creation, dialectic, intellectual, madness, music, philosophy, play, production, rationalization, reason, science, sickness, Uncategorized, waste, work

Abolishing Distinction: Adorno and Sense

I should account as the foremost musician one who knew only the sadness of the most profound happiness, and no other sadness at all; but such a musician has never existed yet.
Nietzsche (The Gay Science 183)

The dialectic cannot stop short before the concepts of health and sickness, nor indeed before their siblings reason and unreason. Once it has recognized the ruling universal order and its proportions as sick — and marked in the most literal sense with paranoia, with ‘pathic projection’ — then it can see as healing cells only what appears, by the standards of that order, as itself sick, eccentric, paranoia — indeed, ‘mad’; and it is true today as in the Middle Ages that only fools tell their masters the truth. The dialectician’s duty is thus to help this fool’s truth to attain to its own reasons, without which it will certainly succumb to the abyss of the sickness implacably dictated by the healthy common sense of the rest.
Adorno (Minimal Moralia 73)

For Adorno, dialectical thought is a studied, passionate opposition to reification in several important senses. A fair bit of Minima Moralia is dedicated to analyzing the social regulation leading to the gradual alienation of academic philosophy from positive materialism. Adorno decries the blindness, the manic fixity of professional intellectuals, their degeneration from paragons of reason to the producers of a mass rationalizations.

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counter-deity, Deleuze, ethics, event, infinity, light, materialism, music, Nietzsche, Plato, poetry, science, socrates, Spinoza, stoicism, theology, virus, void

Production, Division, Excess: Spinoza, Nietzsche and the Event


The essential is never perceived in sheer multiplicity or in first impressions.

Henri de Lubac

In Nature there is nothing contingent; all things have been caused by the necessity of the divine nature to exist and produce an effect in a certain way.

Spinoza, Ethics

The wise person is free in two ways which conform to the two poles of ethics: free in the first instance because one’s soul can attain to the interiority of perfect physical causes; and again because one’s mind may enjoy very special relations established between effects in a situation of pure exteriority… The question becomes: what are these expressive relations of events?

Gilles Deleuze, Logic of Sense 169-170

It is no more desirable, if it is even possible — and there is no more absurd “if possible”! — to liberate the soul from fear than to rescue the body from suffering. Could there be a courage without cruelty, and a pure joy devoid of violence? Terror, like joy, paralyzes, breaks reason apart — it distracts with a simulation. Not the void, but the unformed, is the origin of sorcery. We admit the dimension of the terror of the inhuman appears entirely negative, a sickness — a peculiarly “human” horror of the unknown. Lygophobia. Freud called it a manifestation of separation anxiety. The demand for certainty is part of the basic text of human nature. The will to truth is thus paradoxically a kind of poesis, a creative fire driving out the darkness. At the limit of metaphysical interpretation, light signifies pure love, it rips apart the bonds of meaning, it is pure signification itself, the voice or song of the universe — and the noisy soul responding. And it is with a second and far blacker paradox that counter-signification reaches a point of critical mass, where the absolute “material” of destructive terror — brought to an unbearable intensity by a fixated or excessive gaze, by a dangerous exposure (to noise, light…) — is transformed all at once into the positive, immanent criteria for science, that is: for a dangerous and powerful thinking of the real.

Thus at the deconstructed origin of analysis we find a deferral. It is not enough to say deconstruction must be deconstructed. We must be clear: analysis breaks and we desire this specifically. It is part of the text. It’s how literature begins. In psychological terms, we are always about to discover “it” was already broken. Exactly: where it was… But if there is a productive diagram of science itself, its constitutive disjunction may be witnessed in this joyous cruelty of overturning analysis: anti-philosophy, drawing finite boundaries, inventing counter-positions. Experiment! A quantum riot, metaphysical terrorism, a billion home-made atom bombs. It’s how science begins. We know it can be done, but is it enough? There is no answer to this question. You cannot know in advance whether or not an experiment will succeed. But here there is still much for philosophy to do — not say, for even in saying, philosophy still must do.

