Foreword by Ciaran Healy

I commissioned Mr. Ciaran Healy to write a foreword for this book. Here’s what he came up with.

Independent philosophy is a mixed bag, but more important now than it has been in a very long time.

In these times, professional philosophy is split into two great schools of thought. They represent, or at least seem to represent, the limits of the philosophical spectrum. The first, Linguistic Analysis, dominates professional philosophy in the English speaking world. It emphasises cold logic to the exclusion of all else. The impossibility of being certain about the ideas you have about the world, humanity, life, whatever – has given rise to this movement. As ideas about what is happening in reality cannot be certain, the only certainty that can be charted is the certainty inherent in logical structure, separated from messy reality, and examined in isolation.

The other is Postmodernism, which is the dominant school of thought in Continental Europe. It too takes as its starting point the impossibility of certain knowledge. Because nothing is certain, all ideas that claim truth (say the Postmodernists) are claims to power, and should be subverted.

The point to make here, which is something often lost on those involved in either of these schools, is that because neither of them believe that accurate knowledge about the humanity is possible, neither of them are trying to find it. And because neither of them are trying to find it, and between them, they dominate professional philosophy, no-one is. Or at least, almost no-one.

This is why independent philosophy matters, because it’s the only place where any actual work can get done. In order to join the ranks of the academy, you need to leave behind such childish notions as ‘discovery’ ‘curiosity’ and ‘truth’. This is the world which we have built.

Without such strictures, there is a chance that real philosophy can be done. I was therefore quite interested to get my hands on a pre-release copy of Zen And The Art Of Insanity, which is a piece of independent philosophy put together by Tuukka Virtaperko.

Robert Pirsig’s Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance is a very successful book from the 1970’s which contained what Pirsig referred to as the ‘Metaphysics Of Quality’. Virtaperko’s work here is both a critique and an elaboration on Pirsig’s work. Pirsig’s conclusion essentially is this – that there are several different kinds of quality, and he names and defines these kinds of quality. Pirsig then elaborates his system and nuances it, until he feels it can and does give an account of what is going on in life.

The problem with any kind of thing like that is very simple, and it can be summed up in four words – Earth, Fire, Wind and Water. These are the classical ‘four elements’ in pre-scientific human understanding. These elements were named as the fundamental building blocks of nature in several ancient civilisations. Sometimes a fifth, spiritual element (void, ether, etc) was present.

Many ancient scholars wrote about these things, they drew connections between the actions of the world and the elements they had named. Some of these pieces were, and remain, startlingly intelligent. The problem, of course, is that these elements are arbitrarily chosen, and as such, all the combinations and formulations you can make from combining them are just the mixing together of arbitrary labels.

This issue is mentioned by Virtaperko – the fact that the original distinctions that Pirsig put together were arbitrary. But sadly, he doesn’t follow this trail. What he does instead is build a new, and equally arbitrary set of basic qualities, and then spend a lot of time demonstrating the various logical relationships between them.

To do this he uses Analytic method, which is to say, he focuses on the logical structure of how his creations interact. And he is quite open in talking about them as his creations – truth, we learn quite early on in Zen And The Art Of Insanity isn’t something the author is interested in. He, instead, wants to ‘create maps of how people think.’ It seems churlish to even point this out, but if you don’t care about truth, even this isn’t an option. If those maps aren’t supposed to be true, what is their value? Indeed – what can they even be said to be maps of? Are they maps at all, if they map nothing? I would say no. It’s just lines, drawn, for the sake of drawing lines.

Accuracy matters. Without it, everything’s just noise. A mess of knotted wires underneath your computer can be complex. A very small child in a bad mood can be provocative. The complex is not always important, and the provocative is not always important either.

Without reference to reality, there is no possible way in which either can be. Mainstream philosophy has, in both its major incarnations, severed any link to the real, and is therefore free to make all the noise it wants.

