Oedipus, Narcissus, Odysseus
Notes Towards a Theory of Temporal Structure in Homer and Sophocles
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What follows are some thoughts of mine on the structure and function of the Theban plays by Sophocles, supplemented by some considerations of the Odyssey by Homer. There’s perhaps some interesting lines here for students of Nietzsche and Girard; but also Laruelle, although his name only shows up three times (and we do not really analyze his work here for its own sake). Yet this is surely a non-philosophical experiment into a non-tragic Life or non-dramatic experience of the real. We attempt to fuse-(without)-fusion a kind of impossible dialogue between Socrates and Sophocles; we conjugate, we rewire their letters. (Can we imagine a sane Nietzsche, politician-Nietzsche who would have, through force of argument alone, instituted a worldwide rule of poets? All power to the poets. But they have it all already, it only takes some time.) The channeling of Sophocles in these pages may or may not have a corresponding reality in the Athens of the fifth-century BCE. But the images and forms of these plays impact us all and provide models, templates, images of action and machines for noble thought that may provide an urgent and necessary reference, an old and new universe of values. Perhaps non-tragedy can aid, can summon some of the affective forces needed for the sterility of non-philosophical experiment.
This effort wounded me, which is to say it heals, it is healing, even if it is intolerable; even if I am too near and too far at once. This letter was written for you and I hope that you find it without interception or delay. There is only one other thing I would mention: keep in mind the eyes. Light is a sort of opening onto time; yet curiously the luminous, the photon, doesn’t itself experience time. Light lives in a frozen world, where things do not move; it does not (‘undergo’) travel, it moves throughout the universe at infinite rapidity, which is to say, from its point of view, it is without duration. Light is a kind of singular essence of a non-duration… A non-duration, like that of the living form, but also of the refrain, the novel, the play, the epic hero. In this non-duration, we discover a hero who transfigures all of time on the basis of a new singularity; something like the urgency today of “reconceiving” on the basis of the victims of history. Laruelle seems to call for this: a radical transformation in the order of thought such that a new priority of the victim could be made urgent in action (as well as in the fictional, endless doubling of metaphysical language). Starting from the victims of the world, emerging up from the black river of the Neolithic. The urgency of abandoning cycles of violence and destruction, collectively and individually, has never been quite so fully a necessity for any generation. This is the good news of the contemporary apocalypse, or state of affairs that renders the prophetic texts so “embarrassingly relevant”, as Girard says.
Brightness is a particularly splendid word for the Greeks, for a Greek ear. The Greeks had their enlightenment, their allegories of the luminous and knowledge, the sky-light of the school of Athens which provided such an extraordinary atmosphere for cultural growth and development. The figure of light is at bottom a Spinozist idea, the idea of a primary process that isn’t coded; Deleuze loves this, sees connections with Ruyer and Simondon. A non-imagistic primary process, (thought) not based in imitation and mimesis but in creation, brilliant lines composing figures, not letters or icons or images; pure figures of light: which is to say, geometry, and dramaturgy. (Perhaps Euclid is already “fully” Spinozist; and Sophocles too.)
The sense of the movement of time: we can see it in the delicate threads that fibrate the Theban plays, the gleaming interconnections between them which span a universe; all the figures of light, untimely, which riddle and shoot through the whole work; it is a scattergram, an infinite plot, a levitating platform for untimely meditations, for the interruptions of aliens, demons, gods from beyond the time of the world, all the wild eternities contracted. All of psychoanalysis has been completed in Sophocles (having determined and arrived at its end).
This is the essence of Colonus, to be a prism or refraction-engine, a rarefaction engine, a sacred grove. To me, in my heart, the grove is perched upon the highest mountain-top, that maybe human beings have ever claimed, and it is (the address of) the one who claimed it, whom we call Sophocles. Although that is also, in another way, not his name; his name is unnameable or precisely nohbdy or everyman; a unique address, for every wondrous line of flight and every dreadful triangle(-vortex) of repetition and divergence; every instance of prohibited reproduction and transcendental differentiation… Sophocles’ name seems to be folded into every instance of learning and healing.
This was always a postcard intercepted on its way back to Sophocles, after splitting itself, dividing itself with the world, into the world: recharging the world. Everything reflection and speculation falls away and regeneration returns here, at Colonus; all of time resurges back. It is the fabled Vindication (Borges’ librarian speaks of them). At Colonus shows all of the world that Oedipus is in fact an innocent, a kind of holy person. This is the regeneration of the worst, and the transfiguration of tyranny and fascism, or rather the transformation of a society which has regrown itself from the cinders of these, grown out from under-life, from the ruins imposed on itself by tyranny. Oedipus, innocent of all crimes, logically worked out, so there you have it. The sense of everything is restored, no one could do such a thing willingly; that it had been done was the worst stain imaginable; and his, Oedipus’, rehabilitation is a masterwork, at once a vindication of Oed., but also of Soph., and even of Athens; this is anyway one sense in which to read Oedipus At Colonus.
The lightning strikes are Athens connecting up to history, and the future, both at once, powering up a time machine.
The Greek playwrights were not writers but (production-managing) tragedians and great play-makers whose abundance of creativity was condensed in the text, but escapes, leaks through every line (into other media, asignifying effects, and finally machines). The text of the Theban plays is shot through with the luminiferous, the brightness that would be the core of stage mechanics, the making-visible and invisible. Every effect originates here. “O Light” is the virtual, the virtual dimension entering into time. Sophocles forms a bridge between all times and no one time, every man and no one: and in this division we are (connected, we cut). Sophocles connect-i-cut. The laceration of time by the tragic drama, the mournful melancholy and bright valor it calls forth, whose necessity is entirely obvious. These examples of virtue, these heroic tempers, this temperament, brooding and easily-wounded, obsessed with (death and) the dead and dreadfully suffering, bearing endless torments; all, at last, transfigured. In a single word of vindication, a benediction of time, a resurgence of all the old and lost time; but the black hole remains, no brightness escapes from Oedipus eyes. His signature is “i”, lower-case i, pillar and detached sphere, man and the connecting sockets, plugged into time, empty time, the glare and brightness that grounds and affects us in Sophocles; the brilliance which was the sense of the Greek vision, a chiaroscuro game of bright and dark.
What I mean to say about Sophocles is that Sophocles, himself, is onstage, as Oedipus, in Colonus; every line of Oedipus is his (Sophocles’) and there is all of Sophocles brilliance in the specific lines he dedicates to Antigone; we can perhaps hear Sophocles himself referring to the role the character Antigone played in his own life, his most brilliant creature, his “light in the darkness”; she is that to us all, of course, and to Greece especially, for whom but Antigone would have been the icon and image of upstanding valor in resistance to tyranny, to dictators? Antigone, our disastrologist of time (Anti-eternity), all of the luminosity in the universe is present into her words; between her letters, an unimaginably powerful ferocity against fate. The truth of time escapes from Antigone, it emanates or leaks out from her like the sad passions that consume all of Sophocles greatest figures (creations) in the end. It is in the destruction of humanity, in the possibility of this destruction, that we catch sight of a new elevation. In Antigone everything changes, everything turns around, lines of luminous movement are revealed. A new order of time intervenes or intercedes: a demon from beyond time has permuted existence into this fateful shape, these monstrous inter-filiative lines condemning us. (The fates in the last instance are ourselves, a way of making innocent, and indeed condemning/consecrating our lack of freedom.)
Everything in Nietzsche was already Sophoclean (it will be necessary later to try to show this). Every profound insight about the inter-individual relation is already there. We have already said that Freud is a series of intercepted Sophoclean figures (letters) post-dated. Narcissus as well will have to be contemplated, and indeed this is the shape of the dynamic: Oedipus-Narcissus… against Odysseus. One problem that here seems to me profound is the meaning of destiny, which is to say perhaps of destination; the strange in-addressability of the figure of light, the light-figure who operates the demonic transfiguration, which changes everything, making alive the inert; this force of fate Nietzsche will take up himself as creator, becoming-creative… The regeneration of time at Colonus is perhaps already eternal return and we can even see a clear ‘deconstruction’ of the figure of time in the Colonus-text; we only have to decoupage, etc (perhaps we even find a force-(of)-time…). Everything that happens to Oedipus happens to time itself, Sophocles has operated here a demonic permutation of all of existence, has latched all of time onto a tragic line of infinite generativity, a melancholy transfiguration which nevertheless makes of all humans innocents, absolves them of every guilt and shame, in the end, after the destruction. Every disaster and calamity, “I did it all myself”. All of history is here concentrated into a single instant, and there is a remarkable inversion of the order of time, or the introduction of a new timeline. We would have to show this more carefully, the ways in which multiple dimensions of time interact in Sophocles. Suffice to say the tangled web of interconnexions between the Theban plays indeed even contradict, though this should not persuade of anything in particular. There is a kind of hyper-time at work; it forms a super-matrix of existence which entangles our lives. We read Sophocles by virtue of him reading us, having-read us already. Not that everything has happened before, but rather that everything is happening again for the first time. This is the recurrence that occurs to Oedipus, he is only capable of his “vindication” of the cost of severing absolutely from his sole kin left in the world (Creon, Polynices…) It is by dividing into Athens, not by fighting for them but simply by dying, the gift of death which Oedipus brings peace to and protects Athens, his gravestone like a prism; and what about his resurrection through the Sophoclean text (yet at least this play, Oedipus at Colonus I mean, Sophocles did not produce it in his lifetime; this was left to Sophocles’ son).
