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Bring things together

I had some general ideas that unify most of what I've been thinking through and researching into lately. I realized that thinking about addition - as what is underneath any negation - brings together my interests in indexicalism (and perspectivism, and the Great Outdoors, and the Other), in cosmopolitics (and in particular the role of artificialization in the history of the furniture of the universe) and in the logic of supplement (and in the very idea that negation is a supplement). The central unifying idea can be stated as a slogan (or a formula): n + 1. If we start out with a broad idea of excess - and non-intended abundance - we counter various assumptions concerning identity, subsistence and intelligibility. The very project of metaphysics - in the Nietzsche-Heidegger way of seeing it - results from taking things to in a specific way that enjoy some kind of permanence. Further, this can be done also by a relation-based metaphysics where things join together as a blob or as a whole and as such they have an underlying physis that could be extracted and reproduced. If the agglomeration of things is junky (Bohn and Schaffer expression for a world where everything is a part) and subject to permanent addition that act not as what completes what was previously missing but as a supplement that challenges what was there before, there is nothing to be extracted but surely something to be produced from understanding how things are. 

Quickly and roughly speaking, addition (and the supplement) escapes from the genealogical line of physis - the first beginning, as Heidegger calls it in the mid-30s (Besinnung, Geschichte des Seyn etc). We can even think that the second beginning, closer to inception and incapable to either ground or be grounded, Ereignis, can be taken as an addition. To be sure, Derrida understands the trace - which is a supplement - as what brings up presence and therefore as what acts as an Ereignis. That underlying abyss in physis (and presence) is also understood to be an appropriation of what was already in place - an appropriation is hardly what completes what there was or keep things as they were. Whenever something happens - something is written on an already written surface - everything else is vulnerable; addition brings about uncertainty, vulnerability, ungrounding. It is from the abyss of addition that things can appear as forming an intelligible and persisting structure - like a text, like a world-view, like a collection of truths to be exposed. The very Ereignis of metaphysics as an event in history of beyng - or as a cosmopolitical moment - is also an addition, well, it is a supplement. In fact, we can read Heidegger on the origins of metaphysics in terms of a suppression of action or work (ergo, poien) in favor of products, acts, actuality and a fixed reality.

Further, addition poses a problem to the ontologism taken as an unchallenged assumption by Heidegger - albeit eventually replaced by an ontologism of beyng. What comes in Ereignis is rather the Other - or the Great Outdoors. This remark is just to indicate how addition connects to indexicalism: indexicals are ways to relate to what could be added, they offer a navigation through the channels of addition. 

In any case, addition also leads to the issues concerning the infinite. A universe open to addition holds no totality and maintains no truth. The departure from the project of metaphysics ushers in a conception of the intellect as a productive instance, as an acting machine more than a representing one. The image of a converging Geist is replaced by that of a diverging assemblage of multiple lures for feelings. However, in the spirit of my indexicalist situated paradoxico-metaphysics, that means no commitment to an absolute immanence, rather, addition is possible precisely because of some kind of transcendence (the abyss, the Other, the Outdoors, excess). This is where a lot has still to be thought: maybe the categories of transcendence and immanence, orthogonal to those of negation and addition, are to be somehow rethought. (And I mean it perhaps even as a rereading of Spinoza.)



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