Significance. What we can call the Romance is based upon and or around what I call the significant experience, which falls well in line with Alain Badiou’s ‘Event’, what could then be called the significant event. The irony that surrounds this feature of being human concerns a confusion of the individual, between what arises of the pure multiple and such Event. This confusion is being worked out as we speak; its ways, immanent. Its formulation has been established by Badiou in the distinction pronounced by ‘void’ and ‘set’, but more particularly, more humanly, the pronunciation’s initial voice is heard through Francois Laruelle and non-philosophy, as this divergence, that which is signaled by irony, is located in the distinction that has found and described the motions of philosophy, what I feel is more correctly termed ‘conventional methodology’ or just ‘convention’. The distinctive move that has been signaled, as referenced here through philosophy, can be noticed lately in the works loosely coined as ‘existentialism’ and ‘post-modernism’, but most recently ‘speculative realism’; so appropriately begun in the real, taking reality ‘into’ its object for what it is and what possibility it holds, such speculation thus calls for its counterpart, as I frame, that is specifically not real, since it is this feature of and in response to the philosophical (sticking here with the non-philosophical designation) reality, that works to deny that which originates in the Event.
The Romance is this evental feature of human experience by which we have the conventional historical designation of Romanticism or the Romantic Period or Era, and by which, so apropos to convention, we likewise have the real disclaimer that has reduced and conflated the period and human experience to one of mere caprice, of usual passionate undependability, fantasy and a specifically derogatory mode of irrationality that decries as it celebrates conventional methodology’s victory in placing the human so far from itself as the free individual for the purpose of maintaining the status quo of the teleo-ontological fortress of religio-ideological power. So compete in the assertion of itself, the conventional romantic designation flaunts its power through accentuating the discrepancy by calling what is Romantic ‘subjective’ diversity and uniqueness of individual creative and emotional freedom; though there may have been such an era, it was indeed because of the ubiquity of the true reality. We need not go into the exploitation and oppression that is the capitalization upon the discrepancy here, but suffice it to say that reality itself is romantic, whereas the Romance, a particular significant experience involving an actualization of relationship with the world, has been historically shanghaied into servitude and keelhauled under the dreadnought of historical progress — the now ‘fractalized’ Hagelian History the individualized romance of willful self determination upon the seas of manifest destiny. This is reality; it is not that people are or were having similar experiences — of the pure multiple they indeed do, and that within a particular universal horizon. It is more that such experience, by virtue of being human, may connote an individual of reality in the manner that is reducible in the same way that Badiou describes the situation of being and event, which is to say that the real individual misses the irony of Its existence for the sake of the True Object of its faith. This is not to disclaim in the effort to eject the human being from the helical oscillation upon which history makes its claim to progress, but rather to introduce to suggest that while progress is a situation of reality, the progress of reality is misconstrued in the conventional reckoning of history.
The significant event is singular, but the nature of its significance brings all subsequent experience under or within its scope; thus the attempt to explain what this experience is or was becomes not only an ironic experience but indeed irony, for the multiple by then necessarily falls into the originating experience and becomes a singular experience — though it ‘becomes’ only in as much as it is always becoming multiple and singular in the same move due to the originating experience informing all experience. So I repeat, this occurs in the explaining of the event, but not so much in the explaining what the event means or meant, again, because the explaining of the event cannot become dismissed, overcome or otherwise detach from what the event means as the event serves to give significance to the subsequent multiple that is real life or of lived experience, that falls back and or has fallen into singularity.
Oddly, it is in the explaining of the meaning of the significant event that develops theory, rationalization (see below), as a proxy, as a way of distancing oneself from the Event because its significance as the Event, defies reality, and reality is where we all begin as an individual, our faith invested in reality. Hence we can speak of Soren Kierkegaard’s ‘sickness unto death’, ‘offense’ and ‘sin’. When one attempts to explain what the event means or from what it means or meant, then he becomes stuck in an eternal decision of how he might go about situating the meaning of what for real determinations is the eternal moment — a redundancy, a stalemate, where the ‘point of insertion’ into reality cannot be determined — that requires a type of break which will move the in-decision past its incubation into a specific topical discourse which then might become the identity of the individual. Yet the conventional methodologists will need no break for they are already invested by the break itself, that which is the offense in discrepancy, in the suture that is the effect of faith, which supplies the True Object and where discourse is about asserting proper meaning of that reality. Theirs has to do with the prevalent veto that is choice, in the particular presence that says ‘no’. That which requires a break is not the requirement for a ‘leap’ as Master Kierkegaard has termed, but rather its opposite; such a break relieves one of in-determination, necessity, which is to say, the relief is the contingency that is choice, whereas the leap is of necessity.
