The world is filled with humans taking positions and refuting positions, using them to seduce, spar, single out, intimidate, repudiate, confirm, etc. Social media makes the phenomenon, in all its futile hand-wringing, quite visible. No one is safe, for…
Someone wants to warn the world against the position some other has taken. Someone else wants the other to clarify the position they’ve taken before things go any further. Someone else wants someone else to prove they have a right to the position they’ve taken. Someone else wants to establish a common vocabulary so a shared position can be reached. Someone else has a problem with the way someone has phrased a position. Someone else wants to keep reading to get a grasp on all the positions. Someone else is on a hit list mission to eradicate anyone who holds some position. Someone else sees only their own position and acts violently to impose it, even if it’s insane or unreasonable. Someone else wants a clever, ironic position, to raise a chuckle or be cutesy. Others want to speak in the name of oppressed others through their positions. Others pretend to take positions just to agitate. Others throw up their hands wondering what will happen if certain positions keep gaining traction. Others want to advance radical change or cutting edge positions. Others are trolling positions, while others patrol trolls’ positions. Others are semi-consciously contradictory, taking one position, doing the other. Some are fully-unconsciously embodying with their actions the opposite stance of their desired position. Some spin position after position, circling in dialogue-chaos, thinking this is creativity. Many are not thinking through their positions or why they have them. Many have conflicting opinions and don’t have the energy to square them. Some can’t get a grip on any position. Others want to gain position and want to know what position they have to take to get it. Others are fully-automatic in attack position and put any position on blast because whatever. Someone else hides behind a position or a lack of position because it’s less stressful that way. And someone else is dedicated to carving out their own position, not even in relation to their peers, but for all humanity…
Take a position, refute a position, defend your position, etc.—who would have guessed we were all such philosophers? What are we to read in the hegemony of this form of thinking and communication in public space? How often do we ask about its real effectivity? How often do we seek the practice in the position? Why do we ask, “what are you thinking?” instead of “what is the goal here?” Is it really a position that persuades and changes hearts? If not, what is all the commerce in positions good for? If not perhaps to conceal the fact that this form itself is, everywhere, a sort of compulsion, if not a persecution.
It as if we were urging ourselves to the courtroom, situation by situation, demanding that a case be pleaded, positions validated or proved with case evidence. As millions persecute each other in this court of opinion, with hatred and resentment and division increasing. Victimizing each other with the commandment: take a position on the matter, take your stand, represent yourself. Be in the world already! Responsiblize yourself!
As it there were any proof of a responsible life. As if the real trial wasn’t faced in solitude, the real work invisible, embracing one’s entire life-way.
So I ask myself why we were ever content with this over-saturated level of language use, where the aim is quite boringly to have a sufficient argumentation on paper—so that what, after the position’s been broadcast we can go back life as normal?
What if position-taking (in the solid sense when it advances what amounts to an insufficiently founded, founded-upon-presuppositions, belief) was in some sense always a deferral of practice? Every word you waste on the world’s confusion—doesn’t it just confuse you? What is *really* the purpose for you to get involved with it? Positions are totally pathetic in this sense, feigning ‘decisions’ that really just excuse a level of disengagement. The concern can be retained on a discursive level ad infinitum, but indignation, for most of us at least, is hardly even a bare minimum of action. It is, let’s admit, mostly distraction and a way to exhibit the righteousness of our position as we esteem it. Strong positions—do they not always betray vanity?
Thus I come to ask myself if there isn’t a more radical “position” one might take on positions in general. Underneath the position-taking form, not an ex-posure or an anti-position, but rather non-positional a priori, in principle. Not by choice, not qua position, but because positionality does not correspond to, or at least cannot determine, humans in the final analysis. Because each human is the Unpositioned, an immanence that defends itself from the position-form, demonstrated by the ease with which we can change them, let them go, and find such ready reprieve from them among friends and loved ones. What if instead of positioning humans we came to their defense against entire regime of positionality? What if we assumed: no one is localizable? To take an end-time stance, where every position is understood to be fruitless, despite the spectacle effects it may generate in the interim. To say that every position is grounded in a human Uncertainty that is inexorable, not as a constraint, but as a freedom for the future as Indetermined. To let decisions be undermined, under-determined, under-positioned—not a humility geared to gaining credibility, but the credibility of humility as such, in its radical inability to take a position, its identity with the non-positional. Perhaps this would be a more surefire way to bring peace among humans. Indeed, doesn’t the suspension of partisanship, the side-taking, the believing-I’m-me, bring it immediately? Isn’t this what we know to be loving/human, despite the world’s confusion?
I ask myself why we ever compromised with the love we know, even for a single word.
But then those with the stronger position will win, you say? And thus, by some means, we must discover the more powerful position, convince others to adopt it, etc.? Perhaps our spontaneous belief in the power of discursive reason is overrated.
Perhaps it is, and always was, a matter of a human Real that can’t be stated and needn’t be: a faithful love, a use-of-silence, that knows it is the only position worth taking, and so takes it for all eternity.
If that is so? May the consequences for human practice be major…