A new blog?!

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NOT-NOT

I’ve figured out something about truth effects. I read a little of [Andrew’s] paper, ‘Who Am I Interviewing?’, and I found you talking about undefinable potential at the end of your second page. Now I think this ‘undefinable potential’ is the same as the no-thing, but I’ll talk about that later. What I wrote about was the word ‘undefinable’, in the same sense as the I-Thou is ‘indivisible’. I thought about what I’d said about how the indivisible is indivisible until you divide it, and how the fact that the indivisible could be divided and rendered divisible in the process didn’t mean it wasn’t ‘indivisible’. I could probably phrase that better! Anyway I realised the word ‘indivisible’ or ‘undefinable’ could be used in a sense which allowed that to be true, which allowed something to be ‘indivisible’ but didn’t disallow its being divided.

Carrying on with our example, the ‘indivisible’, I realised the word was being used in the same sense as the word ‘unthinkable’, or ‘unspeakable’ – not that it was ‘indivisible’ in the vulgar sense, but that you wouldn’t dare divide it – that it was, in a sense, inviolable. In that same sense the ‘undefinable’ may be defined, but it’s a defilement of that potential. The indivisible may be divided, but it’s a defilement of that undivided thing. The transition from the I-Thou to the I-It is a violation of its sanctity. And this is all very religious language isn’t it? Inviolable, sanctity, defilement.

I want to say it’s a logic of negative space, but I’m sure it’s not that simple. In-, Un-, they’re both prefixes of the ‘not’, but they’re being used to refer to something akin to the I-Thou. What does this language of pure negativity have to do with the I-Thou? Let’s look at Buber in ‘Reality’ – “Inseparable, incomparable, irreducible”. Now if we consider these terms as double negatives we can come to some very interesting conclusions – that comparable is a negative logic, which I think makes sense. I wouldn’t call it a hard rule – I wouldn’t call anything a hard rule – but it’s something to keep in mind. What is the logic of double negatives? Can we compare a very pure double negative to the ‘no-thing’? Is ‘no-thing’ itself a double negative? And going back a little, can we consider “wouldn’t dare” as a double negative in the sense I’ve outlined here?

Anyway, if I had to put it simply I’d say that the “not-not” is everything.

Addendum

There’s no division but apparent division, and any restoration is a restoration within us. It doesn’t operate time-wise, but across its own axis – wholeness and lack. It is a restoration to wholeness. Things begin whole and are divided. The wholeness is the thing before division, there is no division but that which we create. If division must happen to a thing, then we restore things to how they were before they were divided.

Yes, dividing the indivisible turns it into things. Introducing negative space into it turns it into things – negative space means there’s a thing and a not-thing. We categorise it and in categorising something we say there’s a category of things which aren’t of the category we made. 0 = +1 -1

In truth there is no whole. +1 -1 = 0

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Metonymy

Part 1

I want to investigate metaphor and metonymy – how do they relate to each other? I want to learn more fully what metonymy is and I want to see where they cross over. I take metonymy to mean the act of standing in for an absent whole – which may also be considered as a lexicon, they are the same. I had the thought recently that sometimes metaphor and metonymy happen at the same time – that you can have a kind of conceptual metonymy, which goes back to the idea of mental object and structure.

There’s a very fundamental question here though – what is a ‘whole’? Of course wholes are completely within our heads, but they’re still real. What forms can a whole take simultaneously? That is, if I write the word ‘Fire’, can I consider it metonymic for all fires burning in the world at this moment? Throughout history? All possible metaphorical applications of the word fire? Fire as pure metaphor – fire as everything which fired has ever been conceived as or tied to, archetypal fire. But it’s not metonymy if the part is the whole, is it? And aren’t metonyms wholes in themselves? They do not refer back to an absent whole, they construct the whole. The whole is contained – and I hate the language of containment if it’s used improperly – within the part. And maybe that’s why I’ve been using the metaphor of ‘emboitement‘ interchangeably with ‘synecdoche’ and ‘metonym’ – because they are the same! And here is the law: Everything is the same, and everything is completely different. And then, how do we feel those absences? How do I know the whole for which the part stands in? What is the process by which the part constructs the whole?

