Hallucination of interiority, sovereign of rage and complaint, master of habit and personhood, where does your love go?

Where does your love go, your bizarre signals of desire and distress?

Where does your love go—with life or with death? Emerging to serve the purpose of rest, or to tumble endlessly in dread of no requital?

(For Andre Breton, only requited love could fuse and reconcile essence and existence; it alone conditions us for a “total magnetization” and “turns the mind into an eternally welling spring, unalterable and always lively.” Such love lives from one principle: sensual pleasure and intellectual activity, all that can be expected from within and without, are only ever reconciled in a single being, in a single instant that one can only surrender to as in a trance, seizing thus the eternal. Such was the only alternative to a life devoid of meaning in a denatured world: to seek for this “state of grace” in which perception and visualization are one, an ecstasy beyond the distinction between subjective and objective in which I and the other I love make up an indestructible unit of light. It is here that you take me back to my most spiritual source: our tingling embrace, edging beyond consciousness, where we could conceive, from all the sorrow we’d felt, a reason for the accidents of existence and it seemed, if only for our ‘instant’ together, that there might be a justification for creation after all and that, in some not-unimportant way, our lives and our moment not only participated in it but sealed its truth and delivered on its promise directly, in the heart of a world otherwise senseless and vile.)

O beloved others I’ve so often united with beyond the bounds of time and space, all those who have turned my way, extending their touch and thought and merging their words with mine in an event of seizure without proportions, whoever has come this way and called me out—where are we now? To what have we come? Who else shall get lost in our reflectionless gaze?

(A white butterfly unfolds its torn wings, exposing the soot black design to the fire’s glare, and instantly it metamorphoses into a smoke trail escaping under the street lamp, into the nothingness of night; far above, high on the proud weeping willow’s branch, sits a young cardinal who catches the peculiar scent of that trail and twists his head and hops here and there to discern it until he decides to rebel against it all, taking flight madly just then and refusing to land anywhere for years of miles, until one day he comes by a similar willow and a similar flame and, catching sight of himself inwardly for the first time, realizes he too is a white butterfly prepared to unfold its untorn wings, and just as he approaches the light, whimsically and enthralled, he metamorphoses…)

Irreparable frivolity of this craving for rebound and relay: in love one says anything for a fix, the chest beats like a locomotive with the unified force of freedom and affection; action that leads to uncertain consequences cannot be avoided, the legs uncrumple and dance, the mouth spits out its silent resignation and demands the saving word of possibility, everything rushes into orbit around the obscure inkling of a coming frisson that will shiver the agent down to perfect relation, to the passionate patience of nonsense and playfulness and in that strengthened against every obstacle with the promise of the encounter shared, in adoration of a time without horizons, revoking every inscription and summoning the one necessary thing: love, singular dive of nothing, faith finding its refuge in its leap—a confidence unbroken, unique and repeating until all hope has been rewon for life’s cause and the dead rise in us to sing out our own hymn, this frivolous, irreparable expression of our one being.

Where will my love go then? Into the funeral march or the baptismal procession? Calmly returning you to the peace that surpasses all effort, or agitating you to reach with utmost urgency for the limits of the possible?

Where will my love go, with its contradiction and awkwardness, its naivety and underdevelopment, its irreverence and irresponsibility?

Obsessed by the indefatigable exterior, called out by intangible timbres and textures, exhibited fully vulnerably to the other’s magic act, fumbling decisions and fabricating commitments, dispossessed servant of a self whose intention wholly escapes it, who remains in adoration of you and only you, stranded on the shore of your infinity, sparkling incommensurably—tell me, tell me where, where shall our love go?

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Autocatalytic Antagonism

One reason our society remains locked in hatred and stupidity is our unwillingness to be uncomfortable, to have the honest conversation, to feel challenged and be changed. Such is the minor and quotidian cycle of accepting what appears to be the most acceptable of acceptable things that perpetuates not only inequality, but a situation of “cowardice” and “unfreedom.” Because we are afraid to jeopardize our own situation, we accept a situation that jeopardizes millions of others, though we rarely give this a moment’s thought. As Jeff Buckley sang, “Our mutiliation is to gain from the system.” These are of course incredibly difficult patterns to break. Thus the need for a daily effort to break them and first of all to break them in ourselves: to combat the inertia, the complacency, the inaction, the silence. We simply must risk our reputation. We must refind our identity in a common cooperation against lies and blindness. All other projects should run secondary to this. If it comes to it, we must become unrecognizable, even to those who love us. We must risk what we have been for what’s coming…

For the State will continue to organize oppression and capitalism will continue to reduce us to exchangeables―and as part of the laughing masses, we are right where it wants us to be―unless we antagonize, unless we band together in a singular intention to antagonize without rest, and to affirm an antagonism-to-capital that is irrepressible. The comfortable position invariably perpetuates the system of inequality and oppression; it is inert and “timeless”; its happiness is static and circular. Only through a practice of immanent and constant antagonism is another form of subjectivity given a chance: a time productive of another collective, with a happiness that loses itself in the cause of the other and not in the system of the organized world.

