age Pervert]
Bronze Age Mindset, p. 139

Those moralists who command man first of all and above all to gain control of himself thus afflict him with a peculiar disease; namely, a constant irritability in the face of all natural stirrings and inclinations—as it were, a kind of itching. 

Whatever may henceforth push, pull, attract, or impel such an irritable person from inside or outside, it will always seem to him as if his self-control were endangered. No longer may he entrust himself to any instinct or free wingbeat; he stands in a fixed position with a gesture that wards off, armed against himself, with sharp and mistrustful eyes—the eternal guardian of his castle, since he has turned himself into a castle. 

Of course, he can achieve greatness this way. But he has certainly become insufferable for others, difficult for himself, and impoverished and cut off from the most beautiful fortuities of his soul. Also from all further instruction. For one must be able to lose oneself occasionally if one wants to learn something from things different from oneself.

[Friedrich Nietzsche]
The Gay Science, 305

It is interesting that, being so radically different from Christian symbolism, modern symbolism obeys the same semiotic laws. In one case, one assumes that symbols do have a final meaning, but since it is the same everlasting message, there is an inexhaustible variety of signifiers for a unique signified. 

In the other case, symbols have any possible meaning because of the inner contradictoriness of reality, but since every symbol speaks about this fundamental contradictoriness, an inexhaustible quantity of signifiers always stand for their unique signified, the inexhaustibility of the senses of any text. 

One witnesses in both cases a form of “fundamentalism.” In the former case, every text speaks of the rational and univocal discourse of God; in the latter every text speaks of the irrational and ambiguous discourse of Hermes.

[Umberto Eco]
The Limits of Interpretation, p. 20

The Classical soul [...] with its parts and its properties, imagines itself as an Olympus of little gods, and to keep these at peace and in harmony with one another is the ideal of the Greek life-ethic of Temperance and Ataraxia.

[Oswald Spengler]
The Decline of the West, Vol. 1, p. 313

The ego, with its illusion of self-mastery and containment, is formed through misrecognition, an anticipatory identification with an idealized, stable, self-enclosed, citadel of self.

This identification with an image of oneself sets up the ego as rivalrous, narcissistic, and aggressive. While the act of misrecognition becomes the basis for a sense of self or for self-consciousness, it is also an act of alienation, exclusion, or self-division; by erecting an imaginary ideal, representing oneself in a perfected image, the self is also split and rendered unconscious to itself, cut off from the multiplicity of dispersed drives.

For Lacan, the ego is a “knot of imaginary servitude” and thus the site of the subject's stagnancy and inertia. The mirror stage also forms the basis of Lacan's critique of ego psychology; whereas the latter takes strengthening the ego to be the aim of analytic practice, Lacan takes the aspirations of the ego to be a “lure” of self-possession, an armor that rigidifies the subject and resists freedom and movement, a defensive structure that provides an alienating identity.

With this theory of the ego, Lacan presents a subject at odds with itself, non-self-identical, in “primordial Discord”, torn between unity and anarchy, organization and chaos, integration and fragmentation.

The writers affiliated with French Feminism […] are philosophically and temperamentally more sympathetic to the split of subjectivity detailed by psychoanalysis, the idea that I am not I, that self-division rather than self-identity is the fundamental feature of human existence, and therefore that the subject is not a unitary point of origin for choice.

[Emily Zakin]
‘Psychoanalytic Feminism’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Irigaray's genealogical account of sexual difference resists both the idea of an invariant universal (and hence sexually neutral) human essence that subtends (and thereby expels) human multiplicity and the idea of sexual essences that consist in self-enclosed identities between which there is an uncrossable divide. 

That is, she rejects the ontological assumptions of both universal equality and separatism, taking both to be implicitly masculine and patriarchal, bound to a metaphysical essentialism that aims to capture diversity in first or final principles, or to subsume particulars under general concepts.

