The Task: Thought of the Day!

Most of us live in a pre-critical universe, accept that the world is given, that the objects of our senses are actual; we never challenge this state of affairs. The philosopher, unlike us, begins by questioning and rejecting the world of the given, believing that what our senses present as given are the objects of illusion and deception. Plato would offer us his myth of the Cave, Descartes the myth of a Demon, and in our time we have the myth of ‘suspension’ (aufhebung):

“Through aufhebung, the positive immediacy of the self-reflexive I is cancelled, while the determinate negativity that accounts for the difference between immediate and its mediation … is preserved. In other words, the identity of what appears to be immediate is abolished or taken out of action, whereas the difference between the immediate and its mediation (the opposition) is preserved. (Reza Negarestani p. 7 Intelligence and Spirit).”

It’s this difference that makes a difference, this distance between what we perceive as the given (immediate) and its mediation. In our age when most of what we take as reality is mediated by technics and technological artifacts, we have closed down this distance and difference to the point that we must ask: Can such a suspension remain possible in an immersive environment such as ours, where reality is mediated and re-ontologized as information? Have we all become technological objects mediated by vast conglomerates of technics and technology? Is a critique of this state of affairs even possible, anymore? How does the philosopher break through this tissue of lies, this infosphere of mediated illusion and reach the sleepwalker of pre-critical worlds? How awaken the sleeper from her fall into the darkness of technological mediation, this collective mindedness of our sociocultural trap? We who have created languages to share in the collective enterprise of culture across time have become enmeshed and enslaved to its autonomous power to re-invent and shape, command and control who and what we are. How escape its mesh, distance ourselves from its hold on our minds? Is this not the task of our time? Exit the sociocultural death machine that is leading us all into a final terminus?

3 thoughts on “The Task: Thought of the Day!

  1. I haven’t read Negarestani but he sounds interesting. Like Stiegler he writes about the education of some sort of life long apprenticeship in a craft where I learn to make who I am. He writes “The analysis of the structure and laws of commitment-making and the meaning of being human in a pragmatic sense (i.e., not by resorting to an inherent conception of meaning hidden in nature or a predetermined idea of man) is a necessary initial step before entering the domain of making prescriptions (whether social, political, or ethical). What needs to be explicated first is what it takes to make a prescription, or what one needs to do in order to count as prescribing an obligation ” ( ). Your questions are all stimulating I asked myself where does this task begin really? Isn’t a capacity that seems to have something to do or is cultivated with the ability to suspend the operations of the undestanding (auhebung) ? Sloterdjik in the “Art of Philosophy” with Marcus Aurelius talks about “withdrawing completely to the inner citadel”. I take this to mean not getting lost in a bunch of informative thoughts about something but a suspensive tension where dwelling in an open space take place not unlike the stance of the tennis player dancing on the ball of his feet ready to receive a serve that a Chinese thinker might think as occupying a neutral centre with the Way or in order to flow with the Way of whatever the situation requires. In the old humanistic ancestral long term circuits for me this exit… or withdrawal is called simply “modesty” or “humility”. It can be said to be a kind of current or flow that is a discreet encryption of the self in a non-determined capacity to be, which as not yet being, is an incipient, rudimentary notion of the self, a baby or child if you will that needs to be nourished by living discourses… which are diverging from any short-term culture of death which, honestly, is part of who I am or constitutes whatever in me makes me unable to be limber and light like that suspended tennis player.


  2. Yeah, in a way you could say it is already of course happening, with blogs like yours. It seems almost banal, yet very powerful: A simple reframing of spectacle-culture as not something that you want to participate in, but an alien force that you must resist. Or not even that, resist, but simply ignore. And on the other side opening up a new idea of culture as something done here on the ground between real humans.

    One aspect might be that of a simple patricide, the acceptance that artists and intellectuals of the last generations were this very fundamental way still part of the spectacle. Or rather, a kind of tautology, the “great” artists that one reads are always by definition part of the spectacle. A noble sacrifice but try to follow in their footsteps and become part of the disease. The antidote might be to become exactly not professional but dillentante. Casually yet confident invent new slang/ideas among lowly peasant people that show the spectacle for what it is.

    It might seem at first like a kind of buddhist self-sacrifice for those of us who think themselves artists and intellectuals, to fundamentally give up on this artist-dream, the idea of being part of the spectacle, but it might be already over the hill, all an effect of simple inflation. If everybody and his mom fancies himself an artist, the next great rebel, then nobody can really believe in the righteousness of this identity anymore.

    In short maybe: The spectacle must not be battled, it must be starved.


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