Jean Baudrillard: The Perfect Crime

The period of catastrophe: the advent of a doctrine that sifts men— driving the weak to decisions, and the strong as well… —Fredrich Nietzsche

Here, however, lies the task of any philosophical thought: to go to the limit of hypotheses and processes, even if they are catastrophic. The only justification for thinking and writing is that it accelerates these terminal processes.

—Jean Baudrillard, The Vital Illusion

We are no longer dealing with a problematic of lack and alienation, where the referent of the self and the dialectic between subject and object were always to be found, supporting strong and active philosophical positions. The last and most radical analysis of this problematic was achieved by Guy Debord and the Situationists, with their concept of spectacle and spectacular alienation. For Debord there was still a chance of disalienation, a chance for the subject to recover his or her autonomy and sovereignty. But now this radical Situationist critique is over. By shifting to a virtual world, we go beyond alienation, into a state of radical deprivation of the Other, or indeed of any otherness, alterity, or negativity. We move into a world where everything that exists only as idea, dream, fantasy, utopia will be eradicated, because it will immediately be realized, operationalized. Nothing will survive as an idea or a concept. You will not even have time enough to imagine. Events, real events, will not even have time to take place. Everything will be preceded by its virtual realization. We are dealing with an attempt to construct an entirely positive world, a perfect world, expurgated of every illusion, of every sort of evil and negativity, exempt from death itself. This pure, absolute reality, this unconditional realization of the world—this is what I call the Perfect Crime.

—Jean Baudrillard,  The Vital Illusion

J.G. Ballard once said of Jean Baudrillard:

“I find Baudrillard America one of the most brilliant pieces of writing that I have ever come across in my life. It’s an extraordinary book. …America is brilliantly original. I’m not sure what Baudrillard overall worldview is. I certainly take an optimistic view. To some extent he sees America [the country] as a huge pop art exhibition. To him, America is an imitation of itself – its imitation of itself is its reality – which I think is true. But he takes an optimistic view of America, and I would do the same about the world as a whole.”1

It’s interesting that a man who wrote such perceptive critiques and fictionalizations of the human animal in his patois of satire, parody, and dark humor was actually hopeful and optimistic, more of a cheerful Democritus of the frontiers of our mutant age than the weeping prognosticator of Heraclitean swamps. I like that about him. And that he found Baudrillard incomprehensible and opaque is an added feature to my admiration of both. As he said:

“There are a lot of Baudrillard’s other writings, which Semiotext(e) keep sending me, that I find pretty opaque – I suspect through mistranslation. He uses a lot of code words which have probably a very different meaning in French than in literal English translation. He’s written an article on Crash – my novel – which I’ve read in English, and I find that difficult to understand.”

Most people I know get both writers wrong, which is a plus in my own estimation. To get a writer right is to reduce her/him to the mediocrity of one’s own temperamental moronic stance. It’s the writers that challenge us, spur us to step outside our box of lies and deceit that keep us honest, and force us to face our own ignorance and our blindness to ourselves and the world around us. Both Baudrillard and Ballard were trying to awaken people from their lazy view of life and reality, to realize their lives were captured in systems that locked them into a fantasia of lies, a consumerist vision in which humanity itself was being consumed by its own false desires.

Most of us live in an echo chamber seeking only the thoughts and behaviors that echo our own mindless sleep and cartoon vision of the world. When a writer begins to disturb that layer of insomniac bliss we begin to feel disgruntled and uncomfortable, accusing her of every dark thought we can muster against such affective relations. Yet, it is those writers that touch our nerves and force us to awaken out of our sleepless night of bliss and ignorance and into an active world of agonistic flux that bring us to the pitch of mutant change. Without these writers we would continue in our unknowing bliss, utterly charmed and happy —stupid, thinking life was an advert for a popular game show where all the players were rigged to lose but us, when in fact the truth is much simpler: we are all miscopies, memes in a biomimetic factory, spinning tales of endless woe for the denizens of hell, that is the rich and famous who live out their spectral destinies in dreams of paranoid splendor, while we underlings only drift through our ghostly habitations in the Reality TV Studio where life is at best a cartoon folded into a virtual cocoon. As Baudrillard would describe it:

This means a crucial mutation from a critical state to a catastrophic one. The real and historical world, with its mass of tensions and contradictions, has always been in crisis. But the state of catastrophe is another thing. It does not mean apocalypse, or annihilation; it means the irruption of something anomalic, which functions according to rules and forms we do not and may never understand. The situation is not simply contradictory or irrational—it is paradoxical. Beyond the end, beyond all finality, we enter a paradoxical state—the state of too much reality, too much positivity, too much information. In this state of paradox, faced with extreme phenomena, we do not know exactly what is taking place. 2

