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- Mitochondrial Vertigo: The New Blog
- Going Dark
- The Becoming-woman of Machine in Avatar
- The Difference Between a Description and an Explanation: Deficits in Latour
- Peking Opera and the Aesthetic Freedoms of Avatar
- Transcendence or Immanence: Cake-and-eat-it-too-ism
- From Affect to Mutuality, Openness to Rational Co-expression: Massumi to Spinoza
- Is the Medium the Message? Avatar’s Avatar
- Massumi’s Cognitive Doubling, Spinoza’s Numerical Affectivity
- Two Vectors of Avatar’s Cinematic Achievement: Affect and Space Interface
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Spinoza Primary Sources
- Ethics, Emendation, Tractatus and Letters, in Latin
- F. van den Enden website
- Hyperlinked Ethics, Emmendation, Tractatus and Letters
- Nicholas De Cusa’s “De Visione Dei”, English Translation
- Selected Letters, Elwes Translation
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- The Life of Spinoza, by Johannes Colerus (1705)
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Ode to Man
Tho’ many are the terrors, not one more terrible than man goes. This one beyond the grizzled sea in winter storming to the south He crosses, all-engulfed, cutting through, up from under swells. & of the gods She the Eldest, Earth un-withering, un-toiling, is worn down, As the Twisting Plough’s year into Twisting Plough’s year, Through the breeding of horse, he turns. & the lighthearted race of birds all-snaring he drives them & savage beasts, their clan, & of the sea, marine in kind With tightly-wound meshes spun from all-seeing is Man. Yet too, he masters by means of pastoral beast, mountain-trodding, The unruly-maned horse holding fast, ‘round the neck yoked, & the mountain’s ceaseless bull. & the voice & wind-fast thought & the passion for civic ways He has taught, so from crag’s poor court from under the ether’s hard-tossed arrows To flee, this all-crossing one. Blocked, he comes upon nothing so fated. From Hades alone escape he’ll not bring. Tho’ from sickness impossible Flight he has pondered. A skilled one, devising of arts beyond hope, Holding at times an evil, But then to the noble he crawls, honoring the laws of the Earth, & Of gods the oath so just, high-citied. Citiless is the one who with the un-beautiful dwells, boldly in grace. Never for me a hearth-mate may he have been, never equal in mind He who offers this.
Ode to Man
A BwO is made in such a way that it can be occupied, populated only by intensities. Only intensities pass and circulate. Still, the BwO is not a scene, a place, or even a support upon which something comes to pass. It has nothing to do with phantasy, there is nothing to interpret. The BwO causes intensities to pass; it produces and distributes them in a spatium that is itself intensive, lacking extension. It is not space, nor is it in space; it is matter that occupies space to a given degree—to the degree corresponding to the intensities produced. It is nonstratified, unformed, intense matter, the matrix of intensity, intensity = 0; but there is nothing negative about that zero, there are no negative or opposite intensities. Matter equals energy. Production of the real as an intensive magnitude starting at zero. That is why we treat the BwO as the full egg before the extension of the organism and the organization of the organs, before the formation of the strata; as the intense egg defined by axes and vectors, gradients and thresholds, by dynamic tendencies involving energy transformation and kinematic movements involving group displacement, by migrations: all independent of accessory forms because the organs appear and function here only as pure intensities. The organ changes when it crosses a threshold, when it changes gradient. "No organ is constant as regards either function or position, . . . sex organs sprout anywhere,... rectums open, defecate and close, . . . the entire organism changes color and consistency in split-second adjustments." The tantric egg. After all, is not Spinoza's Ethics the great book of the BwO?
Ode to Man
But human power is extremely limited, and is infinitely surpassed by the power of external causes; we have not, therefore, an absolute power of shaping to our use those things which are without us. Nevertheless, we shall bear with an equal mind all that happens to us in contravention to the claims of our own advantage, so long as we are conscious, that we have done our duty, and that the power which we possess is not sufficient to enable us to protect ourselves completely; remembering that we are a part of universal nature, and that we follow her order. If we have a clear and distinct understanding of this, that part of our nature which is defined by intelligence, in other words the better part of ourselves, will assuredly acquiesce in what befalls us, and in such acquiescence will endeavour to persist. For, in so far as we are intelligent beings, we cannot desire anything save that which is necessary, nor yield absolute acquiescence to anything, save to that which is true: wherefore, in so far as we have a right understanding of these things, the endeavour of the better part of ourselves is in harmony with the order of nature as a whole.
