A Bit Comment well into Zizek’s “Event”: The case for philosophical divergence.

from my notes:
Absolute knowledge?

Not that everything is madness, as we live through a sort of illusion, rather, that ‘normality’, the reign of reason, is a self-annihilation of madness.
In the same way as the rule of law is the self-annihilation of a crime.

Politics crime= totalitarianism.

Philosophical crime = totality.

(91) There is an [overdetermination] straight line from philosophy to politics [conventional reality]:
• The task of the philosophical police is to discover from philosophical books that a political crime will be committed.
• The philosophical police goto philosophical symposiums to detect proponents of totality.
o They try to detect those about to deconstruct the religious and moral foundation of our societies.
o “universal(ized) crime is no longer a crime – it sublates (negates or overcomes) itself as crime and turns from transgression into a new order”(91) [Idempotence]
♣ crime is essentially a moral situation [is there a teleological suspension?…]
♣ ‘property is theft’
o the external opposition is transformed into the opposition, internal to the transgression itself, between particular transgressions and the absolute transgression which appears as its opposite, as the universal Law. (92)
♣ ex: a marriage without love is already a divorce
• true adultery is not to copulate outside marriage, but to have sex within marriage without love.
o Simple adultery is a violation from outside, while marriage without love violates from inside.

And my comment:

The significance to be found here is in the very conception itself, for similarly, it would be a violation of natural law to conceive without conception. Hence we return from philosophical honesty and direction back into, what we properly may call, conventional philosophy that wishes to apply a certain conception without conceiving first the situation at hand, which is, that there is and has been a violation in the ‘natural order of things’ in some investments and applications of conception itself.

What we mean by this must then be told outright: This is not game of argument, not an appropriation of meaning actively and with intension made upon conceptions that already existed as objects to be appropriated along a particular correct manner of ‘Being-there’, or as an object to manipulate. The obscenity arises in so much as we might have to tell people that we had no baby there already upon which we can now experiment. It is nearly ridiculous if it were not so serious and life-threatening (in as much as the response to such an ethical breach is to kill the perpetrator (in old times) but at least to incarcerate them) that we must appeal to that ‘natural philosophical order’ that would behave as if the baby was already there, that no conception was needed, or that the conception could take place in a sort of ‘baby factory’ or someplace other than the center of reproduction that is the site of conception itself. And the further absurdity comes when we indeed have to tell them this, that their conception is unnatural [the universal is the ethical], because for them it is the most natural thing that could occur: They simply do not, indeed, are incapable of grasping what is ‘not ethical’ in this sense!

This is why we need to clean up what we typically generalize into ‘philosophy’; we need to begin to talk about what philosophy is doing and specifically what applications particular moments of philosophy can be used for. Because right now we have a bunch of people (of letters, money and institution) talking through and over one another and oblivious to what one another is saying.

Take the example of the Zizek/Harman talk.

I think the most telling example of what I am saying in my post here occurs toward the end, when Harman says to Zizek (I can’t seem to find the time marker, sorry — so I paraphrase) “I don’t think we mean the same thing when we say ‘reality'”.

This is interesting, for I think I have a pretty good baring on Zizek and Harman and I would say that they really are meaning the same thing with the term ‘reality’. For Zizek, the Event that he frames through his book “Event” is a disruption of the Symbolic Order by the Real, a radical break in the continuity of sense that is the Symbolic polemical structure, but also a terrifying confrontation, and intersection, if you will, of the Imaginary with its distanced other, a meeting of sorts between what is the Imaginary world (with all its Symbolic scaffold structure) and its ‘imagined’ reflection. The Real is that which, as he says somewhere, occupies the spaces in between the polemical structures, yet identified in the withheld imaginary reflection.

The simplistic ontology of Harman is summed up in “real objects withdraw from sense”. Now, to me, this sounds like the same thing as Zizek. Granted, all the details that Harman may wish fill into the withdrawn area (how is Harman able to know what is withdrawn if it withdraws from sense? is the typical question) will inevitably fill out the difference between them, but this is exactly the kind of difference that I think Harman won’t allow, and indeed cannot see.

But also, we can notice the whole of the discussion. Aside from personal demeanor and style, if we entertain a certain view, we can see that Zizek is being strategic in his comments, while Harman is playing more to the strength of his theoretical position an opinions. While it appears that Zizek is answering the various questions by the mediator and Harman himself, it becomes pretty obvious that Zizek neatly avoids answering the direct questions and instead gives answers that really, often enough, if one is being attentive, route the listener back into questioning the basis of the question itself. But I think Zizek knows this tendency of himself (maybe not), and so really tends to hold back, often in mid-sentence and thought,from the direction of his response, and change what he was really going to say, because it seems, or one gets the impression at least, the first response would either bring into question the arena itself (which them shuts down all discussion) or directly implicates the questioner as well as the colleague (Harman) to their faulty position (which directly brings into question the Event of their discussion, of why it is even occurring).

What we have there is an example of two philosophers who are not communicating. Harman does not really understand Zizek, but thinks he does, and Zizek has fully accounted for Harman but is not allowed (ethically) to let on that this is the case.

It is easy to get offended in this kind of analysis, but it is just this kind of offense that keeps philosophy in its ‘institutional whole’, and misses the productivity that could occur if only we had an open way to allow our philosophical egos to be hit and not respond with denial and obstinacy, but respond with acceptance and thus be able to approach the tasks at hand in a coordinated division of labor (as opposed to a sport of oppositional competition where we are never really sure if we have gotten anywhere even after the victor takes her laps). 3003_pia20521_16x9

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