This is something Virtaperko is happy with – he is a very provocative writer, and his work is very complex. Zen And The Art Of Insanity shunts between sections of personal, confessional writing, and sections of very abstract, complex logical structure. To Virtaperko, the structures and equations are the philosophy, the rest just a ‘sweetener’ to make the rest easier to read (he says this openly in one section). And in judgement on the structure and the equations, I would say, yes, it’s all very clever. But as Virtaperko himself says, the elements in those equations are arbitrary, and so all they can ever be is clever mental gymnastics, impressive not for any light they shine, but for their complexity alone.

The personal sections of this book are by far the more interesting, as they are written in a fractured, delirious, but quite compelling way. On top of this, there absolutely are occasions of genuine insight in these sections. But all too often they sink into provocation for provocation’s sake. The word ‘nigger’ comes up at one point, and then is hastily, and partially retracted (so why not just delete the section), the word ‘faggot’ is placed in there in something of an oblique way that could be defended if someone attacked him for it.

Now, philosophy can and should shake a reader. This kind of thing could be quite subversive if handled well, as a high-risk way to electrify the reader’s attention, then subvert the expectations, and flip the reader into some critical insight.

If done well, it can light an insight up in a reader’s mind like a Christmas tree. And the thing is this – it’s hard to do well. In order to do it well, you need to work at doing it.

In this piece, however, it all too often falls flat. And while it doesn’t always fail, it’s never truly incendiary, and the reason is quite simple, and very clear. Virtaperko hasn’t spent a lot of time developing skills like this – he’s spent his time on something else – analytical logic.

Analytical logic is very difficult to do. It takes a lot of time to learn, and to become good with. But the sad point to make is that there are many skills that are difficult to learn, but have no value. Juggling, for instance, is valuable only as a show – and the truth is that Analytical method is very much like this – it’s a show for people who have developed a spectator’s taste for extreme complexity.

There is another way to do philosophy. Experimentation is the collision of reality and idea, and something quite different to the approaches taken by conventional philosophers. Breaking your theories on the anvil of the real is not something that is part of Analytical method, and though it may be much more messy than many are willing to countenance, it can produce a kind of knowledge which is massively more accurate than any other way that has ever been developed.

What makes experimentation radical, in the context of philosophy, is that to break open the deep truths of the human condition, and bring light, and maybe even (dare we hope?) resolution to the self-inflicted suffering that blights human life, you have to play lab rat, as well as scientist. It is a hard pill to swallow, and a hard path to walk. So much easier to do what everyone else does, which is to say “I’m not looking for the truth”right at the beginning, and save all the pain of the method, and the embarrassment of the many failures that are instrumental to its success.

There is a poignancy, I feel, to the extreme provocations that Zen And The Art Of Insanity contains. Occasional references to the Occult, or Virtaperko’s sexual proclivities, or lurid, exploitative references to his mental health, might do their job, and spike a reader into a strong emotional response. And from that, a reader might say “this is extreme, radical, and provocative.” But I cannot help but shake the feeling that the real reason such extreme elements are there is to cover a very conventional piece of highly orthodox philosophy in radical-looking wrapping-paper.

Virtaperko very much wants to have written a book that is shocking and subversive, but he has yet to break free from the fundamental assumptions that render modern philosophy safe and tame. With that said, there absolutely are moments in this piece, during the fevered, twisted, highly personal streams of thought that bookend the analytical sections, where he demonstrates a genuine talent at cutting through cultural noise and delivering real insight.

This to Virtaperko is not philosophy. I disagree. It is these moments, and these moments only, when Virtaperko is doing philosophy, real philosophy. And whether he can, will, or even wants to break free of the assumptions of the mainstream, and develop that natural talent, over years, into a genuine and world-class skill that would mark him out as a genuine, and world-class radical?

That’s up to him. But I know what I’m hoping.


Ciaran Healy

I replied to Mr. Healy:

Thank you for your insightful contribution, Ciaran.

I liked this part of your review: “But I cannot help but shake the feeling that the real reason such extreme elements are there is to cover a very conventional piece of highly orthodox philosophy in radical-looking wrapping-paper.”

