Para Academic

Para: alongside of, beside, near, resembling, beyond, apart from, and abnormal.

Academic:

adj. 

1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a school, especially one of higher learning.
2.  

a. Relating to studies that are liberal or classical rather than technical or vocational.
b. Relating to scholarly performance: a student’s academic average.
3. Of or belonging to a scholarly organization.
4. Scholarly to the point of being unaware of the outside world. See
5. Based on formal education.
6. Formalistic or conventional.
7. Theoretical or speculative without a practical purpose or intention.
8. Having no practical purpose or use.

Alongside the academy, next to the Lyceum, imagine a school of hacks, charlatans,  cranks, geniuses, monks, mystics, losers, druggies, shadows, evil Twins and deranged Clones….

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U(r)t(r)opics

U(r)t(r)opics I: Dialectics of Ruin

 

 

 

A motor scheme, the pure image of a thought– plasticity, time, writing– is a type of tool capable of garnering the greatest quantity of energy and information in the text of an epoch. It gather and develops the meanings and tendencies that impregnate the culture at a given moment as ‘floating images’, which constitute, both vaguely and definitely, a material ‘atmosphere’ or Stimmung (affective tonality). A motor scheme is what Hegel calls the characterisic (Eigentumlickeit) of an epoch, its style or individual brand. As a general design if you wish, the movement of a whole is an initiating process for action or practice.

Cathereine Malabou, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing

 

The real is what does not depend on my idea of it.

 

–Lacan, Seminar XI

 

 

 

 

In a posthumously published interview, Heidegger stated, “Philosophy will not be able to effect an immediate transformation of the present condition of the world. This is not only true of philosophy, but of all merely human thought and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The sole possibility that is left for us is to prepare a sort of readiness, through thinking and poeticizing, for the appearance of the god or for the absence of the god in the time of foundering for in the face of the god who is absent, we founder. Only a God Can Save Us.”

 

 

Hmmm. Having previously discussed the putative possibility of that happening anytime soon, as well as demonstrating we are now at the level of the indexical non-sequitr raised to the limit of immanent narrative itself (because there is no correlation between Thought & Being) we now (absurdly attempt) to index the possibility of possibility. We will probably fail at this.

I am. We are. That is not enough! No, there must be more, always more. Amidst the textual messianic specters of the Utopian, can we examine the tropes, figures, traces and signs of the Impossible, and overturn them to their Apocalyptic register in relation to an unknowable real? Night swallows day; the base matter in rivulets and arteries below the city whisper, each singular sibilant susurrus ebbs, threatens, erodes; the Sun calls forth its other, the Black Sun, and blindly demands more….

 

A philosopher said: The Story goes like this. Techno-capital activity accelerates, locks in, and mows down all remaining collateral subjectivities; geometrically compounded compression induce non-linear phases of world disorder; epiphenomenal emergent entities suddenly take themselves as explanans, not explanandum. Autocatalytic quant fund sovereignty & hyperusury. Impersonal, anonymous, and disinterested, intelligence may have found a temporary support in the terrestrial biosphere, but certainly not a home. The schizoid nomadic chain links ambersand after ambersand, never committing to the conjunction of the alternate but sublating every arriving being into a immanent course of rapacious pillage and subsequent commodification; the Void is submerged into molten neon baths of neoteny and left in dried technocolor husks available on viral video loops on whatever singularities feeding Master Servers surplus traffic…

 

The obsolete psychological category of ‘greed’ privatizes and moralizes addiction, as if the profit-seeking tropism of a transnational capitalism propagating itself through epidemic consumerism were intelligible in terms of personal subjective traits. Wanting more is the index of interlock with cyberpositive machinic processes, and not the expression of private idiosyncrasy. What could be more impersonal — disinterested — than a haut bourgeois capital expansion servo-mechanism striving to double $10 billion? And even these creatures are disappearing into silicon viro-finance automatisms, where massively distributed and anonymized human ownership has become as vacuously nominal as democratic sovereignty.     — Nick Land

 

 

 

 

 

Walter Benjamin’s use of “dialectical image” provides us a very unstable point of origin here.

