Postnihilistic Speculations on That Which Is Not: A Thought-World According to an Ontology of Non-Being

fine planet, fucked people

When everything appears similar, nothing really is…

~ Alain Badiou

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away…

 ~ Philip K. Dick

“Why is it easier for some people to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism?”

~ Anonymous

If you are trapped within the dream of the other you are fucked…

~ Gilles Deleuze

The Satyr, at his first sight of fire, wished to kiss and embrace it, but Prometheus said: You, goat, will mourn your vanished beard, for fire burns him who touches it, yet it furnishes light and heat, and is an instrument of every craft for those who have learned to use it…

~ Plutarch

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil…

~ Socrates as quoted by Plato in “Phaedo

Hermetico-Promethean Postnihilism

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To begin at the beginning we shall say that philosophy is the dialectical process of truth in time, it is an infinite questioning of that which is known, a continuity in change of the unknown, a practice of situating eternity in time. Without a relation to the requirements of one’s own time philosophy may still mean many things, but these do not amount to anything worthy of rigorous consideration much. This doesn’t mean that philosophy must have an absolute conception of good and constantly strive towards it. Quite the contrary, if anything, philosophy would much rather resist against the evil within this inconsistent multiplicty falsely named world. No, there is no one world against which philosophy can situate itself, but rather many multiplicities out of which philosophy infers meanings and values in accordance with a better future in mind. Not necessarily better than today, but less worse than it will have been if nothing is done to slow down worsening. So having an idea of a better future is not necessarily imposing a totality, an absolute conception of goodness upon the multiplicity of existents. What’s at stake might as well be that the resistance aganist evil in time is itself a creative act sustaining the less worse condition of future existence. It’s all bad and it can only get worse, the question is this: How can we decelarate this worsening condition of we humans, we animals and we the plants?

My interest in science in general and neuroscience in particular derives from this understanding of philosophical activity as a dialectical process in nature. For me science is not an object of philosophy but a condition of it. Presumably you can already hear Badiou’s voice here, and rightly so I must say. Badiou had once said that “philosophy is the conceptual organisation of eternity in time.” What, then, is dialectic? Dialectic is simply “the unity of opposites,” as Fredric Jameson defines it in his Valences of the Dialectic. Everything has within itself nothing and inversely. The self and the other are always already reconciled, but in order to actualise this unity philosophy splits the one in such a way as to sustain the process of its reconciliation within itself. The one is not, it all begins with two and continues ad infinitum. Of course a designation such as Hermetico-Promethean postnihilism is paradoxical, but this being paradoxial is itself creative of the space out of which something not only new but also good, or less worse than that which is or could be, can emerge. That said, a positively altered future itself only ever emerges from a split introduced in-between the past and the present, the good and the bad…

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Now, I see nothing bad in interrupting the process of negativity, but needless to say one cannot achieve this by affirming it. One still needs negativity to interrupt negativity. It is in this sense that nihilism turned against itself becomes a condition of progressive philosophy. If science is making a huge progress while the whole planet is rapidly dying, what’s the point of that progress in science? It becomes a meaningless activity for its own sake. Without a future there can be no science either, but it is only by way of putting science into good uses that we can have a future. And when I say we I mean we humans, we animals and we the plants. Paradoxical though as it may sound, robots are of no concern to me, but enhancement technologies such as neuroplasticity softwares are…

I take whatever rings true to me in accordance with my intention. Intending something is not necessarilly willing without consciousness. One may be driven to anything at all, including willing nothingness as Nietzsche has taught us, adding that “man would much rather will nothingness than not will.” Although Nietzsche’s proclamation may be valid for some, it is not necessarily valid for all. To say again now what I’ve already said some other time, I’m still up for consciously desiring good life. That said, I reckon it’s not even worth mentioning that will, drive and desire are not the same thing. As for the difference between consciousness and self-consciousness, we must return to Hegel as always. There are indeed many illusions in this life, some for life yet some others not, some necessary while some irrelevant. Not that I am one, and yet it’s not for nothing that Hegel had once said, “the great man of his time is he who expresses the will and the meaning of that time, and then brings it to completion; he acts according to the inner spirit and essence of his time, which he realizes.” This, I think, is still true and ever will be, if we are to have a future worthy of the name, that is…

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Being, Non-Being and Becoming Non-Identical of the Subject as ∅

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If the one is not, nothing is. 

~ Parmenides

When it comes to philosophy I usually avoid dialogue, in that sense I am strictly Deleuzean, a man of “free indirect speech”, always sustaining a kind of internal dialogue with the philosopher’s image of thought he created in his mind. Rather than engaging in polemics with the philosophers, Deleuze used to think with them, although not always in accordance with them, sometimes for and sometimes against them, always disjunctively synthesizing affirmation and negation as well as transcendence and immanence. For Deleuze the important thing was to bring out that which matters in thought.

Now, for Kant the thing-in-itself, or the noumenon, could be thought but couldn’t be known. We could only know the transcendental ground of our thought, and therefore the thing-in-itself is not submitted to change. For change requires the transcendental constitution of the subject to take place in time. The subject constitutes and is constituted by the transformation of the thing-in-itself(noumenon) into the thing-for-us (phenomenon).

In his Critique of JudgementKant distinguishes between the determinative and the reflective modes of judgement.

If the universal (the rule, the principle, the law) is given, the judgement that subsumes the particular under it is determinative. If, however, only the particular for which the universal is to be found is given, judgement is merely reflective. [1]

If we keep in mind that the reflective mode of judgement reflects on particulars in such a way as to produce universals to which they can be subjected, and that the determinative mode of judgement determines a particular by subjecting it to a universal, it becomes understandable why among these two it is the reflective mode which splits as it unites the subject of enunciation and the enunciated subject. But it must also be kept in mind that the subject of enunciation which refers to the universal is itself a constitutive illusion, or a regulatory idea necessary for the emergence of the subject as the enunciated content. It is only in and through a position of non-being within and without being at the same time that the becoming non-identical of the subject can take place. For change requires the localisation of being in a particular world submitted to time as Badiou puts it in his Being and Event.Therein Badiou asserts that there can be multiplicities not submitted to change and there can also be ones submitted to change. Change is not on the side of multiplicity but on the side of the relationship between multiplicities. There can only be a relation between multiplicities in a particular world. Change is the property of being when being is localised in a world. Change is not the destiny of being as in Heraclitus, but is submitted to the relation between multiples. Hence Badiou can say that “the one does not exist.” It exists neither as a totality as in Parmenides, nor as a multiplicity as in Heraclitus. While for Heraclitus being is in constant change, for Parmenides being is that which never changes. Kant splits being into two halves, one half of being ever changes(phenomenon), while the other half of being never changes(noumenon). For Heraclitus there is only multiplicity, while for Parmenides there is only one. If we have mutltiplicity then there is also change, if we have the one there is no change at all. Being an atomist, Democritus says that being is composed of atoms and the universe is composed of an infinity of atoms. Democritus is the atomic explosion of Parmenides and the sub-atomic implosion of Heraclitus at the same time.[2]

We find ourselves on the brink of the decision, a decision to break with the arcana of the one and the multiple in which philosophy is born and buried, phoenix of its own sophistical consumption. This decision can take no other form than the following: the one is not.[3]

Is there an existing totality before thought? If there is one, is there a part of this existing totality which is outside change? We exist in a world of change and when we think the world we think its change. For change to be thought there has to be an identity first. The relationship between identity and difference is probably the oldest and most complicated philosophical problem. The two orientations of thought concerning the problem of change and the interaction between identity and difference have their roots in Socrates and Zeno as analysed by Badiou in Being and Event.

