comments 11
acceleration / becoming / language / metaphysics / ontology


Artist or artists unknown. [Though I suspect Nicholas Alan Cope & Dustin Edward Arnold.]

Since before memory, certainly the Greeks, a temporal continuum supervening upon the physical universe delimited the scope of ontological speculation. This delimitation of vision to a vertical axis transpiercing the cosmos necessitates a moment of insight generated through a brutal acceleration or jerk into clarity/modernity, or alternately futurity/sightedness; at any rate unleashing an irreversible and continuous transposition of subjects, translation of signifiers, transversalization of situations.

The fluidity of this image of time is experienced only in absolute survey, from the perspective of a violently-interpellated point at infinity. The displacement of phenomenological time depends on the decoding of the cosmos enabled through the impossible division of ordinary time by nullity. Primal or ordinary time, before the letter, is more ostensibly fluid than this terrifying vista of an eternal time of equivalence (born alongside tragic mythopoesis.)

Ordinary chronology differentiates, disseminates itself into a life as it undergoes intensive durations, where the pure form of time is equivalence: the event diffusing into its image, dissolving into an infinite repetition, disappearing without reaching the infinite speeds necessary to reconstitute its instantaneity. Remarkable time is an-evental, but not because it is lacking events; rather the event is always-already passed or yet to come, circulating without deceleration. One is always untimely… Events are absent — but certainly not lacking in this monadic-eternity in which each instant encapsulates-transfigures the world sea of possible events.

The neurotic configuration of any possible event whatsoever is so relentlessly disassembled, lacerated, laid open and transcoded onto a universal continuum, that in absolute survey, in cosmic flux, the event will have always already been synthetic, an “automatism” or reflex, in the sense of involving alien elements or otherwise exo-cosmic agents. Events under such a temporal regime can only come from outside, as intensive interruptions, stuttered signals from beyond which decode and reconfigure the depths. The event always has or always will have interposed itself into the dimensionality of the substrate, violently including the medium within itself.

Both ordinary and remarkable time, singular and infinitive, conceal deep cynicism — though remarkable time distinguishes itself in expressing the profound subversion of temporal auto-involution. Does this violence betray a bitterness, as though on behalf of the spirit of gravity itself — seeing in development/organization only unstructured retrogression?

A lethally profound image and insight that has burned terrible after-images into psyches and societies; and which we are somehow comforted to hear physicists anxiously and redundantly confirm: the utter victory of reaction, the eternal monarchy of entropy.

Entropic decay and a broken world; it is perhaps redundant to ask why raw physicalism tends to converge with the yearning for collapse.

But is there not unexpected progress today: an unprecedented panoply of possible metaphysical images of ultimate reality offered by physicists (certainly after the “unhinging” of physics from certain critical metaphysical anchors — “as long as the math works out”…) Yet do these novel constructions (cosmic bubbles, multiverses) suffice to displace the ancient thermopolitics which was so comfortably transcoded and incorporated as a privileged cornerstone in the general system of knowledge…? It might be worth noting here the degree to which these tend to inspire a curious and arguably post-Universalist Accelerationism concerned with the palpably eschatological problem of escape from an all-too-rapidly freezing cosmos… [It might also be interesting here to consider how the present wild zoo of fundamental particles, including the recently-detected mass-conferring Higgs, could point towards a “hot” displacement from another (nanopolitical) direction entirely.]

The ancient philosophy of time begins most clearly with Heraclitus and the dramatic actualization of the noble mythological arc of temporality, congealed as pure repetition or stuttering of divine language, distorted but transfiguring and sublime words of sacred power; time, then, at the limit: an obscure theology of logic or even cunning (Heraclitean Accelerationism.) In Plato this vision of time as immanent-unending fire undergoes a conversion from wisdom into judgment, from heat to illumination, becomes a hermetic semiology of infinite movement/light/the eye. In seeing (in the movement of the stars) the pure form of time, Plato glimpses a kind of chronogenetic schism at the heart of motion, intensive and inorganic, a wave or a crystal.

