Irreal

Irrealism. Modernity can be seen as a kind of victory for realism, but this victory was always already betrayed by capitalism, disseminated to death. Despite all appearances, the masks and pseudonymity of the postmodern era indicate not an abandonment of the war against cynicism and superstition, but rather a renewed undertaking of this same battle with a greater degree of caution, pragmatism and assiduity than the modern age could have imagined necessary.

Will to think. Philosophy at its very best is saddening, a cautious disenchantment: a deciphering of the hidden resentment with which we have crafted our values, the nihilism behind the idealities humanity has raised above itself. Yet how could philosophy ever have taken hold and prospered without a certain artistry in masking its true purpose from us; how could it not begin by seducing us to another reality — seducing us to reject this life and this reality? Consider that the will to think must partially close the “field” of thought, in this way allowing it to acquire definite shape and form: the force of thought severs thought from becoming, reducing the chaos of becoming into an organized noise. In this sense, the force of thought disjoins not only a given thought from what it can do but transforms the very categories of thought in order to render existence inert, harmless and ready for transmission. The innate becoming reactive of thinking is what philosophy opposes in all ages and throughout all its disguises.

Psyche. We are always furthest away from ourselves: there is a “necessary unconsciousness” of the underlying machinery of thought; it cannot be integrated into consciousness without violence and tragedy. The healthy constitution of the workshop of the unconscious is the entire problem of psychoanalysis; yet is not psychoanalysis then, at least insofar as it depends on extruding a repressed trauma to work its cure, founded upon the paradox (or illusion) of knowing what we cannot know — the unconscious meaning of the symptom — in short, knowing what we should not be able to know? It is indeed this strange ethical status of psychoanalysts which makes their “cure” possible — i.e., by pretending to an esoteric insight, a “necessarily unattainable” knowledge of the nature of the soul, the pathway to a cure for certain neurotics is possible. For everyone else, psychoanalysis as constituted cannot help but botch the cure at the start, driving it to return again and again to an overpowering and miraculous violence by which the unconscious may be interpreted, and so already transformed, “healed.” Our certain ignorance is ignored for the sake of the cure, since at any rate therapy will provide the hooks one requires to enact the transformation; in this way one ultimately abandons the truth of the symptom. Without shame one may now impose an identical interpretation upon every case, since we should not know the truth.

Torn. There is a tragic flaw in every first principle; behind each first principle there is a force which may be interpreted. Thinking is not mediation (or axiomatization for that matter) but always a becoming, and a becoming “active” only insofar as it is taken to its limit. Thinking is itself rendered legible in turn only by uncovering the force of thought, which is not the driving force within the thought; rather almost the opposite: the force of thinking is that which subjugates thought, that force which extracts thinking as though from the raw “material” of subjectivity.

This entry was written by Joseph Weissman and published on Friday, November 20, 2009 at 12:16 am. It’s filed under noise, subjectivity, truth, violence and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Irreal

  1. I feared your writings had ceased indefinitely – fear aside, I am extremely enticed by what you have to say regarding the reaction of thought… it reminds me of what Derrida says about the mind saying what it means only by its returning.

    But do you really think that the Post-Modern world will continue this war against cynicism and superstition given its intentionally propagated transparency (perhaps even its obscenity – nullity as a weapon)? Then again, perhaps the nihilism of Philosophy teeters on the edge of this abyssal border between modernity and post-modernity… Will the nihilism at the base of wisdom ameliorate in light of the possibility of a hyperreality?

    I don’t know… Just shooting off. Great writing.

  2. What you have written resonates with me. I find in reflecting on my own experience, that in dreaming I am approaching the unorganized, without abandoning this will to think, the dreamscape being a borderland. Therapy is interminable, but only when I awaken.

  3. Bloody amazing. I love it.

  4. hmmmmm. I had not realized that there was so much poetry in philosophy. Is thinking a willful act? Is the existence of the brain, as some theorize, merely the result of our being creatures that are in motion? (Trees do not move, therefore they have no need for brains. Some sea creatures have a brain in adolescence, while swimming. Upon maturity, they anchor permanently to a reef and promptly digest their brains for food.) What is the “force of thought?” What is being said about how thought impacts itself?
    In reading and reflecting, I kept finding myself wanting to assert the biological foundation of thought, choice, pathology, sadness, awareness, etc.
    I suspect that human thought and behavior is shockingly less elegant than the philosophers who theorize about and describe it.
    Why “must” the will to thing partially close the field of thought? What is the field of thought?
    And isn’t every aspect of thought, and possibly existence, limited and defined by one’s perceptive capacity? Are human beings designed to be dominant input or output machines? Could it be that thoughts and philosophies are the dreams or electromagnetic shadows of mere biological machines?

  5. Excellent post. Is it possible not possible to link up to Husserl’s very intriguing notion of the irreal?

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