11 December 2006

My Limitless Narcissm

I'm always delighted to discover that some other blog or site has linked to me. As a means of authorizing my narcissism, I tell myself that it has roots in a deep Cartesian crisis such that I have come to recognize that the immediacy and self-certainy of the cogito can no longer be established. In establishing the certainty of the cogito, Descartes writes:
But what then am I? A thinking being. What is a thinking being? It is a being which doubts, which understands, which conceives, which affirms, which denies, which wills, which rejects, which imagines also, and which perceives. It is certainly not a trivial matter if all these things belong to my nature. But why should they not belong to it? Am I not that same person who now doubts almost everything, who nevertheless understands and conceives certain things, who is sure of and affirms the truth of this one thing alone, who denies all the others, who wills and desires to know more about them, who rejects error, who imagines many things, sometimes even against my will, and who also perceives many things, as through the medium of the senses or the organs of the body? Is there anything in all that which is not just as true as it is certain that I am and that I exist, even though I were always asleep and though the one who created me directed all his efforts to deluding me? And is there any one who these attributes which can be distinguished from my thinking or which can be said to be separable from my nature? For it is so obvious that it is I who doubt, understand, and desire, that nothing could be added to make it more evident. And I am also certainly the same one who imagines; for once more, even though it could happen that the things I imagine are not true, nevertheless this power of imagining cannot fail to be real, and it is part of my thinking. Finally I am the same being which perceives-- that is, which observes certain objects as though by means of the sense organs, because I do really see light, hear noises, feel heat. Will it be said that these appearances are false and that I am sleeping? Let it be so; yet at the very least it is certain that it seems to me that I see light, hear noises, and feel heat. (Descartes, Meditation 2)
Descartes can take solace in the fact that while he may be uncertain of the veracity of his representations, he cannot doubt his own existence. I, on the other hand, am not so lucky; for insofar as I am a subject of the signifier, I only gain evidence of my own existence in and through others who occasionally make gestures in my direction suggesting that perhaps I do exist after all.

Along these lines, I was particularly amused to discover that the political theorist Ian Lustick from University of Pennsylvania has linked to my blog, using a diary I wrote on one of his interviews to plug his book Trapped in the War on Terror. The most amusing thing about this is not the link itself, but that my little corner of the rhizophere is linked alongside Arianna Huffington's blog, dailykos, and jeffbridges.com. I never knew I was in such auspicious company. Who knows, perhaps I'll even appear someday on NPR! (shudders)

At any rate, so as to return the favor I'll plug his book again and the original diary which he apparently appreciated... Hey Lustick, need any new faculty in the Poli Sci department?



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