Below is a post by Levi Bryant. Part of my one-sided interaction with him is a sort of incredulousness towards the situation wherein Mr. Bryant has found his kind of Speculative Realism; whatever title he may want to put to it, it appears that all of these SR authors (or whatever Realist projects have replaced SR-in its wake) are involved in a project that, frankly, appears to me as an effort of deception or of ignorance. I get into more detail of why I make this accusation in my books, but lately, my simple explanation is that they have to, that due to their success (how ever one wants to define it) they must uphold a transcendental centrality in their efforts. They have to do this because that is the source of their livelihood; a priest cannot administer sacraments that dont adhere to the teachings of the institutional dogma. What I mean by this is they have to approach their speculations through the contemporary dogmatic proclamations of the church, as well as by its methodology, which is in this case we could call “the institution of philosophy”, what I tend to call “conventional” philosophy to denote that there is a cloudiness within the general philosophical mode that needs to be cleared up, this as opposed to lumping everything that is philosophical into one dogmatic category.
Also what I mean by this is not merely to be antagonistic; i’m not just being contrary to institutions. The basis of my incredulousness is that I read these SR people and then many of them, like Mr. Bryant, I find it difficult to believe that they put forth the ideas that they do; I find it difficult to read his premises and then understand the conclusions that he finds. To me there is a break or some sort of disjuncture occurring that, in the example of Mr. Bryant, he is not seeing. And I describe the situation as having to be one of either ignorance, insomuch as he (they) plainly does not see, or deception, and as much as he does see but that somehow he is not allowed to proceed, where he doesn’t want to put forth the actual meaning that should follow from his premises.
I come to this conclusion after a few years of attempting to engage with various people in similar type arguments and situations. It is apparent to me that certain people cannot or will not understand what I’m saying; it appears to me that at some crucial point of argument there is some barrier that projects or injects itself into the meaning of the discussion that we were having that makes this other person in capable of following the argument that we have agreed-upon up until that point. I have played with the idea of calling this point of rupture, a “partition”. The reason why I said there has to be a partition is because it appears that they are not doing it voluntarily. Though I can’t rule out deception, it appears that they’re not doing it voluntarily because no matter what argument I reapproach with, no matter how much I dissect, no matter what size or portion of clause that I wish to pull out and analyze with them, to thereby help them see where the disjuncture is occurring, at no point are they able to overcome the disjuncture. Every occasion that I’ve had with individuals in discussion of this sort, at some point they simply cannot make the move and instead revert back into a point of discussion that we supposedly had already resolved earlier. It is as if regardless of their intelligence and regardless of the information or philosophical Library that they absorbed and the various arguments of various authors that they understand and can convey, at some point they have to leave the line of argument; it’s as if we’re driving down a road, a straight road, together, carefully taking notes of the landmarks the mile markers the potholes the various substrates that the road is paved with the different colors of the lines, staying on this road that both of us are allowing for in our discussion, A road that naturally unfolds in a particular direction and manner given the common understanding that we come to between us in our discussion and deconstructions a various issues — and then suddenly when were almost at the destination they grab the wheel and veer off, circling back into the unknown that is nothingness where through they will end up somewhere miles back on the road we are already traveled.
The understanding that I have gained through these types of experiences is that they were really all saying the same thing, they all basically agree with each other on a certain tenant of method but also a kind of “belief”, but we could associate with a sort of force, a sort of immovable tenant of what we could call a “faith”. We can locate this tenant by what is been called “correlationalism”, but this tenant really comes about through a type of misappropriation of philosophical statement that says discourse is all there is. I call this a “mistake” because it usually connotes a particular condition that is ignored for the sake of maintaining the condition. This condition is the central thinker, and this is why I say that any sort of argument or discourse that wants to displace the central thinker somehow through a move of discourse is really based in a condition of what I have called bad faith.
It really takes a book to be able to divulge and explicate all the factors involved with this idea. Nevertheless, it comes down to the idea that there is a central thinker (subject) that perpetually withdraws or is void or is nil or is nothingness or is unsubstantial or is nonexistent or is only existent, but yet that somehow becomes or contains or otherwise enacts a certain power within a field whereby discourse manifests the totality of world, but not only this, but that due to the centrality of this vanishing mediator, this “less than nothing” nonpoint, this “due to” is taken as a given situation of power to alter discourse and thus to alter reality.
The power involved with this kind of meaning is evidenced by its religious hold, and the faith that allows for it.
We find over and over again, though, for at least the past 100 years, and particularly associated with the continental tradition, that this does not happen; discourse is not altering the real universe, or rather, it does so long as a certain view upon world is maintained. We see this kind of selective window in the Speculative Realist and (Harman’s) Object Ontological move; the move comes from a highly intellectualized understanding whereby the meaning of discourse, which is to say what they would (could) call “world”, necessarily brings a certain intellectual understanding that does not allow for what could otherwise be called random occurrences. Basically if the whole world and all of reality is determined by discourse that is manipulated by agents of …[nothing? Nil? Void?]… then somehow there is something that is occurring outside of this reality that is affecting the reality in such a way that the reality of discourse is not encompassing it. Hence we have the stuff about Lovecraft and chaos and all that kind of stuff.
