The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

May 8, 2006

As in digital manipulation of layers, the world is flattening by the
subject; is always flattening; there is no depth; depth is an illusion;
multiple viewpoints; apparent histories; apparent identities. The
flattening of the world: the stitching of ontologies, suturing
epistemologies. Thus the thetic, continuously working as the gesture
works. The gesture is working language; language gestures, gesticulates.
Language is always at a loss; hence the fury of language, presence of
obscenities or thickening, escape routes, of interjections, phonemically
other. Representation is the same; the same of the other; chiasmus: other
of the same. It is a disturbance of flattening which is flattening.
Disturbance is the apparency of discontinuity, anomaly; flattening is
substantive; substance. To disturb - to nudge - is to initiate
bifurcation, response. The limits of discontinuity are catatonias;
analogic inerts; substance is limitless. Consider an epigenetic landscape:
the flattening of the real. Consider elementary catastrophes and their
extending sheets: disturbance.
In my work several decades ago (I mention this only in relation to
Badiou), I wrote and write of farming-out; the perception of temporality,
of progress, resulting in the collocation of disciplines, subjects, within
which specialists take care of advance, increased knowledge, goods.
Temporality tends towards complexity; cellular automata can grow
in-conceivably chaotic within a few generations. The regular or reiterated
which is death (certainly without recursion which leads to quantitative
jumps) is unimaginable; it is the circumlocution, centrifugal forcing, of
the world. The apparency of disturbance tends towards centering. "Now I
must proceed without time."; with the perception of time; of what is known
now, what is processed now, as opposed to; what was processed; what was
processed then. What was conceived then; what I conceive now what was
conceived then. This is a conceiving; a state of conceiving; the bundle of
conceivings constitutes the world which appears undergoing transformation;
always irreversible. But not irreversible in fact: from presencing, from
presence there is nothing to return to; the state is unpresent,
non-present; one says "the state has vanished" or "we've moved on."
"I conceive of the world as such-and-such." "What is it that is being
conceived? What is conceiving?"
There is no Now; there is no philosophy of the Now. The present presence
is smeared, fuzzy; it is degenerate; it was never generate. Philosophy is
from present presencing, from this smearing; it is irrevocable; it cannot
be constituted otherwise. The Absolute is embedded in time; there is no
Absolute to return to; the embedding is within the present. The text is
always its memory; the text - any text - is always memory. I speak and
write concretely: this is such-and-such a writing which is only
inscription, artifact; the artifact is present, before you; the artifact
is presenting by virtue of your procurement. Everything, the world,
artifact, product-production, appears as, exists within, reconstitution;
the subject (who is always already embedded) recuperates, which is the
definition of the subject; objects do not. To recuperate is to draw
boundaries, definitions, negations: X = this; not-X = that. Not-X is
always problematic; it's "that" may be fuzzy, complementary; chained;
non-existent; indecipherable; generative or degenerate, degenerative. This
is the difficulty of the monopole in ordinary language within an ordinary
world; that is, what is termed the "lifeworld," or world of daily life.
The lifeworld is presencing, as if a gift or given; there is no negative
or negation; negation is a drawing. What occurs, occurs, is, is.
Flattening is necessary construct; thus disturbance within flattening
portends negation which is channeled within flattening. This is the sphere
of daily life which appears extended.
Fiske: The "discovery of the law of gravitation, as well as the
invention of such a superstition as the Hand of Glory, is at bottom but a
case of association of ideas." I cannot comprehend Being; Being does not
exist in my comprehension, nor in my understanding, nor in association,
nor in empathy. Of beings, I understand association. Being is a taste, a
connoisseurship of the world or collector of the world, tending towards
the final object. If Being is not absolute, what is? It is as if what is
given "is given"; it is not; the thetic tends towards the thetic;
circumlocution occurs within the same flattening as the world at large;
writing is such a tendency. The philosophy of sex, of sexuality, of love,
of war, hate; the philosophy of culture; of media theory: all are
farmed-out; all are within the provenance of disciplines, speciality. Art
is the drawing of negation; art is a disturbance of association; art
reveals the flattening and non-Being of the world; even within its
presentiment of Being, non-Being. Art is corruption; preservation holds
its own in the skein of decay. To create is to bifurcate; creation is
discrete, the rasa no exception. The commonality of art is gesticulation;
the commonality of art and language is gesture. As for sexuality:
"Language is always at a loss; hence the fury of language, presence of
obscenities or thickening" [5] - rupture is production; sexuality infects
the social; the infection is the social. Jouissance and preservation:
farmed-out to psychology; psychoanalytics; biogenetics; anthropology: this
central drive whose centrifugal emotion colors everything; presents or
re-presents the philosophical as determinative property, boundary,
territory and its circumambulation. Sexuality has no belonging; philosophy
is a speaking or carrying-out a longing for belonging, lengthening of
situation, just as death dissolves belonging which rites recreate for the
survivors. Obscenity is obscenity in its absence, its impossibility, of
circumlocution, a symbolic axis of interiority. Obscenity is that which is
spoken because it cannot be spoken; philosophy is an obscenity; a
pornography; its speaking is a flattening; a circumdiction of disturbance;
what is called a therapeutic or meditation; a dreamwork or working-
through; what is symbolic labor. In labor exchange value and use value are
equivalent; to think otherwise is to mistake ontology for content. The
value of labor lies in reification; in "fitting" (Bohm); in the production
of materials; of thought; operations within or across ontologies; emotions
or prime numbers; bricks or philosophy. Obscenity is valuable in its
valuelessness; it works, working through nothing; it is contrary or
wayward, contradiction; obscenity occurs within the Sheffer stroke dual
"neither A nor B"; in its elsewhere; in its range outside the organization
and data-basing of labor and its production.
Of the absurdity of analysis of X: X-beneath-the-sign-of-Y- analyzed or
mediated by Z: Z(Y(X)) for example; forgive the errors of category. A
loss: Philosophy exists qua philosophy to the extent that Y is
problematic; that Z turns away; turns the other face; that the tending of
X; of the world; is towards Other. What can be said dissolves in
speciality; in the interconnections among specialities; in the discourses
of specializations; that is, in the discourses of analysts; perhaps in
analytical discourses or discourse. The value of art is in opposition to
the value of labor; art is active and potential laborlessness-in-produc-
tion; obscenity underlies both; underlies philosophy; violence and
sexuality underlie obscenity; obscenity underlies both.
By default we are stewards of the earth.

