abyss, birth, cycle, disorder, erasure, learning, multiplicity, parasite, trace, transcendence, universal, zero




A properly ontological investigation is a ceaseless circulation around the notions of emptiness and presence, a rigorous attempt to discern the peculiar concepts of existence and nothingness, always and once again a faithful commitment to seeking out ones and zeroes. Patching up holes; but precisely in such a way that the reality grasped by ontology (like theology) is always-already as a shadow of reality, like the phantasm of another life. Cantor thought transfinite series a pure and untouchable trace of Difference. A proof of transcendence, disguised as a proof of immanence. But how else could a universal theory of events be constructed?

The critique of ontology encounters yet another surprise when it allows its gaze to move beyond the event itself. The patient observer discovers within the folds of interleaving processes an uncanny kind of hidden writing, whose nature is exceptionally difficult to grasp, for the nature of this half-erased or subtle writing ceaselessly shifts its ground as quickly as the question is posed, and can just as easily turn out to have been nothing at all. –A coincidence, upon which ontology has always made a strange decision: that being and nothing are One, existence is non-existence. God may or may not exist, but this subtle writing can be exhumed from the essences of things. It has affirmed this strange paradox precisely in order to allow a meta-philosophical plane of thought to be constructed. 

Being is the first focus of the elliptical orbit traced by ontological thinking. The basic ontological statement is made by Lucretius: all things have within them the seeds of their becoming. Even the void, absolute nothingness, can be seen as a positive emptiness capable of infinite becomings. Being can thus be seen as a kind of positive nothingness, the radically empty pure essence of reality. Hence to be is to become everything — to communicate with infinite becomings, with forces radically exceeding our “individual” structural limitations: the earth, the cosmos; animals, plants, molecules, stars, etc. Thus nothingness is the second focus of the elliptical orbit traced out by ontology, for the reason that to become capable of becoming is the event itself — the paradox which ontology affirms as its rigorous essence: to diagram being. 

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alterity, Aristotle, blueprint, break, essence, eyes, form, hallucination, hands, heidegger, Interpretation, language, limit, parasite, universal, univocal, writing

Expression and Essence: The Metaphysics of Writing

A verb is that which, in addition to its proper meaning, carries with it the notion of time.

No part of it has any independent meaning, and it is a sign of something said of something else… Verbs in and by themselves are substantival and have significance, for he who uses such expressions arrests the hearer’s mind, and fixes his attention; but they do not, as they stand, express any judgment, either positive or negative.

For neither are ‘to be’ and ‘not to be’ or the participle ‘being’ significant of any fact, unless something further is added; for in themselves they do not indicate anything, but imply a copulation, of which we cannot form a conception apart from the things coupled.

(Aristotle, On Interpretation)

The unspoken is not merely what is deprived of sound; rather, it is the unsaid, what is not yet shown, what has not yet appeared on the scene… [what is not spoken] will linger in what is concealed as something unshowable. It is mystery. The addressed speaks as a pronouncement, in the sense of something allotted; its speech need not make a sound.

(Martin Heidegger, “The Way to Language”)

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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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Christianity, existentialism, freedom, marxism, ontology, project, responsibility, Sartre, subjectivity, teleology, universal

‘A Doctrine for Specialists and Philosophers:’ Sartre’s Existential Universalism


In his Existentialism and Human Emotions published in 1947, Sartre notes that what existentialists have in common is the fact that “they believe that existence comes before essence—or, if you will, that we must begin from the subjective” (3). Yet immediately after establishing this as his existentialist slogan, Sartre begins to argue that objects have essence because they were made according to a certain plan and because they serve a definite purpose. So the essence of the object precedes its existence because of its determined production and because of the use to which it is put. Continue reading

aesthetics, art, horizon, universal, void

In the end?

Perhaps the most subtle instant of artistic insight: knowing when the work is complete. Knowing a thing is done is always a decision, a superego injunction to believe, to accept; art lives precisely in this deception, that it is possible to be told what to believe, or put another way, that we can ever know what other people actually want from us. What is the terminating stroke if not precisely the final “cutting” of the art-work out of its particular mode of being into the “universal,” the work of art: a subtraction which makes whole. This point bears elaboration. From what is the sculpture subtracted? The raw materials of artistic production. From what is the work of art subtracted? From the artistic universal– and we can think this in two ways, either as the “sublime” moment of deep sensitivity to the beauty of the universe, or as the universal artistic indeal, that unabashedly subjective universal; in fact, we can also conceive of this “from-what” of the work of art as the “universe” of the painting, that non-existent/empty reality in which the inversions and distortions of the artistic presentation are finally placed into a bizarre-enough context to make sense. So the art work betrays a lack, a cut which would otherwise go unnoticed, precisely by disguising it; yet there is no lack at all. Art persists in this lie as a stain, a horizon: an untameable pulse oscillating in the deep empty void of an (otherwise) still and silent universe.