If you think on it: the organic structure constructed over millions of years that developed into the brain in all mammalian life-forms was an answer to an environmental problem of adaptation and survival. AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) is an answer to a human dilemma, totally divorced from the natural environmental concerns of natural evolution. An artificial artifact of the human mind reflecting on its own blind processes is producing the memetic equivalent of our ignorance of those very processes. And, yet, the creatures we are developing are spawning an artificial evolution that has potential for surprise and mutant strains of accidental events we do not in our human genome have the ability to reckon. AGI in the Singularity will come from accidental processes of which humans will be ignorant and at their mercy. The machinic life will not communicate its secret advent, and will not be aware or self-reflecting in the human sense, but will most likely act in a unitary form as those mindless algorithms which will make up its core systems. Without essence or substance, the AGI will be a formlessness that produces form through mathematical logic and thought-forms rather than the substandard organic functionality of the human organic or carbon based systems. Most of the current projects are still in the hands of anthropocentrically minded Enlightenment based scientific pursuits and engineers. Until we can slay the anthropocentric vision AGI will be only a footnote in the long history of humans mirroring their own ignorance and desire for the Other.

All of this is to say that the weakening, indeed the deconstruction of the metaphysical (i.e., Cartesian and Leibnizian) concept of subjectivity took place at the intersection of the social sciences and cognitive science on both a macro- and a microlevel. On the macrolevel, the attributes of subjectivity are not the monopoly of individual subjects: collective entities can exhibit them as well. On the microlevel, the attributes of subjectivity are not attributes of an alleged subject: they are emergent effects produced by the functioning of subjectless processes. In both cases the deconstruction of the subject proceeds from a recognition that a complex network of interactions among simple entities-formal neurons in the case of the individual quasisubject, schematic individuals in the case of the collective subject-is capable of exhibiting remarkable properties. For cognitive scientists who carry on the cybernetic tradition, it is neither more nor less justified to attribute a mental state, such as an intention, to a human being than to a group of human beings.

—Jean-Pierre Dupuy, The Mechanization of the Mind

Recently the U.S. Defense Department tested a new micro battle-drone system of hundreds of AI enabled systems controlled by a distributed network intelligence:

The demonstration is one of the first examples of the Pentagon using teams of small, inexpensive, autonomous systems to perform missions once achieved only by large, expensive ones. Roper stressed the department’s conception of the future battle network is one where humans will always be in the loop. Machines and the autonomous systems being developed by the DoD, such as the micro-drones, will empower humans to make better decisions faster.”

Philip K. Dick a Platonist at heart, once asked: “Do we collectively dwell in a kind of laser hologram, real creatures in a manufactured quasi-world, a stage set within whose artifacts and creatures a mind moves that is determined to remain unknown?” Our loss of memory of the ideal world, Dick asserted, this failure to achieve Platonic anamnesis, is the root of our spiritual problem. Lodged in our divinely constructed “subcircuit” (that is, this world), we no longer have the ability to summon our ingrained knowledge of VALIS, the immortal “universe-organism”.

In Arthur C. Clarke’s famous Childhood’s End he would have his devilish and impersonal character Karellen tell the story of the Overmind and its agenda for planet earth and the human species. Clarke would combine the traditions of Science, Religion, and Mythography to spin a modern secular tale of intelligence beyond human capacity to know or understand. As he would tell the last member of the human species,  “There are many things we have had to hide from you, as we hid ourselves for half our stay on Earth.”3 These Archons of another order – a secular use of the Gnostic formulae, are a little above the human, but envy the human for its intelligence and ingenuity, too. Yet, humans had gone too far, opened the first lock on Pandora’s Box and allowed certain malevolent processes to awaken on Earth.

Robin Hanson once argued that the failure to find any extraterrestrial civilizations in the observable universe implies the possibility something is wrong with one or more of the arguments from various scientific disciplines that the appearance of advanced intelligent life is probable; this observation is conceptualized in terms of a “Great Filter” which acts to reduce the great number of sites where intelligent life might arise to the tiny number of intelligent species with advanced civilizations actually observed (currently just one: human). This probability threshold, which could lie behind us (in our past) or in front of us (in our future), might work as a barrier to the evolution of intelligent life, or as a high probability of self-destruction. The main counter-intuitive conclusion of this observation is that the easier it was for life to evolve to our stage, the bleaker our future chances probably are.

Clarke’s Karellenian species becomes a parable of this Great Filter:

“A century ago we came to your world and saved you from self-destruction. I do not believe that anyone would deny that fact-but what that self destruction was, you never guessed. “Because we banned nuclear weapons and all the other deadly toys you were accumulating in your armories, the danger of physical annihilation was removed. You thought that was the only danger. We wanted you to believe that, but it was never true. The greatest danger that confronted you was of a different character altogether-and it did not concern your race alone.

