Clean Shave, by CSP – and other postmodern avoidance.

clean shave CSP logo 2_Fotor

What is the relationship between art and philosophy?

That is the issue I treat.

In “The Postmodern Condition”, Jean-Francois Lyotard speaks of this dichotomy in terms of ‘narrative’ and ‘scientific’ discourses. Emmanuel Kant speaks of the difference between Practical and Pure reason. And others also divide essential Being into dichotomous factions and never seem to approach the ‘final frame’, as Slavoj Zizek might (maybe) call it. While they are all most commonly understood to be speaking of different aspects (all of them) of reality or whatever, the significant issue involved with all of them is that they are really using different terms to characterize and position the same thing, the same aspect of being itself (that which is being itself). This is the issue that Francois Laruelle attempts to show us, that philosophy, what we might call ‘conventional’ philosophy, understands these divisions, these decisions, as indicating essentially real and localizable essences, what we may now call ‘objects’, but also a condition that no human being can get out of (No Exit).

The conventional philosopher sees terms as identifying actual distinct and segregate idealized (there is not situation that escapes what is of an idea) situations as these situations are indeed thus due to the manner by which clausal arrangements are made: Discourse determines reality because that is what has been argued successfully, and this argument thus can no longer be questioned without determining reality in a manner whereby reality is thus determined. This is called idealism: The idea is transcribed into reality because the idea is that the idea is able to be transcribed into reality intact (is the idea itself real?) But again, conventional philosophy cannot admit this generalization, or will vehemently as casually set it aside (whatever works), and will then move to discount its idealist situation by defining further terms and clausal arrangements. They simply cannot stop seeing ‘more things’, or simultaneously ‘the comparison of things’ in their use of discourse as these lineages of meaning are understood to extend through an essential temporal substrate. 

See, though, that of course, this is not incorrect. It simply locates, evidences and positions a particular kind of thinking and the method that supports that thinking. The ability to find this philosophical situation thus, at once, understands that conventional philosophy views itself as a kind of essentialist science through its ability to situate itself above and around every assertion that is made upon it, to thereby deny that it is an idealism (religion); this type of maneuver once noticed cannot escape its scientific attitude, an attitude that ironically denies that it is any sort of science.

When we locate this situation, oddly enough, we have found an opening that places philosophy as an object; we are able to ‘see’ it as an object, and once an object can be located and defined for what it does (is something more than it does? IS more than AM? ), it becomes an object of science. This means that people are going to get nervous (isn’t this what we are already seeing?) . While philosophy will continue on in its conventional manner, there will be (is) another kind of philosophical manner that cannot help but supersede what has been traditionally the jurisdiction of philosophy as a whole kind of endeavor. This philosophy that moves beyond philosophy can therefore be called a kind of ‘science of philosophy’ and works to be able to define humanity in a manner that is better able to control and or first describe, then predict the outcomes of humanity even while humanity denies that it is being determined. The irony of this latter situation is that such control is not subject to the fears of totalitarianism or dictatorship (but neither democracy or communism) because such an understanding does not occur within the purview of real estimations; what falls into its purview will be checked by the regular political mechanisms which are around for any moment.

What in the past has been called ‘religious’, and then soon after ‘esoteric’, and then soon after ‘heretical’, now changes the stakes of the game. What has been the arena that these terms denoted has been dispelled (the term no longer ‘denotes’) in all effective ways save the enforcement of the meaning of the term itself: There is no ‘effective’ esoteric occasions but those which are defined within the general political arena as another political case, another political identity. What goes on behind closed doors is subject to the same rules as any other ‘closed door’ policy.

Due to this ideological upset that the concept of science brings about (along with its appropriate narrative support), the human situation is turned on its head and reality, by virtue of its ubiquity and omnipresence, becomes a religious institution. Once this happens, everything remotely ‘spiritual’ goes out the window into the the bin of science, yet even while it retains an effectivity within the meaning of the transcendental clause by which narratives afford, convey and maintain real worlds. What occurs then, is what otherwise would have been classified as ‘esoteric’ by modern analysts becomes the effective means to define parameters upon the human creature in such a fashion which moves beyond the ability for the real narrative to keep up with; power is enacted which does not fall into the modern ‘structural-Marxist-humanist’ designations for how power is supposed (proposed) to be used. As we have just said, what does fall into the lap of such analysts, regardless of what it means to such analysis, nevertheless functions to acquiesce data which is thus used to support the determinate scientific use of power upon reality. This is to say that what has been the problem of modern philosophy, that of what to make of essential difference and its interface, interaction or intersection, has been solved, albeit in a manner that leaves a particular mode of philosophical knowledge playing in the white wash despite its best efforts to paddle out into the monsters of Mavericks. Philosophy (conventional) becomes the means to make sense of what is already occurring, a manner to keep everyone calm and centered upon the practical business of living life, understood in the context of tradition though contingency, randomness, and the vicissitudes of free will. Religion is indeed the opiate of the masses, but to the extent that, as Giles Delueze might argue, knowledge of how this might be the case cannot and does not allow us to avoid its satiating glamour because within each attempt to overcome the oppressive and limiting aspects of our Leviathan, humanity functions to sedate itself through the very terms of its systemic freedom.

