Stay philosophical. – John Murungi
When philosophers speak about the public or the masses as if they are not a part of such masses or publics, one should begin their philosophical skepticism there. Why? Because there becomes a separation between what thou art and what thou art with. One is skeptical only in sincerity. What makes ‘one’ not a part of ‘the mass’? What separates ‘one’ from ‘the masses’? And, is such a separation a problem in and of itself? Might this separation and the anxiety through which it is justified be yet another problem for Thought? Where are we supposed to be? We thinkers of thoughts. We reflectors of the metacognitive. We theorist of everything. We knowers of death. Where are we supposed to be such that we must come to know all that we know by forcing ourselves apart? We who are not of the masses. We who are free of psychosis.
‘Anti-Philosophy’ formed me. It is true. I was first and foremost, as far as philosophy is concerned, Nietzschean and Wittgensteinian. Introduced to both by post-structural and postmodern readings and readers, I have never ‘grown up’ in regards to this thinking as much as I have learned to develop their thought within the maturity of other traditions, research and scholarship. In fact, I found that a desire to read Nietzsche as an infantile stage on the track of one’s own ‘philosophical development’ towards ‘adulthood’ not only treats Nietzsche as if he was a child, but mistreats the Child as an ongoing philosophical problem and conversant in this ongoing philosophical conversation (you should ask Wittgenstein more about this). The philosopher becomes the ‘Rational Adult’. The anti-philosopher the Irrational Child. My belief is that the latter is far more open to the radical call of philosophy than the former can ever be. In Wittgenstein, I find that Jean Francois Lyotard, rather than bastardizing his work, pushes the work to its radical conclusion, places it within a technocapitalist analysis of structure and knowledge, and produces a sociology of epistemology that locates the problems of philosophy within a structure of language games within a political economy of capitalism. Yet, in much the same way as Derrida was rebuked for extending, reading, and pushing the work of JL Austin – analytic philosophers who claim Wittgenstein as their own, will not and have yet to read Lyotard as a sufficient and expert reader of the work of Wittgenstein. I do not subscribe to this. Instead, just as Deleuze reads and develops Whitehead, Derrida reads and develops JL Austin, Lyotard reads and develops Wittgenstein. There is no such thing as an analytic and continental divide – only philosophers willing to engage the other and philosophers who are unwilling.
What is it that I do? I read the developments, I seek to destroy. I ask questions, I know nothing. I cannot tell whether I have become one with the masses or one with myself in the masses. I cannot tell where my body ends and another begins. I see a figure, a form, a shape of a body from head to toe. I have ideas. I know they have come from a myriad of encounters with a history of ideas past, present, and future from various regions of the World with differing hierarchies of truth, value and evidence. I wish to dissolve however. I wish to dissolve and to learn what dissolution encompasses as well. Here is the thing: what I worry about for the one who cannot join the masses, or perhaps even worse, the philosopher who is certain of his separation from the masses is that knowing will always be a knowing from a distance, and ‘the flesh of my flesh,’ the tenderness of bones – both crushed and comforted, catatonic and cared-for, will disappear from inquiry. Thus, the only dissolution one experiences in philosophy today is the dissolution of the experience of vertiginous experience, or the dissolution of an experience which might unsettle the sovereignty one believes one possesses over their own being, power and truth. What unites an ‘anti-philosophy’, I’d say, is the closeness through which the anti-philosopher traverses the boundaries that separates one from the many, the dissolution of the gap between the masses and the philosopher. This is why the anti-philosopher is always viewed with suspicion. They do not only testify a truth, but question the regime-of-truth through which the intimacy of thought, feeling, and Other inevitably collide. This is what conditions the borderlines of philosophical thought: that one might become neurotic for truth or psychotic like the masses. The philosopher is tasked with the task of rising above the masses, to seeing beyond their vision, and in thinking so, the philosopher never asks the question: In what ways, am I, one with the masses in thought, theory and speculation? Is it only the ‘masses’ who are tricked and incapable of seeing, finding, and grasping truth or is there something else?
