Propositions (03/19/2022–05/14/2022) [For Public Consumption Version]
[T]he exercise of unqualified freedom of conscience would bring the practitioner into conflict with the established social order.
— Morris R. Cohen, Reason and Nature
Gods, I have seen nothing
Under, the sun sorrier than you!
Miserably you feed
On tithes of sacrifice,
On breaths of prayers;
If babes and beggars
Were not filled with foolish hopes,
You would be starving.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.
— Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
My thoughts are spreading. The music is slipping away from me, now that the drums have ceased. People everywhere are composed to order.
— Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer
[To make a note, this is a reduced version of two very large papers (50+ pages) that held very unorthodox positions in regards to all things and thus held problematic content that I do not feel is productive to publish. If you want to know the contents, just message me on Instagram, the_real_evan_jack. Cheers!]
Proposition I: Gender
i. To me, it seems to be the case that gender is neither fluid nor a social construct.
ii. I think gender can be seen as a mechanism of understanding.
iii. Your gender identity is something understood by more than just yourself, and it has less to do with comfortability than most anything else.
iv. Gender is more than an arbitrary social construction with no basis in reality.
v. On the contrary, gender is an epistemically grounded notion coming out of intuition.
vi. There are certainly non-gendered experiences.
vii. There is no a priori conception of gender because gender itself is an experience.
viii. The failure of the existing tradition of gender studies is one of having too much emphasis on (social) ontology and completely forgetting about epistemology and its relations to phenomenology.
ix. I do not want to say that gender is a collection of experiences.
x. The very notion of “the male experience” immediately brings ambiguity into our theoretical practice, which is something I do not desire for.
xi. I believe it is self-evident that there is some difference between men and women. One will immediately understand this once they understand what gender really is.
xii. That one has a certain set of chromosomes or genitalia does not demonstrate what their gender is.
xiii. I feel that the common Nietzschean move to start with the body is fallacious, especially when it comes to gender.
xiv. With Butler, gender is produced, it never actually is. With me, gender is there from the start.
xv. The greatest fallacy of current understandings of gender is the emphasis on feeling. Seemings and feelings are not synonymous. Intuitions and feelings are not synonymous either.
xvi. Any intuition of gender by way of an intuition of one’s pronouns has already made the fallacious equivocation between gender and pronouns.
xvii. That there is no gender is the logical conclusion of gender being conceived as an arbitrary social construction.
xviii. Comfortability is not an indicator of gender either. One must either suppose gender and comfortability are the same or fall into the fallaciousness of the inference that your gender is what you are most comfortable with and that something is your gender because you are most comfortable with it.
xix. Gender is not only an intuitive and phenomenal notion but also a modal one.
xx. Gender is not something private. It is not something someone has exclusive acquaintance with in the sense that only one can know their own gender. Gender is something that can be demonstrated.
xxi. Gender is not something that is just an abstraction. I would say that like Being, for Heidegger, it is something we all just know. What it means to be a man is something all men are acquainted with.
xxii. It is actually in connection with certain people that we best understand our gender identity. It is in my relation with certain women that I best understand that I am a man. It is in my relation with certain men that I best understand that I am a man.
xxiii. That gender is not private is the fundamental proposition of what I am putting forward.
xxiv. Age and gender have a radical and within the current standing of gender studies largely unsaid relationship to one another.
xxv. Whatever properties we identify as female, there will never be universality unless we can give some deductive proof, but because of the a posteriori nature of gender, no such thing can be done. It is the lack of universality that reveals what I believe to be a deeper ontological truth: the proof of the soul.
xxvi. The relation between the genders allows for a pathway to a recognition of the soul.
Proposition II: God
i. Many theists have absolute safety in God. In fact, many of them (e.g., Aish et al.) hold that without God they are nothing or in Latin “Nihil sine Deo.”
ii. Christians as fundamentally weak people. People who cannot truly forgive, comfort, heal, or think for themselves. They are people who cannot have true safety without God.
iii. On the intuitive level, I am an atheist. I feel absolutely no connection to any form of a higher power.
iv. One intuitive proof for God’s non-existence is the fact that I, every night, feel absolute safety in my bed. I get in my bed and know that while I have hell to go through the next day, it is finally over for a moment, I finally get rest.
