PRESENCE

How does one prove the truth of a thing? By bringing it immediately forth, immediately– This is what art, which is love, whatever its subject, must strive to do.

*

The exhilaration of following a lead supersedes every inclination to posit clues to ground it; that is, one begins to find clues that lead you less and less directly, but more and more affirmatively forward. And yet one never doubts the nobility of the leads or their use– because one can, if not see, then at least feel where they lead. Thus every accidental or relative move becomes an original; and each original is thought in light of the move as absolute – the same absolute towards which each original moves. For it is the pursuit, and not the clue, which is absolute. And the absolute is you.

*

Recourse to Nothing brings about a muddled, alienating peace. The error of creation is redeemed in the vision of its total overcoming, which is as much an “unending passing away” (death: many somethings returning to the one of Nothing) as it is a “creation groaning with birth pangs” (Nothing shattering into many somethings). This is a peace which sees with Benjamin how Nature itself is messianic: the point at which time is over, along with all human “goals.” It is our task to bring this peace, this vision into the sphere of human history and thought; but at bottom it demands an “existential” rethinking of desolation and consolation– where solace is found to be so linked with both that their individual meanings dissolve, in a state one can no more call death than birth– leads right to existence, solitary, nude: as unavoidable as it is ungraspable, as transient as it is eternal, as doomed as it is– adorable.

*

Writing as “consolation in desolation” – writing as substitute for constant weeping – writing as constant weeping.

At the end of all literary and philosophical projects, we have writing – a thread to keep us connected amidst all disconnection – a thread of subdued gold – a thread shedding light solely in the disruption of the activity – a discombobulated endeavor for howling wolves.

Writing for dead persons who would like still to make a contribution.

Writing: the joy of being buried alive, for two.

Writing: lone activity of never being (alone).

Writing: because of the pretension one feels accompanying every other type of speech – up to and including everything one has ever said on one’s own.

*

The man who refuses the prestige of success does not refute it. He stands condemned before it and dies unsuccessful. But loyalty demands this: I must say I in the refutation of “me” if you are to say I with me in the refutation of yours. Our loss is our loyalty and our gain; whereas successful works are limited to establishing themselves in grand replies. All great works, however, seek not establishment but communication, “deep” communication on par with death, disappearance, and weeping: feeling/sharing of finite existence.

*

The only thing ever entered is the fray at the edge of one’s own sense-senselessness. The only “task”: to retie the (k)nots (of) that fray.

This only thing entered is entered by “dying” – incredible farce, but still in search of…

Because “to break a path in the presentation of sense” demands that the present sense break.

Thus there can only be the beginning, the retying of sense to sense in its absence, in the absence of any signifying tie whatsoever. One can only give a sign: in excess.

*

An infinite person is an inconsequential person. Two times: for us to say that it is so.

*

No peace for me outside the blinking instant of writing, the effacement of the primary.

No stasis for you outside the shaking instant of reading-writing. No communication of “truth” in the wasteland outside the fall inside it. Only happiness (ambivalence) could save us from that fall; otherwise there is pleasure/ecstasy, sublimity/anguish. Mixtures, all: the pleasure of going outside the self mixed in with the proximity of danger and death. Is a “science” of this activity possible outside the “act”? But the act implies its halt and pause: failure at every point of “self-reflection.” Thus real writing (here at the limit, at the breaking-point of “powerful communication” (Bataille)) can only be……. darkness (I’ve forgotten what I thought it was).

–A feeling after all of there being no communication possible, all the way up to the end.

–And yet drawn into this “activity,” to show forth its very impossibility? To show something to you?

*

One must tarry with one’s own emerging murmuring, with the undecideability of one’s own voice. One must come into contact with the thinking thing that one is, to realize all that one is not.

*

The sublime would then be that paradoxical feeling of the distant near, of the far away and fearful feeling close. Without comfort, but also: without grief.

*

Laughing again at the end of all relevance, at the absolute end of time. Presence.

