becoming, event, interconnection, language, philosophy, Politics, self-organization, society

Occupy Theory!

The 99% movement sweeping the globe is indeed something new under the sun. Little molecular revolutions, the occupations are rhizomes; in this clear revolt against neoliberal “realism” who does not see the spirit of sixty-eight, dormant for a long winter of four decades, awakening once more?

Thinkers have not only the opportunity but in many ways a profound obligation to help focus and organize the will of the people, to help inspire and to amplify revolutionary reflection and affect.

While the medium of thinking is primarily writing, nevertheless theory can help crystalize and push complex systems towards transformation — towards becoming-something-else. This transformation need not, as some might have it, be specified entirely in advance; indeed, such a specification is perhaps impossible.

The self-regulated emergence or becoming of the people’s voice through the consensual decision-making mechanism of general assembly, the thunderous roar of the people’s mic, are things that philosophy should not simply note, or even sit back and interpret, but actively encourage and assist.
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awareness, Hegel, justice, language, law, levinas, objectivity, ontology, Politics, reason, society, teaching, time, tyranny

Hegel and Universality

(by Will Godfrey)[Photograph by Will Godfrey]

In an essay Hoffmeister suggests was written in 1808 or 1809, Hegel — certainly not without some irony — identifies an important ethical connection between abstract thought and power:

Who thinks abstractly? The uneducated, not the educated. Good society does not think abstractly because it is too easy, because it is too lowly (not referring to the external status) — not from an empty affectation of nobility that would place itself above that of which it is not capable, but on account of the inward inferiority of the matter.

[G. W. F. Hegel, Who Thinks Abstractly?]

Abstract thinking sets the thinker apart from good society, for their general opinion considers it too easy, too small, too obvious, even in poor taste. As Hegel understands it, abstraction is that faculty through which we spontaneously discover nothing in the subject but an abstracted notion of his concrete behavior. The inner life, the event of being, the very actuality of the will, is subsumed beneath an objective product. Ontology precludes apology.

Judgment indeed confirms the event in its original and fundamental movement, but every human quality in us is erased by the absolute imposition of a simple meaning — the reduction of living to some finite series of directions: past-tense, third-person verbs. Thus abstract thought — which we will now recognize as something common, even inferior or “ignoble,” at least in its operation and chosen material — functions effectively as providing (social) justification for punishing, terrorizing and humiliating others: “This is abstract thinking: to see nothing in the murderer except the abstract fact that he is a murderer, and to annul all other human essence in him with this simple quality.” (ibid) Our capacity for abstract thought is what allows the army officer to beat a soldier like a dog, like an object, without any trace of empathy.

However, somewhat paradoxically, it can also be seen as that faculty whereby we become capable of transcending simple explanations for complex phenomena, and for recognizing the corruption of morality indicated by the folly of such ‘abstract’ justifications: “This woman saw that the murderer’s head was struck by the sunshine and thus was still worthy of it. She raised it from the punishment of the scaffold into the sunny grace of God, and instead of accomplishing the reconciliation with violets and sentimental vanity, saw him accepted in grace in the higher sun.” [ibid] Abstract thought may be considered then as similar to a faculty of metaphor, a kind of improvised or dancing thought which reaches the real only indirectly, as though it had to be transmitted by an “untrustworthy” third.

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Aristotle, difference, ethics, ethnology, friendship, happiness, humanity, justice, light, Plato, Politics, science, society, spiritual evolution

Happiness or Justice? Ethics and the Politics of Friendship

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.


In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds.

A true friend is one soul in two bodies…


There is an important sense in which Aristotle’s political and ethical project is well-studied in the Platonic method of questioning and re-evaluating conventional priorities and relationships between spiritual elements. Both projects re-discover in traditional virtues a philosophical power which they express in dialogues, encapsulating critical or diagnostic re-evaluations of specific mental and social priorities. The unspoken consonance (implication) here is interesting, and merits reflection: that the old social values and relations are themselves capable of producing new procedures, contain within themselves the power or potential to radically reformulate the ‘axiomatic’ rules and relations between material and psychic agencies.

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counteraction, difference, ego, experiment, infinity, information, intensity, light, machine, media, metaphysics, monad, noise, origin, society, structure, transcendence

Counter-action: Reflections on Sensory Anthropology

Towards a Metaphysics of Noise
Let us return to the ‘alternate’ origin in noise, the conditions for any structure. From background noise to blank nothingness to signification: three distinct moments.