“Walter Benjamin understood a dialectical image as an image of the past which carries the desires of the past generations into the present; an image that crystallizes antithetical elements  and where the  “synthesis” of these antithetical elements  is not a movement towards resolution, but the point at which their axes intersect.” (Gary-Sauer Thompson)
Rajeev Patke picks up, “Benjamin’s association of dream and dialectic with image was a curious one:
… image is dialectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is a purely temporal, continuous one, the relation of the Then to the Now is dialectical—not development but image leaping forth.
He speculated further:
Can it be that awakening is the synthesis whose thesis is dream consciousness and whose antithesis is consciousness? Then the moment of awakening would be identical with the “Now of recognizability”, in which things put on their true—surrealistic—face.
Adorno took Benjamin to task for what he believed was a confused utopianism:
… the dialectical image should not be transferred into consciousness as a dream, but in its dialectical construction the dream should be externalized and the immanence of consciousness itself be understood as a constellation of reality.

 

Benjamin wrote, Can the point at issue be more definitively and incisively presented than by Rimbaud himself in his personal copy of [ Une saison en enfer ]? In the margin, beside the passage “on the silk of the seas and the arctic flowers,” he later wrote, “There’s no such thing.” (Benjamin, “Surrealism” 208)

Auerbach writes, “Maybe there is no such thing as a dialectical image. Despite the insistence of Benjamin’s claims, it is not at all clear whether such an image belongs to material or to virtual reality; whether it is something more like a picture or a perception. Nor is it obvious how we should distinguish the hypothetical dialectical image from figures of speech such as metaphor, or from literary forms such as the Denkbild (thought-image) upon which Benjamin modelled his writing.

Benjamin’s projected magnum opus, known as the Passagen-werk or Arcades Project, is arguably no more than an elaborately woven net designed to catch a dialectical image. Amounting to more than 1,300 pages in the version assembled for publication by Rolf Tiedemann more than forty years after Benjamin’s death, the thirty-six “convolutes” and various paralipomena nonetheless form an uncompleted edifice, lacking the theoretical design which would predict its definitive shape. Benjamin’s legacy presents an image in which a construction site seems to merge with a ruin.”

Simultaneity today arrives with simulacra; the murder of reality proper, the zombie fetish and infantile attachment to Kantian paradigms, ‘rational’ choice theory and Spectacular picture-thinking (vorstellung); all as such induce the internal hemorrahaging, or worm-holes in the taxonomies that most certainly do not ‘map’ the territory; it is the vicious territory, however, in its oscillating Virtues and Terrors that allow for the mapping in the last instance(s).

 

Scottsdale Flash and Filigree, Dubai Slaves and Meontological Amnemonics erase each State-Space output vector’s origin from its protocol; the input matrix is a hydra-headed multiplicity of vectors amorously degrading, destratifying and leeching off its disjunctive neighbor; the output matrix has only feedbacks of negation.

 

Negation. Does History arrives by its bad side? The thanatropic drive is not the opposite of the Urtropic, but rather its founder, its arbiter, its sister symbiotically subsisting from its Host Cell. More brought this in relief, this Nowhere aspect, this Vacuum‘s wake and its Plastic features.

We incorporate Void, et voila: Children’s Crusades in thrall to Inverted Shell Earths, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse remaindering their Barbarous progeny; Necrocorporatism meets Petropolitics, meets Divine Contigency. The rise of austerity already provides semblance of drift toward the communal and communized polarities realigning their magnetic pull. However, anxiety of neoscarcities mitigate communicative rationality channels with recourse to pseudomythopoetic peatbog morass of minds still clamoring scotch tape over their crumbling empires. Desert speed, of motels & mineral surfaces, & rare earth elements. Revolution is not will, it is surrender. Is desire ‘lack’, or Vitalist Arterial Flood through dynamic flux of matter?

