Nonsense and Why Should Anyone Care Anyways.

This his a response to a comment to a recent post of mine (The ‘Little Deleuzians’ post)

IMG_0456.JPGWhy should anyone be interested in this subject matter?
I am probably absorbing too must self interest into this question, but you did post it in a reply to my post, so…
Any one who writes might ask themselves the same question. Why should anyone care or be interested?
I might rephrase this in the context of Zizek’s framing of limit, that I agree with: (and I rephrase Zizek (also)): It is very difficult, if not impossible, to think outside of capitalism. Because I see this is really the un-separated reason why the question even comes up. It would seem there is an implicit call, a kind of desperation, to be out of this capitalized situation.
In other words the question is yelling: I am just not going to participate in this capitalistic nonsense.
And hence the issue at hand.
We must lose the modernist bracketing.
I do not believe that capitalism comes about because of some universal, ‘manifest destiny-ed’ kind of goodness for human kind. I think it is a particular manifestation of, as has been said, a desire production machine, of sorts, but that this machine is not some total explanation of what a human being does. This is to say that the notion of this desire machine does not account for the total human being. On the contrary, it is merely an explanation of a particular aspect of what a human does, but an explanation that is proposed as a total accounting because of the position out of which it comes (capitalized identity). A particular aspect that arises within consciousness, a part of consciousness, that allows for itself as a kind of ‘Jehovah’, in a kind of gnostic sense, one that usurps power and establishes itself as ‘creator’ and ‘commander’ of the universe. One that abolishes all that is before it or foundational of it.
See though: This is an operation of consciousness and not some talk about actual True things of an objective (subject-object) universe. We have to be quite Zizekian in this setting. It is an aspect of consciousness that arises to proclaim itself as the totality of what consciousness is, and thereby obscures by decree that there is no asking how it functions or what it does; thou shalt have no other God before thee: Thou shalt not have any other consciousness – that type of shit.
Capitalism, if we can use this term to denote a particular prescription for how to come upon World, establishes (S1) consciousness against (s2)consciousness as a non-segregated universal object, an object amoung other objects {S1 is distinct from and not equal to s2}. But this is not to suggest some cosmic spiritual consciousness. No. The recourse that would have us reduce this situation to this kind of spiritual truth is yet but another conventional situation of segregated human centrism (S1), albeit this time as a cosmic center. Any aligning that one might posit as a spiritual effort is a real effort, an effort that seeks its identity as a centrist Subject in control of this otherwise chaotic universe, even as such seekers might say the point is not control (that its self is a statement of having control), and even as they might suggest that we have a choice in how we might feel at any moment. Yet likewise, this is not an amalgamation of consciousness into some formless chaos from which horrific things can arise at any moment; this is also an asserted form of real consciousness (S1).
It is this want for control of real conception that forms the heart of capitalism. This is why we tend to revert back to Hegel in our estimations along this line; because this is an issue of enlightenment, of The Western Enlightenment. This issue arises not so much because of any free willed agents have considered various arguments along a traditional history of arguments and proposals – this is indeed consciousness functioning how it is supposed to as a subject of reality – but more because of these agents are merely a manifestation of consciousness itself, of how it functions.
Meaning, in this way, should not be construed to have only to do with cohesive manifestations of thoughts, and perhaps be better understood to encompass all that is. By this I mean to indicate that there is nothing that does not make sense, including non-sense, and including nothing, and further that I am not sure what something of ‘non-sense’ is. In the context of your reply, I think I know what you are saying, so I am addressing this by saying that the only ‘thing’ that is or has ‘non-sense’ is what Rudolf Otto calls the Mysterium Tremmendum (His book: “The Idea of the Holy”). In fact, he even mentions the issue in one short phrase that he seems to set aside for the sake of his larger argument:

“ It first begins to stir in the feeling of ‘something uncanny’, ‘eerie’, or ‘weird’. It is this feeling which, emerging from the mind of …man, forms the starting point for the entire religious development in history. ‘Deamons’ and ‘Gods’ alike spring from this root, and all the products of ‘mythological apperception’ or ‘fantasy’ are nothing but different modes in which it has been objectified.” (Otto. pg 14-15. Oxford. 1958)