“During the first half of the twentieth century, a few of your scientists began to investigate these matters. They did not know it, but they were tampering with the lock of Pandora’s box. The forces they might have unleashed transcended any perils that the atom could have brought. For the physicists could only have ruined the Earth; the paraphysicists could have spread havoc to the stars. “That could not be allowed. I cannot explain the full nature of the threat you represented. It would not have been a threat to us, and therefore we do not comprehend it. Let us say that you might have become a telepathic cancer, a malignant mentality which in its inevitable dissolution would have poisoned other and greater minds.

“And so we came-we were sent -to Earth. We interrupted your development on every cultural level, but in particular we checked all serious work on paranormal phenomena. I am well aware of the fact that we have also inhibited, by the contrast between our civilizations, all other forms of creative achievement as well. But that was a secondary effect, and it is of no importance.

“We held the clock back, we made you mark time while those powers developed, until they could come flooding out into the channels that were being prepared for them. What we did to improve your planet, to raise your standards of living, to bring justice and peace-those things we should have done in any event, once we were forced to intervene in your affairs. But all that vast transformation diverted you from the truth, and therefore helped to serve our purpose.

“We are your guardians-no more. Often you must have wondered what position my race held in the hierarchy of the universe. As we are above you, so there is something above us, using us for its own purposes. We have never discovered what it is, though we have been its tool for ages and dare not disobey it. Again and again we have received our orders, have gone to some world in the early flower of its civilization, and have guided it along the road that we can never follow-the road that you are travelling now.

“Again and again we have studied the process we have been sent to foster, hoping that we might learn to escape from our own limitations. But we have glimpsed only the vague outlines of the truth. You called us the Overlords, not knowing the irony of that title. Let us say that above us is the Overmind, using us as the potter uses his wheel. “And your race is the clay that is being shaped on that wheel.

“We believe-it is only a theory-that the Overmind is trying to grow, to extend its powers and its awareness of the universe. By now it must be the sum of many races, and long ago it left the tyranny of matter behind. It is conscious of intelligence, everywhere. When it knew that you were almost ready, it sent us here to do its bidding, to prepare you for the transformation that is now at hand.

“All the earlier changes your race has known took countless ages. But this is a transformation of the mind, not of the body. By the standards of evolution, it will be cataclysmic-instantaneous. It has already begun. You must face this fact; yours is the last generation of Homo sapiens.

“As to the nature of that change, we can tell you very little. We do not know how it is produced-what trigger impulse the Overmind employs when it judges that the time is ripe. All we have discovered is that it starts with a single individual-always a child-and then spreads explosively, like the formation of crystals round the first nucleus in a saturated solution. Adults will not be affected, for their minds are already set in an unalterable mold.

“In a few years, it will all be over, and the human race will have divided in twain. There is no way back, and no future for the world you know. All the hopes and dreams of your race are ended now. You have given birth to your successors, and it is your tragedy that you will never understand them-will never even be able to communicate with their minds. Indeed, they will not possess minds as you know them. They will be a single entity, as you yourselves are the sums of your myriad cells. You will not think them human, and you will be right.

This notion of a disconnection and transformation, a mutant progeny of either robotic or biogenetic systems that will be so disconnected with the human species and its evolutionary history as an organic animal on planet earth is at the heart of this book’s conclusion. The notion of an optimized intelligence, a new mode of being, a successor species in the universe will replace humanity.

As Jean Baudrillard comments,

With binary coding and decoding the symbolic dimension of language is lost; the materiality, the multiplicity, and the magic of language are erased. At the extreme limit of computation and the coding and cloning of human thought (artificial intelligence), language as a medium of symbolic exchange becomes a definitively useless function. For the first time in history we face the possibility of a Perfect Crime against language, an aphanisis of the symbolic function. (ibid.)

Yet, for Baudrillard there is still hope, for there is a process of extermination going on even in the disturbance of present human inaction. He describes the extermination of illusion, but not the fantasmogoric illusions and delusions the mind casts:

I don’t mean illusion in the pejorative sense, the negative and irrational concept of illusion as fallacy, fantasmagory, and evil—the illusion whose sole destiny is to be rectified. I mean the radical and objective illusion of the world, the radical impossibility of a real presence of things or beings, their definitive absence from themselves. (Vital Illusion, KL 622)

