Postnihilistic Speculations: The Ontology of Non-Being

For speculation which founded itself on the radical falsity of the Principle of Sufficient Reason would describe an absolute which would not constrain things to being thus rather than otherwise, but which would constrain them to being able not to be how they are.
….Quentin Meillassoux

Is this what we’ve been waiting for all along? The movement beyond the troubled circle of Being and becoming, of Time and its figural and literal tropes of disquieting lapses into finitude? The fragments of this lie all around us in such thinkers as Nietzsche, Bataille, Deleuze, Badiou, Zizek, and so many others within this metamorphic thought of a non-thought, this disquisition of an anathema.

My friend Cengiz Erdem in his essay Postnihilistic Speculations on That Which Is Not: A Thought-World According to an Ontology of Non-Being charts such a history:

A speculative move in the way of mapping the cartography of an ontology of non-being, of that which yet to come, post-nihilism clears or excavates the old ground, thereby suspending the dominant presumptions, therefore rendering the void, non being, or the Real itself as the new ground on and out of which a new subject can emerge and present the paradoxical and contingent natures of ‪Truth and Necessity, as well as the ‎non-correlation of Being and Thought…

(addendum: Cengiz added a new post in concert with this… here.)

As I was reading this post of his I felt a deep underlying, almost religious tone in his voice; the power of the absolute filtering its banal surprise (maybe a non-God, non-All, rather than the mundane gods or God religion or the philosophers). Whatever the absolute may be, it seems to ride the edges, or borderlands of between thought and non-being rather than the metaphysical realms of Being. Though secular through and through the incorporation of the themes of eternity, time, mortality, immortality, etc. like those others who have influenced our thinking: Nietzsche, Badiou, Zizek, Laruelle, Henry, Deleuze, etc. – and, lest we forget, Freud (Lacan: lack?) with his mythology of drives, that endless war of eros and thanatos, life and death, love and war – comes through Erdem’s essay. What struck me above all is the underlying mythos and movement toward transcension, toward elsewhere, immortality, transcendence. Of course as he says, this is nothing new, and it is everywhere in our present transcendental field of speculation, as if between a totalistic closure upon metaphysics had brought with it – not a rational kernel, but rather an irrational kernel of ancient thought. For do we not hear that oldest of songsters, Orpheus, the Greek singer, theologian, poet, philosophical forbear out of whose roots Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle and their ancient antagonists Leucippas, Democritus, and Lucretius down to our day still wage a war over the body of a dead thought (God?).

Shall we follow Badiou or Zizek? Or Both?

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Cengiz Erdem: Ethics of the Anthroposcene?

 …the “ancient wound” that, never healed, “lets . . . the stars / Into the animal-stinking ghost-ridden darkness”…
……– Robinson Jeffers

This morning I got a pleasant surprise. My friend Cengiz Erdem, of Senselogi©, a Cyprian who lives in Kyrenia and teaches social psychology, literature, philosophy and critical theory, who received his doctoral degree in Cultural and Critical Theory from The University of East Anglia in May 2009 with The Life Death Drives, his PhD thesis quoted me and provided a wonderful reflection and opening onto his own philosophical stance: Altering the Supposedly Predestined Future. Cengiz in a previous post outlined his basic philosophical stance this way, saying,

To begin at the beginning we shall say that philosophy is the dialectical process of truth in time, it is an infinite questioning of that which is known, a continuity in change of the unknown, a practice of situating eternity in time. Without a relation to the requirements of ones own time philosophy may still mean many things, but these do not amount to anything worthy of rigorous consideration much. This doesn’t mean that philosophy must have an absolute conception of good and constantly strive towards it. Quite the contrary, if anything, philosophy would much rather resist against the evil within this inconsistent multiplicty falsely named world. No, there is no one world against which philosophy can situate itself, but rather many multiplicities out of which philosophy infers meanings and values in accordance with a better future in mind. Not necessarily better than today, but less worse than it will have been if nothing is done to slow down worsening. So having an idea of a better future is not necessarily imposing a totality, an absolute conception of goodness upon the multiplicity of existents. What’s at stake might as well be that the resistance aganist evil in time is itself a creative act sustaining the less worse condition of future existence. It’s all bad and it can only get worse, the question is this: how can we decelarate this worsening condition of we humans, we animals and we the plants?