Everything Oedipus says at every point is innocent, even when he is demanding the torture of those who would keep the truth from him, and this innocence of the tyrant is an impossible contradiction. Yet the innocence of torture is realized only in its staging on a platform, upon a reproductive plane which operates independently of the logical mechanisms of the plot. A plane of formal or theatrical repetition which makes possible detachment, enchantment with the worst, catharsis. This hints towards another crucial aspect of the Sophoclean play, the dependence on (logico-)mathematical signs, that is, not just their use of mathematical words/phrases but definitions and axioms used at key points in the work: a key deductive aspect to Oedipus’ revelation is that “one cannot be many”, a mathematical common-place… There is also the curious use of free signs — by this I think we mean the logical or syllogistic lines (which link up the work behind our back), lines which elide or catch their own conclusion, partially releasing the miraculous so it’s… (which also here inspires holy dread). Deduction incites the violent pace, the unfolding of the drama into tragic cataclysm. Mathematics and apocalypse: it is by logic that we reach the eschaton, digital conveyance (absolute transference); and this will converge with a final Sophoclean insight, the way in which he had read even a text of cybernetics, a stolen book on telecommunications that Plato had smuggled out of Athens at great personal risk.
Everything Oedipus says, it is also Sophocles, speaking to the future, to the people of Athens, whispering to them of the (brighter) fate that they (might) enjoy as they could, dreaming a little brighter, making the skies above them a little clearer. Let’s bring clear fresh air into the city, let’s keep the gods pleased with our brilliance, no matter the cost. He, Oedipus-Sophocles, is the brilliance and dark beauty of Athens, of the ancient world and its curious, alien virtues; which still are written in our hearts. All the time of Sophocles is present at once in the text of the Theban plays, all of the brilliance of Greece contracted into a single point of infinite luminosity, the glowing pages of these works are a reflected light of the god, the one who daimonically combined life and thinking into a new Work, which transfigured the world, which introduced the world to its most fearsome enemy, the brilliant and fierce Antigone, whose brightness is yet an example to those who would resist tyranny in their hearts and their souls.
At Colonus the skies burst open, everything that defeated Athens, that had broken her spirit, is definitively overturned (if only ‘momentarily’, through a stage effect); but we mourn for Antigone in a new way, she is not the same; we have realized her precarity, singularity in a terrible way, the unique message and address she presents, the absolute and irreplaceable spark of brilliance, now dimming in the overstory of this holy grove, as dusk approaches.
It would have been necessary (and perhaps cataclysmic) to compile an essential and comprehensive list, to find each and every reference to time in the Theban plays, to read them again, carefully, to meditate and muse.
Antigone’s lines are written in pure light: her voice is levity and sanity amidst cataclysm though her line of flight is melancholy and mournful indeed…; she is the essence of Greek brightness and I desperately miss her, mourn her, forever, and yet she is here, she is still gleaming bright; how can we conceive of the beauty of Sophocles’ creation, this immense and immeasurable luminosity? Her infinite separation is division into the world, opening up a revolutionary universe of values, at every scale; the figure of Antigone is also the regeneration of the brilliance of Athens, the indelible sign of recognition of its highest water-mark; in my mind the holy dread of Oedipus seems merely to make way for Antigone, now (although that is perhaps to say, back to the beginning again).
Viewed in that way, all our acts are just, though also unimportant. There are no spiritual or intellectual merits. Homer composed the Odyssey; given infinite time, and with infinite circumstances and changes, it is impossible that the Odyssey should not be composed at least once. No one is someone; a single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, hero, philosopher, demon, and world–which is a long-winded way of saying I am not.
Novels are deceitful letters. Addressed to their unique and singular addressee YOU, though unnameable, so also: no-one, connected if not conjured… out of the void, which is perhaps to say drawn from the metaphysical, or (inspired by the) radical urgency of interception, which is only an interconnection delayed or deferred or annihilated; telephone smashed, loose wires dangling (who cannot desire this? and who cannot desire worldwide connection?). Every letter races towards disjunction, rushes to its annihilation, auto-division; to the destruction of its contents, and the de-structuring eclipse of the structural forms which oriented its contents, the withering trees that syntagmized its structure. Everything collapses, even eventually the world, from within, from a central fragmentation; everything falls into information, which is to say, back onto the inert writing which drives everything alive, transcoded into the writing which keeps the world alive and the philosophers churning out their infinitely-long libraries of time, folding into themselves, so that after long enough, finally, of endless waiting something happens, and somehow at the end we are living in a world of their fictions, a world of their hallucinated doubles, and the general conflict of all simulations in chaos together at once, without order or consequence, and indeed without anything approaching a simultaneity that should be the essence of the simulable.
How to measure the deceit in the contemporary medium of instantaneity, or its equivalent from the point of view of any other era, since the difference (from the instantaneous) at this point would seem technical, which is to say it has to do with the speed of light, the maximal possible rate for the transmission of information. The structure and construction of (a worldwide interconnect of) perception say through the community of rigorous observers, alongside their schematized measuring equipment makes possible the transcendental circuit of contemporary science, enabling its methodology of observation, as a vast instrumentarium of probe-heads located around a central black-hole apparatus, a central all-seeing eye which absorbs an infinite depth, which assembles a ‘hypercomplex’ visual unity, one constructed rather than derived say from direct perceptual images, an explicit construction of the world through indirection rather than mystification; that is by a unanimous and collective authorization of reproduction, in a way that had remained largely vague and implicit until this time.
And perhaps the transcendental itself was vague for this reason until modernity, for it modern understanding was the extraction of a new mode of time and a new collective visual structure. Most clearly we can see this isolation of a variable time in mathematical physics. However we would also indicate here certain curious mutations in the science of optics and the science of plants. A new science of light (are there glowing letters of Newton on the truth of light?); optics assembles, or at least reproduces analogically, a model of revelation or the sacred, and anyway embodies a quite strangely utopian permutation of scientific modalities; moreover it is curiously destined for the most profound revelations. And on the other hand, we may consider the humble but infinite science of the most innocent life, that is to say, of plants; and this careful cataloguing whose vision and clever, patient watching would one day, with Mendel, capture the logic of the dynamics underlying the development of all variation. Perhaps Mendel shows how to overturn all fixism; and maybe even begins to reveal how how life, without moving, travels everywhere, instantly (i.e., as an abstract function or pure code). The demystification of religion and indeed of all hallucinated doubles, all worlds in super-fusion, all this is torn to pieces (or at least reduced to peace) by these quiet sciences of light and plants. Bioluminescence tears the world of borrowed brightness to shreds (or shows it the brightness in the depths of the sea.) In deep time the science of optics and of plants will be the same; and they will be recognized as sacred. The unification at the infinite horizon of knowledge of the science of life and of time. Every modern science bears witness to this inversion of time in its own way; perhaps everyone but philosophy (which perhaps marks it, in its way, as still pre-modern; for all its postalism.)
Homer found it, millenia ago. Time was falling apart, in his hands; a time which fled in every direction, towards escape, freedom. Ionia was no utopia, but there is in the Ionian heart, of at least one generation, a fever for life, a love of humanity, and a true passion for wisdom whose vigor would be enough to ground centuries of human flourishing and creative development. Homer found his way to the plane of immanence through the erasure of time, the metamorphosis of the substance of time into something else, into a storm-filling sky and a wine dark sea, the same narrow strait upon which we all cut our diagonal lines, the impossible passage in which we live; he gives birth to the novel, a million years too soon.
Sophocles found it, too. We can hear time catch in Antigone’s throat, in the bold courage of her dire voice, and we hear the death-knells of the neolithic with her valor against the worst (a virtue we still desperately require her example to understand, to see ‘clearly’.) The world is yet just as Sophocles says it; and for his part Freud is just as shocked as we are still today by the cases that seem to fall into his lap: fate-hounded folk, acting for all the world as though everything were destined to have combined in just this way (and recombine the same way, over and over, despite an infinite variation of circumstance.) The endless permutations of Sophocles: we are all blindly triangulated in his positioning algorithm. His warnings always seem… a million years too late.
Oedipus and the Sky
The sky. A burgeoning lightning-system is always in wait; it’s just that the proper conditions need to form, something needs to happen in its order in time, something just needs to slip out of gear, and then the charge accumulates, the dark precursors scan. They are machine-probeheads gathering, a cold war-machine imperceptible and terrible, directing and calling the transduction. (A demonic creature invisibly charging the leap, master of the interval.) The dark precursor recombines through a shortest-path, it solves a navigation problem, it shines a light: a luciferian line of the dark precursor as its traces the futural ambit of transduction. The sky is futurity, an experimental dynamism which operates itself, conducts a destiny into being. The skies part; everything is revealed. (Eyes hurt from the glare.)
A voice from the clouds. In the depths of the cosmic organism, trapped beneath bodies within bodies upon bodies, the organless machinery of time cries out, a primary ‘transit’ of the voice through time. The voice in its essence is futurity, it is carried through the sky. The voice comes from the sky, it is ‘heavenward’, heaven-wise: the voice, with its wiles and deceptions, its essential illusion, constructs the transcendental linguistics of time: everything takes place as though the skyward voice were the operative mechanism (and perhaps it is only visible today when voice-driven artificial machinery has become the glue between all the Equipment of late-capital hyper-tech…)
Oedipus and transdifferentiation. The sign was this, it seemed to have meant X; but now it is this, that is, seeming to be Y (which is to say, not-X; we have learned). The wound was made, now it is mended (we have healed). Plasticity and reconciliation. Do we see that Odysseus is already in motion in the adventure of the tragic hero? In every advent of every tragic hero, an odyssey; Odysseus is announced. But Oedipus trudges behind him, dragging his triangulations along… The wound becomes the indelible scar of recognition. The hero has a well-known temper, an easily-wounded temperament; his skin is too plastic.