But more to the point here; the post below is this type of orientation upon things like wise sees that terms are reflecting identities, which is to say that terms are actually reflecting things in themselves that are being manipulated, again, by these what we should more properly call “agents of transcendence”. In this orientation, though, such ‘appearances’ which are taken as ‘in-themselves’ Hegelian objects, are not appropriated in the same or consistent sense that they are taken to mean; in fact, they are taken to exist in a relative autonomy that we have an ability to affect or otherwise impose our thoughts or results of thinking upon. Here, ‘appearance’ itself is misappropriated for the sake of justifying a religious position.
The example in the re-post below is that Deluze uses one set of terms and Badiou uses a different set of terms, and so they must be talking about different things. D says that this is the case and B says this is the case and so-and-so says this is the case and so let’s compare all the various ways that the authors say that such and such is the case.
The question that I always ask is what the hell are they talking about? I mean, the assumption is that they’re all talking about the same thing, but yet somehow they’re not talking about the same thing; it is a philosophy involved in an inherent nonsense even while it is proposed to be talking about something sensible. My question is how is it possible to compare Delueze to Badou (for example) and to anyone else if they are not talking about the same thing? (Badou even addresses this, as well as Harman) I mean, I could be talking about trees and Joe Overthere is talking about fences, and then we get together and I’m talking about trees and he’s talking about fences but at some point we come to some manner of discussing things to so that we can actually have a discussion; it is this overlap that I ask the question about: many philosophers will not admit that they’re talking about the same thing. They will say that you’re talking about fences and that he’s talking about trees, but then I would say, what’s the point of even bringing them into the same discussion except to say “he’s talking about trees and he’s talking about fences”? The question is at what point does the Subject arise? If it is always the case of the contingency of discourse then of course we are always going to find some nil-subject, some subject that never occurs and that always exists in a state of void. But then again: these “nil-states” are actually occupying space: The space of void!
We thus come to the idea of the founding term, something that Deleuze talks about. It’s as if the philosophers would say that the whole state of existence in reality occurs to discourse manipulated by transcendental agency except this one term that we are going to call the foundation of all existence that never changes and is ultimately eternal and we’re gonna call this “void” or whatever negating nihilistic term we want to use. Then, to avoid the apparent logical exception of the founding term ‘void’, we then say that, well, its only this way right now, but in another time/moment there will be a different organizing discursive framework. The universe, and as well humanity, thus exist in a cosmological foundation of change in flux, a state of eternal unknowingness wherein we are utterly alone like Adam and Eve kicked out of the garden of Eden.
Isn’t this what Bryant says in the beginning of his Onto-cartography book (I think he says it there) ?
The SR and 000 pretty much have said in various places that their philosophy is toward a want to bring us back to a pre-modern philosophy of sorts. And then I have to ask what the hell is this? And I cannot but answer that it is a religious apology. That it is not that the SR or the OO getting anywhere progressively, it is more that they’re taking the given situation, a situation that they are confined within that they cannot find their way out of, and they’re making an apology for it, they are making cosmological assertions based on limiting factors that is already been argued in the tradition that somehow informs this contingent reality wherein transcendental agents manipulate discourse.
Now; the point of this post is not to say that somehow they’re wrong, or that somehow they’re coming up with incorrect conclusions. To do so would be to propose upon them a certain kind of stupidity or unintelligence. They are not stupid and they are not not intelligent. We have to admit then that the problem lies within a particular orientation, as I say, upon objects.
Well; I’m not going to go on here about the overlaps between the various authors of the re-post below , We should see in the post below that D and B and Hiedegger are saying the same thing in different terms, using different terms to describe the same situation.
The point is is that there is no difference between reading text speaking text and going out in the world and doing anything that involves anything in the world. The point is is that where this description I just gave makes someone come to a certain conclusion that it means nothing and that everything is stratified upon an undifferentiated scene, therein do we have evidence of a missed understanding of the meaning of the phrase “discourse is all there is”.
It doesn’t really matter that much what Delueze says about repetition as opposed to what someone else says about repetition, unless we see that they’re both talking about the same situation. They must be using the word ‘repetition’ that is consistent with certain markers of meaning regardless of how they lay it out in various clausal structures or real examples. Likewise if Badiou wants to talk about the event, then it is only in so much as the event itself is a repetition of an idea, of a set of terms, of a clausal structure. Likewise, insomuch as we may want to talk about newness, at every moment of encountering B and D we find that they could be lumped together in one discourse called “Badiou–Deleuze” perhaps, then that they might not be arguing distinctions, arguing that one view is more true than the next view, but that then are indeed describing the situation: This is what is new, the example of what is new. Together having different views upon the same situation that we may come to certain facts of the situation, this is what makes or allows for us to see a particular methodological approach of philosophy ‘conventional’.To the extent that we see the two discourses in this example as saying two different things as though describing two different situations, two different things in themselves, so to speak, thereby do we have the space for the agent of transcendence that is caught in the religious faith of what we can call conventional philosophy, what we can thereby call, and not with too much explanation, modern scholasticism.
It is not wrong, though; it is what it is. Hence, the determination of divergence.
Reading and Repetition
A central claim of Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition is that we only ever create something new through repetition. Here, then, we might encounter a fundamental difference between Badiou and Deleuze (or is it a proximity between the two?). For Badiou the new is created as a result of a truth-procedure that is evoked through fidelity to […]
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