Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Slogan to be distributed at Spain's democracy camp:

The proposed solution never amounts to anything more than the incorrect formulation of its problem.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

On the aphoristic form as it is subjected to digital imperatives

What shall be lost from wretchedness if it is to be forced to express itself eloquently? Just as the function of the memento mori refuses its own tendency to mere ornamentation so the aphorism must resist its preference for reducing difficulty to palatability. We discover, finally, that it is inappropriate to capture affliction as a succinct motto - inappropriate because the bon mot will always falsify content in the interest of circulation. Let difficulty be difficult. Nor is the neat and gleaming form of sub-commodity jingles (whether synoptic, metonymic or distillatory), the meat and drink of unpaid commentators, an appropriate means for reflecting upon the fractured world which is, by definition, chronically incomplete. Let distress be distraught. The aphorism should not seek closure in itself, nor express some rhythmic satisfaction with what it is, separated, completed, contented. It should not communicate tortured content in pleasing form. Let suffering, suffer. The aphorism on wretchedness should communicate wretchedly, the aphorism on suffering should also suffer. Distortion of form has become the only viable approach to distorted contents which is not at the same time an expropriation. Hitherto, the reactionary aphorist has sought to encapsulate one thing, one content, within its commensurate form and to write up the convergence as if it were found in natural law. The measure to which the aphorism is a reactionary mode, is also the measure to which it excludes the mess of its contraries. Let loss, lose. In itself, the aesthetic instinct towards clarity succinctly expresses the protocols for order afflicting the authoritarian personality. Seeking out distinct outlines in objects, the reactionary is constantly thrown back on confronting only that which is, and for whatever reason, already clearly delineated. The short circuit into affectedness and narcissism is a constant danger in reactionary discourse where empathy for the object is reduced to a stylisation.  Let sincerity, after all, be sincere. The reactionary cannot give utterance to the disarray from which he emerges but plans the defence of his growing vulnerability in arch distanceTraumatic separation from the flow of speech, where it is not massified as quantified content, is driven into the truncated form of niche aphorism, which makes the gesture of summing up all that precedes but also all that eludes it. The aphorism makes a show of cutting itself from those utterances which came before its performance as 'first' utterance - a move that suggests an unacknowledgeable severance of the aphorist from his world. As a perpetual emigre of the ancien regime, not of the world but for it, the aphorist compulsively reassembles fragments of discourse, as parts of a never to be mended pocket watch; every well-tempered announcement captures the moment lightly. And in reciprocation, is relinquished by it heavily. At the heart of the reactionary aphorism is a displaced grimace of terror. The aphorist's affected unconcern in perfecting his trivial, and detached, judgements becomes a sort of net that he throws over substitute objects, against which he stages well-executed practical jokes and ambushes, whilst the thing itself, the thwarting and convoluted world, his parent, his place, eludes him. And each little trap that he sets is a misdirection, a distraction, from the trap of history that has severed him from his sense of ease in the world whilst also supplying him with the ubiquity of his form - this radically truncated mode of thinking, discourse's portable property, which may be practiced in any cramped garret that must be made the best of. Then, every aphorism evokes a guillotine set up in the market square as glimpsed from this drawing room (soon to be divided up into flats for paying off tax arrears.) And every aphorist, a tragic sensibility permitted only a forlorn and impractical hand luggage, standing at the point of departure, is unable, but convincing himself unwilling, to bring into his last conversations the terror, the horror at leaving, so waves a handkerchief to those at the window, who might not, would probably not, could certainly not, tolerate his blubbing. Oh, boo-bloody-hoo, was the motto of the hour, on the cusp of digital going fully automated post-intimate. There was a moment (or was there?), before affect fell into line with memes, when some humans tried to tell what it was that was troubling them - then, they were overwhelmed by the volume of all that interchangeable and counterfeited confessional blow-back (a hundred million bottles washed upon the shore). Then, even the critique of conditions, for circulation's sake, cleaved to inexorable truncation. Suddenly, nothing could be said that was not also a strategy for extracting something in exchange. And then, the aphoristic became inseparable from the soundbite. And then, everything was memes. And then, all that mattered was no feelings, but only 'smarts', for everyone. The desire for things to be what they are supposes a fort/da mode of command, a savage hearted eminence issuing notices of summons and dismissals from its cot to the furthest ends of the kingdom. Quite early in pursuit of its own project, creative self-expression lapses from sleight of hand to self-misdirection. The late aphorism cannot derive comfort from reactionary propositions. And in refusing the aesthetic of detached pleasure in distinct objects, where separation is typically expressed as a break from, or decomposition within an earlier condition, the later aphorist must formally 'socialise' outlines as these function as indicator of an object's content. The later aphorism is neither a summons nor a dismissal of fatal essences but is compelled to uncover hidden and multiplying contradictions. Let ugliness be ugly, even as it strives for the contrary. In passing on the opportunity to say one thing, and unable to prevent itself from saying two things instead, it cracks its own formal integrity. The later aphorism is always expressed as a broken form exposing the bones of at least two antagonistic principles - in saying two things, it suggests the crowding in of yet unwanted others. It eschews the ideal of resolving the difficulties between form and content by means of condensation but, militating against its own concision, suggests the viral, whatever proliferates, and the dispersed aggregation common to all things appearing within the commodity apparatus. Then, suffering should not be communicated if it is not also shown to be conditioned, at least in part, by hope for improvement. And wretchedness should not be communicated as a distant unitary principle but must be exposed as a terrifyingly frayed knot of otherwise unknowable but always multiplying afflictions. For it to find better expression, the later aphorism should overspill its formal presentation; the break in its rhythm becomes, and this is the joke in the form, 'precisely' the leverage point on the content of its object.  