By contrast, yet with consistency, what one could call a ‘pocket veto’ appears in the potential of the significant event to be able to make or be the qualifying break; the pocket veto appears as something one has available for choice, to use for the purpose of stopping the reduction that will bring meaning to the significance that is the eternal moment that thus necessitates the leap, and so be able to bring what is otherwise impossible into the discourse of reality despite it not being necessary. The conventional veto rallies against the Event, where as the pocket veto enacts the instrumentality of decision once the significant event has taken hold. For it is as if within the Romance of the significant event the person has ‘held out’ on it, as if carrying something in his pocket, that though the experience may be a motion of love, the question always remains: “Is this real?” But indeed, if this discourse is any indication, it is at least ironic, for the answer one finds reveals whether the veto was ever truly in the pocket or not. This then defines the paradigm of bad faith; that which was in good faith considering the other party was already compromised for what contingency may arise to change the stakes of the original deal.
This essay concerns how the pocket veto allows for a way to describe the situation of the Event, as well as creating an opening to eventually describe the Romanitc Experience itself.
For we have two situations of the event, but really three. One where no pocket veto is ever needed, having the tool of veto readily at hand, and one where a pocket veto may be applied. But these two situations then show that they still are dealing in reality with reality, as theory is the distancing of oneself from the experience. Yet this is not a necessary discounting. Being that there is a necessary principle at work, all elements of the universe must belong to that principle. What this principle is exactly is the discrepancy between contingent and necessary aspects as such, which is also the discrepancy between the object and the talk about it, as well as the relations of particular thoughts (see my earlier essays); Quentin Meillassoux, in his book, “After Finitude” does an excellent job at describing this situation, in particular as it has to do with the object itself. So in as much as these admitted operations indeed operate, it is no problem that two apparently distinct and even opposing routes based upon the same discursive substrate, the same ‘meaningful issue’, would co-operate in-dependently to reveal its object and even say different things from the same orientation.
We have then the framework by which the dual nature of the discourse that has been called ‘philosophy’ may be apprehended. To bring in Alain Badiou’s formulations; on one hand, we have the philosophers of the multiple who are attempting to describe the One Reality of the True Object, so to speak, that I call ‘conventional methodologists’, and on the other we have the philosophers who are involved with the significant event.
The conventionalists (Francois Laruelle’s philosophers, the ‘objectours’ of philosophy) we will leave to their ‘philosophy of…’ methods.
For the philosophers (my use) of course, we need discover what might need a veto, and this concerns how irony might come about, and this concerns the significant event.
What occurs in the significant romantic experience? A feeling of privilege and or secrecy upon intimate knowledge, one might even say a feeling toward a kind of esoteric mysticism; of being ‘let in’ to some profoundness; of being ‘allowed to make your acquaintance toward a loving relationship’. Now, when I say this, of what am I speaking? Am I not speaking of every possible experience? I am speaking of one particular experience, but in what way does it not speak of every experience? The profoundness of some ‘private’ experience, but also the common experience of the individual in reality; loving as an intimacy and loving as a basic position by which one ‘has’ an arena to act, whether one would call it ‘mystical’ is really a preference of the moment, yet in so much as we could say one ‘loves’ by virtue of the fact that there is a relationship that cannot be overturned, we can also say one has faith; in reality, here religion leads the way. So, In one move I have described the condition of the particular Event, while also describing all events, and as I attempt to put forth the unique situation the move presents the common situation, the humble and the willful.
But what happens in this romance ? The sense of love remains but the feeling goes away, and then comes back, and then goes away. In the Romance it is called repetition; in reality it is called a number of things, a mundane repetition, psychological self fulfilling prophecy, incorrect appraisal of the situation, spiritual motion, karma, magic, physical resonance, coincidence; I could go on. What is occurring? Significance. The meaning of the event in reality. On one hand, the ‘setting’ of a pure multiple within the context of the pure multiple, sets of sets. A ‘cordoning off’ of meaning to sets of meaning allows for one event to have more or less significance than another, and thus have significance. One the other hand, the event of the significant romantic experience is being ‘found’ at particular moments of the multiple, which is to say, in reality. Reality can thereby be understood as a sequence or as the arena where significance occurs, but by this designation also as the ordination of fidelitous subsequence, or that which must be not real.
