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


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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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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channel, communication, flux, idea, knowledge, machine, network, system





The essence of a channel is to transmit, to disseminate, to yield a flux. The problem of knowledge is correlative to constructing an adequate channel for the reception of an idea, the “proper medium” for a thoughts’ proliferation. Expressed in this way the “idea” is only an ideal problem, which in reality takes on an unsettling and radical complexity. The pure and implacable universality of the idea gives way to the realization of the innumerable fissures and leaks comprising the real — and quite organic — larval origin of thought. 

A kind of thought which, to be sure, still does not issue from myself, and which is neither memory nor imagination, but is rather a thought which breaks through, which traverses me. Hence the universal is always shot through with contingency, a pure implacability which rests precisely upon history, upon the conquering, the decimation of nomad flows indecently refusing to conform. The drive to systematically master desire, for a generalized and radical constructivism, the subtle and uncanny “inner” dynamism of our age, is bent upon a wholesale transformation of the fundamental essence of humanity. 

The breakdown of this machine, this doom upon the universal, is perhaps capable of reproducing itself virally — even as a snapshot of an image of thought in the very process of decomposing (and in relation to which all philosophical gestures seem but supplications, and — so much more rarely — vindications.)

A new medium always is, it must be, painstaking crafted: for once forged, a channel exists only the precondition of a flow, and even upon the continuity of the flux. 

I want to think the concrete peculiarity, the absolute singularity of any channel as such. The continuous flow of water through the machinery of a dam, of a pipe; the unending drift of signals across our always-on global information networks. 

The channel faces every military risk imaginable: takeover, subversion, blockade. But it also faces every theoretical risk imaginable: hyper-specialization, perversion, madness.

Yet the truth is that a channel is only and always a meta-channel, an assemblage, a channeling machine blending very different channels together, and which itself forms a channel in relation to even greater such channels. Whether of water, cement, metal pipe, twisted cable or realized in the very trembling of air molecules, the channel compels us to turn towards what remains, what is not swept away by the flows.