 

Between acid rain and oil-slick oceans; World Without Us, The Road, delusions of 2012, etc. The attempt to elucidate the notion of a dialectical image comes to a fork, with the signs image and narrative indicating two different paths….

As for narrative….well, Althusser says, “Materialism is…..not to tell yourself stories”…

Image on the other hand, where does image or the symbolic  allow us access to the dialectic of the one?

Perhaps they do not. Here, the invocation of an idea, a thought, completely in relation not to language itself, but outside it, a non-epistemological insistence on the ‘New” within the plane of being that founds a Subject without wholly determining it. While the scope of such an argument would lay far beyond the bounds of this author’s argument, its notion is merely here to illustrate how ‘Being’ itself may be in a ‘double-bind’ of a Total Solar Economy headed for the brink and a ‘Nature’ which is as Wanton as it is noumenal. To do this, allowing all narratives are either Escape or Interrogative Insurrection, neither Exposition nor Declaration, a determination is necessary approaching Badiou’s use of the Impossible to suspend the faculties susceptible to prevalent doxas, which is precisely what is at stake when discussing the Utopian.

Plato’s Parmenides reads: “…If being is one, then one must posit that what is not one, the multiple is not. “ As page 23 of Being & Event elaborates, this creates an impasse between the reciprocity of the one and being.

Badiou writes on page 23 of B&E also, “it is not a question of abandoning the principle Lacan assigned to the symbolic; that there is oneness.  “ We can qualify this from Badiou’s remarks in Meditation One that oneness is not, but it is solely an operation.

A situation is any presented multiplicity.

 

To pivot negatively then, what is ontology itself as a situation? If ontology is not a situation, that is to admit being cannot be signified within a structured multiple, and that only an experience situated beyond all structure will afford us access to veiling of being’s absence. This “initiatory journey” thinking, akin to religious, mystical, and occult forms of thought, should be wholly dismissed: “From the point of view of experience, this path consecrates itself to mystical annihilation….and at the end of a negative spiritual exercise, a Presence is gained, a presence which is exactly of the being of the One as non-being, thus the annulment of all functions of the count of One. This path poses language itself a poetic resource to form exceptions—negative theologies.” A subtractive ontology completely removed from poetic resources but tethered to them by the flattened index, akin to negative theologies but without the supplement of ‘aura’, would allow the gnoseological ‘turn’ for the phronesis implied by Urtropic thought. At the same time, this invocation of negation in resistance to the ‘Sun’ paves the way for alterities without transcendence, thereby effectively (re)smashing the messianic deferment of time of letters never arriving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But which is the revolutionary path? Is there one? – To withdraw from the world market, as Samir Amin advises Third World Countries to do, in a curious revival of the fascist “economic solution”? Or might it be to go in the opposite direction? To go further still, that is, in the movement of the market, of decoding and deterritorialization? For perhaps the flows are not yet deterritorialized enough, not decoded enough, from the viewpoint of a theory and practice of a highly schizophrenic character. Not to withdraw from the process, but to go further, to “accelerate the process,” as Nietzsche put it: in this matter, the truth is that we haven’t seen anything yet

– Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus

The Urtropic function of any Text does not refer ultimately back to text(s), but is in orbit of the Real, always remains secondary, if not tertiary. This complete fungibility, irrelevant discursivity and errant inconsistency points to the Real’s utter displacement in Symbolic Thought and ushers in the urgency for iconoclasms proliferating in language toward reality, like rivers flowing into the sea. Information Bomb? How about Information Explosion?

These negative theologies, do they come up about from turning away from the aporetic? The Aporetic is a figure of speech in which the speaker expresses or purports to be in doubt about a question, an insoluble contradiction or paradox in a text’s meanings. Etymologically: impasse, Greek for “without passing”.

Badiou writes, “Plato’s Parmenides introduces us to the singular joy of never seeing the moment of conclusion arrive.” Is this like Lacan’s insistence that a letter always reaches its destination, or should we hope for Derrida’s project, that it never arrives? A letter always arrives at its destination since its destination is wherever it arrives.