*

Difficult to know which concepts to retain and to abandon. Experience can only be retained if disentwined from the subject of so-called “lived experience”; otherwise it connotes the subjective paradigm we seek to escape. –I wanted to articulate experience as the event of the unprecedented, as an unfiltered or uncaught “opening” to the “there is” before any “there it is” (and especially before any “there I am”): an opening to being as to an event of existence. –But this was never to indicate a new experience, or to endorse any kind of new practice, nor ecstasy, but rather to bring to light the ‘ground’ of existence as this exposure of the being of experience in its being – where this exposure is its very exposition, “presentation itself,” the “that there is”: presence, being itself. –How clear that this cannot be said! but only that one strive to make it clear: that prior to everything for us is life, existence, experience; and that the subject of that experience, of time and meaning, only comes later, always too late – or rather, always much too soon

*

I wanted to be the pure present, to be the pure present for you. But I couldn’t. It was you.

*

An “extreme sadness” overcomes me (which feels utterly feigned in the next instant): that I will never reach the creation of a work of art, that I am incapable of it. Too intensely have I practiced myself on the ontology of nothingness; how will everything be turned around into a creative work? Surely I will remain here non-hypothetically at the limit between my work and its impossibility, and my silence will be nearly perfect, I confess, but not because of my will: its cause lies intimate with the work that controls not only my will but also my whole life and voice. An image is present, the image of a creative work, but the voice speaks otherwise; and what it speaks of goes under, goes underneath what it shows. What it does goes on beside it, always, and under the pressure of this sinking thing, the whole of the image trembles, dissolves, erases itself. Non-hypothetically, non-metaphorically, not only does this swelling horror play out in the image, but also in the life shown: that life sinks entirely underneath: craves presence absolutely (rising tingling of death in me, of death as me… pure abjection, purely subjected to being (lost)). Could it be that I could only take up exactly where I went wrong? that I was perfectly synonymous with the lecherous teem of guiltless, indifferent life, consigned to decompose? with the abortion of all human time as such? But no… it was something else, always something else: I, or you. Because I desired this directness for the whole span of my life, with all the weight I could leverage for my articulation, everything direct became impossible. By our dreadful impenetrability alone do we communicate. Underneath what had appeared to meet me, it went to reach you, proving the non-existence of our graves. I became dread transformed into subtle sensation, apparition of the absolute presence of absence in everything… whereas, clearly, I was not that thing, and could only reach you as you let yourself be reached, here where you are not, not yet, no more. I could only feel my way into my deepest feeling of yours, and I always arrived too late: the funeral oratory, so misguided, so misplaced, had already begun its sober tune. But there was nothing to clear up about this. All I could say was simple, what you already had to know: that it was time to go under– that it was time, for you, to go.

*

How strange, that my anguish was, that it be, nothing! And yet its return is all but promised: could there ever be an “escape” from it? On the contrary: the whole world, every map and memory, escapes into anguish to melt away, to leave us alone again, however much the world of information seeks to cover it up. Every idea of ours will go there to resolve in basic fears, in the budding monstrosity of nothing-doing in our life. We’ll fear this loss up to the very end, and yet it is our sole destiny, our lone universal. To reach it is to reach the truth by losing it.

–But what could be more captivating than this? Into its vortex we’re sucked beyond all remedy: call it hell, call it love, call it goodbye forever, whatever it is is immediately most ours, this accursed share we share alone, alive in separation, in an alienation that connects us precisely by virtue of our disconnection, by its power to dissolve solids and scatter works. In this splitting instant, the undeniable, horrifying us, arrives, sends us into the disarray we decry and crave at once. And how strange, that it be nothing, really, at all! that nothing could be known more intimately, however unreal it is.

Anguish most irremediable, most ours, does not fail to come near us: we need it, because we are, because we’re needed.

*

But the thing I was is not the thing I am – and never was.

Underneath me: your hand, holding me to it.

*

Assuming all the errors are mine, there is no limit to what I can correct. The difficulty: to keep from substituting lesser errors for greater ones, to keep from diverting our efforts into lesser tasks, instead of piercing into the greatest one, which summons up our errors at their most comprehensive and illustrative point.

