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Sunday, 8 September 2019

Recurrence reexamined

Recurrence, in the Levinasian sense of going away from one's interiority and stepping the Other's shoes before coming back to where one stands, is a force that contrasts with that of extracting intelligibilities and controlling whatever crosses the way. It is the force that stems from the wound of the other - the obsession that leads to the evasion of oneself towards being substituted. Recurrence is what triggers acts of sanctity - and acts of sanctity are not acts of control, are not necessariy moral acts, are not religion. It is not about understanding others, it is about responding to them. Science is sometimes triggered by recursion as much as it is triggered by the will to extract intelligibility, but the latter normally wins over as it is in line with the most salient purposes of the endeavor (turning the world controllable). Good and evil narratives are often about recurrence and power, but good and evil are intertwined because recurrence is not a narrative, but a gesture moved by a trace - it is not an integrated side of a battle, but a procedure. Recurrence is transversal - it is neither about struggling against the ongoing cosmopolitics of science nor about siding with compassion or with community life (or anything of the sort). Compassion, for example, is often directed towards the security of the sameness of the human species. Community life, even more so, is very frequently driven by the human security system. However, compassion and community life etc involve recurrence.

A civilization forged by recurrence is one where the third person viewpoint, for which everything is supposed to become accessible, fades away. It fades away because dealing with the other is the guiding adventure - and not an obstacle. It is not about constructing a thesis nor is it about uncovering the physis or even going along with it, it is about being exposed to what is exterior.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Call for a section in a conference

Our Contemporary Ontologies group meet in Porto Alegre, next November. This is the call for my section:

Cosmopolíticas animistas

A ideia desta mesa é pensar as figuras do não-humano que tem adquirido centralidade - e excepcionalidade - na configuração cosmopolítica da Terra: as inteligências artificiais, os ciborgues, os singularidades tecnológicas, a mecanosfera, Gaia insurreta, a cibernética das razões e o Capital. Em particular, interessa como as alianças e hibridismos entre estas figuras compõem uma modificação na gerência do poder no planeta que torna o humano subserviente, coadjuvante ou redundante. Uma vez que não há mais como restaurar o ancien régime humano que despotiza todo não-humano como recurso despolitizado, encontramos rapidamente um panorama cosmopolítico de animismos em que outros sujeitos e outras redes - e outras continuações da política por outros meios - tomam corpo. Trata-se agora de encontrar uma constituição para a lida e para o combate nestas novas circumstâncias; e talvez teremos que abandonar o ideal constitutivo de um parque humano em favor de um emaranhado de incunbências (responsa-abilidades) que tornem os outros em sua exterioridade a mola propulsora de uma sensibilidade sem órgãos, inextrincavelmente cósmica e inexoravelmente política.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Starting to write on the cosmopolitics of transcendence and immanence

Golpe

O alarme de um carro, o horizonte distraído, a máquina que não para mais para fumar. Já não falo com mais ninguém sem um leão de chácara.
É meio-dia, mas a luz é turva. O sol e a sombra se tornam esquálidos e rarefeitos na temporada do Capital. O siroco galáctico se abateu sobre nós, com suas indumentárias de caixinhas pretas que levamos no bolso e que nos conectam às nuvens onde nunca podemos ir vestidos de estômago, de virilha ou de rego.

Também ele, o Capital, forasteiro vindo da intimidade, está às voltas com os regimes vigentes.