There’s also the question of granularity – or frequency, they are the same – and how that works. Here’s something I’ve noticed: Measuring the effects of iteration is just as much a measuring of the effects of division. Something can’t iterate unless we’ve said it’s ended and begun again. It’s got to do with the difference between counting 10,000 one dollar bills and counting one 10,000 dollar bill, which I haven’t fully explored yet. Iteration is a matter of negative space – anything which occurs at a high frequency necessarily has more lines drawn between one instance and the next than something which occurs at a low frequency – this means more negative space, more fractures, more lines drawn. More discontinuities. There is unity, smooth space. I’m rambling! Let me quote something from an essay I wrote last term:

“Each journey is composed of an infinite number of constituent journeys, but we only divide time so far as we can usefully allocate an action to a circumstance.

We don’t really worry about the stops before our stop, nor do we worry about each of the moments between each wheel and each section of track. “

Also, “The degree to which there is coordination between systems is the degree to which they can be treated as one in the same for the purpose of scheduling.” That is to say

I also want to explore the difference between stereotype and archetype. Yesterday I had some success conceiving of them in terms of metonymy – under stereotype, the part is taken to be the whole; under archetype, the part is taken to stand in for the whole, to point to something bigger than itself. And there is this quality of being part of something bigger than your self in the I-Thou – I don’t think the I-Thou is something which occurs only between us and the other. It could also occur between things within us – which is everything. Like I say later in the email, the I-Thou is very similar to Deleuze’s ‘Becoming’.

Part 2

Something I forgot to mention – and it’s always incredible when that happens – is what it means to defy a whole, to defy boundaries. Are we building bridges or are we remembering there was never a gap? Anyway, what it means to cross boundaries – to transgress. What does it mean when I take a word for instance as metonymic of some sensual lexicon beyond the context of my reading – for instance, instead of taking the word fire to be metonymic of a more immediate, sensual fire. What am I doing when I choose to read the fact that there’s a fire in front of me as metaphor for something happening in my personal life. That fire refers back to an absent whole, but which whole? What if I decide the absent whole the fire is referring to is my self? And how do I determine whether something’s ‘related’ to something else in the first place? Why is it any more ‘natural’ that the word fire be metonymic of sensual fire, and not my self?

Part 3

Or that everything might be metonymic of everything else – keeping in mind how I described metonymy in my first email there. Look at the story of Indra’s Net:

FAR AWAY IN THE HEAVENLY ABODE OF THE GREAT GOD INDRA, THERE IS A WONDERFUL NET WHICH HAS BEEN HUNG BY SOME CUNNING ARTIFICER IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IT STRETCHES OUT INDEFINITELY IN ALL DIRECTIONS. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXTRAVAGANT TASTES OF DEITIES, THE ARTIFICER HAS HUNG A SINGLE GLITTERING JEWEL AT THE NET’S EVERY NODE, AND SINCE THE NET ITSELF IS INFINITE IN DIMENSION, THE JEWELS ARE INFINITE IN NUMBER. THERE HANG THE JEWELS, GLITTERING LIKE STARS OF THE FIRST MAGNITUDE, A WONDERFUL SIGHT TO BEHOLD. IF WE NOW ARBITRARILY SELECT ONE OF THESE JEWELS FOR INSPECTION AND LOOK CLOSELY AT IT, WE WILL DISCOVER THAT IN ITS POLISHED SURFACE THERE ARE REFLECTED ALL THE OTHER JEWELS IN THE NET, INFINITE IN NUMBER. NOT ONLY THAT, BUT EACH OF THE JEWELS REFLECTED IN THIS ONE JEWEL IS ALSO REFLECTING ALL THE OTHER JEWELS, SO THAT THE PROCESS OF REFLECTION IS INFINITE

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Poetics, Aesthetics and Vocation

I’ve been trying to understand poetics and aesthetics, and I was wondering if you could consider vocation as an aesthetics of the self – or of the person sans self, which is something I mean to ask you about – a sort of rule as to what “fits” and what doesn’t. I’m asking because I read about Emerson’s book Representative Men, a book about 6 men who exemplify some quality or vocation. Swedenborg, the Mystic, Goethe, the Writer. What shapes can the brain take? I know there’s the self, there’s perception – what else? And what shapes can they take, perception and self? There’s two questions I’ve been asking – what is the self-in-vocation, and what is the self under addiction?