For the conventional philosophers of the One Reality there are True Objects and the role of these philosophers is to be able to discern what the true nature of the ‘grand’ object called reality is. It does not matter if they suggest multiple realities or multiple universes or how they situate terms; their faith begins and ends in the True Object, in the absolutely particularized pure multiple that begins, progresses and culminates in real truth. These philosophers see theory as coming from or being about the true reality. Significance comes at moments of proper arrangement of objects, of particular situations of meaning, such as reading and studying and then coming upon an ‘ah ha!’ moment, and these significances as a matter of course are then coordinated into what is called theory, a willful assertion of appropriated facts about objects.
Hence the philosophers of the significant event thus far deal in irony, but the issue overall has been the confusion that arises in the development of theory. To wit; the former philosophers are dealing with the true object and the latter are dealing with the significant experience. It is only now that the division that is just due is taking shape. Yet, as was just mentioned above and consistent with non-philosophy, the confusion has arisen because the philosophy of the true object is the ‘greater’ vehicle, it is the discourse of power, the discourse that stems from the One Reality, that is the designation of the ‘proper’ meaning of terms. This is historical, traditional, ideological and political as it has to do with a specific ontological and ethical horizon. Non-philosophy is a blatant announcement of the division and brings into relief what the post-modernists (Deluze, Derrida, Foucault, to name three biggies) could not bring to sway; to wit, their move was inherently conventional, that is, not so concerned with the Event itself as they were its meaning. They were still attempting to account for the significant event in the One reality, as the philosophy of the true object was not seen for its stature and unrelenting power; or, they capitulated to its power because they were already invested in it for human identity, they still thought reality could be changed into something less dishonest and more human, an offering and a withholding – which is to say now of something withheld, something not real – and at that because they were inspired; they could not introduce the significant event because the One reality demands that the significant event must fall under the domain of the pure multiple, and thus be not so significant — but at least it could be a type of psychological ‘malady’ or maybe ‘form’ if it were not posed with strategy, in tactical guise of particular manipulations of terms, in short, if it were not posed in theory. So we are lead to ask how it might be that someone so disturbed or ‘not living in reality’ came to have such an effect on real discourse? That such a person could have developed such a good theory?
Hence, its significance. It is exactly this theory that does not hold water, for their theoretical position occurs only in conventional reality. Theory is supposed to be an argument, a proof for a proposal of truth, as the proposal is merely a part of coming to the truth of the True Object through negotiation; it is supposed to be a surmising of the facts in a proposal for their unitary meaning to be critiqued accorded to the relative information allotted to each critically thinking individual who are also involved in the common universal effort for the ‘whole’. Theory is not supposed to be a ‘costume’. So irony describes the situation of belonging instead of including by exclusion and confounds conventional reality. So it is that which is most honest is thus taken by convention with a pinch of salt, a skeptical eye suspecting bluff, and at times called out for its dishonesty, if not plain nonsense. if much of post-modernist theory is any indication – check out the post-modern generator website (if it still exists) – one can easily tell that conventional philosophers really had no clue what was being told. The meaning of ‘original’ post-modern/existentialist writers was taken most seriously in its capacity to hold an object for its truth, and soon enough the ‘theory’ that was being produced by the adherents of the proper method (Laruelle’s ‘philosophers’) based upon the significance that rides through conventional reality despite itself resounded with utter nonsense. This can be said to be due to the fact that there is indeed a discrepancy between what is real from what is true, that reality’s pure multiples are ‘really set’ upon a situation undisclosed to the situation of infinite sets, which should show, for conscious experience, the fidelity to the true object of coordinated sets that are romantic in various significant situations that I call conventional reality, distinct from the true fidelity that marks the void in and by ordinate subsequence, or, the significant event that I have called the Romance — but distinct in a non-philosophical manner, which Francios Laruelle has termed as a unilateral duality, one which includes and one which belongs.
The almost polemical move of ‘speculative realism’ from what could be called traditional philosophy, as well as traditional philosophy itself, both occur in reality, about real objects, whereas what is ironic, or as indicative of the counter-partial move of what is not real, is the dual move from reality. Due to the necessity of the motion of contingency in reality, the speculative and the ironic appear to reveal a necessary element or feature that is unknown or at least uncomfortable to conventional reality. Irony upsets the endeavor for the True Object, so it is not difficult to see how conventional methodology would tend away from its tellings; it holds a tentative truce with irony, setting it to a type of spiritual psychology it doesn’t enjoy, one that brings it to have to assert is power for ubiquity, urgently revealing as it does so its nervousness steeped in bad faith. Yet while Speculative Realism announces its divergence from traditional philosophy, its way is still conventional, it is still attempting to alleviate the risk of exposure of the Romance by its resorting to what is romantic; hence it is ‘speculative’. Yet it is close; its difference lay in the significant event, and may yet be an indication of where or how such a pocket veto may come into play.
