Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rationality and Totality, Part X

In my last “rationality and totality” post, I very briefly described what I take to be two “thought-productive” methods or modalities, which I distinguished as the recti-method and the combi-permu method. (In the previous post, I called the latter method “comb-perm”, but because that sounds too much like something from a hair dresser, I’ve made a change.) Upon reflection, I realize I may be trying to take up the Deleuze-Guattarian concept of tree versus rhizome; or, I may be trying to compare a predicate calculus to the thought processes underlying probability, (is that a combinatorial ontology?); or both; or maybe not. Is a “tree”, or “arborescence,” as thought of by Deleuze-Guattari, a thought-production of predicate calculus? (A systematic deduction.) Does a Deleuzean rhizome refer to the thought-productions of a combinatorial ontology? Is the Deleuzean concept of virtuality a variant of combinatorial ontology?

Why does a system of deduction feel clear and clean? Why does probability seem messy and dissolute, lacking “integrity”? Is there not almost a moral distinction between the two, as if deduction were upright and sound and workmanlike, while dealing in probabilities, no matter how scientifically and strictly, retains a feeling of the gambling tables, the casino? Descartes becomes a thin, hollow glow; Pascal yields to the heart. You can’t trust the heart.

Now, switching gears and changing directions in a way which may indicate deep underlying psychic unsoundness in my brain, I want to communicate one of the reasons I am trying to interrogate these “thought-productive” modalities in the first place: I want to understand how and why one thought comes to dominate other thoughts. Why would one thought, or one type of thought, come to be considered to have more value or validity or correctness or oomph or quality or whatever you want to call it, than others? This is, I think, a remarkable phenomenon.

We don’t believe, even in our most idle zombie-esque moments of mental lassitude, in a natural aristocracy of thought-kings and queens presiding over lower-born ones, the thought-serfs. We do believe that some kinds of thoughts deserve authority. We do believe we have good ideas and bad; we are aware of a lot of mental sludge lulling around up there in the cranium. Where would these moral-like qualities attributed to thinking come from? Did the good ideas raise themselves up from the primordial sludge through hard work, ritual purifications practiced rigorously, through self-improvement programs, through proving themselves “useful”? Is the mental sludge packed with precious metals which can be mined and smeltered and sculpted or autopoetically self-molded into the new good ideas which will preside (or reign, or look down upon and govern) over the future? Is it fertile? In fact, is it used as fertilizer?

I sit on my stoop in idle reverie, taking way too long to lace my boots. I stare into space and see other worlds taking form there. A sudden judgment cuts through my gold-tinged fog: you’re wasting time! There is better to be done than this dreaming! If you don’t get a move on, you’re going to be in big trouble, buddy boy. And I do get a move on…I do obey. I move from my pleasant dream into the real world, which really had better not reveal itself to me as, rather than opposed to dream, opposed to pleasant; in other words, an ugly dream. The sudden judgment needs to have the authority to banish the ill-formed clouds from my mind.


Blogger Christoffer said...

One thing is for sure, we need some way of treating our thoughts differently. If we were to treat them all equally, we would go nuts, and I mean that in a bad way: suicidal, unable to function.

Maybe the authority of some thought over some other, are not determined by the thought itself. It has no innate value or even meaning. But by its relation to something that makes it meaningful.

1:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home