The Fantastic Real: Via Mystica Psychotica

“We forget that we are all dead men conversing with dead men. My course of study was philosophy.” —Jorge-Luis Borges

“The lunatic may really feel something of what his remote ancestors felt as they surveyed their world.” —John Custance

“Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.” ―Mallarmé

“I would like to make a Book that will derange men, that will be like an open door leading there where they would never have consented to go, in short a door that opens onto reality.” —Artaud

“We, the mystical madmen, twist words and twist our way through them. We have five paths that lead us through the linguistic hurricane and into the mad land of sound, language, and symbol. Those who travel all five paths twist by way of the via mystica psychotica linguistica.” —Wouter Kusters, A Philosophy of Madness

“A Poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes among all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed–and the Supreme Scientist!” —Arthur Rimbaud

“The use of language in the book was arrantly unnatural and the book’s author unknown. Indeed, the text conveyed the impression of speaking for itself and speaking only to itself, the words flowing together like shadows that were cast by no forms outside the book. … Each passage he entered in the book both enchanted and appalled him with images and incidents so freakish and chaotic that his usual sense of these terms disintegrated along with everything else. Rampant oddity seemed to be the rule of the realm; imperfection became the source of the miraculous— wonders of deformity and marvels of miscreation. There was horror, undoubtedly. But it was a horror uncompromised by any feeling of lost joy or thwarted redemption; rather, it was a deliverance by damnation. And if Vastarien was a nightmare, it was a nightmare transformed in spirit by the utter absence of refuge: nightmare made normal.” —Thomas Ligotti, Vastarien

“Grimoires exist because of the desire to create a physical record of magical knowledge, reflecting concerns regarding the uncontrollable and corruptible nature of the oral transmission of valuable secret or sacred information. This urge to provide a tangible magical archive dates right back to the ancient civilization of Babylonia in the second millennium. But grimoires also exist because the very act of writing itself was imbued with occult or hidden power. —Owen Davies, Grimoires: A History of Magic Books

“The Book, an unfinished and unfinishable repository of all writing, stands above all particular books.” —Edward Said

“…the Real manifests as a consequence here in the intimation of an ‘outside’ to the signifier, an ‘empty space’.” —Tom Eyers, Lacan and the Concept of the Real

In ancient times writing began in magic and the sacred, it was seen as both a dangerous tool of power and control, mystery and wisdom. We have libraries because humans seek to store the knowledge of the ages, to secrete in the data worlds of papyri, pulp, trees, silicon, and Quatum quibits the massive information that humans have accumulated and are still accumulating. At one time the book was not a book, but a clay tablet upon which marks were scored by men who sought to control the flow of goods in an ancient empire. Later on such writing would be inscribed on papyrus to hold the secrets of the gods, to which specialized priests would be taught the keys to these mysterious symbols and ways to manipulate them to invoke magic and summon gods or demons. As Walter J. Ong states, “language is so overwhelmingly oral that of all the many thousands of languages—possibly tens of thousands—spoken in the course of human history only around 106 have ever been committed to writing to a degree sufficient to have produced literature, and most have never been written at all.”1 If this is true then why did the written word become so important? Was it to store information for future reference and retrieval, a mere supplement as thinkers such as Derrida have maintained, or is it something else, something more than a mere mirror of orality?

More and more those who study such things are coming to the conclusion that that language originated in our need to survive, that key elements of human language emerged from the need to decipher and encode complex social interactions. In other words, social communication is the biological foundation upon which evolution built more complex language.2 Some argue that recursivity — or, the ability to embed our thoughts within other thoughts began taking precedence as we developed complex language and social communication which led to consciousness.3 Others argue that language arised as the result of combining separate abilities, each of which developed independently to aid the survival of early humans. Lacking strength and speed, man relies on wisdom for survival. Smits theorizes that human skills in calculation and estimation continued to develop until they were sufficient to accommodate a system as complex as grammar.4

