Another Excerpt from “Absolution”: Objects, Post-human and Trans-human.

Specifically, I am speaking of Graham Harman’s Onjects, and the trans and post-humanist discussions that consider the strange and odd situations that can arise after modernity, such as the interfacing and conjunction of technology with the human body. This of course, is a kind of response to the human situation that Slavoj Zizek noticed: We might say that humanism responds by reifying the human limit of itself by taking as given the un-reflected, or otherwise stifled move toward reflection that being human may entail, to enlist the appearance of freedom. Freedom, where extended to every potential of inclusion, tends to argue a particular kind of economic interaction, a product itself the modern ideological situation of Capitalism; this situation is almost impossible to imagine our way out of.
This impossibility, though, is tempered by what I am calling conventional faith. The issue has entirely to do with limits, yes, but the view by which such limits become known does so not through intellectualizations and conceptual apparatus. It becomes known through something else, and the terming of this something else again evidences the essential-generic motion discussed in this essay. We want to avoid the want to substantiate through arguing a conventionally manifested object, so we instead speak of effects. This is to say that once the object is understood, and this understanding begins to be presented, then the Subject (in the context of this essay) has a genuine responsibility for it. Hence, simply speaking, we have Harman talking about the Object; then by real extension, the objects for which he has claimed responsibility by the presentation of the (singular understood) Object, as an initial impetus, withdraw from view.
Similarly, though I am not yet well read here, we can stand to make a few statements about these other real discourses. If what is human is retained as a conventional reality for a subject, such that there is a corresponding object, then the situation of what remains, beyond this noticed conventional situation, can be viewed as a transitional substance, a kind of material that moves between what is real and what, we should suppose is not yet real. This ‘substance’ thus enters the field of conventional reality through the discourse that speaks of what is determining the modern real subject, which is, to be technical, not merely an object, but indeed technology. We have here a trans-human discussion. Further then, we might imagine reality to be conflated with what it is to be human, albeit as a kind of humanist incarnation. With the introduction of a technological object of its own making, the human being finds an exit from the redundancy that analyzes things into nothingness. It thereby constructs an object through the apparent agency that entirely overcomes so as to depart from the humanist situation, from human agency itself, so this being the situation at hand anyways, hence we have a post-human discussion.
While this is a very brief, general, and most probably ill-informed description of various ways of addressing the issue at hand, notice that these types tend toward a kind of real reconciliation. Harman’s reconciliation is in the explication of how it is that objects may be withdrawn and what that means for reality. Trans-humanist discourse appears as a sort of inaccessible yet present possibility of the future, since what is of the future is already displaced by the atemporality of what allows for the transition from human creator of technology to human technology defying what it is or was to be human, yet while retaining the possibility of a real humanity. What is post-human occurs through the same type of displacement by which post-modern departed from what is modern in the conventional sense, and I might add, is most probably subject to the same issues as its forerunner given a calibration for a new set of defining terms (we will see). Nevertheless, all of these proposals have to do as they are intimately involved with reality.

The present essay, while complimentary and implicit, moves in the opposite direction of these humanist, post-humanist and trans-humanist discourses. The discussion of ‘empty set’ is well beyond the scope of this essay, but its meaning is pertinent to the philosophical ramifications of such a divergence implicated. Consider briefly that conduit that is supposed to run from the thinker to the ‘outside world’, that which informs us of the subject and the object. The issue of object orientation displaces this vector of sense. The basic idea is that it is the object that determines what thought may occur. When we begin to absorb the meaning of this situation, it is possible to consider that what we have typically, usually, traditionally, and commonly known as the thinking subject occupies a space that no longer exists in the same postion, for the same meaning, as it did before; in fact, we can begin to understand that the ‘thinker’ is actually a naught point, a place of emptiness that is the conflation of meaningful objects. If we continue to ask into this thing that is ‘creating’ the meaning, as a sort of central spirit or consciousness, we have enacted thus a distance, and it is the arena in which the act of motion of creating distance occurs that I call reality. From this real perspective that is capable of noticing this kind of logical move, this is the ‘empty set’. We can also say, as Zizek does, that this situation of the ‘empty set/subject’, the object that is this ‘nothingness’, is an indivisible remainder (Zizek’s book of the same name).
Now; there is a larger issue of foldings and returns that this essay also addresses, but here simply speaking we can say that it is non sequitur (out of order) to argue that this empty set has existed for all time such that even in the past there was this indivisible remainder. What occurs is that this remainder has come about through a particular method of argument, as a result. It does not occur as a common knowledge, so to speak, or we would not have, for example, Zizek’s book about it. The Remainder comes about as a result of a particular argumentative protocol, a particular method. But we are not yet here to argue over the veracity of the Teleological Argument (that things have indeed occurred in just this way, that reason and logic let reality to knowledge in just this so and so way). However; we can say that the Remainder being a result, and inso much we can say we found the situation as such, it is not unreasonable nor unsound to understand it as coming after. What has it come after? Likewise, if we can say there was a common sort, and this common sort is human, then it is not difficult to see what Post-human might be, or what is occurring in Post-humanism. Trans-human likewise can be associated more closely with humanism, with a caveat that emphasizes the motion of change, of a transversal of objects that work to establish the universe.