Quais são os regimes da cosmopolítica? A democracia, imanência horizontalóide generalizada, deixa que os 80% dos votos algerianos em 26 de dezembro de 1991 decidam pela sharia. Nâo há militares guardiões de uma ordem que preexiste todo burburinho social. Não há a farda das identidades e nem a metralhadora do excesso. A metralhadora do excesso coloca todos os governos a serviço de uma sobra infernal, une Bataille d´Alger permanente, com o inimigo assolando e assediando. Assediando tudo com algo a mais, com um bônus que não pode ser ignorado. O excesso, maldito, que cobre as coisas poderosas e as pretensões abatidas de um espasmo extra a ser administrado. Na democracia cosmopolítica, também os militares e a metralhadora do excesso se curvam aos 80% dos votos. A lei do mais forte também se submete ao mais forte. Não há mesmo nenhuma lei que não possa ser constituída, reconstituída, recauchutada, remanejada, realocada. Mesmo aquela que freqüenta os silogismos, os homens são mortais, também pode ser realocada pelas nuvens das máquinas, remanejada para um futuro 2.0 a ser lançado pela Apple, recauchutada pela transformação do hormônio de Tanatos em chips de baixa manutenção , reconstituída em uma decisão da indústria pela absoluscência programada, tornada em doença primitiva curada pelo desenvolvimento macrobiológico. Na democracia cosmopolítica, também o excesso pode virar falta se 80% dos votos forem computados em favor da sharia.

Na democracia cosmopolítica nem sequer a soberania humana é autoridade mantida por si mesma. A estabilidade imanente é apenas uma ilusão da manutenção permanente que é velada – dizer que uma autoridade se mantém por si mesma numa democracia cosmopolítica é como dizer que os pratos sujos largados na pia se lavam por si mesmos. A soberania humana é cosmopoliticamente tão histórica quanto a gordura grudada na colher e o carro de boi. A soberania é uma pequena porção de terra entre o país do aleatório e o oceano da inteligência. A autoridade de Deus está à deriva de sua sabedoria: se é sumamente sábio, que liberdade pode ter? A inteligência dos fatos sangra a autonomia. Leibniz mantinha seu Deus todo sábio e todo livre se apoiando em princípios lógicos transcendentes que faziam com que infinitos mundos possíveis –federações de fatos – fossem igualmente possíveis. A soberania de Deus ela mesma depende de uma configuração cosmopolítica. Um Deus que é uma exceção à cosmopolítica apenas joga dados.

O funcionamento da democracia cosmopolítica tem sido explorado pelas filosofias da imanência. Numa democracia cósmica, as identidades estão para jogo, as estabilidades precisam de manutenção, os indivíduos são reféns de processos de individuação que por vezes são temerários e sempre são temporários. Os humanos, enquanto depositários de soberania na presente antropocracia, não estão garantidos em sua continuidade por nenhuma rocha dura solene a prova de variabilidade ecológica ou de reordenamento das inteligências. E o momento presente é o de erosão dos equilíbrios duradouros associado a uma crescente computabilidade das inteligências movida por uma artificialização compulsiva. Assim talvez não sobre humanidade que possa ser soberana. As filosofias cosmo-democratas da imanência se dedicam a um trabalho de destituição de autoridades – nem Deus nem patrão ainda que possa haver todo-poderosos eleitos e sustentados, donos dos campinhos chancelados pela constituinte permanente. Imanente é o capitalismo frente aos senhores feudais que invocavam direitos advindos de alhures: ao mundo todos chegam iguais, mas alguns enriquecem neste mundo. A acumulação primitiva de capital não está baseada na natureza das coisas – ainda que se baseie na escolha de um Deus calvinista, mas neste caso Deus teria jogado dados. A acumulação primitiva de capital é baseada em uma imanência de forças, alianças e oportunidades, com a violência das decisões forjadas nos coação. Nada transcendente para o capital na democracia cosmopolítica já que tudo é decidido pelas oportunidades das alianças fortes.

Além das democracias, há outros regimes cosmopolíticos: a monarquia, a oligarquia, a anarquia. Nestes outros regimes, há transcendências – e quais?

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Transcendence

As a follow-up from indexicalism, I´m thinking more and more in terms of the violence of immanent philosophies been redeemed by some kind of transcendence. Been thinking in terms of how a Kripkean account of proper names made them transcend the immanence of descriptions (and other meaningful gestures towards the referent, like Fregean Sinne supposedly are) and how a transcendental account which is clearly not empirical transcends the immanence of the empirical. This is part of my current project of understanding transcendence in terms of supplement with Derrida and in terms of excess with Bataille. In all those cases, there is an outside that can only make sense from the inside and that cannot be encompassed (put in terms of, reduced, translated, understood as a complement or as something missing) by the inside.

