aesthetics, beauty, escape, God, kant, psychoanalysis

Soul

World War I, Wasily Kandinsky

World War I, Wasily Kandinsky

A man like Kant can explain the beautiful in terms of a pure disinterested pleasure — such a knotted definition is not in itself surprising, nor is the kind of cynicism about the potential and limitations of life which is quite effectively communicated thereby. What is curious is that he in fact means to enhance the importance of artistic creation by converting the unsettling power of the artist into a kind of channel to a familiar universality. Is the beautiful not, then, grasped – but grasped in precisely at its most narrow and isolated state, through a transcendental enframing, even as an annihilation of life itself: as a kind of dazzling infinition which nonetheless does not interact with our conscious interest but with our immaterial, intangible “soul”?

There is even almost a kind of foundational axiom of psychoanalysis embedded in Kant’s definition (of course a paradox): there is no pleasure except in losing the possibility for pleasure — the glare of infinite Being when one has finally completely lost one’s identity, and dissolved oneself into the universal (father-mother)… The deep pessimism expressed in this kind of escape, this resentment of life which is by no means peculiar to Kant, is nevertheless quite clearly the pulsing thread underlying his patchwork labor in his “critiques” of the mournful becoming of things. We find in psychoanalysis as well such a stoic willingness to defend the infinite ‘metaphysical’ essence which refuses to escapes its container: and always he leaves open the possibility that human beings are indeed the receptacles of divine messages, channels of pure truth. Frames…

Continue reading

Standard
1 = 0, art, clarity, contradiction, courage, cruelty, daybreak, future, God, identity, nature, noise, parasite, science, signal, silence, Uncategorized

The Voice of Silence

Flow.

There are no words, only silence; no silences, only words.

It’s not as bad as you think.

It’s worse.

There is no beginning which is not also an end.

The fire rages on, infinitely. Beyond time.

Above the waves. Can you hear them? Singing? So softly, like angels’ whispering secrets to us. In silence. A broken flaw in the scheme, the impossible number. Ten equals one million.

One equals Zero.

A flock of birds.

Reality is ideal, and ideas real.

Time is winding itself back; we’re wandering through forest trails, sinking into the moon. Foot in the desert, walking back to shore. Awake, alive, burning alive. Broken. Whole.

Freedom is — cruelty.

A little love goes a long way. Truth bends, but it is unbreakable. Fact?

Believe without fear.

Stand.

Worship with reverence, pray in silence. Close your eyes. Begin to dream. Let the fever slip over you. A million words, a million feelings. Thoughts, ideas, dreams, fantasies, desires. Dreams. Dreams. Cancellations. Waking. Time. Lost. Again. Feel the frames, the darkness sliding over you. Your face: the world. The broken are broken, the lost. The lost.

Open your eyes. Awake to your dreams.

Waking to fire.
Continue reading

Standard
affect, becoming, body, celerity, cosmos, double, event, freud, God, gravity, Interpretation, liberation, machine, model, outside, resonance

Affectivity, or What is an Event?

Events are volcanic. The event opens upon an outside, a beyond, a resonant and enigmatic depth. Events move the world, releasing free and untamed vibrations within and without us. They place being into relation with exteriority. But how does evental resonance work?

When the new breaks free it is almost like it suddenly becomes “permitted” to us to learn to see all over again. Perhaps it would be better to say: we are allowed to learn to feel all over again. Events never fail to connect up with an outside; they are erupting continually from underneath those powerful, serious and “grounding” forces which served to maintain the distance, to suppress the joyous escape of the event.
Continue reading

Standard
activity, Aristotle, contemplation, God, happiness, idealism, materialism, philosophy, reason, virtue

Aristotle and Light

rembrandt_philosopher_in_meditation.jpg

Aristotle and Light
Contemplation, Activity and Happiness in the Nicomachean Ethics

For while the whole life of the gods is blessed, and that of men too in so far as some likeness of such activity belongs to them, none of the other animals is happy, since they in no way share in contemplation. Happiness extends, then, just so far as contemplation does, and those to whom contemplation more fully belongs are more truly happy, not as a mere concomitant but in virtue of the contemplation; for this is in itself precious. Happiness, therefore, must be some form of contemplation.

