Mistaken Identity: Something Other Than Human: A Reification of What it Denies?

Here is a REPOST in which there is a link the the post which has the comment quoted below that I address. Whew!

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The author of the link in the repost seems to have issue with the idea of some Post-human proposals that we need get beyond the ‘human’. The question: Why does everything have to begin and end with human?

Note: Im gonna be greatly confrontative, and possibly even rude, so, just take it as I expect just as much back. It seems sometimes that everyone is too civil. Maybe that’s the problem: Everyone is too comfortable. IDK. I throw a hand grenade into the room, and find out whats in there by the effects of the explosion. Often its dead people who don’t know they are dead, but sometimes there are scientists with special instruments who get some interesting readings.

O kay…

Orientation: This is an essay about identification and not condemnation.

I say such a position (reflective of the comment below) does not understand its own position. Rather, it creates a position that is naturally complicit to the state it is supposed to be critiquing. Similar to what I suggested in my POST about Anslem’s God Proof, this is to say that the position it advocates (as a critique) is artificial (as it proposes to account for all reality), and insincere, as well as in direct contradiction to the meaning it proposes to be conveying as a suggestion for…what…belief? So it is unstable in its posture. When we think about it, I think the first thing that comes to mind is How are we to take the notion “post-human/beyond human”? As a belief? A suggestion for how to organize terms? An answer to a view? As an academic position? As pure nonsense?

Can we PLEASE be honest with what we are doing? If we do not ask our selves the purpose of what we are doing, then, what are we doing?

No one is really trying are they. (Irma Dork. 1977.)

If we are to take its base (Deleuzian mythos, I ass-u-me) as cogent, which is, as representing itself in total, and not as pieces to be assembled together and applied will-nilly (despite what rebuttal would say “its all pieces to be put together as we wish” (ZZZzzzzen).); if we can get under the determination which proposes a complete view despite what it argues to the contrary (I am going to argue that the argument I make is not an argument), then we have a manner to actually see the truth of some things (this allows for two routes to become visible/knowable) We allow for the possibility, however tight and hole-proof our logic and reasonings might seem, to loosen ourselves from our own noose mythology.

The Deluezian ontological base, which supposed to remove (maybe) itself from an ontological proposal (Modernity in general) through a de-ontological definition (or even a definition that smooshes them together – the Deleuzian Zen-like ontological default), as though definition establishes a non-essential essence that destabilizes…um….more definitional essences (wait a minute), perpetually only destabilizes itself, and argues its own fantasy through an over-determination of its power and positional authority; in short, it perpetuates the same ideological form of reality that it proposes to destabilize: It argues itself as having an ability to destabilize itself through its apparent stable ideological position of de-ontology.

My question is, can we just stop with the magical thinking? Or, can writers just be forthright with what they are doing?… And Deleuze, (sorry folks) is the #1 philosopher of magical thinking (as least it appears from his proponents). I mean, I am sounding silly there, but if you really read Deleuze for what he is saying, and be honest (as opposed to wanting to be ‘seen as an intellectual’), it pretty much just repeats stuff you already know, and, it seems to me, actually says nothing (how ironic, huh?). So it is that he uses the example of him saying nothing to explain the fact of how it is that people will see him as saying something, and then spend years and years discussing it. (Wasn’t it Deleuze who said something like discussion is extraneous? I mean, wtf? )

We can use the following comment as an example of how such a ‘deontology’ falls into itself. (also note: I could be wrong in assuming the comment below stems entirely from a Deleuzian shoot, but even the employment of other theorists here move to the point of contradiction regardless.)

The difference between this older classic version of technicity and the conceptions in our contemporary speculations is this notion of supplement (i.e., prosthesis). In the old system we invented these prosthetic technologies of externalized material supplements because we lacked something essential in our own nature (i.e., the whole Prometheus/Epimetheus mythos). In our current thought following those like Deleuze/Guattari who overturned the Platonism of essentialism in which the concept of lack and deficient give was to difference and repetition; or, the notion of our unconscious as productive (Deleuze/Guattari) against the unconscious as a lack/void (Lacan/Badiou/Zizek) becomes integral.

Though I think there are some typos in there, I think we can get a pretty good idea of what is being said.

Before I get started: that last statement appears incorrect: It is lack by which subjectivity becomes infinitely productive; desire is not productive, at least as a reasonable manner (sure, we could say that using 3000 rounds of ammo to kill 50 people is productive, but…how inclusive and nihilistic do we want to be? Yeah, we could say that The Final Solution was productive, but why? ) it is fetishistic, it produces and maintains fantasy, and falls into and move toward nothing (lack). Any discourse that places these in a exclusionary framework is most probably trying to sell you something; probably a product. The historical distinction of ‘techne’ arrives through a desire, that is, a blank spot, a point of nil, so that kind of Historical Consciouses could be said to have ‘produced’ the World Wars. Also, though I agree with the synopsis of ‘techne’, I think the results he proposes do not follow in all instances, hence its overestimation.