Proposition III: Love
i. When I was last in love, I always wanted to be near her and vice versa.
ii. This common, or at least common in the vernacular of my generation, phrase of “living in my lover’s skin” is way too far and in fact contrary to what is the case in terms of actually expressing the desire felt.
iii. It seems to me, almost to a self-evident degree, that anyone who exclaims they want to be with someone so much they want to crawl and then live inside their lover’s skin is overblowing it or insane (and not in the good way, supposing there is one).
iv. I believe that key to love is separation. It is not actually losing yourself in your lover and vice versa. It is not fusion.
v. Inherent to love is proximity. In fact, it is, to a certain degree, a signification of love. Though it is the case that one can like someone and feel the same thing, so it isn’t necessarily (i.e., in all cases) a proof of love.
vi. It is separation but the desire for proximity but not absolute proximity (“living inside their skin”; or Bataille’s notion of fusion) that is a characteristic of love.
vii. Thus, identity and not its abolition is a part of the general character of love. Identity in the metaphysical sense that is, not the social sense.
viii. The fallacy contained in most conceptions of love is an emphasis on being ready to sacrifice oneself.
ix. Love is radical in its preservation of identity in that it in no way takes a productivist nor utilitarian slant. Love is a test. In love, one gives almost everything, except that which it is not possible to give: one’s identity.
x. Love is a test because it is at the edge of sameness. One failed step and one falls into unhealthy obsession, emotional dependence, and finally that crazied frenzy we know as insanity. If one gives up that last bit of their identity, they are no longer in love, rather they have created a monster.
xi. Sickness is certainly the product of a loss of love, especially an unwanted loss of love.
xii. Love itself is hardly a dialectical competition whose inevitable synthetic outcome is suicidal sickness or death.
xiii. Love is the abolition of dialectics because it is the preservation of identity.
xiv. The reason such sickness arises after the loss of love is that it drifted into madness or sadness. The drift into madness, so subtle and quick that the first moment after the drift begins is almost indifferentiable from love, is this dialectical competition that Land describes in The Thirst for Annihilation.
xv. Love is logical in a certain sense in that it preserves identity and has identity as primary.
xvi. That one must do irrational things for their loved one is not true, for irrationality is not of love but of madness.
xvii. People who claim to be in love for the first time are most of the time having their first encounter with “a hitherto unknown kind of madness” (Frege, Basic Laws of Arithmetic, pp. 11–12).
xviii. That one does the most outlandish things for their loved one such as killing another person they want dead or that hurt their feelings at work for example by making an offhand comment is the perfect signification of the fact that one is not in love but insane.
xix. Just like understanding is a big part of rational entitlement to an inference, understanding is a big part of love in that one who is really in love would not do such crazy things, rather their lover would completely understand them not doing such crazy things. The drift into madness usually begins with a false assumption of entitlement that reason does not afford them nor will ever afford them. Such is the fallacy of many modern conceptions of love, or rather all other conceptions of love that do not identify how similar love is to logic.
xx. That beauty is found within love and within logical notation is another fact indicative of the similarity between love and logic.
xxi. Love is not this lofty and high thing.
xxii. That love you feel for your friends is indifferentiable from that love you feel for your partner. Any objection to my claim here is only the result of truly failing to comprehend what it means to love someone. Now, what about to be in love. Does this not have a different connotation? It sure does, but it is not different from the love you have for your friend. It is just awkward and uncomfortable to tell your friend you are in love with them. But, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, you are in love with them. So, we need a new word, maybe even a new concept of this feeling we once erroneously called love. What shall it be? Infatuation, that is early within the relationship with the lover; and it may never die out. This is not what I am speaking of though. Calmness, someone calming you is only a proto-version of what I’m talking about. But, nonetheless, let us understand that the emotion/feeling I’m speaking of is simple. It is the total reduction of calmness to its simplest and paradoxically most complex state. When you are with them, you are just with them. Both of you relate to the world together. It is a calm and simple freedom. That is exactly the feeling. It may only last for a moment, but it is there. It is remember as an aesthetical experience, most commonly, and all of us want it.
xxiii. A calm and simple freedom, the elixir for the soul!