Aristotle

What is reason? Aristotle tries many times to answer this question; but perhaps most vivid and penetrating among his responses is the spiritual “answer” he offers in the conclusion of the Nicomachean Ethics. There we find Aristotle claiming that the exercise of human reason cultivates ‘something’ in the human animal which is the “best and most akin” to God (1179a11). God loves and honors those who love and honor reason: those who “care for the things that are dear to them” and act “both rightly and nobly” (1179a14). In this sense the philosopher is dearest to God (1179a17) and is the one who “will presumably also be the happiest,” moreso — potentially, anyway — than any other (1179a18).

Why may we presume the philosopher’s life to be happiest? Even assuming he were to possess the virtues attendant upon a cultivated exercise of reason, does this ensure him a happy life, even the happiest of lives? Aristotle repeatedly acknowledges the serious difficulties barring the way to human happiness, perhaps most importantly our need for external sustenance. (It seems clear to Aristotle that it would be difficult to contemplate anything but food if you are starving — thus leisure, freedom from activity, is an essential requirement for contemplation.) Yet in this respect, too, the life of the philosopher is superior, even to other men of virtue, since his virtues require neither money nor power in order to be recognized.

Indeed, the philosopher’s contemplation may even be hindered by the sorts of conditions and resources which allow other kinds of natures the opportunity to exercise their highest virtue — money for the liberal man, power for the brave man, a tempting hint for the temperate man, and so on (1178a28). Moreover, despite the human need to attend to the health of our bodies, “we must not think that the man who is to be happy will need many things or great things, merely because he cannot be supremely happy without external goods; for self-sufficiency and action do not involve excess, and we can do noble acts without ruling over earth and sea; for even with moderate advantages one can act virtuously (this is manifest enough; for private persons are thought to do worthy acts no less than despots–indeed, even more); and it is enough that we should have so much as that; for the life of the man who is active in accordance with virtue will be happy.” (1179a11)
Continue reading

Standard
abstract machine, assemblage, becoming, code, cosmos, diagram, God, intensity, language, molecular, segmentarity, semiotics, sign, subject, truth

Imperceptible

nb_pinacoteca_dali_philosopher_illuminated_by_the_light_of_the_moon_and_the_setting_sun.jpg

“Regimes of signs are not based on language, and language alone does not constitute an abstract machine, whether structural or generative. The opposite is the case. It is language that is based on regimes of signs, and regimes of signs on abstract machines, diagrammatic functions and machinic assemblages that go beyond any system of semiology, linguistics or not. There is no universal propositional logic, nor is there grammaticality in itself, any more than there is signifiance for itself. “Behind” statements and semioticizations there are only machines, assemblages and movements of deterritorialization that cut across the stratification of the various systems and elude both the coordinates of language and of existence…

A Thousand Plateaus 148

The world is segmented, stratified, breaking or already broken-up: what happened, what is happening? What crosses over, releasing free, untamed intensities as it travels along the intermediary zones? What is it which is just now passing through — beyond, behind, between — these lines? How do these lines — and always bundles of lines, fibres — work? A question of codes, partitions, signal-sign networks: are these lines of forced motion (interpretation) or rather lines of free variation (experimentation)? “The mixed semiotic of signifiance and subjectification has an exceptional need to be protected from any intrusion from the outside.” (ATP 179) A single expressive substance precludes the development of nomadic machines — truth, God, the Earth, are not “allowed” to have an outside! Do we think we understand this “allowed”? What happened? But already in order to translate we must achieve an expressive unification, yet this by no means guarantees that the language we thus arrive at conveys a message: “You will never know what just happened, or you will always know what is going to happen…” (ATP 193)