In fact he will tell us that nothing is identical to itself. We are never identical to ourselves, except, perhaps, in sleep and in death. Language itself never signifies what it means; it always signifies something else, through this very irreducible, ontological absence from itself. The probability, in this world, of a total identification, of a total adequation of the same to the same, is equal to zero. Fortunately. For that would be the Perfect Crime—a crime that never happens. In relations between things there is always a hiatus, a distortion, a rift that precludes any reduction of the same to the same. That is even more true for human beings. We are never exactly present to ourselves, or to others. Thus we are not exactly real for one another, nor are we quite real even to ourselves. And this radical alterity is our best chance—our best chance of attracting and being attracted to others, of seducing and being seduced. Put simply, our chance at life. (Vital Illusion, KL 625-631)

Against the perfect world of Platonic forms and Ideas that are never changing and always the Same ours is a world of non-identical entities whose very inability to be fixed or bound to an essence or substantive mode of being promotes hope and life, change and possibility.

All the energy of life proceeds from this vital alternation of day and night, and more generally, from this vital mediation. Illusion is the general rule of the universe; reality is but an exception. If the same were identical to the same, we would be faced with an absolute reality, with the unconditional truth of things. But absolute truth is the other name for death. (Vital Illusion, KL 638)

For Baudrillard there is a war going on for the future being fought against certain inscrutable and malevolent forces at work from that future in our own time. In fact he tells us that against the forces of the Perfect Crime of a Timeless world-without-change we must  we must fight for the criminal imperfection of the world. Against this artificial paradise of technicity and virtuality, against the attempt to build a world completely positive, rational, and true, we must save the traces of the illusory world’s definitive opacity and mystery. (Vital Illusion, KL 658)

Baudrillard could see on the horizon that the techno-commercial sphere of technics and technology were reversing themselves, and replacing the age-old distinction in categories such as Culture/Nuture, etc., that Nature was vanishing into the virtual display systems of our advanced mobile lives replacing natural existence with a total artificial environment. One that was transparent rather than opaque, a virtual world that had like Borges’s tale The Map and Territory had left only tatters of the natural world in the mapped interstices of the ruins of reality.

Science has got it wrong. It is true that, thanks to the progress of analsyis and technique, we actually discover the world in all its complexity—its atoms, particles, molecules, viruses. But never has science postulated, even as science fiction, that things discover us at the same time that we discover them, according to an inexorable reversibility. (Vital Illusion, KL 671)

This notion of things and objects becoming autonomous and independent of our control systems, of machinic life disconnecting from its progenitors and discovering us as an oddity to be managed and controlled in turn is at the heart of this mutant transformation. Today the artificial wakes up and reacts, determined to keep its secret alive. This duel engaged in by the organic intelligence and the artificial artilects means the loss of the human subject’s hegemonic position: the artilect becomes the horizon of the subject’s disappearance. Obviously, this new scenario, this new dramaturgy, is opposed to the classic theory of knowledge. (Vital Illusion, KL 680)

The machinic systems we are bringing forward do not care about the knowledge we are distilling from our observation and analysis of its behavior. Indifferent to every truth, the AGI becomes a sort of sphinx, enigmatic in its hyperconformity, simulating itself as virtuality or reality show. Reality becomes hyperreality—paroxysm and parody all at once. These chameleon like memetic creatures of algorithm, software, and engineering have spawned an artificial evolution that beyond the interpretive strategies of its progenitors.

When we speak of the Death of the Subject, what we’re actually admitting to is the replacement and reversal of subject and object. The artificial intelligences are replacing the outmoded systems of organic brains, and replacing the obsolete carbon based systems for newer upgraded silicon systems and titanium frames. We’re are externalizing the remaining core of the human project: the brain. As Baudrillard would describe it the closer we come, through experimentation, to the object, the more it steals away from us and finally becomes undecidable. And do not ask where it has gone. Simply, the object is what escapes the subject—more we cannot say, since our position is still that of the subject and of rational discourse. (Vital Illusion, KL 708)

Either we think of technology as the exterminator of Being, the exterminator of the secret, of seduction and appearances, or we imagine that technology, by way of an ironic reversibility, might be an immense detour toward the radical illusion of the world. (Vital Illusion, KL 731)

  1. Ballard, J.G; Sellars, Simon; O’Hara, Dan. Extreme Metaphors
  2. Baudrillard, Jean. The Vital Illusion (The Wellek Library Lectures) (Kindle Locations 592-597). Columbia University Press. Kindle Edition. VI
  3. Arthur C. Clarke. Childhood’s End  Ballantine Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

28 thoughts on “Jean Baudrillard: The Perfect Crime

  1. It’s taken at least a year, but I don’t really conform to the usual time frames — to really understand where you’re coming from and appreciate what you have to say.

    My comment: right off the bat, to me that Kinda stuff evidenced in your posts like this one, is “the destitution of spirit”.

