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Showing posts from October 25, 2009

the great law gift-gift

“…étranges croisements d'idiomes comme ceux qui traduisent « se donner la mort » par « to take one's life ». Cette inversion relève de la grande loi du Gift — gift.” – Derrida, Donner le temps “Fundamentally, there is nothing less interesting than the life a morphine addict. It is limited to the periods in which he takes the poison, and periods, in which society forces him to give up the stuff. All the reasons that people have discovered to excuse addiction may work on the literary and poetic level: concretely it is sheer filthiness, because you are ruining your life with it. “ – Friedrich Glauser, Morphine (my translation) Glauser was a Swiss detective novelist. He was enormously influential in that genre. He was also a sad case, a juvenile delinquent in Vienna, a druggy in Basel. According to his account, parts of which are published at this excellent site , he ‘started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff’ – or, less poetically, he found WWI so unbearable that he c

The dialectics of diddling

IT – and I will interrupt the continuity of this post in the very first sentence to say that I, at least, refuse to identify the semi-autonomous heteronym, Infinite Thought, with the semi-autonomous philosopher, Nina, so this is about IT – recently wrote a post that makes an oblique but telling point against the current fashion for returning to things as they are via some kind of speculative realist ontology. As she notes, this gesture seems to go along with a taste for a politics that is so catastrophic as to be an excuse for no politics. “proliferating ontologies is simply not the point - further, what use is it if it simply becomes a race to the bottom to prove that every entity is as meaningless as every other (besides, the Atomists did it better). Confronting 'what is' has to mean accepting a certain break between the natural and the artificial, even if this break is itself artificial. Ontology is play-science for philosophers; I'm pretty much convinced when Badiou arg

whose side are the side effects on?

In this spot, place, lieu, here, before I lift my pen – for I write these posts before I type them, and then, in typing them, watch them shift their shapes and burdens – I feel a rush, a lunge of citations and themes, as though, in the first sentence, at the entrance of the thing, the establishing period, everything must come tumbling out (as in some dopey comedy skit in which some target character X, laugh a minute X, opens some target door Y, boobytrapped Y, and the things behind it avalanche upon him or her). For surely I’ve reached the point in this long long course of things at which (in which?) suddenly the happiness culture, more a blueprint or a Platonic form, suddenly extrudes itself into the psychoactive, chemical phantasmagoria we are all familiar with, dosed with, prescribed, stoned and high on, chained to, attuned to deep in the immune system, our biochemistry altered in its ticking and secretions by the water we drink and the incredible array of chemicals, such as were ne