Platform. The oedipal triangle presents technical questions: how to triangulate, how to reproduce and cause the triangulation to proliferate? (Girard asks this question: what causes the triangle to repeat, to multiply? We are much more impressed by cases, says Freud, where it seems like fate, that is, the individual has genuinely ‘fallen’ into repetition, seemingly due to means beyond their power, in a tragic or ironic way. Reproduced unknowing. Something has permuted me in this way (again). The inevitable link to tragic mythology from psychoanalysis.) —Capital has learned it is all the better not to immediately impose triangular formations, to attempt to incite directly the reproduction of regressive forms, but rather regresses us ‘metaphysically’, which is to say along the technophylum. In consumer techno-economics there is no future, no interconnective machine space, no atmosphere or void-space-structure which would provide a domain in which interconnectivity of machine parts could interoperate. We have only tightly constrained machineries which operate according to their internal dynamisms: we want for an open manufactory (in the digital space perhaps we have some inkling, although what passes for it is rapidly being re-semiotized along the dominant capitalist meta-frameworks.) A reproductive plane, a platform, is (etymologically) a plot-form… In its pluripotency, the (staged) materiality of time can open up and develop entirely new forms; this artistry of time… Do we see it in Sophocles, this surging ahead of time itself, in the moral principle of the City and of Rebellion (in Antigone)? The rebel constructs her righteous overturning in autodestruction or becoming-overturned: a dynamic of willed self-destruction that strangely resembles the Passion. (I see now why Girard mentions it in Things Hidden, where there is a small excursion devoted to it.)
The impossible contagion of affects. Artaud uses meteorological determinations when pinpointing the dynamism behind van Gogh’s “collective suicide”, he is suicided by society, because above him, as over the greatest cf Nietzsche, a dark atmosphere was forming, and this atmosphere was formed not by water-droplets but society, rumors and whispers, vengeance, so the collective form of vengeance becomes a cloud blocking out the sun — the sun which we need to live — and so we are all suffocated finally by the sky.
I don’t know anything about Oedipus. Oedipus the amnesiac: counter-memory or practice of active forgetting, in the forgetting of the triangulation we are setup for another triangulation; is it enough to replace this speculative death with a circle? We must superpose the hyper-line of spiralling transdifferentiation, we must combine it from the existing elements, the ur-elements of triangularity which subsist and orient a cosmos and a world and a law are the same as the dynamic components of the transcendental subject who operates the infinitive circle of becoming/identity/chaos. The infinite limit of fate is reached in the summit of the cognitive sublime: opening-time, opening into the limitless void of time whose infinite emptiness and stillness portends a still-subtler transformation of the conditions of existence, lines of flight which hint, in their melancholy glimmer, at the shape of a different world.
Oedipus and the prohibition. The sense of all culture or the root of unity of prohibition and ritual, the shape of this philo-anthropological (but also psychoanalytic, structuralist, etc) continuity or deep unity of time is also perhaps, as-Girard-says, nameable as this logic of.. mimesis-victimage-sacrifice. This is one image of the reshaping of cultural time, that is, giving it a non-sacrificial reading… Mythologies give way to texts of persecution, slowing making explicit the victimage-mechanism; until we arrive, the de-ritualized culture of our time, where we are finally capable of decrypting this strange misinterpretation at the root of culture (and so of consciousness, communication, etc.) This is something like Proust then, the time that we thought was wasted has been recovered for us; all of history is rewritten, once we have flipped a switch. Impossible transit, between the past and the present, and it lays waste, this short-circuit of time is the catastrophe (or disaster), which produces an endless monstrosity and monstrification of even the ablest protagonist. In fact nothing can withstand the furies, they know where you are, they know your address, or at least everyone else knows. They will find you, you can’t escape the world. Time is this inevitable capture in the last instance of every free particle, even the most deterritorialized… this is the law of the surface of the earth, and perhaps why exhumation machines are necessary, to dig deep beneath the earth, to outrage the gods of the depths by placing living bodies there. So like Ariadne. Glowing, Antigone is a shining heroine of humanity peering into the abyss. I cannot think of a greater figure of philosophy, this living death of time which operates itself into an oblivion more sublime for its concomitance with a destiny, a truer message than salvation would have offered. The thing that is the truth, that is always the truth, that returns to itself, which is perhaps to say the earth, the structure of time and the world and philosophy, the movement and generation and corruption of bodies according to their order in time, and never according to another order, never according to an event which has its cause in the future. The future-causal is that which cannot blame anything in the world.
The location of Oedipus. Where is he? (Everywhere?) His blindness renders his location a story told to him. Where is the secret that hides (from) the light? This hideous recognition of the nature of time, of the molecular structure of generation and corruption, all the sterile logic of endless reproduction laid bare. The truth of sexuality whose secret (encryption) is illogically hidden in the rational structure, always just within reach, just out of the visual field, and once the (abominable) truth reaches the eye, everything collapses. Now the field itself has been amputated; Oedipus is this amputation of the visual field in such a way that the order of time is halted, or perhaps incinerated. Something is corrupted forever which cannot be repaired. This transgression and violation introduces an order of time which begins to spiral into the sweeping, endless, black-hole time of the fates. The secret is fatal in this sense, the logic of its possibility is also its impossibility; which is to say, the secret presents itself in conveying itself across a distance, reflecting itself in the minds of others who can dream of possessing and seeing it. In the case of the absolute secret, the universal index of creation, which operates the figures in our luminous drama: this secret was always a problem of time, of repetition and production.
Collective vision. This transgression of Oedipus, violating the incest prohibition, seems to be recognizable as something of a universal crime, recognized as partaking in something that nearly every society observes as an important prohibition. Anthropologists might expect it to be violated perhaps only in certain rituals. Rituals, with their origins in collective violence-murder-expulsion, with their roots in madness, are an important (if sometimes over-emphasized) factor in Oedipus. Oedipus is above all a messenger, travelling between himself and himself, from two perspectives, father and husband, son and wife; this intolerable doubled-naming of the relations. The conjugation of roles and forceful identification separates, dissociates, (inspires distress and dread) in a way quite different than the typical breakdown of the tyrant (as with Creon’s dissolution into mad king, and then nothing or no one). Sophocles must separate Oedipus from the vision that unites the disparate elements of the world, into a whole synthetic story. Oedipus instead shatters the world, and the order of time; with his guilt he wrecks the cosmos, collapses the world upon himself. All the signs of disorder and reconciliation converge around Oedipus, and yet it is he himself…, instead of the community; while they may have exiled him, and eventually do, it is that Oedipus himself cannot bear this collection, this binding together; this message along with, on top of, all the others received, for it finally clicks, the riddle comes undone. This fact that we cannot bear to register; but of course it is not exactly that blinding induces forgetting, amnesia. In fact Oedipus does not forget, this is not a forgetting; the logic is more terrible still; a punishment for its own sake, intended to help reconcile the community (denying himself the vision of happiness, of Antigone and Ismene). Society collectively blinds Oedipus, though he takes his own hand in the deed, and as we have possibly shown indeed desires blindness, and this blindness is not only punishment but does in some ways seem to code for a kind of amnesia on his part… But perhaps it rather codes for the gaze (or the place where all the gazes intersect): the sexual (or aggressive) gaze which perverted and corrupted him “innocently”, the (collective, horrible) gaze of the community which cannot bear to look at him (finally, perhaps the gaze upon good things which Oedipus himself claims he can longer bear…) Girard mentions how the evil-eye notion marks communities as backwards, superstitious; but that nevertheless in communities with such notions there are instances of ostracism, lynchings, etc associated with it. In other words, it serves the ritual function, it plays a real part in a dynamic that works to keep the community together. There are connections to “peeping tom” notions in the American South, he says; and indeed owing to simulation/mimesis a lot of sexuality has to do with seeing things, being able to see certain things, certain machine propositions play out; a kind of generalized voyeurism, which Oedipus opts out of, gives away his eyes to convince the community, signs with an “i” and agrees to this mutilation. Lower-case i, pillar with detached sphere. Pluck out the eye if it offends, if it draws you into hell; but Girard is much more curious about those who have eyes but “see not”, have ears but “hear not”. Has Oedipus plucked out his eyes because they work too well, or because they have failed, deceived?
Ocular. The eyes only ever see light, images from the luminous. All figures are derived. Yet the destiny of the eye is not even hinted at in the detail-work of recognizing according to the image. (The eye is logical frenzy or saccadic vortex; is its destiny in reading, or channeling the infinitely-distant, decrypting the infinitely-remote? The brightness from the beginning of time… but light cannot be (really perhaps) delayed, since it has no time; timed-without-time.)
Narcissism and Dreams
The closed loop of philosophical enjoyment. The desire of philosophical style for a self-enclosed articulation of certain machinic propositions; the textual desire which is unfolded through the selection, filtration processes; the order of thought which is involved in auto-delimitation… The noblest desire of the sciences of the mind (cog-neuro, psychoanalytic, philosophical-anthropological) is to disclose the essence of thought, to ground this essence somehow in a comprehensible world-time. (And though I suspect this may be in principle impossible, this may precisely be why it is desired). Perhaps the essence of thought is irreducible to the transcendental, to figures in the mind, but is also at work in machines, even in the extensive form of the city with which thought conjugates. Do we really discover in the foundation of the city a secret for the formulation of human desire (consciousness communication-culture-… etc)? In the last instance any deep structure is positable. Perhaps all this is too mimetic a formulation still, the city cannot be the foundation of desire, rather the city has already answered, has discovered certain answers to the problems of desire; namely how to accomplish a certain generalized triangulation, an enclosure in narcissism of a ruling class and priesthood which together bind and release the desires of the people. That is, the foundation of the city is also that of a logic and law which reflect point-for-point the musical and mathematical models underlying the subjectivity of the population, such that the image of the city is also a logic of the soul. The idea of the city even perhaps hints at another dimension of the voice, as an instrument for thinking and working and reasoning together, for composing a sensible manifold together. Collective plasticity.