Challenging the logic of the one and the many, Irigaray takes the self-division of nature, its being-two, as a model of autonomous self-development. When Irigaray says that human nature is two, she does not mean that there are two fixed sexual substances, but that to be natural is to be embodied, finite, divided, that the fundamental character of nature is growth through differentiation. Human nature, in her view, is not disembodied or neutral; it is always distinctively sexed or sexuate, a neologism for sexed, but not necessarily erotic, bodily difference.

Viewing the natural body as self-differentiating rather than self-identical, Irigaray also articulates distinctive capacities for generation corresponding to differing morphological possibilities (the possibilities of bodily form) that entail “different subjective configurations.”

[Emily Zakin]
‘Psychoanalytic Feminism’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The vision of Western science rests on the notion of the uniformity of nature and its law.

The current perception of the universe occurs in terms of a hierarchy of laws built on the foundation at the most fundamental level. Mathematical elegance, simplicity, and beauty are considered to be a feature of the universe and its laws. Complexity is a secondary effect that emerged out of the primordial simplicity of the big bang through a series of chance processes called "symmetry breaking."

What is considered to be preeminent about the universe could perhaps be classified as the general, the abstract, the repeatable, the context-independent, and the all-embracing. By contrast the individual, the idiosyncratic, and the singular event are considered to be of less importance, or as being particular and superficial cases of something deeper and more embracing.

While native science also stresses harmony and balance, it nevertheless gives importance to diversity, as well as to the particular event - to the dream and vision, to a unique phenomenon, and to the experience of each individual.

Indigenous science accepts the rich complexity of life and the natural world as being the essence of the cosmos. Relationships and renewable alliances take the place of fixed laws, and Indigenous science accepts the possibility that chance and the unexpected can enter and disturb any scheme. Thus, the circle is left open and chance, as represented by the clown, the trickster, and gambling games, occupies an important role.

[F. David Peat]
Blackfoot Physics, p.255-6

If one accepts that information is proliferated throughout the system and that it is continually transformed - by other bits of information and by itself - then it becomes impossible to stipulate a 'true' interpretation for any piece of information.

Information can only be interpreted locally and then only through the dynamics of diffĂ©rance - as reflecting upon and transforming itself. These dynamics precludes the definition of truth or origin at a meta-level and is therefore referred to as the postmodern predicament - ‘a crisis of our truths, our values, our most cherished beliefs' (Lawson 1985:9).

[Paul Cilliers]
Complexity and Postmodernism, p.121

Lyotard is quite clear on the point that the complexity of the social system does not automatically lead to randomness or noise.

From the passage above it is clear that the system 'combats entropy', that it generates meaning, not noise or chaos. To optimise this process, the system has to be as diverse as possible, not as structured as possible. This, for Lyotard, is the function of paralogy. Paralogy thus performs a similar function to that of self-organised criticality.

Self-organised criticality is the mechanism by which networks diversify their internal structure maximally. The more diverse the structure, the richer is the information that can be stored and manipulated. The network has to walk the tightrope between solid structure, on the one hand, and disorder, on the other.

In our network model, this process is the consequence of fierce competition among units or groups of units. For Lyotard, the driving force in a social system is that of paralogy and dissension […]

[Paul Cilliers]
Complexity and Postmodernism, p.117

Language and personae mirror each other in both Spenser and Shakespeare.

The archaizing language of The Faerie Queene is analogous to the Apollonian unity of its armoured personalities. Belphoebe and Britomart have one line of thought, as they have one line of action. They are not besieged by fantasy or mood, by the rising torrent of imagination surging through Shakespeare’s major characters.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.196

Cleopatra has a Dionysian all-inclusiveness. She breaks through social restraints to plunge into the sensual, orgiastic pleasure of pure feeling [...] For Cleopatra, life is theater. She is a master propagandist. Truth is inconsequential; dramatic values are supreme.

Metamorphoses are horrific for both Spenser and Dante, who consigns impersonation to one of the lowest circles of the Inferno: incestuous Myrrha, “falsifying herself in another’s form,” is classed with liars and counterfeiters (XXX.41). Puritan hostility to theater was justified.