My response is: first we have to begin to get over our want for discursive fantasies of degenerative-progress. If we hang on to our tendency to want fantastic stuff, like unicorns and Pegasus, chaotic aliens, Neuromancer bestsellers, a purpose for history, etc… then we pretty much continue to stew in our sweat, over and over. Sure, it makes for good fiction books and movies, but I doubt that such theorists are putting forth theories for the purpose of inspiring fiction; the regular idea of ‘philo-fiction’ is a misapplied “pop” excuse (but it doesn’t mean its bad, it just means that the theorists that claim sincerity in their theorizing perhaps need to reconsider their methodological base.)

Can we please just be honest? I know that in another arena, the author of this comment will pivot back and forth upon the concept, off Deluezian “plateaus” to say that we can speak of different ontologies through different “rhizomes”. So perhaps I am commenting more on what is implied within the quote: Not even a critique, but more a type of sense that, if we call to such “philosophics”, has nothing ‘common’ about it, but just makes sense, then a comment on any position that allies as Deleuzian could go something like this:

— {His point in the post, I m pretty sure, was that ‘human’ is just a construct that is becoming outdated. That we need begin to think away or beyond what is human. I think this is a theoretical fantasy that is more a discursive commodity than it is any type of legitimate theory. But we all know that such a distinction doesn’t matter now. (that is the postmodern condition). } —

This kind of discursive gymnastics goes back to Kierkegaard’s complaint, as well as his admitted style and ability. It is easily seen for its magical connotations, but only once we understand that we are no longer caught within the paradigm of discursive identities; such identities is but one manner (one route) of appropriating discourse (it is not wrong to take this route, but travelers along this route do tend to condemn and or discount other routes as false and wrong). Here, as an example, the author supposes to get beyond identities through defining things in different manners, at once, in some instances using Deluezian “deontological” categories to supposedly shake up ontological categories; using definition to pose a definition that is (somehow) outside of definition or indicates something outside; so easily such wizards can wield the magical terms to state their case beyond question. Off to one side, there will be a discussion about how everything reduces to an indeterminable moment wherein all past, present and future collapse into nothingness, unsupported except through some (miracle?) of (what?) discourse? Then out the other side of the polygon Janus we get some sort of ordinary Greek version of terms (of an old order)? On and on down the rabbit hole of a definition of immanence such a position will routinely grab ahold of a transcendent, only to then confound us again by telling us that “transcendent” is defined differently, or that they are not sure what ‘transcendent’ means, or what is transcendent is countered through another definition of… — why ? Because we have defined things in such a way or by a recourse to a tradition that supposedly only exists in an atemporal ‘zone’ ( I guess) that can behave in a manner that defies all notions of consistency. It seems (oddly enough) the only consistency is some sort of schizophrenic biological brain or organ or “body without organs” that is able to somehow get outside of this never-ending discursive cycle (somehow “brain” or “consciousness” or “plateau” etc.. is able to transcend the ever-recycling immanence to be able to speak of something “substantial”? Something ‘beyond this human conundrum’?). And no one look where the accusation is made toward Platonic recurrence and repetition; here we are with a Deluzian discourse entirely unable to indicate to us how it is different except by using its own scaffolding of definitions that say it is. It is different because it is putting together the terms of discourse differently? How does that accomplish any difference from the mode it is supposed to be different from? Admittedly,

what?

this is really kind of a “Adam Ruins Everything” kinda essay. I am The Philosophical Hack. But the need is real; many people see it and it doesnt mean the end of the world, only >some people’s world, and that can be hard to swallow. These kinds of philosophy do not get us anywhere but more things to discuss; it’s a philosophy of self-fullfillment proclaimed and argued internally to apply to all human beings. Here it is, the overdeterming in application of a traditional discourse to the common category of human:

…In this sense then originary technicity states that ‘techne’ and technology were there before humans,”

On which Deluezian plateau does this “before humans” reside?

“…and in fact it was technicity that conditioned and shaped the human rather than the other way around.

