Friday, June 06, 2008

Rationality and Totality, Part IV

I am drawing up loose skeins of connection between two very loosely (though apparently fundamental,) fabricated concepts: rationality and totality. (Am I overcoming either one in proceeding thusly?) Nothing I say about either the connections or the concepts themselves needs to be considered compelling or “valid”—I think what happens is that in the bright light of day (the enlightened day?) a lot of what we think about rationality or totality or the connections between them begins to dissolve into irreality…But this is entirely to the point rather than a defect of this exercise. The light of the enlightenment is not necessarily real, and what’s left by the historical Enlightenment to lurk in the shadows, dark and vague and anxious, may be “where it’s at” in terms of contacting reality—in other words, in terms of reading desire.

I want to escape from the demand that what I can draw out of the mud puddles of my mind be those things which are clear ( that very peculiar and very important optical metaphor of “clarity”) or can be made clear, while at the same time I want to pay the utmost attention to all of those aquatic organisms swimming in the seas of my head which appear to be perfectly clear without any clarification at all. (And of course this latter objective is extremely difficult to accomplish. Strangely, the former objective seems so easily accomplished it doesn’t even appear to be a worthy objective…This also is entirely to the point.)

Speaking of rationality, entire generations of men ( and it’s men for the most part—I’m not disguising the nature of the history or continuing it by putting it this way) find it unproblematical and clear what it is to which they refer—their problem is to obtain rationality more than to say what it is they wish to attain…But because of difficulties they confront in getting what they wish to attain, they are forced to confront what it is they wish, what they want…Something similar appears to be true now when we speak of totality—we think we know what it is which we wish to avoid—that part appears unproblematical to us, I think—whether we actually can avoid these traps and fly bottles is the most difficult thing, especially because, under these circumstances in which we now try to avoid traps and fly bottles, the very nature of trying to avoid traps and fly bottles may very well be a trap and a fly bottle.


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