Years ago reading Merlin Donald’s Origins of the Human Mind, where he describes a three-stage externalization process of memory involving technics and technology one came across much of the same territory. During the first stage, Merlin reports, our bipedal but still apelike ancestors acquired “mimetic” skill – the ability to represent knowledge through voluntary motor acts – which made Homo erectus successful for over a million years. The second transition – to “mythic” culture – coincided with the development of spoken language. This cognitive advance allowed the large-brained Homo sapiens to evolve a complex preliterate culture that survives in many parts of the world today. In the third transition, when humans constructed elaborate symbolic systems ranging from cuneiforms, hieroglyphics, and ideograms to alphabetic languages and mathematics, human biological memory became an inadequate vehicle for storing and processing our collective knowledge. The modern mind is thus a hybrid structure built from vestiges of earlier biological stages as well as new external symbolic memory devices that have radically altered its organization.

The myth goes something like this: humans in the beginning were thrown into the world naked and alone, without any essential nature or origins transcending their arising. The Greeks in their own codification of this story as a first stab at theo-anthropological bric-a-brac invented the story of Zeus, Prometheus, and his brother Epimetheus to order this blind process of those first humans caught up in a world not of their own making and more profoundly not of their own knowledge and choosing.

According to the Greeks Zeus created all animals as species as beings without an essence, and left the job of distributing the powers of mobility, intelligence, and strength to Prometheus. This is where things went awry in that Prometheus had a brother, Epimetheus, who persuaded him to take up the task of distributing the various gifts to all the animal species on planet earth. After having done this it was discovered by Prometheus that every last animal on earth had been given a gift but those pesky humans. Epimetheus in his haste to please his brother had forgotten all about humanity and had left it without any form or capacity to survive on its own in the harsh and bitter world. Humans lacked anything within to help them survive on their own so that Prometheus feeling sorry for this wretched creature stole fire from the gods and distributed it as a supplement to this otherwise empty and naked creature.

It is this original gift of the supplement, the external origin of our relation to technology and technics that situates us in that zone of anticipating the future, of predicting the obstacles, antagonisms, and unknown and unanticipated consequences of our technological inventions that have shaped not only our sociality but the very fabric of our minds and bodies as humans. It is this relation to tools that made us human, these supplements that have shaped our memory, reflections, and socio-cultural transmission into the future. Yet, it is this very relation to technology that has bound us to the two-edged sword of toxicity and therapeutic power. Because we lack any essential nature, we are unbound from any stable relation to ourselves or our neighbors, and all the conflicts, wars, antagonisms that have arisen between groups, nations, etc. have arisen because of this lack of at the heart of the human.

And, yet, it is this very theft of technology from the gods that has shaped and formed humans from the beginning, our fate and our catastrophe. It is this theft of technology that lies at the core of the human condition; in spite of our self-sufficiency, our lack of an essential nature, we as humans are bound to our supplements, our tools, our technological wonders. And it is this original relation to technology that has shaped us into the very antagonistic world we see around us. The very hubris of our need for supplements binds us to a world where the making and re-making of ourselves and the world around us condemns us to a never-ending war of perpetual re-creation of the very means of our existence.

It is this perpetual battle between foresight and forgetfulness that is both the glory and shame of the human species. Both our ability to anticipate catastrophe and our wisdom that comes in such confidence in technology produces after-the-fact or in the last instance that shapes our societies and political meanderings. This very antagonism at the core of the human and its relations to its world as shaped by the very technological supplements that have give it its ongoing projects has served us well up till now. But now we live in a world whose consequences of this fatal relationship have brought us to the point of stupidity. Our original relation to technology and technics has reversed itself, and the very technologies that served to shape both ourselves and the earth around us are in our time taking on a autonomous relation to the detriment of the human itself. Technology no longer needs us, we are becoming expendable to this relation that has for thousands of years given humanity power over life and the external environment.