This is not the antagonism of armed revolt, a new political party, or organized secession. It is rather, following Negri, the antagonism of an immediate separation, effective materially and intellectually and directed cooperatively to the production of the other’s chance: a negative activity of separation rooted in a refusal of the exploited situation. This means antagonizing ourselves out of our own torpor, our own enjoyment of the system, our “mutilation.” It means being dissatisfied with the self-orientation of our own quest (for material wealth, knowledge, social relationship) and instead engaging ourselves on the collective front of antagonism. Participation in that collective takes place not through a simulacrum of information but through active contributions to a knowledge base that is indissociable from a new time and a new practice of being, grounded in an episteme that is radically separate from the circular time of packaged laughter, the blasé ontology of the “disillusioned” whose knowledge can only serve the continued mutilation.

Antagonism means heeding a responsibility that prevents us from sleeping and only deepens the more we respond to it: an advance into the eternity of the struggle. But though oriented collectively, it also implies each us traveling our own irreversible trajectories, in dimensions that are plural and irreducible to each other. For unity lies not in a common cause or agreed agenda, but in the direct work of antagonism: the negative labor that refuses the commands of the capitalist-military State and that co-operates for the sake of constituting not an alternative but the break itself―an “alternative” that, however indefinite it may seem, is nonetheless definite in its moment, concrete in its product, and experienced as determinative for being. These many moments, products, and experiences disperse themselves throughout the fabric of society like Benjamin’s messianic splinters, ever ready to be resumed by the other for the continued production of the new collective subjectivity and its continued antagonism to capital. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us, no matter how much we want to crawl back, no matter how much we’d like to think about something else, it is there in this “eternal” cooperation that we will find what can genuinely be called our future.

Antagonism-to-capital, for Negri, is inseparable from human creativity and autonomy. Antagonism acts in this sense as a sort of pure telos that need not ever be reabsorbed by the system against which it is antagonistic. It is not in a dialectical relationship where the negative (antagonism) would have to be negated or reconciled with what it negates (the capitalist time of command and its law of value). On the contrary, the “negation” is in full force as the affirmation of the radical break. Its “value” is immanent to its activity and is neither exchangeable nor negligible. Its products are valuable in themselves, meaning that they cannot be measured by the law of value operative in capital. Antagonism is itself productive and powerful, but it is a counterforce that does not need to negotiate with or assimilate itself to the forces it counters (even if that happens when Power tries to neutralize it). In Negri’s view, the subjectivity produced through this antagonism is auto-valorizing and auto-determining. Creativity is a kind of use of life and power against the exploitation of life by Power.

Antagonism therefore constitutes a time of life that is shared, inciting singularities to enter the commons and engage in the production of antagonistic subjectivity. “Revolution” is a long-term project and its organization is inseparable from negative labor. The communist “event” is thus, from the perspective of the World, the result of a long work of liberation, whereas from the “communist’s” perspective, the event is the experience of communism itself and its negative work. That work―which generates new desires, new languages, new beings―creates a surplus that cannot be exploited by capital and that the state cannot command. Living labor, by definition antagonistic to the exploitation of life (wage labor), tends toward an autonomous, auto-catalytic “cognitive” surplus knowledge of communism that cannot be “digested” by capital or translated into any of its schemes. The wager is this: to accumulate in the commons the results of our excess, our negative and cognitive labor. Our proximity to the coming communism increases to the extent that we accumulate and organize or let-be-catalyzed the products of this labor. Antagonism, in other words, is not an incremental change to what exists, nor does it project some sort of radical change that it could imagine anticipating. It is more profoundly a qualitative leap into new temporal being: direct experience of communism.

The distinction between struggle and hope therefore is not a meaningful one in practice. “Hope” is flimsy unless it is active as antagonistic creativity, as life productive of new being. It will never let any illusion or any guarantee of future prosperity pacify. It will never give up its indignation and dissatisfaction with the situation of exploitation, but it will also never lose the love it finds in its poverty-of-world. What “transcends” capitalist society is in fact an immanent Real: the living alternative to be built upon relentlessly and with the highest sense of dedication to the other and to the future. Those thus antagonized can only act in defense of this Real. “Hope” is only hope in you: that you will take up our work of liberation and the responsibility to struggle against mutilation and for the new time. More than hope, it is an anticipation convinced of the coming of what it anticipates through its very life and work―through the autocatalytic antagonism constantly “left alive” in a subjectivity that knows communism immanently.