What is left is enacted by a contingent that, while recognizing the limits imposed and demanded, does not, as Zizek makes sense of the Buddhist philosophy of detachment, after all, totally comply with those limits, and indeed, lives a double life. Yet this one is not the conned apathetic agent of futility and happiness; on the contrary, it is the engaged and living aspect of the limitation itself.

There is a point, a moment, where Philosophy is split: one Philosophy continues in its traditionally real ontological approach and will see every discourse as a sign to be placed back into the correlational  (real) limit; the other Philosophy sees philosophical statements as the material of a science, as it begins to show what philosophical statements establish, what they do as objectival acts, as things in themselves, behaving in characteristic manners to establish typical situations, that can be identified and predicted along certain lines of purpose. 

This type of knowledge is deemed invalid in the narrative of reality despite every effort to validate it in narrative (the philosophical science is negated in the act of narrative) and so occupies a kind of knowledge that is usually categorized and classified as esoteric, but indeed is a science that is offensive to real agents of transcendence, which is to say, to practical reason. 

This situation always is the case (see my book “The Moment of Decisive Significance” for the description example) as history may be discerned along lines of the relationship of this polemical constant over the motions of ideological climate and of their reactionary politics. 


CSP 2008 bootleg 

A friend just gave me a virtual audience bootleg from the 2008 party at the falls, where we originally covered 3am by Matchbox 20!
Who da thunk? I put my remastered soundboard version out recently, and a friend of a friend had an audience recording. 


Reality is overrated.  

and the logo c/p are trade marks of The Covert Sound Philosophy)

Rockers Dying; An Insensitive Comment of Ironic Sensibility.

Rockers love to kill themselves. Not one to rally to towing the line, just grant me the sane human compassion for people who end up making the terminal decision and act on it.

I am going to present a view that I can imagine many will think insensitive.
But someone has to be able to address these things from a standpoint by which all the compassion gains its basis.

Soundgarden was one of the first bands that came out in my generation that was a signal that something was changing in music. I wasn’t so much into Linkin Park; in fact, I though it was (is) kinda wimpy (maybe that’s why he killed himself, cuz he knew it, but couldn’t help himself?). 


Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park Singer and

Chris Cornel., singer songwriter of notable Soundgarden killed themselves recently.

Can we admit there is a certain kind of childishness that is perpetuated in pop culture, but Western (colonialist) culture in general ? Can you adults, and maybe even you younger people, recognize that much of the music that gets popular is, for grown-ups, merely a nostalgic replaying of childhood?

I remember when Punk Rock started to become normalized, or rather, when it became noticeably normalized: Grunge (what lead the way into what we now generalize into Alternative Music, if not the whole rock scene we know now), but it was really earlier when people realized that childhood rebellion was a way to make money (think Sex Pistols). Grunge was just the last ditch effort to reinstate a kind of musical legitimacy in childhood rebellion, and in full view of the irony of its situation.

Now we just view everything as potential commercial product. We allow the children their confused rantings of insecurity, indeed enacourage them to remain intheir childhood well into adulthood, because now we know it merely means childhood, and we probably figure that we can let them process their childhood in whatever way they want (even if it means their whole life long) and its all good. I would venture to say that it is because we all had our childhood noticed in the most commercial way yet for the time; our generation was the one that said it was now OK to commercialize childhood insecurity, to make their expressions recognized and permissible commercial products. We ‘buy ourselves’ over and over; perhaps this is symptomatic of a declining system: More and more the civilian becomes ‘adult’ by attempting to retain childhood, as opposed to relinquishing it. 

But, one of the problems is that our generation, the one that is ‘mature’ now, has not relinquished their own childhood. They project their ‘lost youth’ from the nostalgia of the cute desperation of youth into the ‘all is good’ artistic therapeutic expression, and we all get to relive our youth vicariously through mass media.

