Development through Alternation

2.1. Oppositional logic

Anthony Judge

The philosopher Stephane Lupasco has explored the nature of antagonistic dualities (147). He shows that knowing is intimately associated with such duality and takes place by actualizing one of the terms of the duality and virtualizing the contradictory one. In this way only a monism is knowable, especially in science, even though it is the dualism which is the "motor" for this process. That by which we know illuminates a contradictory order whose contradictory nature is not apparent. In this way the proper object of scientific knowledge can only be extension - affirmation, permanence, conservation, and identity. The knowledge is brought about by the negation of intensity - which is forced out of the cognitive domain (147, p. 16). Furthermore:

"Devant un champ conscientiel et cognitif de plus en plus riche d'identites exteriorisees, tout ce qui releve de la negation sera rapporte au sujet connaissant, lequel se connait de moins en moins au fur et a mesure qu'il connait davantage, puisque precisement il n'apercoit plus que ce sur quoi il opere, que ce qu'il refoule, nie." (147, p. 15)

For Lupasco all human cognitive and practical efforts oscillate between extension and intensity:

"De par leur contradiction dynamique constitutive, il y aura toujours conflit et suppression de ce conflit, et, done, choix de 1'un au detriment de 1'autre, alternativement" (1 47, p. 1 7, emphasis added).

For the human being, extension is that which one knows more than one feels, whereas intensity is that which one feels more than one knows (147, p. 22). The characteristics of each (147, p. 30) recall recent work on right and left hemispheres of the brain (discussed below).

For Lupasco any emergent third perspective can itself be resolved into mutually contradictory terms involving an oscillation between identity and non-identity. This "prison" is the essence of our knowledge (1 47, p. 61) although:

"L'esprit humain fuit ce qui lui est revele le plus infailliblement, 1'opposition pure, 1'oscillation continuelle des contraires" (147, p. 60).

Although his exploration is very valuable in understanding how energy is engendered by such dualities, it is less useful in understanding how such energy is to be contained in support of human and social development.