Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Matter of Truth, the Matter of Matter: Which Matters More? Part V

In the last portion,( Part IV ), of this inquiry, I was forced to return to talking about people, subjects, perceptions, or points of view, or ideologies, because I didn’t think the problem I wished to address with my comments about “worlds worlding” could be intelligible to others unless I talked a bit more extensively about one problem of rationality: whether all rationality and practices of rationality imply an ontological monism, or whether there can be a rationality, or practices of rationality, which are pluralistic.

Now, I want to show that there are connections between things I’ve mentioned in other sections of the inquiry, (Parts I to IV), and in the rest of the blog in general, in order to better outline where I think these ideas can go.

To make all of the connections I think are necessary will probably require many more postings.

A theme of the Enlightenment Underground has been to find out how we can responsibly ask the question of what it means to say that we desire our own repression. We’ve tried to show that treating this theme in a more sophisticated and comprehensive way could be important to making the repetition, with difference, of the Enlightenment event.

This in mind, I wanted to examine what is happening in this quotation from Sinthome’s blog, Larval Subjects:

“Truth matters to me, and I have the fundamental fantasy that it matters to
everyone else as well. That's what bothers me so much, I think. I'm the victim
of my own desire."

There is some marvelous resonance here with the theme we are trying to develop: of the desiring of one’s own repression. I believe that following these resonances will give us a few clues to answer the questions of why we do so.

When I first used this quotation,( in part I ), I knew that I was using it in such a way that it would appear that I was bringing into “court” a bit of hard evidence to render and justify a verdict of “ authoritarian personality” ( or narcissist) for which the defendant would be punished by exposure to cackling, demonic, and passive aggressive, remote laughter.

Maybe some part of me wanted it to be that way, and maybe it’s better for me not to deny that. However, I think I better understand now what I really want to do: I want to take this statement by Sinthome as a mapping of forces – and I want to look at that map and those forces – which DO NOT map onto a subject, an author named Sinthome, as either concept – subject, author- is typically conceived. There is no judging or finding of guilt, or handing down of verdicts (or labels, medical or ‘diagnostic’ labels), no matter how well considered. I want the map to show what’s NOT REALLY THERE. ( And I do not think such a demonstration has anything to do with ‘judgment.’)

This way of working has a great deal in common with what I was trying to explore as a methodology, earlier, when I was writing about the “geology of repression.”

In Sinthome’s quote, I see the collision of two major tectonic plates: one, of what wants to be critical rationality, and the other one, which wants to be a communicative rationality. " Truth matters to me" is the tectonic plate of critical rationality; the rest of the quotation represents the tectonic plate of communicative rationality.

The plates smash together, with subduction and friction.

There is a big tension ridge formed – a geographical feature – and there’s been a big earthquake, too, big enough to cause the ground to shake for centuries.

This same collision is mapped in Dr. Spinoza ( and in myself and in everyone.... I'm alleging this.)

His slogan for this blog, “the ruthless criticism of everything existing,” feels to me something like a challenge to himself, that he be faithful to the demands of his critical rationality. ( Note the harsh affect, always present, in the expression of the demands of the critical rationality: “ ruthlessness.”) However, Dr. Spinoza’s genius really resides in his communicative rationality, for which this “ruthlessness” is utterly foreign and inimical. Therefore, shortly into the blog, Dr. Spinoza begins to desire that there be a kind of “fallibilistic” practice of thought, but what “ruthless” critical thinker would wish for that?

See, there’s really nothing in between.

That’s what I see on the map so far. We think there is something between, and we speak and act as if there is, but there isn’t.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, Yusef,

As I was writing my comment to your previous post you post another. Ah, the joys of blogging!

Let me just say this: Get over your fixation with Sinthome's (Levi's) blog and stop deconstructing him. Just enjoy his learning. And stop competing.

Your write, See, there’s really nothing in between.

OF COURSE, there is. EVERYTHING is "between". Read in the margins - always! ( - Thanks Derrida - !)

What is the left hand doing while the right hand is writing?

Orla Schantz

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Yusef said...

I'm confused by you, Orla.

I agree with what you insist upon, and yet find it difficult to acknowledge that.

I don't know why.

I plan to continue agreeing with what you insist upon and yet proceed as if I didn't.

I think that I must have something to say to Sinthome because I think it is a big mistake to think that one can psychoanalyze oneself; that's a mistake he is making.

Who else is saying that to him?

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Yusef,

I can easily understand you're confused by me. I'm sometimes confused, too ;-).

But I agree with you when you write:

I plan to continue agreeing with what you insist upon and yet proceed as if I didn't.

Good idea. And I plan to continue reading you and responding, hopefully in a more un-confusing way. Maybe I should start commenting during daylight instead of in the middle of the night ;-)

Anyway, I appreciate your thinking and your provoking me.

All the best,

Orla Schantz

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Yusef said...


Was it the really the case that what you saw in the post was nothing more than an obsession with Sinthome and a competition with him?

I really think that I am setting up here to try to reach something much more important that.

Your observations matter to me, though, and if I'm fooling myself, it'll take someone like you to let me know.



8:40 PM  

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