So in a way, we allow for the occasional suicide of artists by systematically promoting artists to glamourize their innermost frustrations and insecurities. We must figure that a few sacrifices is OK for the ‘it is what it is’ goodness of the reality we create (or created). And it is indeed all good if we whole heartedly sympathize with the ‘lost artist whos life was cut short’, and morn systematically through the media that exploits the very event of desperation and suicide.

Now; the irony of this whole thing is that I am not making an argument that we should stop this or somehow it is bad; they already tried to apply some ethics to the ‘bad system’. I’m saying that it is indeed good that we recognize that childhood is filled with insecurities and confusion and let them get it out. As adults, though, we need to use this information more effectively. Rather than simply enjoying the nostalgia of our youth as adults projecting our left behind and unresolved youthful confusions for our children to play out again and again so we and them can make a colonialized profit from them, maybe we should use it more productively, see what information we can gather from such motions, predictable motions, so that we can better understand just what human beings do, and what exactly culture is and what it does.

Sure; enjoy our own misfortunes through others, but lets get practical about what is occurring — for the future humanity and their children.

Regardless of what ‘humanity’ people what to prescribe to, these artists were not living for themselves, unlike so much of their audiences.

Zizek and the Event of the Past: Part 2.

AMOREINOBLOG commented in part one and asked me a question, the answer to which, I think helps clarify what Im saying in the original post. So I am posting it here.

Please comment.



AMORINOBLOG: “I find this post really interesting. But I need clarification, because I’d like to defend Zizek vis-a-vis the quotes you gave. But I understand where you are coming when you say “discursive gymnastics”, so rather than be a mindless sycophant for Zizek, I need to understand more about why you say his discourse is breaking down here. Is it because he’s just stretching how much the psychoanalytic theory really applies to reality? It seems to me he is definitely being metaphorical to a certain extent. For example, with the Event changing the past- its just a more complex version of “who controls the past, controls the future”. Or is it the apparent lack of self-awareness about the metaphorical aspect of this discourse?”

LANDEK: I am not exactly sure where your quote comes from, but I feel Ive heard it before and with my understanding of Z Id say it is similar. That being said, there is little that Zizek says that doesn’t come right around into everything else he says; it doesn’t really matter what occasion is presented to him. Also; I think I could agree that he evidences a certain ‘lack of self awareness’, but Im not sure what you mean by metaphorical. Could you elaborate on what you mean there?

There a lot going on in your question, I will try to be specific and brief but Im not sure how well I am able to stick to that ideal. Lol.

First off, I should admit that I am a sort of Zizekist. lol.

Second; Id have to admit that Im sure there are other instances of this ‘breach of protocol’ throughout Zizek.

Third; Id have to ask, how familiar with Zizek are you and have you read “Event”? You don’t have to answer that, but that’s the first thing that comes to mind, because I might naturally refer to things that are native to his ideas.

Second Third; I would have to ask into psychoanalysis. I think that Z uses a certain kind of vagueness in using this term, but he wont deny it; the cool thing about Zizek is that there is really no ‘getting one over on him’ because hes got an answer for everything. And he knows it; I think there is no comment that can be made about his work (his philosophy, critical theory, discourse, etc..) that he has not accounted for in his work itself somewhere. So see that my post concerns this aspect of him: That so far there really isn’t anything that one can successfully argue against what he says because hes already got an answer for why his discourses say what they do. It’s a kind a intrisicity. My answer to this second question is that it is this intrinsic and innate aspect to Zizek that defines what he means by psychoanalysis, and also in the sense that I have of him (and it).

See that he is not talking about Lacan; he is not merely saying again or putting forth some belief he has of Lacan. Zizek accounts for this in various places: He is using Lacan psychoanalysis to position himself, to gain a footing for what he has to say, which is, quite ironically, quite coordinate with Freudian and Lacan psychoanalysis.

I am not a scholar of Lacan or Freud, btw, but I know a little bit, enough to be able to read through Zizek to Lacan and Freud. Again, Zizek is using Lacan’s theory, but he is not expressing what Lacan was saying exactly: He is expressing what Zizek has to say.

Likewise, Zizek is not ‘speaking Hegelanese’; he is using Hegel. He is speaking Zizek.

This is the point of why he uses these discourses: Because together they, the three of them, their discourse, indicate a certain condition of discourse in its totality. To be brief: This is what I call the ZLH scaffolding, for which I am comfortable in replacing with psychoanalysis.