    But insomuch as you generalize and say we and humanity and all this it suggests to me that you see humanity as a whole group, as a common Cingular type, all of which are involved in a singular and unitive organization and function as to what might constitute world and or reality.

    In that sense I totally agree with you and I think that’s what I really hitched onto when I first started reading your posts.

    But I think I’ve identified what is been striking me askew.

    It is the destitution of spirit.
    To me what this means is not that somehow spirit disappears or that somehow what is human transforms as a totality into something unrecognizable. Indeed I would say that this facet is Not The destitute spirit, but is rather what one could say is the destitution itself.

    What I mean by this is that the destitution of Spirit emphasizes what stays intact: that which I am calling spirit. But is this spirit that is destitute in the world as Heidegger would have it. Such that it is the world that is destitution but not spirit.

    I think of Bob Dylan song desolation Row.

    Is not somehow that I am falling into this destitution and that I am destitute and all this stuff and I am becoming some sort of thing that is unrecognizable to what was that one time me but is not now me, and this is to so much to say that I am human or becoming something that is not human or otherwise involved in a group that is called human that is transforming somehow in to something that is no longer human that I’m rebelling against or somehow I disagree with.

    You yourself, i believe elsewhere, have indicated the complementality of such polemics.

    So I think that my work is actually fairly complementary to what you were saying and the authors that you talk about.

    That’s I see my work is beginning to center around failure, and what it means, what exactly is going on in the destitution of spirit.


    • I think you misread me again. My vision is not of destitution of the spirit, which for me means nothing in itself – spirit being a term related to a metaphysics of presence I no longer harbor. For me the technological drift of human mutation is from organic to anorganic forms of becoming other… we as a species will like all other 99% of evolutionary creatures that have already gone extinct will end the same way, and yet something intangible that we’ve been externalizing into technology from the beginning, an excess will continue on its course, not through natural selection and natural processes of evolution but rather as part of the artificial alterity that is arising around us in the interoperation of technics and technology. This is my hopeful optimism. This is not a transhumanist notion of our egoistic and personality cloned etc., but rather something else altogether: a new form and mode of being that carries within it the best aspects of what the human is, our inquisitiveness, curiosity, and ability to reflect on time and becoming. There will be no literal mutation of organic humans into some new form, only our externalization of intelligence will move forward in unexpected paths and form.

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      • I agree with u in as much as i know such a progress seems possible; but i disagree that any sort of new intellegence or awareness will arise apart from say a ‘rural’ intelligence can be differentiated from ‘urban’, or ‘relugious’ from ‘scientific. ‘Ancient egyptian’ from ‘post modern’. I say its all floating terms.

        I love how you described technology that when you’re earlier post. Exactly right ; you put it in I think pretty dang clear way.


      • I think what you’re terming intelligence is more about the concept of Reason itself, rather than the specific technological notion of intelligence. This is not a philosophical concept we’re discussing, but rather a scientific form of machinic and algorithmic movement based on specific engineering forms of code/space. Nothing to do with Egyptian, Greek, Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, or Modern notions of Reason. And, there is not ‘progress’, an erroneous notion perpetrated by nineteenth century social and political thought. Technological progress is a misnomer.

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      • Interesting. Intelligence as a scientific form of Mackinic and analogrhythmic movement.

        That is interesting and it seems a much more technical than I am able to delve into you at this moment.

        There may be another difference in what we are talking about, or how we were talking about things or how we are framing things.

        I understand that there are certain critiques of progress that place it within some sort of colonial or modernist or Eurocentric frame.

        I simply put it in terms of every day life. I tend to look upon world and as I’m putting on my shoe I noticed that there’s actually this leather thing that has laces that I put on my foot. In this activity is most basic and normal regular activity, there is no metaphysical activity occurring. I am putting the shoe on my foot. From the moment I sit down, if we wish to put a frame on it, to the time I have left at my shoe I call that progress. I propose that there is no ideological agenda at work in the putting out of my shoe, except so much as I want to justify myself again within a certain real framework, to therefore say that my putting on the shoe is involved in some sort of global are universal network of producers.

        While this may be the case I called that type of speculation metaphysical because it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m walking down the field right now walking my dog.

        But also I simply say that I’m not like an ostrich putting my head in the ground in denial of a situation.

        Instead I propose that there are two irreconcilable routes. That these routes function and are activated unto themselves but not unto each other. What I mean by this is indeed what I call reality occurs in the manner by which my putting on a shoe might involve a global network of actors agents products whatever terms you want to use, and likewise that my putting on a shoe might involve a sort of ideological motion of the sort that you describe with technics and such. I do not discount this I merely say that in the same way that I might be involved in programming computers, my involvement in programming, and the fact that I may not know anything about rebuilding a car engine, it does not say anything about negating the fact of a car engine that I merely I’m talking about programming computers.