Like Auntie Mame, Cleopatra, a creature of theater, sees persona as a mirror of soul. The pagan folk sciences, astrology, palmistry, and phrenology, have never forgotten that externals are truth. Beauty is only skin-deep; you can’t tell a book by its cover: these pious axioms come from a contrary moral tradition.

The aesthete, who lives in a world of surfaces, and the male homosexual, who lives in a world of masks, believe in the absoluteness of externals. That is why Auntie Mame was a diva of homosexuals. Cleopatra’s multiple personae are far from feminine fickleness. She represents a radical theatricality in which the inner world is completely transformed into the outer.

[Camille Paglia]
Sexual Personae, p.219, 221

I have already emphasized that medieval societies are in general societies of conflict, lawlessness and multiplicity.

John Gardner has written of the fifteenth-century circle around John of Gaunt, Edward III of England's fourth son, 'What they desired of their world was law and order, firm and unchallenged monarchy, or, in Dante's phrase, "The one will that resolves the many"; what they saw all around them, and ardently hated, was instability, debased values, endless struggle, a mad commingling of high and low, not Oneness but Manyness - what Chaucer would describe, in his magnificent elaboration of a poem by Boethius, as a cosmic fornication' [...] This passage suggests a common ambiguity in the medieval vision of the moral life.

On the one hand that life is informed by an idealized view of the world as an integrated order, in which the temporal mirrors the eternal. Every particular item has its due place in the order of things. This is that intellectual vision of total system which finds its supreme expression in Dante and in Aquinas, but to which a great deal of ordinary medieval thought continuously aspires.

[Alasdair MacIntyre]
After Virtue, p.206

Dionysus affirms all that appears, "even the most bitter suffering", and appears in all that is affirmed. Multiple and pluralist affirmation - this is the essence of the tragic.

We must find, for each thing in turn, the special means by which it is affirmed, by which it ceases to be negative. The tragic is not to be found in this anguish or disgust, nor in a nostalgia for lost unity. The tragic is only to be found in multiplicity, in the diversity of affirmation as such. What defines the tragic is the joy of multiplicity, plural joy. This joy is not the result of a sublimation, a purging, a compensation, a resignation or a reconciliation.

The anti-dialectical and anti-religious dream which runs through the whole of Nietzsche's philosophy is a logic of multiple affirmation and therefore a logic of pure affirmation and a corresponding ethic of joy.

[Gilles Deleuze]
Nietzsche and Philosophy, p.17

[...] pluralism (otherwise known as empiricism) is almost indistinguishable from philosophy itself.

Pluralism is the properly philosophical way of thinking, the one invented by philosophy; the only guarantor of freedom in the concrete spirit, the only principle of a violent atheism.

The Gods are dead but they have died from laughing, on hearing one God claim to be the only one, "Is not precisely this godliness, that there are gods but no God?"

There is no event, no phenomenon, word or thought which does not have a multiple sense. A thing is sometimes this, sometimes that, sometimes something more complicated - depending on the forces (the gods) which take possession of it.

Hegel wanted to ridicule pluralism, identifying it with a naive consciousness which would be happy to say "this, that, here, now" - like a child stuttering out its most humble needs. The pluralist idea that a thing has many senses, the idea that there are many things and one thing can be seen as "this and then that" is philosophy's greatest achievement, the conquest of the true concept, its maturity and not its renunciation or infancy.

For the evaluation of this and that, the delicate weighing of each thing and its sense, the estimation of the forces which define the aspects of a thing and its relations with others at every instant - all this (or all that) depends on philosophy's highest art - that of interpretation.

To interpret and even to evaluate is always to weigh. The notion of essence does not disappear here but takes on a new significance, for not every sense has the same value. A thing has as many senses as there are forces capable of taking possession of it. But the thing itself is not neutral and will have more or less affinity with the force in current possession.

There are forces which can only get a grip on something by giving it a restrictive sense and a negative value. Essence, on the other hand, will be defined as that one, among all the senses of a thing, which gives it the force with which it has the most affinity.

[Gilles Deleuze]
Nietzsche and Philosophy, p.4

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