One is skeptical only in sincerity.
What would we find in thinking amongst the ‘masses’ as ‘one’ of the ‘mass’?
‘If there is an ‘I’ that ‘I’ ‘am’ then it is ‘not-I’ which illumines such things and at the same time it is the ‘not-I’ which holds the key to a counterfactual to the ‘I’ ‘I’ believe ‘myself’ to be. You are? therefore I? may be?’
What would we learn about ourselves at least in asking the philosophical question about ‘why’ and ‘where’ a philosopher ‘belongs’ and to what extent, does the very meaning of philosophy today constitute a hijacking of the term from within the space and field of outside/other domains? Not a Socrates left on the streets. Not a Jesus as well. What is the ‘place’ of the philosopher and why the anxiety of antagonism between ‘the philosopher’ and ‘the masses’? Even Nietzsche as an artist-philosopher who did most of his work outside the academy, Wittgenstein who did the more ‘postmodern’ work after teaching in elementary schools, and Lacan whose theoretical conclusions, like Freud’s, should never be thought of outside of the clinical context to which he primarily worked, is not enough of a gap closing. For even here there remains a certainty that the psychosis remains elsewhere. That the truth lies solely and purely in the uniqueness of the philosophical storyteller.
No Slave, No World. – Frank B. Wilderson III
Feyerabend states: “Without ‘chaos,’ no knowledge. Without a frequent dismissal of reason, no progress.”
Is now the time for reason? Or unreason? Let’s try counter-induction. Against method.
No chaos, No knowledge
No knowledge, No World
No Slave, No World.
What then connects the Slave to knowledge and chaos? The chaos of which, no knowledge of World can be built without. Indeed, we are asking for a philosophy beyond anarchy. In search of nowhere, in quest of nothing, the nomadic Slave knows neither reason nor unreason, but no-thing. Instead what we tend to focus on is ‘the planetary system as it exists in the real world (i.e. our own asymmetric galaxy).’ (Feyerabend) From within this ‘asymmetric galaxy’ the nomadic Slave must by necessity appear ‘non-philosophical’ precisely because – always on the run – the so-called ‘World’ (to which the asymmetric galaxy appears as only a nuisance to critical theory) can never be stabilized completely. What I am saying then is that, at every scale of abstraction, the homeodynamics (Steven Rose) of the paradigm, of the World and galactic planetary system, the mechanics of its complex ordering, works towards homeostasis yet, never reaches perfect symmetry. In other words, complexity is the coherence of the World, but the real is chaos. Starting from incoherence then, what we have, is a world order which presents the Slave with a truly horrific structural location. At every scale of meaning, the production of coherence is produced through the chaos the Slave presents to Thought. It is through a ‘pluralism’ (Feyerabend) of scientific practices, methodological procedures, and theoretical-philosophical language games, that the Slave becomes an object of libidinal material accumulation for onto-ethico-epistemology (Barad) and thus, the entire asymmetrical galaxy can be collapsed into Philosophy as a Monohumanist Euro-centric cosmology. This scientific imaginary immolates the chaos of ‘difference,’ radical heterogeneity, and topological asymmetry, what we might call ‘fractal blackness’ following Denise Ferreira Da Silva, in the name of its own highest philosophical truth. This philosophical imaginary shrinks the capacity of Thought into the hands of a select few, in the name of consolidating its ratio-centric Man. Philosophy and Science, science and philosophy together, named the Black/Blackness as the Ultimate Chaos, the anti-Human thing, and in moving past chaos allowed themselves to open the Door of No Return to “Knowledge.” Where does this leave us? Well, once again, it leaves us at the crossroads of white opinion and epistemic violence, in the throes of ontological violence as a philosophical pandora’s box. What then is the difference between the philosopher’s psychosis and that of the masses? An ocean of violence subsumes them both.