The notion of a grand rupture, shock, or intervention in the system is therefore outdated. It is again based on a false ontology of the event as something sudden, unprecedented, mysterious, or “befalling.” The idea that things could become different while I myself stay the same is also erroneous. For Negri, productivity is always a production of subjectivity itself (not “also”). We should also probably not pretend like anything is going to happen “later.” We are, right now, producing what will have happened, what will have been the “collectivized” subjectivity, the temporality proper to communism. We should not fantasize about the spectacular and the extreme, for then we will miss all the cues for this transformation that remains “invisible” to the World. Antagonism against the system is just as “real” as the big-screen productions of Power witnessed on television. As immanent practice, it is even even powerful than it. Lives committed to antagonism in common are not only powerful, but productive of a commons that capital can never grasp and which can only be erased when people give up on that life and forget how much it is, “a project worth our seriousness.”

The experience of communism at stake here not only can happen through knowledge. The thesis expressed above about cognitive labor suggests that it can only happen through it, but of course where knowledge is inseparable from practices and the subjects that produce them in common. Negri writes,

To put it in Foucauldian terms, when we are immersed in the crisis of an episteme we must place ourselves in circumstances and conditions that enable us to modify, along with the systems that organize knowledge, the episteme’s forms of production and the subjects that produce it. To deconstruct systems means, in this case, to reconstruct the forms of knowledge.

Once it is understood that subjectivity is itself a production, it comes as no surprise that our indifference and complacency is a product of the system of banality “that pervades our minds.” Individuality itself is a trap, a form of subjectivity-knowing that is perfectly digestible by capital and State command, entirely conformed to its law of value, to time-as-measure, and to the alienation of human means. The excess over the system can never be reduced to the transcendental presuppositions of individualism, for it is immediately and immanently “singular-common,” a shared work. Negri’s wager is ultimately that time itself is of a collective essence and thus not ruled by the debts of history’s scripts. Without collectivity, the only time that individuals can know is capitalism’s. But the immeasurable new being is known to be collective  through and through. “Consciousness rises up as consciousness of antagonistic collectivity.” Irrepressible, it is also irresistible: autocatalytic antagonism. Only this consciousness frees itself from commodification and subordination to the system of banality, since it emerges in a radical separation from it, from a refusal of the exploitative razzmatazz and its mutilations. Separation is immediately collectivization. Its time is (of) collective essence. The task for each of us, then, is to work our singular out into the commons, so as to create a commons that is singularizing and antagonizing, a “stretched” event that thus makes history, perhaps without ever even seeming to appear there. A clandestine life in-common, destined to find itself in the other, to let its cause be the other’s, and thus to cause the other to find itself in our cause.

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Potentionless, additionless, intentionless, possessionless, future-less, needless… less, less, less, that is the only key you ever found, it shuttered beneath all your proud statements, it was your faith (kindness, silence, servitude) neutralizing all your individual, until the last bad habit of Hell is eradicated from your “soul,” that is, your soul is eradicated, there is not even a trace of your heated prayers, your tender epiphanies, your naked heart moments in need of understanding and sense.

Time: the universe’s mending weep, music of beats changing, bases for happiness inverted and transformed—that you must imitate: the storm of forgiveness preempting judgment and the balancing of scales—Time no median mark but the immanence of the messianic: infinite smallness of self, instant, and trace left all quasi-indistinguishable, forming one “block” breaking the loops of worry and expectation and purpose—a deindividualization, the overflowing of the lived by faith: not in time or its powers, not in anything, but the nothing-of-the-world transited by faith, the “existence” we will have had in-One-in-the-last-instance—nothing but the insistence of the infinitely small, the radically immanent tininess of the universe indexed by a Messiah-subject who needn’t even disappear, whose entire and only being is prayer. The least of these: crystals of time choosing to believe in time’s truce, forestalling humanity’s anger, revealing the “empty tomb of grief”—imperceptible passion of the cleanse assumed, consuming whatever could be asked.

(The ultimate sorry is because “I did it.” May this hallucination be forgiven at last; that is the meaning of remembering the Sabbath. How happy we could be in-One, “without” desire, at the contact (One-in-One) with no forward to back, no word to pin in, no identity to obliterate—just the first given, without-givenness: the One-time of the blessing’s resemblance in-us. Never doubt that that contact with the non-temporal takes place. The eternity that is no beyond or outside or process has no characteristics; it is immanent, and there is no “only way” to its approach. There is no way for the one who seeks, but the one who “does not seek will be found” (Kafka). Forget the shell-shocked attempts and let-shudder, for this light trembling of love is the very character of the universe: such is the Messiah’s testimony.)

