Skip to main content

Knowing singularities by heart

Went to see a beautiful exhibition by Carlos Lin where he presents photos of the skies pinned with acupuncture needles. That somehow inspired my friend Luciana and me to discuss a bit about how to know singularities. Lucien Freud defends memorising or knowing by heart against learning - he says he was always interested in knowing few things but by heart. Knowing by heart is the only way to know singularities, there is nothing there (as far as the singular in them is concerned) that can be known otherwise. No general system of classification, no description, nothing but what is akin to knowing a name. Like a fold in a body known by heart and painted to explore by Lucien Freud or a fold of a cloud, the pinned singularity in the needles of Lin. That very point in the cloud's fold can be named, can be pinned, can be given a geographical location but to know it cannot mean anything other than knowing it by heart.

I remember in my book Excesses and Exceptions I consider the anomaly of singularity for thought. Things can be known by description but that doesn't capture the anomaly of something singular. Singularities, I say, can cause things and that causation could be expressed in terms of a law that relates descriptions of the singularity but it is not the singularity qua singularity that is in the law that supports the causal link. In that chapter, I take Davidson's anomalous monism and the thesis that the mental is anomalous and distort it so that I make singularity itself anomalous. This cloud causes rain but only because it can be described as a rain-causing cloud (say, a cumulonimbus). Knowing all its causal powers (and categorical properties) is not enough to know the cloud. As a singularity it cannot be known but by heart.


Popular posts from this blog

Giving Birth

This is a month of giving birth: 1. On the first day of the month (my birthday) I sent out my book BUG (Being Up for Grabs) to publisher. A birth-giving moment. 2. On the forth, we started the Journal, called Journal of Questions. It is a Jabèsian and Jarryian endeavor that intends to reflect in many languages about the gaps between thought and translation. It will be available soon. 3. On the 10th, day before yesterday, offspring Devrim A. B. was born. Her name means revolution in Turkish and is a roughly common name. She's very attentive and concentrated - especially on her own fingers that she learned to molest in her youth during her womb months. She was gestated together with BUG. Hope the world enjoys.

My responses to (some) talks in the Book Symposium

Indexicalism is out: l   The book symposium took place two weeks ago with talks by Sofya Gevorkyan/Carlos Segovia, Paul Livingston, Gerson Brea, Steven Shaviro, Chris RayAlexander, Janina Moninska, Germán Prosperi, Gabriela Lafetá, Andrea Vidal, Elzahrã Osman, Graham Harman, Charles Johns, Jon Cogburn, Otavio Maciel, Aha Else, JP Caron, Michel Weber and John Bova. My very preliminary response to some of their talks about the book follows. (Texts will appear in a special issue of Cosmos & History soon). RESPONSES : ON SAYING PARADOXICAL THINGS Hilan Bensusan First of all, I want to thank everyone for their contributions. You all created a network of discussions that made the book worth publishing. Thanks. Response to Shaviro: To engage in a general account of how things are is to risk paradox. Totality, with its different figures including the impersonal one that enables a symmetrical view from nowhere

Necropolitics and Neocameralism

It is perhaps just wishful thinking that the alt-right seemingly innovative and intrepid ideas will disappear from the scene as Trump's reign comes to an end. They have their own dynamics, but certainly the experiences of the last years, including those in the pandemics, do help to wear off their bright and attractiveness. Neocameralism, what Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land with him ushered in as a model of post-democracy that relinquish important ingredients of the human security system, is one of these projects that is proving to be too grounded in the past to have any capacity to foretell anything bright beyond the democratic rusting institutions. It is little more than necropolitics - which is itself a current post-democratic alternative. Achile Mbembe finds necropolitics in the regimes were warlords take over the state-like institutions (or mimick them)  to rule on the grounds of local security having no troubles killing or letting die whoever is in their path. Neocameralism pos