I think the establishment of a deficient self is the establishment of aspirational self – I think we have within ourselves a space which is filled with certain things, which is contented – that is, filled with content. We are content, we are full. We can empty ourselves and create spaces of lack – and spaces of lack are made to be filled. Hungry mouths. I get the feeling there’s a lot to be learned by analysing the metaphorics of being “swallowed up” in something. “Devouring” books too. I hit upon it in my essay on the interview but I didn’t have the time to explore it properly, to do it justice. Look at the old language of anxiety in “Born Under Punches” by Talking Heads – “I’m so thin.” – language of hunger. The conflation of ambition – aspiration – with hunger.

When we create a void, I think it’s in the shape of something – we make voids in the shape of what we want to be. And so while I’m not that thing, and while I’m speaking about my inner space and what I am, I say “I am not this”. But as I said, spaces of lack are made to be filledThe shape of the space is how we determine what fits. The space of lack is gluttonous, endlessly hungry, just like a junkie. It’s a bottomless, sucking void of a thing and it acts as a self-shaped vacuum. Negative space as negative charge, negative polarity – the deficient self and the aspirational self struggle to reconcile them selves. In the space of ideas, moving towards something is the same as having it move towards you. The space of lack is only full so long as you’re feeding it, and this goes back to my investigations into the self under addiction. We know there’s a pleasure not just in achieving your aspirational self, but in tracing it, moving towards it. That the pangs of lack are left behind so long as we’re approaching it with the fullness of our being. Like the self were a strand of sphagetti. And I think this goes back to the language of space – the language of the way, of the path, of the strand.

I also get the sense there’s a difference between an archetypal form of mind – exemplary – and a vulgar self of constraint and negative space. I think we can craft ourselves into a punctum, make ourselves the model of something – be without precedent and so form the basis of precedent. As there is a canon of art and literature – and here I conceive of the canon as a history of innovation – there is a canon of selves. You know that understanding good art is like learning a language. In fact, it is learning a new language – new terms, new bunches of meaning. This language is the language of punctum, of the canon. The canon is a history of punctum, of new, living language. Innovation is life is language is the canon is the punctum.

Now I think the reason why some people believe the canon is defined by some vague “essential” quality is the same reason we have something like gender – which is itself a stockhouse of aspiration and deficient selves, a divisionary practice. In fact, this problem of the “essential” is the problem of the self – that anything is meant to be anything. Essences are an assemblage of processes producing their own truth effects, producing the illusion of their having always been. And certain things are so powerful that they seem as though they always were. The ideal doesn’t exist until it’s been achieved. The “end” only appears retroactively – there’s only an end once it’s ended. You’ve only achieved your aspirational self once you’ve achieved it. We are nothing, but we are produced as truth effects.

If we are a punctum, if now this process of being punctum, of filling these spaces of lack as soon as they are created, can only occur on the frontier of experience. Pioneering. Once we reach the frontier, every advance is a meeting of limits. There is no problem with need so long as it is fulfilled instantly – otherwise it becomes a blockage. That’s what’s happening now. Now that I’m writing this. I’m tracing need, I’m riding it, I’m keeping at the frontier – don’t get ahead of your self.

Because when I asked you if you could say “I am” without saying “I am not”, it’s because I think you can say “I am” without getting negative space involved – a purely positive conception of the self. It’s the process I outlined in my last email – a process in which the aspirational self is fulfilled in the moment of its creation. I suppose that’s a bit of a cheat though – you’re getting negative space involved on the condition that it’s filled in the instant of its creation. There is a process of writing your self – and this is something else I’ve noticed, that there’s no problem with having a self so long as you’re aware of it, so long as the unconscious is unearthed and made conscious. The purely positive, archetypal self never butts up against negative space, lack, boundaries, because it knows what it is. It knows its limits such that they are not limits.