Proposition IV: The Soul
i. The soul in its traditional Christian conception is not something I am endorsing here.
ii. Certain people exist who are simply not compatible with you on every level. Such a realization is chilling, but it is, nonetheless, a necessary realization. Not being compatible with someone on every level does not prove the inverse, i.e., that there is someone compatible with you on every level. But it does point us toward the possibility of such. That person who is compatible with you on every level is a soulmate. That is the simple definition. Compatibiliness is a radical notion and does not necessitate functionality. I can be compatible with someone because they challenge me and cause me to break down, and to fight with them, and to stand up for myself, or seek comfort in them, etc.
iii. Now, the reason this compatibility exists could be a plurality of different things, but whatever those things are, they can enter into the collective identity of what we are to call the soul. For example, if the sensibility of another and the sensibility of myself are in agreement, this sensibility would a property of my soul, but only if this other was my soulmate!
iv. Let us clarify what we mean by agreement on all levels means. By levels, I mean that order of things which cannot change for you. For example, music will always a big part of my life in a certain sense. This latter fact is of that order of things that constitutes my soul, if I have one.
v. It is not the case that we all immediately know the totality of those contents that are our souls. Rather, it is the case that we learn it through others and through ourselves.
vi. In a relationship with a soulmate, not all things work out, but those things that don’t work out don’t need to be made to work for the relationship to work out as a whole. Fights are not a defeater for the idea that one is with their soulmate, but giving up more and more of that last piece of yourself retained in love is.
vii. I do not believe the soul to be something higher than the flesh, i.e., the body and all its organs of sense perception.
viii. The only thing higher than the body and the soul is reason/the mind, for knowledge of the former two cannot exist without the latter.
ix. The soul is not something of God.
x. I take the soul to not be a spiritual phenomenon at all. I have a notion of a soul but not of a spirit.
xi. The soul is not to be thought of as “within” us, as that which expresses us to the highest degree.
xii. The soul is not to be thought of as a way to a deeper connection than one can garner through physical connection.
xiii. The soul is not our essence, immutable and unchanging, but rather a constant percept in that it is not a sense organ but it constantly perceives changing states of affairs.
xiv. The soul is affected by perceived states of affairs. But, what are these states of affairs perceived through? Nothing other than the body. The body and the soul are connected in this way. Both are tiny specks within the total drama of existence.
xv. The soul cannot be purified, for it is already pure, but it is not pure like logical identity, rather it is pure like the body.
xvi. Unlike the body, the soul cannot be seen, smelled, tasted, touched, or heard. But, it can be felt. Many common cultural notions capture what I mean by “it can be felt.” I think the most easily understood is the notion of a “vibe.” A vibe is not material, yet it is “sensed.” It is not physical, yet it is felt. It is understood.
xvii. Music has a connection to the soul and to the body. Reductive scientific explanations of why our body “moves with the beat,” why our foot “hops” up and down at the start of a sound, why our fingers twiddle, why our head bops, etc. are not needed, nor do they have any real explanatory force for they only take into account the body. Yet, at the same time, the idealist explanation of these latter phenomenon that are highly spiritual and theological in nature do not explain these phenomenon either, for they throw away the body. Only an analysis that takes both the body and the soul into account really understand why our bodies move. The movements of our body in the face of music is not generated by the body. Rather, music manipulates our body. Our movement throughout the play of existence is always both intentional and undetermined. As contradictory as that may sound, it is the division between the body and the soul that can help us ameliorate those minds that view such a statement as a contradiction. The body is thrown around and trashed by the pressures of the flow of music, the soul, on the contrary, maintains its intention and determination in the face of musical intoxication. This is all evidence of a musical ontology.
xviii. Let us speak of the soulmate as a property of an entity who has the potential to attain a state of “pure understanding” with you. This pure understanding is probably more epistemological, for the body need not intersect with another body for this understanding to arise. In this sense, the physical need not be the total space of our consideration, rather we can look toward the abstract and immaterial, which is not to speak of the mind, nor of the realm of Spirit (the spiritual), but rather of the soul, which, while having an intersection with the body, has an independence to it.