As technology becomes intelligent and autonomous it will take on the capacities and powers that have up till now been under the control and direction of human ingenuity and lack. This very tendency of technology to escape the control and guidance of the human has been ongoing for hundreds of years. This is nothing new, what is new is our ability as humans to reflect on this state of affairs which we did not anticipate and may not be able to contravene. Much of scientific and philosophical thought in our time has uncovered this dire truth and is slowly reflecting on the catastrophic consequences of this state of affairs.

We seem to be at a point of convergence/divergence in which technology wants to be free of us, and yet we want to merge with it and be free of the ‘human condition’. This seeming contradiction plays out in our various discourses surrounding the posthuman condition and its political ramifications in capitalist regimes surrounding transhumanism which seeks by way of biopolitics to gain mastery and control over our genetic and biotechnological future. We’ve come a long way from the days of medieval magicians and their grimoires which held the magical insights into the invisible realm of demons and angels. We now have the vast laboratory of the universe itself from the darkest corners of the quantum matrix to the largest galactic clusters and the strange dark energies and imperceptible reaches of dark matter.

Those writers of horror, weird, and strange seek in this dark tome of linguistic nightmares to unleash the noumenal strain that Kant so carefully cut off from philosophical or scientific exploration as incompatible with human reason and its limits. But in our age that notion of Reason has come under scrutiny and been found wanting, and new forms of reasoning and thought are emerging in the speculative regions on the edge of the human.  While transhumanists dream of incorporating humanity into the machinic phylum as the engine driving some immortalist vision, stripping us of our organic life-forms for some inorganic machinic substratum that can move optimistically into this new world. And humanists of all stripes see this as not only evil but the very end game of humanity that must be stopped dead in its tracks, buffered by some political, social, and religio-atheistic ethical system of beliefs, codes, and law. There are those in neither camp that wonder at it all, pondering the strangeness that is before us and behind us, not willing to supervene nor with open arms embrace the inevitability of such an enterprise, only acknowledging that this is indeed what seems to be transpiring in our time. Not something to regret nor optimistically to embrace but to critically appraise, evaluate, study, and discuss as it transpires. Madness or Reason? Or, better yet, both/and… maybe Ligotti’s character is right after all: “There was horror, undoubtedly. But it was a horror uncompromised by any feeling of lost joy or thwarted redemption; rather, it was a deliverance by damnation.”

“The Incarnation of the Word has plunged us into Battle. As long as our word was just word, nothing stood in our way. But with our phraseology, we also created living flesh. And this proved very tempting to the enemies: those who want to kill the Flesh with antimystical drugs, cannibalism, carnivorism, and stigmatization. They hear what we say and call it Wortsalat, thereby negating our flesh. They call our language gibberish, raving. But our raving is the beginning of the war, with everything against nothing and nothing against everything.”5 (Note: Wortsalat: i.e., word salad, gibberish, incoherent thought)

The Real of Horror and the Horror of the Real

“The gap that separates beauty from ugliness,” Zizek writes, “is the very gap that separates reality from the Real: what constitutes reality is the minimum of idealization the subject needs in order to sustain the horror of the Real.” So, what is the Real that we should fear it so much? A gap between reality and the Real? What does that mean? Zizek discussing David Lynch’s The Lost Highway describes it this way,