Is Plato’s Parmenides an unending sequence without resolution that would feature as “repetition”, again and again metaphilosophically we are subject to this dialectic of the one, “the entire ruin of thought”, that what is presented is multiple and one cannot see how there could be access to being outside presentation, but then, if presentation is not, does it make sense to designate what presents itself as being? If presentation is, then the multiple is.

So we are at the impossible within Parmenides now. Christopher Norris writes, “This is the stage to which thinking attains when it first proposes as a serious candidate for philosophical acceptance the statement, “being is not”, or (as will later become more clearly expressible with the advent of modern set theory) that the multiple is that which always and everywhere exceeds the grasp of any unifying function or any mode of knowledge premised on this or that application of the dominant count-as-one.”

Norris continues, “Deleuze stands out – and receives by far the most detailed and respectful of the many critiques that Badiou has devoted to philosophical sparring partners—by reason (like Badiou) of his having emphatically espoused an ‘open’ rather than a ‘closed’ ontology, but unlike Badiou, derives it chief inspiration from the differential calculus and ‘intensive’ or qualitative rather than ‘extensive’ or quantitative multiplicities” – thus taxonomizing as information the specific content of flows versus the generic inventory of truths we can somewhat (perhaps) reformulate a complete impasse of thought within Being and provide the conditions for Urtropics, the possibilities for possibility (within Thought, at the very least). This repositioning is at once strategic, ultimately decisionistic and appears primarily only in the interrogative.

 

Content. Inventory. Wittgenstein said,

 

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

 

Badiou in Manifesto for Philosophy countered, “It is thus quite simply false that whereof one cannot speak (in the sense of ‘there is nothing to say about it that specifies it and grants it separating properties’), thereof one munt be silent. It must on the contrary be named.” Any numerical realism or mathematical deferral to a reality outside language must concede this ground.

 

So, Norris writes, “Badiou argues that we must make a decision to de-suture being from the One, thinking it instead as multiplicity qua multiplicity….”

 

And The ‘there is’ of the one has no being, and thus it guarantees, for any ideal being, the efficacy of its presentational function, its structuring function, which splits,  before and after its effect, the ungraspable  plethora of being, from the unthinkable cohesion of multiplicity —  the reign of number over effective situations.

 

The dialectic of the One: As we’ve vamped, “if the one is not, nothing is”, is left to stand wholly unaltered, in consequence, we can say as follows, “If the one is not, what occurs in the place of the many is the pure name of the void, insofar as it alone subsists as being”. A construction site stands on the ruins of the Void’s wake.

 

The axiom of the void-set, according to which ‘there exists a set that has no elements’, one that is strictly ‘unpresentable’ in terms of any given ontology or particular instance of the dominant count-as-one. Moreover it is another basic axiom that the void or null set is necessarily a member integrally of every other set whatsoever.

 

Badiou writes, “I term void of a situation this suture to its being. Moreover, I state that every structured presentation unpresents ‘its’ void, in the mode of this non-one which merely the subtractive face of the count. “What does this mean?  Void is designated apart from nothing which has a global effect, whereas void is not structured, because it occurs ‘emptily’ and it is local, and what is more it is errant. “The normal regime of situations is that of the imposition of an absolute ‘unconscious’ of the void”.The axiom of the void-set merely indicates that there is the unpresentable.

 

Badiou continues, does ontology present axiomatically other terms than the void? This would mean that it distinguished between the void and other terms, and that its structure thus authorized the count-as-one of the void as such, according to its specific difference to ‘full’ terms. It is obvious that this would be impossible, since, as soon as it was counted as one in its difference to the one-full, the void would be filled with this alterity. If the void is thematized, it munt be according to the presentation of its errancy, and not in regard to some singularity, necessarily full , which would distinguish it as one within a differentiating count. ….. The void is thus distributed everywhere…..Let’s rephrase this: Ontology can only count the void as existent…. ”

 

Let’s deploy Thomas Metzinger here, from his wonderful tome, Being No One, to illustrate some flimsy analogue to all of this, “Do you consciously experience the expanse of nothingness behind your own head? Many great philosophers of consciousness have traditionally, upon reaching this point, emphasized that an absence of information is not the same as information about an absence; the absence of representation is not the same as representation of absence….. the world appears to us complete despite implicit representation of absences of information, in a sense these deficits themselves are built-in and transparent.”