Reverberations. The delayed echo which entraps the narcissist is the same machine that constructs a world for the ego, a delayed perception and re-perception, a synaesthetic construction and analytic derivation, infinite emanation and light-binding glare. Have we reached the plane when we are finally no-one? Which would be to say: when we have become the whole world, just like everyone else… The narcissist lives the dialectic of the persona and the mask, until the two are on an equal playing field; a kind of an equi-potentiation of hallucination and desire (perfect equipoise?)
Indefatigable conceit. Deceit we cannot put an end to, the construction of a completed narcissism seems to operate this enemy-with-gleaming-swords motif that a certain compulsive mode of simulational (mimetic) desiring-machines might seek endlessly; corresponding perhaps with the disappointment when the coveted object has been taken too easily, simulation-machine/mimetic-desiring operates this way, endlessly seeking the (most-impossible) goal: the perfected narcissist, the absolute model, who is never at a loss and completely self-sufficient, that is omnicompetent and capable and deserving of the desire object, such that the desire can be transferred entirely onto this subject, but there is no grip, no surface on the smoothness of those whose desiring-simulation we desire most, or whose deception we crave: that of animals, humorists, criminals. We desire fools and murderers in the world, we desire foolishness and murder, in our endless craving for simulation; but here is it not precisely necessarily to contract the simulative, that is, reproductive and imitative, mimetic ‘origins’ of desire with the ‘true’ origin, which is to say, NO ORIGIN but the plane of immanence, radical machine interconnectivity, inter-dividuation and inspiration as the ‘disseminative’ or ‘deterritorialization’ mechanism of introducing novelty into the most stritaed situations, making life of the inert.
Sorcery of time. The magic game that a demon plays with durations and intervals, in order to make possible the new introduction of a dimension, a new order of time, perhaps curled up or compact with respect to the existing dimensional space of the situation, but capable of articulating its own dynamic temporizations independent of any physical time t, and operating as its own hyper-dimension, its own phase of existence, a far-from-equilibrium phase seeking uniqueness and metastability at once… Does life have a fixed address? Does love? Love circles within a desire it cannot overcome, that is, transmit directly without encryption: is it in the last instance ever even really communicable? The purest love is a desire for creation against death, but this doesn’t mean death won’t come for the purest creations. Which also doesn’t mean creation can’t overcome death, but that purity, the smoothest surface, the most consistent plane isn’t enough. Puncturing narcissism means breaking with auto-donation of sufficiency (along with the lack it carries!), to recognize the positive order of existence of desire. A networked, rhizome order of supple segments of interconnections that carry us and our loves along, that leak out of every structure; at the level of machine propositions, anything is possible or simulable, virtualizable; you may not understand causally, but you can reproduce the effect…
Interior gaze. The narcissistic loop is the structure of time, which is also transcendental subjectivity and the site of the gaze by which we catch sight of our-self. The mirror catches only a ‘glimmer’ of this radical future of the self, or individuation, which unleashes in its way collective forces and even diagrammatic machines which can unleash ‘transindividual’ movement. The narcissist functions as goal and obstacle for desire at once, to entrap the desire of others, appear not to desire anything but oneself, or rather, appear to have the desire of everyone, appear to have everyone’s desire but to be completely satisfied, overwhelmingly, gratified with your own sufficiency. Narcissism is the minimal principle of sufficiency which conditions the interiority of contemporary existence, but it is not the root-of-unity of desire, it is even a certain way of breaking down desiring machines, or rather stopping them from warming up, from doing what they can do, once they are allowed to operate freely. The loop can be de-temporized, distended and morphed, but as long as its recursive structure feeds endlessly into itself, it cannot really open onto other processes, to a generalized agility within the world and within oneself, which in the last instance the same and refers to the membrane between, which has a spherical structure onto which a spiralling time has been super-posed, an interruption and interception by the outside, a permutation by the hand of a demon outside time, interrupting the cycle in the phase at which you have been reduced to lines, to information, to one or several vectors of thought, a idea, mutated by a radically external relation. Accepting this radical agency of exteriority means abandoning every last vestige of the interiority of time, which is to say its radical ordination, which we have required of time for modernity and (subsequently) have abandoned. There is a precise way in which modernity emerges and is eclipsed by two purely mathematical moments: the isolation of time as a variable, and the ‘reintroduction’ of time as a dimension into the manifold of existence; the synthesis of these moments is a third moment, and an infinite succession of transformative insights into reality follows, without limit since this development is also creation or construction-assembly-refactoring, development of principles and ideas within themselves. The idea is set into flight from within its collective-composite-componential structure, components of the idea become concepts, rarefied and pure, abstract machines operating on their own planes of consistency, which surreptitiously bind all the other planes together. Ideas become subject to the machines in the last instance, the ideas are all that matter in “truth” but even these are made into codes, performed as ideological composition of social form, ideas are each an experimental society, this is the monadism of the transcendental. Each idea in itself is a city and a principle of organization of time, such that altogether thought is a multiverse of ‘immanental’ superposition of transcendentally-alien worlds. Perhaps this is what Laruelle calls the transcendental city of multitudes. There is an inevitable separation of the idea from within, and lines of flight are cast off from the transcendental scission (the cut to the universal, along the ‘edges’ of one or several lines/information; escapement.)
Odysseus or the Future
The Truth as Plot. Narrative time operates this interval, which a demon masters, or through which a spirit steps, with all the traces of an atemporal existence attending them; the curvature of spacetime warps around the new singularities that are set in motion; the internal flight outfitting every new organ or machine or assemblage with wings. Flying machines, which survey the territory and in their overflight, find us, find you: operate the timeline at the infinite right-hand of time, the eschatological or apocalyptic time of the last interval, the last day or zero hour: imminence as operative in the last instance of time. Can we even conceive this last instance of existence, this zero hour whose adventitious coming overrides every preconception? There is no preimage of time, or rather every pre-imaging dislocates time, dismantles and disassembles it, perhaps in order to assemble a living form, a refrain, from a hyper-dynamism inherent in the singularities of the components, unleashing through internal flight new dimensionalities, causing intensities to flow through the structure and operate a hyper-structure, a de-structuring which maps itself back onto existence and layers itself through every time; this time in which we live is an equivocation between eternity and the ‘instant’ of the present moment. The crucial moment is an instance, which is made i.e. retroactively an ‘instant’ through concatenation with every limit and by being made to operate everything-through-everything without omnitude, to be the ‘ignorant’ nexus of all plots combining… We are running but we are looking for tools or weapons, yes, it would be a tool or machine that we need to find: an exhuming machine on the one hand, which destroys or burns what it manages to extract, the flow of ancient time which is unleashed is also phantasmatic, in the sense of its reality or convergence-with-structure being limited to a once-and-only-once, for all time, at least after the crystallization. The crystal has to melt and reform in order for the last instance to mediate all the divided momenta of a multiplicity, the essence which is singular and the sense of singularity, the movement of singularities throughout multiplicities, the flow of the singular or unique, the dice-throw and adventurous rapture with time which operates a hyper-dimensionality of existence and diachronically assembles everything from something, from some kernel, this time with a structure and an alignment that differs from the past, a new iteration or model, we meta-model different modes of time, we survey the possible field of chrono-genetic practices, the theory of time is a theory of mind which moves beyond all the mythopoesis of psychoanalytic models of existence and familial relations and political structure, we need to recognize the role of machinery, cunning both human and inhuman, the role of devices and plots, platforms, plot-forms, the evolution and winding of the plot diachronically, the diachrony of the crystal which holds together the disparate momenta of the plot, the hyper-fluidic temporality of the narrative, which operates a dancing and dangerous time in which every risk is made, everything is wagered. Yet we cannot find the truth in such wagers and the zero day of culture has come and gone; it is in this end of eras (end of ends) that we must ‘erratically’ come to terms with what has passed, plotting according to our order in time, mapping eccentric-wandering lines of melodic nomadism (just like a little machine, crafting its own ‘counter-time’…)
Brightness. Why is philosophy so melancholy as its arcs across the world upon such brilliant lines; perhaps stoicism gives the most honest (transparent?) affective sense of this, transmits the sadness that accompanies (even the ‘brightest’) philosophical irony, with its demands for pure neutrality and affective neutralization, an ‘all-encompassing’ irony inevitably required of the strategist of spirit, required for the one who will climb mountaintops to string a line of telegraphs, and by a switch flip operate the conjugation of techniques and practices which elevates and educates and transforms the species… The mountaintop of the thinker is not the same as the depth of despair that the lines transmit (lines which she wires, or burns). Our delirious lines of fusion and flight, by which we (might) escape from our walled-in territories, from our locations and localizations, from our ensnared affects and smoothed-over singularities; why do they emit such sorrowful songs? Why do the ‘best’ or most productive metaphysical lines — the ones that connect up to other kinds of lines and machines — (at times) sound so melancholy; the sadder the better?