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Cengiz Erdem as usual discovers what it means to be nothing and no-one…. Islands of Thought that keep us sane!



Islands are either from before or after humankind.[1] 

~ Gilles Deleuze

 William Golding’s Lord of The Flies is an allegory of the death-drive inherent in human nature. It is a reversal of Ballantyne’s The Coral Island. In direct opposition to The Coral Island in which three young men establish the British culture on an island after their ship sinks in the Pacific Ocean, in Lord of The Flies we have children who become deranged and lose control of their aggressive impulses on a deserted island. In the absence of an external authority they become more and more violent. Golding is implying that humankind is violent by nature and the absence of symbolic order initiates a regressive process governed by the unconscious drives leading to violence and destruction.

People prefer security and certainty to truth, they want an unshakable, stable order in which they can feel secure. They…

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Cengiz Erdem of Senselogi once again continues his glance at the oppositional positions within our moment of philosophy. From Plato through Badiou, Zizek, Brassier he gathers the threads that shift us between being and non-being, trauma and the immanence of eternity!


In my previous post I’ve attempted to trace, clarify and briefly define certain positions and oppositions within the philosophical field today. It is my conviction that at the root of philosophical enquiry lies a series of dialectical relationships between affirmation and negation, transcendence and immanence, reality in-itself and reality for-us, finitude and infinity, being and non-being.

In this post I will take it upon myself to further elaborate on these oppositions in the way of establishing my own position surrounding the void that splits as it unites transcendental empiricism and transcendental materialism.

Now, we know that according to Plato time doesn’t really exist and that it is merely a representation of the real, an image of eternity beyond life as we live it. Needless to say it is the human finitude, the fact of mortality that produces human subjects as beings in time. The change of seasons, for instance, signifies…

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Cengiz Erdem has great post on Zizek’s lecture On Melacholy. Well worth a read in that it also brings in Deleuze : “This requires the production of a new mode of being in the world in such a way as to be in relation to the without within this world, to an outside inside this world, a non-correlationist relation to nothing itself. Is it worth mentioning that Deleuze’s “impersonal consciousness” is something akin to that mode of being? It is this transcendental inconsistency itself that regulates, governs and drives the Deleuzean plane of immanence, and precisely for this reason Deleuze calls it the transcendental field of immanence in his last book, Immanence: A Life, where he attempts to clarify his “transcendental empiricism.” He continues saying,

The Deleuzean “univocity of being” is the flow itself, it is the flow of being becoming in-itself, and it is only death that brings about the completion of this process, it is only in death that being becomes in-itself, that is, as nothingness, as a void, as an absence, as non-being. And there, where something is split from nothing, novelty takes place, it takes the place of nothingness and death, hence giving birth to new life, an impersonal life, the life that is not of something, but the life that is non-being itself, the being of death within life which drives it as an undercurrent. And therein also resides the link between Deleuze’s concept of the impersonal consciousness, Jung’s collective unconscious and what Nick Land would later call cosmic schizophrenia.…

Let it suffice for the time being to say that transcendental materialism is repetitively different from transcendental empiricism, in that what’s at stake in transemp is the action of the unconscious upon the subject, whereas in transmat the situation is retroactively reversed in a progressive way; it is the subject’s indiscernibility from the unconscious that’s at stake in transmat. Influenced by and influencing Zizek, Adrian Johnston’s transmat adds to Deleuze’s transemp the role of the external matter itself as internally constituted in the self-constitutive process of the subject. Profoundly Hegelian indeed to say the least…



In his lecture On Melancholy and an essay entitled Melancholy and the Act, Slavoj Zizek claims that melancholia occurs not when we lose the object, but rather when the object is still here although we no longer desire it. According to Zizek, melancholia as Freud defines it in Mourning and Melancholia, shouldn’t be interpreted as if it is a product of the failure of mourning, but rather as the premature mourning for an object before it is lost. According to the orthodox interpretation of Freud’s essay, the work of mourning is to symbolize the loss and transcend it, so that one can go on with one’s life as usual. Melancholia takes over the subject if the work of mourning fails in rendering the subject capable of accepting the loss. A melancholic is s/he who cannot come to terms with the loss and turns the lost object into an…

