Sunday, September 28, 2008

Abstraction and Concept Creation, Part II

Throughout a bouncing witches’ flight through golden, silver, copper, zinc, and moonbeam-tinged fogs, I remain attached to these bits of solidity (because they make up my witches’ broom?): Enlightenment, totality, critique, overcoming, rationality, and myth.

On a witches’ flight, these are not encountered as localized or as objects—they are as non-local as the mist rising up from a lake, and appear at all only when the differentials of vapor pressure, temperature, and atmospheric pressures are such as to intersect with the narrow band of light waves differentially perceived by electrochemical gradients in the human retina, or along neurons, and in the brain.

Initially, I pledged to not judge totality, Totalization, as necessarily bad, as necessarily to be avoided—I did not want to follow my inclination to declare war on it…I wanted to get a better understanding of it rather than rely on my own postmodernist prejudices against it. There’s a great deal at stake in the concept of Totalization—it might be history has no sense if Totalization has no sense. It also seems logical to me to suspect the elimination of Totalization is not an overcoming of Totalization but institutes another form of Totalization which could be even blinder than those which went before it.

There could be better and worse senses of Totalization—I think there are. I want to arrive at a better understanding of the better senses. One sense of Totalization which comes to mind as worse is that of Totalization as a finality. I think Totalization as a finality is a worse sense of Totalization even if I connect the concept of finality with the concept of perfection so that when I use the word finality I mean finality in perfection, or perfect finality. If life is becoming and ceaselessly creative, perfect finality would be horrible, because it would be a cessation of life, of the life processes. Political thinking which attempts to determine with finality forms of government and thus perfectly codify relations between people frighten me—how would one live in the gilded cage such thinking would wish to construct? Life is doing, and what would be left to be done? Sit in a golden chair, glowing in everlasting satisfaction and contentment, happy and at rest? This heaven is not for me.

Rejecting Totalization as finality, do I accept life as futility or as endless wandering? I’m as frightened of futility and endless wandering as I am of perfect finality. It is good to finish a project. It is good to finish well. It is good to come, after a journey, to a good place. It is good to stop for awhile. It is good to rest. But there’s a difference between finishing a trip and taking a good rest in a comfortable place, and coming to a final resting place, (which is what we call death, appropriately.)

I say it is good to finish a project. A project can be said to be finished. That means there must be criteria for saying something is finished. There must be some sense in which the project is all done. Is there a sense in saying a project is finished, but without this finishing having finality? If so, there may be a concept of Totalization without finality.

How do I conceive a project being finished but without finality? I see it this way: I finish a project, and it is completed. However, the completion of the one project could be the basis on which I initiate a dozen others…That’s the good completion of the good project…It leads to others, others which couldn’t have been conceived without the completion of the first. This is a notion of productivity. Productivity which produces a finality is not production, (is this anti-production?) Production which releases further productivity is production. Such productivity requires a Totalization—and not just as an intermediary, or a stage, either.


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