xix. A soulmate has lots to do with the libidinal, carnal desire, and the body. In fact, these are probably the best initial indicators, yet they are also distractions that mislead and obfuscate. These latter things, though, do not regulate soulmates, love, etc. They don’t lead to it either. Let me clarify, attraction, especially libidinal attraction, is what leads me to lovers, yet I feel that attraction is not a thing that leads to love, maybe, at best, it is a mechanism that unlocks the possibility, or shows you the possibility of love. What does regulate soulmates is, obviously and unsurprisingly, the soul.
xx. The soul seeks forgiveness to its supplications. And it seeks a forgiveness it can provide to itself.
xxi. The soul is not forever damned. One can pull themselves out of damnation. Yet, let us also understand that this is not the existentialism of Sartre, Camus, and perverted understandings of Nietzsche. On the contrary, this is not a form of existentialism in any way. here is no lack of value in this world. Value does not have to be made by oneself, it is already there in the world. When I say that one is weak because they can only be forgiven by God and that one is strong because they can forgive themselves, I am not saying that the latter person is creating their own values or anything like that. I’m simply saying that they can forgive themselves. There is no implication other than an implication of strength, there is no axiological implication which is to say there is no implication of value not in the sense that the implication of strength is without any value (it is very valuable) but rather that there is no implication of one creating their own value or something like that.
xxii. The soul seeks a radical feeling that only a soulmate can provide. This does not make one weak, but coming to terms with the real and genuine weakness each person has is a strength, and it seems it cannot be done alone, it seems it can only be done with one’s soulmate.
Proposition V: Language
i. The greatest error that ever arose within the mind of any of the post-structuralist theorist was the idea that language is restrictive and in a certain sense a “bad” thing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
ii. Language is the key to greater expression. The common counter-example that will be raised before I even continue is what about the common cliche in which a lover says to the other lover, “Let me show you,” in order to express what they supposedly couldn’t say. Nothing is more ludicrous than this. A similar issue is found within Wittgenstein and his pivot toward the mystical toward the end of the Tractatus. When Wittgenstein speaks of “the mystical” or when the lover says “let me show you,” we immediately understand the notion at hand. In a conversation that took place quite a while ago with my friend Kurt, we were talking about Wittgenstein and to demonstrate a point he stopped talking and then asked me what he said. The fact that Kurt’s silence spoke is absolutely damning to Kurt’s rhetorical intent. Immediately as he did such a thing, his silence communicated the semantic intent.
iii. Once speech starts, until slumber, temporary or permanent, speech does not stop. (and some even speak in their temporary sleep!)
iv. Language can mean so much when everything else is gone.
v. The power of language is that when it is all you have left is does its job and more, whereas touch, while great, is always lacking.
vi. How people selectively use their words such as using when rather than if holds more meaning. Or, how people’s voices shatter, inflect, etc. tells me more about them than seeing them could.
vii. When language is all you got, the way words are used and the real and genuine attempt at achieving a mutual understanding is all got.
viii. Understanding is key. Anything that is genuinely understood between two people is known between the other two. A similar experience isn’t even necessarily required for such an understanding to be achieved. Simply, language does its job, and, sometimes, if two actors give just the tiniest bit of effort, it does its job quite well.
ix. With just a few words, someone can cause me to hear my heartbeat. Granted, with just a few movements of another’s hands, my heartbeat can also achieve a fast pace, but it can in no way be comparable to the nervous terror that words spawn within the heart. Uncertainty and doubt cause one’s heart to beat to an almost unnerving degree.
x. The insanity introspection can induce is something I understand.
xi. On the verge of insanity, language is all one has left.
xii. It is with the loss of language that one goes insane.
xiii. Honesty mixed with conversation is an almost lethal combination.
xiv. Dropping any defense you have with another is not done by stripping off clothes, or by engaging in physical relations with another, rather, the defense is only dropped through language, through admission. Weakness is not the symptom, however.
