Tag Archives: No-thing

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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