As far as I can tell, my work is unorthodox philosophy, which I would very much like to turn into something the academia considers orthodox. This statement is the best I could have expected, as it says the work is orthodox but criticizes that. Because of the critique your review is unlikely to inspire an academic philosopher to oppose my work on grounds that it’s too unorthodox and perhaps some “new-age crap”.

Maybe you don’t know what the situation is on MoQ-Discuss, which is the largest Metaphysics of Quality mailing list that currently exists. It seems that community has made a big effort to acquire all the bad sides of academic communities before the Metaphysics of Quality is even accepted in the academia at large. Before we become that stagnant, I would like us to produce at least one work that has content of which the academics could be interested. My goal is to open a gateway between academic philosophy and actual accomplishment.

I do not doubt the honesty of your critique from your own point of view. This is why I said I don’t care about truth. While it is true for you that my philosophy is too conventional, it is not true for me, yet I think it’s a good idea to communicate this criticism of yours.

I am more into love than truth.


Thank you & best wishes,


What is the moral of this story? I’d say it is not to pay a consult a hundred pounds to comment a work. It is much better to have an expert do it for free!

Foreword by Antti Kukkonen

Philosophy begins where ideas flow freely and connect in a way that cannot be systematized within a preconceived method. Without a doubt, this kind of philosophical sensitivity is anything but new. Hegelian logic according to one scholar is based on the idea that we freely let concepts produce new concepts. In my opinion this sensitivity is something that makes the Hegelian logic still in our days a fascinating enterprise. Sadly enough this is not what one normally perceives in Hegel but rather a megalomaniac closed system leading to a preconceived telos, the Absolute. A major flaw in Hegelian philosophy is also his tendency to postulate an ultimate beginning, das Sein.

To be more precise, the development of ideas in philosophy is of course not free in the sense of randomness. Let us see what happens every time we see how a conclusion follows necessarily from premises in a mathematical proof. On the one hand we are forced to make the conclusion we see is right. On the other hand, we do not feel external pressure to do anything. Nobody forces us to reach any conclusion. We feel ourselves at the same time free and necessitated. The difference between philosophy and mathematics is my view the following: In mathematics you either postulate the axioms as necessary truths as was done by the Greeks and classical rationalists (e.g. Descartes) or they are convenient starting points within a certain geometrical system, for example. In philosophy we try to explicate the potential hidden within our starting point. The point is what you can do with it, where it leads you.

Tuukka Virtaperko in this book Zen and the Art of Insanity no way shares the above mentioned Hegelian premises but in a general way the idea behind Tuukka’s analytical philosophy of quality possesses something similar. As in Hegelian dialectics, Tuukka shows how one state or level in the world germinates other. However, in his system you are free to move in several directions. There is yet one even more important difference. In modern parlance, nature for Hegel was the “other”, devoid of meaning. Therefore he had no possibility but to continue with the culture consisting of two separate worlds, the world of culture, idea or subject and the meaningless world or nature. This is the self-inflicted imprisonment of modern philosophy, a legacy of post Kantian thought that was hardly satisfactorily solved in the big enterprises of 20th century philosophy: analytical philosophy and continental phenomenology and hermeneutics.

With extreme boldness, Tuukka is approaching problems of this magnitude in his opus. Let us take a closer look at how he proceeds. In my view, one might call Tuukka’s work a general theory of emergence. Normally in philosophical literature emergence is a concept used negatively. We have some properties available, like the colors that are wavelengths reflected by a body. However, particles below a certain threshold do not reflect light. Therefore in order to have colors, we need to have bodies of certain size. Color can be called an emergent property of a certain arrangement of matter. Typical for this kind of idea is the fact that we try explain surprising new phenomena we notice. For example, here we see a property the necessary condition of which is some kind of organization possessed only by entities of certain size. This has led some philosophers to postulate that emergence is a necessary premise in order to understand the world. However, here we are using the concept emergence negatively: emergence is something one has to assume, because reduction is not available. Proponents of emergence tend to state that it is not only the case that reductionist explanation is not (at this moment) available, emergentists also postulate that reduction is in principle impossible to achieve. However, with this statement they are doing something similar to theologians who tend to see God involved in every random event: if x cannot be explained (rationally or scientifically), we are allowed to see God’s intervention or plan behind x.