If one allows that being is being-in-situation—which means unfolding its limit for the Greeks—it is quite true that in suppressing the ‘there is’ of the one, one suppresses everything, since ‘everything’ is necessarily ‘many’. The sole result of this suppression is nothingness. But if one is concerned with being-qua-being, the multiple-without-one, it is true that the non-being of the one is that particular truth whose entire effect resides in establishing the dream of a multiple disseminated without limits. It is this ‘dream’ which was given the fixity of thought in Cantor’s creation. Plato’s aporetic conclusion can be interpreted as an impasse of being, situated at the deciding point of the couple of the inconsistent multiple and the consistent multiple. ‘If the one is not, (the) nothing is’ also means that it is only in completely thinking through the non-being of the one that the name of the void emerges as the unique conceivable presentation of what supports, as unpresentable and as pure multiplicity, any plural presentation, that is, any one-effect. Plato’s text sets four concepts to work on the basis of the apparent couple of the one and the others: the one-being, the there-is of the one, the pure multiple and the structured multiple. If the knot of these concepts remains undone in the final aporia, and if the void triumphs therein, it is solely because the gap between the supposition of the one’s being and the operation of its ‘there is’ remains unthought. This gap, however, is named by Plato many times in his work. It is precisely what provides the key to the Platonic concept par excellence, participation, and it is not for nothing that at the very beginning of the Parmenides, before the entrance of the old master, Socrates has recourse to this concept in order to destroy Zeno’s arguments on the one and the multiple.[4]

Badiou proclaims “the multiple as heterogeneous dissemination,”[5] while Žižek rightly criticizes Meillassoux in particular and Speculative Realism in general for not having an adequate theory of the subject for the present, for the time of being in change.

I think that, in its very anti-transcendentalism, Meillassoux remains caught in the Kantian topic of the accessibility of the thing-in-itself: is what we experience as reality fully determined by our subjective-transcendental horizon, or can we get to know something about the way reality is independently of our subjectivity. Meillassoux’s claim is to achieve the breakthrough into independent ‘objective’ reality. For me as a Hegelian, there is a third option: the true problem that arises after we perform the basic speculative gesture of Meillassoux (transposing the contingency of our notion of reality into the thing itself) is not so much what more can we say about reality-in-itself, but how does our subjective standpoint, and subjectivity itself, fit into reality. The problem is not ‘can we penetrate through the veil of subjectively-constituted phenomena to things-inthemselves’, but ‘how do phenomena themselves arise within the flat stupidity of reality which just is, how does reality redouble itself and start to appear to itself ’. For this, we need a theory of subject which is neither that of transcendental subjectivity nor that of reducing the subject to a part of objective reality. This theory is, as far as I can see, still lacking in speculative realism.[6]

Today philosophy has a tendency to think outside the contemporary world, whereas the goal of Ancient Greek philosophy had been to find an orientation of thought for the good life in time. The quest was how to live in accordance with a conception of goodness in mind. This is not an abstract goal, but rather aims at transforming subjectivity as it is here and now.

If one took the point of being which seemed to be the smallest, much like a dream within sleep, it would immediately appear multiple instead of its semblance of one, and instead of its extreme smallness, it would appear enormous, compared to the dissemination that it is starting from itself.[7]

In his Logics of Worlds, Badiou makes a distinction between being and existence.

I have posed that existence is nothing other than the degree of self-identity of a multiple-being, such as it is established by a transcendental indexing. With regard to the multiple-being as thought in its being, it follows that its existence is contingent, since it depends—as a measurable intensity—on the world where the being, which is said to exist, appears. This contingency of existence is crucial for Kant, because it intervenes as a determination of the transcendental operation itself. This operation is effectively defined as ‘the application of the pure concepts of the understanding to possible experience’. In my vocabulary—and obviously with no reference to any ‘application’—this can be put as follows: the logical constitution of pure appearing, the indexing of a pure multiple on a worldly transcendental. But, just as with the object, Kant will immediately distinguish within this operation its properly transcendental or a priori facet from its receptive or empirical one.[8]

As the subject’s intensity of self-consciousness increases, so does its pain and anxiety in the face of death. This causes hopelessness and despair which may or may not lead to a total devastation of the project of inverting and putting into the spotlight the nothingness at the centre of the subject. Heidegger repeatedly puts all this down in Being and Time when he says that “being-towards-death is angst.” One cure for expelling anxiety has been to believe in god, any other metaphysical construct, or in some cases it has even taken the form of a materialist system of thought; in all these cases, however, an escape is seen as a solution when in fact it is the problem itself. For our concerns, an escapist attitude, and especially one that tries to go beyond the present, does not work at all, for what we are looking for is a way of learning to make use of the reality of the death drive as an interior exteriority constitutive of the subject as a creative agent of change at present, in the time of the living and the dead at once. And here is the Lacanian definition of the subject referred to by Badiou towards the very end of Being and Event

I am not, there where I am the plaything of my thought; I think of what I am, there where I do not think I am thinking.[9]

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Why has there never been a noumenology but ever a phenomenology within the philosophical field, and what if this doesn’t mean that there never will be one?

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As a speculative attempt to situate the thought-worlds of ontology/epistemology and noumenology/phenomenology within one another, this essay aims at explicating why the life drive and the death drive are rooted in transcendence, whereas immanent theory requires conscious desiring to produce new modes of being and thinking as yet not conceivable from within the dominant model of projection-introjection mechanism based on identification. It even goes further than that by way of presenting the life drive and the death drive, each divided within itself, as constitutive of the two sides of a single projection-introjection mechanism driven by capitalist axiomatics governed by a virtual domain of being beyond and yet immanent to the human-condition at present, at once a cause and an effect of human existence which wills its own servility to, and subsumption under, the virtual world of capital driven by big-data-mining finance centers…

My primary objective is to develop a strategy of reading/writing, thinking/acting or simply living/being in accordance with a philo-fictional thought-world in and through which it becomes possible to immanently negate and transcendentally affirm the concepts of life drive and death drive as modes of being and thinking. I claim that by way of turning these concepts from forms of knowledge to modes of being and thinking, the life/death drives emerge as the two components of a dynamic and mobile speculative apparatus born of and giving birth to a fragile cont(r)act between immanence and transcendence, as well as between affirmation and negation, hence sustaining the conditions of possibility out of the conditions of impossibility for immanently intervening in the thought processes of contemporary nihilism in such a way as to transcend the Anthropocentric modes of being and thinking inherent to it. This is a presentation of what I have designated as affirmative recreation of that which is not…

A speculative move in the way of mapping the cartography of an ontology of non-being, of that which is yet to come, post-nihilism clears or excavates the old ground, thereby suspending the dominant presumptions, therefore rendering the void, non being, or the Real itself as the new ground on and out of which a new subject can emerge and present the paradoxical and contingent natures of ‪Truth and Necessity, as well as the ‎non-correlation of Being and Thought… We subversively call this subject the non-mortal subject beyond the ‪‎Life-Death-Drives and inversely…

It begins to appear as a being but not yet as as an existent… Noumenology brings forth the force of thought necessary to intervene in the process of its (self)entrapment and  in its break the vicious cycle of  its own dispersal. The nihil annihilates itself, the void is filled with a void, and hence the intensity of the degree of existence increases, thought contracts to cope with the expansion of its dimension and undergoes a  qualitative change…

vitality and demise

The Dualities of Prometheus/Hermes and Projective-Identification/Introjection, or, A Genealogy of the Non-Relation Between the Dialectical Couples of Ontology/Epistemology and Noumenology/Phenomenology

The above subtitle attempts to say almost all in one go and probably fails in doing so even in two goes. But this failure should not discourage the reader from even beginning to engage in an encounter with this essay. This essay is a performative articulation of a totalizing gaze, a vision-in-one if we are to use a Laruellean term, upon the philosophical concept of Phenomenology as a field of study in this time of absolute torpidity. To be more precise we can say that this essay is a genealogy of phenomenological theories of the world as it manifests itself within the contemporary climate of thought, that is, at a period of transition from the 20th century to the 21st century, from Nihilism to Post-Nihilism, away from a Life-Driven-by-Death, and towards the Non-Mortal-Subject beyond the Life-Death-Drives…

If you are governed by the death-drive you constantly fail in achieving the goal but keep doing it in spite of that, keep saying it, keep failing, perchance to fail better as Beckett would have put it. Lacan’s interest in the concept of death-drive arises from a Kantian insight. Kant says that education or cultivation does not target the animal in human, but the unruliness in human. This unruliness is the death-drive itself. It is the site of the production process of eternal truths. Death-drive already disturbs nature, but it is not yet culture. The subject as death-drive insists on the truth of the unknown.