How is this possible? From where is this statement gaining its veracity? Ill tell you: From the very history that the larger Deluezian slight-of-hand says is a suspended kind of ‘illusory’ trick of consciousness (oh yeah: Consciousness gets a get out of jail free card also). If its an illusion, the question becomes, then how is it possible for someone (say the author of this comment) get a hold of another author (say Deleuze) to be able not only draw upon his ideas, but to even be able to understand it to be able to agree with it? From where does the ‘illusion’ arise? At what point in history? Nevermind the extensive scheme of definition that cannot be challenged due to the ever present philosophical method of weaving and dodging that the method had prescribed through its (de-) ontology.

I know this is useless, but is anyone getting the picture?

“… And, in our time we are realizing that the human was a fiction, a transitional being for whom technicity has all along been utilizing it for its own ends and purposes. This fatalist and determinist view is not that technicity is opposed to the human, but that humans have never been human and that we are grounded in technicity from the beginning. So that in our time with the rise of the Mechanosphere (Deleuze/Guattari) we’ve come to see ourselves as part of the machinic phylum, as machinic multiplicities whose organic systems are over the coming centuries going to give sway to inorganic systems, a mutation from one material platform to another with modifications of intelligence and robotics as one pathway to this. This notion of Superintelligence is just one more technicity which is part of this conditioning process of transition.”

We should see that “we” in this context is the picture itself of the philosopher who takes himself too seriously, that is, who sees the terms that are come by as identifying ideal substrates, ideal mechanisms by which his consciousness is functioning. And this is to say that this is what consciousness does. It is not that what he is saying has any credence in my world, except as it is an aspect of my world, an identification of a process; not the process the author (or Delueze) describes, but the process that wishes to justify itself in any world, which is to say in this instance, that author’s ideal world. Human was a fiction because this agent of desire could not fulfill itself in another way than to proclaim itself over the entirety of this kind, which is, not human in an actual general sense, but merely one particular human (and maybe a few more). No matter what he argues, this ‘we’ somehow includes me only through the proclamation of his omniscience, but as well, a condition of my existence: He realized that his whole situation is equivalent with the common human, and so it must be that ‘human’ was a fiction. How is he able to understand what a human was if he is involved with a fiction? How was he Being a fiction? Its funny how such topics lend themselves to actual fictional stories. Sounds like he doesn’t want to take himself seriously.

But here is the kicker: Delusional Guitar Player (Delieuze and Guittari) says nothing less. This is an example of a self-fulfilling aspect of consciousness, such that it defines a moment as that moment extends out beyond itself. It is indeed a proposal of unconsciouness based in –not merely any desire –but the desire that is overcome by its lack, which is, namely, the author that subscribes to such a philosophy as though it actually describes what has, is and will occur. The point is that such philosophical analyses reveal their own bias within the asserted encompassing context itself.

And the extra-point: This whole ideal is based upon the founding term of “human” as an essential and common thing in-itself, a basic premise that underlies the whole motion that desire wishes to accomplish: attain the Subject as a valid and real identity. This is why these folks must come up with “post-” human things: because they have found that their “humanity” is lacking. This is why “before” techne meant something –what? –better ? or just indicated an organization that was different than what (should be?). Such that now we should or are going to have a different (better?) relationship with technology. Of course! My failure at fulfilling myself as a human (in the attempt to ‘fill’ my desire with the ‘substance’ of discursive and non-discursive ‘things’, I ended up with nothing) means that ‘human’ was a fiction, and that this thing that ‘humanity’ made (this thing that I made that was unfulfilling for my desire for it to fill me) will surpass what is human, to thereby justify my empty Being of desire by being that which is ‘after’ what was once human (that ‘thing’ that I believed in which failed me). Frankestien’s Monster! What a novel analysis! But wait; didn’t Mary Shelly tell us this very same thing like 300 years ago? Oh yeah; NOW things are really going to hit the shit fan. Finally. Boy, thank God for us modern theorists. I would have never known that we are going to have a ‘new’ relationship with technology. Genius!

Nevertheless: The world and technology may indeed occur through the author’s analysis: The real world is the world of desire. Post-human ideals will have repercussive effects in meaning, but first ‘post’ would need to depart from regular analysis to exit from the historically progressive fantasy. The point here, then,  is that such an analysis does not concern every human being, and thus is not speaking to what may actually come to pass as “post-human” because there is no True category for which ‘human’ can be exceeded or surpassed; there is no effective unitive category called ‘human’ that can be overcome or gotten past. Indeed, it is the epitome of a basic misreading of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard to suggest that there is anything “beyond” or “post” but a fantasy made out of the desiring machine that is over generalized into “human”. Once such a desire is understood for what it is, then the world changes because the fantasy is dispelled. Yet, the Subject of traumatic unfulfilled desire (or the Subject of imposed trauma) becomes a “post-traumatized” so long as the Subject still identifies with the fantasy. There is no ‘post-human’ reality except in as much as the Subject is still attempting to justify itself in the same metaphysical space. Our relationship with technology is the same: We always use it as a prosthetic of some sort, despite what definitions are in place. We are always human, even if I become a car; even if I am Robocop. The ideal of post-human is another fantasy of desire, based in the lack of fulfillment of that desire, or the relative fulfillment of repeating defacement.