Temporality—where the self has to be, check its position, project feelers and test if it is—where the self tries to lose or attain itself but in truth simply misses all possessive occasions—temporality is really “after” eternity like an after-thought or an ability to make sense of the experience of eternity. It is temporality that fools us into viewing eternity as an indefinite length or as something that could only be what it is at the end or fullness of time(s). It seems like something keeps heaping up, the volume of an empty chalice increased to the exact proportion that it fills up to the brim. We conceive of this as a present fulfillment just as much as a coming one—thus is the present an immanent transition, or an accomplishment of history that loops back, affecting history and inciting it to consummation; or the present vanishes in the immanence of a radical past without transitions, and one tries to draw “back” from the present to this time called One or Immanental, as to a block of eternity. But what if the “linear flow of phenomena” were simply identical to an immanent eternity without temporality? Our conventions of language, the temporality it allows us to express, is then only occasional; regardless of its pressures, we know that in-One the division has no effect. The simulation of being-in-temporality need not be threatening or believed.

Temporalization—is for selves and the victors of history who cannot bear the immanence of eternity. To consider it through the language of testing (can you bear it?) is already to corrupt it and overdetermine the experience. What is there to bear if not the “no way forward, no way back” of an a priori contact with eternity—this one thing that it is worth believing in? The temporal being can always choose to see itself in-One or from radical immanence: its existence in eternity which it lives (loops and lines and spirals of temporality aside).

Yet it is not even necessary to say that the soul is all there is, since there is nothing apart from its eternal traipse. Isn’t eternity lived non-personally? There may be an interpretation that leads me to love how it has graced my life, but we know that this level is not absolute. Eternity is gratitude incarnate in a generic, “fleeting” state of the universe? It is the One that loves you in-One since you are the One-in-person without desires or cares or actions or a self to deal with or negate, to test or create ex nihilo. Who does not seek? What non-seeking is there but One-in-One? Quasi-immobile, nonacting, at rest, static: all metaphors for its operation on temporality, phenomenological descriptions of its experience when compared with being a self in the world. But that in no way excludes the possibility that it also be the highest passion of subjectivity or the highest poverty of a socius redeemed.

The self-consumption it seems I must undertake is simply occasioned on temporality and the self-bind it seems to institute and communicate, but which is devalued in immanence. Personal and social considerations may retain priority, but the One under-comes prior-to-priority. Will it forever be a struggle? Or will it be a weep and a surrender—the shudder of peace and entrance into heaven, the feeling of ascension in the appearance of departure? Heart of flesh, warmth of heart, the love of the loving and the loved: such is the prayer we must, because we can, trust. One-time is “enough,” forever enough.

Yet how can I resist wanting more? This is the paradox of being human: push on all the more strongly because the end has been witnessed or experienced, assumed at any rate. How shall I exist tomorrow when today I already exist in eternity? Only eternity can answer that question; everything we know muddies the perspective. The one certainty here is almost impossible to bear; the whole comportment is of trust or prayer. The kindness of humans starts and ends there, less one vulnerability, but without outcome, a pure means without end or salvation or recuperation in strength.

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Imaginary Love

This is a screen-poem or a cinema-fiction about the imaginary number in quantum mechanics, the notion of subjectivity in images, and the virtuality of the lived.

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Self-Constraints III

Self-Constraints III
Notes on Non-Philosophy

Philosophy is the despair of loops, and one can observe this in very way it develops and reproduces itself. There is an incessant recursivity not only in the texts it produces but in its manner of propagation through institutions and norms of validation. It is the necessity of re-ference in general, reference to a precedent in thought or to a forbearer in thinking. Or, equally, reference to oneself as thinker or as a “fold” in thought and being.

Philosophy gives itself its own tradition and its context just as the self gives itself itself. As a system, it considers these “givens” to be absolute or as “really existing” in an unavoidable way. Already this presupposition ensnares one in a loop. Thus deconstruction, for example, can become a double strategy: on the one hand, undoing the dualities and contraries given by the tradition as inescapable, on the other hand, rewriting or restylizing those concepts in a way that sets sail for a different horizon, but one nonetheless forever partially shaped by the inescapable tradition (thematized under the priority, the precedence of the “trace” or of existence in general). Perhaps one would like to get outside the loop, but because it is assumed to be transcendentally given, as binding/unbinding, that outside can only continue to refer to that given – to the apparent present world, to the signifying chain, to the differential play of traces, to philosophical positions, etc. The despair is of that prison, the prison of proof and verification where “relevant thinking” is defined by its ability to translate the untranslateable, transmit the untransmittable, make the impossible possible, and so on. These are aporias philosophy can never exit and does not want to exit: without assuming these loops its very activity becomes inconsistent. (See a previous post on autocatalytic thinking for more on that.)