The Platonic time of pure vision resolves into the genesis of light itself, an uncanny biography without localizable subject; trajectory without beginning or end. Time on an island, the moon: eternity inhabits the smooth space of the cosmos as prison and prisoner, virtual and physico-biological by turns (as magnetic fields arise from moving electrical ones and vice versa…) Finally Platonic time becomes a yawning void, a kind of biology of limitless emanation: the indecipherable words of the burning depths translated into living light or linear dialogue (bioluminescence.) An obscure and dangerous chaos undergoes cautious planarization; the innumerable/infinite speeds of creation and destruction revealed by absolute survey (the involution of the actual within the virtual) are encoded, flattened, finitized. Vision experiments, educates time…

The Author

mostly noise and glare


  1. Joe, I like to see how much you’re taking on here…dozens of thoughts immediately spring to my mind. I will try to cut through that and suggest a text that resonates with what you’re bringing up here, albeit in a different style of course. It’s by Whitehead, and I may be wrong, but I believe it’s titled the Concept of Nature (his 1919 Tarner lectures). In any case, it’s interesting to think about specifically in relation to the Bergson/Einstein problematic.

    The genesis of light itself. This reminds me of something that you’ve always stressed, the essence of light, physically, phenomenologically, ethically, perhaps….I’m particularly reminded of the passages in Totality and Infinity on light.

    Have you been reading Guattari, per chance? Some of this resonates easily with Schizo Cart….specifically what you write about entropy, among other things…abstract machines, hearths of negentropy…anyway, great stuff!

  2. Thanks! The Guattari hasn’t been in as heavy rotation as I’d prefer but of course as you know it’s hard to keep it at a distance…

    I’ll definitely give the Whitehead a careful look. (I’ve been meaning to return to Process and Reality.)

  3. I’m wondering if you might expand upon or clarify this phrase: “The event always has or always will have interposed itself into the dimensionality of the substrate, violently including the medium within itself.”

    It’s difficult for me to understand the theoretical distinction you may be making between the spatial and temporal qualities of this operation — the event. I’m curious how you might reframe this statement, in terms of the effects on the structural configuration of space-time.

    • I’m not sure I’ll be able to adequately it unpack it in a comment; but some immediate reactions and thoughts.

      The medium/substrate is “light” in a special or higher sense as convergent series of spatio-temporal dynamisms, or set of incorporeal transformations, achieving a catalytic assemblage of enunciation. Thus writing, speech are refracted into the middle of a living book, a “book of light,” at the very center of becoming or immanence; a breaking-point within writing where writing-for-itself becomes visible (which includes itself without limit or halting-point; pure writing between, or even “between-us.”) Here it seems to me we are very close to the schizophrenia of infinite zero — a rapidly growing desert; or alternately the utter extinction of a life world.

      To my mind the kernel here is about thinking the “fringes” without reduction to internal movements like contradiction, falsification, reflection. The concept of the concept is more sober or more universal-historical than this; in other words it demands actual investigation — active movement, exploration, traversal — cautious experimentation in order to establish a plane of consistency. In other words: rather than dialectical intoxication, it is only a kind of mimicry or mimesis can hope to capture the spatio-temporal dynamism ensnared-actualized within the event. It is only when elaborated and dramatized conceptually that the event even becomes-visible — which is to say only when thought reaches the infinite speeds necessary to reconstitute-create concepts, or to even conceive the plane upon which they would be populated…

      One way to read the question posed here is about the relation between the aesthetic and the political; how is revolutionary thought possible without piety, messianism, pseudo-utopianism? How is it possible to connect the writing-machine to the revolutionary-machine again, cautiously, keeping in mind the great dangers that are present? How to accelerate through capital, how to make its parameters even more fluid, malleable; how to push the auto-revolutionizing core of capitalism to its limit? The challenges of immanent acceleration converge with those of capital/the common; techno-scientific answers are [almost] entirely lacking, as are any serious responses from the state or the market (to the scale of the challenges we are facing.) We need new sensibilities about what is possible, a new aesthetics of time; this is the really interesting psychoanalytic point to me about the future, what is said to be possible or impossible. It’s impossible to imagine the tiniest changes within the social and economic order; but within safely castrated zones, pure techno-science, a thoroughly-dematerialized “sexuality”, anything goes, anything is possible, etc. The noological limitations of recognizing the mutability of the substrate, the ontological structure supporting conditionality; this is the basic idea behind the event here I think — the way in which an aesthetics connects to a politics of time or untimeliness and contingency.

