June 2008


As time has passed I’ve increasingly found myself jaded with this medium. Some might have noticed that my posts have grown more and more infrequent. This hasn’t been the result of being too busy to post, nor of being without thought or inspiration. For the most part I would say that it is the result of encounters with others that thoroughly sap my energy and wonder what point there might be in writing publicly like this. In short, I will post something only to have some jackass jump all over me with the most uncharitable reading possible. I’ll then find that I lose any energy to write or post for days or weeks on end. There are, of course, the rude and hurtful people who are only out to attack, mock, or insult for reasons or motives that thoroughly escape me.

My “favorites”, however, are the “schoolers”. These are people who seem to assume the ignorance of anyone they are talking to so that they might have the opportunity to correct, teach, or educate you about the intricacies of Plato, Descartes, Kant, Husserl, Heidegger, Deleuze, Lacan, etc. Nevermind that you have a PhD in philosophy, teach this material for a living, and have published respectfully on these matters and practiced as a psychoanalyst. Of course, to be fair no one can see this through the internet. Nonetheless, what is interesting as a sort of transcendental framework within which the schooler encounters others is the a priori assumption that the other person must be ignorant and in need of correcting and schooling. The form of jouissance embodied in this subjective type seems transparently self-evident: to engage in a game of one upsmanship where one can situate their interlocutor in a subordinate position. The phenomenon is no different than the sort of hierarchies that emerge in wolf packs. In these encounters there is no dialogue, no discussion, no development of thought, but only a play of display and counter-display that seems geared towards repeating the word and position of the masters. I grow so unbelievably tired when encountering this and not a little insulted. Perhaps the only option is to turn off comments altogether. I certainly find myself better understanding why Spurious and IT have done so, and can see a little better why Shaviro almost never responds.

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There are works of philosophy and theory that help clarify the thought of a particular philosopher or a particular concept without unsettling our presuppositions about the nature, key assumptions, and primary aims of philosophy. There are then works of philosophy that remind us what philosophy itself is, which call us to philosophy, and which have the effect of unsettling those assumptions that are so proximal, so basic, that they are all but invisible. Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency certainly belongs to the latter category. Regardless of whether one agrees with his conclusions (and I am not at all decided), should Meillassoux never write another book– this is his first –he will have already made a substantial contribution to the history of philosophy.

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