Fragments

The self and vocation – what has a vocation? The self or the person-mind-observer?

Tarde’s social virality. Sampson’s generalised virality.

Aesthetics of the self – The vocation is a purely positive calling

This is the secret of metaphorics: We always speak the truth – we just need to figure out what we’ve said. But how does this function in the context of writing-reading? If there are no essences, what is “clarification”?

Negative-exclusive divisionary practice. Positive-inclusive nondivisionary practice.

The old rule – there is no such thing as synonyms – every word is perfectly unique – and there is no such thing as homonyms – every meaning ascribed to a word is used simultaneously.

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Gambling, Suicide and Doppelgängers

Gambling, Suicide and Doppelgängers

Gambling is very immediately a process of establishing an aspirational and a deficient self. The aspirational self of the gambler overlaps completely with the gambling-selves of the other parties. Only one party walks away having achieved the aspirational self. This refers back to the logic of the doppelgänger.

The gambler, by virtue or by vice of his aspirational self, demands perfect reflexivity with his gambling-self. Where the doppelgänger is a self, a master self encompassing the whole of the self without perfect self-reflexivity, the stakes are life and death.

The overlapping, mutual space of the gambling-self can be represented quite easily with a venn diagram. The overlapping is the stake of the gambling-self. Where the money gamble is a slight overlapping, the status gamble of “deep” play a significant overlapping – a “deep” overlapping, intrusion of one sphere into another – and the life gamble of war a total overlapping. The doppelgänger is, as we will see, a total overlapping.

In the end, the winning circle takes a bite out of the losing circles in the process of achieving its aspirational self. The waveform collapsed into pure lack – the bite – and pure being – the congealing, the consumption, the achievement.

Where the gambler risks a piece of himself – the gambling-self – in a process of collapsing the difference between his deficient self and his aspirational self – towards on or the other – the self and the self of the doppelgänger compete over total stakes – the whole of the self. Because neither is the ‘true’ self, and both aspire to be the ‘true’ self. The achievement of the aspirational self by the one – pure self, ‘true’ self – necessitates the annihilation of the other – pure void, pure lack, Death – “I am the untrue self. I don’t exist”.

This is the same cause as suicide, and doppelgänger stories are in a sense tales of a suicide, the murder of self by self. It’s just in doppelgänger stories you’ve got one to spare. With the suicide and the doppelgänger, the aspirational self has strayed too far from the deficient self – the deficient self is consumed entirely by lack, and is driven toward death – “I am the untrue self. I don’t deserve to exist.”

Thoreau’s Love and the Self

The aspirational self should only exist so long as it’s dragging us up, and so long as the gap between ourselves and the aspirational self – that is to say, the deficient self – is nonexistent. That is, that the aspirational self is fulfilled in the instant of its creation.

This then is the most perfect expression of Thoreau’s ‘Love’, as a means to the nondual. The aspirational self may exist so long as it is indistinguishable from the master self.

The Doppelgänger and Victor Turner’s ‘Social Drama’

I’ve remembered one circumstance in fiction in which both the ‘original’ and the doppelgänger are allowed to go on existing – when there is an irreparable schism between the two, when one is transformed beyond recognition with the other.

And of course we can draw parallels here with the final stage of Victor Turner’s ‘Social Drama’, the point at which one of the two outcomes will occur: Irreparable schism or reintegration into the whole.

Now given I’ve just covered the process of irreparable schism, the process of reintegration considered in the context of the doppelgänger and the two selves – aspirational and deficient – is especially interesting, and shines light on both processes.

Firstly, the reintegration into the whole is identical to the annihilation of the elements of the breach, and vice-versa. Killing the doppelgänger injects ‘realness’, ‘wholeness’, and ‘trueness’ into the survivor of the pair, as if the stolen half-essence resulting from the initial division between the two were poured back into one vessel.

