To want the encounter is never to have it; the act in relation comes to you, relates you to the relation happening, inspiring, breathing life into you, into that act yourself, the repetition, at bottom, of relating: the relation happening. With the latter we confuse ourselves: we combine ourselves to it as it renders us inassimilable to any order. As a “combination” of acts (selves), we remain enigmatic to ourselves, in the combination of relations that the instant is.
The distinctness of these relations, of all these relations all relating to one another each to each, and without any ordered assembling or combination, is the instant, which is itself another relation, of itself and to itself, combining itself with itself to create a “constantly impossible” combination, impossible to distinguish from its very surge: the atemporality of an instant that constitutes no present (Derrida), neither present nor absent, and that at best, in secret, comes to you. Combining ourselves to it, “we” are the relation happening, the act in relation, the impossible interaction or “haphazard” combination of distinct relations in a self, in a world, in an encounter, constituting an outside to everything, suspending the given in the distinctness of whatever “new” relation is there, or rather surprises us, vanishes in air.
Each one of these (relations, selves, worlds, encounters) suspends the combination and its real, or rather, makes itself manifest in and as its very surge… even and especially when the manifestation comes in secret. Can there be a materialism of the secret? Only at the suspension of real activity, of ethical being, of the “already given” combination. The tutelage of the secret is suspense, and the suspense (of knowledge, of thought, of categories) is what it offers to us. It’s what comes to us in the surprise of the encounter—the one we can’t and have to open to, the one we open to by being opened by it.
This surge of the wholly other in one, “veiled” in what we call the real, in the given combination, is not veiled in the sense of a deprivation. The veil of the real never fails to allude to the combinatory thrust, however obvious its outcome in dissolution (“at one” with unity, as Hölderlin knew). The veil (“of the present”) is an appeal, not a cover. It cuts across the present and lets its relations combine. It is itself caution. Even a god could be born there…
This instant is the lifting of a veil that never lifts (at least not so far as we have any time left for ourselves; we will return to the time that remains); but it is an unveiling that is indistinguishable from the outcome of dissolution. It is in this sense that the instant is abandoned (is never god, and never allows for one; unless it be a “god” desacralized, god as the sharing of interiors, as the surge of relations in secret), abandoned along with every instant of relation, self, world, and encounter— into an outside of time in time, to a type of manifest genesis, to an ‘original origin’ of the instant, in the instant of…
Hips, spiders, glasses, chains… mirror images, words, playthings: all these are promises of relation that interrupt the composition of things, the given combination in the world.
And perhaps desire is just this excess, the relation-in-act: an appeal and an attraction that comes from the outside in and from the inside out, where the arrangement of things cannot be made clear, thus evoking the strongest passion to relate. Desire is like water: every unit is both a bonded relation and a combinatory force; each unit’s weight or thrust a product of attractive and repellant relations that do not “balance out,” but displace. And yet, as non-combinatory and not countable, desire also represents something like the “haywire of structure.” Each of its instances are inalienable in their quality of suspension, in the uniqueness of their “singularity breaking through,” the singularity of a world, a self, an encounter, a relation.
The differentiality of instants has no telos or intention, no more than the ebbing tide does. It only ever escapes behind itself up front, disoriented around anything like an object. It is a differenting without end that is nevertheless complete in every instance. It is, manifest and in its arrangement of veiled relations, utterly original, causal, or “occasional,” in the strong sense as “opportune”: through the blinds of the given combination, a decision comes through to you, through the other to you (the impossible happens).
It welcomes the bodily expression, the veil that urges on the surge of the uncountable and uncontainable relation, which does quite well without meaning: the “only” chance that this manifestation of veils and relations reveals and appeals to itself: the encounter at a standstill, absolutely and forever “unhad,” desire communicated, sealed, sent off, reachable.
I meant to say “not” in verse form, obviously. And I have second thoughts about “capture,” since it suggests containment. So instead “it exposes the activity of being.”
My first comment, for which the above is a correction, got lost. But that’s OK because each time I read this, something new strikes me. This time it was “a differenting without end that is nevertheless complete in every instance.”
Being complete and yet unfinished is what I understand to be the significance of “whole.” Nancy derides the notion I have from the Greeks that complete means to be like a sphere: timeless, uniform, necessary, and unchanging; as from Parmenides:
“But since there is a furthest limit, it is perfected/ from every side, like the bulk of a well-rounded globe,/ from the middle equal every way: for that it be neither any greater/ nor any smaller in this place or in that is necessary;/ for neither is there non-being, which would stop it reaching/ to its like, nor is What Is such that it might be more than What Is/ here and less there. Since it is all inviolate,/ for it is equal to itself from every side, it extends uniformly in limits.”
Instead we have change. So our question is whether we have the chaos of contingency or the opportunity of opening. Can an ‘instant’ be the future rushing toward us?