Yet also this is why he wants to make the argument about how the event changes the past even while the unchangeable (and transcendent) past remains unchanged: Because this is the condition that he finds himself within, this is the bearing of his discourse, how his discourse comes about. He is speaking only the truth, yet the truth is contingent upon there having been a condition whereby he could be Zizek: Two basic conditions are Hegel and Lacan. The truth then is not stable, it is developed in the event that is Zizek coming upon discourse in the manner that he does, such that he can only express his subjectivity through those conditions, conditions which he argues from as he is changing them.

The issue is that psychoanalysis is and is not a theory. It is in so much as he references it; it isn’t in as much as it is indeed describing the situation at hand.

I am saying that if we can understand the totality that Zizek is expressing at every juncture, then for him to be able to reach outside of it to say that the ‘act’ in a general human sense – that is to suggest that he is talking about all human beings – changes the past which allows for the event itself, he has then made a metaphysical statement, a statement that shows that psychoanalysis is no longer in operation for that moment and has been transformed, right at that moment, briefly, so he can quickly dodge back into the psychanalytic a moment later. It is not that he is not allowed to do this, though; it is that psychoanalysis does not admit this.

Usually Zizek stays comfortably right in the psychoanalytic, using every occasion to speak about himself and his condition. But right at that moment, the moment where he reaches outside to admit that there is another human being(s), but one who thus falls into his psychoanalytic as an agent who is also subject to a psychoanalytical condition that is not Zizek’s and yet is, right there he opens up his discourse to critique that cannot be repaired back into the totality that is the psychanalytic method without admitting that psychoanalysis is merely another theory, and thus not reflecting a totality, but merely an opinion that is partial.

The reason why this is important is because Zizek is the subject of psychoanalysis that exists within a space that is excluded in its inclusion (Parallax). To suggest that his condition is repeated for all human beings is simply not true; it is not repeated in every human subject in the multiplicity of subjective possibility; it is repeated in non-philosophical objectivity. The simple fact is that for psychoanalysis, contingency is not a real aspect, it is a symbolic and imaginary aspect. Yet, he is suggesting that a pure past is contingent upon the act. Anything that is contingent is real; all anyone has to do is reflect upon their own experience: I am not a metaphysician nor ‘believe’ that metaphysical speculations approach truth, but it does not take a genius to look around and see that everyday, throughout the day, we make choices upon definite situations. If there is a psychoanalysis that accounts for experience, then we understand that choice (the act, or choice-act) is determined by the condition in which it arises, totally. And that to view choice as an aspect of contingency is to admit the reality of the greater human species of individual human beings that all behave through the same basic mechanisms, albeit individually, essentially: Thus psychoanalysis in the theoretical sense, but not in the total sense.

From my window, Zizek is using the situation that is naturally (commonly) excluded through the theory of psychoanalysis; this is to say, he is betting that no one will look at crucial moments, and no one will see when he must ‘suspend’ his true and total psychoanalytical situation for the theoretical one.

Zizek usually does not let such contradictions lay; that is, if they are noticed.




Im not entirely sure what this option below does, but please try to use it. And then tell me what happens 😉

Zizek and the Event of the Past.

In his book “Event”, the chapter section ‘Connection 5.2’, Slavoj Zizek, in his usual manner of changing the stakes of the game in the middle of the game, discusses what he notes Delueze calls the “pure past”.

I think Zizek kind of fails at this attempt (at least we can safely excuse Delueze’s ‘Zennnnnnnnnnnn Ohhmmmmm’ descriptions for being too close to the Event). And this is significant because Zizek is famous for keeping his juggling balls in the air; I think he dropped one.

(around page 126)

…”eternal pure past which fully determines us itself subjected to retroactive change.”

“This perhaps, is the ultimate meaning of the singularity of Christ’s incarnation: it is an act which radically changes our destiny. Prior to Christ, we were determined by Fate, caught in the cycle of sin and its payment, while Christ’s erasing of our past sins means precisely that his sacrifice changes our virtual past and thus sets us free”

“…the real task of Caesar is to become worthy of the events he has created to embody.”

“…a kind of folding back of the condition onto the given it was the condition for: While the pure past is the transcendental condition for our acts, our acts do not only create new actual reality, they also retroactively change this very condition. “

First of all: When does this happen? I say, it doesn’t happen for everyone, that it only happens for some people. Explanation, even if it makes sudden sense to many people, does not ‘make it happen’ to them. It may allow them to deeply ponder the possibilities, but it doesn’t ‘make it happen’. More on that later.