Proposition VI: Music
i. If there has ever been anything in my life in which cannot fail to bring me to a higher ecstatic state, it is music.
ii. With music, my rhetoric has stayed consistent over the years, but never could I hope to express the ecstasy it has brought me.
iii. More intense than love, more acute and precise than any summit, those ecstatic states induced by music are more clear than anything else purely because the acquaintance I have with the song itself is the most direct it can be.
iv. More direct than even that knowledge of myself, my correspondence with music is the highest form of self-knowledge.
v. If I have ever had any spiritual or divine experiences, certainly God was never present. However, music always was.
vi. Music is the key to the mandate of heaven.
vii. Music throws me onto the verge of tears. It makes me close my eyes while I wobble my head. It makes my feet bounce up and down uncontrollably.
viii. The only point in which I have felt I may have lost some control over myself is when I’m just listening to an absolutely moving song. And I don’t mean moving in the sentimental sappy sense, I mean it literally. It is a song I dance with. That is what your body does when it uncontrollably moves to the beat, it is dancing with the music, not to the music.
ix. Some music has expressed my exact feelings of despair.
x. If anything creates imagination as well as energetic philosophical genius it is the power one finds within themself by way of the electrifying energy of music flowing to and through their soul.
xi. Music can help one go farther than ever before. It itself is really an intoxication, but one that clarifies instead of impairs, one that pushes one toward their goal with precise direction and intention, which is what makes it different from all other intoxicants. In this way, the effect of music is divine intoxication.
xii. Music is not this mystical thing, however. Its power is not incommunicable, for it comes by way of auditory communication.
xiii. If there was every just a world of music free from teleology, surely we all would be free and liberated from the world of means and ends, but not from our body and our soul — our subjectivity is still intact and, in fact, strengthened. Such facts demonstrate the rhythmic physio-ontology of the body and soul.
xiv. As for love, I’ve never found a song that adequately expresses it yet. I know it is out there. Nonetheless, if anything is certain regard the relationship between music and love, it is that one can never express their love through a song, but it can be expressed by another’s song.
xv. Music will forever be my greatest companion.
xvi. Honest, comforting, and reinvigorating, music is what we all wish our partners would be like.
xvii. Music calms me as I embrace the Cold.
Some Notes on “A Manifesto of Speculative Jackianism”
First of all, this is a manifesto in the sense that it is an originary text for what is being put forward. Furthermore, it is a manifesto in that it is an explication of what is being put forward in this text to the highest degree I can at the moment. Second of all, what is being put forward in this text is largely speculative in that instead of putting forward certainty, indubitability, infallibility, and incorrigibility, I am, on the contrary, putting forward uncertainty, neither indubitable nor infallible propositions, and least of all am I putting forward incorrigible beliefs. Lastly, what I was to name what is put forward in this text was hard to determine, and I felt, in developing it, that whatever I put forward had to be etymologically appropriate. I felt that Jackianism was appropriate in that ian means “from, related to, or like” and ism means “a distinctive doctrine, cause, or theory.” Obviously, the Jack in Jackianism comes from my last name. I have long existed in the shadows of other theorists whether that be Marx, Stirner, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, Bataille, or Land. I have, furthermore, been in the shadow of ideologies in general, e.g., anarcho-capitalism, orthodox marxism, post-leftism, etc. Now, I feel, it is time I left the shadows in general and entered into the light. Whether this light be the light of God, reason, or something else, I care not, for the darkness of skepticism and nonknowledge has to be left. In fact, there is a certain dogmatism in not trying to strive for the light once one is in the dark and vice versa. A skeptic that tries to maintain their skepticism and in no way considers any other position is a dogmatist, and not at all a skeptic in fact. But, on the flip side, anyone that holds a position and refuses to be skeptical of it and critique it is a dogmatist. There is even a certain dogmatism in critique, in masocriticism. And there is a certain dogmatism in refusing to accept dogmatism as well. It seems that the reason all theorists are in the shadows of others is because no one knows where to start. Theorists, such as Bataille, have taken this as a cue to start with nonknowledge itself, but this is a certain dogmatism. The hight of the later dogmatism of nonknowledge was found in my philosophy of the nothing in which I took a relatively coherentist position unknowingly. The failure of that position which would have marked my end in theory but luckily didn’t was epistemological presuppositions, it was a lack of skepticism. In regards to logic, I felt that it was justified by nothing. I felt this was, in the face of the coherent hole of my philosophy of the nothing that was nothing (hence why it was certainly a coherentist positon), adequate for justification in that it was a form of thematic justification, as logic being justified by nothing would fit in with the general theme of the system, it would fit in the coherent hole of nothing. And, again, this latter position really wasn’t nothing, as it supposed epistemological principles. The question of where we