Erik (eriktrips) wrote,

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I was going to say I haven't written much lately but that is not really true. in fact I've gone on and on. here's a little of it.

these for instance are excerpts from notes on Handelman's The Slayers of Moses:

The event of sense as the autopoietic frontier of signification between substance and thought, but different from either, or different in that the apparent world and the real world have both disappeared to rush up and pass away in appearances/sense themselves, the event:

"[In the Hebrew view] One does not pass beyond the name as an arbitrary sign towards a non verbal vision of the thing, but rather from the thing to the word, which creates, characterizes, and sustains it. Hence davar is not simply thing but also action, efficacious fact, event, matter, process. ... The word possessed the properties of the reality, and was itself a palpable substance, but not in the manner of Greek being." (32)


Could it be that the "original" Torah was also a product of midrash? Or of "giving the sense," which then spurred the unstoppable giving of sense of sense and of sense of sense of sense etc? That is, is there an original giving of the sense or is there infinite linguistic regression? To where? To the emergence of sense itself? Archaic and contingently necessary emergent phenomenon? This would of course be an application of the spatial chronology of Greek thought to the rhythmic chronology of Judaic thought, if what Handelman claims is true. It may be that the emergence of sense as a primary process is one that happens now and always, and is given (or not given) in every proposition no matter "what" the proposition says: the unconscious of the text.


Just to note a few things because Handelman isn't noting them out of apparent discourtesy to me personally: if the presence of the signified substance makes an end to history and language, then where does a Levinasian transcendence beyond being stand (or not stand) in relation to the conflict between substance and text? That is, if sense is both betrayed and borne up by language, and if Bartleby stops writing to dwell in potential, then is Agamben a Christian or a Jew? Is the stoppage of writing an affirmation or negation of the infinite sense of that writing? Certainly potential is not presence; it is not substance and it is not univocity but the condition of the whatever in its infinitely unpredictable articulation-to-come. Potential, to be thus (or to be beyond being but only coming to itself in the thus), would find itself murdered in the fulfillment of a singular signified. In this way Agamben's reading of the world to come as exactly the same only a little different reflects the potential of further interpretation which insists in the text and only in the text but at the same time can never be exhausted by the substance of text itself: the said, the law. The concrete is not the word but its sense, which is born from the word and gives birth to the word. Sense in this way can only proceed from text but also promises further articulation by running ahead of the substantiality of the written. It almost doesn't matter what (substance) the law says--except that that (letter/davar) is all that matters--but that it be allowed to keep being written so that sense does not die in the sacrifice to presence and finality.

If this potential, this sense which attends language, is divine then it is also demonic and anarchic, and Christianity's attempt to cast it out, to end it once and for all, is murderous of both the divine and the satanic. --And may be a nostalgia for a time that never was, or a desire to make into the present time that which cannot be time but its condition of possibility: a time prior to articulation itself.

I wonder if the impulse towards making present is an overly-hasty substantialization of the halo of sense which hovers imperceptibly at the edge of perception. Plato maybe hallucinated it. Paul too.

This doesn't really get me to where I need to be though, at the seam of the event of sense itself where oppositions become infected and depolarized through the movement of metonymic in/distinction rather than spiritual synthesis and into the end of history. Or maybe it does: metonymic in/distinction, or the impossibility both of tying sense down to the yes or no and of subsuming it in a synthesis of yes and no--an obliteration of the seam itself--seems to suggest further articulation of a linguistic community of singular instances which do not polarize or become strictly exclusive of one another; which cannot be made into solipsistic individuals nor into identical members of a class.

The thing I fear is that [I forget. What do I fear?]


Why it might seem sweeter to Augustine to hear a metaphor rather than the literal truth: the sensual contiguity of associations between what are construed as image and meaning--associations which, of course could always go astray and in fact do nothing else. It may be that there is something metonymic lending its pleasures to the metaphorical.


There is almost a slippage or at least an indiscretion between the Word as eternal whole and the text as infinite procession of syllabification--or articulation, or metonymic differentiation through which the articulation itself delineates entities, carves the real out of the void--wherein the eternal Word becomes the reified said and attempts to stand in for the continuing process of differentiation, whereas the saying itself, the difference itself, is the Levinasian version of a God which occurs only in language but not as a Being, not as a Said, and thus neither as sayable nor visible. I wish Handelman would nuance the idea of God a little more insofar as the saying in interpretation is absence whereas the said in incarnation is absolute presence (and non-differentiation, identity, sameness, explicitness and propriety), and whereas the second is a violence against the first, a violence, ironically, of the Word (the said) against its own articulation (the saying). It is as though Christianity killed its own god--brought language, and its promise of a world just a little different, to an end--in the attempt to make Him present and eternally the same. Or that the casting out of the devil, the trace of the other of saying, had the paradoxical effect of casting out the divine as well and issuing in its stasis. Or that the I tries within Christianity to extract itself from language when it is always only articulation itself: the rugged individualism of a violently imposed silence issuing precisely from its own articulation and then disavowing its own and any articulation further, rather than the metonymic event of sense leading language ever on, and astray. As though the frontier could be recuperated in an absolute subject, the said for once and for all.