Simultaneously, consider a process whereby the doppelgänger is absorbed by its other half. Absorption is murder, murder is absorption. What matters is that one half ceases to exist independent of the other. The outcome is the same.

This is also the logic of nondual processes – the realisation that there was only ever one of the pair, that only one was ever real. The nondual is not an essence, but a process. The nondual is not the indivisible, but the undivided. That is to say, it’s only “the Indivisible” until we decide to divide it. It’s not an essence which flits in and out of being, it’s a process – but it is fleeting. The indivisible is timeless until it’s not, but when it is, it is. More explicitly, timelessness is a process, and that something is timeless is no reason why it should never collapse into time, and vice versa.

Addendum to the Sections on Selves

Consider the venn-diagram-selves of the gambler and the doppelgänger. We can make another rule – no sphere may exist unless it is overlapping with another sphere. There is no difference between total overlap and zero overlap – both are nondual, total overlap is the reintegration and zero overlap is the schism. If there are two circles, one must be destroyed.
Consider a self in two parts – the divided self, aspirational and deficient. There is either a total overlap – the achievement of the aspirational self, the reconciliation of the aspirational with the deficient, reintegration – or there is a schism. In the case of a schism, there are two outcomes – the aspirational self is destroyed and the nondual is achieved, or the deficient self is destroyed and you cease to exist.
There are two more things – the first is that the process of the divided self may encompass any portion of the agglomerate selves of which we are composed. In the case of a schism destroying the deficient self, suicide would only occur in the case of an all-consuming cleavage of the self. Otherwise, it’s just a little death – embarrassment, self-harm, loss of assets. As I’ve mentioned, we don’t have, we are. When we no longer have, we no longer are. What we hold onto is the self, and the self is what we hold onto. I don’t have, I am.
Lastly, I notice that whenever I use the term “deficient self” I could just as easily use the term “current self”. They are the same. They are both what I amam not – the aspirational self is what I could be.

Scraps

I remember when I had my HSC trial exams I hadn’t studied for English at all and I was overcome with a perfect sense of loving calm because I knew I didn’t have to expect anything of my self and I could experiment.

This is the theme I’m exploring in a short play I’ve written about a struggle between identical twins, occurring inside a womb. The struggle is over which twin will be absorbed by the other, as in Vanishing Twin Syndrome. The struggle is not only bodily but psychical, a matter of dominance and submission. This raises an interesting point in regards to the distance between deficient selves and aspirational selves – where some collapse themselves – the deficient – towards the aspirational, others collapse the aspirational toward the deficient, or render the deficient aspirational. There is an ecstasy in living down to your expectations, in degrading yourself.

There are only two actions possible:

Solve et Coagula

Schism and Integrate

Divide and Unite

0 = +1 -1 = 0 = -1 +1 = 0

Diagram of the Split Being

+1 – Aspirational Self

-1 – Deficient Self

0 – Nondual Self, unified self

Addendum 2 – 3 Pages

Addendum Page 1 JPG Addendum Page 2 JPG Addendum Page 3 JPG

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Anarchism!

In regards to anarchy: I get most of my definitions from this book, ‘Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology’ (http://www.eleuthera.it/files/materiali/David_Graeber_Fragments_%20Anarchist_Anthropology.pdf)

I know the very first definition makes it sound exactly like that dickheaded libertarianism thing. I’m aware there’s going to be coercion and manipulation whenever people are working out a deal. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I’m obliged to try and come up with some! Otherwise it’s just a cop out. You can’t criticise a system without offering up an alternative.

I think we need structures which actively resist the entrenchment of power. Take the ancient Gnostics – in order to prevent the entrenchment of power they used to draw lots. They did this to decide who’d do which job for the week – who’d give the gospel, who’d do the baptisms. They made sure no one had the same job all the time. That’s not to say the entrenchment of power is impossible under a system of drawing lots – lots can be rigged! Someone could set themselves up as pope long enough to change the rules so he gets to stay pope.