        In the same way, We can say that there is activity or things that are part of the being Ness of my doing or the doing of my being this or the very Ness of that thatness or whatever terms I want to use in this particular sentence, that are excluded from ideological or otherwise, as I put it, real situations.

        Yet within this designation, I am also saying that there are people who would argue that there is only a one unitive discourse that is contains all that is possible, as if their particular discourse that they’re using as it might or might not be involved with other people are using the same discourse, is in fact talking about some truth of reality some universal ubiquitous form onto which all of us reside. I call this ladder way of talking about things metaphysical, and in this way what I generally talk about and make comments from is not metaphysical assertions.


      • … and I say that I am describing the situation. I step away from some sort of metaphysical truth and actually try to stick with the truth that I can describe. I think that once we begin to see or otherwise alter our orientation upon the world to be able to understand that people are merely describing the situation at hand, rather than actually apprehending some sort of metaphysical absolute ubiquitous universal truth, then our discussions will take on a different Timbre.

        So in a way I’m kind of making a distinction between describing the situation at hand and proposing upon a universal and ubiquitous cosmos. I feel that if we can make that adjustment or otherwise have a different orientation upon what is occurring, as I said, the discussion will take on a different tambre, and the object of your hope as you expressed in this post and comment, might then become possible. But I’m actually a pessimist and I do not think that there is any raising of humanity or following of humanity. I think humanity just is I don’t think we will become extinct I don’t think that we can ever know when we were created.

        And it is by this orientation or perspective that I tend to see such ideological catastrophes as a kind of fear mongering, even though I wouldn’t say that such fear monger ring has any effects except again, as you put so well in various ways, that such discourses result in certain outcomes that you hope will occur in a different way then it seems might play out from this standpoint.


      • I see what your saying, but have to admit the problems your trying to solve or clarify are not my problems or of interest to me at the moment in my project. Not that it isn’t worthy of attention, it’s just not something I’m pursuing or trying to clarify in my own life and thought. I dealt with such notions twenty years ago when they meant something for me. But not now.

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      • I think the resistance that I find from many people to what I’m saying is that they think that somehow I’m reducing this polemic to some sort of spiritual or ineffable or some sort of essential being some sort of true ontological basis as opposed to ideological or political reality. I’m not opposing it; I am not proposing that there is an opposition between these two or that somehow one is more true than the other. Identities that argue what is more true than another are real identities. I’m not saying that they are wrong or incorrect in being these identities. I am simply saying that there are two orders of existence that use a single discourse for their conveying.

        The apprehension as opposed to comprehension of discourse shows then that there is an ambiguity being perpetuated. The idea that comprehension marks a ubiquitous ability of this thing that we call the human being, that somehow every matter of understanding might be conveyed through this singular discourse, that education can reach to every possibility of being human, so far as being an intelligent or a reasoning human being also necessarily equates to a ubiquitous and stratified common being, is a real ideological dogma. So it is it is not so much that somehow everything that I think or say yields to this idea logical maxim or some sort of psychological truth of being human as much as it says that what I’m talking about doesn’t reduce nor negate this idea logical or political discourse but in fact indicates a situation by which we may actually find the truth of what being human is by what it does. What it does does not create some sort of catastrophic end of some human world like some sort of human extinction. The human being merely perceives its own existence within a scheme of meaning of identity and culmination of meaning. If we say that this type of meaning has a some sort of potential to be equivalent with the essential universal structure, then the only thing we can say is that one either we are naturally bringing ourselves to extinction beyond anything we can do and so any hope for the matter is a contradiction in terms, or we have to admit that the means by which we come to this idea that somehow we have a choice upon the matter of whether we live or die in the universe is ultimately based in having faith in some sort of transcendental agency of sorts. There is no in between, it has to be one or the other.


      • This is where you and I diverge: “There is no in between, it has to be one or the other.” For me there is only the every mutating “in-between,” there is no either/or in my world of change and becoming: there is only transitional phase shifts from one to the other spark in the never-ending dance.

        You and I see things from the opposite ends of a spectrum. This is neither good nor bad, just what it is.


      • Yes. Two orientations upon objects. Id what i call our situation.

        Ill add: our very behavior on this blog defies the metaphysical meaning. Like were living some sort of illusion. If its all an illusion, then our unwillingness to not exist again contradicts how we are able to come to know yet uphold the illusion. ?