Kvond: So, when we take up Harman’s cruel alternative “a”: (a) a finite regress to some ultimate constituent of the cosmos, the reason why this is a “good” choice is that the so called “ultimate constituent of the universe” isn’t best seen as an “entity” (or an object, or a turtle). It is of a nature that is not like the kinds of things our visual cortex gives to us. It is probably best seen as a kind of process, one would have to say.
This is so well expressed!
I must be dumb but can you spell this out a bit. I read this as GH saying that ‘a’ isn’t a ‘good’ choice – in fact neither a nor b are very good…
I’m not sure I even grasp H’s position yet. I don’t have any of his books! As you know it’s only recently that I’ve stumbled bleary eyed out of the woods…H is claiming that there are ‘objects’ all the way down… which is neither the not very good a or b???
‘As mentioned, factual research only knows for sure two things about this unoriginated portion of reality that enacts once at a time the actuality of all present nows, complete with their force and space scales, successive shapes, and consecutive eclosions. First, that it is not an entity: it is but does not exist (in the proper sense of “ex-sist,” i.e. coming out from something else). (because, as Heidegger stressed, one could not explain everything, which are entities, upon another entity: the notion is often called “the ancient-India lesson,” as piling up entities, such as mighty elephants, turtles and oceans or any more modern and powerful cosmological keystone, is now clearly seen as starting never-ending series).
And secondly, it is a person, in other words the non-entitative, unoriginated portion of reality takes decisions in a way analogous to that which one uses for moving a finger or forming a thought (because it cannot be a non-person, that is to say a network of distinctions or necessary Fate, since distinctions do not suffice to confer actuality to the being of realities).’
[the being of realities is not ‘existentially neutral’ as Etienne Gilson would say in Being and some philosophers].
Now imagine that you, the unoriginated portion of reality, decide to generate free entities. How do you do it?’
‘You erect a nature, whose galaxies, stars, planets and living beings follow general rules of transformation and evolve impersonally. This is done so that you, the apodictic or unoriginated ground of all reality, although immediately supporting everything in its ever-present origination, never appear in doing your job. Because if you appeared, e.g. exposing any intent that free beings love you or support your project and thus value freedom, you would coerce them to be free, annulling any genuine freedom for them.’
Another possibility is that the world is ontologically incomplete. That the world is, as it were, hung upon the air without foundation or support.
and there are endless possibilities. Or are there? Is phil ever cumulative – does it know more about the ‘world.’ As I commented on LS, what is the diff btwn scienc and phil. Deleuze and Guattari had some v. definite thing to say about this. Phil as the creation of concepts…and what did they say about science? And art? I can’t remember exactly…except that it was sets of conceptual distinctions they made?
Wasn’t the whole thing about ontology that it wasn’t a theology or a physics?
I am fond of sometimes Wittgenstein’s distinction between the grammatical and the empirical, but not in the way that he meant to use it. Philosophical disagreements about the “grammatical” (just the way that we used words) were for him nonsense, literally. Whereas, because philosophy can be seen as conceptual creations, disagreements of this sort or attempts to change the DNA of our empirical experiences and sense-makings. It never really ends. But, the rationality of coherence, and therefore bowing to argument, plays a very large part in these “grammatical” revisionings and testings-out. For me, Graham (and Levi) are big on the revisioning part, the “speculative” part, but grammars are rewritten more coherently. And, for instance, versions of Turtle Oriented Philosophy (TOP) are a little mistakening. There is only so much that can be done with the notion of “objects”, as Wittgenstein was also shrewed to point out.
noen: “That the world is, as it were, hung upon the air without foundation or support.”
That’s incredibly beautiful poetry, which is perhaps the best means for describing reality. It is impossible that interpretive or reflective thought will ever represent it. Our means of knowing are inadequate. Kvond quoted Wittgentstein a while ago: “Our words used as we use them in science, are vessels capable only of containing and conveying meaning and sense, natural meaning and sense. Ethics, if it is anything, is supernatural and our words will only express facts; as a teacup will only hold a teacup full of water and if I were to pour out a gallon over it.”
Interestingly, just as you posted in response to Paul I included more thoughts on Wittgenstein and the distinction, though not with the mystical directionality you are favoring here. One could say, I believe that how the tea cup is shaped makes a difference. Or, is a difference that can make a difference.
That reminds me of a term Fido the Yak used recently, his “amphoricity.”
It isn’t mine. It’s Zizek’s ontology, or one that he endorses. He expounds on it here Materialism and Theology. I prefer this to turtles or even today’s string theory: “It’s math all the way down”.