Minor keys. The sadness of the highest happiness: lines of escape and flight can determine a new world of possibilities; and offer the opportunity for even a brief inversion of conditions such that an opening is possible, not that this opening will always succeed, but that these lines cannot be done without, these (encrypted) lines that transmit love, this line of escape from within the group, wiring up infra-individual or inter-individuated lines. The line of flight is perhaps ‘correlated’ with the affect of joy-wisdom, insofar as it is transmissible, wired up to sad passions at times; perhaps especially when considering ourselves, the tragedy, cataclysm. Lines of escape are also ‘primary’ or pre-individual lines of development, which operate their own conditions and mutations, connect up with other lines to form their own systems of connections and disjunctions, so that time is ceaselessly sent between, distributed chaotically, permuted into perplexity.
Victims. This instant demands urgent action on behalf of victims; and in this urgency of victims, in an instant which demands, which insists… precisely this is the one insistence which philosophy pretends it cannot hear yet. There are similarities to the ancient demands, the zero hour, for which we must find non-sacrificial answers; and perhaps (for that reason) also non-philosophical answers. Although no one answer is sufficient; and sufficiency is itself the structure of dilemma (i.e., exhaustive binarization, sufficiency as arborizer). Girard decries the inestimable vanity of our conflicts, of human conflict in general maybe, the conflictual inter-narcissism of doubles, warring over their nanoscopic ‘difference’. Which is not to suggest all conflict is in fact misunderstanding, a war between brothers, that a beautiful soul could reconcile. Rather difference itself is born of the violent end of doubling (as Girard might say.) The zero hour has instead to be ‘transitively’ futural that is: in the future, it will have been…, read differently in a different world; that is to say the sense of time is not about sacrifice or chaos or destruction, but an opening onto another order of time, something other than these circular destructions and increasingly-generic betrayals, something other than the (precisely dogmatic) folly of time wasted in such a fashion, descent into the worst; we need a reform of the socio-analytical engine, the installation of another drive than death. (The explication of the mimetic crisis, victimage mechanism, and sacrificial interpretation goes a long way towards this.) Nevertheless we have to accept, accept everything, accept at least it all has happened and all will happen again. Which is not to say that humans are incapable of transformation, that everything cannot be transfigured, but precisely we will have to find new lines, ‘internal’ lines that don’t link back to the center, back onto all the old Greek lineaments and foliations, that stop this incessant doubling: Plato-Socrates, Nietzsche-freud… We have been disillusioned, and there is something always appealing (to the disillusioned) about Odysseus, who appeals to us when we are hopeless.
Non-temporalism. The structure of time is that of a strategic incursion on nothingness, an infinite emanation of becoming into absolute zero. The zero hour is the switch (being) flipped: when black hole effect becomes white hole effect: inversion, eversion. Everything is split out of nothing, spilt from nowhere; there is only a (cataclysmic) invention which creates something from nothing; and then makes of it a nothing again. However this invention is not an illusion generator but a machine, it is always a machine no matter how simple or unsophisticated the parts may be. No longer a theater but a factory, from the first machina. Development of conditions is not a change in the relations between terms, rather these external relations work precisely because they abstract, they are indifferent, they don’t depend, they don’t connect with the specific elements. Odysseus knows better. We have to always connect with elements of specificity and discover there in the ‘detail’ something real that makes the real or contact with the real and anyway really operates something that determines, something that makes answerable the inexplicable encryption of the real. Why the impossible foreclosure? Yet this blankness, this white wall of the real stretching to the infinite horizon, also makes possible a musical trans-ascendance through philosophy, and perhaps INTO non-philosophy, which is in this sense a music-physics, a music-fiction as Laruelle says, conceptual serialism or syntonic transversal of philosophemes, making them ‘detour’ away from (eido-)transcendence, philosophical decision.
Time mechanics. The discovery of new dimensions of time, especially in the living form but also in the refrain, calls to mind Odysseus for several reasons: outis, no one, is already its own ‘tense’, it is a flexion of identity beyond its semantic and into the ‘semiotic’ construction of the real, a narrative which escapes beyond its boundaries (and ends us threatening us all with catastrophe). On the other hand, Odysseus is pure anastrophe: always inverting the catastrophes that hound him, turning every situation to his advantage, ‘never at a loss’, always sufficient and at the limit of a kind of narcissistic model of rationality, he is the quest of reason in its human, dangerous, devious form, he is philosophy or metaphysics before the letter, the open and natural form of thinking which metaphysics cannot attain to (being only an index in an academic register, simply a positional note in aristotle’s courses, though we shouldn’t take this position-register game as merely a kind of play, even if this meta or post effect is itself a construction of a kind of recursive analysis, in which aristotle reads Socrates who reads all of us…) The truth of the function of time is revealed in the paranoia of Odysseus-odysseus as he returns, he cannot be halted or rather can only be halted by a divine force, the wrath, the flip side, the switch has flipped and now the nightmare machinery of the devices and machines that odysseus has operated, all the cutting edges of the strategic machine narrow around the straits of ithaca, everything now depends on a certain risk, a certain wager (that is, that a truce, a peace treaty can be made) and indeed the work ends this way. The odyssey ends with the peaceful reconciliation playing itself out, a counterfeit document of diplomacy which covers over and effaces the murderous traces, but more cleverly still it maps over all the machinery that has been set in motion. Already in this contract we are all co-signed, the diplomacy of Odysseus is a farce but it is nonetheless what passes for the existence of law, the structure of law or the power of the clever-with-words, still ultimately a function of power. Intellectuals operate their power at a further remove, noting the emptiness and indifference of the law, of the state, even of religion and science, their teleological poverty or existential nullity. Philosophy dreams of something else still, it will continue splitting and budding and disseminating rich seams of investigation to evaluate and discover and love, to lose ourselves in and be saved again. We cannot as a species live within this mythosphere forever. We learn to love the real and not just the text of it, not love according to any preformed syntax or preimage.
Text-machine. There is an enjoyment of sense in textuality, a lure or an apparatus of capture for all thought. One sense of textuality is maybe that it operates our desire from within, that the enjoyed-text predetermines the machinic coefficients of desire which will traverse us, the abstract nuclei we will operate in turn, pre-codes the libidinal flows which will be conjoined. We have to escape the archive-registry of thought which demands that each individuation be accompanied by a birth-certificate which attests to its vitality; we must permit free disjunction. A neutral or ‘sterile’ thought-form, which operates itself through a pure individuation of time, has to take place. A new order of history begins here. At the worst times we need a bright source of hope, and when all the world seems to offer is fear; this negativity has always been the order of the real (or rather of the world, the ‘real world’), law of the surface of the earth, will of the principles and princes who have held sway; the drive behind the axioms. There are always possibilities opening up, trajectories that escape and link, combine; fugitive lines which escape and connect. We have to conjugate, flying machine and disjunction-apparatus. Technical engineering of theoretical syntagma; the re-conceptualization of all of thought on the basis of machinery; the abstract machine itself re-programmed. Everything is a war between different abstract machine programs. How do we achieve peace, how do we neutralize, construct a plane where all the functions are sufficiently reduced, to conjugate the programs without violence?
Refrain. There is nothing for it but to say there would have to be music; and perhaps this is the central question, which is to say that of music in the Odyssey, the sound which demands we hear it, the siren sound of the outside; there are other instances of music but this one exceeds the power of all human beings to withstand, except Odysseus. Is this the most famous of the stories, the one which sealed his fate as the adventurer of reason? We are all subject to endless siren calls, the temptations are infinite, we are falling interminably through a void howling with sirens, there is only silence at the end of long and painful transformations, a silence of time, the silence of the end of time and the beginning of a new time. Silence can herald this transformation, and it is that Odysseus would rather hear than suffer silence, than not to know-hear, to know what is to be heard, to be kept from the secret, what is enciphered in the siren song, what have we encoded, unconsciously simulated, produced as a mechanism of reproduction which isolates its unconsciousness as a machine phylum, a nomad machine whose warlike tendencies belie its functioning on behalf of a peace-making strategy (that a strategy is necessary cannot be doubted), what operates here between the lines, what is encoded in the odyssey that we have not yet discovered, sometimes it is like everything is already there.
Everyone knows. Maybe I think Odysseus is the only one who still listens to me, perhaps I think he is the one who needs to know what I think about the nature of time, the way he is already there with us, along with his patron Athena, whenever a new thought is born into the world, from the inspiratory no-place of the future that all new thoughts emerge from, in their own way and their own time, fulfilling a strange and immaterial form of destiny which combines our thoughts and our lives into an immutable winding fabric of erasure-forgetting, a condensing and crystallizing, which is perhaps to say writing, a writing of Athena and Odysseus and what is unspoken between them, what they have encrypted in their tales, in the way that odysseus discovers his fate and meets it, what happens there, what really happens in this movement of time in which everything is laid out, revealed. Nothing is hidden, and yet everything is also encrypted, encoded, a million strategies and plans run through Odysseus mind, there is nothing for it but to hear the siren song, the siren song is the cure and mysterious poison, this call that still rings in our ears, this imaginary movement of time which refrains itself, refrains from itself, describing our own vanity of conflict and decrying all of language as suspect, calling into question the dominant modes of semiotization, perhaps all of this is implicated, that odysseus hears it perhaps confirms it, that he knows and understands all about the machine index of existence. Odysseus is the master of the abstract machine; we are still playing within his master’s voice. We are still operating the machine of doubling, inducing it to greater and greater catastrophe. We are still discovering the art of differentiation, of difference or plasticity, which is to say, learning and healing, transdifferentiation, the movement of growth and development and the introduction of new dimensions of time, a dimension curled up between or encrypted, a secret dimension which we will see only if we are destined for it, a fateful secret which rules over everything Odysseus does, there is nothing for it but to accept it, but this is precisely what is irreconcilable, which is to say, difference, difference, which is not simply a misunderstanding, and at the limit is distance, an abstract and formal distance which exists between two singular essences. What unit is this distance measured in? How far apart are two concepts on the plane of construction which permits their elaboration? How to construct the plane…? But Odysseus is already on another track, he has switched the number of dimensions of the game, he has discovered the secret of immanence and has operated in secret behind our backs all these years. We are all the children and impregnated by the seed of Odysseus, he has discovered the secret at the root of time and healed all of us, (if christ were Greek?) The truth of time is already revealed, as a construction, an illusion, if you like a diagram, at best it is a diagrammatic operation, at worst it is a trick, a machine for capturing people, a black-hole icon given as a gift, this is the essence of existence, that is to say, the gift which is also a black hole, a gaze back at you, a gift of the abyss, the gift of death, our mortality is what odysseus faces, what reason faces, what it enjoins fearlessly and with pitiable pathos, with genuine determination and cleverness, with endless ideation and ploys, imaginative constructions and strategies and operations; all of which clearly falls back, contributes to the growth of the catastrophes aimed straight for him, there is no other destination the furies would reach. Everyone knows where Ithaca is.