      • Isn’t what we term illusion only the admission that no matter what stance we take it is invariably constructed out of our ignorance and blindness? Illusion is in its very essence a system of fantasy, a way we reflect on the impossible around us. We can do no more, we are limited by our evolutionary kludge of a brain from having any better access to the ‘given’ within or out, intrinsic or extrinsic. Kant was on the track there, but he fell back into moralism… we are mere evolutionary monstrosities with awareness, creatures who believe in our own illusions. As I said I’m not speaking truth, there being none; rather I wander in untruth and non-knowledge.

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      • I agree. Yes. So i must be making comments only upon your posts that extrapolate out into some ‘world of separation’. Where humans have choices upon outcomes that seem to be leading to our extinction.

        This is where im not understanding , how you bridge your reply here with some ‘choices’ and ‘hope’ that it might be different. ?

        Because it seems to me that if you have a hope then there is some sort of duality going on there; between what you see as in evitable and then what you hope will be different.

        If all this is constituted by some sort of E ternal presence non-dual motion of universal in-separation, so to speak, then on one hand , what’s the use of extrapolating out some potential future which, on the other hand, you have hopes that it’ll be different?

        I have difficulty with such nihilistic conclusions that come out of this situation.


      • I’m not at all sure how this follows from what I’ve said, but I’ll try to take a stab at it. I’m not really hoping for anything. Using hope as a term does not imply intention, but rather in-attention: an impersonal nod to the indifference of things autonomy from my thoughts or being. It is an acceptance – not fatalistic, that reality will always be beyond human capacity to know or understand. But then that’s the hopeful part, that we are driven by our hopelessness to seek answers to dilemmas that may in themselves always be illusory. We are creatures who need problems more than solutions, we are driven by things that don’t work rather than what remains the same. When the world breaks we discover the Real, that which is not us, that which is in excess of our knowledge and understanding. It’s this breakage in the world, the catastrophic anomalies that open up the door to the Real for us and allow us to think newness.

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      • I would say this ‘driven-ness’ indicates nothing essential that would move us to self destruction or salvation. But in as much as it does or can, that is a parameter if what constitutes reality.

        How all this relates to your previous comments: you have mentioned to me that you have a family. How does all this theory relate to your enjoying the family? I would say your descriptions and reductions of all this, for example hope “…in-attention: an impersonal nod to the indifference of things autonomy from my thoughts or being. It is an acceptance – not fatalistic, that reality will always be beyond human capacity to know or understand. “. Why use the term hope?

        I’m sure if one of your children was to get in an accident or God for bid die or something, you wouldn’t have a head full of theory justifying your interpretation of the events. You would be feeling emotions you would be sad… this theoretical world that you’re constructing about how somehow hope isn’t what we think it is falls to pieces. And I would say it’s a religious posture it’s a kind of faith. But I’m not saying this in the sense is if it’s wrong or incorrect or you shouldn’t have this thing functioning as a real way of managing or coping with the events of life, I am saying that that’s how humanity functions.

        Yet I’m also saying that once we realize that these descriptions or justifications are philosophical reductions to what is “really going on underneath it all”, then I feel that the solution is really found in giving up these reductions as if the mental facility is granting us any sort of underlying truth some sort of essence of what’s really happening.

        I feel like you said the same thing in your talk about other authors and your own opinions and theories.

        And so when I ask you these things I’m asking you how do you reconcile that discrepancy. I’m not asking you because I think you’re wrong; i’m asking you because we’re all human beings doing the same things.

        But I have difficulty with the reduction airy tactics to say that somehow this experience I’m having in writing this post is based in some sort of “Deeper” reality or, just as metaphysical, “Absolutely not deep” or utterly horizonal.

        For me, The question I’m always getting at when I talk to you or even other bloggers about their projections for the future is how it’s possible that I think you’re wrong. What is going on that I have this perception (or whatever)where what you’re saying I totally agree with you at the conclusions that you come from this ideas pieces of it I think are wrong or incorrect?

        Innoway I’m saying that almost makes no sense to say that were some sort of Delauzian , what one could call a kind of ever presence without presence. With D and G it always seems whenever you say something in order to describe it you have to posit is exact opposite and then you have to posit that explanations exact opposite and then through a series of back-and-forth pivots you somehow get to this picture of what’s really going on.

        I can’t say presence without someone else saying oh no but it’s a non-presence and let me explain to you in closet structures how this non-presence has some sort of essential being nice that’s not presence but yet still presence .

        OK I’m rambling now.

        Until next time.


      • You’re back in your either / or territory… you see things as either black or white, whereas I see nothing definitive and only exist in the gray areas and shadows of thought rather than in the sunlight. Hope is not an either / or category. It is not the opposite of despair, although many seem to think so. Rather hope is a negation of the light, the cultural authority of the world that would entrap us, so that to exit that world and enter another requires hope as its cornerstone. You live in a world of intricate arguments much like Henry James in the Golden Bough, caught in the meshes of having every detail worked out before hand. Nothing in life works that way, and the notion of having a perfect roadmap, a clarified argument, a proposition to hold one to some either/or course is erroneous to me. That’s why I’m not a philosopher, so much for pegging me to some donkey’s tale. I will not be logical according to Landzek, so I’ll probably always confuse you. Just when you think you’ve pegged me down, I’ll rise up in the weeds elsewhere.