The moment of this kind of experience is thus ‘non-sense’ in the positive sense, and we should note that it is from this moment that the Enlightened capitalist draws his inspiration. Also note that a corresponding negative sense of this same situation is what THREE POUND BRAIN had noticed (see my earlier post “to Ping or not to Ping”), but as we suggest is a result of argument backward, a result of following the meaning of reductive logicking of objectival reality regressively, as Hursserl might have shown the path, but often enough and then every Enlightenment philosopher does, to that very same place of ‘nothing’, which I so whole heartedly agreee is merely a ‘crash space’ of capitalist philosophical reductionary method. It is the paradoxical situation that likes to assume objectival ‘in-itselfs’ and then use the tool of logic and thought to argue backwards from it from the priviledged space of Subjecthood to the Subject. Far from meaning the same thing, though, this place or space, cannot be said to be the same object, the same ‘empirical’ place; indeed, there is a teleological partition between these spaces of meaning. Thus to understand this ‘same space’ we can (are capable of) only speak of this situation in terms of orientation, because once the (we shall call this negative motion that leads to a crash space, a collapse of the conventional method, the ‘Hursserlisan-Phenomenalist’ space) reduction has occurred (as a real meaningful philosophical route) then there is no explaining how this reduction does not account for all things. On the contrary: The capitalist method is the method that asserts as it dominates over all possibility (as above with the ‘most difficult’), and it is the dependence and its accompanying demand of compliance that leads to this crash space but as referenced most often as a necessary foundation from which further power is derived. At once, the transcendental experience of communion (the inspired thought) is automatically segregated from its own consideration as this is an axiomatic real truth from which the method gains its credence, even while is uses this communion to argue itself to a logical space that is (still) held from itself as a sort of ‘logically thought built space’ that must then (logically) include the thinker even as it is holding such conclusion away from itself to be beheld. This is the capital investment yield. This is the given Enlightened way that is held over every human being’s head as a mirror for comparison for the purposes of justifying (as we are finding) not eveyone’s humanity, but mainly the conventional philosopher who subscribes to the discursive method of the Enlightenment.
What occurs by this ‘empty space’ though, this moment of ‘non-sense’, of the encounter with the mysterium tremmendum, is usually and commonly not so much the meaning that there is nothing knowable outside of sense, but more that what may be outside of sense is indeed granting sense, albeit of transcendental inspiration. The Enlightened mind (and I use this in the most Western sense of this essay) does not see this moment as being encapsulated by the discourse that arises around it, around this ‘empty space’; rather the Enlightened subject sees that this discourse has arisen because of that moment of experience with the mysterium tremmendum, as if that encounter was indeed ‘meant to be’, as though there was some purpose imbued by the very Event itself into the human subject.
The point of showing this is that it does not happen for everyone, as if this is a metaphysical description of The Actual Common Human Being. It happens only for a few, and these few people thus being so motivated by the inspiring [God/nothingness/thought/void] thus understand this revelation as involving all human beings. They thus pronounce upon the world their philosophical-religious proposal. They capitalize upon the transcendental communion. This is Modernism, and as well Post-modernism; the call and response of the modern religious hymn.
Now, keep in mind that I am not discounting thought per say, or suggesting that people do not think or have inspiration. Far from it; I am describing what is occurring, and through this description am coming around to answering the catalyizing question of why anyone should care about what I’m saying. It is near impossible to think outside of capitalism. So it is that likewise I am not suggesting that I am attempting to think outside of it, and actually fully embracing the totality of it implication for the question raised.
I am explaining why one would raise the question about why anyone would want to read or consider what I have to say. Before this dilemma, such a question would not be raised because the answers offered would naturally be answering the questions that seemed most pertinent to everyone, de facto, of course. Now, though, the glamour of the Enlightened Subject is wearing off; the proposal of the common humanity is being noticed as a sham, as just what I said: An assertion. This is what Post-modern was supposed to show, but then its meaning was usurped by the Modern (capitalistic) method because Post-modern was still using the tropic themes of the Enlightenment.
Now conventional philosophy has played it out to its end and beyond. Of the likes of Badiou and Laruelle, the end is manifest. Subsequent philosophers this now, like an alcoholic who will not admit he has a problem, must hide the issue, they must act like there is no problem and continue the theme of the Enlightenment because that is indeed how they are knowing their place in the world. This is being felt, though, by those for whom the ideas still play, but somehow have not brought about the promised land of transcendental success that the other, more established agents have. This situation thus brings into question the route by which the very theory proposed of the Enlightened state gains its credence.
This is a play of power. Such it is that the questions as to why anyone would be interested in what I have to say arise in near defeat, asking if there is anyone that can resolve the apparent failure of the Enlightened state.
But the answer is no. The Enlightened state is a failure. A sham perpetrated by the agents of transcendental communion, so to speak.
Yet again: This is not to say that people do not think or are not inspired. This is to say that capitalism is based upon the trope that if a person correctly applies their subjective thinking within the scope of a transcendental scope, then they can become an agent with a purpose as knowledge will arise and move that person to some sort of success, achievement, or otherwise fulfillment of their objective.
Yet, it is not that such a situation may not arise otherwise, but that consciousness is behaving within this arena where such ideological messages are being lost and being found unbelievable of not outright false.
The ‘sense-data reports’ are feeding people contradictroy information about reality and their place in it. It is not possible that there can be data that is inherently or essential separate from the appropriation of it. The dysfunction is the process of consciousness coming upon itself in the attempt to hold itself away from itself. Consciousness is attempting to reify reality, to maintain itself as a real identity, and in a very Post-modern manner of speaking, the meta-narrative is failing. This is why we cannot say we have gained anything beyond our Modern world, because post-modern is modern.
Again, again; this is not to say that there is some ‘grand apocalyptic end’ of the world coming. It is only that consciousness is developing another, as Latour might put it, another meaningful pass around the offending situation of consciousness coming upon itself as an object in-itself. The victims of this motion are those who are invested in the capitalistic myth, for intrinsic mythologies are how consciousness functions to establish reality.
But never does a mythology totally fail; that is what passes are for: To keep reality viable, to keep it functioning as reality. Only within the mythological construct are there ‘real truths’ where absolute consequences will occur. But they never occur, but only in the past as the past then is constructed to justify the present mythological state.
My answer to the question of why anyone would be interested in this subject matter is that the implicit motivation for such a question is involved in the effort to reconcile the real conventional philosophical conclusions to the sense that they are incorrect as they are proving in the same motion their veracity.
The most difficult thing is to think outside of capitalism, but this is because everyone is already not only trying to think outside of it, but indeed are thinking that they indeed are. Hence the question that reflects the end-stage Modern paradigm of Post and then Post-postmodern meaninglessness.