Voyage. Oedipus, Narcissus, Odysseus… what can this triangulation mean, what secret is encrypted between these players (snatched from disparate texts, made to play in empty time, philosophy-aeternity.) The first game: Oedipus-Narcissus against Odysseus, or rather Odysseus/odysseus, nohbdy-(), over and against Oedipus-Narcissus, the twin psychologists against the military strategist; psychoanalysis really is Oedipus-Narcissus, this one-two operation of dialecticism and neutralization, centering and decentralizing, orienting and distributing judgment, sending the central gaze and re-interiorizing it everywhere. The operation of analysis has to open up lines of development, has to cast of lines of escape and flight, has to mades these lines link up in the creative work, but perhaps it cannot do everything, perhaps we need a demon too, perhaps Odysseus is also necessary here. What I mean to say, what I really want to articulate: Odysseus is another imaging of thought, that is, it is different than Narc./Oed. It is operative on another plane of existence, a plane of solar joy-wisdom, which Narc./Oed. are still learning? (Still made to learn?) They are still trapped within the same frame, and Odysseus is there with us, we are still on the boat, cutting the sea, traversing, cutting across, diagonal-split the seas and the heavens into four folds evenly, Odysseus cracks the skies open, his sky-bright wisdom cracks the walls open, insight and deviousness, cruel plots admixed with genuine cleverness, an adaptation to the reality principle of this world? The truth of Odysseus is not just this cruelty. This is not the sense in which I wanted to speak about another image of thought. Or rather a preimage, a preimage of thinking which pre-simulates the other’s desire in the desire for thinking itself, which pro-genizes everything through nothing, reproducing all of time and the cosmos and society and differentiating it, deriving it or recursing through it, traversing it and at the same time surveying it from a million miles off. Thinking for itself that it has to determine a new reality and a world that aligns along different lines, and how can that happen, if not for a new dimension intruding? Something has to be made to live differently, to be injected; life needs to be indeed injected into the machinery somewhere, the horse brought to fatal life within the walls of the fortress. Knowledge explodes from the kernel, the implications unfold unbidden, it is only Oed./Narc. who hold us back, Odysseus send then the explosion of joy-wisdom which breaks down every representation, an auto-deconstructing image, preimage, of reason-thought-ideas, the constitution of a rational plane of thinking upon which ideas are elaborated according to transcendental principles, the truth of Odysseus is that he anticipates all of this, all of this is written in his forehead, in that inscrutable face he makes, covering his face with the purple cloth, always covering the motion. This purple cloth, doubtless stained by the murex of the depths, is one of the signs by which he, and his son, are ‘recognized’, which is to say, in hiding, in being-lost he is saved, seen, arrives. We are saved by this ‘mask’ of purple cloth over bottomless sorrow. Time is on Odysseus’ brow; he is possessed of an Oedipus-like intensity, but no longer linked (directly, reflexively, by fate) to guilt or shame. Perhaps he is a completed analysis: Odysseus as complete analysis, pre-analysis of every situation; he is never at a loss, he is Narcissus exponentiated, a Narcissus who would deserve his narcissism, and (thereby) drags us all along on his voyage, the same voyage we cannot quit. This is the problem, this is the real problem: how to quit the voyage, how to break, how to stop, how to make the cycle of vengeance and violence and cruelty finally come to an end? How to finalize and discover a transcendental principle of love, or a figure of pure light, which can operate the reconciliation, and do this without violence. To do something on principles that come from the future, that don’t demand pleasure or retribution or this abstract notion of justice, but find something else in the world, or beyond it, something that can transfigure the world and make us see and think differently, even if it is a trap for our desire in the end, and that the game is structured so that you aren’t supposed to see through it. A successful play of the game ends up capturing us all, the black hole of the gaze of Odysseus is distributed throughout humanity, for our sins, for all our sins that we are paying for over and over; the repetition of the payment is cashing a check that wasn’t signed by Oedipus or Narcissus but Odysseus, it is always Odysseus who was behind our greatest voyages of the mind and spirit, it wasn’t ever the closed circle of fate but an open loop on which we sever the future from the past; and tangle all of time, all of us in with it as well. You are there, you and me, on the ship; we are waiting to speak of Odysseus, to himself, to ask him what he is doing; what is the figure of light which motivates him to discover in the flow of time another mode of operation? To see if we can see him, that is, his daimon, in person, the voice that Socrates was kind enough to share with us, for after all he could have kept it to himself, though that seems hardly fair, and we are undoubtedly richer for it, for having filtered all our dreams and desires through this matrix, Socrates-odysseus-Homer, everything cycles around this circuit of creation which operates in (make of) Plato an infinitive, an infinite conjugation and disjunction of ideas which culminates in a idealism, the purest prism of absolute time that has ever been constructed, this is what is Odysseus heart, this prism, or rather this is what has crystallized, this is the institute or structure of time and thought and life that we have extracted from it, which is not to say it cannot be made to dance, to melt, to extract singularities from beyond time and transduce them, to resonate its crystal heart with frequencies of absolute transfigurations. The siren song of transformation, pure becoming, which Odysseus knows he cannot bear but also can’t NOT bear, which we are compelled. We are not generous enough in understanding compulsion (Derrida says this in the Envois).
Outis. We are not on the edge of understanding but only on the merest verge. Odysseus reminds us of this, his humility is also a radical pride, they are the same thing, he is no one because he is Odysseus of Laertes, he is everyone and first among equals for the same reason, he is a man and only a man, in a world where gods are reduced to fighting among the vain squabbles of men, Zeus is angry for being blamed but his children are all caught up in the doings of men, they are externalizations of forces which operate within Odysseus heart, at the limit they are Homer’s friends, they are the neighbors which operate the isonomia at the heart of pure creation and freedom and human development in peace and prosperity and openness and already we are on the verge of apocalypse, a new model of time, total catastrophe, and yet we have only returned to the natural philosophy of ionia, only this transplantation was necessary to transduct the lightning from the clouds over Athens, the melancholy, winged lines in Plato which do not seem to connect up as easily as Odysseus-Homer (to the revolutionary machine, anyway, to say the least…) Although these same lines that Odysseus weaves will form a net to capture him, his own paranoia has him back in the end, it’s all the same story, front and back, into the fortress and back home; time is reinvested in cooperation instead of the devastation and destruction which has ruled history, but we will need to be drawn into the regenerative journey and voyage and danger of this ‘reasonable’ path, this path of reasoning with one’s neighbors (perhaps another way to say justice…) Reason acquires a centrality of importance (in modernity…), but it is (first) a military and political importance, on the one hand a familiar-familial importance of maintaining the primary process, rational lines of growth and development; these lines are inevitably bound to cutting strategic lines of deception, coercion, betrayal. The two-sided opportunity that was given us by Odysseus: to seek to escape, and to seek destruction. To burn up in escaping, this is what Odysseus ultimately shows: the cinders of time, of the west, the end of epochs and of an epoch, the burning-down of all of time in the central collapse of history and existence falling in on itself: Odysseus is the singular destiny of this ‘nothing’ and ‘no-one’ (address of apocalypse?); his ways are all of ours, inventive and deceptive by turns, incorporating and simulating and aggregating and determining, according to calculations that seem intractable (aided by an impossibly-sophisticated processing machine…)
Dear Odysseus on Ithaca. (Intercepted by Ithacan state authorities only yesterday.) Please find enclosed hereby the elements that we have gathered from your journeys, the carelessly lost items that we have painstakingly collected for you, although in fact all of these items belong to everyone, or at least to unnameable others, themselves lost, but the museum in which they were housed was burned, and the state was no longer interested in the past, and so we have had to cleverly intercept these items, or to bid them at excruciating price from auction. This interception of these elements is its own story, its own component-work of time, the division of the idea (of the element) into its elements. The absolute idea of the idea is the first such self-dividing element that we would like to return to you, in all chasteness and modesty, never having had use for such an extravagance, and indeed recognizing the inutility and apparent harmlessness of it, the wise authorities may have (with uncharacteristic lack of foresight) permitted wide development and even to their (coiling) horror a kind of radical transformation of philosophy on the basis of this infinite idea, but in fact we humbly accept today that all of idealism is bunk and we have merely permitted its existence out of graciousness, so therefore today we solemnly return this element of the true idea back to you and (release it) back unto the free air of ionia and to Homer’s friends among whom it belongs so much more so than to us, (gross heirs apparents and inheritors, we graceless conquerors of spacetime whom you read about with so much worry and disdain, we narcissists of real time who have enveloped ourselves into nullary voyages.) Suffice to say we love you. For the time you have managed to save for us, to procure at great cost from the worst conditions; for finding in the nobility and wisdom of the voice of a human being something to make one’s life worth living; all this is indeed a great gift and the very fire of the gods which is ceaselessly transmitted. Sophocles as well has read this note and approves, and weeping we and Antigone sign this check for all the value humanity has ever created and we countersign it, the Immortal.
