The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

Short prolegomenon to philosophy

Who hasn't noticed, in the midst of her dreams, that philosophy is already
a withdrawal? She begins with the intercession of consciousness, as if
from a distance; objects dissolve in a manner dissimilar to negation. For
negation already has its object, and all one begins with is a sense of
unease, that something might be missing; in this sense, philosophy begins,
and ends, on the peripheral. The peripheral of what? Think of philosophy
in this sense, modeled by the parallel transport of a vector in curved
space; what is thrown off is the slight dissimilarity of fit as the
circuit is completed. Everything is contained in this dissimilarity, which
effects neutrality, but is in fact the punctum of the world: what doesn't
fit isn't differentiable at this place and time, not now, not ever. The
withdrawal occurs among slopes; dissimilarity is the residue of such.

Dissimilarity implies comparison, more than one term, distinction, non-
integration. Here dissimilarity is against itself; the substance on one
set of slopes is equivalent to that on the other, but the suture twists;
in other words: the withdrawal of philosophy implies a twist. The twist is
not a knot; it doesn't (necessarily) turn in upon itself. Instead, it is a
twist in a metric which contains everything conceivable in eidetic reduc-
tion, and therefore announces presence, which can only be that, or rather
is fundamentally that, of gravity. With the use of a modified anthropic
principle in this regard, it's evident that gravity occasions philosophy;
it is of the order of a first occasion, inclusive of space-time and the
whole apparatus of the cosmos.

Let us think through the philosophy of a covariant derivative which occa-
sions both geodesics and the curvature of this space, announcing gravity,
but philosophically also announcing paths of least resistance. What are
the geodesics of a landscape of withdrawal? Think of these as tendrils
tending towards metaphoricity - for how can this alterity be understood
except as (inauthentic) alignments with the commonplace? Tendrils them-
selves, in fact the whole structuring implied here, exist as metaphor -
this implies a form of bootstrapping of comprehension, as it is metaphor
("withdrawal," "intercession," "dissimilarity") that has brought us here
in the first place. By which I mean, enabled us to reach this level of

Think of structure, number, types, as idealities, "as much" ideality as
anything else present in this wildness/wilderness. Think of the distinc-
tion, again, between immersive and definable structures - the latter
time-reversible if chaotic or relatively determinate, and time-irrever-
sible otherwise. Definability implies clarity, even if that clarity exists
only within definable tolerances; certainly the objects - eigenvalues or
quantum numbers for example - are clear as to association. Immersibility
implies otherwise; what's sought is thought, what's thought is sought,
embedded in consciousness, embedded in time, fuzzy. Neither position is
clear even in relation with the other; I tend to think of immersivity as
associated with the analogic, definability with the digital - but even
these meet and entangle at the limits, which pervade the whole.

This is the point: that where there is philosophy, there is contamination.
What is within or among or beyond the withdrawal, is entangled with a
dissimilarity, that, by its very examination, forms a knot; this is an
overlay among the twist, inhering or cohering with or within the twist.
While a knot may be entangled (specifically, a tangled line in three-
dimensional space) by passing ends through loops (which may take an
infinite amount of time in monstrous or fractal knots), this unraveling is
only an erasure of inscription beneath the sign of inscription; in other
words, it is thought itself, raveling and unraveling, as both operations
become, themselves, raveled and unraveled, and so forth; there's no end to
the levels, to the thought of the sought or the sought of the thought.

What goes forth by day goes back by day intermixed with everything and
everyone, everywhere and everywhen, conceivable; one can continue philoso-
phy indefinitely, or abandon it, anytime, however philosophy is conceived
in the midst of the withdrawal of dreams, or the dreams of withdrawal. It
is that gnawed edge of the curvature of space-time, never aligned in flat,
Euclidean space, that keeps us going in whatever infinitesimal slice of
the cosmos we find ourselves in. And we can't go nearer, or farther, than
any of this, all we can do is continue writing and thinking, uselessly
inscribing - all the while turning inward, heading towards that horizon of
no return that might as well be black hole, geodesic, annihilation and

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