1 Comment

  1. Dominant image of The Day of the Dead calavera skull inscribed with “A mi las calaveras me pelan los dientes” (loose translation – “Death doesn’t scare me, I’m not afraid of death”).

    Of course death scares us (or should). That’s the point of saying it doesn’t. This is a magical protective image and sound-bite incantation to ward off fear, which is near.

    Rudolf Otto’s Idea of the Holy: “The book defines the concept of the holy as that which is numinous. Otto explained the numinous as a “non-rational, non-sensory experience or feeling whose primary and immediate object is outside the self”. He coined this new term based on the Latin numen (divine power). (This expression is etymologically unrelated to Immanuel Kant’s noumenon, a Greek term referring to an unknowable reality underlying all things.) The numinous is a mystery (Latin: mysterium) that is both terrifying (tremendum) and fascinating (fascinans) at the same time. This mental state “presents itself as ganz Andere, wholly other, a condition absolutely sui generis and incomparable whereby the human being finds himself utterly abashed.”[2]”

    Crosses to ward off vampires.
    Silver to ward off werewolves.

    The suppressed remembrance of primal fear of animal-man tearing and eating and being eaten alive. Primeval communion.

    And fear of the dead. Of unfinished business with the dead. And with ourselves.

    Effigies and altars to prevent the wrath of the dead from breaking through to the other side. Whitened altars now, historically bloodstained then, to memorialize the stain of human sacrifice upon our socially constructed consciousness, lest we forget, and slay our children anew. Did we forget … again?

    The protective effigies of our identities, our meaning-making, whether atheistic, theistic, capitalistic, socialistic, modernistic/post-modernistic express diverse ways of being in a world we can’t escape, like Prometheus bound, without a little heroic help from our friends.

    These diverse ways of being in the world prepare us for our mysterium tremendum appointment with the Day of the Dead, and with Ourselves.

    Fear of death is our friend. Necessary for courage creation to motivate an examined life worth living and preparation for death, – the goal of philosophy.


    “Sermon 1
    The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought. They prayed me let them in and besought my word, and thus I began my teaching.”

    “Sermon 2
    In the night the dead stood along the wall and cried: We would have knowledge of god. Where is god? Is god dead?”

    “Sermon 3
    Like mists arising from a marsh, the dead came near and cried: Speak further unto us concerning the supreme god.”

    “Sermon 4
    The dead filled the place murmuring and said: Tell us of gods and devils, accursed one!”

    “Sermon 5
    The dead mocked and cried: Teach us, fool, of the church and Holy Communion.”

    “Sermon 6
    With disdainful glance the dead spake: Cease this talk of gods and daemons and souls. At bottom this hath long been known to us.”

    “Sermon 7
    Whereupon the dead were silent and ascended like the smoke above the herdsman’s fire, who through the night kept watch over his flock.”

    And as Zizek might add … “blah blah”.

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