Friday, November 16, 2012

Because we exist...

...certain thinkers try to think into the abstract structures of the situation -- of the ontological everydayness. They apparently think it can be described and explained. Maybe it can. Maybe the French postmodernist philosophers were onto something. Maybe their descriptions and explanations are accurate, more or less.

Of course, those French thoughts might not be accurate, but 
only fascinating:

"Delight at having understood a very abstract and obscure system leads most people to believe in the truth of what it demonstrates."

-- G.C. Lichtenberg (1742 - 1799)

The "textualness" of books, personality, and circumstance may indeed be amorphous and infinitely deferential. Something called "Event" may be eruptively efficacious in patterning great turns of time within abstract being. Contextualizing arenas of action and change may shed unexpected light. Social psychoanalysis may yield groovy ways for looking at the problem of identity. Critiques of power relations may tell us about general attitudes and systems of value. Semiotics may point to the elusiveness of any conceptual solids in our discourse.

Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard, Badiou, Lacan, Baudrillard...fine. Go ahead and think your stuff to the max. It's entertaining to read and ponder odd and original views of the world.


at some freaking point, I think it would be a truer thing to replace the word that floats their thinking -- "abstract" -- with a different word -- "mystical."

So what would we gain by a mere word substitution? Probably not much. But just as Heidegger danced around none too nimbly trying to avoid the mystical implications of his own work, I think it would be more honest and more succinct for the French to cut to the chase: consciousness finds itself always and at every ontological location enmeshed not in intertextual patterns or reified ramifications but in the chronic impossible.

That's the rub of it. Being is best describable and explainable as a massive paradox. 

I keep wondering about what those French guys have said. Why in the world do they spend so much time being profound and arcane? What practical (existential) thing results from the dark rooms of thought where they develop their abstract pictures of reality?

The problem of mortality trumps the problem of thinking. Being death-haunted makes the student in the Lycée lecture hall grow impatient, fidgety. "Speak to me of why, not of what," she says to the French professor who thinks reality is contained inside language and abstruse prolixity.

Something is surely going on with all this human existing stuff. I'm just not sure it is accurate or aesthetically satisfying to account for it in terms of postmodernist abstraction.  It seems to me there is something that remains yet hidden (mysterious) behind our best attempts to map phenomena onto a coherent plane of deep thinking.

It's not just the French guys. There's also Slavoj Žižek, the Slovene. Inside his strange reality bubble, we bounce around trying to dodge the anti-matter particles of his contrariety. Those elusive particles eventually agglomerate into political shapes. But politics is a form of sleep, of normalizing trance. The true radical is the one silently screaming toward the mystic abyss. 

What do I mean by "mystic"? Not sure exactly. But maybe something like this: what is not possible has nevertheless found a way within the sentient doldrums of a dreaming Holism.

Does anything practical (existential) result from such an intuition? Not in the normal sense. Rather it offers a perspective in which the organic, the inorganic, and all the laws of process are imbued with traces of an old and weary magic. In such a milieu of the holographic uncanny, it behooves us to have compassion for all other drifting and tragic spells of being. 

The Sensitive Layer -- Yves Tanguy

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