The same kind of analysis is also behind the historical induction that many find so attractive in emergence. According to historical induction the world tends to produce the same kind of novelties that we have witnessed in the past. The difference with basic induction is the fact that here we postulate a development of a second order. We state that new emergent levels will appear, but they can be understood to form a linear continuum. From this we can deduce a system of global emergence, i.e. the process that starts with the inorganic world, then leading to the organic world, and the social world. It is not surprising to see that in certain speculations in the field of the philosophy of nature thinkers have postulated levels yet beyond the above mentioned like the famous Noossphere by the Belgian scientific and religious thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Tuukka’s view concerning emergence is very different. He is trying to view emergence from the inside. I am perfectly aware of the shock this statement might cause in the reader’s mind. Does Zen and the Art of Insanity represent some kind of nonscientific philosophy, conceptual poetry or mysticism? Yes, it definitely is conceptual poetry and perhaps contains elements of mysticism (depends on the definition) but it is definitely not only that. In this book, Tuukka is trying to analyze what it would mean to give up the “linear paradigm” in emergentist philosophy. This means basically that we see the “stages” or “levels” of emergence as views that enable us to move in directions that the previous step enables us to take. In a very general way this is also the fruitful idea behind Hegelian dialectics as I tried to show above. However, In Zen and the Art of Insanity we are not bounded by any preconceived telos or linear development.

It is impossible to summarize within a few paragraphs how Tuukka faces his challenge. You have to read the book. However, I would like to give the reader a glimpse of Tuukka’s way of proceeding in his philosophy. As the reader should be aware by now, there is no absolute starting point in Tuukka’s work, like das Sein, and no preconceived telos either. The relevant point is not where you begin; the relevant point is how you proceed. This is the very point in all process philosophy (all emergentist philosophies are in one way or another process philosophies), and Tuukka’s metaphysics is after all, an important contribution to process philosophy. As Nicholas Rescher points out,1 processes are concrete universals. Let us look at an example. In a process, like harmonious dancing, it is not the case that we apply a universal like harmoniousness to a certain performance. No, the dancing very simply is harmonious. Compare this with the statement: “there is a red car on the street.” This car is an object which instantiates the property redness, like many other cars and other objects do. Hence, cognitive processes (as processes in general) do not need any metaphilosophy to explicate how you can proceed. By proceeding you show how it is done. What I will basically try to do is to follow one possible path in the philosophical world Tuukka has provides us with and see where it leads.

I will start with Tuukka’s definition of essentialism, which I find extremely fruitful. Essentialism is traditionally defined as a proposition according to which entities are to be defined and understood by their supposed nature. For example, if we define man as a rational animal, we state that rationality is the principle (differentia spesifica) that separates us from the rest of the nature. Even though it does not logically follow from this postulate, it has been thought that essence is precisely what differentiates you from the rest, due to the fact that this makes it possible to give a taxonomic definition of an entity.2 This idea of essentialism has rightly been much criticized. First of all, essences are not scientifically observable. Secondly, we are more interested in finding causal mechanisms that can produce the searched phenomenon. That means that we are more interested in finding dynamic explanations than static definitions.

There is so to say almost a universal consensus concerning essentialism in philosophical literature. Essentialism is something that has been (rightly) surpassed. Against this historical background one may find it surprising that Tuukka finds the issue so important. It is definitely not the case that he supports essentialism. However, he is of the opinion that essentialistic way of thinking is anything but a philosophy that has been given up. On the contrary, it lives very strongly within our intellectual culture and this is why we have to come to terms with this way of thinking in order to get rid of it. In order to create space for Zen and insanity we have to fight essentialism.