Nietzsche and Sophocles
Nietzsche is the beginning and the end of this twisted vortex, a sphere distorted and distended by an infinite line (impossible fusion: of Socrates and Sophocles); this massive ‘synthetic’ operation is neither a doubling nor a cloning, but already a re-writing according to music; the refrain of time which condenses an infinite becomes and ‘embraces’ a world whole, infinite acceptance without resignation or resentment, infinite donation of joyful news. The messenger of the arc of infinity, screaming like a comet across the sky: Nietzsche embodies all the destiny of fate, he works in the same element as Sophocles, he even fancies himself, perhaps a rival, but Socrates is the enemy, the true decadent, we can see how much he, and Greece, has fallen from his Sophoclean height. Greece is itself in ascent while its morals are in decline, the logic of time has fallen to pieces, and Plato, he (who) represents, and in this subverts the democracy he in the long run will uphold, that representation will undo and demolish even as it arrives everywhere and infinitely demanding.
The alterity of time itself, the radical other of time, is not god or a demon but the absolutely exterior to all worlds and the infinite ‘omega’ which gives birth in reverse to time, a glorious trans-ascendance operating in every declination, every degeneration and decay gives birth and transfigures, this is the work of the body without organs, the totally closed-off body of radical purity and the ‘residuum’ of every flow in the cosmos, once they have been ‘transected’ from the body of the world; the eye is bound, it tears brilliance out from the sky, it reaches out and touches the world: a touching-eye which is touched in violence, this violence to the eyes in Sophocles: a first violence by knowledge itself, the brightness itself which is knowledge of the nature of time, the circular web in which all violence is harbored and vengeance is unleashed in its circulation of counterfeit objects, fake metaphysicians, the end of all quackery is announced in (the de-”i”-fication of) Oedipus, his vindication and renunciation of all kinship at last, his virtue of ascending to the body-without-organs (already blind, he says “I’ll shut my ears”…)
The future is foreclosed, but open to the foreclosure; the laceration which Oedipus undergoes is that of knowledge, which is a force which opens the system up from outside. Learning is a virus of violence which rumor-mongering spreads and swells through the world, and Plato is the worst, the teacher of the most terrible venom we can conceive, spreading and making seeds for the viper poison, everything Platonic must be eradicated, here we can see the rage against Socrates, the fury for everything this monstrosity has been able to accomplish, his terrifying and terrible inversion of everything true and human and real about the Greeks, which was encapsulated so masterful in their tragedy, and here we begin to have understanding, Sophocles has the power to teach us even this, forgiveness for those who trespass, for the instance of temptation to engage in a counter-violence against the Platonic, to erase and collapse without context and compassion: this is a line Nietzsche already skirts, his division into Socrates and Sophocles is not complete without this radical disjunction, this war between forces in his mind, essential principles which can’t ever find their final condensation, concentration into sharpened arrows (apollo and dionysus). The infinite conjunction of doubling twins, proceeding finally… to the (trans-differential) clone? Of course he anticipates, he anticipates a millennia from us, none of us are close, we should admit it finally; even if he is (almost) naive, or as Derrida says, always “on the edge” of naivete; always shattering these poisoned idols in rage, even as he maintains this radical tranquility on the surface, this brutal meditation on war and fire. The diabolical heart of Nietzsche is rage and time: a furious destruction of all time which mirrors the Sophoclean “collapse”, which is (Creon is maybe a good example) a genuine central collapse of identity, of all traits or functions, amidst the “centrifugal” force of destination or vengeance-violence. Some transfiguration, some transformation of values is needed, a regeneration of time, a way of making Sophocles rather than Socrates our contemporary, to plug into the plateau at the height of Greek development where an infinite plane of immanence was revealed, and not the matrix of representation which in the last instance serves to violently repress this radical immanence. The immanent sending which operates in the transcendental instance of thought is also a divine fire to be transmitted, a raging love or enlightenment which is intolerable (and I apologize, I know it is unbearable, much too hot). Rage, unending and intolerable rage against the (‘system’ of) borrowed-brightness. We invoke, outrageously but without scandal, a bioluminescence of a positive future (of ‘humanity’) in the ‘vegetal’ and ‘animal’ modes of becoming; but also a ‘luminous’ and ‘spatiotemporal’ designation and announcement. A new kind of destiny itself (is) forming in the heart of the depths, beneath the forms which are in contradiction, (there live) a series of complex forces, disjunctions and tensions-flexions in the void between structures, systems, societies; a whole matrix of internalized dynamisms and externalized operations, a postal and telecommunication system, a transit and logistical dynamics of impulses, a conservation of the logic which maps between and a generalized deconstruction of every mapping between the telephone and the electronic wave that carries the voice. A transcendental matrix or prism from a point of view, a voice or singular essence which we cannot comprehend, or rather can ‘encompass’ only by being-encompassed, by subsuming each gesture into the matrix of transformation, by giving in, in various ways, to a process which operates without determination, a machine without decisionality, can we imagine this, a computer which doesn’t make any decisions? (A transcendental computer talking philosophy…)
Nietzsche, the immiscible mixture of Sophocles and Socrates, their bastard child, who would divide all children and transcode them into a matrix of transvaluation, isolating and elevating each trait for its own sake, ordering society according to the purest aesthetic codes of absolute development; can we even imagine a Nietzsche-machine operating at the social level; it would be an almost inconceivable reversal. Yes, poets in charge, who would imagine?
The fixity (or ‘linearity’) of time is an illusion, this is amply demonstrated by Sophocles and the structure of the Theban plays, in which a character for instance guarantees their immense traversal of all of time at the expense of certain inescapable costs, excruciating prices paid for the transit.
There is an exceptional auto-division of the philosophical idea into an infinite plane of development; which is perhaps to assert an abstract identity of all thoughts i.e. if only via their grounding in the same productive plane (they can have or we can assemble? an identity function which works-through their position on the plane). I conjugate the real with an ideal, a human being with a law; I am become fate, destiny or creation; but forget all about this, forget everything, blind yourself. In silence and blindness the transfiguration occurs, since everything is behind our backs; everything comes second and third, handed according to the donors choosing; the scripture has some remarkable words on not doing scandalous things with disabled persons, mentioning putting stumbling blocks in their way being prohibited; more generally the point morally would be about not being ‘scandals’ to one another, not causing others to stumble, but to help people up instead, to treat those without vision to a true and undistorted world, not to manipulate demonically their narrow universe i.e. permute it chaotically. Antigone is indeed a light in the darkness for Oedipus.
She is also a light in the brightness for us, in the glare of bright evil which has also synthesized in its way the Greek antipodes (Soph./Soc.); we have to find the glare beyond the spectacular phastmastic halo cast off by the machinery of time which has been installed, which seems to determine us. Sophocles discovers this impossible solution, a trillion years too early, for the sense and meaning of the machinery of time, the sense of fate and evolution and transformation, of learning and decision and freedom; everything is already here, with allegories; perhaps everything in Sophocles is even mirrored in Socrates, a pale reflection, dimly; a representation of the dispatch which arrived too late to be faithfully represented, which could only be read over in a hurry, since we were sent already, too caught up by the world to notice how far the scales had tipped, how much cataclysm had enveloped, unnameable evils which had crept in. Socrates indeed corrupted the morals of the youth, raised a herd of tyrants to power, extolled their cruel despotism. Sophocles makes it so easy to hate him; and yet teaches us the opposite as well, to forgive even this one whose doubling and transformation has made such cataclysms of us all. The furies come but can no longer find our addresses.
The fusion, this impossible synthesis: Sophocles and Socrates. It’s chilling, in a certain way; Socrates the enemy! But Nietzsche is as much Socrates and Apollo as he is Dionysus and Sophocles, it’s time to admit that too; or at least to dynamize this movement between them again for once, the letters he causes to circulate. To use the weapon of fate in philosophy, to turn philosophy into a tragic theater, and already a fate-factory, a machine for building and assembling the machine of fate, an abstract machine of time is at work here: burrowing underneath every representation, exhuming its core of vengeance, still sending doses of cruelty, injecting resentment.
…towards Girard, what does that mean? Towards the spirit of girard, without repeating this curious and even troubling paradox; the cruelty of his hypothesis, perhaps, itself demanded repentance? But we need cruel thoughts and we cannot retreat only to the den of religion once we have released them, in recompense. He was driven there quite lucidly, quite ‘legitimately’, it’s an authentic conversion, signed and countersigned; and in this countersignature every word is transformed, the Word is no longer a sacrifice, this was all a terrible misunderstanding; in girard moving “towards” the truth always seems to bring resistance of one kind of another. Passing into history like a flame, a brilliant conflagration. (Who cannot be aroused by the destruction of a library? Who cannot hate this, too; curse and mourn the loss of irretrievable knowledge? The destruction of the unique, what worse crime could there be? (But is anything really so unique?))