The ideal of getting beyond how humanity actually functions as a unitive category is a utopian dream. This dream is then placed in ‘post-human’ category of (often dystopian) progress for the purpose of satisfying the failed desire of an individual identity. It is based in a complete misunderstanding of its own theoretical base: ironically proposing nothing. The best we can do is use this aspect in discovering and admitting a true human for its universal object. 

*

See, though, that my critique is an identification. My intent is to show where and how particular philosophies operate, and not so much that what it proposes is incorrect. It is a description of the dynamic and universally ingenious manner that consciousness “creates worlds”. Similar to Graham Harman, here I using a foundational term “consciousness” to delimit what is most universal of universal objects; I could have said “rock”, and then we could speak about all the aspects of “rock”. No longer are we concerned, then, with “rock-ness”, because we already find that “rock-ness” is already encapsulated in the Being expressed as itself a rock. It manifests rock as rock and is in this way impenetrable as a subject of discourse: Discourse reveals in one way or another everything there is in relating to the Being-there of the rock…

This resonates with the author’s statement “…that humans have never been human and that we are grounded in technicity from the beginning.” But with a caveat that is not included in the phenomenal mode of such desiring-subjectivity; namely, that we have never been human in as much as we adhered to human as an aspect that my consciousness has access to in-itself, as a universal object that has properties that are uniquely human, that is to say, that only we perceive things, only we create ideologies, and have political identities. It becomes obvious that this is not the case, once we get over the phenomenal obsession with identity. The question of how we could know this is made once we realize that the entirety of our Being is contained in the objectivity of being human; not so much in the interrelatedness of the common category called human, but in the objectivity of universal Being, not as a known ‘consciounsess’ of cosmic proportions, but as a relation of the unity that always withdraws from view. The parameters of subjectivity have been laid out; we have only to fill them in with whatever real situation presents itself, which are eternally diverse as they are manifested through consciousness functioning. This is nearly concordant with the statement, that we are determined by objects, subjectivity being the ‘empty place’ of conflation of effective objectivity. But the phenomenonal intension behind the statement will exclude itself (will withdraw) from the more generalizing universal mode for the purpose of, again, establishing its ‘world’ as an all inclusive ideal. The irony only ends when we allow it, that is, when weve had enough of it. This doesn’t  mean that it ends or the world ends, or humanity fades away with its own creation. It means that humanity will always be humanity despite what terms we use to define it. And this will be proven 200 years from now to those who read this essay (under certain conditions). 

The production of desire abhors a vaccum, and due to its desiring machinery will fill the hole with evidence of a world that is vacant, or in time, becoming vacant –of what? Of that which the desiring philosophical agent cannot achieve in its fulfillment: a filling of what is void: desire itself: the world. Hence, the meaning of such historical analysis will always yield a fading of humanity. Under every sort of definitional scheme, whatever was of a ‘history’ will be absorbed into the empty space of desire, discourse will coalesce around this ‘cognizant space’ to manifest the emptiness, the nihilism as an actual true basis of world.

But the Truth of the situation is that subjectivity is filled infinitely with many things; it is not empty. The idea that there is no existential ground meaning nothing, that all is void and meaninglessness is a particular take upon terms, a particular orientation upon things that amounts to a twisting of desire into its want: the empty subject, nothing. It is not sad that there is no Subject; it is amazing because such a statement means that we get to look at what the subject actually Is. The point of the existential as well as a few of the postmoderns is that this fullness is not illusory, but rather that it cannot be communicated sufficiently. It is not that there is nothing or that all is meaningless. It is that nothing is still something, and meaninglessness still contains meaning. But for many f not most, this fact is never communicated, indeed, cannot be communicated in its Truth.

We can then re-approach the whole of Western philosophy under a different light, and begin to understand the meaning of Hiedegger’s proclamation that “the spirit is destitute”. It is not that we are left to a dystopian future; it is that this is just a moment that marks a significance, and it is not that we ‘lose’ our humanity to some machine A.I or any manifestation of technology that commandeers the meaning of human for another essentiality….

Post Script:

In his book “Dante’s Broken Hammer, Graham Harman appears (half way through the book) to make an argument against a formalist ethics, and toward a materialist ethics (again, Im only half way through the book, so my opinion may change).