Again; if what constitutes ‘Object, Trans, and Post’ (real) of these discussions can be viewed as a central theme from which each discussion moves along its own meaningful path elliptically to enrich or otherwise fulfill a real problematic, then this essay tends to form a polemic with them. However, because all of our discourses appear to displace the central phenomenal subject to thereby be concerned with the object, and (supposedly) not an argumentative object (which is a relapse back into the phenomenal subject), the ellipse this essay presents concerns the figure made by the others’ interests with real estimations, and thus forms no ellipse, no return, or perhaps a return of a highly eccentric orbit, the centrist subject being the orbital path itself. This essay thus can be said to concern a polemic through a procedure that ‘divides the divided house’ to be able to speak of the minimal and fully human being, since what is real can be said to be already divided unto itself. The minimal human being is that which is the ‘withdrawn object’, the ‘transition’ as well as the ‘post’ of the real situation; correspondent with inclusive real interests, or the interest that is based within the inclusivity of reality and its concept, this essay thus concerns what is not real.


7 thoughts on “Another Excerpt from “Absolution”: Objects, Post-human and Trans-human.

  1. Not sure what happened to your “Call Me Not Politically Correct” thread. . . .

    I have read the “Virgin Birth” section. It was early in the book. I’m at about page 100.

    I have to admit that I’m not seeing the value of this alternative reading of the gospels. The reading relies heavily on things like the opening statement of Luke’s gospel where you quote him as saying, “. . .having had perfect understanding of all these things from the very first. . . .” You make much of this statement as reflecting a quality of the author’s knowledge; his apprehension of “all these things” as a basic human. However, I don’t think that the King James Version (which you used) is conveying that idea. The New International Version renders the phrase, “. . .I investigated everything from the beginning. . . .” Likewise, The New American Standard Version translates it, “. . .having investigated everything carefully from the beginning.” I don’t think the author is indicating the sort of “perfect” knowledge that you are seeing in this phrase.

    You also rely heavily on these concepts of “basic”, or “minimal”, human and “fully” human. Maybe I have missed your definition of these terms by not reading some of your other writings. As a result, you have written “Absolution” as if these concepts are a given, and I am not accepting them as given as I read. I don’t know why they matter. They don’t have much meaning to me, and — this will be a recognizable complaint to you! — they have no context. In what context do humans share these concepts/features?

    I also wonder how well you are hearing Jesus. For example, you characterize some of Jesus’ acts as what appear to us as “a fallacy of miracles 2000 years ago.” However, they seem important to Jesus in His interaction with the people in John 10, “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father” (10:37-38).

    Finally, it doesn’t look to me as if Jesus is shy about offering Himself as an Object of belief. He does not offer Himself as merely “the representation of the method for absolution” (68). He says things like, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32) and “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (John 6:54-55). Jesus also offers the Father as an Object of belief. “Father” must have a referent as Jesus speaks about the Father and prays to the Father.

    1. …but i do say toward the beginning in the book that Jesus sees what is occurring with the Object. And there is an issue of time that i dont get into very much; maybe in one of the endnotes. There is a historical movement evident in the religious expressions.

      Read on! Many of your questions i feel i do answer in the book. Many in the endnotes.

  2. I’m about mid-way through “Absolution”. So far I can say: it’s good-ish work, Landzek. Thank you. It’s been getting both grittier and ever-graceful over here, lately, so maybe I’ll have another dramatic change of perspective before the instant I actually reach the ending. Or the beginning, again. Who knows? More in a bit..

      1. Well hey – there’s a repetition of what I just related, albeit laughably shorter. It’s better 🙂

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