Descartes was the most insistent philosopher on the truth of the unknown. One can even go so far as to say that he was the first philosopher to have systematically took it upon himself to prove that eternal truths can be created. The Cartesian subject is extremely paradoxical in that its claim to truth rests on an impossibility; that there can be a beginning of an eternal being. The question is how can something eternal have a beginning? Given a second thought this paradoxical situation resolves itself. For it is not that the eternal truth did not exist before we realized it. It has always already existed, but it is only now that we are coming to a realization of it. When Descartes says “I think, therefore I am,” that’s precisely what he means. It is only in so far as I think of a being that it exists, even if that being is me. For Descartes there can be an indiscernibility between thought and being. Perhaps that’s where the melancholic Cartesian subject is stuck. For as Nietzsche once put it, “man would much rather will nothingness than not will.”

In his analysis of Nietzsche’s eternal return Deleuze develops for the first time the idea that repetition is the repetition of difference. One insists or subsists in what one says or does only insofar as it dissolves itself into its molecular components in and through language. The violent action upon the void within the subject constitutes the symbolic identity of the subject as split. This split subject constantly moves away from what it thinks itself to be as it attempts to express itself in and through language. The reason for that is its mode of being; a becoming in-between the unconscious drives and the conscious desires; the subject as death-drive is a void within and without the symbolic at once.

The Deleuzean “univocity of being” is the flow itself, it is the flow of being becoming in-itself, and it is only death that brings about the completion of this process, it is only in death that being becomes in-itself, that is, as nothingness, as a void, as an absence, as non-being. And there, where something is split from nothing, novelty takes place, it takes the place of nothingness and death, hence giving birth to new life, an impersonal life, the life that is not of something, but the life that is non-being itself, the being of death within life which drives it as an undercurrent. And therein also resides the link between Deleuze’s concept of the impersonal consciousness, Jung’s collective unconscious and what Nick Land would later call cosmic schizophrenia.

Philosophical dualities can play games of mutual supplementation of their terms, move in circles ad nauseam, invert their duality, overturn their duality, and so on, but they always perpetuate the duality nonetheless. Philosophy never goes beyond a widened cogito: any putative immanence it might have is limited to a self-reflection or self-affection. To think ‘of’ the Real is to miss it for the representation itself. Deconstruction tried to break the mirror of representation by substituting the Other for Being. But still the dyadic relation – and the decision – is there. A genuine transformation of thought, by contrast, will not consist in playing new games with representation, but rather in determining representation through, as Laruelle himself puts it, ‘a radically un-representable agency or instance – more precisely, through a without-representation that allows itself to be thought by means of representations which have been reduced to the status of philosophically inert material’.[10]

One of the issues on which both Zizek and Badiou agree is that Plato is the first philosopher of the traumatic incident. And one of the major insights of Plato is that an Idea is that which interrupts the order of being. With the emergence of a new Idea another dimension intervenes the ordinary reality and creates a rupture within the process of becoming. If we keep in mind the Parmenidean and the Cartesian axiom that “thought is being”, it becomes clear why Ray Brassier, in his lecture on Prometheanism wherein he tries to answer the question of how to orient ourselves towards the future, pits against this stance the idea that “thought is non-being” rather than being. Put otherwise, the correlate of thought is non-being rather than being. Brassier also says in the same lecture that “being and non-being are entwined .” To my mind the interwoven nature of being and non-being signifies nothing but the correlation of becoming and finitude. It is at this point that the question arises as to whether a dynamic infinity is possible. Is it possible for change to take place within infinity? Can an eternal being not only exist but also change?

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As Badiou exactingly puts it in his lecture on Eternity in Time, “philosophy is the conceptual organisation of the relationship between time and eternity.” Therein Badiou distinguishes four distinct conceptualisations of the immanence of eternity to time.

The first one of these is the mystical experience where eternity is reduced to a point in time.

The second one claims that the time is the realisation of eternity, eternity is time itself from the point of view of becoming, becoming is the immanent realisation of something which is eternal in nature. This second one is split within itself and has two different versions: Hegelian and Nietzschean… Hegelian version sees time as the realisation of the absolute. For Hegel historical time is not in contradiction with eternity, the history itself moves in the direction of the complete realisation of the absolute idea; totality of time creates the absolute idea. In the second version of this second approach developed by Bergson and Deleuze, history is replaced by the potency of life and infinity is understood as life itself. The tension between time and eternity is resolved in the constant creative capacity of life itself. For Bergson as it is for Deleuze, life is in time but goes beyond time, life is the name of the immanence of eternity.

The third one is the Platonic conception of time as an image of eternity.

And the fourth one is the Cartesian claim that eternity can be created within time, that truth is a form of eternity in time.

Badiou situates himself within the Cartesian tradition and clearly states that his whole project has been to prove that eternal truths can be created within time.

As far as I know Heidegger’s aim in his Being and Time is precisely what Badiou claims the philosophical task to be, namely “the conceptual organisation of the relationship between time and eternity.” For Heidegger, being in time is being towards death, but rather than simply implying that we will all die and there’s nothing we can do about it, Heidegger’s claim is that human finitude is a condition of possibility for change to take place, that change can only take place within time, and also that we humans should approach death with resoluteness. The fact of our mortality shouldn’t paralyse us, quite the contrary, it should move us in the way of acting so as to change our condition of being in the world. For Heidegger the meaning of death is not simply that we are all doomed because of the inescapability of our eventual demise, but that the thought of death is itself an opening within finitude. Is it worth mentioning that Heidegger does indeed introduce negativity, thought of non-being into the order of being? Yes, it is worth mentioning, but it is not sufficient. For there’s always quite a few more steps to be taken further in these fields where thought and language become one. And Brassier is one of those who have taken some of these steps.

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In his Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction, Brassier asserts that “thought has interests that do not coincide with those of the living.” If I understand him correctly, Brassier’s philosophical project is driven by a will to philosophize in the name of those who are either dead or about to die; those who live on the edge of life and on the verge of death at the same time. For Brassier nihilism is not a closure but an opportunity for a new beginning, precisely because “to be able to think that which is, we have to think that which is not.” As is clear from the title of his book, his goal is to unbind that which is not, to give a voice to non-being. Contra Parmenides and Descartes, Brassier claims that the correlate of thought is non-being rather than being and the capacity of thought to interrupt the usual flow of things is something to be defended.

A traumatic incident usually interrupts the usual passage of time for the traumatized subject. It is as though time doesn’t pass any more, time is frozen and the subject who has lost a loved one or had any other kind of disfiguration in his/her life is stuck in this frozen time. The traumatized subject usually locks him/herself at a time before that traumatic incident and is trapped within an endless process of mourning. As I’ve put it in a previous post, according to the orthodox interpretation of Freud’s Mourning and Melancholia, this subject is melancholic. But as you may remember therein I also say, referring to Zizek’s lecture On Melancholy, that according to Agamben’s unorthodox reading of Freud’s text in his Stanzas, melancholia occurs not when the process of mourning fails and becomes endless, but when the desire itself is lost rather than the desired object. And when the desire for the object is lost the death-drive intervenes and splits the subject into the two always already within itself; into something and nothing, in-between which there is less than nothing. The subject is henceforth split within itself into that which it was before the traumatic incident and what it will have been after the traumatic incident, into the subject before the loss and the subject after the loss. This also means that the subject is divided by an absolute presence, a non-existent absent object, a lack of lack. In a situation driven by a lack of lack the subject lives in another time within and without the ordinary time of clocks at once. A time in which nothing is present as an absence, the time of the lack of lack is the condition of possibility for the change of the status of the impossible within the pre-dominant order of meaning/being to take place. And needless to say only therein can a new truth emerge, wherein time takes the form of the space itself.

