axiom, form, image, multiplicity, noise, ontology, parasite, real, spirit, theory, writing

Syntax

 

 

The actual trace or cutting edge of theory is a veritable penetration into reality, not a moment but a certain force or intensity of thought which maintains its position in relationship to the real (understood as the indeterminate gap between syntax and spirit, or between an axiom and the imaginative power which both conditions and evades its’ grammar.) Reality and image, disjoint but co-present, conjoined only asymmetrically at specific suture points of flux: a coiled loop of time.

This self-interrupting dimorph-system, the ‘formal’ figure of the parasite, is a property of not only every formal system but of formality itself, of the very essence of form; it undermines and coerces the event of transformation itself, as only a symptom of fate, of time. A feeling or noise which never goes away, and then suddenly disappears one day, for no reason at all — an inconsistent multiplicity, an ocean of light, a body. A writing which without being written is beyond any form, a language which without being spoken is beyond any thought. This disjunction is contact which provokes a co-evolution, an involution of every event, every moment into a single moment which effaces them.

Thought captures the self-effacing movement of the mark through a penetration or disjunction, a contact without resolution. The becoming-formal of the indeterminate displaces syntax itself: a rupture which no set of axioms, or finite set of symbols, could encompass or comprehend. This ideal object evades finite inference. No axiom grounds infinite inference, no formal system dividing propositions into nonsense and sound judgments distinguishes its subtle grammar, only constituted within this improbable trajectory from noise to sound, from sound to voice, from voice to light. A parasitic evolution which proceeds from multiplicity and marches towards the empty, the open, the blank, the possible. 

Standard
darkness, determination, difference, form, Hegel, infinity, iteration, Lao-Tzu, light, multiplicity, Plato, purity, safety, situation

Everywhere

 

 

What is the nature of the difference between reflection and immediacy, between the orders of thought and of our inescapable exposure to light, to noise, to the proximity of another person? Between blindness and synesthesia, a word — a universe. Between the instant and the timeless, a positive indetermination which ruptures with the order of both image and essence, disrupting the fragility of duration as well as agitating the eternal time of truth — in short forcibly opening thought onto the pure multiple. 

Determination almost annihilates multiplicity, for unlike the one with its tiny arrow, (beholden to the singular, microscopic graph of substitution) with the multiple there is only noise — no categorical tables, no certain translations. Upon multiplicities, determination (especially as network, as protocol) is the work of almost total negation, a triple erasure whose traces are then painstakingly classified: subtraction dominating the supplement, an order without order. “Science is not necessarily a matter of the one or of order, the multiple and noise are not necessarily the province of the irrational. This can be the case, but it is not always so.” (Serres, Genesis 131) So what is it to “take” pure multiplicity as an explicit object for philosophy, for science, for politics, for art? What is it to think these surging flocks of singularities, or even to produce these dense aggregates of interconnections — dreams, the sea, time? What does the ego become, once one begins to think, to think the multiple as such? 

A transistor, a becoming, open at any rate to the noise of the sea: a model of knowledge, certainly, but also of the world. At once, all at once. Thought circulates, agitates through a radical indetermination in which it finds its singular positivity (if I may be permitted to say so, its humanity or humility.) A rigorous determination of multiplicity can be found in Plato and Hegel — hidden by the divisions characterizing the form of the Good, or the Whole — no less than in the Lao-Tzu, where multiplicity is reflected through cosmic experience itself and finds continuity only though the rupture of assigned identities: “From way-making arises continuity / From continuity arises difference / From difference arises plurality / From plurality arises multiplicity.” (Lao-Tzu, Daodejing 47) Thinking turns away, escapes at once, misses the point, goes astray; it is fluttering and chaotic, in the same way the world is turbulent. Always between sleep and consciousness, word and cosmos, being and nothingness, number and letter. No figure of thought, no poem or formula, could represent the multiple — no gesture could safely reproduce it. What is the multiple but pure risk, the becoming-excluded of the third, the very involution of the “safe” observer? The one in the other, without representation; the me within the multiple, the multiple in me, all at once and without extension. No distance is great enough, exposure is inevitable, we must respond.