What philosophy assumes (even deconstruction) is an ipseity whose evidence is in whatever way incontrovertible. The critique of the “metaphysics of presence” really changes nothing about this; it only emphasizes that there is something about the self or the subject that is irreducible to presence, irreducible to its inscription in the signifying chain, irreducible to its role or place in the world, irreducible to its voice and appearance, irreducible perhaps even to its body, etc. Philosophy begins in Plato with a project of preparing the soul to be liberated upon leaving its body and, in a sense, it only modulates that theme, however much it comes to critique the soul-idea (witness in Agamben its return, proving with such elegance how little has changed). Contemporary philosophy reinvests the self by describing it as never-pre-constituted, as in-process, as sliding under, as vanishing mediator, as structured by a void or by trauma or a cut, as engaged in care of itself or in the construction of truths – as dying, in a process of release, and so on. Non-philosophy doesn’t take the time to survey all these options, but makes a global diagnosis under the heading of “double transcendence” and ultimately equates philosophy with this system of self centered around a self-relation that must always pass through some “third” dialectically or contradictorily, successfully (happiness or affirmation of the other) or stuck constantly in an impasse (melancholy or mourning the other).

Agamben elegantly addresses this irreducible “excess of self” (without psychology, which philosophy always smartly resists). The ‘third’ instance, wherein the self as “a relation relating itself to itself” is established, is not God (Kierkegaard) or Beyng (Heidegger), but the irredeemable world meant to be deactivated: through the undoing of its apparatuses, through its profanation in play, through its “virtuous” gesture, the self auto-constitutes a form-of-life (soul) that can never be supposed as pre-existing or pre-constituted; it comes about only through the use of bodies, languages, etc., as use-of-oneself. The following quote exhibits well the structure double transcendence:

The subject — like the author, like the life of the infamous man— is not something that can be directly attained as a substantial reality present in some place; on the contrary, it is what results from the encounter and from the hand-to-hand confrontation with the apparatuses in which it has been put — and has put itself — into play. For writing (any writing, not only the writing ‘ of the chancellors of the archive of infamy) is an apparatus too, and the history of human beings is perhaps nothing other than the hand-to-hand confrontation with the apparatuses they have produced — above all with language. And just as the author must remain unexpressed in the work while still attesting, in precisely this way, to his own irreducible presence, so must subjectivity show itself and increase its resistance at the point where its apparatuses capture it and put it into play. A subjectivity is produced where the living being, encountering language and putting itself into play in language without reserve, exhibits in a gesture the impossibility of its being reduced to this gesture. All the rest is psychology, and nowhere in psychology do we encounter anything like an ethical subject, a form of life. (Profanations, p. 72)

For non-philosophy the key operation with regard to transcendence is “abasement” and Laruelle is careful to insist that abasement is not a suppression, a negation, or an annihilation. There is no denial of the fact that empirically there are loops, repetitions, habits, patterns, and more broadly, no denial of the empirical fact that we experience ourselves as transcendent entities constituted not only by these loops but as constitutive of them (“loop makers”). What is abased, however, is the priority of these determinations from transcendence. “The abasement of double transcendence, passing from its doublet-form to its simple form, is distinguished from every excess of transcendence; it is a depotentialization.” This is a move toward the generic. To begin from radical immanence is to suspend the presupposed or assumed givenness of all the transcendentals, reducing them to their simple status as phenomena given-in-immanence, in a sense stripped of their background. This is not about finding some empty space where all the traces would be gotten rid of. It is not a strategy of meditation and clearing. Peace (from philosophy) is not added on. It is not an operation or an achievement, but rather a perspective geared toward a use of the philosophical materials and thus of the self (form-of-experience) and toward seeing can be done with the aporias rather than continuing to turn them over themselves: a practice of self in its simple form, not as a transcendence constantly redoubling over itself but as each time fallen-in-immanence, determined from immanence rather than by whatever is assumed to be given.

The radical commencement implied here is generic or transindividual without being intersubjective — it doesn’t return upon itself, it doesn’t pick up where it left off even where it seems to. In other words, the loops are of a broken symmetry with immanence. The loop-maker becomes a simple maker that loops not back over “itself” but over materials, from One-time-immanence, determining the loop as non-repetitive or non-recursive of self and thus as not really a loop at all. Or again, the chain is broken a priori without requiring the operation of a subject. Immanence means the impossibilization of every loop, i.e., the impossibilization of the loop-maker – but not in a way that would orient the loop-maker towards its own death, to the impossibility of its existence as its ownmost possibility, however this model is modulated – nor in the way of the barred self that, indicating an inherent lack in all systems, would be pushed about by the obscurity of the Other’s desire – nor by the way of a erotism (Bataille) or depersonalization along a line of flight (Deleuze). On the other hand, nothing about self-expression is off-limits per se; they are even recognized to be inevitable precisely as philosophy, as form-of-experience, as a mixture of a transcendental-empirical and a real-transcendental, but these materials or “givens” (Given-without-givenness) are seen-in-One, as a priori undivided and generic. Two consequences:

