Sound and Philosophy.
I am a music producer so I have some knowledge about sound and signal. If you are interested in what sound processing entails as a block of concepts, I imagine I might do a little bit on sound and philosophy in a post later. Or you could look on line.
But here’s just an intro into how sound and knowledge might be similar.
The issue of communication is not merely a conceptual exercise. It is an actual lived experience that has been conveyed into philosophy with an interesting outcome: Some sort of communication is occurring, but in particular instances, it is difficult to tell just what kind. In some instances A is being communicated as A, and in other more usual instances, A is being communicated as B C or D…, depending on who you talk to, but with an odd sort of occasion where the ‘receivers’ of B,C,D still think they have been communicated A. This phenomenon is similar to what Zizek calls “changing the past”.
Since the mid-19th century we have found that there is an attempt to communicate something and that this attempt is not always successful, but again in an interesting manner. In the 1960’s Martin Heidegger spoke of this peculiarity in a series of lectures made into a book called “What is Called Thinking“. There he speaks of thinking in terms of a progress that is not made in time; that is, the progress that is the successful consummation of this philosophical communication does not occur as a proper historical phase, but rather involves a moment of thought. The theme is this book is “what is most thought provoking is that we are still not thinking”. It is interesting to note that this occurs after World War Two, because before the event of the engagement with the Nationalist Socialists, it was thought that this “thinking” was indeed linked with a historical progression of the likes of Hegelian “Historical Consciousness”. Now, in 1965, Heidegger is telling us that he (and many philosophers as well as a kind of cultural knowledge) was wrong.
But this somehow has not deterred people from thinking that they have begun to think, as a historical motion. We find traces of this in the Frankfurt School (the final solution has not arisen yet and, in one manner of looking at it, they were pondering what could have gone wrong in the “historical consciousness” that lead to WWI, attempting to find out what had been misapplied), and then Sartre, and Foucault, then the postmoderns, Lyotard, Derrida, and Delusional Guitar Player (Deleuze and Guattari). Then we find it in, what we could call the ‘post-Postmoderns’, Zizek, Badiou and Laruelle. Of course this list in not exhaustive, but there is seems to be something at work that has allowed those authors to be listed primarily, even if it is a presumptuousness on my part. All of these authors come about within a context of not still not thinking, for they indeed have begun to think. Graham Harman, I think, finds a significance of which Im not even sure he himself put his finger on particularly, namely, that while all these thinkers may have begun to think, and are thus involved with a certain (out of time) historical movement, Heidegger was at least correct in as much he noticed a problem against which he could not help but hold out hope for. This hope that extended from at least Nietzsche, had brought him to have to say that we have still not yet begun to think, even as those who would want to think that they are thinking by “…offering an overall exposition” of Nietzsche’s work . Harman has the philosophical acuity and balls to realize that “we” will never begin to think. We can find this implication in the assertion he made in the Harman/Zizek Duel-Duet, that we have always been dis-enchanted. The point here being that indeed the reality has been that the enchantment that Heidegger was involved with in his “still-yet” was exactly that: a fantasy.
But this fantasy in not what one would think. lol. The significance of this fantasy, this enchantment, is that it is never communicated in its truth. This could be said to be what the Frankfurt School was just beginning to notice back then, and after a time, this is what why the issue of communication came up with the postmoderns, because the fact is that such enchantment occurs, people do begin to think, but the truth of the Same (Heidegger) is lost in the attempt to communicate; this is an apparent fact. This fact is what brings the post-Postmoderns: Zizek with his complete capitulation to the paradox; Badou pointing out the issue of the two: Laruelle holding firm in the historical consciousness as a communicable situation.
There is a reason why I call Deleuze and Guattari “Delusional Guitar Player”: While the Frankfurt School was trying to make sense of what this ‘saturation of the signal’ was exactly, Deleiuze and Guattari 25-some years later mark a point when the ‘distortion’ of the ‘philosophical analogue’ (see below) signal was noticed as distortion but likewise being taken to be readable (see above video), such that whatever would be communicated as the distorted signal would be accounted for as indeed part of the communication, as accounted for in their philosophy: This is enchantment par excellence, and is why we have all the subsequent run-off Deluezian philosophies that have eroded more or less into “philosophical fictions” at one end and pure admitted fantasy at the other. (Laruelle’s version has likewise been commandeered by such ‘distortions’) with some people in the middle still debating over what is really going on.
We find this because we should not rub it in; we cannot continue to yell at people, like Nietzsche, anymore; its like beating a dead horse, we need let it be.
The continued attempt to communicate how what withdraws from thinking which then gives something worth thinking about might be communicated is failing, indeed has failed. This is the significance of Harman’s move (and perhaps the Speculative move in general) into the Object. A completely new way to speak about the situation at hand without having to retread over and over what had already been retreaded so many times and will continue to be. A clean break was called for. And even still, a divergence.
The noise made by this event thus brings me to think (lol) about analogue and digital communication. The significance of digital (it seems) is that it can communicate accurately over long distances. Perhaps, what is being communicated through time that is actually outside of time, is something that is being communicated “digitally”, where as conventional philosophy is more like “analogue” communication, where to longer the distance traversed by the signal when the signal is read, the more distorted the signal.
When are we still not yet thinking? This is what the whole thing pivots apon, yes? For we know Heidegger; he loves a turn pf phrase. All along we will have been thinking, yes, what I quite bit of thought to ponder, this “still not thinking” as the most thought provoking thing. But it is! For everyone is obsessed with thinking; who is thinking best, who is helping the most people with their thinking, who is making the most money… So ti is that we might have bank of ideas that we disseminate to the students. But Heidegger’s teacher does nothing of the sort; all these thinkers thinking about the food for thought that is not thought provoking, but is merely thought promoting! Thought is that which is central to man, and man cannot be anything but the center of the universe in the many possibilities of ideas and concepts.
So it is that what is most thought provoking is that we still are not thinking…for we are not thinking at all.
It is the distortion that is thought. In all its precision and ability to choose on various things to talk about and how to talk about them. We can’t undo this. The signal itself, though…well; that might be another matter entirely.