There is a certain confusion in philosophical circles in the discussion of beginnings. Commonly we hear of subjects and objects, ideology and such, eras, turns, paradigms. All of these depend upon a particular rhetoric of subjects and objects. One of the problems of philosophy in this area is the same as most of the areas, namely, that no one knows what the hell they are talking about, or more precisely, no one knows what anyone else is talking about, and if they do or think they do, they are in a discussion as to which terms and situation of terms are more correctly situated to describe this supposed common object. In fact, this situation is so inherently aggravated, philosophy itself can be seen as a process of the attempt to figure out what the hell we are talking about. Further, this is so much the case that it brought or brings a default to this condition, such that philosophy can continue in its conventional vein, justifying itself through the proposal that all it does is situated a present reality in discourse. Within this, though, then, one might say that there are those who take a certain arena that appears to be somewhat definite, and then talk about what other possibilities might arise or otherwise exist of that arena that have not been illuminated yet, the faults and strengths of the arena. But bring up the question of the arena itself then we have a more insistent problem that is usually solved by deferment to whatever writing pieces are seen to be the originating impetus of the arena. In other words, question the arena and people will often lead you back to the arena, so that it in effect is never questioned. This is the philosophical problem that non-philosophy notices as well as the situation that correlationalism wants to define.
So when in the example of Land’s treatise in my previous posts Land speaks of enlightenment, he is using a vague notion that is never defined. Perhaps he gives us a particular rendering of what The enlightenment or enlightenment is or was such that we are hearing a report of what subsequence may occur, but the point here is that the term itself, either as an historical moment of the Western European history, or as a sort of psychic transformation of the human mental being, or a combination, sequence or coincidence of both — still, I have yet to hear what exactly this term means. Indeed, in my book “Non-Philosophy and Aphilosophy”, I default to a similar notion that I call the philosophical revolution which I critique, but the idea of enlightenment is used or implied so liberally as a trope in various discourses that talk about what may be ‘actually’ occurring in the history of the future, so to speak, given such a vague idea that is supposed within a common understanding, anyone can really say anything they want so long as they use common discursive structural formations, along with popular forms of discursive objects (fashionable ideas such as Speculative Realism, or Realism), along with marketing techniques (which are already well established in the institutional-religious-political pipeline, the propaganda machine of ideological support), this that we call a part of the conventional method, and the author will have a soluble discourse that people will see as substantial, talking about things that might actually be true. It matters little whether what anyone is saying really has any substance, the post-modern method tells us that substance is measured by popularity and structure. This is the religious truth that the faithful follow. It appears that very little critique actually goes into these discourses, that is, as much as, say, Scholasticism entertained critique, but they nevertheless are real, however much ethereality they encompass in their substantive proposing.
The issue with Land is the vector he takes, the vector that appears to stem sensibly and only toward the ideological object, but more, that in taking this route, it seems obvious and sensible commonly. The pass that Land takes occurs in the first few sentences of his report in the previous post (Dark Enlightenment); he moves smoothly from a short description of what should obviously be meant by enlightenment, i.e. an historical moment and an event, that ends in paradox and contradiction, that the post-capitalistic state tends toward a type of market interaction of mutual benefit, of the checks and balances thereof, some type of world that smells very similar to the general idea of communism. The problem is not so much that his conclusions are incorrect or wrong, or even that his route is wrong – remember, we are not in the business of real negotiation, not concerned with what is more real. We are involved with what has been historically marginalized out of existence.
If there is enlightenment, then there is a subject of enlightenment, and this subject is even more elusive. If there was a subject that was not of enlightenment, then it was a subject of no enlightenment, for we cannot have what is of some speculative future; we find this in the heavenly discourses, often enough, those discourses of the Book, and this kind of eternity does nothing for us now.
What we have now is a confusion of enlightenment. When Alan Watts speaks of the hermit, and Alain Badiou speaks of the ascetic, they are both indicating an object that chooses not to participate in the ideological play, that indeed their play is to be exempt. It would seem by my argument that I am proposing something similar. But this is not the case; I am proposing something that participates as the minority voice. See; it is by such a discourse of the hermit and ascetic that the intrinsic mythology may still perform as a functional reality, as if the real discourse is accounting for the Truth of all existence, all that can be and ever be; which is to say, not only are we all subjects of enlightenment, the potential thereof, but moreso subject to this Truth of existence that he is describing, which is ultimately politically ideological. The point, though, is that there is no evidence that we are all included in the discourse of enlightenment (of the transcendent clause), but as well, that there is yet no established linkage from the subject to the ideology; the linkage is assumed of the common humanity. Faith. Within this faith, we do have plenty of evidence presented for the subject of ideology, of the state, but we have no such evidence that shows that enlightenment is indeed part of the common humanity as a whole. We should only assume, then, that such a discourse is made by those for whom enlightenment is part of a real experience, such that the discourse of enlightenment stems from the enlightenment already had (this is the proposal of “Non-philosophy and Aphilosophy”). Hence we have a credible outline for ideological reality as religion, but a catholic religion in the true sense. For, if there are those for whom either enlightenment is put off as into a real ‘heaven’, or an a one-day attainable state (enlightened), and then those for whom enlightenment is understood as a state already attained, those who feel that their enlightened state obligates them to look out for the ‘others’, as well a set the example as enlightenment as indeed a real situation of potential, religion seems not a too far off term for this real world meaning. It likewise is not too a terrible meaning of the ‘new world order’.
But again, as Land seems to acknowledge: This is part of the modern enlightenment, that it move toward an apocalyptic end, a great catastrophe. And he seems to acknowledge that he has difficulty not believing such an apocalypse will come about. Is it so difficult to see this as an investment in identity? That this enlightened state is a self fulfilling prophecy? But not so much as a real ideological manifestation, but merely a way of witnessing one’s faith.
In this sense, what Badiou, as least and Harman are describing by their withdrawn object (the hermit, the ascetic) is the product of their faith, witnesses of the fear that is invested of such ideological position. The scapegoat that justifies their fear, as well as their enlightened effort.
Perhaps the soundtrack to these posts can be found HERE. “Bouncing off the Walls” could be the first indication of a link that will become evident later as we proceed along these Constructive Undoings. (The song can be downloaded for free, btw.).