Someone rigs the lots, they get to make the rules and they make a rule which says they get to stay where they are. That’s how the state arises. There’s ways around this. Firstly, there’s the fact that we make the laws and we can change them if they’re not working for us. We can decide that if someone’s drawn the lot to be pope for the fourth week in a row we can just redraw the lots until he gets something else. Failing that, we can kick him out of the organisation.

Problems arise when someone puts the law ahead of people. Sometimes you’ve got someone with a vested interest in a law being enforced to the detriment of the organisation at large. In any case, the wellbeing of the organisation should come before the law. Take a look at the politics of climate change – we can stick with the law and kill the world, or we can get in there and make sure business isn’t building coal-fired power plants, whether the law likes it or not.

If you’ve got a bureaucracy enforcing law, it’s harder to just throw it out. If the guy claiming to be pope for the fourth week in a row has a squad of police with him, you can’t just redraw the lots. He says that if you redraw the lots you’ll be breaking the law, and if you break the law these police will beat you over the head with their clubs. When he says “I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do about it – it’s the law!”, he is lying. The problem here is the entrenchment of structure when structure should be free to change with the demands of the organisation. The law should serve the interests of the people. When the gap between “the way things should be” and “the way the law says things should be” gets too big, we should protest! The law is not an end in itself.

Bureaucracy is the clearest form of entrenched power. This is why anarchism opposes the state as well as business – there are state bureaucracies and there are corporate bureaucracies. In addition to this, the state and the market are really two sides of the same coin. They’re inseparable! The rich man needs the state to protect him from the poor man and the state needs the rich man to finance it. Adam Smith said that for every rich man made there were 500 poor, that these poor would envy him, and that the rich man needs a state powerful enough to protect him from the poor man. However, any state powerful enough to protect the rich man’s things is also powerful enough to take his things! So the rich man agrees to give away some of his money in the form of tax. Democracy is asset insurance for the rich. These days the state gives him handouts, which he uses to lobby for more handouts and reduced regulation. The state bureaucrat gets lobbying money, or “bribes”, the rich man gets handouts. The rich buy the media and they keep it on the down low. Otherwise we might do something about it!

If you want to know what I think anarchy looks like, protest movements are always great examples. If you’ve been watching the protests in Egypt recently, you’ll notice everyone who wanted Morsi to stay around was pushing the fact that he was elected, as if the will of the people from years back supersedes the will of the people today. It doesn’t matter that he was elected – he broke the contract. Leaders serve at the pleasure of the people, and they always will. If you’ve seen “How to Survive a Plague”, that documentary on the AIDS activists, that’s a perfect example of anarchist organisation as I see it. You can even get a good look at the failings of bureaucracy in the form of the FDA.

Whenever I want to avoid scaring someone off I just call it “direct democracy”, “consensus democracy” or a “people’s democracy”. If anything I’ve written here is unclear, please say so! I need to expose these ideas to as much critique as I can so they’ll end up stronger.

Notes:

I remember Jung said “the true leader is always led”. He was absolutely right!

I also want to say that the problem of entrenched bureaucracy changes qualitatively with scale – I wouldn’t want to make it look simple.

If you want to know more about the economics there’s some interesting work by this Mexican philosopher called “Manuel DeLanda”. He’s incredible! He’s got some great books if you’re interested. http://www.alamut.com/subj/economics/de_landa/antiMarkets.html

Antimarkets are negentropic sources of market distortion. A negentropic system is one which accelerates the entropy of adjacent systems in order to reduce, stall or reverse its own entropy. All these processes can be described as degrees of reversal. ie. If I eat something, I’m increasing its entropy in order to reverse my own. If I rig the world’s interest rates so I can get a better return on my investments, as in the case of the LIBOR scandal, I’m increasing the entropy of the global economy in order to reverse my own.

A rich man is a negentropic system. Entrenched inequality is a negentropic system. These are systems which reverse their own entropy at the expense of the systems around them. For every rich man, there are 500 poor.

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