Monday, May 21, 2007

What Do You Turn On When You Turn On?

While speaking of plans for a repetition-difference of the Enlightenment, we have been using a string of metaphorical terms: rebirth, reactivation, renewal, inspiration, and others. In my opinion, when we’ve spoken of affirmation, negation, positive, negative, and even of creation, we’ve also been using a metaphorical frame of reference – so far, very little of what we’ve had to say can be taken outside of such a frame of reference.

These metaphors borrow from the physical and biological realm – sometimes even from the bodily. What fascinates me is that we work along with these metaphors without reflecting on the problematic and questionable nature of the correspondence of metaphors to our subject matter, thought and thinking itself.

The metaphors we’re using are bright, happy ones – they give me a bright and happy feeling. It is very easy for me to mistake this bright happy feeling they give me with the beginnings of a bright and happy philosophy. But I believe that to entertain this notion is to be utterly misled…. To be misled by my own happy feelings into the belief that something is being accomplished, that movement is commencing.

We want a reactivation of a philosophical ethos… Using metaphors, we fool ourselves into believing that we are calling up, summoning as it were, such a reactivation.

This becomes a trap.
Using the word " reactivation" has little if anything at all to do with actual reactivation.

What’s funny, I think, is that clarification of the metaphors suggests itself as a way out – and that’s precisely wrong. The way out has to do with replacing this metaphorical thought with processes which are mechanical, concrete, and material – pragmatic. However, at this time – for me—“mechanical,” “concrete” and even “material” are no more than other metaphors – metaphors no more mechanical, concrete or material than the earlier ones they seek to improve upon. ( And I would like to add to this comment that really these latter metaphors are worse than the ones they improve upon because they occlude a poetic beauty and impulse of life which the earlier metaphors mysteriously retain…)

I talked a little earlier about desire and creativity as ideology. Their ideological function is tied to their expression in terms of metaphor. (But I have to admit -- by the same token, so are the alternatives, at least so far.) Desire will not animate language, (even contemporary poetic language,) if desire is restricted to metaphorical expression. Metaphorical creativity is a sham unworthy of the name of creativity.

* Morris Graves, Hibernation.


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