start in philosophy is a question that, when the answer is thought by someone on their own, leads to way to leaving the shadow of old theory into the light of originality. So, where do I start? Such a question calls for an answer. Why can a question not function as an answer? Infinite regression? What is wrong with infinite regress? It is illogical? In face of continued questioning, we realize that we know from the start where we are to start: that which regulates all propositions and questions. What regulates all things? Any answer to this question is going to come about by some way (including what I have just said, it seems all judgments come about by some way). What is this way? For milenna, we have called it logic. Why not rather illogic? Any answer we could give to this would either be logical or illogical. Obviously, this is a logical conclusion, and because logic has a general ban on circularity, we end up in a logocentric predicament. One could ask what the issue with circularity is, and I would respond that the general character of logic in relation to illogic forbids it. I respond with this because illogic results in all and no propositions being the case, and since illogic and logic are not the same logic has some propositions being the case and others not beng the case. Hence, because if circularity was permissible then all propositions could be and not be the case, it is of an illogic character. As for infinite regression, things are a little more complicated. Infinite regression means that a foundation for the proposition at hand is never found or rather cannot be found. But why is this a problem? If infinite regress is permissible, then we have the epistemological position known as infinitism, which basically says that as long as there is an infinite chain of reasons for a belief but no reason repeats then this infinite chain can stand as a whole as a justification for a belief. One could ask why this is the case. One could argue it is a necessity because no other belief can solve the regress problem, but just because others can’t solve doesn’t mean that yours can. Equally, for example, a foundationalist could show how infinitism can’t get past the regress problem but it does not mean foundationalism is necessary. This would already suppose that knowledge is necessary. When asked for justification, the infinitist couldn’t appeal to an infinite chain of reasons, for if they did, they would be supposing their conclusion, and thus engaging in circular reasoning which we’ve already demonstrated has a logical ban on it. Thus, when the question of metajustification arises, infinitsm collapses. Thus coherentism, which has no problem with circularity, and infinitism, which has no problem with infinite regress both collapse due to circular reasoning, though coherentism collapses on the first-order and infinitsm on the second (as it collapses due to the call for second-order justification, i.e., metajustification). Now, this doesn’t mean foundationalism is correct, or does it? Like I said earlier, just because all other options when it comes to epistemology are exhausted does not mean that what you have is necessarily the case, for that supposes that something must necessarily be the case in regards to the existence of nonknowledge (and skepticism demonstrates this isn’t the case). But, if we see foundationalism as the epistemological doctrine that doesn’t hold that all that is need for justification is a non-repeating chain of reasons, but rather a non-repeating chain of reasons that has a justified reason at its end, then we can say that foundationalism is correct as justification is built into its definition. Now, one could ask how this gets past the call for metajustification. Simple: if we have a non-inferential reason that is at the foundation that is also justified then no issue of metajustification arises as nothing can be higher, i.e., behind a non-inference. Or, in other words, there is no inference behind non-inferential reasons. To put it more simply, non-inferential reasons are metajustifications, they are second-order reasons for belief. This does beg the question of what our non-inferential reason at our foundation is. This is the problem that arises. We have a framework that by definition gets past the regress problem, but there is no necessity that exists for what this foundational reason is. In fact, the logical category of modality becomes suspect. Thus, we realize, that what ever non-inferential belief we have at bottom is must warrant logic, for logic and inferential principles themselves are suspect. Hence, all original philosophies begin with the logocentric predicament. Originality, however, does not mean complete independence from all other theorists and/or ideologies. For example, if I use Timothy and Lydia McGrew’s theories in the creation of my epistemology, that does not make me a McGrewian. Similarly, if my epistemology ends up have a rationalist slant, that doesn’t make just a rationalist, but a Jackian rationalist. As another analogous example, Ayn Rand’s Randian defense of capitalism is not just called capitalism but also Objectivism. Hence, it stands to reason that hold beliefs others in the past have held in no way takes away originality. Originality is only lost if what one contributes is absolutely minimal. For example, while I certainly didn’t have, by the Academy’s standards, the most orthodox reading of Bataille, my reading of Bataille was constrained by Bataille’s thoughts. If I ever had a thought on my own, it was disregarded if it came into conflict with something Bataille said. So, I want to, first, put forward speculative Jackianism in reaction to Bataille, but I must also clarify one more thing. The entirety of this is not speculative contrary to what I said at the outset of this manifesto. Rather, it is a movement searching for an escape from speculative conjecture and to knowledge.
