badiou, becoming, difference, force, function, metaphysics, ontology, virus

Other

immortal-technique

A science of being is not enough. This subtraction which purifies, this selection and division which makes holy, which ‘invents’ and ‘discovers’ truth — how could ontology do anything but give us theories of the One, of the Law, of the Real, of the existing-as-such? How could it do anything but carefully induce multiplicity to subtract itself into unified theory, divide itself into functions and axioms; endlessly seduce differences into homogeneity, and minorities into conformity; plumb the depths only in order to reproduce an absolute height for an absolute voice?

Ontology is always the political ontology of Power, taken to the absolute point of dispersion where nothing remains, everything is subtracted, except for forces and matter — only functions, pure functions, and even concepts are now only seen in terms of effects, the site they create, “their” ontology. Ontology as both lens and situation, a regime where truths are always the same, is insufficient as long as it remains without a phenomenology of becoming, the concept as event, coming from outside of being which throws existence into doubt.

Multiplicity is first apprehended as risk, as danger; this much seems to be always already understood. The ontological question is how much can we take, what can be subtracted — from the situation, in short from life. Life as subtraction and transubstantiation. The holiness of being should not be misunderstood, for we encounter the most peculiar bifurcation precisely here, the curvature of space itself, the uncanny pull of the invisible — the Other, a zone which implies another reality — where being merges with non-being. The fold between us.


Ontology grasps the other only as what-escapes, as invisible or abstract lines of flight carrying on vertiginously into infinity, as impossibilities spiralling into a “beyond” of the situation itself. The other infects ontology like a virus, causes thought to question itself. The other is why ontology is insufficient, and why it always already demands a meta-ontology, and perhaps even explains the disconcerting rigor of ontology’s essence: a code of codes designed to produce a generalize, cosmic decoding. Multiplicity is the outside: ontology grasps the Other only in the form the void-set, thereby grounding multiplicity in the void. The ontologist prays: the void is One, being is empty, God is dead. Anarchy and servitude, chaos plus transcendence: strangely enough, this is precisely how ontology forces an overflow, an excess, which causes it to precisely catch sight of its other. An agitation which awakens.

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6 thoughts on “Other

  1. Andrew says:

    I’m finding it very difficult to understand exactly what you are writing about. How is Ontology related to Otherness? Your language appears vague and better suited to art criticism than categorical observation of the human condition.

  2. The argument here is more or less that ontology is related to the Other precisely by NOT being directly related at all, ontologically speaking. The Other can be indicated ontologically simply as a gap, a void in our knowledge, a site or zone where learning itself breaks down. Hence ontology demands an Other in the same way ontology demands matters and forces to be classified, divided, “comprehended.” The other indicates a kind of extra-ontological encounter, hence for ontology the other is discovered as its origin, its situation, its ultimate limit.

    (In other words, all ontologies begin with an axiom of indifference: ‘any’ object, ‘any’ set, ‘any’ subject falls under the reign of its law. Thus ontology is situation as such; the other, or the Event, is what ontology situates, and so is not simply the “site” of ontology, but its essential and secret desire, its outside.)

    I don’t know if this helps; at any rate, I definitely appreciate your question!

    Joe

  3. “Ontology as both lens and situation, a regime where truths are always the same, is insufficient as long as it remains without a phenomenology of becoming, the concept as event, coming from outside of being which throws existence into doubt. ”

    This excerpt reminded me of Heidegger’s critique of enframing. When an ontology becomes both the “lens and situation” the world discloses itself to us in a fundamentally one-dimensional way, at the exclusion of other modes of disclosure. For Heidegger, every frame we put around the world seeks to conquer all other frames, to assert itself as absolute.

    Perhaps it is otherness that breaks down any frame that is put around the world, “an overflow, an excess”. The Other renders every ontology provisional and incomplete.

    A blade of grass that breaks through a crack in the pavement might make us momentarily conscious of our age’s technological mode of enframing.

    Don’t know if this is what you were getting at, but I really liked this post. Thanks!

  4. das says:

    Ontology and otherness. Phenomenology and difference. I think Time lends a clue re: the problem to reconcile logical premise of non-contradiction: can “something” be both itself and other?
    As they say, the structure of time binds as it looses…
    Now, how, this box cannot contain the answer

  5. ‘For Heidegger, every frame we put around the world seeks to conquer all other frames, to assert itself as absolute.’

    &, so what
    contains in
    *between*
    framed the framing
    of frames…
    ?

    in 16mms,
    i’ve imaginations of magritte/miro…heh

    essence outside in ?
    & the negative to other ?
    perhaps,
    sketches of preantepentultimum erectus ?
    <bass&trumpet in modal
    edgely,
    )terra’s incognita ?
    aperture~s i wonders,
    if, feels like as
    It a ’ dream, long
    of curve ‘🙂 continuum
    (or perhaps, an vamper
    sands of tide, slow to shore,
    …syncopation sighs,
    ~o dear…(…

    (?ps ur website is exquisite !
    i wish i linearly understood
    more of it ! oi.
    thanku for sharing
    ur thoughts
    &engaging sincerely
    w/ the cyber~sphere(s)
    ^_^)

    kind regards.

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