Notes on Disillusion

The world moves on. Thus, we have reached the peak of our disillusion. There are times when I wish I had never known, and there are times when I recognize that the truth of knowing is to become disillusioned by truth. This is because the world moves on, and the past becomes a fable, put together by the fragmented shards of narrative left behind to be gathered up and stored for later. The world moves on. And yet, it never changes. It always stays the same. Nietzsche called this the eternal recurrence. He postulated that this eternal recurrence warranted the affirmation of Life for the one who would be übermensch. Pardon my German, I’m only trying to learn the language in the midst of a global pandemic. This is because the world moves on, and the University is the powerhouse of the world, and I am a mule at its disposal. Nietzsche’s postulation is punk rock for philosophy. It is the will to power for the power ambivalent. And yet, with all my admiration for Nietzsche and for what this affirmation might mean, disillusion is a burst and decay. This is to say, disillusion with the eternal recurrence is to break with the desire to be übermensch. It is to will to powerlessness.

Disillusion speaks to a certain affective relationship to illusion which seems to approach truth. But, I want to suggest that to understand disillusion as a postulate of knowledge is to confuse disillusion with wokeness. The one who is disillusioned is neither awake nor asleep. Nevertheless they live and feel as if they are in a dream. A real dream, but a dream nonetheless. One might do better to call it a nightmare. The disillusioned see truth and the war over truth as a moving nightmare.

What must be grasped here is that from this point of view the sleeper, or the dreamer, is madder than the madman.

– Derrida, Cogito and the History of Madness

Disillusion, an antagonism to truth, would see the entire game of truth and falsehood as a game that necessarily provokes nihilism – not because there is no truth, not because all is equally false, but because the world moves on. Universality is a farce in the first-instance not because a universal truth may not actually be present, but because, even if it did exist its meaning would be meaningless in the immanent world. The heterogeneity of everyday experience, which is a statement concerning the practices of the beings called Human and the laws of nature that they have suggested are imprinted eternally on all things, must always be excised from the project of knowledge since to theorize is to generalize and to generalize is to assimilate the heterogeneous into a whole. Assimilation is one of the primary modes of knowing in the Western world. We who are disillusioned by theory understand that it is not necessarily theories’ fault as much as it is the fault of what theory has been tasked to do in the Western world. Theory has been tasked with the impossible – within a field of infinite possibilities. At the same time, Western theory has made the  task of theory the task of reducing, restricting, and homogenizing the infinite ways of thinking the heterogeneous manifolds of the world as well as producing a universal, transcendental truth about the world that might be true for All. Yet, the world moves on. So just when we think we’ve grasped it all, the truth is: the world moves on. What truth hates is change, and what disillusion hates is any truth that cannot consider change since the truth is that change provokes disillusion with truth, its war and the desire for power under the name of the Universal.


Six Facts to Humble the Intelligence.

  1. Sixty per cent of the species in the Canada Basin — like the worms found living in undersea mud volcanoes and living off expelled methane — are yet to be discovered.


  1. It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter – adds up to less than 5% of the universe.


  1. As of the year 2000, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimated that as much as 95 percent of the world’s oceans and 99 percent of the ocean floor are unexplored.


  1. Until the end of the nineteenth century no mathematician had managed to describe the infinite, beyond the idea that it is an absolutely unattainable value. Georg Cantor was the first to fully address such an abstract concept, and he did it by developing set theory, which led him to the surprising conclusion that there are infinities of different sizes. Faced with the rejection of his counterintuitive ideas, Cantor doubted himself and suffered successive nervous breakdowns, until dying interned in a sanatorium. Nowadays, mathematics cannot be understood without his revolutionary insights.


  1. What Godel’s theorem says is that there are properly posed questions involving only the arithmetic of integers that Oracle (a computer-based metaphor for systems of logic) cannot answer. In other words, there are statements that–although inputted properly–Oracle cannot evaluate to decide if they are true or false. Such assertions are called undecidable, and are very complicated. And if you were to bring one to Dr. Godel, he would explain to you that such assertions will always exist.


  1. One doctor commits suicide in the U.S. every day — the highest suicide rate of any profession. And the number of doctor suicides — 28 to 40 per 100,000 — is more than twice that of the general population, new research shows. The rate in the general population is 12.3 per 100,000.

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