[11+ forthcoming]

( images at )

By default we are stewards of the earth. An irresolute contradiction:
beginning and ending of philosophy, absence of, not absented, Being;
philosophy of this labor, this presence, this present: but: philosophy not
of psychology, not of sexuality; neither the tropology nor the speciality;
therefore the body present and absent; desire present and absent; mathesis
present and absent: but: the remoteness of philosophy; remoteness of
mathematics; remoteness of fundamental ontologies; within beings without
Being. Therefore "by default": given that there is none, that there is
none other; our ethos: subsummation of the other; recuperation of the
other within the same; recuperation of the same within the other. Sheffer
dual: "neither A nor B"; Sheffer: "not both A and B"; the fundamental
"jectivity" - projection and introjection - expulsion and incorporation -
exculpation and absolution (the register of ethos) - of organism in
relation, in dialog, dialectic, with the world: imminent perceived
environment - the project of organism, project of the environment
vis-a-vis organism. The given without the giver, given without the gift,
limitless, unbounded: the present. Stewardship by default: the given of
the world, the wager of local zero-sum. Foundation of belief in relation
to "what is to be done": Second jectivity, the overlay of ethos, Spirit,
what passes for foundation. The foundation of belief is in passing. Is in
passing as such. Belief is nothing if not of consequence; the consequence
of belief is stewardship.
The basis of stewardship is decision. Decision is bifurcation, digital.
Bifurcation is fundamental: the Schrodinger cat paradox depends on it.
From analog continuous waveform to digital. The suturing of the digital:
flattening; flattening by the organism in relation to the organism and its
functioning. Suturing: the mathematical operation of integration. The
other side of flattening: Contrast increase: the mathematical operation of
differentiation. Differentiation is the basis of survival Differentiation
is a disturbance of the digital within the analog. From disturbance,
suturing. Worlding is dialog-dialectic among flattening and disturbance.
Here philosophy no longer speaks: I no longer speak. For what is being
spoke is, can only be, speech broken by the world. Speech by its very
present-presencing is always already broken; philosophy breaks on speech.
"Of such, without recourse to the return, because of evidence: one cannot
return, or rather a return would be always and only from the present to
the present, operable upon a remnant of the production, but only the
remnant, which would be drawn into presence, or re-presence.'' The return
is inconceivable, a conceiving; the return: from heroic travel; from death
to birth; from wound to heal; from anomaly to suture; from digital to
analog; from (mythology of the) death drive to (mythology of the) death
drive; from arousal to satiation. The return is as-if, fiction. The return
loops; there is never a return; the return re-presents the world; all
re-presentation of the world is the appearance of return. To return is to
re-possess; possessions are repossessions. The loop of the return is the
process of reification; it transforms the appearance of inherent value
into exchange; within mathesis, it is capital. Capital is seeing the
world; it is eternal presence. Eternal return is always eternal presence;
it is the presence of as-if-I-had-known within the I-know; return is the
foundation of culture.
Return is the foundation of culture; desire is the foundation of culture;
language is the foundation of culture; sexuality is the foundation of
culture; product-production is the foundation of culture; disturbance is
the foundation of culture; differentiation is the foundation of culture;
negation is the foundation of culture; there is no foundation of culture
as such; there is no cultural foundation. (If the world were not a stew,
philosophy would be axiomatic; if philosophy were axiomatic, there would
be no philosophy. The exhaustion of the absolute is the absolute of