I was rehearsing today the idea that Wettstein formula for the Kripkean revolution in the philosophy of language (in his Magic Prism) can be adapted to be a more or less general formula for transcendence (or exteriority). The motto he proposed for the revolution is: linguistic contact without cognitive contact. Hence, for instance, the external world - or The Great Outdoors - is something we make a contact which is metaphysical, positional or transcending and in some sense lingustic whithout cognitive contact. We can be wrong about our beliefs that, say, everything out there is water and still refer to everything out there. Transcendence requires a lack of cognitive contact in the following general sense: there is no transparency. The external world is not transparent, everyone could be systematically fooled about it - the external world is transcendent if it doesn´t necessarily amount to what eventually will become transparent. If this is right, there is some sort of general internalism about philosophies of immanence, even if there is often much more to them than human cognitive abilities.

Harman and Garcia

Chatting today with Jadson, one of my PhD students, on object-oriented ontology, I said:
<< Maybe this is a coarse but enlghening way to approach the difference between Harman´s and Gacia´s account: just like Plato thought the distinction between the sensible and the intelligible is that both are extensionally separated, i.e. two different items, and Aristotle made this extensional separation into an intensional distinction, i.e. the same item can be both as sensible and as intelligible; Harman separates the real object from the sensual object as extensionally distinct while Garcia understands thing, which is independent of any other object, and object, among others, as two intensionally distinct modes of being of the same item - of the same object. >>

Saturday, 11 May 2019

The Capital method

With a moderate fever, I opened my email and was struck by a Quora question (Is Cuba proof that socialism works?). I don't like this questions in general, they seem to come with a pitfall. But I guess my fever made me go on and read one of the answer. It was from a man who apparently have lived in Cuba. He writes that Cuba is all about corruption and controlling their citizens. Then he goes on to present what he called "The KGB method". I went on to give my answer citing his description of the method:

It is a proof that over all anything is better than leave-it-to-the-market systems. Of course, to challenge capital has been always like drying a block of ice. It doesn’t work in the long run, and a previous answer to this question provided an insight to the reason why:

The Capital method is this:

1. “Create through propaganda a GREAT ENEMY that is about to attack your country and subjugate the people and make them suffer, unless they line up behind you to fight this enemy and get into battle mode and obey their commanders.” This can take the form of a catastrophe, a war, a created enemy (including socialism), insecurity about the future, the so-called tragedy of the commons that boils down to make everyone around you sharing anything with you a potential cheater and therefore an enemy or anything that will come about the strategic minds (increasingly artificial) working on this. Without a clear or clouded enemy on the horizon there is no appropriation of land, natural resources, human effort or collective equipment.

2. "Blame all bad things on this enemy and take credit for all good things that may happen.” So, for instance, spread the belief that markets drive anyone out of poverty and nothing else does even when it is blatantly obvious that it is a non-market based policy that did the trick. How can they spread this strange belief? Well, capital turns belief somehow controlable through media and other all-pervasive devices, it makes use something to fuel the engine, something that is short even in powerful Cuban governments: money.

3. “Eliminate the contact between foreigners and the people so the people cannot be informed of any other perspective but the one you are trying to force on them.” Capital does that by enclosing people in their social class. They can go talk to foreigners, but only looking them down; they can go abroad, but usually only as tourists or with a bag of money in their back so that they don’t think beyond their faithfulness to their share of capital.

4. “Of course control all media and means of communication so as to constantly propagate this fear of attack and to suppress any other communication that is not along these lines.” Control of the media is strict under the rule of capital. Some theoreticians have studied the phenomenon and called it manufacturing consent. It has also been called control society. One of the instruments to implement this is to make media and information commercial. True, the internet, for a while, seemed to break the wall of this information-control system. But it was slowly either bounded by laws or turned irrelevant because attention is systematically grabbed towards the commercial media.

