‘So long as we believe there must be a reason why what is, is the way it is, we will continue to fuel superstition, which is to say, that there is an ineffable reason underlying all things. Since we will never be able to discover or understand such a reason, all we can do is believe in it, or aspire to believe in it. So long as we construe our access to facticity in terms of thought’s discovery of its own intrinsic limits and its inability to uncover the ultimate reason for things, our abolition of metaphysics will only have served to resuscitate religiosity in all its forms, including the most menacing ones. So long as we construe facticity as a limit of thought, we will abandon whatever lies beyond this limit to the rule of piety. Thus, in order to stop this see-sawing between metaphysics and fideism, we must transform our perspective on unreason, stop construing it as the form of our deficient grasp of the world and turn it into the veridical content of this world as such – we must project unreason into things themselves, and discover in our grasp of facticity the veritable intellectual intuition of the absolute. ‘Intuition’, because it is actually in what is that we discover a contingency with no limit other than itself, ‘intellectual’ because this contingency is neither visible nor perceptible in things and only thought is capable of accessing it, just as it accesses the chaos that underlies the apparent continuity of phenomena…The speculative releases us from the phenomenal stability of empirical constraints by elevating us to the purely intelligible chaos that underlies every aspect of it’.
Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency.
‘Reason, the controller, has perfect understanding of the conditions, the purpose, and the materials of its work.
Either the world is a mere hotch-potch of random cohesions or dispersions, or else it is a unity of order and providence. If the former, why wish to survive in such a purposeless and chaotic confusion; why care about anything, save the manner of the ultimate return to dust; why trouble my head at all; since, do what I will, dispersion must overtake me sooner or later? But if the contrary be true, then I do reverence, I stand firmly, and I put my trust in the directing Power.’
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, translated by Maxwell Staniforth.