Driven by a negation of Heidegger’s conception of being-in-the-world as being-towards-death, the thoughts of Deleuze-Badiou and Henry-Laruelle constitute a lineage of thought-world driven by a will to immanence and affirmation nevertheless. It is this despise of transcendence and negation disguised as immanence and affirmation that constitutes a unilateral (Laruelle) and perhaps even univocal (Deleuze) lineage common to them all, manifesting itself as a stance against the treatment of that which is not as though it is that which is, culminating in a stance against God, that is, a secularization of the infinite, it is this transcendental materialism/realism, this affirmation of the immanence of eternity, this presentation of the human in human more human than the human which we call postnihilism.

The infinite, then, is within finitude and inversely, so in order to think the infinite we have to think the finite and inversely, that is, the thought of death within life and life within death. Although the thought of death has a high price which the subject pays by a loss of mental and physical health, it is nevertheless useful in opening up the way to limit experiences. The death drive devastates the predominant conceptualisations of the “good” of civilized progress and the “bad” of barbaric regress. The subject as the death drive situates itself as the traitor on the opposite pole of belief and faith in immortality. In the place of statues representing immortality, it erects nothing. That way it confronts the promised land of total security and harmony with a world governed by the anxiety of the feeling of being surrounded by nothingness. In this world there remains no ground beneath the symbolic order. Death is in the midst of life; it is life that surrounds death. Death is immanent to life, and life is a finite process of transcending death.

There is this transcendental field of immanence which renders a non-mortal mode of being in the world possible, neither for nor against it, but engagingly indifferent to it in such a way as to turn its own alienation from mortality into its driving force in its attempt to demolish the faculty of finite judgment and create the conditions of possibility out of the conditions of impossibility for an infinite judgment to take place beyond the subject/object of a Law that is mortal, all too mortal.

One traverses the nothing in order to think something and say what he may against all odds. Absolute affirmation is total negation, Deleuze’s mode of being and thinking… Consciousness is the knowing of what we say, self-consciosness is the truth of what we say, it is the knowledge of what we are doing when we say something, so there is indeed the introduction of a distinction between the subject of enunciation and the enunciated content. The subject is always a formal manifestation of that which is, it is that which is not, non-being, thought. This modification of the Parmenidean axiom concerning the correlation of being and thought, this inversal, reversal or subversal of the Parmenidean subject-object relations, constitutes and delivers a post-dialectical, that is, a post-nihilistic mode of being and thinking which is situated beyond, before and after the life death drives and the death life drives, it is the mode of being of the non-mortal subject, or the non-being of the mortal subject, call it what you may, it is the becoming of what one already is, has always been, and will always be, that is,  an object whose death is driven by life or a subject whose life is driven by death. As Deleuze puts in his Post-script on the societies of control, when and if the subject becomes thought, non-being, life becomes a resistance against its present tense or sense of self at present and a striving for its future absence or the sense of its absence of self, its non-self in the future of its own life driven by death and its own death driven by life.

The non-mortal subject within and without the predominant symbolic order is not only the cause, but also the effect of its own alienation from mortal life. This regulatory idea of immortality, which is also a constitutive illusion, is inspired by the post-structuralist theme of becoming non-identical as we see in Laruelle, Deleuze and Derrida. If one could become non-identical, why would one not also become non-mortal? If one could become alienated from one’s identity, why would one not also become alienated from one’s mortality?  Why not become immortal in the sense of being devoid of death so as to become capable of sublating the exploitations of this mortal, all too mortal life? What motivated me to take immortality as a virtual mode of being was Badiou’s theory of the subject as infinity which aimed at secularizing the concepts of truth and infinity. Badiou’s way of secularizing the truth is inspired by the 19th century mathematician Georg Cantor’s method of secularizing the infinite. As Badiou claims, the secularization of infinity started with Cantor who stated that there was not one, but many infinities varying in size and intensity. From then onwards it became possible to link Deleuze’s concepts of impersonal consciousness and transcendental empiricism with Badiou’s theory of the subject of truth and Kant’s assertion that for reflective judgement to take place and turn the object into a subject a transcendental ground is necessary.  For me a transcendental ground is necessary only to the extent that it enables the subject to shake the foundation of its own mode of being and opens a field for immanent critique to take place. In other words, the untimely indifference of immortality is required in order to actively engage in an exposition of the exploitation of mortality in this time…

Vintage illustration of Nikolai Lutohin, taken from the 70's Yugoslavian sci-fi magazine Galaksija

The Subject as the Non-Real, Performing the Effects of the Real with the Real

Our philo-fiction begins, to borrow a term from Laruelle, with the suspension of a philosophical decision: that the ontological structures do exist outside the phenomenological world, that there is an epistemology of being beyond the phenomenal world. It is the study of this noumenal politics of phenomenal being which we call noumenology. It would be easy to choose the road more travelled and simply designate our orientation as yet another version of nihilism…

A thought thinking itself is thinking nothing other than nothing. It thinks itself as its own object, which means that it thinks nothing as something. This circular thought we designate as the thought of nihilism. It is this thought thinking itself as the thought of nihilism which we name post-nihilism. Primarily driven by the thoughts of Alain Badiou, Gilles Deleuze, François Laruelle and Michel Henry respectively, the post-nihilistic thought attempts to  theorize the unilateral duality of the dialectical conceptions of immanence/transcendence and affirmation/negation.

The nihil and the infinite are conjunctively and disjunctively presented as one, an act of engaged indifference disjoins and conjoins them in one simultaneous movement of thought-force manifesting and manifested by a modulation as yet not conceivable from within the dominant projection-introjection mechanism driven by correlationist axiomatics in which the subject as non-being realizes its own (self)entrapment in a process of becoming other than itself, the executor of the actualization of its own annihilation without end…

A revoiding of nothing and devoiding the void of its non-existent essence, it is a performative act of thought in the way of presenting that which is within and without it less and more than itself at the same time, a future anterior being-in-itself, nothing and everything at once… Consequently this subject takes it upon itself  the creation of the conditions of possibility for the generation of a post-nihilistic thought-world ever yet to come, always already history, eternally here and now…

We live in a time of nihilism’s dispersal. This time in which we find ourselves constantly failing to actualize the transition to another mode of being and thinking, we designte as postmodern nihilism. But instead of calling for a resurrection of the past, of the before of postmodernity, that is, of modernity, we call for a post-nihilistic approach to the famous questions of “what is to be done? what can be done? how can it be done?” asked and answered in different ways by Marx, Nietzsche and Freud among many others. Presumably as we all know, that which is common to these three non-philosophers is their will to take it upon themselves to change the axiomatic structure of the thought-world in which they found themselves. By way of creating new critical, speculative and clinical apparatuses of undertsanding, sensing and conceptualising in the way of transforming the world, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud became probably the most eminent figures of 20th century Prometheanism. They became the symbols of Man’s taking his own destiny in his own hands, stealing the fire from the higher Gods up in the sky and delivering it to the people here on earth to be be put to new uses not against but for all of us, we humans, we animals and we the plants…

