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kvond

The Art of the Paradox: Massumi Speaking on Luminosity

Massumi tells us that there is a method of paradox production which he holds in contrast to the clarity aims of critique, a kind of production of Luminosity through paradoxical operators:

Generating a paradox and then using it as if it were a well-formed logical operator is a good way to put vagueness into play. Strangely, if this procedure is followed with a good dose of correction and just enough technique, presto!, the paradox becomes a well-formed logical operator. Thought and language bend to it like light in the vicinity of a superdense heavenly body. This may be an example of miraculation. (As if luminosity itself can be invented.)

Parables of the Virtual, 13

I don’t have a lot to say about this, other than the exact methodology of condensing the paradox into a light-bending black hole, the intensity of the process, its entire mechanism of pressurization, seems what keeps paradox from being mere confusion, or banal contradiction. In order for luminosity to be invented, so to speak, a great and crushing paradox has to be performed, something that (unlike the setting out of the grid, the framework, in Kant, the screen upon which the phenomenal movie is then played) does the opposite, it takes the logical nexus points, the molecular bond of our rationality, is imploded, crushed-under.

I am unsure if I agree with either the methodology, or the analogy, but something tells me that it must be put into the rhetorical (if not metaphysical) store of the arms of philosophy.

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3 responses to “The Art of the Paradox: Massumi Speaking on Luminosity

  1. Josh W December 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    This reminds me of someone’s idea of the iconic in fiction; the iconic figure takes a contradictory set of traits and works them out over the course of his adventures, until they are not a contradiction any more, just their own thing.

    You can pick all kinds of characters in fiction and see the writer(s) wrestle with their contradictions, until they find a way to get them to work. It’s almost like those scholastic people who would push and pull their understanding of two disparate works to bring them into agreement. The requirement to keep sticking to both ends of the contradiction works itself out in the world they are connected by, requiring shifts in the understandings of both sides of the contradiction.

    As a rhetorical device, people have to be willing to shift their language to turn your paradox into logic, quite a bit of charitable listening is required! But if they do, then like thinking about “the world of Tarzan”, or “the world of House”, they can stick a context around it.

    • kvond December 21, 2009 at 10:20 pm

      I like your thoughts here. It reminds me as well of Michelangelo’s method of establishing character complexity in a face (for instance his Moses), making different features express different emotions. I believe Shakespeare is said to have used something of this combinative method too. Massumi seems to have something more in mind, something of an outright contradiction pushed to a condensing effect. I like his black hole metaphor though, that is for certain.

  2. amarilla December 22, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Me too, I like the sense of gravity so profound it crushes logic, pulverizes dilemmas. I like what you write here: “I don’t have a lot to say about this, other than the exact methodology of condensing the paradox into a light-bending black hole, the intensity of the process, its entire mechanism of pressurization, seems what keeps paradox from being mere confusion, or banal contradiction.”

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