Here (the quotes) is one moment where Zizek is just about losing it, has really no argument to make and such ‘fudges’ discourse to ‘push’ out a meaning. It really is discursive gymnastics, but this time he didn’t nail the landing. But it’s Zizek, so he can do those things and people just oooo and aaaa.

He is saying nothing there: He is putting out and taking away as if there is some residue of substance that remains in the motion.

The pure past as a condition which exists as a transcending condition which determines outcomes (eternally, atemporally), that actually places acts in the non-transcending reality, becomes changed by the very act of the act taking place as an act.

Sounds profound. But when one considers what it can mean as a possibility, which is to say, if we bring the meaning of the statement(s) into a field of meaning to try and have it compare to what is occurring in our consideration of it, it is actually saying that there is no ‘pure past’, or that the very notion of the ‘pure past’ that occurs in this way is utterly theoretical, and unconditional by its very nature (it is transcendent). We have to wonder then how we are even able to come to any understanding at all of what that can mean, since if the pure past is transcendent to the situation of the act, then how in the act can there ever have been a condition which transcends it? Only in a partial reality, one that defies Zizek’s psychoanalysis, can there be an aspect of something which transcends that same something.

We have only to conclude that we have found the opposite of what Z says earlier of the philosophical police that he talks about earlier: We are not in the business of finding where ‘nothing’ has been committed, in the effort to find the proponent of totality.

Our effort here is to find out where that totality has been breached, where ‘nothing’ is being posited as ‘actually something’. He has made an error by conflating his philosophical psychoanalytic with real (impossible) determinations. He has come upon an overt instance where, for his discourse to have weight, a totality and partiality must intertwine; so, where his psychanalytic is the situation of totality, he must be able to bridge totality into partiality in philosophical discourse. The problem here is that the only way he can do it is to resort to the transcendental aspect by which partiality is able to be partial; this is to say, he must leave his total psychanalytic world and admit that it is not a totality. In most of his discourses he does well at translating what is inherently partial (symbolic, imaginary) into what how it is not only real (unattainable and impossible to estimate or transcribe) but true (the description of the total system); his philosophy is that his Lacanese phychoanalysis can account for the totality in partial terms, which is to say he proposes to be speaking of reality but as well and most pertinent, all of human reality; this is his cultural theoretical part. But, in the effort here to describe how acts change the condition of past determinations, he has stepped too far out into the partial world that it becomes noticeable; the suturing, the discursive stitches can be seen.

We might come upon this view when we consider that we are not caught in an illusion of any sort, that from the psychoanalysis point of view, we come upon subjectivity through a total sense which designates as it marks off, coordinates as it distinguishes, every aspect of what we call reality. In this, we know what the past, present and future is, if only by mere convention.

Consider what Z is presenting here and what he is attempting to show. The Event, in this case, is the case of subjectivity as it has a past that determines the field of contingency which shows up in a life a reality. He is trying to show or describe that the past is changed as a necessary element of its constitution for a present subjectivity, and that this change is an Event, that this is what an event is. He is attempting this feat in light of what is usually understood as temporal order. The regular uncritical version of things is that events are understood laid down and fixed in their place, they occur and become manifested against the contingency of the present which occurs mediated through choice-act. Choice is commonly understood to fix variability into a specific and unchangeable state. The manner by which we go about life is that we make choices upon fixed situations, and these choices determine the condition of ‘future presents’ upon which choices will be then made.

Zizek, as usual, is disturbing this notion. He is saying that the act of choosing does more than determine a set of conditions for the future; he is saying that present acts change the past even while the past remains fixed in its determination, that the act (of choosing) also changes the condition of the past whereby we have a decision to make. In short, he is positing a blatant totality as partial, which is a weak move in one sense, and negating of the psychoanalytic he wields so well.

That is contradictory. If we are to remain in the true telling of a total reality (what Zizek does so well), we would like to be able not to notice blatant, unresolvable contradiction. What Zizek has done is presented us with such a contradiction and then fails to resolve or resituate it like he is famous for. He merely states the same contradiction in various ways, but he cannot get beyond the quite stubborn condition that the only way you can change an unchangeable state is to talk about a different state. Zizek is a master of transformation; the only way he can transform this particular state is to deny it, to use a smudging of discourse to appear like he is not merely saying outright that ‘here is another contradiction that I am resolving’; his talent is in showing us and thus transforming a state into a different state. Here, Zizek has merely used different phrases to show us that one and two are mutually exclusive but while saying that they are uniformly intersectional and interdependent. That is hardly the level of what we usually expect from Zizek and, frankly, clumsy and premature. But some situations cannot be glossed over, even by an expert glassier like Slavoj.

Good try.