A new Prometheus need not take the form of the ‘Modern Prince’, the party, if the latter is regarded as a commanding height and centre supervenient on any other council, association or organisational form. Collective control must involve the control and ‘recall’, to use that important slogan of delegation in communes and soviets, of its inevitable instances of centralisation. But whether the horizon be one of radical reform or revolution, a systemic challenge cannot but take on, rather than blithely ignore, the risks of Prometheanism, outside of any forgetful apologia for state power or survivalist, primitivist mirage. Most significantly, the unreflected habit of associating power’s corruption with certain seemingly intractable contents—the possibility of violence, the proliferation of bureaucracies, the mediation of machines—needs to give way to an engagement with the social forms and relations of control. Warning against the menace of Prometheanism at a time when the everyday experience of the immense majority is one of disorientation, powerlessness and opacity—that is, one where knowledge, scale and purpose are rent asunder—is simply to acquiesce in the exercise of power in the usual sites and by the usual agents, in that particular mix of anarchy and despotism that marks the rule of and for capital.[11]

As the exposition of an old problem’s imposition as a new problem, the inversion and/or the subversion of a problem of decision disguised as a limitation to thought, Speculative Realism has become an anchoring term for what we consider to be the emergence of a post-nihilistic thought-world. Hermetically Promethean in orientation, driven by a will to sustain a unilateral duality of Prometheus and Hermes as modes of being and thinking, Speculative Realism as a form of post-nihilism which thinks and lives according to nothing as something, is a venture into the Noumenal world of transcendent a priori(s) within the Phenomenal realm itself, if we can make such a distinction, that is… With roots reaching back to Kant and Schelling, unless to Zeno of Citium the founder of Stoicism and Epictetus the pragmatic, eventually finding its utmost expression in the the transcendental materialism/realism of François Laruelle (non-philosophy and quantum mechanics) and Michel Henry (meta-psychology and theology), Speculative Realism constitutes a post-nihilistic thought-world wherein the distinctions between idealism/materialism, immanence/transcendence and affirmation/negation have collapsed in on themselves. A philosophical decision introducing a split between these dialectical couples is suspended, as such it has once again become possible to create another mode of being and thinking, and perchance even another world perhaps, beyond the vicious cycles of the axiomatics of capital, away from a life driven by death and towards more non-mortal and less mortal subjects of the future to come. It is the future itself that has become possible again, future is yet again possible in this new conceptualisation of space as time and time as space, a future anterior

Philosophy originates with one fundamental principle: that everything is philosophisable. This is philosophy’s narcissism, its philocentrism. Laruelle calls this the ‘Principle of Sufficient Philosophy’. Parmenides is rightfully the (covert) patron saint of all philosophy in seeing a perfect adequation between being and thought (that we saw Badiou, for one, endorse). Taking exception to this, Laruelle playfully asserts that ‘not everything is philosophisable, such is the good news I bring’. Philosophy must have a limit, namely whatever is non-philosophy, which must itself exist at least in principle (or as a last resort), on pain of otherwise assuming that philosophy is indeed the measure of everything. In place of this principle of self-sufficiency or auto-positionality, non-philosophy sees no justification for philosophy’s supposed ability to apply itself to everything – the philosophy of art, the philosophy of science, and so on – in a manner that allows it a fundamental status in the discourse of those subjects. It has limits: its autonomy is relative (to the Real) and not absolute (to itself). For Laruelle, the conditions of possibility of experience and the object of experience are the same. As a consequence, there is no first philosophy. Non-philosophy accordingly installs an equality between the ‘fundamental’ and the ‘regional’ – though without losing their heterogeneity – in a drastically anti-hierarchical approach.[12]

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This brings us to the issue of the split nature of reality itself. The melancholic Cartesian subject cannot access the reality in-itself precisely because the reality is always already split in-itself. Strange though as it may sound the in-itself is itself split. And stranger still, that split is not within something, but rather between something and nothing. We can say that the gap between the real and the symbolic is included within reality itself. Perhaps that’s why Zizek insists on the need to affirm the mediation of illusion, the necessity of fantasy in accessing reality as it is in-itself. At this juncture one cannot help but remember Meillassoux’s dictum, “the only thing necessary is contingency itself.” And therein resides the call for the need to establish a non-relation to the world for us, in the way of constituting a relation to the world as it is in-itself, as pure multiplicity. This requires the production of a new mode of being in the world in such a way as to be in relation to the without within this world, to an outside inside this world, a non-correlationist relation to nothing itself. Is it worth mentioning that Deleuze’s “impersonal consciousness” is something akin to that mode of being? It is this transcendental inconsistency itself that regulates, governs and drives the Deleuzean plane of immanence, and precisely for this reason Deleuze calls it the transcendental field of immanence in his last book, Pure Immanence: A Life, wherein he attempts to clarify his “transcendental empiricism.” Let it suffice for the time being to say that transcendental materialism is repetitively different from transcendental empiricism, in that what’s at stake in transemp is the action of the unconscious upon the subject, whereas in transmat the situation is retroactively reversed in a progressive way; it is the subject’s indiscernibility from the unconscious that’s at stake in transmat. Influenced by and influencing Zizek, Adrian Johnston’s transmat adds to Deleuze’s transemp the role of the external matter itself as internally constituted in the self-constitutive process of the subject. Profoundly Hegelian indeed to say the least…

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We open up passages in the internal structure of the dominant projection-introjection mechanism through which new meanings flow in new directions and initiate change in the way of opening up new paths towards new modes of being and thinking… A creative revolution is always a live act, a process of progressive change in and through which the fundamental principles of our way of life are shattered and created anew in such a way as to act out a continuity in change contiguous with the demands of the present…

Signifying a stance away from Freud and towards Lacan, the center of attention has shifted from Eros/Thanatos (life drive and death drive) to Hermes/Prometheus (the drives to which they correspond are yet to be found). But the formal structure of thought remains the same in that Melanie Klein’s projective-identification and introjection mechanism is still constitutive of the governing principle, the philosophical decision common to all is that the Real is external to the subject and can be an object be it ontological/epistemological or noumenal/phenomenal.

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In his Organs Without Bodies, Zizek undertakes a critique of Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of the Body Without Organs, claiming that what Deleuze and Guattari have in mind when they use the concept of desire is precisely the Lacanian drive, or the Freudian death-drive. This confusion of concepts on behalf of D&G is in stark contrast with Deleuze’s use of the concept in Difference and Repetition. For therein Deleuze attributes a positive quality to the death-drive, just like Lacan does later in his career.

If we keep in mind that drive is the fixation on impossibility and desire is the relation of being to lack, we can see the profoundly Lacanian dimension of Deleuze’s thought as he wrote Difference and Repetition. Even in The Logic of Sense Deleuze still affirms desire as lack. It is only with his collaboration with Guattari in Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus) that leads Deleuze to create a new concept of desire, desire as production. But the whole thing turns against itself in time and the Deleuzo-Guattarian concept of desire turns out to be the Lacano-Freudian concept of death-drive.