But not to eliminate the errors, no matter how great, but to appropriate them as ours and see them lucidly. Errors do not dissolve by acts of emendation so much as by awareness. We have gripped on to something too tightly and must release it, not simply grab on to the next best option. Because no option is suitable. Revelation is without them, surrendered to the anguish and lucidity of the “moment.”

The ways of finitude are all error; but infinity arrives in them, goes with them, to the very extent that they declare themselves as such, without remedy. The irremediable, sensed in error, eliminates all attempt at remediation; but so too does it eliminate the error of error, eliminates error as a gripping, guiding category in our lives. Elevated beyond all possibility of correction, being reveals itself as being, reveals that what is cannot “be” anything at all. That there is no way to go wrong, precisely because there is nowhere go. No way to make oneself bePerfection instead is: receptivity to existence, to what exists, to what existence is. In this alone is correction – assuming I am what is.

*

Maimonides: Yahweh’s “I am that I am” interpreted as “the existing being is the existing Being,” meaning: Absolute Being, existence as its own absolute – here, appearing here, insofar as it, being Absolute, exists, now, absolutely.

“What is existing, happening now” – is – “absolutely what is existent, what is happening ever”: arising of mind into nature, thought into consciousness, murmurs into language, animals into history, other metaphors to name the being of beings. “Am” denotes nothing but this “is” of “arising.” It cannot be spoken, or it is before spoken language in whatever is spoken, because it is is-ing. Being is, is is-ing, “you.” Existence cannot “contradict” itself unless we hallucinate something nonexistent in its place. Because existence only exists. There is only “one” be-ing, and be-ing is absolute because it is and for no other reason. No “reason” at all, no cause, and no need for unity. Only “being,” albeit dissolution: I am what I am, it is what it is, because it “is” what “to be” is, whatever “it” is…

Kierkegaard’s paradox, that eternity breaks into history in the instant, never once and for all, but only this instant, also articulates god as the “existence of existence”: existence of an existence that exists, of “existence existing.” What is is never enclosed in or by what is; there is only its opening, its “ex-” or ex-is. Here is what will forever be so difficult for us to think: “is” means “ex-.” The only stability, unity, continuity, and grandeur of “God” is “ex-.” Because there is no prior to what is. The movement of ex-, of opening, is what is. “Ex-“: what “being” is.

Clear then God is just a peal of laughter, echoing at Etna’s rim. A unified or “perfect” being can no longer serve to represent is-ing, indeed no representation can serve it, because what is has eo ipso ruptured with it, by being. In being, no image stands: only ruins exist. But in ruins, love begins. In other words: something runs – underneath every image, underneath every being…

A white, anonymous, innocent laughter peals across the sky, but cannot stay. A kiss reaches us deeper than we could ever say or comprehend, but the lips go away, though indeed, we go with them, inseparable. Because nothing that has happened can be negated; it only goes on, or goes away. And along with it we go, into the going there. It is the absolute in the instant, irreplaceable: but only in this instant is it – is anything. 

To hold oneself here where only “is” is? Not to be the existing being, but to be the existence of what exists, to be “it exists,” totally? Perhaps that is God. Perhaps that is freedom.

Go – “ex-” – is…

*

Craving for the deepest reality – nothing less has determined the trajectory of my life; and yet look closely how these were revealed to me, freely bestowed!, how all cravings fell short of what time gave so willing unto my shocked-open heart!

What was I, then, but an energy of this light? My only role was to avoid preventing that energy from sparking off. I did not need to know what the light was shed on, or what the revealed inscription revealed, if anything; what I had to do was live – in all this tentative, “torrential” time, eager in anticipation for the coming of what is, each time it is, each time distinct.

For while it was out here alone that I received all this, all that I received was common, all the energy of my life a shared energy, and there was the true mystery: the event was not mine, but was myself-outside-myself. I experienced it, being, myself, as nothing ever myself, as never once my own; far off from all essence, I became one with what is (what is “is-ing”; what, now, Being is). I craved to be, but never once did that mean craving to be me; in fact it meant the very opposite: to be exposed to all the other origins of the world, all other beings. To being itself, even in me. Such an exposure could not be stopped, nor more than it could be forced, for every thing, gleam, hint, or thought – place, face, person, season – was an origin exposing me to, introducing me to, myself, being, “my world”: into the real being or happening of what is, into the real sense of things – into presence.

