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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Le ressassement eternel

Thinking about what I believe was once Armstrong way to describe pan-dispositionalism: always packing, never travelling. The motto, and the corresponding postponing of complete actualization (in the back of my mind I'm thinking of David Ross' translation of entelecheia, in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Kappa, 9, as "complete reality" when Aristotle is trying to make sense of movement and change in terms of dunamis and energeia), provokes an anxiety related to the openness of preparation. Things are always being prepared. The pan-dispositionalist universe is deprived of any telos, of any realization, of any giving birth - it is constantly pregnant. It ia universe that, in a sense, never started, with a postponed future, a postponed beginning. A deferred environment: actualities in deferrance - always unready. It reminds me of Souriau's inachèvement of all things. Things are never product, they are always being produced - they never arrive anywhere, they never achieve. This deferrance provides a difference between each of them. Deferrance is like a repetition, things never reach a telos which is the equivalent of an arché - they never exit and they never exhaust dunamis, they live in constant potentiality both in their origins and in their destiny - both in their past and in their future.

Pan-dispositionalism seems then akin to the idea of repetition. To be sure, Deleuze's ontology appeals to repetition to avoid having modalities beyond virtuality - to be exorcise dispositions as anything close to directness. But the idea that an eternal return replaces the original in a sequence of repetitions rids the past of all readiness while projecting nothing in the future but the repeated. The past is always a preparation - qua past - for what is being repeated now, the past is a répétition, a rehearsal. Repetition, as a kind of deferrance, is what brings about difference. Things have no original past, they are all simulacres. This is similar to pan-dispositionalism but it also seems like its mirror-image. It is almost as if they are entelecheias, or rather pure activity with no original pregnancy where they all came from. It is constant work, constant en-ergo, am Werk as Heidegger translates energeia. It is as if things were always giving birth, never in pregnancy, never in state of gestating something else. Pure preparation is strangely similar to no preparation at all. Pure dunamis, pure energeia.

However maybe in both images the real change - and maybe movement - remains unthought. Aristotle (in Metaphysics, Kappa, 11) considers movement a kind of change that involve a transition from a hypokeimenon to another hypokeimenon (as opposed to generation or corruption). Maybe both pandispositionalism and Deleuze's eternal return are incapable of thinking generation or corruption. But this is what happens when pure immanence is invoked. There is no salvation, no decay - no paradise lost, no messiah to be regained. Hypokeimenon is always there - all that there is is movement, a ressassement eternel, in Blanchot's words.

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