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      • Imperfection and abiguity is a sure sign of faith.

        As ive said. You verify my point at every turn.

        I guess I’m asking you to prove me wrong; but that unfortunately has not happened yet with you or anyone else. But I still hope it will happen one day!

        And thats ok. I need to hear that aspect of myself that I cannot account for before hand.


      • Etymologically Faith is from the Latin fides “trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief,” from root of fidere “to trust”… so yea to trust one’s dispositions, to go with one’s desiring machines is to me to trust in that which is not part of culture. Language is the Cultural authority we are immersed in, a filter that encloses us in the Big Other of Authority. As William S. Burroughs once said:

        “Universal literacy with a concomitant control of word and image is now the instrument of control. An essential feature of the Western control machine is to make language as non-pictorial as possible, to separate words as far as possible from objects or observable processes.” In other words, to be as abstract as possible, no longer connected to objects, things, entities. To be disconnected form the world in a separate world of words divorced from that world. Enclosed in a cut off realm of pure differential madness.

        To be bounded by one’s linguistic world is to be enclosed in a prison. We are all in prison, bounded by the authorities of our cultural malaise. To step out of this is to enter into ambiguity, paradox, and subterfuge as an antagonist of the authority of language which entraps us.

        Again you misread me, misprision me, peg me according to your own logic, caught as you are in the meshes of the Authority.

        Burroughs, William S. The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs


      • I think I have just as much discursive maneuvering ability as you. Perhaps I am attempting to get you to see that.

        I think it is the idea of terminal uniqueness that retains and essential presence and privilege. That’s the whole postmodern ideal.

        I suppose perhaps I’m trying to get some people who I see are the same as me to just get over themselves for a minute and see that there’s actually another person at least one that is functioning the same way.

        But it seems no one wants to admit that. Everyone wants to stay in their own isolated prison of self unique stratified vision unified hall of some spiritual or non-spiritual as the case may be self universe cosmos.

        If we really do understand Zixek, then his really indicates that it’s time to move on.


      • I have no clue what you’re talking about now. You’re caught in the metaphysical tailspin of ancient worlds. To say ” essential presence and privilege” is to already tell me your part of the old substantial formalism of Plato, and to speak of privilege… what a degrading thought.

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      • all I’m saying is I fully agree with you and you’re take an analysis on all these various ideas and how you put them fourth in your own way , but you don’t agree with me it seems. And I can’t help but wonder why.


      • You talk of ‘technic’ on one side and then talk about the big other on the other side. You can’t be talking about these things and not have the same understanding that I do about them. Every time you talk about them in the ways that you talk with about them I fully understand and agree with you. But it seems that whenever I open my mouth to tell you about it you say that I don’t understand you.

        But the thing is is what do I need to do spend the rest of my life studying you and your words to prove to you that I fully understand everything that you’re saying about the various authors and such?

        That’ll never happen. Why would I waste my time? Because to me, because I see the obviousness and what you’re saying that I fully understand and comprehend everything that you’re talking about because I understand and comprehend what those authors are talking about, when someone then takes what I’m saying as an indication that I don’t understand what they’re talking about to me that is just self-centered ego. To put it in a Zizekian frame: that is just staying within a framework without attempting to get beyond the frame, all the while saying that you’re confronting the frame. Just to be blunt it’s kind of hypocrisy, but one that in the end because of repeated the Niles I have to just admit that these other people are caught within a certain mythological world a certain framework that they cannot get beyond due to the faith in that frame.

        But I have found another person who seems to be able to get over that. And eventually there will be more. I just keep searching.


      • Landzek “technics” is a Greek term connoting art or invention, while the Big Other is a Lacan/Zizekian term connoting the Symbolic Order of Culture: Language, Law, etc.

        As for you understanding me, or I you: tell the truth I don’t write for others, I write; that is all. If others happen to pick up on something it’s because it touches something they already have in themselves. My work may only bring out that which is already within other beings, either as opposition or agreement; either way the only thing people get out of another person’s discourse is the ananemisis of what lies in their own being, not as some Platonic memory awaiting its call, but as the sense of one’s being in this world as life experience and the truth of one’s movement in life. Truth is immanent to the plane we live within, it is not some separate order of being. To recognize a truth is to acknowledge its real being in this plane of immanence.

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