All deep feeling – of touching and being touched, of feeling moved, and of touching-being movement as such – of moving-touching-feeling as being at one… – all deep feeling implies this abandon, surrender of self into other, a being-thrown-into which can in no case be measured by thought unless thought itself become immeasurable. Such is why all real speaking is also listening, why all real art is participatory, why all being is meeting, sharing, and parting. Listening, participating, sharing being, sharing in being, does not mean a transparent exchange between given actors. What is here, is not information. It can only be given as an expansion, a re-articulation of Being anew in beings as non-repeatable, as not-enduring. We lack a vocabulary to speak this sharing or emergence of being, which takes us to the limit where we touch; and yet this mesmerizing is mundane, no accomplishment is tied to it. And it is hardly a revelation. Just prior to our cross over into consciousness, there is this unnameable deep feeling signifying within us the depth of being’s sharing, its being shared with us before we even “are” ourselves. This is the reality of meaning: us before us, us beside ourselves. The deepest reality…

*

If then I never again were to return back on myself, would I not then truly experience what it is to be? 

The feeling of being is this non-consistence. This is the glowing sun of my life, my entire experience. So much “self-erasure” have I endured! And let my example be a real one: this negativity of “no returns” does not ever convert back into something durable. As Heidegger once tried to show: to be is NOT to endure. Being has nothing to do with endurance but with exceedance. Being is– is being– its “very own” MORE. And this more is LIFE, or life’s presence: exuberance, desire, elation. How ridiculously quiet will this life of exaltation have been! Let it be a lesson on the inanity of purposeful action! When feeling deepens, nothing happens. With feeling, there is no necessity, no need; there is only this call of MORE, to being.

Could this be the pleasant moment? Could this be– eternity? No matter, something comes next. Something MORE always comes.

But this MORE resists all signification; and so I live, and so I write on. Thus my situation as one lost forever and lost forever without works. Because I cannot put a single sign to “my” MORE: no endurance of being. There is nothing durable about me or my works (can it be impressed enough? is it believable?). They crave solely to return to what is presencing. At least since Bottomed Out, this has been the case with my work. My pursuit has pained me because presencing does not need my support. Presencing does not need what I have to give or show. “Nothing is going on with being,” says Heidegger. Which means that one cannot make another one available for being. One can only expose what already is. BECAUSE WHAT COULD THERE BE BUT THIS DISRUPTIVE GRACE OF BEING, THIS CUT IN THE CONTINUUM OF TIME WHICH IS YOU IN ALL THE UNPRECEDENTED SPLENDOR OF INFINITY? If I pursue that, I pursue presencing. I pursue what is, and crumble, topple over and tip up: here with you absent, with you as you are now, “forever changed.”

THE GIFT OF SENSE NEVER GIVEN! NEVER EVEN NOW!

–Endless listening, endless frissoning, “signs” of true sovereignty, of true communication – of being…

–But you must somehow feel this also: the liberty I teach, the exuberance I try to speak, has no result whatsoever. The frisson of being ends in sexual spasm, in mad laughter, in a shot of uncontrollable pain, in death finally (now) – but these are only images and figures for the changed reality of time itself in being’s frissoning. All signal away from the production of reality; on the contrary, the grace of sense-never-given (no results) can only be welcomed as it comes. No proactive movement or exercise can produce the interruption of self which is the liberation of our being into frissoning.

The root feeling therefore is: nothing yet has happened. And nothing that ever does happen can be captured in language or in meaning generally. All exceeds meaning – every instant holds within itself more “meaning” than all the tomes of human wisdom all combined. What we “need” is to welcome this somehow (can it be practiced?), this availability to sense-in-excess-of-sense, this availability to being as it presences and not as it endures. What makes it all, and me, so real, is precisely the fact that it does not, and certainly I do not, last. To think this “it doesn’t last,” to think non-endurance, is finally to think “being,” to think what is as it comes.

*

“You are a form of being I, and I a form of being you: those are the limits of my possibility” (Clarice Lispector). So let it be quite clear what is at stake.

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