In the act of life in-between birth and death there is a cycle of expansion and contraction at work; without the one the other cannot be… Life as a creative act  is a resistance against reaction which is a disease that feeds on life as a creative act…  One is eventually doomed unless one stops reacting to the reactive forces and instead takes it upon oneself to create something new out of one’s engaged indifference to the governing rules of the game imposed by the predominant order of meaning and being…

Wherever there is an increase in the intensity of existence there emerges something new… It’s all a matter of the degree of being alive; the more dead you are the less intense your existence is and hence less creative you become in time… We call it being comfortably numb, or dumb as it is generally put by the public; all these details in the way of becoming more exacting and precise as to the nature of life as a creative act…

Just as the flower is the reproductive organ of a plant, so too the human brain can be considered a reproductive organ rather than a destructive one, depending of course, on the thoughts it produces… At the end of the day both the flower and the brain create and emit sensible signs; the human brain produces thoughts and the flowers produce scents… Long story short, you are actually a mobile plant…

Here is yet another repressed truth for you… If all these repressed truths were allowed to manifest themselves in our lives with real effects, then most of the problems of humanity – which are used as excuses to access inordinate measures of financial gain and uncontrollable power over the lives of many – would cease to exist at once…

as above, so below

The Non-Mortal Subject Engagingly Indifferent to the Life-Death-Drives

Probably the most philosophical one among all the Saramago novels, Death at Intervals portrays a world wherein death has ceased its operations and stopped taking lives. Of all the countries in the world, only within the particular country the name of which is not given in the way of creating a sense of universality, people do not die any more. Confronted with an unexpected absence of death and a sudden presence of immortality here and now, the dominant system as a whole (both in its state form and in the private domain) begins to collapse in on itself. If that is the case, then Saramago is implying that the predominant order is run by the dominance of death. Death having a central role to play in the predominant order of governance means that a subtraction of death from the system will bring about a void, a kind of black hole within the system, a gap causing an inward spiraling, an interruption of life as it is, with death at its center, now devoid of it, producing a contraction of the dominant mode of being alive…

We live in such times and spaces wherein time and space have themselves become rare commodities… If we keep in mind that scarcity is that which determines the value of a commodity, we can understand why and how the interruption of the ordinary run of things, socially accepted forms of using time and sapce, can open the gates to a new mode of being and thinking in a new space and time…

In a world where time is used as the currency, wherein you can earn more time at work to sell it for goods, foods and other services, you are caught in an ever regressive process of production and consumption in and through which time becomes capital and capital becomes life… Once your time as capital runs out, you die…

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The situation depicted in the film In Time (2011) is very similar to contemporary capitalism in which value of your life is measured by how much money you have in the bank, higher the number all the more immune to death you feel you are… The rich survive death forever, while the poor run out of time and die.

Capitalism is a mega death-drive, an ever regressive process of production and consumption in and through which time becomes capital… The value of your life is measured by how much money you have in the bank, higher the number all the more immune to death you feel you are… In capitalism the future has succumbed to retrospection, but still there are signs all around for the possibility of a reversal, one only needs to have the eyes to see them in this time, as Mark Fisher puts it in his Capitalist Realism.

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What Zeno of Elea actually wants to say is that we can only perceive the world as it is for us, not as it is in-itself… In a similar fashion, we perceive time only as divided units represented by clocks rather than as it is in-itself, that is as eternal… In other words, human brain introduces motion into immobility and finitude into eternity in the process of perception because humans are naturally mortal becomings, whereas being in-itself is infinite and immobile, an absolute and eternal void continually consuming that which it produces… Driven by this kind of a self-creative/destructive void within and without at the same time, a human can only perceive itself as it desires itself to be, rather than as it really is in-itself, independently of human consciousness… To cut a long story short let us recall Kant and simply say this: The things-in-themselves can always be thought, but can never be known in any form other than they are for us, we humans, we animals and we the plants.

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Now, we know that according to Plato time doesn’t really exist and that it is merely a representation of the real, an image of eternity beyond life as we live it… Needless to say it is the human finitude, the fact of mortality that produces human subjects as beings in time. The change of seasons, for instance, signifies the passage of time for humans, but this is an illusion, because the change of seasons doesn’t mean anything for the universe itself, it signifies the passage of time only for mortal human consciousness… For nature and the universe as they are in-themselves it’s business as usual in a never ending circular movement, a continuity in change within itself ad infinitum… Never mind the clocks, time outside of capital is itself eternal, and once you break the vicious cycle of capitalist axiomatics you shall yourself become immortal, for then you will have also broken out of the dialectics of time and capital, therefore transcending this mortal, all too mortal life imposed upon you by the predominant order of being.

How can we produce new thoughts and new texts given the exhaustion of the orthodox form of thinking at the end of twentieth-century Continental philosophy? But the ‘non-’ in non-philosophy is not, as we will see, either the destruktion, deconstruction, withdrawal from, or end of philosophy. It implies the generalisation, universalisation and most consistent implementation of theory; one that rethinks the history of philosophy in a radically new style. His is a ‘post-deconstructive’ or ‘non-Heideggerian deconstruction’searching for the means, tool, or organon by which we might renew theory without contenting ourselves simply with deconstructing philosophy.[13]

How would our lives change if we were to become capable of imagining and conceptualising ourselves as immortal beings? If we keep in mind that we are always already locked within the vicious cycle of the life and death drives governed by the law of capital, it becomes easier to understand why we need to break this vicious cycle of Capitalism and its governor, liberal-democracy, based on unjust representations, in order to create, produce or present the realm of love beyond the rotary motion of drives. But it must also be kept in mind that when we say beyond, we are talking about a beyond which is always already within the predominant symbolic order and yet not within the reach of mortal beings. It is a beyond only from the perspective of the present state. In our scenario, immortality is not something to be attained, rather, it is a virtual potential or an actual capacity within every mortal being, awaiting to be realised. The realisation of the immortality within us, or the realisation of the infinite potential that life contains, depends on our proper use of our powers of imagination as wll as of our conceptualisation. Let us imagine and conceptualise ourselves as immortal beings then, which we already are, but cannot enact because of the finitude imposed upon us by the already existing symbolic order. Would we need to get out of this order to become immortal? Yes and no. Yes, because the within which we said infinity resides is a within which is exterior only from the point of view of the already existing order. No, because only from within the already existing order can we present an outside of this order, “an outside”, in Deleuze’s words apropos of Foucault and Blanchot, “which is closer than any interiority and further away than any exteriority.”

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In his Theoretical Writings Alain Badiou attempts to separate himself from the Romantic understanding of infinity, and the pursuit of immortality. According to Badiou, contemporary mathematics broke with the Romantic idea of infinity by dissolving the Romantic concept of finitude. For Badiou, as it is for mathematics, the infinite is nothing but indifferent multiplicity, whereas for the Romantics it was nothing more than a “historical envelopment of finitude.” Behind all this, of course, is Badiou’s strong opposition to historicism and temporalisation of the concept. It is in this context that Badiou can say, “Romantic philosophy localizes the infinite in the temporalisation of the concept as a historical envelopment of finitude.”[14]

Mathematics now treats the finite as a special case whose concept is derived from that of the infinite. The infinite is no longer that sacred exception co-ordinating an excess over the finite, or a negation, a sublation of finitude. For contemporary mathematics, it is the infinite that admits of a simple, positive definition, since it represents the ordinary form of multiplicities, while it is the finite that is deduced from the infinite by means of negation or limitation. If one places philosophy under the condition such a mathematics, it becomes impossible to maintain the discourse of the pathos of finitude. ‘We’ are infinite, like every multiple-situation, and the finite is a lacunal abstraction. Death itself merely inscribes us within the natural form of infinite being-multiple, that of the limit ordinal, which punctuates the recapitulation of our infinity in a pure, external ‘dying.’[15]

The political implications of the move from Romantic infinity to mathematical infinity can be observed in Badiou’s Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. In this little book Badiou criticizes the hypocrisy of human rights for reducing being-human to being a mortal animal. Of course Badiou admits that what is called human is indeed a mortal animal, but what he objects to is the exploitation of this state of being. Against this deprecative attitude, Badiou pits the immortal subject, or rather, the subject who is capable of realising his/her immortality.[16]

For Laruelle, the establishment of a radically immanent philosophy, one which escapes transcendence, cannot be achieved in and through traditional philosophy at all: it can only be instituted through a ‘non-philosophical’ thought whose subjectmatter is the history of philosophy itself. This non-philosophy will thus appear similar to philosophy, but only because its raw-material is traditional philosophy in all of its inevitable intermixtures with and consequent corrupting transcendentalisation of the ‘Real’ or ‘One’. Echoing the ideas of Derrida, Laruelle claims that transcendence is the fundamental shape of all philosophy. But Laruelle’s escape is not into the formalities of writing – philosophy as literature – nor a restituted (negative) theology. Non-philosophy is not just a theory but a practice. It re-writes or re-describes particular philosophies, but in a non-transcendental form – nonaesthetics, non-Spinozism, non-Deleuzianism, and so on. It takes philosophical concepts and subtracts any transcendence from them in order to see them, not as representations, but as parts of the Real or as alongside the Real. This practice is called ‘cloning’, ‘determination-in-the-last-instance’, or ‘force (of) thought’. In this respect, Laruelle’s non-philosophical discourse would be a movement between any polarised philosophies, given the subtraction of the Real from their positions.[17]