  4. A further point might have involved a consideration of ‘acceleration’ and the logic of the production of intelligence; there are hints at what such a direction might look like in the notes above and to some degree in the response to the comment, but I worried this might take us even further afield. But, in that light and in passing, I might note that the series of incorporeal transformations that condition the possibility of speech/writing would seem to me to be isomorphic here to those that condition the possibility of, say, machine and genetic codes, and even the ‘programmatic’ ontological substrate unfolded by mathematics and physics; in each case a virtual and collectively enunciated system evolving creatively by negotiating axiom/expressive system-generation with experimental-effectivity.

  5. ” In other words: rather than dialectical intoxication, it is only a kind of mimicry or mimesis can hope to capture the spatio-temporal dynamism ensnared-actualized within the event. It is only when elaborated and dramatized conceptually that the event even becomes-visible — which is to say only when thought reaches the infinite speeds necessary to reconstitute-create concepts, or to even conceive the plane upon which they would be populated…”

    Yes; this particularly speaks to me. But I’ve also been looking for ways to conceptualize the ‘higher-order’ (or higher-dimension) structure that constitutes the temporalities which link together the seeming-redundancies which emerge from this process of reconstitution/mimesis. That is perhaps, laid out on some linear timeline, the system of linkages between the ‘nodes’ of events and the ‘nodes’ of communicative gestures (memory+articulation).

    Memory seems to be the larger structure governing both the genesis of the event and of the articulation of the event. Speaking from a cognitive perspective, one might consider what we know about how ‘events’ are encoded and furthermore, how encoded memories themselves are represented neurally in both distributed and ‘crystallised’ states. When one ‘remembers’ an event, this process always constitutes the creation of a novel configuration of sensory and conceptual information, and a specific pattern of action potentials in the neurons of the brain. In this way, when we conceptualize memories (and their constituent temporalities) as finite structures we must always also acknowledge their being potentialities as well. That is, a memory is a maleable potentiality that is actualized by the configuration of its substrate, and not a specific temporality.

    As an aside, examining the phenomena of deja vu and mental time travel may further extend your statement that “the event will have always already been synthetic, an ‘automatism” or reflex.”

    I would be interested to hear if these considerations are compatible/reconcilable with the context you’ve laid out.

    • The neurological basis of cognition is definitely an interesting concern — I might suggest taking a look at Catherine Malabou, who writes extensively about the ontological status of the accident, and is very concerned with plasticity and neurology. (Just in passing, “N for Neurology” is one of the best entries in the Abecedaire…)

      One additional thought occurs to me here, which is the way in which individuation is correlated with the mutability of the substrate; in particular, this is true in psychic eventuation, that both individual ‘egos’ and discrete ‘events’ are extracted (violently!) from a pre-individual intensive medium — a pure flow that continuously disrupts-reconstitutes, a kind of pure chaos or chaosmos. So we return to “the” substrate again: infinite speed of birth and death, of creation and destruction… but reached only by a voyage to chaos, which indeed takes place at the neurological level, in the abyssal Nothingness at the innermost reality of the brain (Artaud’s terrifying insight) — by traversing the differential “screen” behind thought, by discovering a kind of pure topology of becoming or infinite speeds at the absolute limit of cognition — in “What is Philosophy?” is it as though chaos delimited the folds of the brain, such that traversal to the chaotic limit according to an artistic, scientific or philosophical methodology, is equivalent to an intensive traversal of ‘foldings’ of the space or screen of thought (the brain)…

    • Hopefully these are preparatory notes for a larger exploration of the meaning/sense of temporality. I’m also concerned here with mutation, acceleration and exhaustion; and what these forces might imply for a philosophy of aesthetics, mind, language, society, science, etc.

  6. Pingback: Eternity | Aural Complex Landscape |

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