Back again to the process of the development of the other structure: from noise into information.

Mediation: the propagation of light which opens up space by filling it, makes absence present, sensible. The other structure: from spirit to letter; from ruptures, an alien coherence; from the whirling vortex, a noisy dawn.

Noise drives away the parasites — it clears space by infesting it. Noise opens space, provides a substratum for objects. As a condition of logic, a pre-logical polyvalence. The parasite is cosmic, a secret name of God — a profane transcription…

Three aspects-moments in the propagation of noise: homogenization, purification, radial distribution. A convergence of an infintite self-identity into a pure singularity: the monad, logical isolate, fragment and totality.

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algebra, complexity, decay, diagnosis, ethics, insanity, language, literature, machine, mathematics, Nietzsche, Politics, prejudice, psychoanalysis, schizophrenia, Science / Mathematics / Technology, society, structure, transformation, truth, unconscious

Cyborg Nietzsche: Conscience, Affect, Transvaluation

Part One: Criticism and Untruth-Machines

A. Neurosis and Transcendence: the Algebra of Bad Conscience

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.  Marcel Proust

For Nietzsche, uncovering the peculiar logic of the unconscious, revealing the function of this or that unobserved striving, would only form part of the analysts’ role. A rich, analytic transformation of the real space of mental (political) activity is the full meaning of diagnostic criticism. Any real diagnosis contains a hard criticism of declining mental (social) habits. Criticism moves towards a healthier biopolitics. Diagnosis isolates cycles, reaction-patterns, irresponsible and neurotic aspects of mental and social processes.

This selective isolation, the method of genealogical deconstruction may seem purely negative and critical; and indeed, it amounts to a profound negation of conventional modes of thinking and feeling. But there is also always a powerfully positive sense of diagnosis: to indicate and affirm the pathways which return us to health, which unhinge our bodies from habit, which bring us to a new earth.
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apparatus of capture, culture, custom, decay, democracy, genealogy, image of thought, individual, instrumentality, Nietzsche, nomad, overman, Politics, power, religion, society, sovereignty, state, unground, universal, universal politics, utopia, war, war machine, warrior, Zarathustra

Nietzsche and the Capture and Domestication of Peoples



“You shall obey—someone and for a long time: else you will perish and lose the last respect for yourself”—this appears to me to be the moral imperative of nature which, to be sure, is neither “categorical” as the old Kant would have it (hence the “else”) nor addressed to the individual (what do individuals matter to her?), but to peoples, races, ages, classes—but above all to the whole human animal, to man (Beyond Good and Evil, §188).

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coding, Deleuze, grand politics, guattari, individuality, instrumentality, Laruelle, Nietzsche, ontology, Politics, society

Nietzsche’s Social Ontology: (Un)harnessing the Chaos


The individual is a chaos necessary to every political and social order, a chaos enveloped in a structural social machine. This chaos should be distinguished from a random distribution of intensities or an undifferentiated aggregate but instead should be thought of as overdetermined. From our point of view (against a flow of power that remains obscure in origin) this is precisely the problem that must be addressed according to the collective nature of the individual, including the individual’s own place in the social order at large.

From the other point of view, it is the individual that poses the problem to society—hence the horrifying solution of micromanagement wherein the individual-as-problem is solved according to algorithms that divide these ‘solutions’ to their respective function in the social body. And when we say body in this sense, we take the ‘solution-individual’ to mean precisely the transformation of the individual into a tool—the instrumental individual—that nevertheless, if we risk the metaphor, functions as a cell assigned to certain duties in relation to different organs (conceived as institutions directing molar quantities of power) linked to the Organism-State (the constituted Whole that literally exceeds its parts through its miraculation as surplus value, projecting a dominant image of repres(sive)entation). The problem with this view is at least twofold: first, the problematic of the individual cannot be solved from a hierarchical political position (without violence, even considered in terms of psychic/collective repression); and secondly, there are criteria upon which to decide where the Whole lies, because the Whole is precisely the illusion of the State as an entity or organism, when in fact the individual calls into question (if its problem is diagonally posed) the (de)stratification that a certain social body undergoes (through entropy and (planned) states of equilibrium).

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