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becoming, birth, composition, expression, mathematics, music, Nietzsche, resonance, rhythm, sensitivity, space, transformation

Rhythm, Expression, Transformation: Music and Nietzsche

(Image by Hectik,

In music the passions enjoy themselves.
Friedrich Nietzsche

In early 1872, the same year The Birth of Tragedy was published, Nietzsche delivered a series of lectures entitled “An Investigation into Rhythm and Meter.” (The lecture which interests me, “Toward a Theory of Quantified Rhythm,” appears to still be untranslated!)

Music is at the heart of Nietzsche’s effort. In a very important sense, without a musical ear, his work cannot be understood. Music is his framework. Not only that he writes in arpeggios, but that his thought is arpeggiated; to make sense or value from his work, we must hear it performed; that is, we must realize through ourselves all the properly musical moments of discord and accord in his thought, all the contradictions and harmonies which resonate not only through his critique but also through his concepts.

The moment of accord between morality and genealogy (or discord between truth and science) must be felt; they cannot be simply understood. His account of the origin of morality, for example, only seems not to be completely rational for the reason that it is perfectly and even sublimely rational; it is in fact a mathematical argument! Just as the infinite overflows reason, Nietzsche’s style, his thoughts and ideas, must be heard and felt, not only read but performed. His voice must become as a pulsation or rhythm seizing us; or else it remains, merely a contradiction, merely a static critique.
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being, infinity, life, music, observer, sense, universe

Living and Being

(You can find more of his and other excellent original artwork here.)

Life explodes and bursts ontological boundaries in its rampant and chaotic proliferation. But does life transcend being? If so, we must understand such a transcendence in the erasure of the gap between ontological layers, or in the ‘splits’ between, and productive of, generations. Such gaps are ‘magically’ or ‘miraculously’ mended by fecundity.

Being, on the other hand, never truly carries multiple names. As Deleuze emphasizes it is only ever spoken of in one sense. Yet life, if it ex-ists, must speak on uncountably many ontological layers simulatenously. If it is being which stretches and folds, that is, whose curvature is produced by motion– then it must collapse under a folding which converges geodesics (metrically differential spaces.) Being is folded into itself, but is only itself– which is why it cannot bear being stretched or folded without decomposing into fractal spaces: the universe of the observer.

Life, which is the highest expression of the autopoetic force, is an unfolding and self-organizing, and therefore fractally active on an infinitely complex though immanent field. Language exemplifies this sort of transcendence-within-immanence. Words are alive though language appears to enjoy an independent existence. The independent perspective is not to be found in the transparency of sense, nor the opacity of the text, nor even of the pure a-signifiying bodies around which the texts are adjoined. The independence of language from its referent is an illusion, just as the independence of perception from a subject is a rather transparent illusion.

Sensation itself is political, so nothing is neutral. Only our hypocrisy, or desire to maintain an illusory distance, is universal. This leads us to believe that a scientific study of sense would be a sort of pseudology. We call simulation the essence of the sensical because of this illusion, sense founds itself violently, through a sort of a-signifying pseudo-bifurcation. Life itself in the contamporaneity of fractally divergent ontological zones presents simulation as such, that is– a decoding… which encodes.

Nothing escapes this.

Our very being is overcoded. Our lives are seemingly free, yet we are enslaved to the sociopolitical responsibilities of speaking. Even the creative energy which animates our bodies is treated as a sort of universal commodity, for sale on the open market. No aspect of our life or existence is free from political influence, from the process of producing separation by subdivision. No sensation as such is a-political, because sense is a differential articulation of masses.

Sense is simulation because life suffocates in ontological isolation and only exercises power, only draws surplus value from a coincident inter-relation of ontologically distinct realities, which may fractally resemble one another, but then again–may not.

In fact this fractal self-similarity is really only characteristic of the ontological unity of the immanent field of existence, which as such can only be spoken of in a single sense. There are not and could not be multiple ontologically distinct realities.

Yet life multiplies realities as independent unities, and thus all life (and sensation) in inextricably political. Life coordinates topologically complex ontological arrangements. Sense is a science of rigorous hypocrisy because living is social. Perhaps life is even ultimately one, but such that it is a one which could never be actualized as a univocity of being. Life articulates its organiazation on infinitely many layers and levels at once. We even say: life organizes the empty spaces of a mechanistic universe into an instrument for song