[16 forthcoming]

[ for images ]

To clear the house: the necessity of God/Spirit/Meaning; abstracted
capitalized universals. These are misrecognitions, misapplications; from
the specific to the general; from the imminent to the immanent; from many
to one; from one to One. Occamic pragmatism; eliminate them. They are of
service (they do not "serve") intrinsically; they comfort; they provide a
matrix (as-if from matrix to Matrix); the appearance of transcendence; the
therapeutic of warding-off death. They contradict flattening as tropes of
disturbance. They appear from elsewhere, elsewhen; they appear elsewise;
an introjected Other. Beware of capitals; of Capital. The projection of
capitals returns as meaning; returns the loop; implies foundation (as-if
from foundation to Foundation). They recuperate, exculpate, death (as-if
from death to Death). They are the marrow of human culture. Farm them out;
construct theologies, emblems; consider them (capital) Emblematic. Thus
the symbolic emerges (from pre-linguistic, from proto-linguistic, from
"chora") as-if from the Emblematic; as-if the Emblematic situates the
symbolic vis-a-vis the human. From "situates" to "Situates," situation to
"Situation"; Situation is generated by the Emblematic. To follow-through
is to follow through with difficulty; with the problematic of
verification. Adopt what works; otherwise adapt. "What works" = "what
works for you."
From meanings to meaning to Meaning; from beings to being (copula
included) to Being; from spirits to spirit to Spirit. But the last already
implies an ontological split, disturbance, fueled by the foreknowledge of
death; by problematic causal explanations of lifeworld events; by the
recuperation, exculpation, of random tragedies. From humans to spirits is
the production of meaning extended to the imminent. From imminent to
immanent is father than the eye can see.
Flattening is being in the world; it is, references (what is, here,
references) the style of the world.  Depth absorbs disturbance, literally
circumlocutes, circumscribes. The totality of circumscriptions of
disturbances constitute a cultural textuality. The calling-forth of the
Emblematic follows suit, exists within linguistic-psychoanalytic
registers. The Emblematic is constituted by the virtual; from the virtual
(as-if) to the Virtual. The virtual is always already within the world;
technology, from tacit knowledge through electronic avatar, augments it.
Augmentation filters (appears to filter) flattening; appears to distort;
appears to generate depth (ontological fecundity), multiply-connected
manifolds (epistemological fecundity). The virtual is inner speech,
historicity and fecundity of interiority; philosophy is always already
virtual; the discourse of the virtual is philosophical.
Every symbol is a ligament of avatar; every referent is a gesture; every
gesture procures the body; every body is a speaking body; every body is a
spoken body; every body is spoken-for.
Organism inhabits the symbolic; the symbolic is not a matter of
consciousness; a manner of consciousness; the symbolic is a manner of
worlding; of inhabitation. The provenance of the symbolic is not solely
human; the provenance of stewardship lies within the symbolic of the
human. "By default we are stewards of the earth": precisely because of the
extension of human power; of the vectorization of human culture.
Vectorization: the physical extension of culture, the sprawl.

[21 forthcoming]

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