So, let us start without further ado. According to Tuukka’s (one has to say, a bit surprising) definition essentialism is the thought that everything that is has to be the way it is. What does he mean? I will try to explicate his idea with the help of the traditional dichotomy between a necessary and a contingent entity. In scholastic philosophy it was thought that God is by nature a necessary entity. Problematic for schoolmen was whether God can make a circle out of a rectangle. In some sense he can due to his supposed omnipotence. On the other hand “circle” and “rectangular” are analytic concepts defined in geometry. In this sense, even though God could make a circle out of a rectangular, this would only be a contingent episode that would have no effect on how we define these geometrical entities. This has led modern philosophy to the now dominant idea according to which necessary is a proposition one can deduce, if (and only if) one accepts given premises. Necessary is the conclusion of an argument, therefore a relation. That is to say, all entities (except God, perhaps) are by nature contingent, if they have no essence, as we in my opinion have to admit.

So, in what way does everything has to be the way it is, if the only necessary thing is not an entity but a relation? Tuukka thinks that essentialism arises out of the wish to see one’s worldview as the only possible one. Let us take an example. In modern natural science and especially economics you try to convince others of your theory by modeling phenomena successfully. The idea of a model is not total correspondence with reality because then we would only have a replication of reality with no cognitive benefit. What is the use of a map with 1:1 scale? In modeling we therefore pick up certain features of reality that are somehow essential for our purposes or to be more precise, essential regarding the questions we pose to nature.

Some of the most famous and influential scientific models are produced by neoclassical economy. In these models the market economy is portrayed as if it would consist of perfectly rational consumers, perfect competition, perfect information, and so forth. There is nothing wrong with this model if we remember that markets of this sort are extremely rare in reality. However, it is completely absurd to justify modern capitalism as some kind of exemplification or application of this kind of idealized form of market economy that exists only within a model. The mathematical ingenuity of many economists can be compared to keeping a person alive only with the sophisticated extensive care unit of a modern hospital.

So, why are the economists so ignorant when it comes to evaluating their models in relation to reality? Are they simply autistic or stupid? I do not think so. Following Tuukka, I think they are essentialists. Neoclassical economists have forgotten the purpose of their models, the questions they were originally built for to answer. Therefore these models have become, to quote Tuukka again, things that do not only exist, but whose existence is necessary. Just think of the psychological impact if capitalism as it exists would lose its (supposed) umbilical cord with the very abstract model(s) of market economy. It would mean the death, not of the usefulness of a model which is at the end of the day only a tool, but of a complete Weltanschauung. To give another example, the concept realexistierende Sozialismus or Realsozialismus (really existing socialism) was originally a term the connotation of which was sympathetic to the idea of socialism. It meant that even though we, the socialists (in Eastern Europe) are not perfect, at least we have socialism, which in all its manifestations is something more valuable than capitalism; at least so they thought. In the Western world the concept began to mean, however, that real existierende Sozialismus is the essence of socialism per se. It is what socialism necessarily or essentially is. In this respect the Soviet society (where supposedly nothing works, at least economically) became the model for socialism and essentialistically oriented people were and are unable to understand that socialism could mean something else.

The reason why I wanted to approach Tuukka’s idea of essentialism from the viewpoint of modeling is that models are at the same time normative and descriptive. According to Joseph Rouse models are not so much representations as simulacra: “simulacra … transform the available possibilities for human action. They do so both by materially enabling some activities and obstructing others and also by changing the situation such that some possible actions or roles lose their point, while others acquire new significance.”3 Just think how new significances are obstructed due to the fact that our economic (and political) world is seen as the application of a normative model interpreted essentially: the neoclassical model. That is, the model loses its role as a model and becomes a surrogate reality, that does not only exist, but whose existence is thought to be necessary.

Sadly enough, the world characterized above is very much the kind of an intellectual world we inhabit at the beginning of the 21st century. We have populated the world with simulacra that have taken control over us. Luckily enough this is also the kind of cognitive prison Tuukka can help us to leave behind. How? In fact, now we come to a dialectical turning point, which are very typical in Tuukka’s metaphysics.