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There can be no future without the legacy of Marx, for he is beyond the artificial divisions imposed upon humanity as a whole. Marx transcends the illusory differentiations such as race, ethnicity, religious orientation, and introduces a split between the real, the actual, and the virtual. That split is a new form of differentiation which brings justice and equality down on earth rather than leaving it up in the sky, infinitely postponed to a non-existent life after death in the incapable hands of a non-existent being commonly known among we the human mortals as God…

A truth comes into being through those subjects who maintain a resilient fidelity to the consequences of an event that took place in a situation but not of it. Fidelity, the commitment to truth, amounts to something like a disinterested enthusiasm, absorption in a compelling task or cause, a sense of elation, of being caught up in something that transcends all petty, private or material concerns.[18]

Some sentences always ring true, that’s why we designate them as one among many manifestations of eternal and yet singular truths… A truth is that which once established remains eternally true in its singularity… Truth is an infinite multiplicity which nevertheless belongs to a particular time and space but also expresses a part of being which doesn’t change… To become capable of touching the real and manifesting a truth of one’s time requires a sensitivity to that which persists in its existence as an affirmative negativity… This negativity is affirmative because it only negates the world and life as they exist for humans at present, not as they are in themselves… A truth always emerges out of this affirmative negativity which sees world and life as they are in-themselves, independently of the human consciousness… A truth, therefore, lays the foundations of a future to come which is based on reality as it is in-itself rather than its particular representations for us… Every truth, once it is realized in actuality, smashes the illusions propagated by the contemporary militarist-capitalism… The subject of a truth must always be prepared to shake its own foundations in the way of a better future, a future liberated from the shackles of lies and slavery imposed upon humanity for more money and power at all costs…

First Hologram Protest in History Held Against #Spain's Gag Law

Altering the Supposedly Predestined Future

The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. ~ Karl Marx

We live on the cusp of things, an age when the human Anthroposcene is giving way to the inhuman. Nature no longer exists. We’re all artificial now. The engine of inhumanism is eating reality alive so that nothing human will as Land once said “get out alive”. We’re seeing the human vanish before our eyes, the last remnants of the humanist traditions are imploding, the worlds of metaphysical bric-a-brac are giving way to the triumph of sciences which are far stranger than philosophy which is actually quite conservative and conserving. I know I talk of Zizek, Badiou, Land, et. al… but in truth I’m a post-nihilist who has already crossed the post-human divide, the zone of no return where whatever we’re doing is part of some hyperstitional collective madness of constructing the future out of the ruins of a failed and failing world of humans into the inhuman worlds which seem to be imploding toward us out of the future.~ S.C. Hickman

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Unfortunately the future has changed, it’s not the same good old brighter future anymore… Earth is rapidly going down the drain and we cannot even slow down the process… One only needs to look at science-fiction movies to see this: Most of them used to imagine a better future on Earth, but today this is reversed; the utopian imagination has turned against itself and most of these movies have become dystopias imagining a darker future and rather grim days to come… Of course many humans are aware of this fact, but they cannot help being driven towards a hell on Earth nevertheless… Acceptance of reality as it is doesn’t mean affirming it, one has to negate the current state of affairs in order to alter reality and create at least a less bad future for all of us, we humans, we animals and we the plants…

Hegel, probably the greatest philosopher of all time, had defined dialectic as “the unity of opposites”, as Jameson puts it in his Valences of the Dialectic… We can interpret this as the being-one-in-essence of the apparently opposite entities… Hence becoming is the coming out of that which is within… The self and the other are always already juxtaposed, or intertwined, but their roles are continually reversed over time… Just as life turns into death over time, an idea turns into its opposite as well, eventually becoming one with that which it is not… Now, we find ourselves in a situation wherein a victim is victimized twice in the name of “politically correct” values of civilised Western societies… Democracy and freedom turn against themselves to actualise themselves… The paradox of the human-condition at present is beyond measure, there is an inherent contradiction within the status-quo itself… In our world today the aggressors are protected and the victims are condemned in the name of justice… The problem is that this conception of justice itself signifies a massive injustice… These are dangerous waters, but we shouldn’t be afraid of “tarrying with the negative” against all odds… 

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The countries keep falling into a crisis created by the very system in which they lose themselves… The crisis doesn’t exist before the governments create it… That’s how capitalism works, a crisis is created and then coped with… The failure of the states to cope with the problems piling up increases by the minute as the future rapidly disappears in an orgy of indifferent multiplicities governed by fools of all kinds… Unfortunately ignoring the problems doesn’t make them go away and that is precisely what our governments are doing… Making the same mistakes and expecting different results over and over again… Everything keeps getting worse all the while… The system is already totally bankrupt…

The rise of fascism is ongoing with full force all over the planet… An eye for an eye still keeps turning the whole world blind as usual… The planet is becoming one big gas chamber… The states and governments keep organising themselves against their own people all around the Earth… That’s the way ‪‎Militarist Capitalism‬ works, it’s not even neo-liberalism anymore (that woud be too optimistic a term)… They create crisis in order to violently cope with it so that the people are left with no alternative and submit to the order of the day… They don’t allow people even to imagine a different world, hence the nihilistic despair drowning us in the capitalist ideology itself, which feeds on nothing but inequality and injustice as well as ethnic-religious conflict all around the planet…

Pejac

To be able to change the course of events leading to a mostly man-made catastrophic future, or an artificial apocalypse, to act in the way of preventing an early demise of the organic life forms on Earth as we know it, and perhaps even become capable of altering these course of events in the right direction, we have to understand how the system in which we find ourselves works first, as Brassier has put it in an interview… And perhaps more importantly, we also have to understand how our minds work  in this process of undearstanding how the world works, as Zizek has put it numerous times in his books and lectures… Otherwise we mess things up and everything gets even worse than it already is… Change for the better requires the force of thought… And that is precisely why we preach becoming more human than human as we have come to know it…

Humans don’t learn, they only remember the truth… What we call truth is actually the forgetting of the ignorance of the past known as knowledge… A truth emerges only as the realisation of the falsity of history, it is a process, not a state… It’s not for nothing that we keep saying it can only get worse for all of us… The reason is that we humans have abolished rational thought itself together with the fidelity to the unknown truths of our time, as Badiou reckons here as well as elsewhere

The arrival of Anthropocene‬ means nothing but the death of the human as we come to know it… It signifies a stage of human-condition in which everyone suffers from the damage caused on the planet… Our existence as humans has direct negative effects on other beings such as plants and animals with which we share this habitat… The Anthropocene must become conscious of its responsibility and take it upon itself to radically change its ways and means…

A massive amount of dying takes place in the womb for the transformation of the fetus into a human… Many of our cells die before we are born, we die so that we can be born… Our birth as humans requires our death as fetuses… Life is driven by death and inversely… The spaces between your fingers are the presences of non-being in being… The interactive process between your being and non-being is your becoming, your life is your death, a process, not a state… In this sense it is analogous to Badiou’s conception of truth as the process of situating eternity in time in accordance with a less bad future for all of us, we humans, we animals and the plants…