“In Lost Highway, on the contrary, the noir universe of corrupted women and obscene fathers, of murder and betrayal – the universe we enter after the mysterious identity change of Fred/ Pete, the film’s male hero – is confronted not with idyllic small-town life, but with the aseptic, grey, “alienated,” suburban-megalopolis married life. So, instead of the standard opposition between hyper-realist idyllic surface and its nightmarish obverse, we get the opposition of two horrors: the fantasmatic horror of the nightmarish noir universe of perverse sex, betrayal and murder, and the (perhaps much more unsettling) despair of our drab, “alienated” daily life of impotence and distrust (an opposition somewhat similar to that in the first third of Hitchcock’s Psycho, providing a unique picture of the grey drabness of modest lower middle-class secretarial life with its crushed dreams and its nightmarish supplement, the psychotic universe of the Bates Motel). It is as if the unity of our experience of reality sustained by fantasy disintegrates and decomposes into its two components: on the one side, the “desublimated” aseptic drabness of daily reality; on the other side, its fantasmatic support, not in its sublime version, but staged directly and brutally, in all its obscene cruelty. It is as if Lynch is telling us this is what your life is effectively about; if you traverse the fantasmatic screen that confers a fake aura on it, the choice is between bad and worse, between the aseptic impotent drabness of social reality and the fantasmatic Real of self-destructive violence.”6

We seem to live in a world that is not what it seems, that between the everyday life of work, family, and play there is another one just below the surface, a realm of darkness, murder, and mayhem —a realm of “self-destructive violence” in which humans are not the jovial happy-go-lucky optimists of a ‘Leave It To Beaver” sitcom comedy morality play, but rather are more nihilistic and psychopathic like one of Stephen King’s many creatures of horror roaming the mad streets of the good old U.S.A.. The truth is we live in an illusory and delusional world of security in which our parents, teacher, police, and government officials offer us a world that is safe from monstrous creatures of psychopathy and sociopathy, but the reality is more like the dreamer who is awakened when the Real of the horrible nightmare he’s encountered in the dream is more horrible than the awakened reality itself, so that the dreamer escapes into a false reality in order to escape the actual Real encountered in the dream. (Zizek, 18) As any psychoanalyst will tell you with a smiling face, be careful about delving too far behind appearances: do not go too far, do not try to penetrate the horror that lurks behind the fragile order in which we live, since you will burn your fingers and the price you will pay will be much higher than you think…

In a modern secular society such as ours the atheistic worldview prevails so that the very notion of external gods or God are in doubt if not under absolute ridicule. But since the Enlightenment there has always been an almost schizophrenic duality in our culture with the mainstream optimistic worldview of positivist-analytical culture based on the Kantian separation of phenomenal (i.e., empirical reality of our senses) set against a noumenal realm of the world-as-it-is-in-itself. So that as some philosophers like to put it there is the world-for-us, the world-in-itself, and the world-without-us. This trifold division is about the epistemological state of the world as humans perceive it. While the ontological state of the world is left for the sciences to delve into and someday give us a description of its mysteries. Secondly, is the world of those who saw this reason bound and limited world of Kant and the sciences as an incomplete picture of the world and ourselves. Which would lead for the darker worlds of Romantic, Symbolist, Decadent, Dadaist, Surrealist, Postmodern, Fantastic, Posthuman and so many other thought-forms that would provoke the very notions of mainstream philosophical and scientific thought. As Benjamin Cain says,

Dispensing with the false comfort of any form of anthropocentrism, including most ancient kinds of mysticism, is a perquisite for taking the step towards true awakening. That’s the step of accepting naturalism, the science-centered worldview as your philosophical starting point. That worldview entails atheism and cosmicism, the nonexistence of supernatural gods and the humility to affirm that human beings are thoroughly insignificant in the unfolding of the cosmos. The real world is fundamentally impersonal and unconscious, and thus we aren’t at home in it and sentient life is tragic.7

So, the worlds of Enlightenment man as well as its reactionary cousins who would have us revert to a supernatural and traditional hyperconservativism are both thrown to the winds. And, yet, even as Cain would have us believe in naturalism and a scientific worldview of the atheistic variety shorn of its human-centric vision of the exceptionalism of man, etc. there are others who would say that Nature itself does not exist as some hypostasis, but that rather behind the facade of a naturalist conception of reality lies a world that is without essence, ground, or foundation. That the realm of appearances itself hides us from a realm of pure chance, contingency, and chaos. In After Finitude philosopher and speculative materialist Quentin Meillassoux introduced his notion of hyper-Chaos. As Christopher Watkins describes it “Whereas mere chaos is ‘disorder, randomness, the eternal becoming of everything’, hyperchaos (surcontingence) is a contingency ‘so radical that even becoming, disorder, or randomness can be destroyed by it, and replaced by order, determinism, and fixity’, or again it is ‘the equal contingency of order and disorder, of becoming and sempiternity’ (‘Time Without Being’). Meillassoux evokes ‘a hyperchaos, for which nothing is or would seem to be impossible, not even the unthinkable’ (AF 87/AfF 64).” 8 Meillassoux in an update to After Finitude —Time Without Becoming details this thesis (and I quote in full):