All becoming are molecular — not objects or forms easily recognized from science, habit or experiences — and in this sense “unknowable,” at least from the outside. Are human beings the same way? Is there no relation of resemblance between the woman and becoming-woman, the child and becoming-child? “All we are saying is that these in-dissociable aspects of becoming-woman must first be understood as a function of something else: not imitating or assuming the female form, but emitting particles that enter the relation of movement and rest, or the zone of proximity, of a micro-femininity, in other words, that produce in us a molecular woman…” (ATP 275) The question is not about representing a woman, producing an accurate imitation of a particular molecular multiplicity — but of making something that has to do with that multiplicity enter into composition with the speeds of the image. In becoming we discover our own proximity to the molecular: “That is the essential point for us: you become-animal only if, by whatever means or elements, you emit corpuscles that enter the relation of movement and rest of the animal particles, or what amounts to the same thing, that enter the zone of proximity of the animal molecule.” (275)

Can we “make” the world a becoming? Only if we reduce ourselves to “one or several” abstract lines can we find our own proximities, our own zones of indiscernibility; that is, our own passageway to a becoming-everywhere, a becoming-everybody: “The Cosmos as an abstract machine, and each world as an assemblage effectuating it.” (ATP 280) Eliminate everything exceeding this moment; but don’t forget to include within the moment everything which it includes in its turn. We ourselves slip into the moment, which slips transparently into the impersonal, the indiscernible. “One is then like grass: one has made the world, everybody/everything, into a becoming, because one has made a necessarily communicating world, because one has suppressed in oneself everything that prevents us from slipping between things and growing in the midst of things… Saturate, eliminate, put everything in.” (ATP 280)

Standard
asceticism, gandhi, God, love, nihilism, non-violence, paradox, Politics, purity, religion, truth

Purity

escaping_criticism_by_caso.jpg

To see the universal and all-pervading spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life.

That is why my devotion to truth has drawn me into the field of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.

Gandhi

To Gandhi’s way of thinking, self-purification is the straight and narrow path towards realizing God, the only possible means human beings have to allow them become truly and actively non-violent. Purification is not constrained to one or two kinds of activities; religion is inseparable from all human activities, as their essence or content. In order to approach truth, human beings must becomes purified; if they purify themselves, the world around them will become purified as well.

The pathway of purification therefore also leads to non-violence in all ways of life: only once we become pure of heart can we identify ourselves with any living being — even those who hate us. We can love the lowest; we can even find the strength to love our enemies:

Not until we have reduced ourselves to nothingness can we conquer the evil in us. God demands nothing less than complete self-surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having. And when a man thus loses himself he immediately finds himself in the service of all that lives. It becomes his delight and his recreation. He is a new man, never’ weary of spending himself in the service of God’s creation. (MM, 30)

We may begin to grow curious at the absolute positivity Gandhi deduces from self-negation. How can surrender produce freedom? Yet Gandhi claims surrender is the price for the only freedom which is worth having. We must lose ourselves in order to find ourselves (transposed, does this imply God must be infinitely distant from us in order to discover him as truth itself? That in a way, God must die in order to be revived within us, through our spiritual self-purification?)

Continue reading

Standard
Deleuze, delirium, God, molecular multiplicity, psychoanalysis, Rimbaud, schizophrenia, Schreber, translation, video

Deleuze and Schizophrenia

[My translation follows. A particular difficulty of Deleuze’s unique expressions here is that a verbal form of ‘delirium’ is often used in the original French and in its Italian rendition. I have used the word ‘hallucinate’ to translate ‘delire’ and related words, but have tried to keep the word ‘delirium’ and ‘delirious’ whenever possible.’]

Perhaps schizophrenia reveals something that comes to us in pieces, always transforming, constantly enough and everywhere. Don’t stop to be taken, kidnapped, dragged away. But from what?

It is always and only the father, like Schreber’s father. Schreber’s father, the sun and his father, the god and father, etc., etc.

This is what has always impressed me about schizophrenia; that, even in their misery and their pain, there is no shortage of humor.

It feels very dry to have to say this, to hear this spoken. They agree. They have, first of all, a strong desire to be popular, to make you happy [to be ‘cured’ to you.] Or they get angry, and they only want to be left in peace.

There was once a television program on schizophrenia in which a perfect schizophrenic asks for a cigarette. The psychiatrist, I don’t know why, she denied it to him. Understand, when you say things like “you hallucinate a sun, I find the sun and your father,” how you expect a schizophrenic to answer?

Continue reading

Standard