I have disparaged and dismissed “private ontologies” as rather silly until this morning. It dawned on me as I was observing the homestead on a Wednesday morning that in order for metaphysics to be truly innovative, it must be entirely and without question homegrown. Let me explain.
Until today, I took most of the metaphysical statements to refer to some very general questions of existence: why is there something rather than nothing and so on. Ontologies should really all be reduced to one – the correct description of what things are. So there shouldn’t really be any plural ontologies, just one singular ontology: namely, my ontology. However, here is a problem. I’m not a scientist, I’m barely educated enough to be occasionally referred to as a philosopher, and I certainly do not have time to do any sort of real research into the fundamental properties of things (whether they be mathematical or physical). So here is my solution: I am going to simply look around me (and I mean me, personally, not some generic “self” or “individual”) and formulate my own metaphysics. My personal metaphysics. Here is what I need for the initial stage of my glorious pursuit:
1) I must have a name for my own ontology – some weird (and preferably grammatically incorrect or odd) label that I can then repeat ad nauseum. This point is so elementary that it really does not need any additional emphasis. You can’t get anywhere these days without a label. Graduate students know this and joke about it over beers, but when the time comes, they get their wits together and think up a name. The strong create their own labels, the weak join some already existing labels. If your ontology does not have a catchy name, it does not exist.
2) As great as my homegrown metaphysics will eventually become, it needs an initial push from a group of supporters. I must join a movement already in progress or create a new one. The secret here is that it does not actually have to be a movement. In fact, real philosophical movements are usually identified retrospectively. I have no luxury of time for such movements. I must initiate one in order to then successfully join it. Supporters are needed in order to create an echo chamber of praise and encouragement. We all know that critique is dangerous and poisonous. This isn’t “America’s Next Top Ontologist” – I don’t need some philosophical Tyra Banks telling me how my definitions just need a little more “zest”!
3) My supporters will need their own philosophical pet projects, of course, but they cannot be too intelligent or deep to see through my initial game plan. No one cares about real substantive conversations and exchange of ideas at this stage. All I need is a group of enthusiastic but needy underachievers with incredible drive to “make it” regardless of the lack of talent. It is the effort that counts, not the results. In the end, I get to decide what is and isn’t taking place in my new philosophical movement, I get to tell the story, I get to censor and to excommunicate.
Now forward and onward!