Now, what can we say about this absolute which is identified with facticity? What is facticity once it is considered as an absolute rather than as a limit? The answer is time. Facticity as absolute must be considered as time, but a very special time, that I called in After Finitude “hyper-chaos”. What do I mean by this term? To say that the absolute is time, or chaos, seems very trite, very banal. But the time we discover here is, as I said, a very special time: not a physical time, not an ordinary chaos. Hyper-chaos is very different from what we call usually “chaos”. By chaos we usually mean disorder, randomness, the eternal becoming of everything. But these properties are not properties of Hyper-Chaos: its contingency is so radical that even becoming, disorder, or randomness can be destroyed by it, and replaced by order, determinism, and fixity. Things are so contingent in Hyper-chaos, that time is able to destroy even the becoming of things. If facticity is the absolute, contingency no longer means the necessity of destruction or disorder, but rather the equal contingency of order and disorder, of becoming and sempiternity. That’s why I now prefer to use the terms “surcontingence”, “supercontingency”, rather than contingency. We must understand that this thesis about time is very different from Heraclitus’ philosophy: Heraclitus, according to me, is a terrible fixist. His becoming must become, and persist eternally as becoming. Why? This is, according to me, a dogmatic assessment, without any justification: because, according to me becoming is just a fact – as well as fixity – and so becoming and fixity must both have the eternal possibility to appear and disappear. But Heraclitean becoming is also, like all physical time, governed by specific laws, laws of transformation which never change. But there is no reason why a physical law endures, or persists, one more day, one more minute. Because these laws are just facts: you can’t demonstrate their necessity. Hume demonstrated this point very clearly. But this impossibility of demonstrating the necessity of physical laws is not, according to me, due to the limits of reason, as Hume believed, but rather due to the fact that it is just false. I’m a rationalist, and reason clearly demonstrates that you can’t demonstrate necessity of laws. Thus we should just believe reason and accept this point: laws are not necessary, they are facts, and facts are contingent, they can change without reason. Time is not governed by physical laws because it is the laws themselves which are governed by a mad time.9

The point here is that the principle of Sufficient Reason that philosophers like Leibniz developed along with Hume to develop notions of origin and causality as underlying the ontological truth of the world were just convenient fictions of the mind or facts. As Leibniz would put it: “The principle of sufficient reason, namely, that nothing happens without a reason.” Facts, philosophers like to say, are opposed to theories and to values and are to be distinguished from things, in particular from complex objects, complexes and wholes, and from relations. They are the objects of certain mental states and acts, they make truth-bearers true and correspond to truths, they are part of the furniture of the world. Not only do philosophers oppose facts to theories and to values, they sometimes distinguish between facts which are brute and those which are not. What Meillassoux suggests is that reason and the laws of nature are facts, and that these facts are not bound to ‘necessity’. According to Hume there are “two particulars, which we are to consider as essential to necessity, viz. the constant union and the inference of the mind; and wherever we discover these we must acknowledge a necessity” (T 2.3.1.4/400).

