Friday, January 29, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part IV

The “dividing practice” is a vertical movement; the “garden of forking paths” is horizontal.

There is only a simple fold or symmetry operation differentiating them.

On the garden of forking paths, I take this or that choice in order to reach this or that intermediate destination.

You can imagine my ecstatic delight in being able to say: I will go left;


You can imagine someone else’s ecstatic delight in saying: I will go right.

Neither Right-“I” nor Left-“I” concern themselves so much over how the choice ended up being poised in such a way that the acceptance of it either way would matter.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part III

I hate the “dividing practices” but the question is: does anyone truly like them?

Are there those who are not divided but who divide? Would these thus be those who truly like the dividing practices? Are there those who, though sometimes and to some extent divided, are nevertheless net beneficiaries of dividing practices? (In other words, whatever disadvantage accrues to them through the dividing practices enacted upon them, there is yet more than net advantage canceling it out.) Would these then, though they hated being divided, through a kind of wisdom, see they were more helped than harmed by these practices?

If there are those who truly like the dividing practices, then the explanation for why they continue might be simple—not very important. However, if no one truly likes them, the question of why they continue has urgency. What if the dividing practices continue though everyone hates being divided at all, whether it is a little or a lot, whether there are some more divided than others, whether some positions within the general dividing practice hurt only a little while others hurt a great deal more? What if the dividing practices continue even though the idea of changing the framework of “dividing practice” is an idea everyone would be willing to entertain?

A question I asked last time I would like to continue to entertain: could there be practices which no individual wanted to practice but the practice of which was forced into practice because some “abstract” entity—not an individual—did “want” the practice to continue? Isn’t this “abstract entity” whatever specifically it is—an idea, a theory, an organization of individuals, a state—what we would call a totality or a Totalization? It has this property of inertia—of being obdurate of change—of resisting desire, I assign to Totalization. I’m not saying no individual would ever come to identify with this abstract inert density, or ever come to be identified with it—these individuals might embody both our most vivid desire and our most vivid horror.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part II

I hate the “dividing practices.” I oppose them. (And I am long aware of the irony of “opposing” the dividing practices…To oppose the dividing practices is to enact them.)

For me, the “dividing practices” never lose the flavor of “divide and conquer.” What is divided is reduced in force, in what it can do. It has been made ready for conquering.

The dividing practices seem designed to weaken. A rationality of dividing practices seems aimed at producing weakness. It appears to be a will-to-weakness and a rationality which eschewed dividing practices would have been regarded by me as a will-to-power.

I am subject to the dividing practices—subject to the dividing practices, I can apply the dividing practices such as I am able in a chain-of-command of dividing practice. For being divided, do I reap a compensating reward within the collective of all divided up? Is there even such a collective? If I am weakened as an individual, would the strengthening of the collective be compensation, or not further punishment? What if the collective was strengthened but nevertheless each and every individual of the collective were weakened? In what sense is such a collective to be considered strengthened?

Previously, I opposed the “dividing practices” on the grounds they destroy “living unity.” However, I no longer think there are “living unities” in the sense I once did: as organic unities, as the organization of organs…Life as necessary organization, as necessarily organized. A life world had an organic functioning of secular and religious which required systems of circulation and coordination in order to not be debilitated or dead. If the one became separated from the other, both would be sickened or destroyed.

On this basis, it didn’t surprise me to observe the post-Enlightenment sickness of both the secular and the religious. Neither in separation seemed satisfactory and the kind of recombinations enacted by individuals, groups, or “subcultures” in privacy appeared to be unsuccessful (how could they not be as the fact that these happen in privacy is the enactment and redundancy of the dividing practice?) Of course, if I call “living unity” by its other name: Totalization, or totality—the triumphant restoration of such a thing –its power—has no appeal.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part I

"This was the beginning of the secularization of the political; from this point onwards, religious claims were progressively withdrawn from the political and public spheres of society. This made possible the freethinking attitude of Thomas Jefferson, who said, ‘It does me no harm for my neighbor to say that there are many gods or that there are none.’”--Carlos,The Importance of History.
The historical enlightenment is defined according to a “dividing practice”: the practical division of religious from secular.

Dividing practices continue to characterize the enlightenment, and are the enlightenment’s form of rationality—what the enlightenment understands to be rational practice.

However, the enlightenment understands its rationality, not as dividing, but as universalizing—how could dividing practice be considered consistent within a rationality understood as universalizing ?

Religious claims are progressively withdrawn from the political and public spheres even as the political and public spheres claim a universalizing progressiveness. In the symbolic terms of the historical enlightenment, this suggests that there can only be heartless universality...That there is no universality of the heart....That dionysus doesn’t live here anymore.

(After the little ape left his mother and big sisters, he abandoned his loving and tolerant girlfriend for an important and engaging business career on Wall Street and Madison Avenue. The little ape wonders: where, what, and who am I now? Naked or empty, he's one messed-up primate. In bed alone, no woman around. )

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Shadows of Totalization, Part L

"This made possible the freethinking attitude of Thomas Jefferson, who said, ‘It does me no harm for my neighbor to say that there are many gods or that there are none.’”--Carlos, The Importance of History.

Hypothetical presuppositions of the above statement:

1.Society can be divided into practical secular and religious spheres.
(There are practices which can be identified as religious or secular.)
2.Religious practices can be confined to the private sphere.
3.Religious practices can be reduced to, “saying that there are many gods or that there are none.”
4.Secular practices as such are compatible to rational practices and rational practices enacted in the political cannot be harmful.
5.Religious practices align with the dogmatic.
6.The religious is confining and what is confining is best dealt with by being confined. Freethinking confines what would otherwise confine freethinking.
7.Conflict between differing secular practices is resolvable because rational conflict is resolvable.
8.(There is no need to speculate or ponder the fate or outcome of religious conflict because the vast weight of historical experience demonstrates these to be interminable and violent.)
9.Religious practitioners can be rationally persuaded. Their confinement can be voluntary (ie not itself a source of conflict.) In other words, religious practitioners accept (rationally? religiously? Is confinement rational-religious?) the priority of the rationally secular.
10.Primary infringements upon secular,public,rational, political practice come from unconfined, public, religious practice.