Why Monas & Nomos? Because what I really care about is Civility, Intellectuality, Polis, City Life. Nature. Abstraction. Any way in which these terms make sense depends on the delight and shelter gained by consideration. Consideration assumes an outside to the terms in focus, but it takes interest in the terms, not in what may be beyond them. To consider once meant looking out what the stars may bring, from L. sidereus for starry, astral, and sidus for star, constellation. The Stoics had a similar idea about the vastness beyond terms – they didn’t care to consider it. It is not without consistency, that they made the first attempts to develop a Propositional Logics, based not on terms but on statements – which had to wait with being picked up again for roughly 2 millennia afterwards, until the 19th century. The stoics gave the name of their school in praise of the Stoa, the architectural and architectonic form of arcs covering a walkway. An arcade to wander in. They liked to think of their position in the world as one beneath a portico, a corridor. This feeling was undoubtedly driven by their cosmological theory of palingenese (in the plural, not palingenesis – the idea is that of a cyclical temporality proper to the Universe). But the stoics did not only not care to consider the vastness beyond the terms, they also did not care to consider the terms as terms. And this is where my own inclinations are different. Nevertheless there is something neo-stoic in what I like about thinking. Affirm, negate, multiply, invert. I prefer to think of the terms as universes, which are subject to orbitality and cyclical movement, like the universe of the stoics, yet not in any purifying or rejuvenating way. I don’t share many sympathies with romanticism. To postulate origin or (non-symbolical) prime roots, this makes claims about the beyond of what can be considered. I like to think of terms as stars, which procreate and populate within their own universes. That they contain worlds of thoughts thought, which are not too far away for us to travel to. Because they are manifest as cases, capable of consistency under certain conditions, and hence, of generalization, sexuality, erotics. This is what I like to think. Of course we cannot know about these conditions in any non-projective sense. Yet the negativity of these conditions (in the operational, technical sense of a symbolic mould) is manifest (inversely and projectively) in all sorts of artifacts, monuments, documents. They all have been engendered and borne by enormous acts of concentration, while considering, beneath the porticos of terms already delineated, in one way or another, the constellations of these terms. I like to think about the space within the limitude containing what is termed, by capturing notions – a term coined by Cicero as a loan-translation from the Gk. ennoia for act of thinking, conception. Limitude, this is the space of anything that can be the object of thought.
The big question, with Monas & Nomos, of course, is whether to take a Pythagorean-Leibnizian stance when considering these two terms, or a Platonic-Fregean (or today, Badiou’ian) stance. How to think about quantities. Forms or Numbers first. My sympathies are with the latter, albeit only for maintaining the stability supported by the former.
It is not only with regard to this last point that my interests fall between the camps that are currently consolidating. My blog may turn out to be somewhat “misplaced” in yet another sense.
I perceive the prevailing intellectual climate about philosophical questions as one of historical bookkeeping, collecting and sharing curiosities, commentary, non-commitment on the one side, and on the other side quickly formulated, aggressive or agitational community building (e.g. “don’t be such a bourgois!”) around an occupied temple which used to be the House of Dogma, the Gk. plural word for doctrines, scholia, eine Lehre (in German). At least this is, allegorically speaking, what is being purported about the Void placed at the center of Civility, which is, after a healthy profanation, now more and more monstrously being mis-coined into terms of Political Correctness. With the categorical attempt to drive opinion out of intellectual discourse (trying to guard a placed Void in the temple at the center of the city), architectonics has turned into a cuss word for many – so much so that sympathy can actually be gathered by calling for active Noncivility, or even Civil War (Tiqqun).
The space for consideration, today, is not within the urban. It is not a position anymore at all, it is the exhausting ethos of a neo-civility. [cf. my posts on the Quantum City].
I wish there were disputes driven by the interest to develop philosophical doctrines today! Such that they can be at eye-level with the new mathematics (and technics). It is not about extracting information from the points anymore. Not the particular, not the individual, nor the singular. And neither is it about settling within an absolute continuity or finitude. It is all about doping (semiconductors), about engendering the conditions for positionality (the technological term of “doping” translates into German as Ausstatten, “setting” or “equipping”, which is much more accurate). I wish many of my colleagues and friends, of whom I know that they truly care for thinking, and that they esteem the unlikeliness proper to any genuine pursuit of thought, would grow ambitious about articulating their views in these seemingly aporetical terms. Being intellectual is extremely unlikely, this is and has always been the unsettling condition of hominescence. With the commitment that is needed for thought to grow substantial. I tremendously enjoy reading and participating in the fascinations and intimate interests communicated so generously in the blogosphere, interest taken in the status of objects, for example. In Networks. Love. The Sublime. Politics. Community. Forms, Types, and Templates. Again, I write these terms with capitals not to divinize them as concepts with a defined identity, but to evoke, nevertheless, the integrity they have acquired over time. Within abstraction. Has anyone ever seen and touched a community? a network? has anyone ever been able to grasp love? or an object, for that matter? A circle, or even a point? Or a term? a notion? an electron?
The point I want to make is that none of these terms is any less real because of their abstractness. We try to settle on self-consumptive grounds if we stick to attempting to solve the aporia between Idealist and Realist stances, between Rationalist, Spiritualist or Empiricist commitments. I am interested in the limitude, in what abounds into the finitude which demarcates terms like Liberalism or Communism, Modernity or Postmodernity.
There is so much unagitated imagination around today. In the movies. In the video clips. In the music. In advertisement (yes, I think so!). In glasses. In dishes and menus. In computer chips and apps for free download. In all the words that have been invented, since the explosion of a disciplinary spread in academia. Above all, that of the Quantum. Yet so little appreciative breath is given to actually carry these testimonials of flights of intellectual encounters, and to keep them up in the air.
In this sense it might turn out that this blog is somewhat misplaced, in the blogosphere. I say this mainly because I intend to break the rules of blogging in one or several respects, and I would like to explain why.
- The posts on this blog are not written in an evaluative and discursively reflective manner. Links and connections therein are instrumental. The posts value exclusively the integrity of thoughts expressed. Of interest is never the intention behind a way of speaking, nor lacks in consistency which might be detected, but an attention to where articulations of terms are capable of bringing us. The posts value actively through challenging the universes where certain terms are at home, by picking up, following, partitioning, multiplying or inverting the vectors of where they come from and head to. I am committed to a critical stance, but our time has no common ground to refer to, i.e. not on an abstract enough level where we could develop theory, around monas & nomos, that is on an equal par with the factual power of our technology.
- This is why on this blog, considerations are posted that might seem to come out of blue without anchor points into the ongoing discussions and discursive positioning within them. This is not because I think these considerations are not considered by anyone else, or because I wouldn’t care about those. My blogroll and my book recommendations will give you hints at what I am following and finding interesting and inspiring.