Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Short Note

Although I may not have made it clear in my recent musings on narcissism, I have been thinking of narcissism as a condition under which the power to propagate connections and form syntheses is restricted, minimized, or even eliminated.

I don't think that this understanding of narcissism involves psychologizing or moralizing.

I believe that I am sidestepping these forms of explanation by thinking of the condition of narcissism as a phenomenon of multiplicity: some multiplicities, for example monisms - monist multiplicities - suppress connections.... Very briefly, I can summarize this activity of suppression as being an effect of thinking and feeling within a metaphysical framework wherein all the crucial concepts, such as 'truth', require us to gaze and contemplate, but not to touch, not to interact.

Under the sway of these crucial concepts, I might, for example, exhibit my 'truth' to you, and you might exhibit your 'truth' to me, but in the clashing of our exhibitions we probably do not see, feel, or think anything we did not see, think, or feel prior to the clash. If we go on thinking that our exhibition of 'truth' is a way of interacting, ( which is precisely the self-flattering opinion we'd like to hold of such displays, so I think we will, in the absence of some thoughtfulness, continue this way,) we will continue being deluded. We will continue to have confrontations and clashes ( non-interactive confrontation! non-interactive clashes! At this point, there is no paradox for me in these formulations,) which are utterly unproductive...

Basically, I am saying that narcissism is an effect of being intersected by monist multiplicities. I don't know how convincing this thesis is, and I wouldn't mind some feedback here. ( Please!)

I have not believed that it is a good procedure to examine a psychological feature or process and then examine a social process, and then say that the psychological feature causes the social feature, or vice versa. And yet I am quite struck by just how often, here at the Enlightenment Underground, this appears to be exactly what I am trying to do. You know, in my posts, I'm not even interested in any of the many and varied mediations which are the substance of most other internet commentaries of all sorts - I almost act as if mediations don't exist. I'm worried. My present understanding of multiplicity ( which I admit may require drastic revision,) and critique of binaristic thinking ( here, binaristic thinking is involved in public-private, individual-society, psychological-social distinctions or oppositions, and mediation is what connects these binaristic opposites in one way or the other,) leads me to believe that mediation is part of the way of thinking that must be dispelled in the repetition with difference of the Enlightenment.

On the other hand, if that conclusion turns out to be false, I will have a lot of sloppy and jumpy thinking for which to apologize.


Blogger Dr. Spinoza said...

One way of pursuing this "repetition" of the Enlightenment, as you put it here, is by noticing that the Enlightenment was unified (to the extent that it was) under the banner of anti-clericism.

The priestly style in thought is to categorize, to classify, to complete. It is mythological and also religious classification which is structured in terms of binarisms. The fight against this tendency provides an impetus and "fighting faith" to the critical spirit of the Enlightenment.

The repetition of the Enlightenment in which we are now engaged must also turn this critical spirit against the residue of the 'first' Enlightenment -- this is why the philosophers I tend to appreciate and admire the most often look as though they are "anti-Enlightenment."

I would also like to pose the question as to what the repetition with difference of the Enlightenment means. It seems to me that repeating the Enlightenment with a difference requires us to take a nuanced and critical stance with respect to those who want to merely repeat the Enlightenment, without a difference. Here I have in mind, specifically, Jurgen Habermas and Richard Dawkins, though there are doubtless others.

10:23 PM  

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