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.
Introduction: Rationality and Affect
The lofty prize
Of science lies
Concealed today as ever!
He has no thought
To him it’s brought
To own without endeavor!
Goethe, Faust (1st part, 2567-2572)
Intelligence is a moral category. The separation of feeling and understanding, that makes it possible to absolve and beatify the blockhead, hypostasizes the dismemberment of man into functions. Praise of the simpleton has an undertone of anxiety lest the severed parts reunite and put an end to the derangement. ‘If you have understanding and a heart,’ a verse of Holderlin’s runs, ‘show only one. Both they will damn, if you show both together.’
Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia 197 (“Wishful Thinking”)
In The Gay Science, Nietzsche expresses his desire for independent thinkers to reflect on the origins, and speculate on the future of science and art. On the one hand, he draws attention to the conditions for their invention: in order for scientific thinking and art to have begun at all, a wide variety of physiological and psychological faculties (whose effects are quite different without the framework imposed by artistic or scientific rigor) must become strong enough to overpower their “opposing” functions. For example, in order for science to begin, the impulse to doubt must overcome the impulse to believe, just as the impulse to wait must overcome the impulse to simply make something up and move on, and so forth. On the other hand, Nietzsche reminds us that the divergence between the aesthetic and scientific experience tends to fracture humanity’s spirit, pushing it both further from and closer to reaching itself than ever. At the very moment determinate thought emerges as a unity, science finds itself foreign to itself, incompletely digested. Its great distance and inhuman coldness oppose it to both practical wisdom and to art.
Under what conditions did men invent for themselves these value judgments good and evil? And what inherent value do they have? Have they hindered or fostered human well-being up to now? Are they a sign of some emergency, of impoverishment, of an atrophying life?
Or is it the other way around—do they indicate fullness, power, a will for living, courage, confidence, the future?
Friedrich Nietzsche, Preface to the Genealogy of Morals
Why is this work a genealogy of morals? Nietzsche does not ask for the origins of good and evil as essences. Nor even does he ask for the conditions of possibility for good and evil as judgments. In fact, he proposes a third and entirely more subtle question, concerning the “conditions” under which these value judgments (“good” and “evil”) were first invented — he presumes that they were invented by human beings — and perhaps owing to this assumption, he immediately turns to question the inherent value of these value judgments themselves. To be precise, he asks what inherent value they possess — whether, for instance, they have so far hindered or fostered human beings.
We already grasp here in rough outline a critique of the metaphysics of morality — what we may perhaps call an extrusion of the irrational “core” or “substrate” of moral valuations — which seeks to question the value of morality itself. To put it briefly, this “question mark so black” asks about the worth of the “unegoistic,” the value of the pity-instinct — in short, it questions the value of ascetic values. The problem of pity is not an isolated question mark, but in fact demands a critique of moral values whose first object is to question the very value of these values. In other words, we need “a knowledge of the conditions and circumstance out of which these values grew, under which they have developed and changed” — the kind of knowledge which not only has not been available until now, but has not even been wished for.
The value of moral values has been taken as given, self-evident, beyond dispute — i.e., that “good” men are more valuable than “evil” men — but Nietzsche asks us to pause before common sense, and consider the possibility that the opposite were true: “What if in the ‘good’ there lay a symptom of regression, something like a danger, a seduction, a poison, a narcotic, something which makes the present live at the cost of the future?”
Notes on Ethics and Alterity
1. From Music
Could we imagine that the ethical is a musical progression, and has the same sort of double articulation as a musical passage?
In the relation of the human being to language, a process is reflected that extends to the relation of the human being to beings in general: The scientific knowledge has become the standard knowledge! The other: thinking, spirit of language, history, culture is still there, yet dragged along into a certain indeterminateness.
It is decisive that the consciousness was lost as to where this other belongs and of what kind must the reflection be in order to still experience it essentially.
Martin Heidegger, On the Essence of Language
One is substituted for another. The Other is already a replacement: stood in front of, signified for, stereotyped, “represented.” Always already excluded. Alterity is secrecy, criminal, “terrorist.” The other is an unsurface, continuously fragmenting, always already a mute revelation of presence-within-absence, an irruption of pure expressivity conveying without mediation the disunity constitutive of production. A signal which effaces itself, fracturing identity and imploding the non-position at the heart or essence of expression.
The degradation of the other in (through) writing, even through speaking itself and in what is before speaking, in the materiality of the saying and in the voice, already in the other’s cry of pain or even the internal distance wherein I myself become alien, become other before my own suffering and “involuntary” reactions — all these complicate an analysis into alterity, into the other nature of space. The politics of alterity, of absence, the comprehension of the place of the other, takes place outside of our dialogical place-together, outside the infinity of our interconnection. Politics operates not in but as a finite emptiness, a literal or material void which is applied to society like the one-sided edge of a surgical knife.
In the beginning all things were mixed together; then came understanding and created order.
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 
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  — 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
“Neither Manu, nor Plato nor Confucius nor the Jewish and Christian teachers have ever doubted their right to lie. They have not doubted that they had very different rights too. Expressed in a formula, one might say: all the means by which one has so far attempted to make mankind moral were through and through immoral” (Twilight, 505).
Nietzsche despises the improvers of mankind because they have typically been priests, otherwise known as “the preachers of death.” Nietzsche claims that “improvement” is actually a pretty word for the weakening of mankind in general (Twilight, 502). In physiological terms, in order to breed a docile aggregate of human semi-animals, the improvers of mankind thought that “to make them sick may be the only means for making them weak. This the church understood: it ruined man, it weakened him—but it claimed to have ‘improved him’” (503). This physiological interpretation is essential to Nietzsche’s project here: he claims that any morality “is mere sign language, mere symptomatology” (501). The problem with the domestication of mankind is that it has not had the right physicians to diagnose what could truly improve man as a whole; or, in a sense more befitting of Nietzsche’s views, the wrong question has been proposed for mankind’s progress. It is not the masses that can be elevated, but only the individual that can be ‘willed’ to be improved: the project for future physicians is to diagnose the symptoms whereby a human individual will become successful. Continue reading