5. “Constantly spy on all citizen communication and when you detect deviance or skepticism about your regime harass or detain those involved.” This has been considerably improved by social media. Spying became industrial and information collected through social media is stored in companies that use it for the benefit of capital. Folks loose their jobs or have limited prospects of being hired if they do they appear in the wrong way in the social media. It is well-known that the market system is one that, left to its own devices, tends to have as little people working as possible. The capital method detains people either by inducing unemployed folks into crime (or supposed crime) or directly making their voice unheard.

6. “Prevent the people from leaving your country as they might spread unfavorable information about your regime. This gives them a daily fear that they cannot escape you and therefore are better off obeying you.” Fear is indeed the currency wherever the capital method is applied. Unsatisfied people - refugees, US poor and Blacks, European working class, South American poor, Asian misfits and all the masses in the system can rarely afford to leave your country.

7. Obedience: this is the only thing that works within Capital and if you think about it is the exact method that all these capitalist regimes have in common (Singapore, Colombia, Haiti, Nigeria, France, US, Italy, Egypt, Thailand) and actually is what capitalism is all about, and the rest is just a total failure: control, detention, forced work through wages, increasing misery. It actually is a quite effective method of herding humans. The workers under this regime are so desperate to leave there that millions would leave next week if they got the chance. In fact, they don’t even know where to escape, there is scarcely any way out.

8. “An additional note the capital manual instructs the leaders that when they create this GREAT ENEMY they must NOT select a group of people that conflicts with the archetypes of their people (like their mothers, or monks, or the hospital workers, etc) or otherwise the people will have resistance to accepting this GREAT ENEMY.” So, capital does that by stressing the image of weirdos (sexual dissenters, race dissenters etc), or of Chavs (poor people that deserve nothing but compassion and who no one wants to emulate). The capital method preferred enemy is often poverty itself - the fear of insecurity, the fear of being redundant, of becoming useless and contemptible.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Levinas' ultratranscendental

After finishing Deictic Absolutes, I'm revisiting Autrement qu'être (and Derrida, and Silvia Benso) in my course on Levinas, Heidegger and Derrida. Today we discussed the orientation towards the other - kerygmatic - in the significance of empirical verdicts. What is said is reduced to the saying - because the metaphysics of the subjectivity is not a form of ontologism. That is, when one says anything like S is P, one is predicating and preaching, preaching requires responsibility to the Other who hears one's report. Sensibility is ultimately testimony: my senses are geared towards producing reports to the Other. Now, this is why the senses themselves have no language - no private language - but rather they are led to speak the Other's language so that I can genuinely inform from my senses to the Other that, say, S is P. So, that sensible intuition requires concepts is a consequence of sensibility being geared towards the Other. My senses are put at the service of saying something to somebody else - and public language is not forged within the scope of sameness, it is a way for me, the speaker, to be always hostage to the Others who have taught me concepts and still can correct my application of them. Levinas hints towards an ultratranscendental: that intuitions require concepts is something that demands a transcendental explanation, beyond the scope of thematization. The transcendental - and yet phenomenological explanation - is that in sensibility the Other is entangled with the I (with sameness). The intersubjective is (ultra)transcendentally explained through the wound of the Other in the subject of sensibility.

Now, interestingly, this ultratranscendental can be put in terms of concepts - as in the Kantian tradition that Levinas wants to deepen with Husserl's efforts to find the transcendental and intentional structure of subjectivity - but doesn't have to be put in those terms. So, one can think, in a Whiteheadian vein, that there is no sensible intuition of isolated facts or that there is no sensible intuition without modulation and co-ordination with what is already taken to be known. Whitehead is in a sense going beyond concepts to explain the transcendental structure behind them - that they proceed by co-ordinating, by modulating perception and this is what makes perception itself possible. But one can apply Levinas' ultratranscendental scheme to Whitehead's (transcendental) formulation: co-ordination and modulation is required because one needs to be of relevance to the Other. One needs to be a reliable reporter because sensibility has a saying behind what is said in its very structure. So, the Levinasian doesn't have to be associated to (human) concepts, it is enough to stress that sensibility is an endeavor in saying something to some Other.