Larval Subjects has given my recent inquiries the honor of a response. What follows is mine. I’ll say in advance how appreciative I am for whatever reading transpires here between us. I would apologize in advance for how disheveled it is, if only I could have imagined a different way. I feel stripped of options– not cornered, as if there were no where else to go, but as on an open plain, where any direction taken amounts to the same thing: wandering by chance, but discovering. In the end, I desired nothing but this open plain– where there was no reason to prevent the wildfires and the draughts.
Initially, I should admit to having no “position” of my own. This is either a luxury or a failure, depending on how you look at it; but it is the only “position” that could jive with my experience, which was like a rug being continually pulled out from under “me,” i.e., whoever thought he was sitting on it. A view that I express in opposition or in accord is merely a function of where I find myself in the open field, in line with the passions that the conversation between the wildflowers inspires. In the end, I agree with everything, because it is the participation in spring that matters first and foremost.
More importantly than positions, I yearned for a “language” that could reach and that could connect us together; to that extent, “language” as a medium for taking positions and advancing theories withered and failed. Language was no object for me, I could never see it, I could never touch it. Language was not something that I could use to express myself, to translate my ideas or my feelings so as to communicate them. Never once did I feel “it” as something I could grasp (it merely represented the fleeting confusion that I myself was). Language existed in the dictionaries, the textbooks, the vocabularies, the theories, the lawbooks, the histories (and I admit that it required us to take it to be an object before we could recognize that it was not one). But it’s the sour solitude of my “position” that reminds me that such a language is “practically” impossible (nothing less than freedom is at stake).
I recognize that, no matter what, that tautology “translation” can subsume everything; but if it’s a “thing” that I’m translating, or a “perspective,” it’s only there retroactively, it’s only posited retroactively. If it’s something, all I can ever do is catch up with it, or invent it “afterwords.” But even then, it was its nothingness that impacted me; all of it’s object qualities were either abject, or a bore. Then again, I’m not trying to say this has to do with any ‘creativity of the subject’ (although, to sum up, you could construe my response as asking: in all this, what’s happened to the subject?).
I fall short of what I reach for, as if by necessity. I wanted for something that could step outside of history, outside of the contingency of “discussions.” The presumption that we are, you and I, distinct objects, who must then translate (qua language or otherwise) ourselves (our objects) in order to connect, relate, communicate, is the presumption that I both detested and learned to stomach. It was my express and impossible goal of undoing this presumption. To do so meant being the withdrawal that I am; but at the limit of this withdrawal, my-self-absence overdetermined everything. The world of partial objects it confronted was truly madness. I did not want to be construed, myself, as a system, or as an object (despite this ruse of virtuality-identity), for wherever I went looking for an object or a system to correspond to who I sensed myself to be, I found nothing. Nothing but a gaping hole in the system-identity, nothing but a gunshot through the object (whether the sound or the wound, I couldn’t tell). It seemed to me that I was nothing more than the space that gaped, the immeasurable pain that accompanied the shot.
“Dog” might be just as much of an object as “human.” But why are we so easily admitting to being human? Nothing inside me has ever given me a good reason to believe this is the case (the anticipation of death is no proof). I want you (Larval, and others) to know that I agree: “The move to be avoided is the thesis that all entities are necessarily subordinated to language.” I have said just as much in my post, Silent-writing, advocating nothing but an insubordination of language-use as such. But in my terms, this means this: “The move to be avoided is the thesis that all entities are necessarily objects.” My inquiries so far have failed me, just as I’m sure this response is. I have simply meant to suggest that reducing all the contents of the universe to the status of objects is simply, despite its epistemological anti-realism, reducing being/s to the status of ‘a being = a thing,’ ‘a being = a object.’ It is simply that this does not accord with my experience of myself, or of reading, or of love. Wherever I look (in language or outside of it), I don’t find an object that corresponds with what I am, and I know that I am not merely an obscure amalgam of them either. Not everything here is an object, and it is my intuition that it is “language’s inadequacy” that brings us to admit this (which is not to say that language creates what’s non-object, but rather shows us in a lackluster and unsatisfactory way that there are such things that are not things).
Let me be clearer with my examples. What kind of a “thing” or “object” is this instant? Is the “instant,” the “present,” an object? Doesn’t it seem to outstrip this kind of designation? You will say that designations are epistemological and not ontological. But I’ve yet to see how they aren’t intimately tied up. Even if I say “this instant is an object, even though I don’t know everything about it, even though it relates to all other objects in a way that isn’t human-centric, etc.,” I’ve still objectified it by doing so. But before it’s an object, I’m subjected to it, by it. To me, this instant, as much as this me-experience, seems non-objectify-able. (But I’m caught in the language, caught in the untranslatable, caught in the (dis)order of object(s).)