The fundamental issue I have with Bataille has to do with substantiation. Entailed in his position necessarily is nonknowledge. For nonknowledge is the start of atheology. Therefore, the ultimate defeater for Bataille’s position would be a secure foundation for knowledge, i.e., a solution to the logocentric predicament. Bataille lacks substantiation on all matters as any claim to know something is the case, in the end, is false in that it is at the end of things that absolute knowledge is achieved and in absolute knowledge a higher, second-order sublation takes place, in which, absolute knowledge is negated into nonknowledge. But, his metaphysics also end in this as well. The Sun’s rays head toward their abolition (= 0). Truly, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to describe all of Bataille’s philosophy with the single word “0,” as Nick Land does in The Thirst for Annihilation. His metaphysics, however, go without substantiation. Either, they make claims, and thus have unwarrantable epistemic presuppositions, or they do not make claims, in which their is no metaphysical doctrine at all. Ignorance, holds Bataille, precedes all propositions. And, it is for Bataille that all his propositions end there too (by his own admission). So, certainly, there is no actual foundation for what he saying.
Now, let us, for one moment suppose that logic is the case, and that this doesn’t come into contradiction with the necessity of nonknowledge for Batialle’s being right. How does that axiom “a belief in zero is indifferentiable from a belief in nothing” hold up against critique. Obviously, this is not the case. There was a definite fallacy in my philosophy of nothing in that I gave description that followed Bataille’s lead. All of it really amounted to one word: “nothing.” But also less than that. It really amounted to no words. With this, we realize that either the Bataillean makes claims to beliefs other than a belief in nothing, in which they are no longer a Bataillean, by my interpretation, or they make claims to nothing, in which there still is something to refute in fact. The refutation to nothing comes in fact by way of a demonstration of there being something, which is not supposed in that it is non-inferential. Hence, it is the Jackian formulation of foundationalism that holds the seeds for the destruction of Bataille’s (anti-)system. And, it is in a certain and almost poetic way that this is absolute fitting for both Bataille and I, in that, not only does Bataille’s system desire for its destruction (we are just giving that in a different way than Bataille intended) but I also emancipate myself from Bataille’s grasp, and in a certain sense become sovereign in the destruction of my old self. Out of the sovereign nothing I come, in this very movement throwing my old Bataillean chains off!
I feel that Bataille’s idea of losing yourself is not the case. Obviously, losing oneself is metaphorical. Bataille tries to give this metaphor reality in the ideas that both laugher and eroticism are annihilatory. But what is the validity of this? From my experience (hence why, for right now, this is all conjecture), Bataille’s understanding of experience as sort of Nietzschean going under is very odd. Even in my most ecstatic states, once we take the Bataillean rhetoric away, I am. That is to say, zero never actually comes. Never am I abolished. Even at the highest points of laughter with friends in which I cannot breathe, I’m sweating, and my face is red, I am still there. Obviously, one could say that the reason I do not experience or know of nonknowledge is because if I did then it wouldn’t be nonknowledge, and then say that there is no issue here because it is meant to be inaccessible, then problems arise. Not only can only not make any claim in regard to nonknowledge, therefore again confirming our conclusion above that nonknowledge must be complete agnosticism on all issues, therefore meaning any justified belief acts as a defeater for Bataille’s position as a whole. Nevertheless, it seems to me that this movement of annihilation never actually occurs, and not in the sense that in its fiery and volcanic eruptive power it annihilates the moment as well, but in the sense that Bataille was really just saying blabber (I have no other way to get my point across). In eroticism too, I’ve never really lost myself in the sense that Bataille means it, whether it be spiritual, emotional, or physical eroticism. Only one woman and music have gotten me close to such state (and it is a woman I have no written about before this essay “Propositions”).