  1. The self has its self-relation (double transcendence) undermined in-immanence. This does not happen “just once” as if it were a decision or a mystical dogma, but each time one time (an immanent impossibilization). One is tempted to call this the “instant” and we could recognize many philosophical avatars here: experiencing oneself eternal (Spinoza), the Augenblick at the portal of two eternities (Heidegger/Nietzsche), the instant of my death or of the gift of death (Blanchot/Derrida), moment of ecstasy or realization, etc. Non-philosophy recognizes in these solutions the continued priority of the present as the locus of appearing or life, as the locus then of the self in the World; this priority obtains even when the full presence of the present is somehow deferred, suspended, questioned by the Other, etc.  Non-philosophy responds with a distance of immanence: not of the present with itself (“time is out of joint”) (the self…), but a more radical distance of the non-relation of the Real to the present, from the “distance” of the Last Instance (not death, not the “end of self,” etc…). The experience of this instant qua self as present is seen-in-One and thus as a sort of hallucination, a contingent phenomenal given or system of knowledge which can be given a different use, this time no longer in the name of a thinker or a signature, but in defense of radical immanence “itself,” which never comes from the present but comes each time one time “under” it.
  2. The subject is then seen as a clone of-the-World, an objective appearance no longer believed but dealt with as a Stranger-existing-subject, a sort of hallucination of-the-Last-Instance.

What is observed here is the non-relation of the subject to the Real, the non-reciprocity of all these transcendental productions to the Real, and how in the last instance the Real under-determines the subject, the loops and productions, not so much stripping them of transcendence but forcing them simply as fallen in-immanence. One may have capacities, one may have knowledge, but where or from when does one practice them? To where are these transcendences and subjectivities pro-jected? Non-philosophy answers: from immanence, the ject from Nowhere and Nowhen, and it seeks to draw consequences from its under-determining influence or effect (messianity).

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Notes on Immanent Opening

The philosopher’s error is to locate the Open. One locates it in the self or in the body (“you are the open”): a kind of absolute of being-there, the imperative is then to think it qua an experience of (self-)presence as opening(-to-presence), where openness is what is most proper to the self or to the movement of Being itself. This leads, if not to a philosophy of self-overcoming and becoming (Nietzsche), then to one of the “unconcealment” of the Open; the human is here tasked to speak its truth, its poetry, its silence, etc., by being appropriated or used by the Open (Heidegger). Another approach locates the Open elsewhere, in the other or in nature or in the signifier, for example, thus rendering it accessible or experienceable only through adventure, exposure, transgression, trauma, confession, interpretation, surprise, the sublime, the Event, etc. This leads to an ethics of relation to the Open, be it of respect, violation, exposure, vulnerability, chance, risk, contemplation (as when the Open is identified with God), creativity, or of course “openness” itself. But here one also imagines oneself to be capable of producing or allowing the Open through some sort of human procedure or act–something is lost and must be remembered, something is occluded and must be revealed, etc.

In all these cases, “the opening” is redoubled, transcendentalized in a strong fashion, “elevated” or made sacred or separated in a way that then calls for some human comportment meant to regain it: letting-be, prayer, writing, drugs, adventure, poetry, sex, laughter, etc. Some attainment strategy is introduced, and its discourse cannot help but circle around “the impossible,” which thus forms a pair with “the opening” here thoroughly hypostasized or reified as that which remains forever deferred and to-come–although the very same philosophy must affirm (between joy and melancholy) not just that the impossible happens but that the impossible is what happens (Derrida). Thus “death” becomes the ultimate cipher for access to the Open and will be seized as the very fury of presence at the heart of every human behavior.

The only other solution here, and in a sense this must be philosophy’s own conclusion, is to conjecture an a priori and immanent open(ing) that is non-ecstatic, non-acting, and radically illocalizable, not effectuated by any human behavior whatsoever and in fact so indifferent to it that, just as nothing we do or think generates it, nothing we do or think can “stop it,” since it precedes every decision, strategy, or act. It would not constitute in any way a special or extraordinary experience–unless perhaps it signifies a simple extraordinariness about which we know nothing but that never, like the impossible, fails to happen. Non-ecstatic: because it is not about flight, transport, fusion or escape, because it is not dependent on attaining a magical state. Non-acting: because it is not “effective” in the world, does not inform philosophies, does not create or leave marks, but rather comes underneath them and “undoes” or “unworks” them–not as if this were its own work, but simply because, as immanent, it under-determines works, just as it under-determines us in our egoity, “weakens” the claims of our discourses, and deprioritizes the world of production and effectiveness. Radically illocalizable: because without essence, because prior-to-first, because without access code or operation, its surprise is not the surprise of something but of simple under-coming immanence, come prior-to-self, prior-to-decision, prior-to-action, etc.