Perhaps Tuukka’s most important concepts in the book are the classical, romantic, and dynamic quality.4 I try to explicate the idea behind these concepts by beginning to look at how we use predicates. In logic we normally separate intension and extension of a concept. To use Tuukka’s own example, the intension of a calculator could be something like the following: “a hand-held electronic device that performs arithmetic operations.” The extension of the same concept would consist of all the calculators in the world. In Tuukka’s parlance, the intension of the calculator is defined as the classical quality, whereas the extension is made possible by “observations of romantic quality.” The romantic quality in this sense refers to the intertwining of the objective world with our perception of it. After all, there are no calculators objectively in the world due to the fact that it is up to us to define the gadget. On the other hand we really see calculators. They are not purely imagined by us. The romantic quality is the intersection of the objective world and our perception of it.

Predicates can be used relativizably, and nonrelativizably. For example, when we use relativizably a concept, whose intension is “a number whose successor is 0” we might mean several things. If the context is the theory of integers the number we are seeking is -1. If the context is the theory of natural numbers, the extension of the concept is empty. In isolation the used concept is not well-defined. It should not be hard to see, why especially in the field of analytical philosophy there is a tendency to reduce all concept use to relativizable concepts. After all, this is what we mean by analytic approach. A nonrelativizably used concept like Bishop Berkeley’s mind becomes impossible to use analytically. If everything (context-independently) is mind, do we really know anymore what that concept refers to?

According to Tuukka, this is not the whole story. Let us think of a predicate “an experience of joy”. Used relativizably we might, for instance, make a cognitive map or taxonomy of all the emotions; a hobby that used to be very popular in philosophy. However, this is very different to actually feeling or not feeling joy. To relativize our feeling would demand explicating theoretically all the mechanisms that produce this feeling and then explaining their connection to all the other emotions. This is not possible, because the feeling of joy means the same as feeling joyfully. We would lose the whole point of the feeling that we would be attempting to explain. What does it mean to see the world from within the feeling, so to say? Joy is not a thing in the world; it is the way we perceive the world in a certain mood. In the same way we do not really perceive red, we perceive redly. The theoretical or relativizable use never captures our feeling because the feeling is nonrelativizable. The same holds when we are in pain. Many people are eager to imagine as if their pain could be localized and isolated so that they could gain control over it. To objectify is to control. This mind game might produce some benefit, but at the end of the day it is only possible to adapt to the pain. It is impossible to attain control of the pain, because we are literally in pain. So the paradox is the following. On the one hand we are bounded by our emotions. We are within our emotions. On the other hand we are unbounded because we are unable to relativize any emotion of ours; we are unable to perceive its limits.

One might ask, is this nothing but the traditional qualia-theory explicated with new concepts without substantial difference. I do not think so. Essential for qualia-theory is the subjective character of experience. As Michael Tye writes in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “I am the subject of a mental state with a very distinctive subjective character. There is something it is like for me to undergo each state, some phenomenology that it has.”5 That is, emotions are relativizable to a subject. Tuukka’s point is different. He states that our feelings are unbounded, because they are not relativizable, not to a subject, and not to other concepts, as is the case when they are used relativizably.

Tuukka also illuminates this paradoxical idea of bounded unboundedness with a fascinating example taken from the history of science. One of the basic concepts used in modern and ancient physics is force. In the Aristotelian view force was defined as something that causes movement. Galileo observed that cannonballs continue to move even after the gunpowder in the cannon had exploded. In modern physics force causes changes in acceleration but is not necessary to sustain movement. This is well known. Tuukka makes the following interpretation:

However, when Galileo was conducting these investigations, the notion of “force” was at flux. Galileo had to place the pattern “force” into a gnostic epistemology for a while in order to create a new rational theory about it. For example, Galileo maybe had to think the sentence: “Force causes changes in velocity and acceleration, but is not a requirement of sustaining movement.” When he was mid-way of thinking this sentence, it looked like this: “Force causes changes in velocity… ” At this moment, which maybe lasted only for a fraction of a second, the pattern “force” was obviously gnostic, because Galileo had not yet finished the new rational theory about “force” but was in the process of constructing it.

