certainty, disorder, history, intensity, number, rigor, rupture, system, value

Differently

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This creature Life, beyond all evaluations, remains an uninterpretable difference — a kind of difference which is primary with respect to a differential identity, a difference which directly induces individuation, and thereby also seduces us to imitation, to the law of identity, and the shackles of representation. Difference for itself becomes the enemy and not a single word is possible on the value of life; how can we interpret this chaosmogenetic reality, arrive at by subtraction this very truth which endlessly ruptures with the signifying systems we use to interpret the world to another? It seems to verge on a kind of heresy, a prediction of apocalypse with respect to philosophy as such: can a mathematization, an axiomatization of the real take place?

The enormous suffering which has gone into everything beautiful is a misery which not only fails to become sensible in the light of Being, but which forcibly undermines the notion that all descends from pure forms (existence from Idea; God as pure and liberating Force of truth) rather than through the violent admixture and interpenetration of wildly heterogeneous forces and bodies (existence from cruelty; God as the tortuously circular Process of differentiation.) A metaphysics from the absolute will to tragedy is an anti-moral, materialist, atheist metaphysic: the singular vision of the real in which our decisions could be dangerous (need I mention also the only one in which knowledge necessarily involves suffering and self-deception?)

Thinking is precisely this adventure which connects its desires not to an identical reality or a primary nullity, but precisely to the an-identical, the differentiality of existence. Not a kind of compromise between two poles of the idea but a war with the arbitrary division of the idea into isolated components, the body of Life into organs without bodies. “We have to learn to think differently — in order at last, perhaps very late on, to attain even more: to feel differently.” Nietzsche (Daybreak, II.103)

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desire, existence, history, idealism, micro-politics, morality, reality, truth

Pathways

Joel Isaacson, James Joyce (1998)
Joel Isaacson, James Joyce (1998)

War on Information. Idealism begins with the proposition that life is futurity, yet attempts to halt before the inevitable futility this produces, the cancerous desires which follow, not from “particular” notions, but precisely from the incorporation of Truth into life, that is, the incorporation of a point of ideality into the social diagrammatics of thought. A bad conscience, alienation, a nullity or ‘nihilism,’ is the necessary counterpart to this process of internalization of the infinite (or at least a “point at infinity”) into the collective machines through which the world is enunciated. Existence as the stability of identity is the absolutely firm foundation upon which all idealism has hitherto constructed its watchtowers and fortresses.

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being, blanchot, ethics, event, exteriority, future, gleam, Hegel, history, infinity, judgment, levinas, peace, Politics, totality, vision

Notes on Totality and Infinity

Does objectivity, whose harshness and universal power is revealed in war, provide the unique and primordial form in which Being, when it is distinguished from image, dream and subjective abstraction, imposes itself on consciousness? Is the apprehension of an object equivalent to the very moment in which the bonds with truth are woven?

Levinas

I will not say that the disaster is absolute; on the contrary, it disorients the absolute. It comes and goes, errant disarray, and yet with the imperceptible but intense suddenness of the outside, as an irresistible or unforeseen resolve which would come to us from beyond the confines of decision.

Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster

Levinas begins the preface to Totality and Infinity by asking whether war is not the most serious objection to the lucidity — the sanity — of ethics. For war robs our institutions and obligations of their eternity; it is the concrete suspension of the ethical. In war morality vanishes. The violence of war does not only affect us as the most real, the most palpable fact, but as the very truth of the real. Thus it is not just one of the ordeals morality lives. War renders morality derisory, rescinding its imperatives for the interim. Politics, winning at any cost, is enjoined as the very exercise of reason itself — opposing itself to morality as philosophy to naivete.

Fragments of Heraclitus are unnecessary to show that being reveals itself as war to philosophical thought. Reality rends the words that dissimulate it. War is produced as the pure experience of being, cracking the veils which covered its nudity. The ontological event of war is mobilization, a casting-into-motion of beings once anchored in identity. The trial by force is the test of the real. Yet the violence of war does not consist so much in injuring and annihilating people, but in interrupting their continuity — forcing them to play roles in which they can no longer recognize themselves.