Meillassoux describing his notion of facticity says this about necessity: ”

I call “facticity” the absence of reason for any reality; in other words, the impossibility of providing an ultimate ground for the existence of any being. We can only attain conditional necessity, never absolute necessity. If definite causes and physical laws are posited, then we can claim that a determined effect must follow. But we shall never find a ground for these laws and causes, except eventually other ungrounded causes and laws: there is no ultimate cause, nor ultimate law, that is to say, a cause or a law including the ground of its own existence. But this facticity is also proper to thought. The Cartesian Cogito clearly shows this point. What is necessary, in the Cogito, is a conditional necessity: if I think, then I must be. But it is not an absolute necessity: it is not necessary that I should think. From the inside of the subjective correlation, I accede to my own facticity, and so to the facticity of the world correlated with my subjective access to it. I do it by attaining the lack of an ultimate reason, of a causa sui, able to ground my existence. (ibid. 21-22)

His argument is between the notion of the absolute and contingent forms of necessity, arguing that there is no essence, ground, or foundation on which we can infer an absolute necessity (determinism), but only a “conditional necessity”. As he’ll say further on: “we can’t decide one way or the other about this hypothesis: we can’t reach any eternal truth, whether realistic or idealistic.”(22) At this point he suggests in many ways what Schopenhauer had already said in his philosophy: “Unreason becomes the attribute of an absolute time capable of destroying or creating any determinate entity without any reason for its creation or destruction.” (23) What is this unreason other than a new mask for the Chance, Will or Kant’s noumenon?

The ensuing account is one in which Meillassoux rejects any idea of necessary being, whether religious or metaphysical. Where correlationism attributes the apparent absence of any sufficient (metaphysical) reason for the existence of things to an epistemological limit, Meillassoux argues that it points to something ontological:

We must convert facticity into the real property whereby everything and every world is without reason, and is thereby capable of actually becoming otherwise without reason. We must grasp how the ultimate absence of reason, which we will refer to as “unreason,” is an absolute ontological property, and not the mark of the finitude of our knowledge (53).

The only absolute, on this understanding, is the principle of unreason – i.e., the necessity of contingency. I want go into the controversies surrounding Meillassoux’s notions of God, only that it is a playful, almost satirical jab at those philosophers who would seek a ground or foundation for such non-entities rather than as a possibility of the principle of unreason – the necessity of contingency itself.

This long excursion has sidetracked us from the notion of the Real, Horror, and the Horror of the Real itself. Marek Wieczorek tells us that the most under-represented of the Lacanian categories, the Real is also the most unfathomable because it is fundamentally impenetrable and cannot be assimilated to the symbolic order of language and communication (the fabric of daily life); nor does it belong to the Imaginary, the domain of images with which we identify, and which capture our attention. According to Lacan, fantasy is the ultimate support of our “sense of reality. “The Real is the hidden” traumatic underside of our existence or sense of reality, whose disturbing effects are felt in strange and unexpected places: the Lacanian Sublime. (Zizek, 3) Most horror fiction and films attest to the fact that the fantasmatic support of reality functions as a defense against the Real, which often intrudes into the lives of the protagonists in the form of extreme situations, through violence or sexual excesses, in disturbing behavior that is both horrific and enjoyable (jouissance), or in the uncanny effects of close-ups or details. The unfathomable, traumatic nature of these horrific situations makes them both terrible and sublime.

If we term the Real the dark power of Schopenhauer’s Will —a Demiurgic force or “blind idiot god” without purpose or ground (i.e., “purposeless purpose”), an absolute contingent power (i.e., hyper-chaos as absolute time) whose energetic creativity is both impersonal and subject only to Meillassoux’s principle of unreason then we begin to see the dark core of horror itself —the horror of life: consciousness and existence.

