alterity, eventfulness, incommensurable, language, philosophy, polyvocity

Novelty

Permutation. An idea, an axiom, and especially a supposedly universal system, cannot help but attach to what is readily available. A finite stock; an endless and chaotic assemblage of variations, as Levi-Strauss’ famous bricoleurs: scientists, artists, philosophers, revolutionaries — what but psychosocial handy-men, making use of what is both close by and useful, what is already and what can be quickly assembled? How could we create new machines, except by utilizing the stock which remains from previous constructions (and deconstructions)?

Michale Brun, A Moment of Silence (1/3)

Michale Brun, A Moment of Silence (1/3)

Novel. The event is rare — is this not an inherently tragic proposition? Would not the souls to witness it  discover the event branded upon them indelibly, or else lost forever? For the new can indeed induce joy; yet under different conditions it is capable of producing a strain under which a break is nearly unavoidable. –Is there breakthrough, novelty, only in extraordinary cases? Deleuze reminds us that Spinoza kept for years the coat he wore the day a young man attempted to take his life, in order to remind himself that human beings do not always love thought. That the event is rare seems a platitude; yet it can be an opening for gloomy passions, for a creeping cynicism and an uncanny piety: in short the belief that there are few beings in the world capable of the creation of new capacities — new concepts, new passions, new perceptions… But we do not know the thresholds, we are groping in the dark: the event is an event, they come in bursts, and their frequency depends on the associated rates of flow. An event is indeed infinite, but to seek a living, transcendent meaning in the pure rate of innovation is to fall prey to one of the most dangerous lures for thought today. –An infinite number of effects is not a cause; nonetheless we believe in extracting the cause from ‘within’ the effect, thinking we are ‘objective’ by thus subtracting the true cause from the field of the question, all the while we are actually subtracting the thought itself from the consciousness of thought.

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activity, alterity, birth, break, darkness, event, evolution, individuation, matter, network, neurosis, sexuality, speech, transformation, world

Transparency

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The world is hollow. In-itself anything is precisely nothing. 

A thing exists positively only in the precise sense that it exhibits certain forces, that it forms connections or disjunctions with other things, or assemblages of things, in such and such a way. 

Moreover, is it not necessary that at some point in the process of any machine, there is something that may and must become reduced to a generic and redundant unit? 

It may indeed be said that the machine presents us with the most spectacular and dangerous breakthrough in all of history, a breakthrough written into our desires themselves.

Love is not a question of signals, but of production. Not words but noise. The word is hollow: in itself everything means precisely nothing. Yet no thought is ever without its heretical dimension, its strange and apocalyptic promise — the dangerous promise of possible knowledge. 

Not only does nothing “exist,” but it is the essence of existence itself, and so all knowledge is a kind of nothingness: a rigorous silence, a selective and critical passivity, a dangerous and misunderstood weakness. 

Truth is a parasite, we are infected: knowledge is never without this vertigo dimension of being self-imposed, like a sickness which you acquire simply by imagining it. 

I emphasize this point precisely because it is all too clearly understood by the creature within. and is it not so that when its roaring becomes imperceptible, we encounter an ancient silence, without limits? 

Yet everything begins in noise.

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alterity, desire, difference, freedom, imperceptible, language, metaphysics, nobility, outside, Politics

Invisible Writing

The outside, or Other, is accorded an incomparable eminence in the work of Emmanuel Levinas. In his penetrating account, metaphysics desires an elsewhere. It persists within an alibi, in which we assert true life as absent. But then our idea of the other would seem to hinge upon the imperceptible — that is, upon an Other which is not other like the bread I eat, or the land in which I dwell. It is not a question of this “I,” and that “other,” but of an absolutely other. In its most recognizable (historical) form it appears as a passionate movement or turn towards an Other, which goes forth from the world of the familiar. Metaphysics turns from an at-home to an exteriority.

Metaphysics yearns to become outside-of-oneself, its desire tends towards the absolutely other — something entirely different than a need: “The customary analysis of desire can not explain away its singular pretension. As commonly interpreted need would be at the basis of desire; desire would characterize a being indigent and incomplete or fallen from its past grandeur. It would coincide with the consciousness of what has been lost; it would be essentially a nostalgia, a longing for return. But thus it would not even suspect what the veritably other is.” (T&I 33) What is the mode of desire whose essence is exteriority?

But what could be a subject of such a desire or such a thinking, whose force would consist in destroying the possibility of subordinating desire to a modality, or of rupturing the very image of thought — overturning its model and smashing its reproductions? The desire for the absolutely other is absolute, Levinas argues, since we are mortal and the Desired invisible; this desire implies our relationship with what is not given, and of which there is no idea. Vision “adequates” an idea with a thing, comprehending what it encompasses.

