They were right, those ancient philosophers who identified fire with the principle of the universe, and with desire, for desire burns, devours, annihilates: At once agent and destroyer of beings, it is sombre, it is infernal by essence.
-E. M. Cioran, The New Gods
Not sure where the hell I’m going with this… been up tonight, mind going like a madman reading snippets of various tracts on the history of iconography, iconoclasm, representationalism, anti-representationalism, etc. Burges The Origins of Objectivity as well… strange amalgam to be sure… I find myself chasing ideas through weird rhizomes as if they were strange beasts in some illuminist manuscript, discovering patterns that might be nothing more than mad scribblings, or finding sparks in one thinker that seem to flash up again in another, each either revising, excluding, or absorbing the others notion and recreating it in a new concept or trope, metaphor or hyperbole. One works both for and against the whole tradition of interpretive strategies, using both forms and playing the one against the other till an idea either survives or is left standing amid the battlefield of other dead ideas. Believe me philosophy is full of dead ideas that have yet to vanish or be excluded. The war goes on…
Are there any new Ideas, or do we just keep on washing away the veneer of old coins? Ideas have a long history. Plato liked to pluck them out of some fantastic world beyond our cosmic realm, a transcendent Real beyond the universal degradation of this dimension of shadows. Ever since him people have fudged his notions, trying this way or that way to expunge that Other world, escape the fault lines of its rhetoric of delusion and delirum. Some want to say that Ideas arise in the moment of their appearance as appearance, that there is no secret depth below the mask, no hidden essence or core within which the dark Idea hides its vital power, its gesture or trace of that Other realm. Others would have us gaze into the Abyss, seek in the dark light of that nihil an incipient strain of the nothingness that annihilates all thought giving birth to the flames of all Ideas out of the energetic nothingness of two voids, the oscillations between two negations; an immanent distillation of that hermetic anti-knowledge that produces the Philosophers Stone of all Ideas. Who knows? Is their a recourse to the rhetoric behind rhetoric? A secret gnosis or anti-gnosis that would deliver us from our meaningless existence, give us the needed proof or reasons behind this hellish paradise? Or we condemned to follow Sophist or Philosopher? Anti-philosophy or Non-philosophy? Today we seem to situate ourselves in the abyss like black angels of some forgotten homeland of the Mind; so forgotten that even the mention of a fall or war beyond the cosmic emptiness condemns us to the outer climes of a metafictional derision. Metaphysics has fallen on hard times in this era of political and social despair. Even the ‘human’ as concept has undergone effacement, lost its sheen in the galactic realm of Ideas. Dethroned from its once proud pedestal of exceptionalism the human has been reduced to the gesture of an empty set theoretic: a place holder for a Leaderless Idea. Now we wander without mask or form, formless we’ve become the very ghosts of a lost world, a nostalgia of nostalgia; broken vessels whose nihilistic light feeds only on the living dead. Cut off in times and times we seem shadows of our former selves, lost in fragments that mirror nothing more than the proliferating multiplicity of a corruption that has spread across the known Universe.
-S.C. Hickman, Essays & Aphorisms