 

To go in another direction, and its to be hoped we’ll explore later, void that is everywhere , multiples of multiples of nothing , Nothingness that mediates infinite multiplicity of the multiple, Void emerges as the unique conceivable presentation of what supports as unpresentable and pure multiplicity without any plural presentation, that is, any one-effect, a distinct inspiration for Badiou in this thinking may be found in the work of Fernando Pessoa, as wakeful thought apart from set theory obtains no grasp whatsoever on this below-the-presentable that is multiple presentation.” What thought needs is the non-being– the mediation of the one, so while multiplicity and plurality carry the important carry the import for Badiou of the ungraspable, the unthinkable horizon of dissemination knows no arrival—its non-occurrence is like the flight of scenes from a dream, against the thinkable cohesion of plurality….

Potentialities are the non-actualized cases of an indexed set of possibilities under the condi- tion of a given law (whether aleatory or not). Chance is every actualization of a potentiality for which there is no univocal instance of determination on the basis of the initial given conditions. Therefore I will call contingency the property of an indexed set of cases (not of a case belonging to an indexed set) of not itself being a case of a set of sets of cases; and virtuality the property of every set of cases of emerging within a becoming which is not dominated by any pre-constituted totality of possibles. –Quentin Meillasoux

Images will betray us, and narrative is the path of scoundrels. The mathematical susurrus of generic inventories and the selcouth liminalities of qualitative content are wholly separated. Their arranged and ultimately complete dysfunctional marriage is necessary to overcome their faults, to assure a perpetual anti-iconodulic melee against ‘fables’ and to constantly await with vigilance and virulence the trauma of the Real.



 

Thought places us at the forefront of the Impossible, and thus allows for the reciprocity between the Real and itself, but it is not for itself. With, and against the real, it constructs and destroys in endless erotomachy the vamping of the Urtropic until its concomitant explosion, which is always with us. The question remains whether this vamping itself will be aura-less (Badiou), or aura-ful (Heidegger)?

At the dusk of writing, after deconstruction and dialectics, there is plasticity to accomodate or express the ghostly ‘trace’ of our correlationist hallucinations. This mutability provides the motor for orientations toward the Real, but does not outright eschew phenomenology (much to some’s chagrin), but to schematize its textual material from the concept to existence by bringing a transformed concept into existence. If too many disparate elements are thrown into the mix that confuse noise with signal, such is the outcome of emancipation from the hierarchies of access and control that were formerly the thread through Borges’ library at night…

While our bad faith seals our inevitable future as an overheated rock in space, favelas profuse throughout wastes of fallen Nature and Condos lording over scapes of obscene effluvium and blind mercantilisms of finitude, the Urtropic gnosis says not to give way to our noble pessimisms, but let loose and trust in our Most Wicked Optimisms. Negativity unleashed does not promise new ‘constructions’ of the Utopian, but without a Promethean or Miltonic Satanic urge for irruption ex-nihilo, the indexed ‘possibilities of possibilities’ are just Glass Bead Games. The necessary generative bifurcation of unbinding taxonomies apart from one another to approach the ‘Real’ (in a degenerate, secondary or tertiary textual sense only) gives forth to twin disciplines we’ll discuss next: Scientific Realism and Speculative Fiction.

Fail again, fail better

In 1864, when the General German Workers’ Society titled their newspaper The Social Democrat, Engels wrote to Marx:

What a disgusting title– ‘The Social Democrat’! Why don’t those fellows frankly call the thing: ‘The Proleterian’?

Marx corresponded:

‘Social Democrat’ is a bad title. Yet one shouldn’t immediately use the best title for something which may turn out to be a failure.