January 8th, 2011

S.C. Hickman

Quentin Meillassoux: On Re-reading After Finitude - Part III

"What we seek then is a non-metaphysical absolute, capable of slipping through the meshes..."
     - Quentin Meillassoux

Etymology of mesh:

1530s, "open space in a net," perhaps from some dial. survival of O.E. max "net," or from its cognates, M.Du. maessce, Du. maas, from P.Gmc. *mask- (cf. O.N. möskvi, Dan. maske, Swed. maska, O.H.G. masca, Ger. masche "mesh"), from PIE base *mezg- "to knit, plait, twist" (cf. Lith. mezgu "to knit," mazgas "knot"). The verb is first recorded 1530s, in the figurative sense of "to entangle."

The correlational cogito resigned as it is to the facticity or finitude of human experience, devoid of all reference to the absolute is ensnared in the mesh of a knitted, plaited, twisted non-event. Entangled and corrupted by its own delirious self-sufficiency, bound to illusory forms of the unreal, forged in the interstitial margins of a minimalistic purity,  and guided by a religiosity that dismisses the real as a terror and an impossibility; cut off as it is from the outside, the great outdoors, which is for it a feckless dream, a wandering thought amid shadowy fogs of a distempered mind, for whom the fabled dreamland of the absolute has become the graveyard for philosophical dogmatists: atheist and Christian and subjective idealist. Now this correlational cogito seeks only the solace of the linguistic turn that offers within its interminable textuality a salvation in traces, a voidic alchemy of thought and being, self and world correlated in the twisted knot of a communitarian consensus.

But to instigate a counter-offensive against this encircled community of the correlational cogito we must go by the path that absolutizes "the very principle that allows correlationism to disqualify absolutizing thought" (AF: 86). Doing this we follow those first explorers who "acknowledged correlationism's discovery of a fundamental constraint... that we only have access to the for-us, not the in-itself - but instead of concluding from this that the in-itself is unknowable, they concluded that the correlation is the only veritable in-itself. In so doing, they grasped the ontological truth hidden beneath the sceptical argumentation - they converted radical ignorance into knowledge of a being finally unveiled in its true absoluteness' (AF: 86-87). But these mighty explorers foundered upon the shoals of "the essential facticity of the correlation" (AF: 87). Instead of denying this facticity we new voyagers in quest of the absolute must "discover an ontological truth hidden beneath the facticity; if we can succeed in grasping why the very source which lends its power to the strategy of de-absolutization through fact also furnishes the means of access to an absolute being; then we will have gained access to a truth that is invulnerable to correlationist scepticism" (AF: 87). Striding across the bleached bones of our compatriots who have fallen by the wayside, each of us must pick up the clues they've left behind continuing down that dark path we "must grasp in facticity not the inaccessibility of the absolute but the unveiling of the in-itself and the eternal property of what is..." (AF: 87). For it is "not the correlation but the facticity of the correlation that constitutes the absolute" (AF: 87). 

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S.C. Hickman

Quentin Meillassoux: On Re-reading After Finitude - Part IV (Interlude)

"If we look through the aperture which we have opened up onto the absolute, what we see there is a rather menacing power - something insensible, and capable of destroying both things and worlds, of bringing forth monstrous absurdities, yet also of never doing anything, of realizing every dream, but also every nightmare, of engendering random and frenetic transformations, or conversely, of producing a universe that remains motionless down to its ultimate recesses, like a cloud bearing the fiercest storms, then the eeriest bright spells, if only for an interval of disquieting calm." 
     - Quentin Meillassoux

"One other move of Darkness in the grand struggle must be mentioned: the ordaining of heimarmene, the Archon's diabolic invention. ... The Archons collectively rule over the world, and each individually in his sphere is a warder of the cosmic prison. Their tyrannical world rule is called heimarmene, universal Fate, a concept taken over from astrology but now tinged with the gnostic anti-cosmic spirit."
     - Han Jonas 

                                      (Interlude: Meillassoux's 'power akin to Time')




Quentin Meillassoux seems to be entering a dangerous realm of the weird with his concept of hyper-Chaos and the principle of unreason. The disturbance of this 'power' he sees as he peers, gazes, or looks through the 'aperture' (from L. apertura "an opening," from apertus) he has opened onto the absolute (the principle of unreason, hyper-Chaos) reminds him of "an omnipotence equal to that of the Cartesian God, and capable of anything, even the inconceivable; but an omnipotence that has become autonomous, without norms, blind, devoid of the other divine perfections, a power with neither goodness nor wisdom, ill-disposed to reassure thought about the veracity of its distinct ideas" (AF: 105-106). Then inexplicably he compares this to a 'power' akin to Time, "but a Time that is inconceivable for physics, since it is capable of destroying, without cause or reason, every physical law, just as it is inconceivable for metaphysics, since it is capable of destroying every determinate entity, even a god, even God. This is not a Heraclitean time, since it is not the eternal law of becoming, but rather the eternal and lawless possible becoming of every law. It is a Time capable of destroying even becoming itself by bringing forth, perhaps forever, fixity, stasis, and death" (AF: 106).

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