There is then nothing individual, personal, human, or even strictly “social” about the immanent opening, even if we must admit that all these materials are taken up in it or “carried” by the opening in some manner. What is crucial to emphasize here is that the Open is not something to be “attained.” It doesn’t “call” us either, even if we sometimes feel called by it or to it and feel impelled to answer that call. The opening is simply relaunched in every instant in an immanent fashion, so to speak unstoppably, but also without power and without “proof”–not from any extreme transcendence (such as from the occasionalist’s God), but from the complete instant itself which itself remains forever open.

Here we radicalize the thesis of the ontological incompleteness of reality (Zizek) without centering it on “the ultimate Void of reality” (clearly yet another transcendentalization, albeit formal/symbolic); nor do we center it on a subjectivity or consciousness which would in some manner undergo or suffer this incompleteness as lack, decenteredness, alienation, and so on. We should think incompleteness from the completed without any imperative to complete anything, without any slash or cut or “Void” at the center, without any teleology and certainly not a natural or subjective one. Completion and open-endedness are here indistinguishable. Temporally, the immanent opening gives us the illusion of timelessness, or a feeling of “being eternal” (Spinoza), because here the end of time as we know it and the relaunched opening are one. At stake is the Omega that comes from Nowhere and Nowhen, the immanent opening of the Last Instance as the futurality we are without knowing it.

An opening which is not ours: never affixed to an ego or a subject or a human project of any sort, there is no need for decision here–no need to be shattered/lacerated (Bataille) or to intensify through a becoming-imperceptible (Deleuze) or to destine/disseminate traces that speak for the truth of the Open (Heidegger) or even, though it comes closer to our idea, for the truth/cause of the other’s time (Celan, Lacan). Important as all these movements of opening are, we must posit their equality and so save ourselves from having to choose. There is no “the” Open to disclose, enter, render intelligible, promote, or even respect. The immanent opening makes room for our intentions but is in no way affected by them ultimately. Indeed, despite all the beauty in our dreams of grandeur (including all the illusions of transcendence about the Open), they are (under-)determined in immanence. The immanent opening is prior-to-first, similar to the pause before time that was Derrida’s obsession and the stand-still of time that was the mark of all revolution for Benjamin, but here the pause is not restraint (Verhaltenheit) before the im-possible other, nor an operation obligated to rub history against the grain and thus stay caught in its eternal return. It is rather a flux of futurality that comes under the world and traverses it clandestinely without getting “lost” in it or acting in it in any direct way.

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Saying (what) it is and it being what it (says it) is – being what will have been said of it, having been itself (in language) – these are the objective phenomena. They involve decisions about what logos can do as much as they presuppose its passage through being and being “through” it (genesis and structure). Logos is far too often equated with language or with the human use of reason, but in fact it pertains to articulation as such. There is a “logos” in the copying of DNA strands, in the manner of soil sedimentation and fault line occurrences, in the the Idea of a bicycle, etc. We must affirm that its extension extends as far as Being. We can generate (etc.) speculative, scientific, phenomenological, historical topologies, and read the lay of a land we know we will not know. The world is populated with beings, objects, machines, desires, signifiers: it is enough to populate a World to postulate a logos that will not organize the populated but be their logic, that is, exactly their articulation or inter-action (known or not, speculative or not), no longer measured according to truth or untruth, logical or alogical. This is the topos of the World revealed by Foucault, its inextricably discursive, material, and practical reality, all three (there are more layers to this logos…) intertwined or entangled; broader, it is beingness in all its intrications. Are we doomed then to an interminable untangling of the logos, of relations or of the conditions of relations (‘history’)?  Or to a care of self that, taking full account of its present and past, looks out for its future in a way-overseeing way, a care for inscription in Being/materiality/life? Questions left in a topos/logos filled with body-selves…

Just as one speaks, one spontaneously projects the one, a body-self, speaking into it, i.e., projects the being of a speaker/being, divided in its own utterance and barred at any rate from coming into being as itself, according to psychoanalysis at least. Whereas another will unite this body to a truth process, or compel it to a Yes to life and survival, or perhaps someone will even speak as Being’s surrogate, or speak God (Adi Da), as if one could receive in Being’s very movement the conditions of “one’s own” inexchangeable being, or a truth or meaning or reflection of Being, or deduce its workings, or be Jesus’ sunbeam, etc. But mostly one locates oneself more simply as a being qua Logos, qua the articulated landscape composed of signifiers, traces, material things, etc., indeed not just in language or the symbolic but in the articulation of beings as a whole. Here thinking is a material traversal of the world, an ex-posed finitude capable at least of leaving a trace of its ex-position (voice, work, idea, etc.). Locating it instead in a play of bodies, however written or exscriptive, doesn’t really change the system: a being has (its) Being in a logos.

