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Showing posts from May, 2012

Materialism as in materials

Jonathan Kemp came to visit Anarchai last week and discuss matter. The discussion involved processes and procedures, matter as a locus for a plural ontology, the diversity of materials and the politics of decrystallisation. Joni holds that "Procedures are ways of understanding processes. They can also create processes. They are implemented in systems whose defining ability is to execute series of changeable rules and iterations. They can be non-symbolic and intuitive, as in the case of humans and animals going to sleep at night, and they can generate novel behaviours, like dreams. Or they can stop and begin again when a new day dawns. Whatever they do, they involve some matter, some configuration of matter as apparatus that somehow delimits procedures. We can add a coda here in playing with a celebrated Graham Harman quotation on the nesting of objects within objects within objects , by saying that processes are wrapped in procedures that are wrapped in matter that are wrapped in


Sometimes thought is strongly triggered by Nemesis - by envy and jealousy of whatever makes itself present. Jealousy of what was chosen to happen: why on earth has this and not something else taken place? It had to be driven by undeserved luck. Thinking is moved by a jealousy towards happening. It makes thought boil with despite, contempt and obsession with issues of merit. It drives criticism - the skeptic, the rebellious and the explosive ones. It feeds the taste for nothingness. It feeds the lack of taste. Or rather, the envy that nothingness holds towards being. Leibniz´s insistence that this was the best of all possible world was in a sense addressing that jealousy: one can expect whatever for the future, but concerning the past, no jealousy is to be allowed. It is an attempt to tame wild jealous thoughts. To guide imagination through a principle of sufficient reason. There is a reason why he left me for somebody else so that I don´t have to go back to black, I don´t have to colla

The extensive continuum and a space of contingencies

Whitehead´s notion of extensive continuum is a very interesting one. It satisfies the obligation of transmutation - that Whitehead deems important to explain Leibniz´s idea that monads have a confused perception of the whole universe. It is connected to the potential, to what takes place in each actual entity - in each monad - before actual individualisation takes place. Each actual entity starts out with the extensive continuum and brings about (or sponsors) actual individual entities who would be the staring point for a next round of generating contemporary actual entities out of the extensive continuum. It is like a potential complicatio of the available world. It is in the continuum that different actual entities co-exist - like an Anaximander´s apeirón more than Anaxagoras´ pool of things which is an assemblage of ready-made, individualised items (his fragment 10: how could hair come from anything but hair and flesh from anything but flesh?). Whatever is an actual entity inhabit

Time for life?

This week I went to a conference on fantasy to talk about the principle of reality (which loves to hide), cross-dressing, Agamben on liturgy and mundus imaginalis. In a session with Peter-Erwin Jansen and Andrew Feenberg I heard two expressions (Marcusean in spirit, I suppose) that caught my attention. They were calling for actions that would allow people to have "time for life" and find ways to "actualise their potentialities". The expressions assume that there is a hidden tendency for something to flourish in humans. For which life should people have time? Which potentialities are worth releasing (or actualizing)? Even though I asked a question concerning the underlying political optimism behind the expressions - the belief that things are easy to mend - the issue that caught my attention is the unreconstructed assumption that there is a human realm - a human substance bearing (fixed) properties along with accidental features brought about by current predicaments)

Quietism and non-philosophy

I´m lecturing a course on poet Manuel de Barros and his philosophical insinuations. We covered his praise to garbage in many forms and his confort with idiocies (his idiolect is a dialect for idiots to speak with walls and flies) and his love for the useless compared with some dimensions of Rilke´s open (in the elegies and in the Stundenbuch). Yesterday we covered a character he talks about: Bernardo. Quiet, he doesn´t talk but with frogs and birds come to nest in his shoulders. He doesn´t think but he finds himself in a state of tree, of pebble, of a stream of water. Shapeshifters are pleased with him. We then covered quietism, non-thinking and Laruelle´s nonphilosophie . The space of thought is like a medium, open to be invaded like an open city, not owned. It is a space without sovereignty, guided by no decision, like a territory without a government. Non-philosophy looks at this state where the space of thought is available for things - hosting them, welcoming them, as if it were a

Dismantling absolute contingency

I´ve been wondering about whether we can formulate something about contingency along the lines of a principle of irreduction: aucune chose n´est par elle-même contingent ou necessaire . The principle asserts that necessity is always contingent on underlying fixed things: something is physically necessary (or contingent) given the fixed laws of nature, something is deontically contingent - allowed - or necessary - mandatory - given the fixed ethical rules (or laws of the land). Finally, something is logically necessary (or necessary simpliciter) given a fixed logic. The irreducible diversity of ethical rules, the absence of eternal laws of nature and the plurality of logical systems, if accepted, makes necessity relative to those parameters. An aggiornamento of Heraclitus would have that nothing is necessary comes what may. Surely, of couse, if there is no absolute necessity, there is no absolute contingency. We can then say that in a broader, more abstract level, things are up for grab

All particulars could bear a name

Elisabeth Anscombe says that a particular is what bears a name. Surely, there are names that are not bore by particulars (think of the Morning Glory cloud in Australia or streams like El Niño or La Niña, those are likely to be types of event rather than particulars). Yet, things can be treated as particulars. In fact, any universal can be given a name or rather, as the nominalist would have, can be treated as a name. The nominalist gesture is to make an expression particular (typically a predicate) by treating it as a name. It is the name of various different things and of course that one name shares different bearers is no threat to the particular character of those bearers - a green leaf and a green lime just happen to bear the same name, "green". This connection between particulars and names is in fact playing a crucial role in Kripke's dismantling of descriptivism: Socrates is a rigid name bearer and, as such, he can afford not to be a philosopher - we can think of hi

Holism and the priority of the part

In my Chocoleibniz course today (Leibniz cum Tarde, Whitehead and Deleuze´s Pli) we covered the way Tarde turns Leibniz´s monadology inside out. Each monad has a world inside it, but a different one, a projected world. And they express themselves in bits of the world through contact with other monads - monads themselves are open, independent and autonomous units of beliefs and desire and act as relata of external relations. Tarde is a militant reducionist and pluralist while his atoms, like in any monadologism, are infinitesimals and capable of a perspective on things. In his monadologism, most things are not known a priori and most statements are synthetic - events are open to alliances and products of social interaction and not following from any pre-established harmony. And yet, each monad contributes to the state of the world in the sense that without it the configuration of the alliances (and of the social orders) would be different. It makes a difference because it exists and it