Tuukka is without a doubt right in stating that this kind of nonrelativizable use of concepts, like the gnostic stage in Galileo’s thinking, can lead to serious problems. For example, a traditional problem of induction has been based on the assumption that there is a universal problem of induction that requires serious effort by philosophers to solve it. Well, does there really exist the problem of induction? I don’t think so. What interests me more is the view according to which the nonrelativizable use of concepts was the necessary condition for Galileo in order to get rid of the Aristotelian thought mode. We need to ask, whether Galileo was inside his new idea of force in the same way that we are inside of our emotion when we feel it. In my view there is one central difference I try to explicate below.

At this moment, there is one problem in sight. As Alain Badiou states, a romantic type of personality is in principle constantly guilty of hubris in the Greek sense.6 He is constantly seeking to exit boundaries that he sees around him. Tuukka’s philosophy is in this sense romantic, but in his parlance the “hubris-effect” is brought into play by his third concept, the dynamic quality. We can explicate this concept by considering for a moment the problem of relevance in connection to the example given above. In some sense, when dealing with relativizable concepts the larger system defines the relevance. It is the Newtonian system that enables us to see the relevance of the concept of (Newtonian) force. However, meaning is not the same as relevance. The system defines the meaning of a concept, like the system of integers or natural numbers defines the meaning of the concept “a number whose successor is 0.” It is fruitful to compare this with Tuukka’s insistence that dynamic quality is the ultimate ground of relevance. This is the final problem I am to tackle with in this foreword. I propose the following solution. A nonrelativizably felt emotion, like the feel of joy, is inherently actual in the Aristotelian sense. Emotions come and go in a way we are unable to control. The basic reason for this is the fact that emotions represent pure actuality. Emotions can be mixed and they can gain or lose intensity, but no potentiality is actualized in them.7 This is why we cannot keep track of them. On the other hand, in dynamic quality we see in a paradoxical way the potentiality of an actuality. It is the romantic quality that guarantees actuality. The romantic quality is where the world meets our consciousness. The dynamic quality is the relevance of this actuality.

In this interpretation, Tuukka’s idea of dynamic quality comes very close to R. G. Collingwoods definition of art.8 In Collingwood’s view art begins with an idea. However, the artist does not know what the idea is before he has produced the art work. Art is the creative process itself. Therefore art is not a means to produce something external to it, which means that in art we cannot separate ends from means. Tuukka tells us why this is impossible. It is impossible, because the idea (of an artist) is a dynamic quality. It cannot be defined because this would mean its objectification. Instead, we focus on it in order to express its hidden potential. In the Aristotelian idea of actualization we have an idea of default development. A seed will grow into a tree, if nothing hinders it. Dynamic quality is something that is (or is not) actually present and is as such incapable of leading us anywhere. It is our job to actualize the hidden potential and have courage to start a new journey. I invite you to find the dynamic quality that I sensed to be very strongly present in Tuukka’s Zen and the Art of Insanity.


Antti Kukkonen

MA, M.Soc.Sci

References and Footnotes

1 See Rescher, Nicholas: Process Metaphysics. An Introduction to Process Philosophy. State University of New York, Albany 1996.

2 The reason why the so called “genetic philosophy” practiced by many evolutionary psychologists has been presented as revolutionary is the fact that here we proceed reductionistically. It is not the differentia spesificae of men with other animals that matter, but the similarities concerning their genetic makeup. The paradox is that the debate concerning “human nature” has started anew by negating at the same time the whole concept in the traditional sense.

3 Rouse, Joseph: How Scientific Practices Matter? Reclaiming Philosophical Naturalism, 177.

4 These concepts are originally borrowed from Robert Pirsig. See, Pirsig, Robert: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. An Inquiry into Values. Corgi books, London 1987; Pirsig, Robert: Lila. An Inquiry into Morals. Bantam Press, London 1992.

5 Tye, Michael: Qualia. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.).

6 Badiou, Alain: A History of Finitude and Infinity: Classicism. in: EGS. 2011. (English).

7 After all, actualization means the process where new qualities are produced. For example, the tree grows out of the seed, but it obviously possesses qualities that the seed does not possess.

8 See Collingwood, R. G.: Outlines of a Philosophy of Art. Thoemmes Press, Bristol 1994.