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Cengiz Erdem: The Immortal Subject Beyond the Life Death Drives

“The creature called human can cease being a passive non-being and become an active being only insofar as it produces love against the negative power of the already existing capitalist law. As we all know, the laws’ negative impositions give birth to the vicious cycle of the life and death drives, which is in turn exploited in the way of more money.”
– Cengiz Erdem

The ImmortalLiving outside ourselves we are guided not by the Real but by the inner compulsions of a drive toward the last flowering of the negative force we call Death; but, death, is not itself creative, it is only the truth-event of life as it changes place with the symbolic order of Life in its dark mode of entropy: a god of no thing and nothingness. Cengiz Erdem in his new essay tells us that with “the domination of nihilist global capitalism all over the world social life has become a masquerade.” I’m reminded of Bruno Schulz for whom the “substance of … reality is in a state of incessant fermentation, of germination, of potential life. There are no dead, solid or restricted objects. Everything is diffused beyond its own boundaries, enduring in a particular form only for a moment, to quit it at the first opportunity.”[1] He saw this world, its customs and manners as being guided by a certain kind of principle, what he termed “panmasqueradium”. Schulz says this of it:

“Reality adopts certain forms for appearance’s sake alone, only as a joke, for a game. One person is a person, and another a cockroach, but such forms do not reach the essence; they are merely roles, assumed only for a moment, like an outer skin that, a moment later, is cast off. A certain radical monism of substance is evinced here, in which individial objects are only masks. The life of this substance depends on its using up a vast number of masks. This meandering of forms is its life essence. There emanates from that substance, therefore, the aura of a kind of pan-irony. A backstage, behind-the-scenes atmosphere is ever present, in which the actors, having taken off their costumes, now crease up with laughter at the pathos of their roles. The very fact of individual existence implies irony, leg-pulling, and a clownish poking-out of the tongue.”

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The Nietzschean Subject; or, the Prison-House of Delirium

“In a world full of violence, destruction and death, or “madness in every direction,” as Kerouac would have said, the subject becomes nothing but a projector of the evil within society.”
Cengiz Erdem

Nihil SolipsistThe Nihil Solipsist: a being that knows neither its own nothingness nor the dark self-cannibalizing force of all those others within; trapped within the introjected prison-house of an impure fear, bound to the cross of a symbolic gesture, tormented by the thought of its own paranoid-schizoid position this Nietzschean subject relishes the hunt as a repetition of the life-death drives it seeks to unleash at the hands of all those non-others within its own panopticon of deliriums. Cengiz Erdem in his essay The Nietzschean Subject tells us that the “paradoxical nature of the contemporary Nietzschean subject is a result of the turning of self into the other within in the process of becoming. The self of the present has not only become a prison-house of the others within itself but also it itself has become a self-contained monad with no relation to the outside and no awareness of the external world populated by the others’ selves.”

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Cengiz Erdem: The Life Death Drives

“Myth is the hidden part of every story, the buried part, the region that is still unexplored because there are as yet no words to enable us to get there.”
– Italo Calvino

“We shall defend the complications of our theory so long as we find that they meet the results of observation, and we shall not abandon our expectations of being led in the end by those very complications to the discovery of a state of affairs which, while simple in itself, can account for all the complications of reality.”
– Sigmund Freud

“Visibility is a trap.”
– Michael Foucault

Cengiz Erdem in his work The Life Death Drives describing Foucault’s use of Hobbes’s Leviathan in his work on Jeremy Bentham’s Panoptican in Discipline and Punish as a “metaphor of the modern power structure which has nothing/ness at its centre” turns that allegorical beast into a machine, and continues saying that “this machine is itself in a process of transformation today, and is taking the form of something that is neither organic nor inorganic, neither visible nor invisible, but felt. This is power as affective force” (39). [1]  Erdem tells us that Foucault did not go far enough and that with new knowledge of just how technology operates subjects live in a fantasy land where they “pretend that they are free floating across the Superpanopticon” but are in truth “locked deeper into the Panopticon; there finding themselves dismembered, losing themselves in the terrible condition of being pushed further into the hitherto undiscovered corners of their own rooms, in their cells” (40).

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