Skip to main content

Malabou on erasing traces

Been reading the beautiful La plasticité au soir de l'écriture, an old book by Malabou. She advocates clearly there that we have witnessed a movement - a transformation - from a graphic to a plastic paradigm. She does that by defending a thoroughly immanent conception of change where there is no outside. It's a clear counterpart (or opposition) to the idea that change - and in fact, negation - comes from addition (from the exterior). She argues that the graphic times are over and the plastic times are considerably different - she does that by pointing at a convincing convergence between the Hegelian post-historical and the Heideggerian ultra-metaphysical, by pointing at the relative capacity of form to be indifferent to traces, by appealing to epigenetics and by looking at the synapses of the brain where there is a transformation that cannot concern only writing. I tend to think that even if the time of the graphic is over, there should be a figure of excess like that of supplement in the graphic paradigm. In other words, Malabou fails when she argues that forms are independent. Heidegger and Derrida seem to imply that forms are only meaningful when they are not by themselves (fully present, metaphysical). There ought to be an outside even if it works in a way that is non-graphic (not through traces).

A crucial feature of Malabou's characterization of plasticity (and of evening) is that traces are erased. Now, in our research on the logic of supplement, we make clear that when something is added as a supplement everything changes - that the premises are kept without inferring what they did before shows that they have no longer the same impact. This seems to me as equivalent to erasing traces. Maybe the brain undergoes changes where the past is fully removed - but it seems to me that memories are removed, that presences are removed, traces with their capacity to make new differences they are kept somewhere even though they mean something very different. True, there could be a plastic dimension that emerges from traces, but it seems unclear to me that erasing everything makes any sense unless the assumption that there is no outside is enforced. The trouble, it seems to me, is not plasticity itself but rather that it does away with the outside (as supplement, as exteriority, as transcendence and as excess).


Popular posts from this blog

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

Hunky, Gunky and Junky - all Funky Metaphysics

Been reading Bohn's recent papers on the possibility of junky worlds (and therefore of hunky worlds as hunky worlds are those that are gunky and junky - quite funky, as I said in the other post). He cites Whitehead (process philosophy tends to go hunky) but also Leibniz in his company - he wouldn't take up gunk as he believed in monads but would accept junky worlds (where everything that exists is a part of something). Bohn quotes Leibniz in On Nature Itself «For, although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk, that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points. In just the same way, there is nothing greatest in bulk nor infinite in extension, even if there is always something bigger than anything else, though there is a being greatest in the intensity of its perfection, that is, a being infinite in power.» And New Essays: ... for there is ne

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