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Fragments of night

Sedentary existence is also a journey. We only learn how far we have unravelled in crossing the distance back to what we once were. The inherent ability of every fraying life to return to an earlier position is strictly limited to an unknown number. Our habit of resilience, the will to elasticity, eventually must give out, at which point we cannot sustain any longer the claim on our past identity. A day will come when we find ourselves both too far out and too burdened down, and although we will remember the path back, it will be too arduous for us to take. On that day, the perpetual coming apart that, combined with the miraculous wakening back in our own bed, comprised every self's unique history, begins a new phase and takes over as our defining principle. Every alteration in our circumstance, from this point onwards, is decisively and irrevocably fixed as the fated platform for the next departure. From that day, every attempted return will arrive back only at the principle of there being no chance of return. A life, which previously had known both vagabondage and returning home, expenditure and recompense, is now all lived in its taking leave.

Friday, 12 August 2016

What Judas did as a content overflowing the vessel of what Ham did

It is possible for you to reach it, but you will grieve a great deal. 

Traditional society is conservative in the sense that it seeks to conserve its institutions over many generations. It is not conservative in the sense that it is less 'tolerant' of transgression than the Enlightenment state.  Traditional society is not tolerant at all, it does not reproduce around the principle of 'tolerance', and yet the abominations that it cultivates, all that may be contained and processed as 'man' in the reveries of God, far exceeds what the modern state recognises as human conduct. As a product of traditional society, Judas extended the logic of the Prodigal Son to the point of snapping the elastic tensions and rivalries generated by the paternalistic relations which routinely structure the small group form endemic to extra-state and para-state life-worlds. All that may be spoken and all that may be heard (the sum total of what God countenances) within the constraints of the small group is personified by the Prodigal Son, who remains eternally of the same dimensions as Ham son of Noah, an 'all' that is destroyed by Judas who stands at the historical threshold to state jurisdiction. It is Judas who introduces state dimensions into para-state small group relations. The exceptionality of Judas is not to be found in the scale of his vengeful behaviour towards that distant descendent of Shem, a scale that is of a common and fatalistic type, but in the compatibility of his intervention with state process. His betrayal 'takes things too far' in what can be understood at one level as the ordinary testing of boundaries which is the traditional role of the subordinate male. However, it also disintegrates the possibility of small group autonomy by exposing its contents to the scrutiny of external authority. Judas separates himself from mere prodigality by escalating his complaint into an abstract form: an invocation, or 'calling upon' the agency of the state. In later eras, the form of denunciation itself will develop further, its vengeful character replaced by the logics of propriety and appropriate ordering. But even at this early stage, Judas successfully introduces into the vendetta-scale conflicts of his milieu, a distinctly other register of social force, and thereby effects (without his intending it) the obliteration of his own life-world. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Back feeding