Significance occurs in three, what I shall call, venues. In my essay “the description of irony”, I discuss these but I will elaborate more here.
Events can be significant. Getting married, having children, graduating from school, meeting someone, avoiding an accident, etc… Any event may have significance. Real experience is segregated into meaningful situations, each with more or less significance. Reality is a pure multiple of attainable sets, where any set can be divided into an infinite amount of sets, and any series of sets can be a set. Infinity likewise becomes a multiple that can be placed into sets of various sorts. Like a divine lotus flower, reality unfolds, emerges, arises and falls, like an active chaotic Mandelbrot set of fractal imagery. Most people have experience and understanding that can be described and explained analogous to this type of significance, to significance that can be described with reference to such chaos and complexity, as such simple and straightforward explanation can comprise and account for reality. But the ‘incorrection’ of this type of patterning of significance is found – if I may stay consistent with the Eastern theme I have touched upon here – in the assertion of will; so much that this very statement reveals its conventionality in double, in the same way the notion of karma is seen as meaning purpose, but one that arises as one asserts oneself, ones desire for things in the very event that arose due to choices made within an essentially free universe.
Hence the difference between the event(s) of the pure multiple and the Event from which the multiple may arise in fidelity is one of significance.
In ‘The Analysis of the Mysterium’, chapter 5 of his book “The Idea of the Holy”, Rudolf Otto describes the situation:
“Representations of spirits and similar conceptions are rather one and all early modes of ‘rationalizing’ a precedent experience…They are attempts…to guess the riddle it propounds, and their effect is at the same time always to weaken or deaden the experience itself. They are the source from which springs, not religion, but the rationalization of religion, which often ends by construing such a massive structure of theory and such a plausible fabric of interpretation, that the mystery is frankly excluded.”
His point is to get to how it is that we come to a category of ‘holy’, but my take I think he missed.
Here, the ‘precedent experience’ can be similar to an event, any event of experience, but here let’s say the significant event, the Romantic experience. We approach from a certain manner for discussion here: What is it? Otto would say that it is of the mysterium, of awe-fullness. So what is it? I say: it is only what becomes of the discourse that surrounds it, which is to say, itself is nothing.
But it has significance. The significance leaves itself to the discourse about it such that itself indeed has significance, and this is to say, the event itself is denied for the sake of the discourse about it so much that the event is the discourse about it. This linking, this suturing, is of faith, conventional faith. Faith allows for the romance to take place, for significant events to arise. But here this is only to suggest that significance motivates the will.
Differentiated from common significance of events is the significant event. Here, what is significant does not resort to individuated, multiple events and remain local or in proximity to them, such as with a first kiss or a coincidence, where discourse would speak specifically about each event and their significances. Here when a significant moment arises it refers to the singular Event, such that each significance is so of and refers to the originating event. This is to say that each significance in reality calls forth the Event so that each event refers to the Event for its significant meaning. The singular becomes multiple so the multiple remains singular. As opposed to real experience that resides in the pure multiple and ‘seeks what it finds’ by including the void in its coordination of sets, the significant experience stems from the void and ‘begins the count’, or establishes the vector, the ordination of subsequence, because such event belongs to the void, and as Alain Badiou might put it, occurs in the evental horizon. Thus one can say that moments of significance should not have ‘more’ significance, but have the ‘same’ significance, each real significant event recalling the originating significance. Hence also, reality does ordain significant events such as birthdays and great holiday vacations, but such significance can be said to be relative to the Event as one knows which has the greater significance and what actually motivates, where the cardinal value arises as a denial of such relation through relative knowledge that we have called ‘correlationalism’, or what is constituted by the pure multiple of the real possibility of coordinated sets. Consistent with real transcendence, the cardinal indicates how value is situated and meaning finds form, and with a nod to Quentin Meillassoux, how reason itself relies and substantiates upon a stable yet undisclosed substrate, which I say is demanding of faith because it is the philosophical object, its objective, the ‘philosopher’s stone’ of reason, and which he says is the ‘necessitarian inference of probabilistic reasoning’ [QM; pg 97]. Again the irony resounds.