In short, he says that Dante is more interesting and actually more intellectually stimulating because he deals with ethics within a sectional and progressive scheme of value, and that Kant’s ‘formal’ view of ethics is rather dry, and actually accounts for why we ned get over Kantian idealism.

In a way, this is what I am pointing out of the Deleuzian form: It is a kind a materialist ideal of graduation of experience, and inclusion of all possible experience of Being into a explanatory text (metaphysics; he does say he is a metaphysician; no irony there). But this this is why Graham must situate his Object Ontology as a proposal of polemical ideals: Because it is more interesting. Personally I think it is more interesting when we see the issue itself concerns an orientation upon objects, over the strict ideological proposal of an Object Ontology. I have said elsewhere that the reason why he must be ‘speculative’ is because in order to do anything progressive within the institution, one must adhere to traditional memes (in the original sense). One has to tow the line. And strangely enough, I am saying that this kind of line towing tends to argue against itself: Regardless of what Harman might say that has significance, it kind of loses its punch when we have to recourse to the traditional lineage: Its as if I present you with a wonderful brownie, but then when you go to eat it, it is switched for a carrot. Still good to eat, but the brownie seems much more interesting in the actual reckoning of experience. Once presented with the carrot to eat, yeah, carrots are ok, and they are good for you, but its still a carrot, and Im still thinking about that brownie.

I am not saying that Kant’s ideal formalism is correct necessarily, but more that despite what was presented, the meaning gets dilluted and too often becomes an argument of how good it is instead of the goodness that was innate in the idea itself. Materialism can be formal, and it is this kind of delineation, to “human defined essences” (conditions that human are able to not only define for themselves, but actually come to understand an interact with them as indeed universal essences), that reveals to us the extents of colonialization as a human aspect, a manner by which humanity behaves in the creation and establishment of worlds. It is not bad, it just is. And, it is only through the same kind of redundant institutional posture that we can have a ‘materialism’ that is in opposition to a ‘formalism’: the very idea that there can be a distinction is itself a ‘formal’ distinction. This is why we say postmodernism is a kind of religious apologetics: because we are not concerned here with various ideological manifestations, but their scientific application, which is to say, their control. One does not discover and or create an atomic reaction due to the politics of its use; these are segregate and independent aspects that only fall into a common praxis under the imposition of a unitive politics. Both may be involved with a situation, but not in actual simultaneity.

We cannot have an individual that recourses their behavior at all times to a fact that, for example, their freedom is not really free, but only defined as such. This simply does not happen, and the rationale that arises to ‘explain’ freedom in this way does nothing to impose itself upon daily activities and affairs, that is, except as one sees such metaphysical proposals as ‘always’ enacted and occurring even when not under the specific conditions of its activation; which is to say, only under the presumption of a religious truth. We find this very thing in contemporary China, where the issue of freedom is not regularly applied to the transparency for government, but is more understood as an actual lived experience.

*

Dante may be more interesting, and more juicy, but then when we start to talk about how this is the case, we automatically entered into a formalist state, even as we attempt to argue away from it through the definitional disclaimers. It appears, all to regularly, as a false dichotomy.

Something else is occurring in philosophy that tries is damnedest to stay hidden. 

3 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity: Something Other Than Human: A Reification of What it Denies?

  1. also, if humanity was always a fiction, then can’t we still live that fiction? Don’t I still have 10 fingers and 10 toes, like most people? Human=rational animal=fiction. Human=biological animal to me is indisputable. That’s a semantic thing. Human=spirit or person- even there I’m willing to give some universality.
    When you say that postmodernity is a kind of religious apologetics, I 3/4 agree with you. I don’t have time to get into it, but I think that doubting scientific narratives for a postmodernist is just one part of it- doubting religious narratives is kind of a subtext, even though the point is to mostly get us to realize logocentrism and Western metaphysics. I guess it depends on what you mean by religious apologetics and how you define religion (which religions)

  2. I just did a post on my blog about rethinking the post-human things and just my thoughts on that! I didn’t title it that, its under “A collection of aphorisms”. I don’t know if you will agree with everything I said.
    but GREAT POST. Very Lacanian. I like this:
    “We are always human, even if I become a car; even if I am Robocop. The ideal of post-human is another fantasy of desire, based in the lack of fulfillment of that desire, or the relative fulfillment of repeating defacement.”
    This is what I tried to say in my blog- we may be able to extend our life through science, but humans are always a being towards death. but maybe also that’s what being human is as well- always trying to find who we are, to redefine who we are.
    this guy just sounds like a typical Deleuzian to me, sounds like you weren’t taking any bullshit today

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