If, with Freud, the text was no longer Torah but Dream, what of the said of its own interpretation? What of its desire to articulate the truth of the unconscious? Might the flattened unconscious, bereft of representational depth, also attend its own text as the saying of that text? Might the interpretation bring the unconscious right up to the surface as the unrepresentable that is interpretation itself, the saying of itself? The umbilicus of the dream might be its own articulation which runs along ahead, displaced from the written (said, being) of the text but only arising as the writing (saying, alterity, approach of the other or the devil within me of paradoxical articulation) of the text. Thus there is nothing essential missing from the interpretation but only the coming to the surface of the breath of trauma which never makes it into the material being of the text but does not subsist as an essence anywhere outside the text, as its guarantee or ultimate Truth. For it guarantees nothing but continuing interpretation and it is never ultimate but an-archic and infinite.


Come back to Freud's "ruthless dispossession" of Moses' identity; is there, in the compulsive repetition of the theme of parricide in Freud, an indication of an umbilicus whose origin is NOT the murder of the father but something like the attempt to fill in an original where no (original) identity is to be found. Is the murder of the father anachronistically and paradoxically subsequent to the nondiscovery of the no-place that the father took up before his death? The writing of murder as retribution for the powerlessness to make writing speak for itself and take place: a murder after the fact of never having had a share in Being--or in "what is lost" (152). Or even a(n impossible) murder of non-being for not being Being enough.

An aside: the problem with Being is not its recognizable identity, which might be able to effect various desirable things, but what that identity covers up and disavows. What the said of Being betrays and what silent Being kills. Being may be all we "have," but what is not had is fragile to the point of being unpreservable in the province of substance.


Not knowing Lacan well enough to say if Handelman's is a fair reading, but if the Name of the Father and the symbolic order of the Law are what must be recognized to avoid psychosis, is Lacan then capitulating to the said? Not Being, precisely, but the Law itself as stated, as taking the place of Being, of the signified, such that the signified is then lost and the signifier sets itself up as legislator. But is there another possible direction here, one which takes seriously davar's assertion of the word-thing which comprises an event independent of the "loss" of Being and the remnant signifier, a metaphysics and analysis of the unconscious that takes seriously that both the real and apparent worlds have disappeared, into, perhaps, davar/event? The result may be a schiz that is not a psychosis of presence but a metonymsis of a sense without place, where the signifier is not "confused" with the signified, but where it is the trace of the Other, the trace of the unconscious, the traumatic and traumatized absence of the paternal in either the form of signified or signifier. (And nevermind the Mother Tongue. One wonders if Lacan took notice of this.) Conception of the Word not violently taking place, neither as Being nor Law, where there is only the noplace of articulation. This would be, perhaps, heresy in either kingdom.


On Bloom (I agree so much with Handelman's Derrida that I cannot comment but only go read more and again): if reading is a defensive struggle and an inevitable misreading, then does Bloom mean to imply that there is a proper reading from which the defensive reader perverts his interpretation to protect his own subjective place? That is, are stances warring against each other in an allergic relation, or is the impossibility of stance giving over to the pure perversity--which would lose its definition against an absence of propriety--which would result from such an impossibility? If the former, then we are getting nowhere: if subjective essence takes precedence over metonymic perversity. The disaster of "savagery" would be the disaster of the war of essences, rather than the disaster which results from the war on essence: the one is to inflict trauma and the other is to make of it a gift.


If Satan refuses to mourn, "'finding what must suffice, while knowing nothing can suffice,'" has he really stopped mourning? If one still concerns oneself with "sufficing," one imagines that saying will eventually condemn the said which can never catch up to it to the eternal torment of insufficiency. It may be, though, following Deleuze, that chance, that the aleatory point, non/sense, has no power to punish, no power to return to presence and set up a kingdom of sufficiency, but every potential for further always-insufficient articulation-to-death, the event of unending disaster rather than the punctual moment of punishment, which is the traumatic promise of an infinite writing which must continue, betraying and exhausting yet furthering itself as writing, distinct from the written. The problem seems to be a continued reification of the written and mistaking it for writing: idolatry. As long as we concern ourselves even with the Name of the Father we will continue to accept our role as denizens of hell. Why not, instead, Agamben's Limbo? The perversity of neverending articulation? To suffer gladly.


Postscript: it occurs to me that Satan as he is mythologized is also a construct of presence. The Satanic as egoism does not break with the myth but perpetuates it in the narrative of essence.

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