becoming, freedom, machine, metaphysics, noise, secret, variation


2012-09-21 20.06.43

A sky englobes and illuminates a terraqueous sphere in the same way a biosphere recollects the scattered spirit of an earth. The sky breathes, soul of the world. Exposing nature and history to free and limitless dynamism, to an open field of differences distributed in depth. The outer limit of vision or terrestrial abstraction. The sky opens onto a virtual whole, exposing a cosmic membrane to continuous creation. How to begin with aerial roots? What would be required to constitute a joyful science of radical permutation: an oneirogenetics, or a chronopolitics? What is the becoming-imageless of the model or the law or thinking? How is it possible to arrive without returning — as though finally — at the lightest: dreams, the future, atmosphere? How might one become otherwise, through this ellipsis, in the non-image of the outside? How might these depths, aglow with inexhaustible heat, be at long last enveloped?

Continue reading

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.”

ego, freedom, humanity, justice, other, peace, philosophy, Politics, truth, war

Explosions in the Sky

Common to both capitalism and democracy is competition as the basic principle of social organization. Politics in a purely competitive key has a majoritarian ring — it is monistic, totalizing, self-absorbed — whereas philosophy from the competitive perspective — and we may wonder whether there have yet been any others — are egologies. The complementary model, or sharing, has been more frequently preached than practiced. Yet it is the meaning of language: the demand for social justice is expression par excellence, the very thirst for peace. Both violence and love aim for the other in their vulnerability, but only in non-violence can truth reconcile us together.

Like a smooth or empty space, peacefulness operates without principle, without direction, without form. Yet even as a formal relation to another, it connotes a kind of difficult freedom, a consciousness which refuses to compete, which questions not its abilities but rather itself as such. A force grasps hold of us, an explosion which limits without thereby enslaving us — a relationship which forms the lineaments of a new kind of relationship between human beings, as well as between human beings and themselves.

Yet non-violence would never really be an emptiness, a pure void or absolute gap — even if war enjoys the practical status of something like an ultimate cosmic principle. While the future may appear bleak, I believe we can find a way to think, act and speak together, singularly as well as plurally, and to do so more peacefully — that is to say: more freely, more honestly, more creatively, more joyously.

The difficulty of freedom is also the problem of war: it lies entirely within the fact that the future demands our service as individuals. There is no middle-ground. We become responsible for slavery, which faces us at every turn as the “primal” injustice. The material conditions of others, the ravages wreaked upon human beings by historical “consequence,” present us with a non-transferrable ethical demand, one which is active in a concrete and fundamental sense in every dimension of life. Inhumanity is a silent anonymity, the obliteration of language, freedom and society all at once — a negative indication of the primacy of our responsibility.

Peace can only begin with myself. The passivity such a mode of human existence implies indicates a kind of subjectivity completely different than the one we have inherited from Greek philosophy. Yet passivity indicates not a lack of reason, but rather the submission to a dimension of absolute externality: a responsibility which is unlimited, which is not a debt, which is not restricted by the extent of an active commitment.

The hostages’ responsibility for their captor.

actualization, Adorno, Aristotle, contradiction, freedom, freud, identity, image of thought, Minima Moralia, minor ethics, Negative Dialectics, Negativity, Normativity, psychoanalysis

From a Melancholy Science to a Negative Diale(c)t(h)ics

Everyone will agree that it is of the highest importance to know whether we are not duped by morality. Emmanuel Levinas—Totality and Infinity


It is a question of attaining this will that the event creates in us…It is a question of becoming a citizen of the world—Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense [1]

From a Melancholy Science towards a Negative Diale(c)t(h)ics

Adorno’s ethics is a “melancholy science” because it has grown weary of the subject. In other words, Adorno’s ethics is both pessimistic and antagonistic because it aims to critique the processes of subjectification which the dominant society (re)produces. On the one hand, Adorno analyzes the principium individuationis of modern society, but on the other he does not subsume it to a dialectic which would lay claim to totality through a unifying principle of identity. Yet Adorno’s critique of modes of subjectification and individuation are always brought back to the society through which they are socially and economically determined. This is what allows his ethics the means to sharpen its critical edge. The main thrust of this ethics is to assert a radical critique of the substantiality of the subject and to fully do away with the absolute, constitutive nature of the self [2] founded upon a transcendent God [3]. In following this critique through its development in a negative dialectic, we will say that Adorno’s analyses constitute a minor ethics because they submit the major mode to a critique that attempts to dislodge the dominant image of thought [4] from its normative pretensions.
Continue reading

critique, decision, determination, epoch, expression, freedom, history, illusion, Marx, metaphysics, networks, Politics, practice, production, religion, slavery, struggle, Thought

Being and Revolution



The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.

The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice.

Karl Marx

Continue reading

Anaxagoras, becoming, being, chaos, cosmos, desire, discourse, freedom, infinity, intensity, lacan, morality, morphology, Nietzsche, nous, ontology, phenomenology, psychology, Theory / Philosophy, unconscious

Beyond Desire: Remarks on Nietzsche and Becoming



Topos (biocosm)



In the beginning all things were mixed together; then came understanding and created order.

Anaxagoras [1]

What had to be accomplished in that chaotic pell-mell of primeval conditions, before all motion, so that the world as it now is might come to be, with its times of day and times of year, all conforming to law, with its manifold beauty and order, all without the addition of any new substance or force?

How, in other words, could a chaos become a cosmos?

Friedrich Nietzsche [2]

The true difficulty for psychology is that the field of the unconscious is also the site of the production and interpretation of reality. With the unconscious we encounter thoughts and bodies mixed together heterogeneously, without the clear ontological divisions we tend in other disciplines to take simply for granted.

It is no wonder then why Lacan has suggested the reality of the unconscious is the most difficult subject for philosophers to approach [3] — for there is no ontological method which could aim to find handles on this incorporeal assemblage, on this “body without organs.” In the enfolding of the psychic within the material we discover a phenomenological reality of the unconscious which is necessarily presupposed by any ontological analysis. Continue reading