“Distance,” “grief,” “injustice.” Are these really objects? What is their ontological “status”?These are not words that language appropriates, but it indicates that it fails us, and that there are “things” that are not things. These are not-things that matter to us, not in a human-centric way, but in a conscious way, in a suffering way. It exposes the way any translation not only distorts, but fails to translate anything. (I’m left asking myself: how do I translate nothing? I’m left with it.) But what’s presented in their name isn’t for all that restricted by the pitfalls of representation. They indicate something. But I don’t think that “something” is a “thing.” It’s an experience that amounts to nothing, but it’s that nothing that amounts to everything for us. It resonates, and we are “where” (or the “where” where) it resonates: empty medium for the fluctuation of intensities and the erratic waves of vibrating I-know-not-what.
My “argument” relies on one thing alone: your sense of yourself as not-being-an-object. Where is the space for that? I.e., where is the space for space, the space/spacing that I myself am?
What was therefore the most difficult thing to express was my aperspectivity. The way that I was inaccessible to myself did not mean that I was simply an object that withdrew from itself. It meant that I was an ungrounded perspective, baseless. There’s no reason to be discordant, and I’m not. I was subject less to myself or the instant as a withdrawn object than I was to the ungroundedness of this subjection itself, instantly. What gives me the right to say I am nothing? And who or what speaks when I say it? It was this ungroundedness, this subjection “itself,” which spoke; the object(s) itself (themselves) said nothing. In short, what we share has nothing to do with “objects,” in my view. It’s something more, something less, and I don’t hesitate to still call it “something.”
Whatever “perspective” was attributable to me was a second-hand observation: while it could surmise, construct, or summarize a position and/or a perspective, it never existed firstly as that. I know because of the way it quaked. It’s more than simply a distortion qua translation. It’s a question of what becomes of “perspective” when this distortion is taken to heart, when everything I could say with this language knows that it’s distorted before the I ever takes to writing. It’s the unsatisfactoriness of any expression or any designation of objects, ontological or otherwise, that leaves me groveling for poetry and the sacred eruption that would plunge me even further into the precariousness of “positions.”
I admit that my response is unfair and, for the most part, useless– whether in terms of OOO, or linguistic arguments, whatever. I dread whatever theory you’ve read that my words might call up, for I’m sure there are many. But such an attribution fails, absolutely. They don’t exist, or rather, they have nothing to do with the aperspectivity I’m yearning to assume, this gaze qua tomb. But don’t I have to admit that there is some purpose to this assumption? Why chase after it, if it can only mean my destruction? I’m left asking myself such a question on the edge of what I hope is a community insubordinate to language and to the supposed order of objects.
Where does the conversation with myself end and with another begin? Immediately. Where I yearn for a community, I yearn for a dissolution of these boundaries between objects, between what are really (no)things-that-translate-other-(no)things. (I suppose you could say I’m inquiring about the ontological status of nothing, not just for shits, but because I myself am heavy implicated. But I wouldn’t make this inquiry if I didn’t sense that we were each of us also heavy implicated.)
I know that I have contradicted myself variously, as if on purpose. I yearn for the crumbling of the very notion, not only of “humans,” but that notion that construes ourselves as objects in (or outside of) a network of communication. I yearn for a direct confrontation, not only with objects, but with the lack of objects (and this lack, while I can’t develop it theoretically, is not simply the withdrawn aspects of objects themselves: it’s a void right in the middle of them, but it’s a void that speaks). That is to say, I yearn for a more honest confrontation with ourselves, with what we each are. I’m aware that it ends up sounding pathetic– except to you?
I’m trying to confess that this is what non-knowledge really looks like, not to convince or persuade, but to plead, as if before my torturers. In taking non-knowledge to heart, it exploded. What I was left with was a void/voice that could say nothing but this…
The unstable ground upon which I’m left… leaves me with the feeling of irreconcilability. Almost, I admit, of irresponsibility. I know that I am just wasting everyone’s time saying such things. It’s not just that my observations and my responses are contingent, it’s that I am, too– what place do I have in a world of objects? I’m as disposable as a pumpkin seed late-October. I’m not in a position to endow myself with worth. I suppose my only hope is that someone will light a candle and place it where once I was. On display, I can only assume I flicker out.