The essence of the generic is finitude, an infinite displacement; the meaning of finitude is noise, an infinite repetition. There is a darkness and incompleteness at the very heart of knowledge, a heresy in the most rigorous formulae, a dangerous obscurity and black magic in even the purest thought. Finitude implies iterability, proximity, futurity, in short: society, noise, time, the sea. Being coincides with a generic excess, and essentially refers beyond the situation, to a process of connection to the infinite, to an outside, to pure multiplicity. Thinking — what but a conversation, a dance for two? Being and becoming, logos and chaos, image and essence, time and light, movement and rest. Before the dance begins, and between each pose, there must be a step, a measure, a form or transformation, a pause: a resonance and reception, an order and a response, silence and exposure. 

A suppleness is needed in order to hang in-between, a certain light-hearted spark without which the dance evaporates. Yet hardness is needed in order to maintain the vulnerable posture, tense, pronate. Finitude ceaselessly iterates, rapidly alternates, suddenly disintegrates. Absolute knowledge and absolute ignorance are both impossible; the question is one of phases, degrees, angles, senses. Thought is submission and mastery, learning and teaching, power and humility at once. Mastery without mastery, submission without submission: the situation presented produces a new situation, which itself needs reiteration. How to translate the infinite, the multiple, this conversation without words, this text without image? This formlessness of the purest form, this uplifting of the veil, this pure impurity. 

Standard
badiou, becoming, Deleuze, form, language, machine, myth, notion, ontology

Immersion

 

 

At the height of its concentration, the art of the [twentieth] century — but also all the other truth procedures, each according to its own resources — aimed to conjoin the present, the real intensity of life, and the name of this present as given in the formula, a formula that is always at the same time the invention of a form. It is then that the pain of the world changes into joy.

Alain Badiou, The Century 146

 

To move beyond an age, a century, an image of thought — what, today, does this require, and what would it allow? What does it mean to exit the territory, to proceed beyond the limits of a century, that is, while still maintaining oneself firmly within it, and thus despite constituting a series of processions within it? 

Immersed in the viscous flow of time, to turn over a new leaf, to work out a new concept, to produce a new kind of humanity, for a new kind of world. The concept of novelty is fraught with internal fissures and cracks. It is neither wretched nor glorious, but already an experiment in formalization, the process of deactivating a mythology, a path.

To deactivate a machine, there must be an overflow, a glitch or fault, topologically speaking a bursting, as though the paradoxical new formula itself unfolded in order to become a smooth space of thought. The notion escapes in two directions, a new earth rises within the old.

Alain Badiou argues the new is neither an inexplicable sacrifice of tradition nor a mediation of the various dimensions of human becoming, but rather the production, the education, and the very culmination of a new humanity, ready for a new thought, a new world. There is here, perhaps, more than a parallel to the work of Gilles Deleuze. The paths by which one leaves the territory, the lines of flight or vectors of deterritorialization, are exacting experiments — a cautious but unsparing dislocation of cognitive and cultural coordinates.

Standard
Aesthetic, axiom, badiou, epistemology, form, Laruelle, legitimacy, matter, non-philosophy, ontology, science, transcendental

(Non-)Epistemology and Ontology: Three more definitions from Laruelle’s Dictionnaire

Laruelle, Francois. Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie. Paris, Kime, 1998. Original translation by Taylor Adkins.

Non-epistemology

Unified theory of science and philosophy that takes for its object and material the discourse which lays claim to a particular mixture of science and philosophy: epistemology.

Philosophy recognizes epistemology in two ways which are not always exclusive. It can treat it as a continuation of traditional philosophy of science, crystallized around the Kantian question of the possibility of science, often relating precise and delimited scientific problems to philosophical systems, whether classical or modern (Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Quine, etc…) along with traditional philosophical positions (realism, empiricism, idealism, etc.). It can also consider it as a relatively autonomous discipline—simultaneously more regional and more technical—whose sources or occasions are extensions beyond the mechanical or Euclidean geometry of the physical, or even “exact” model of the concept of science; or still it can consider the technological interpretations of this concept. With this more specific preference, the epistemological tradition, going strong for over a century, has become extremely multiform and varied in regard to the nature and order of grandeur of its objects and methods. Nevertheless, its object or its final interest always more or less explicitly remains the criteria of scientificity for science or the sciences. This question, in its constantly displaced and renewed repetition, is always understood as aporetic and even at times gives rise to an admission of failure, which is the motivation for “external” perspectives (technological, sociological, economic, political, and ethical) on science. The advent of epistemology under these hypotheses seems like a becoming-network of its concept of science in a complex, non-linear and instable system.