Indefinite Consequences: The Finite Effects of the Real as Infinitude

As I was reading this post of his I felt a deep underlying, almost religious tone in his voice; the power of the absolute filtering its banal surprise (maybe a non-God, non-All, rather than the mundane gods or God religion or the philosophers). Whatever the absolute may be, it seems to ride the edges, or borderlands of between thought and non-being rather than the metaphysical realms of Being. Though secular through and through the incorporation of the themes of eternity, time, mortality, immortality, etc. like those others who have influenced our thinking: Nietzsche, Badiou, Zizek, Laruelle, Henry, Deleuze, etc. – and, lest we forget, Freud (Lacan: lack?) with his mythology of drives, that endless war of eros and thanatos, life and death, love and war – comes through Erdem’s essay. What struck me above all is the underlying mythos and movement toward transcension, toward elsewhere, immortality, transcendence. Of course as he says, this is nothing new, and it is everywhere in our present transcendental field of speculation, as if between a totalistic closure upon metaphysics had brought with it – not a rational kernel, but rather an irrational kernel of ancient thought. For do we not hear that oldest of songsters, Orpheus, the Greek singer, theologian, poet, philosophical forbear out of whose roots Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle and their ancient antagonists Leucippas, Democritus, and Lucretius down to our day still wage a war over the body of a dead thought (God?). ~ S.C. Hickman

Of course the dreadful has already happened, in several occasions throughout history we should say, that’s not even worth mentioning in our nihilistic times; but then again, also needless to say is that the worst is yet to come and it will only come when and if the number of people responding to this simple and direct question of “whether we are really going to let a bunch of greedy selfish fools do in this whole planet” by saying “get on with it” exceeds the number of those who simply and directly say no… We reckon there is still hope for a global postnihilistic society…

Capitalism is not only failing real big time, it is crumbling and disintegrating into very little pieces by the minute as well… Capitalism cannot sustain itself under its own conditions, because it is becoming more and more vulnerable as the technology produced by it keeps turning against the capitalists themselves… So we can say that capitalism is a system that continually develops, but this development is also its process of falling apart, its progress is also its regress, such is its paradox… And needless to say its process of turning against itself is also its turning against humanity and against the world in general, with all those plants and animals residing therein… It is a self-destructive organisation of social, political and global economic relations, a system driven by its own annihilation… To cut a long story short and put it simply: “The shit is fucked up and stuff.”

And yet there is indeed a spectre haunting our world in this time as Marx has once put it… It’s the spectre of a future to come, unless it is the ghostly presence of the future here and now… For the future itself has become possible again after many movies which could very well imagine the end of the world but could neither conceive of, nor at least consider the possibility of even a slight change within capitalism itself, let alone imagine a future without capitalism at all, as the saying goes I should say…

Engagingly indifferent to the ordinary reality of capitalism driven by and driving the exploitation of mortality on a massive scale, this spectral subject takes it upon itself the difficult task of “traversing the fantasy” and reaching beyond “the night of the world”, thereby creating the conditions of possibility out of the conditions of impossibility for the generation of a postnihilistic thought-world ever yet to come and always already history, unless it is the eternal memory of the here and now, in-the-last-instance of humanity, consequently, that is…

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Reference Matter

[1] Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. James Creed Meredith (London: Wilder Publications, 2008), 13

[2] Alain Badiou, Being and Event, Meditation Two: Plato, trans. Oliver Feltham (New York: Continuum, 2005), 31-7

[3] Badiou, BE, 23

[4] Badiou, BE, 36

[5] Badiou, BE, 33

[6] Slavoj Žižek, Interview with Ben Woodard, in The Speculative Turn: Continental Realism and Materialism, Graham Harman, Nick Srnicek, Levi Bryant (eds.), (Melbourne: re.press, 2011), 415

[7] Badiou, BE, 34

[8] Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds, Section Two, Kant, trans. Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum, 2009), 237

[9] Badiou, BE, 431

[1o] John Mullarkey, Post-Ccontinental Philosophy, (London & New York: Continuum, 2006), 141-2

[11] Alberto Toscano, The Prejudice Against Prometheus, STIR, 2011.

[12] Mullarkey, 139.

[13] Mullarkey, 135.

[14] Alain Badiou, Theoretical Writings, trans. Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano, (London: Continuum, 2006), 38.

[15] Badiou, 38

[16] Alain Badiou, Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil, trans. Peter Hallward (London: Verso, 2001), 41

[17] Mullarkey, Post-Ccontinental Philosophy, 134.

[18] Peter Hallward, “Introduction” in Alain Badiou, Ethics (London: Verso, 2002), x

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Badiou, Alain. Metapolitics, trans. Jason Barker (London: Verso, 2005)

Badiou, Alain. Being and Event, trans. Oliver Feltham (New York: Continuum, 2005)

Badiou, Alain. Logics of Worlds, trans. Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum, 2009)

Badiou, Alain. Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, trans. Louise Burchill (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000)

Badiou, Alain. Theoretical Writings, trans. eds., Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano (London: Continuum, 2006)

Brassier, Ray. ‘That Which is Not: Philosophy as Entwinement of Truth and Negativity’ in Stasis, No.1 2013

Brassier, Ray. ‘Lived Experience and the Myth of the Given’, Filozofski Vestnik, Vol. XXXII, No. 3, 2011

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Brassier, Ray. Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007)

Brassier, Ray. ‘Axiomatic heresy: the non-philosophy of François Laruelle’, Radical Philosophy, 2003.

Deleuze, Gilles. Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994)

Gilles Deleuze, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990)

Grant, Iain Hamilton. Philosophies of Nature After Schelling (London and New York: Continuum, 2008)

Graham Harman, Nick Srnicek, Levi Bryant (eds.),The Speculative Turn: Continental Realism and Materialism (Melbourne: re.press, 2011)

Henry, Michel. The Essence of Manifestation, trans. G. Etskorn, (Martinus Nijhoff: The Hague, 1973)

Henry, Michel. ‘Phenomenology of life’, in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 2003.

Henry, Michel. The Genealogy of Psychoanalysis (Stanford: Sanford University Press, 1998)

Henry, Michel. Marx: A Philosophy of Human Reality, trans. K. McLaughlin, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1983)

Henry, Michel. Barbarism, trans. and intro. Scott Davidson, (London: Continuum, 2012),

Johnston, Adrian. Žižek’s Ontology: A Transcendental Materialist Theory of Subjectivity, (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2008)

Johnston, Adrian. “Alain Badiou, the Hebb-event, and Materialism Split from Within.” Angelaki 13 (1): 27–49, 2008.

Laruelle, François. ‘The Decline of Materialism in the Name of Matter‘, trans. Ray Brassier, in Pli, Vol. 12. What Is Materialism? 2001, 33-40.

Laruelle, François. Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy, trans. A. P. Smith, (New York: Continuum, 2010)

Laruelle, François,The Truth According to Hermes: Theorems on the Secret and Communication‘ in Parrhesia 9 (2010): 18-22.

Laruelle, François, ‘The End Times of Philosophy‘ in continent. 2.3 (2012): 160-166.

Laruelle, François, ‘A Summary of Non-Philosophy’ in Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 8. Philosophies of Nature, 1999.

Laruelle, François, ‘Identity and Event’ in Pli: The Warwick Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 9. Parallel Processes, 2000.

Laruelle, François. Future Christ: A Lesson in Heresy, trans. A. P. Smith, (New York: Continuum, 2010).

Mullarkey, John. Post-Continental Philosophy (London & New York: Continuum, 2006)

Žižek, Slavoj. The Parallax View (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 2006)

Žižek, Slavoj. Less Than Nothing (London: Verso, 2012)

revoiding nothing and devoiding the void of its essence, nothing...

 

 

3 thoughts on “Postnihilistic Speculations on That Which Is Not: A Thought-World According to an Ontology of Non-Being

  1. Pingback: Postnihilistic Speculations: The Ontology of Non-Being | Senselogi©

  2. Pingback: Being, Non-Being and Becoming Non-Identical of the Subject | Senselogi©

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