Wouter Kusters in the quote at the beginning suggested that there are five paths the literary mad have taken to the via mystica psychotica: Via Metaphorica, Via Multimundiana, Via Formica, Via Negativa, Via Infinitiva. The first, the metaphorical path is one of our most popular routes. Other people blindly accept the meaning of the words and sentences they hear, swallowing them whole and reacting to the contents without pausing to think about them. We, however, take a step back and listen attentively to what is being said. We sense double bottoms, which we drop through to deeper, underground levels. Down in that subterranean space, hidden from almost everyone else, the meanings of words and sentences branch off at lightning speed. We shoot through an entire network, whizzing along underground corridors, and come back to the surface with an answer at a place far removed from where we began. The second, via multimundiana acts as if an incendiary bomb had been tossed and our insides had blown up, flying in every direction, with shreds of traces of words of images of voices. Sometimes it’s like a kaleidoscopic, incoherent, mess of metaphors, without the inner principle of a Person to keep the whole thing together. And that’s actually the way it is: we have no identity, no core, no stable qualities, no thread running through us, and no leitmotif, theme, or agenda. We don’t even have our “own voice” anymore. We’ve ended up in a swarm of linguistic fragments. The third, via formica runs parallel to the via metaphorica, the difference being that the via metaphorica has to do with branching, moving meanings, while the via formica is about expanding forms. We wander around like Don Quixote, not only in terms of meanings but also in forms of language. When all data and meaning vanish into a mad whirlpool of Nothingness, we’re still left in the midst of a heap of words, letters, and symbols, without any foundation or background. The fourth, via negativa isn’t really a path at all but the total absence of a path, since in mad mysticism there is no ground of any kind. To wander this path is to practice the mysticism of nothingness, and the scratch-language expressions of this nothingness are irony, denial, and silence. The fifth, and final path, via infinitiva is a counterpart to the via negativa the via infinitiva because of its relationship to the infinitive verb form in linguistics. On this path, mystical madness is expressed positively. This is the cataphatic counterpart to the apophatic via negativa. Using language, we travel the via negativa to sing ourselves free of the earth and into infinity. To get there, we must detach ourselves from finite mortality, raise our earthly anchors, and leave our fixed positions. As for our language, we must release it from the place, time, and context in which it is spoken. (Kusters)

In many ways his diagnosis is part of the ancient world of transcendence as old as humanity itself. I would seek a more immanent path, one that would remain with the earth and the cosmos and yet yield a break in the gap between reality and the Real null and void. Like Meillassoux I would seek the path of unreason through reason itself guided by the return of the noumenal and voluntarist traditions. Pushing the secular cosmos with its battle between Einsteinian determinism and quantum mechanics indeterminism and uncertainty. This would not be a return to pre-Critical thinking of either faith or rationalism, but an acceptance of the Unreason within reason itself. The battle between nominalists and realists, Idealists and Materialist, Dialectical and Non-Dialectical thought, and the various versions of absurdity, nihilism, pessimism have all seen something not quite right with the world. Each has battled for its own vision of what might be wrong with our epistemic and ontological takes from many different angles. But all have ended in asking more questions than giving any answers. Who among us will dare an answer?


  1. Ong, Walter J.. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (New Accents) . Taylor & Francis.
  2. Cheney, Dorothy L.;Platt, Michael L.;Seyfarth, Robert M. The Social Origins of Language. Princeton University Press. 2018.
  3. Corballis, Michael C.. The Recursive Mind : the origins of human language, thought, and civilization. Princeton University Press. 2014.
  4. Smits, Rik. Dawn: The Origins of Language and the Modern Human Mind. Routledge. 2016.
  5. Kusters, Wouter. A Philosophy of Madness. MIT Press. (2014)
  6. Zizek, Slavoj. The Art of the Ridiculous Sublime: On David Lynch’s Lost Highway. University of Washington Press, Year: 2000
  7. Cain, Benjamin. Cosmic Horror for Clever Animals (p. 55). CreateSpace, 2016.
  8. Watkin, Christopher. Quentin Meillassoux, reason, and hyperchaos. (see: <https://christopherwatkin.com/2017/07/03/theological-concept-part-5-quentin-meillassoux-reason-hyperchaos/&gt;)
  9. Meillassoux, Quentin. ed. Longo, Anna. Time Without Becoming. 2014 – Mimesis International.