Continue reading

Standard
algebra, desire, force, form, lacan, libido, love, real, signifier, structure, transference

Subtraction

Responding to a question concerning the loss incurred by the sexuation of living beings, Lacan correlates the opening and closing of the gaps of the unconscious to the opening and closing of the orifices of the body. This inter-relation is real because it is in the unconscious the presence of the living being becomes fixed.

The erogenous zones are indissolubly linked to the unconscious, the organ of the libido itself. At the level of the drive, the relation between the drive and a specific action or passion is purely grammatical — a support, an artifice, literally a machine whose functioning coincides with the outward-return movement of the drive. Re-articulating this machine allows Lacan to indicate not only his tension with Freud, but even to raise concerns regarding the — perhaps masochistic — desire for psychoanalysis as such:

“Today I have shown in the most articulated way possible that each of the three stages, a, b, c, with which Freud articulates each drive, must be replaced by the formula of making oneself seen, heard and the rest of the list I have given. This implies fundamentally activity, in which respect I come close to what Freud himself articulates when he distinguishes between the two fields, the field of the drives on the one hand, and the narcissistic field of love on the other, and stresses that at the level of love, there is a reciprocity of loving and being loved, and that, in the other field, it is a question of a pure activity for the subject. Do you follow me? In fact, it is obvious that, even in their supposedly passive phase, the exercise of a drive, a masochistic drive, for example, requires that the masochist give himself, if I may be permitted to put it in this way, a devil of a job.” [Jacques Lacan, “The Deconstruction of the Drive,” The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis]

The driven-subject or the field of the drives, or what Lacan claims is pure subjective activity, must be rigorously distinguished from the desiring-subject, the lovers and the field of love produced, characterized by inconsistent reciprocity of loving/being-loved. A dimension of eternal force and a plane of inconsistent passion. The question becomes: what is lost in the passage from the drive to its other side which makes sexuality present in the unconscious itself, and what remains? What, then, is left of the sign — and for whom?

Continue reading

Standard
boundary, diagram, expression, form, knowledge, language, machine, network, organization, parasite, relationship, representation, topology, wikipedia

Expressive Networks

expressive networks

towards a new diagrammatic model for the abstraction and representation of relational knowledge

How can we apply distributed network theory to knowledge representation? In this paper, we advance a new hypothesis regarding the role of the network topology in information science. In particular, we argue for the need (and significant advantage) of thinking in terms of a parasitic or “counter-network” topology.

While networks are certainly good at representing many things, we need to recognize the significant limitations of this image of knowledge. What does this mean? That the network structure itself must be deformalized, made “molecular” and placed in constant pragmatic variation. The network topology is the most questionable “paradigm” today — despite, or in a sense, because — it has rendered the old hierarchical models obsolete. We find evidence of an uncannily deterministic (and even political) character of the network topology in terms of the protocol or prescriptive communicative rules ‘in force’ throughout the network space. But what if we were to consider a system where all the rules are optional?

Continue reading

Standard
fibonacci, form, Laplace, mathematics, nothing, number, origin, sign, value, void, zero

A Brief History of Nothing

The point about zero is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one goes out to buy zero fish. It is in a way the most civilized of all the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated modes of thought.

Alfred North Whitehead

Leibniz called zero “a fine and wondrous refuge of the divine spirit.” But where does the idea come from? The history of the word may afford us a clue to this mystery. We receive the English word ‘zero’ from the French zéro which comes (along with ‘cipher’) from the Italian zefiro. The latter originates in turn from the Arabic sifr (from safira = “it was empty,” a translation of the Sankskrit sunya = “void” or “un-reality.”)
Continue reading

Standard