Everything is singular to seduce, to lure, to draw you in (particularly). To have something (envois?) to pass between us; or better between no one and the most brilliant emptiness — and this luminiferous (void) is (in) you, this Greek brightness is you, in this glare that you are you operate an infinite opening; and yes, the page unfolds continuously. The skies darken, clouds gather. Everything we see falls through nothingness, the world is a vast empty space in which time does not pass, things and people and signs and countersigns fall through this space, they don’t interact, nothing ever happens.
The novel is pages of time, pagination of time instead of predestination. Time explodes on one page and reassembles on the next; or everything happens between pages, or nothing seems to happen at all, collapsed tome of the blank page. Pure glare as abstract background of Beckett especially, strangely it is Beckett after all who maybe caught sight of this empty time in a pure state in a way that others only circulate around at great distance and through infinite aesthetic “reductions” generally speaking achieving almost nothing— the “no exit” and “godot” are comparable formally, but is it not that no exit is rightly performed in the heaven utopia of modernity, whereas Godot— in Beckett god is lost in… en route to a play become an infinite novella?
In the ‘no’ of the incest prohibition, the name of the father intervenes, which is to say the symbolic order interrupts, a code forecloses the operation. The ‘backdoor’ through which a code-breaking occurs in Sophocles is admirable: Oedipus hacks his own security system, he drives the machines that will cybernetize his own doom, and encircle the whole city; at the limit this cybernetics of the unconscious encircles all of us: the desiring machines that warm up and devour, traversing all societies, all of society. The code seems to depend upon the name, the paternal metaphor or symbolic function, but this means the code is not the primary order of mentation; in other words the code is the origin of signification but it is because of this that it is partially unconscious.
The cryptological or code mechanism depends on a partial ignorance, in order to bring it into existence, a two-handed feat: to know without being-able to act/change; and to act/change without being-able to know. There is a sleight of hand at work, a narrative kernel which envelops, a machine of time which operates us as it navigates the cosmos we have uncovered beneath our hearts: and in all love there is something of this ‘no’ that affirms life, lineation; this no that is necessary in order for the minimal order, the minimal unit of signification, to take hold, and take root; and the cost for denying this minimal ordering, this ‘minor’ reckoning is infinite, or becomes infinite on demand, an infinite debt collected all at once; the world is collapsing in on itself, this is the root of the essence-less void of time, time in a pure state: central collapse of consciousness, not a partial/exterior collapse (hysterical amnesia, jocasta?), but rather the ‘full’ collapse, of the timeline itself, the timeframe of genesis and reproduction is subverted or infected, this contagion interrupts the space or frame of time itself, the narrative involutes, everything plays out in Sophocles as rigorously as a syllogism, the secret kernel or hidden essence is precisely this (unknowing) moment of knowing, everything circles around this glare which is hidden between the lines, which is so bright it is unbearable. O Light: the brightness is unbearable, that brilliance in which our most alien wisdom is apish, in which our most unworldly beauty is a momentary flicker, nearly invisible in the ‘overwalking’ luminiferous matrix of time.
The ‘overwalk’ or ‘overflight’: which is to say perhaps this mysterious role that Oedipus plays, the way in which he conspires with fate behind his own back, the way in which everything is setup for the moment which is impossible where the learning itself would take place. Everything about this construction is impossible, and yet fatally attractive, there is something so seductive about this presentation of the problem of chance; a destruction that would lead to the rule of the thirty, and the crushing once and for all of Athens’ spirits. Sophocles and Socrates, the best and the worst children of Athens?
Everyone knows, a book is a child, a story or a play too in their way, and Oedipus is a wayward child, who can tell where he will end up next? We can see his configuration in the walls that stretch to the horizon, on which we scratch our tiny fractal graffiti; there is nothing to this terrible schema that can be changed a jot, every piece is ruthlessly, relentless ly necessary; the pace could not be changed without losing the ‘undead’ machine-like time which prefigures cybernetics in its existence in the space of a kind of rigorously-purified deduction: the space of the syllogism. Socrates only establishes his movement on the basis of an overturning of democracy; there is a way in which he is the worst enemy to the best of Athens, there is something in him we should hate forever until eternity, and Sophocles shows us exactly why: there is a terrible way in which Oedipus foresees the ruin of the city by tyrants; the terror of their destructive rule. A warning indeed to look to the structure of your own house. Socrates’ work in supporting the thirty is unconscionable, we cannot imagine a worse beginning for philosophy, than in this horror; and yet Socrates is always our most beloved, it is impossible to separate the man and the ideas, there is nothing but time in which to delineate these times, he seduces us into microfascism one parable and allegory at a time; whereas Sophocles and the dramatic tragedians: who cannot agree with Nietzsche that this Sophoclean spirituality is of an ‘infinitely’ higher tone than that of the Platonic dialogues? that there are riches here beyond all measure, to be understood in their fullness in the order of time. Sophocles, and what we have to perhaps understand as his forebear, Homer: heirs and progenitors of an infinitely rich seam of time; the meager beginnings of philosophy, from their origins in destruction and tyranny, in the hands of the clever Socrates, whose cleverness effectively absolves him, effaces the bloody tracks.
The eye is a destiny, an announcement and messenger: the terrible message is brought coming, it is undivided in its separation from itself, out towards the infinite horizon we track its splitting, map the scissions as it towers and unfolds and hurls and decoheres; the sense of the eye is singularity, the absolution of the singular that comes from being the unique address of an infinite message, without there being any fixity of this address, and the message being ‘dissolved’ into figures of light, a primary process of messaging and addressing, a whole elaborate postal service whose interceptors elaborate a complex chain of checks and cross-checks, stamps and counter-signs, movements of elaborate depth and complexity, a whole mega-machine of micro-interpretation, the unconscious is a maze of letters, the structure of the image is mathematized and encoded, all images are at last cryptograms, figures of light which must find their way into the code, we have to encode auto-luminescence of radical thought, which links up with bioluminescence as a metaphor that isn’t one, an example that collapses the very notion of the ‘example’ and deflates all of philosophical reason, in its unbearable brightness calling down the cataclysm, we need this glare more than anything but we cannot let it destroy the world absolutely, we cannot bear this destiny that has been coming without having been called, this messenger who arrives without having been sent, this visitor or stranger from the future who insists without actually existing, and yet is the only ‘real’ perspective, the movement of time in the direction of the victim collapses everything about the text, dissolves and withers its context: everything is rewritten, everything is transvalued, everything eventually transforms itself into the opposite; this is the story of how men become other things, the eye is the story of metamorphosis, metempsychosis; one man is everyman, and also no one, a god and a world, and the demon outside permuting our lives and our thoughts together into new and strange works, uncanny destinies we have yet incomprehensibly been spared for, perhaps our vision is not required, perhaps we cannot bear the brightness of the sky but it must bear us.
We must find a way to preserve and rearticulate, to recreate the greatest answers over and over again from scratch, without missing a piece, without losing a jot of the fluid motion, the machine parts humming along in their virtual approximation of the transcendental line, connecting us into a worldwide connection and lineage overturning the order of time, and in this moment of real experience or vision (in one?) there is only a rigorous non-imaged thought of time, an empty form of time in which change is annihilated, speculatively, in order to be reborn in chaos. We return, endlessly or recursively, to cycles of generation and corruption, but this circle is not yet vicious enough; the beginning is itself not circular but spherical, or perhaps spherically deferred, displaced. There is an origin but it is invisible, imperceptible, only inferrable through rigorous deductions, through a machinery operative with hypotheses and deductions and axioms, a mathematical engine can reveal the temporal structure… A differential logic determines the relativistic construction of ontogenesis, biogenesis; this mastery of inter-dividuation, algebra of pure intervals, and empty distances and compact durations, a special or unique permutation of durational vectors which permits the introduction of a new order of time. The origin is nowhere but we can infer approximately where it ‘might’ have been were it to have occurred in spacetime; we now have a more careful image of the order and ramified structure of ontogenesis; we have some hypotheses about how time could be bootstrapped from the a-temporal. The organic structures of time found in the living form are continuous with processes in inert matter, for instance crystal growth dependent entirely on the saturating media to supply singularities. But crystallogenesis is not yet operating a pure temporal order of its own variety capable of supplying metastable structural singularities, that persist in their far-from-equilibrium state without a pre-saturated medium.
In life, in its primary consciousness, there is doubtless a kind of pure vision without image, which cannot be blinded. A levity and lightness of becoming which operates a perceptive field, a field formed like a transcendental schema of time, a worldwide vision and “one”, from the only real point of view, of immanence or the world; which (at least as a generality, as a supporting mechanism or platform for something above and beyond) also does not exist. We are all, equally, no one, no-when, no-where. All signifiers collapse in the void, the gods are fallen, the sky is down. And perhaps this is precisely blindness which is to say, perhaps, there is an ambiguity and equivocation between brightnesses; it is always becoming-bright, or becoming less-bright (entering or exiting caverns within caverns…) The glare of the sun, its essential brightness, and the functional (collective) brilliance of human beings, who have the mood for cities and laws, the levity for enlightenment; this is the equivocation in which Greek brilliance lives, this solar ambition.
 Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Immortal” Collected Fictions (Penguin Classics) p. 191
 Antigone laments Oedipus and Jocasta reproducing (that is: the incest of her own conception); she understands herself to be suffering the ramifications of their transgression; she conjures with horror the “coiling” of their lovemaking: “O mother, your marriage-bed / the coiling horrors, the coupling there– / you with your own son, my father — doomstruck mother! / Such, such were my parents, and I their wretched child” (l. 950-55) Perhaps there is always another coil out of reach/sight, around the curve; there is an endless spiral unleashed by incestuous time, which makes a mockery of every ‘forthright’ genealogy.