The question has to do with this latter area of significance.
We are talking about meaning. Significance concerns meaning. When we say that there is continuing significance as opposed to ‘another’ significant event, we are speaking to the meaning that continues through the various occasions, the various significant events. It is the same meaning in different contexts, showing itself, the same meaning, through different lenses. But usually the Event is not seen in this way; the ‘lenses’, the objects, are not seen as occasions of the Event, but rather as occasions that are ‘filling in’ the object, indicating a progress of knowledge that has to do with a greater knowledge of objects, which is to say, of reality. Recall the transcendent and empirical elements of reality; this latter viewing occurs in oscillating fashion, to the effect of significant revelatory experiences that are leading one along some purpose which is the simultaneous progress of the knowledge of the True Object and the individual of reality.
The True Object and the individual are defined and specific elements of reality; they are identities in contrast (ala Martin Heidegger) to what is the same. They are ‘cordoned off’ in meaning to have real identity. In the same way, significance occurs. Such identities arise from effectively segregational meaning. In reality we build things and take them apart and find how they work and put them back together in different ways to find out what each identity is, and this process is cumulative and culminating such that typically, even when the significance continues through the multiple events, the Event is viewed as a segregate identity, that is, as above (Otto), the precedent experience is kept segregate by the virtue of the faith that is invested in the ability of the term to identify its object. This is why the Event becomes denied in reality; this accounts for why the Romance stays romantic, in the either/or condition, ala Soren Kierkegaard, instead of moving into the Romance that is marriage.
It is the continuing significance that defines how reality is situated in truth, for now we are dealing with the individual for whom events have significance because of the originating Event. This corresponds the individual in reality who comes across the romantic experience. He draws from the mystery into a relationship that would destroy reality; this relationship (for now in speaking) is the Romance. In this real situation the individual is appraising the situation in real terms such that the Romance is such by virtue of an identity with which or whom the individual has a relationship with, but which he also seeks as to its reality. The first question is always, “Is this real?” But because of the initial investment in reality that every individual has, the question of truth is not distinct; the question of truth is a precipitate of the next question playing out in the activity that is real life, which is “what should I do?”, but then as the significance of the Event passes into the terms of reality that seek to bring the meaning of the Event into reality as purpose, again as Otto above, “the mystery is frankly excluded” and the significance of the experience itself falls away, or rather becomes real. It is then sought after and is found again as progress is the investment in objective identity.
If the question “what should I do”, which connotes the meaning of the experience as purpose, is answered, then reality is saved, faith in the True Object is upheld in that the ‘mysterium’ has been solved as purpose. The significant event is set in context as ‘inspiration’, or for a probably better colloquialism, ‘spiritual experience’, but even if the inspiration denies the experience as spiritual, here inspiration itself saves reality. It is when no performable act is conveyed, and no purpose is able to be termed, that reality falters. Doubt is the operative mechanism here, for the present is only presented as ‘path’ in a retrospection that cannot project it out upon the future as ‘a path’ of inspiration; reality is changed.
Hence, what I understand of the ‘pocket veto’ rings a particularly interesting note.
The playing out of the question of reality brings the question of truth and grants thereby in relief the significance of the pocket veto. For we are not talking about the veto as it is held in the pocket; this is indeed the Romance in reality. We are now talking about the veto once it needs be played and if it can be or not. If it can be, then the mystery that has been frankly excluded is conveyed into reality intact as a real item for negotiation, as a proposal, a hypothesis, a theory, that moves reality in its progress as a significant object to be considered. Yet if the veto cannot be played – and this evidences a particular showing of a true polemic of power – then the mystery that is frankly excluded is indeed excluded in reality, which is to say, it is destroyed. And this mystery is exactly the transcendent.
END Part 1.
I believe I should leave some bibliography, which will also do for part 2 and if there is a part 3; in fact it could probably serve as a seed biblio for what is to come.
Martin Heidegger. Being and Time, and other essays of his.
Alain Badiou. Being and Event.
Quentin Meillassoux. Beyond Infinity
Francios Laruelle. Principles of Non-Philosophy
Rudolf Otto. The Idea of the Holy
Soren Kierkegaard. The Sickness Unto Death, and, Fear and Trembling
For a brief discussion about the Romantic Era – and as a bibliographic site: http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/lecture16a.html
And thank you Dave at Inthesaltmine.com for our continuing interaction, and his coining of the idea of a ‘pocket veto’.
Leave a Reply