09 November 2006

More Love Letters From Spurious

Just yesterday I had been thinking to myself with shame that too often I write about myself, and then I read this from Spurious:
I am strongly drawn to programmatic notes, to prefaces and statements of methods in works of philosophy, or, especially, those moment in which a text draws attention to itself, and meditates upon the conditions of its own appearance. What status has a written text of philosophy that would condemn writing? Derrida, of course, has explored this question with great brilliance.

For my part, I ask the question more stupidly, but still as insistently. Or should I say the question returns in me, or that I am sometimes very little other than the place in which it returns? And I admit, too, that I am drawn to those moments when texts that are otherwise theoretical become autobiographical - that refer, in an example, to the room in which they are writing, or to the circumstances of composition.
I detest the way I creep into my writing, the way I tell little anecdotes about myself. I detest that I both derive narcissistic satisfaction from these anecdotes and humiliation at one and the same time. I suspect that I'm trying to humiliate myself somehow. Sometimes I fantasize about deleting this blog, erasing it all, and ceasing to write all together. "Adios Folks! It's been fun!" I feel as if I stick to myself, as if I am unable to get rid of myself. Gum on the heel of a shoe. My favorite philosophical works: Plato's Parmenides and Sophist, Spinoza's Ethics, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Hegel's Science of Logic, Husserl's Logical Investigations and Cartesian Meditations, Deleuze's Difference and Repetition, and Badiou's Being and Event. With the exception of Deleuze, these are all works that acheive a sublime formalism and absence of voice... An absence of idiosyncracy. They are populated by what Hegel called "notions" pushing themselves about without ties to a concrete situational event... How is it that I aspire to this anonymity given what I have to say about the nature of individuation? Perhaps I refer to Spurious' meditations as love letters as they allow me to love a little bit of that scrap or remainder that I'm always trying to eradicate... That stench of self.

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Anonymous Stokbro said...

I could have titled this comment 'A Love Letter from Sinthome', because this particular post shows that some of my own thinking regarding philosophy, psychology, blogging and self lives well in small ponds around the internet.

My movement has been somewhat different from yours. Through Diogenes of Sinope, Montaigne, Nietzsche and Sloterdijk my private maskings and demaskings has become a motor in trying to establish a philosophy or 'psychology' of the body as a contra-movement to the noeretic (not to be misunderstood as noetic) philosophies of pure genralities that tend to establish a level of pure transcendentality:

Movement is impossible, hence Diogenes stood up and walked back and forth ... that isexactly what I think of as philosophy anchored to the body.

And all of this I say just to tell you that your stench of self is not the least humuliating ... this ofcourse is judged by a reader.

November 10, 2006 1:58 AM  
Anonymous Lars said...

I love texts as they mark the circumstances under which they were written: a dated preface, at least as it is found to a book that otherwise admits of nothing personal, or some marginalia - Heidegger's remark on Holderlin in his marginalia to his lectures on The Ister, 'who knew that another son of Swabia would ...': what comedy!

Or texts that seem steered by autobiographical content (Kierkegaard), so that they can be read psychologistically (what a foolish temptation!).

Or texts that meditate self-reflexively on their own presence as textual compositions - say, for example, *Totality and Infinity*, where Levinas compares the relationship of his book with his readers to that of the structure of paternity, the relationship between father and son, that he is attempting to unfold (a fascinating slippage).

Wasn't it Schopenhauer from whom came the comparison of reading with climbing a ladder that would, once it was climbed, have to be kicked away? But what when it cannot be kicked away thus, and what you read fascinates in a way for which you cannot account? With what fantasy does it accord in you? What sinthome, if that is a way of putting it?

Or perhaps it is not question of the dirty stain of autobiography, or fantasy, or sinthome at all, or that these might be rethought in terms of the act of writing, the 'that it is' of communication which depends upon the call of the other person to whom I am addressing myself. A call that reveals itself when I give something of myself - of my life, recounting it in some way as an offering: I always find it remarkable when this seems to happen in a philosophical text.

In the texts Bataille wrote around the period of *Inner Experience*, say. Or the letters Blanchot wrote in response to requests to comment on various topics in the 1980s - responses to a call, each time, necessitating an offering, a gift.

Thinking now of blogging, I always love it when you write about your reasons for writing, of your own tastes, of your self-criticism. More 'boring stuff about me' (I am thinking of the category by this name at Jodi's blog), and especially as it seems to give onto a reflection on the peculiarities of the act of writing.

Scarcely, perhaps, a reflection, but something else ... I remember being present when a speaker asked Zizek about what drew his texts from him. I do not blame Zizek for no having an answer - I think of his wonderful procedural remarks in *Sublime Object*, pps. 153-158 on Metalanguage. How might such lines be read? What do they avow or disavow?

Husserl in the *Crisis*, then, not the *Logical Investigations* (Husserl hounded, terrified, by the rise of fascism), the cross Badiou of *Ethics*, the very late Deleuze of *Critique et Clinique*, or the great 'Immanence: a Life' ... and of course the opening lines of *What is Philosophy?* where, remembering the opening of Blanchot's *The Infinite Conversation*, Deleuze and Guattari write of their own weariness - enervating, but also enabling.

The Surrealists asked for dreaming philosophers. I wander who those philosophers would be who cannot lift themselves from their own life, and from the act of writing.

November 10, 2006 2:37 AM  
Blogger Sinthome said...

Some responses shouldn't be responded to, but should simply be accepted with gratitude... However, I couldn't resist pointing out the slip in your final sentence, Lars, where you pass from "wonder" to "wander". It's as if your question is answering itself.

November 10, 2006 11:46 PM  

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