comments 2
desire / existence / history / idealism / micro-politics / morality / reality / truth
Joel Isaacson, James Joyce (1998)
Joel Isaacson, James Joyce (1998)

War on Information. Idealism begins with the proposition that life is futurity, yet attempts to halt before the inevitable futility this produces, the cancerous desires which follow, not from “particular” notions, but precisely from the incorporation of Truth into life, that is, the incorporation of a point of ideality into the social diagrammatics of thought. A bad conscience, alienation, a nullity or ‘nihilism,’ is the necessary counterpart to this process of internalization of the infinite (or at least a “point at infinity”) into the collective machines through which the world is enunciated. Existence as the stability of identity is the absolutely firm foundation upon which all idealism has hitherto constructed its watchtowers and fortresses.

The struggle of nihilism is not simply that of the rejection of transcendence, but rather the real production of new “reality” through the incorporation of truth. To the degree that the truth bears such an incorporation, there is a degree of nihilism in all thought, a war on Information, a degree of rupture and continuous elusion of identity. Thinking is therefore inextricable from a micro-politics of subversion, from the actions and passions of war machines; the question is one of strategy and not of ideology. Without this struggle of desiring-machines, this war of learning and desiring, all beliefs, all thinking would lack interest.

Truth defaced. Both the origins of truth and untruth may always be followed back to a human face — an other whose thoughts and expressions were found useful, for a longer or shorter span of history. Yet the origins of mathematics and philosophy, the evolution of the scientific instinct and will to truth, could hardly be explained in the same way; rather the problem of the origin of the will to truth could be approached in a general way only through a genealogical analysis in which the origins of morality are primary; this kind of thinking is oldest, older than language (whose history must be considered in an ultimate sense sense quite secondary to the history of morality.) The origin of the drive for ‘reality’ must be sought through the actions and passions of human bodies, through that uncanny relationship between desire and its Outside.

The Author

mostly noise and glare


  1. I don’t quite follow that, I thought that many forms of idealism (in the philosophical rather than pragmatic sense) focused not on the future, the “end result” of everything, but on timelessness, on what could be consistently developed and built up? This constructive attitude is very similar to your subversion, in that the past is recreated in your system in such a way that every existing pattern is given some place in your own. In other words you steal the past, because you hope to say that the form that is now in your mind was present then underlying everything.
    Perhaps then a drive for truth is synonymous with a rejection of time, yes there is change, yes things are left behind, but through this timeless construct, that past is present now, and the future is here also. The creation of potential energy is a phantom revealed through the symmetries in the appearance and disappearance of motion, heat etc. We say a book on a shelf is ready to fall, because it has falling power within it as potential. The creation of a timeless world that “continues to be” is likely a reflection of our self understanding of people who are still us! Thus idealism may be seen to be seeking personality behind phenomena.

    As I wrote this I considered you might mean the other idealism, the seeking of perfection. I’ll have to think about that one.

  2. The “stability of identity” is the conscious human goal, isn’t it? My identity always seems to hang on the balance between Oedipus and Anti-Oedipus, between human consciousness and unhuman unconsciousness, or between waking and dreaming.

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