Historicist arguments for the conversion of past trauma into a pre-condition for progressive social transformation (the 'good' war, or the proletarianisation of newly colonised populations) always feels like betrayal.  History, under these terms, is then a matter of willing submission to, and identification with, the objective forces that have colonised the autonomy of past events. Retroactive omelette/eggs rationalisations may be presented as a 'project' only where commodity formations have already extended into, and thus polluted, everyday personal life events. Only those who have been personally damaged, may historicise. For these, 'progress' is demonstrated, in line with their metabolisation of domination's rationale, via a calculation of the historical usefulness of past sufferings. Traumas are fed back, like a regressing raw material, into the production of those 'rights' enjoyed in the present. Sequelae of the proposition, who controls the past, controls the present are realised in sentimentalist invocations of the agency of the heroic people; thus, 'people fought and died in the war for you,' is never anything but a mechanism of control operating within present relations in the place of 'useless' mourning for past losses. Where it is encountered, this manner of conflating different orders of agency (individual 'sacrifice' with state military strategy) is ordinarily merely enervating, but where it solidifies into a political position, 'The Long March', 'the Great Patriotic War,' it becomes dangerously transformed into a disciplinary attractor of otherwise unspeakable impulses. These inchoate, historically activated, tendencies, cathected towards some or other flag of convenience, are also then regimented, and set in motion - as correctives applied to unpatriotic inclinations. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Those, who having crossed into the terrain which withdraws from the approach of conventional traffic, and who having survived to traverse its capricious pathways, are the ones that may go on to encounter, at some point in their journey, an interior space known as the Room. This is a trap disguised as a destination. The room utilises the travellers' presence as a trigger for the mechanism of an encounter with what they most desire. It supplies the asked-for object and loops the traveller back to the constraints of their being - they find themselves expelled from the forbidden zone.

And yet, if the Room's trap is successfully negotiated another, but exterior, space may also be found. This locus amoenus, 'the quietist place in the world', is an open garden, a point of permission at the heart of the forbidden zone, that travellers must resolutely refuse to enter. What is the place, beyond the wall, that you would not wish to defile with your presence, and that you would forbid yourself to even know about? What is this defenceless and innocent place, friend, weary traveller that you would most desire to belong, that allows your approach, but that you would also thereby corrupt by your belonging?

That you are drawn there, I do not refute.  And I know that against your will, you are destined to appear at its gate. It is the one place necessary to your being. But you are torn. You may enter it, you may exert your will and go there. You may make your home and find your peace. But you are also aware that you must deny yourself entry for the very reason that you may freely go there, for the reason that it is at your mercy. For its sake, you must forbear, and not go on. At the gate, you must give up on and suspend your arrival.

What is it like, this place before which your blasted, clifftop being, your cramped, deformed habit, your contorted, afflicted comportment arrives and desires above all to enter? What is it like, this peaceful garden beyond the door, beyond the wall, to which you have dragged the coffin of your identity? What is it like, the place, the moment, at the threshold of which you are driven to rend and tear at your clothing? Consider it now, the suspended, the self-denied, maddeningly nearby place, the garden of your shrinking approach. Is it not where you cannot not belong but at the entrance to which you must, to preserve its integrity, abolish yourself?

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The argument against the positive claims of left-accelerationism should focus on its having made a virtue out of surrendering that life-world wherein the stable door must be shut after the horse has bolted.