Beyond the knowledge which measures being, beyond brightness and depth, there is an inordinate desire for the most high: “Desire is desire for the absolutely other.” Unlike a hunger or thirst, metaphysics desires the other beyond satisfaction, and so understands the exteriority or remoteness of the other; metaphysics opens up the very dimension of height itself. The alterity glimpsed in this desire is thus not adequate to an idea, but nonetheless has a meaning — the alterity of the Other, and of the Most-High.

Not the height of heaven but the Invisible; there is no doubting human misery but to be a man is to know the dominion which things and the wicked exercise over us — our animality. “Freedom consists in knowing freedom is in peril.” To know, to be conscious, is also to have time, space to breathe, to avoid, to forestall the “instant of inhumanity”; for Levinas, it is this very postponing of the hour of treason which implies the disinterestedness of goodness, the desire for the absolutely other, the dimension of metaphysics, or “nobility.”

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alterity, awareness, being, difference, inequality, inhumanity, language, levinas, love, metaphysics, Politics, reason, truth, tyranny, Uncategorized, violence

Outside

The relation between me and the other commences in the inequality of terms, transcendent to one another, where alterity does not determine the other in a formal sense… It is produced in multiple singularities and not in a being exterior to this number who would count the multiples. The inequality is in this impossibility of the exterior point of view, which alone could abolish it. The relationship that is established–the relationship of teaching, of mastery, of transitivity–is language, and is produced only in the speaker who, consequently, himself faces. Language is not added to the impersonal thought dominating the same and the other; impersonal thought is produced in the movement that proceeds from the same to the other, and consequently in the interpersonal and not only impersonal language. An order common to the interlocutors is established by the positive act of the one giving the world, his possession, to the other, or by the positive act of the one justifying himself in his freedom before the other, that is, by apology.

Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity 251, “Beyond the Face”

Levinas argues forcefully that the truth of our being is compromised when we submit to tyranny. It is neither suicide nor resignation to declare this truth, but rather love itself, revolted by the violence of reason. There is a plane of reality that must be indicated, whose very existence at once presupposes and transcends the revelation of the other, wherein the I bears itself beyond death.

Yet in this movement, where subjectivity itself is posited as a function, the I also recovers from its return to itself. This plane is certainly love: the other who faces us arouses an infinite desire, and reveals a mode of subjectivity which is the meaning of language, or justice, and which is the very actuality of love, living for others. The mere existence of this plane implies both separation and transcendence — a revolt against the violence of a “reason” that would reduce interpersonal discourse to silence.

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alterity, Aristotle, blueprint, break, essence, eyes, form, hallucination, hands, heidegger, Interpretation, language, limit, parasite, universal, univocal, writing

Expression and Essence: The Metaphysics of Writing

A verb is that which, in addition to its proper meaning, carries with it the notion of time.

No part of it has any independent meaning, and it is a sign of something said of something else… Verbs in and by themselves are substantival and have significance, for he who uses such expressions arrests the hearer’s mind, and fixes his attention; but they do not, as they stand, express any judgment, either positive or negative.

For neither are ‘to be’ and ‘not to be’ or the participle ‘being’ significant of any fact, unless something further is added; for in themselves they do not indicate anything, but imply a copulation, of which we cannot form a conception apart from the things coupled.

(Aristotle, On Interpretation)

The unspoken is not merely what is deprived of sound; rather, it is the unsaid, what is not yet shown, what has not yet appeared on the scene… [what is not spoken] will linger in what is concealed as something unshowable. It is mystery. The addressed speaks as a pronouncement, in the sense of something allotted; its speech need not make a sound.

(Martin Heidegger, “The Way to Language”)

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alterity, being, difference, expression, harmonics, history, language, memory, post-modern, radiation, science, time, transcendence, writing

The Thought of Language

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The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society.

(Karl Marx, from the introduction to Grundrisse)

Between being and language there is an interval, a purified difference articulated through individuation, a difference in time or development: language is in such a way that it always is yet to be as a being. Language becomes through the production of alteration or mutation: we can and cannot formulate the sense or direction of writing — it is always in a process of developing into an exotic, immaterial, and “purified” being — or even into a different kind than “being.”

Through a coincidence of non-identicals, language plunges into becoming in order to reverse its temporal structure: pure language is tachyonic, a signal reversed in time, whose being unfolds in waves, inverting the radiation of light and noise, subverting distribution of space, producing an unusual, internal co-resonance which unfetters time (alterity) itself.

Language is radiation, interference; thus linguistics is a kind of harmonics: a science of language without phonetics, a science of noise and parasitic diagrams, which would already in some sense be reducible to a violently “purified” mathematics (the “post-modern” is but footnotes to Aristotle, a fervently anti-idealistic “clarification” of ontology.)

The analysis of linguistic structures unconsciously proceeds in (genea)logical fashion: yet should we not also seek language in its positive or generative aspect (which correlates with a larger sense of language as expressivity, productive recording,) that is also to produce new languages of pure forms, and also to invent mathematical and scientific languages; and between and underneath both to produce instructions for pure machines?

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