I still hold steadfast to the fact that if the logocentric predicament cannot be solved then we will forever be stuck within nonknowledge. In other words, those recognitions Bataille has about circularity within his atheology will be the inescapable conclusions of logic in that logic immediately concludes its illogicality. Because of this, there is still great value in the work of Bataille in regards to epistemology. It has been my error, however, to always stray away from his epistemology and tend toward his metaphysics.
Now, it is because of the fact that Bataille’s work on epistemology has the utmost importance in regards to a theoretical landscape that cannot get past the logocentric predicament that I still hold to my claim that Nick Land’s The Thirst for Annihilation is one of the greatest texts ever written. Another great error of mine is focusing in on what Land had to say about metaphysics in this book instead of what he had to say about epistemology.
Fideism is not an option in epistemology, for “[f]aith takes on the form of certainty in knowing, without ceasing to be inflexibly superstitious” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 81). Doubt is not what the Cartesian takes it to be. It is hardly a way to establish epistemic foundations. A lack of doubt signifies no entitlement to an inference. Indeed, a lack of doubt offers no epistemic confirmation of a proposition. However, contra Land, the lack of the very ability to doubt, or the very impossibility of doubting, i.e., indubitability, may indicate some inferential entitlement. Nevertheless, the skeptical despair induced within the Cartesian is “neither disbelief, or doubt, both of which involve an ambivalence in the application of logical signs to an ontological petrified thesis, but an unknowing so radical that it both escapes the scope of any possible epistemology and lacks all doctrinal intelligibility” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 82). The despair the total skeptic feels in the face of the logocentric predicament is not “a claim, hesitation, denial, or uncertainty. It is an abandonment, and a plea without conceivable destination” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 82). Bataille, stuck within nonknowledge, says, “I remain in an intolerable unknowing, which has no issue other than ecstasy itself” (Bataille, Œuvres complètes, tome V, p. 25).
Within both Bataille and Land, death is “[t]he greatest of all unknowings” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 85). But, we must specify, that the reason that Bataille and Land hold such an animosity (Land holds more than Bataille) toward theology is because of the fact that it not only denies death in many ways, but some theology promises death in knowledge, and such a promise is nothing but profane for Bataille and Land. Hence, atheology of is of nonknowlege, which is why “the death of God is not an epistemic conviction, but a crime” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 63). Atheology comes out of finding the logocentric predicament is inescapable which why, like the noumenon, it is “not primarily an epistemological problem, but a religious one” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 115). Rather than theory, Bataille the atheologian has literature which is a form of “epistemic collapse” (Land, The Thirst for Annihilation, p. 187). It is my conviction that this is where Bataille and Land err, for identification itself is not a possibility within nonknowledge. The mystical empiricism of Bataille that sees experience as destructive of productive subjectivities is not tenable. Nor is this talk of the death of God, atheology. Nonknowledge is all we can speak of, if we can even speak at all, after the logocentric predicament’s inescapability has been realized. This mystical talk of literature and religion (which for [esp. Land’s] Bataille are indifferentiable) is not tenable.
I am currently looking through the window at a tree outside of my school library. That this tree could both be and not be “at the same time” (contradiction isn’t necessarily temporal) to my perception is a chuckle-inducing proposition, and that it could both be and not be even outside of my perception is not at all conceivable. This leads me to think that Kant is absolutely correct about the annihilatory character of contradictions. They can be proposed in the sense we can put forth the contradictory propositions, or the contradictory subject and predicate, etc., etc. But, just we can propose them, i.e., think about contradictions, we cannot think of them. Now, let me clarify that this is not a fallacy of anthropocentrism wherein I use the human mind’s ability to conceive things as the standard for the possibility of something. Rather, rational insight provides justification to such thoughts. For example, the thought that something cannot both be red and green all over simultaneously.
Contradiction never comes to be. The fallacy of the Bataillean and Landian paradigms of thinking about contradictions is that they view them as self-destroying, as expending themselves into nothingness. On the contrary! Both Bataille and Land are wrong. Contradictions never come to be in the first place. Further talk of contradictions other than pointing them out and reemphasizing their nonexistence only leads to mysticism, Bataille and Land are proof of this.