More simply, take the belief that logos is capable of naming the Real, as if the Real were not indifferent to these names. This 1=1 system of designation (hetero-tautological thanks to the identity of identity and difference) coordinates two functions: a being is itself, and a name names what it names or at least “calls its forth” (cf. the power of Emma in Agamben’s Use of Bodies, where anthropogenesis = coming to being-in-language, in-history). Logos remains relatively constituent of being or rather of “what it is,” especially when it, already logos because being, can comprehend its finitude, its “less than nothing” or insignificance. Taking up ones place in the articulation of the world-All (totality or unity of beings or of relations, however open the borders or spread the plane) – it’s the same use-of-logos claiming a power of definition and determination to a greater or lesser extent. For itself or for (its) being (in-apparatus), does it make a difference? That this goes through more material things like habits and contemplations changes nothing: it is care of self as care of Be-ing as care for (auto-)articulation, moreover it exerts a destituent power, lodged by definition in a power milieu. Thus the search for action on the margins of Logos, I.e., of (the) World(s), equally margins of power in a space of global philosophical polemics of self, in a topos that at least “symbolically” kills (a priori).

“Gathering” (Heidegger) comes to look like an auto-articulation of beings in their passage through the open All, a state not much less transient than speech. In philosophy, unity is an incessant recomposition of divided elements into a divided unity. In Nick Land, for example, absolute deterritorialization is the zero point of a chaotic, agentless, material, machinic production of absolute difference, but still the system is always one of capitalization on resources , beginning with the inevitable jealousy of time, which Land feigns to abandon by being annihilated in an ateleological expenditure that suddenly grants one an unmediated intuition of death. It goes without saying, it’s a system rooted in cuts, differentiations, hair-splittings, not to mention concepts on the way to their delimitation, or worse, the interminable investigation of terms, etymologies, genealogies, forces, drives, partial objects, traces, materials, – an onto-logical analytic tied to a poetic-existential rip which itself must mimic the cut of time itself, and thus itself “be.”

Yes, with logos it’s a matter of a lodging and dislodgment in Being(-logos), always a mixture of both because both constrain and detain in different ways. “Language” is here the house of being under permanent renovation, and its supervisor fears constantly he will become just another ghost roaming empty halls. Focus on the living body in a milieu of desire and shattered love, it is just another modulation of this model, a bit more materialist. One could easily also see history here: an uninhabitable we inhabit by habiting. But one seeks in vain to rub it against the grain. One is left with a negative operation, an agitation or friction, a project with little possibility of completion, again “a-historical” in reference to an outside of time that dislodges it once more, seeking there in a corner of pure temporalization (self-with-other) its lodging…

Where lives-dies a self relating itself to itself however untransparently, unconsciously, mediately, in passage through a billion divided bits, words, moments, looks, specters… Cue the foolproof mechanism of propriation and exappropriation, owning and disowning, a body-self-story of half-triumphs and fuller betrayals for sure… The self being a bind of time that cuts time, itself a cut in the real that binds it all together as unbound, etc…

The non-philosophical wager would be on a Real that impossiblizes logos in an immanent fashion and with it the self with its propriety (name, body, life, singularity, etc.) and in-dwelling in-the-World or equally in-Being, with all its circulations and divisions and abstentions. This wouldn’t be an elimination or a negative operation on the Real’s part since the self is impossiblized by the Real itself a priori, this being an axiom for practice and not another definition of the Real. That is the starting point of a generic or subject-science that would be capable of weakening philosophy without overturning it or finding its real origins. Philosophy does not “originate” but is a material to use and transform in defense of indivisible immanence and against its divided unity, its intrication in Being(-logos), its mixture with transcendences of every sort, which are here not annihiliated but under-determined in-One-in-the-last-instance.

Put otherwise, the englobing that Being(-logos) makes possible or enforces – this is the harassment of the World – would be radically resisted by immanence itself. Non-philosophy would then use language knowing that it like thought can only be in service of immanence without ever once determining it or making a decision about it (qua logos, qua thinking, qua a thought of Being…), since the Real is indifferent to It-All. Nothing about the latter relates to, belongs to, or is proper or to radical immanence, which for its part obviously does not have “properties.” There is no relation between the “subject of the world” and generic immanence. Theory must know that it does not reckon with the Real, does not reflect it or reflect upon it, but is determined by it in the last instance (flection-without-reflected). The Last Instance introduces a distance from the present that is not critical and is not of the self relating itself to itself presently; in fact, it only looks like a distance from the side of Being(-logos) or the Event(-disappearance), whereas from the one side of radical immanence that entire side (It-All) is irrelevant to what causes it, the Real, which doesn’t return over itself or logicize in any way, but under-comes as the Last Instance.

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