People are made to betray not only commitments but their own substance, and made to carry out actions that destroy every possibility for action. “Not only modern war but every war employs arms that turn against those who wield them.” War produces and establishes an order from which nothing and no one can keep their distance. Nothing remains outside. War does not manifest exteriority, the other as other; it destroys the identity of the same. The vision of being glimpsed in war is “totality,” a vision-in-one which dominates Western philosophy.

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art, ascetic ideal, chaos, efficiency, history, humility, illusion, improvement, irony, meaning, Nietzsche, order, problem, religion, resentment, science, socrates, spirit, will to power

The Meaning of Science

What is the Meaning of Science?
Nietzsche and the History of the Human Spirit

What is problematic about science? What does the “progress” of science mean about human beings? I believe this question turns everything which is unsettling, mysterious, and uncanny about the course of human development (and not only human); who can exhaust what is figured within the folds of this strange question — science thought as a symptom, science grasped as a problem?

What obstructs this question from being thought? How do we interpret this ‘secondary’ problem which intervenes at the critical moment to derail thought — this “problem of the problem” of the meaning of science? At any rate it is clear the difficulty we encounter in formulating this problem are manifold, altogether formidable, but taken separately…? For science itself always already understands, justifies, and regulates itself in turn upon the basis of something non-scientific. Science as such is ultimately foundationless, and furthermore, this is one of its necessary conditions. This is a warning for those who would seek to regulate philosophy by means of “scientific” protocol; for these would in turn require their own justification… Which is not to say that such justification exists or should be sought after — but rather to pause right here, so that we can open up our profoundest capabilities of insight in order to ask: what is science as a problem? What is the meaning of science?

We should stop for a moment and reflect upon this question. We are looking for a meaning specific to science, but the meaning of science as it actually operates in history (and not, for instance, an abstract image of “science” considered in isolation of real problems.) We must try to seek the meaning of science in the more general context of human development, and ask what science means for the human species; or even more pointedly, what it means about what the human species has become. This question should be read as signifying science’s concealed meaning-about-us, a partial truth about what we are becoming as a species. The meaning, if we can but attune ourselves to it, indicates something real — albeit darkly, indirectly and only with constant resistance — about the “rate” and “direction” of human development. In this sense the problem of meaning of science reveals a way to diagnose civilization itself.

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becoming, celerity, confinement, control, history, humanity, intensity, multiplicity, nature, Politics, power, production, spirit, swarm

Outline for a Philosophy of History

If we listen closely to the breath of the spirit as well as to the word of being, an entirely new kind of history may become possible.

Disclosing a lethal truth (into) power, organization trembles before the disorganized generativity of decentralized multiplicity.

Are we transmitting history backwards through time? Are languages transforming themselves through us?

Is it by nature that we are socially-oriented creatures? Or does “humanity” on the contrary mark with precision a moment of originary disarticulation of (biological) organization — is a “human” a swarm?

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automation, control, cybernetics, derrida, history, human, machine, metaphysics, nonhuman, system

Systems of Control: Derrida and Machines

(notes for an abstract)

If the theory of cybernetics is by itself to oust all metaphysical concepts — including the concepts of soul, of life, of value, of choice, of memory — which until recently served to separate the machine from man, it must conserve the notion of writing, trace, written mark, or grapheme, until its own historico-metaphysical character is also exposed.

[…[E]ven before being determined as human… or nonhuman, the gramme — or the grapheme — would thus name the element. An element without simplicity. An element, whether it is understood as the medium or irreducible atom, of the arche-synthesis in general, of what one must forbid oneself to define within the system of oppositions in metaphysics, of what consequently one should not even call experience in general, that is to say the origin of meaning in general.]

(Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology 9)

Norbert Weiner introduced the neologism ‘cybernetics’ — in connection with the ancient Greek root meaning ‘governance’ — to denote a new science of systems of control. Cybernetics studies real complex systems and their automatic management, but it is also a rigorous science of energetics and pure information. The most essential expression of cybernetics itself and its own working ontology can perhaps be traced to Von Neumann, who conceived of a swarm of networked machines which could also function together as a kind of generic factory, and so would be able to reproduce all of its own component elements (and hence itself.) In this image we perhaps witness a glimpse of an “adult” cybernetics — the closure of metaphysics, the end of writing, the convergence of biology and cybernetics — a “transubstantiation” of flesh into the virtual.

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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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