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Category Archives: All too Mortal: Nihilistic Speculations from Dr. Lawgiverz

What we witness in this time is Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World turning into Rave New World. A world in which the well known and the so called lines between mind and body, fantasy and reality, nature and culture, organic and inorganic, life and death, are not just blurred, but have completely disappeared. And yet, at the same time, these lines are in the process of reappearance.

Here’s another ENCHANTING POST from D.C., referring to a bit of my stuff, and a bit of Badiou, Žižek, and Brassier. … Read More

via Object-Oriented Philosophy

When the phone rang restlessly, whatever this means, Dr. Lawgiverz was sipping his dry red wine and smoking his hand rolled Havana cigar as if everything in the world was absolutely normal and nothing extraordinary was in progress concerning the workings of the universe. It wasn’t his wife calling out of love to propose reunification, it wasn’t the Japanese scientist calling out of friendship to share his latest invention in the field of astrophysics which might have led to a ground breaking new discovery of an uncharted territory, a new dimension of being even, it wasn’t Genesis calling out of urgency to lay the foundation of their new pattern of action, their new strategy against the forces of evil, it was, rather, a subject we have hitherto neglected to mention due to unncessity, a subject who was capable of radically changing the course of events and open new fields in and through which our uncanny narrative could unfold. “Hello?” said Dr. Lawgiverz with an inquisitive tone of voice, and received an equally inquisitive “hello?” from the other end of the line. It all seemed as though something quite surprising, if not altogether shattering, was about to happen to say the least. Now, we may or may not opt for delaying the soon to be made public conversation between Dr. Lawgiverz and the mysterious character who has just been introduced into our narrative, but as we are aware of the demanding readers, who, even god doesn’t know in which circumstances are reading this book, we will not even consider choosing the negative option, which is that of opting for delaying the truth. Quite the contrary, we shall reveal all in no more than a few sentences. Accordingly, “I’m the president of the United States of the World Platform, and I hope it is Dr. Lawgiverz with whom I’m speaking,” will say and has already done so, the mystery man who has lost all his mysteriousness with these words. “It is indeed,” said Dr. Lawgiverz with a sarcastic and/but somehow even more inquisitive tone, this time reflecting a worry as well on behalf of the speaker. “The reason I’m calling you, doctor, is that we have gathered information which we think might be of interest to you regarding the recent developments in world history, and especially the history of science and philosophy.” “Don’t you consider philosophy to be a science in-itself? Or do you consider it an inferior science, a thing of the past, which should rather be left to extinction in the long forgotten pages of history?” asked Dr. Lawgiverz as if this had any relevance at all to the issue at stake here. “Whether philosophy is a science or not is of no interest to us, sir,” said the voice at the other end of the line and continued, “what’s of interest to us is your relationship, or correlation, as you and the likes of you would put it, to the newly emerging philosophical movement called Speculative Realism, which, no doubt goes beyond a mere interest in new possibilities of philosophizing and touches upon a fundamental and highly sensitive issue concerning the relationship between the meaning of life and the state of world politics today. Now, it would be understandable if you only touched upon this issue, but you go much further than that and recklessly intervene in world economics, manifesting itself in the form of capitalism, the most developed form of economics known to man up until now. As is clear to us, your intentions are much more sinister than they appear to be, to cut a long story short, doctor, we are convinced that your primary objective is to shake the foundations of humanity’s very own mode of being itself. Am I right or am I right?” “No need to get uptight with me mister president. I understand that you have done your homework extremely well, but I wonder if you really have any proof at all to sustain your unjustified accusations.” “I assume you are forgetting with whom you are talking mister doctor. If I had no proof to justify my accusations, as you put it, with what authority do you think I would have the courage, or to put it more bluntly, the guts, to call and accuse you of being the mastermind behind these conspiracies?” “I don’t know about that, sir,” said Dr. Lawgiverz and added, “but if there’s one thing I surely know, it’s that I don’t even know whether you really are the person you say you are, calling me in the middle of the night and speculating endlessly about my intellectual life and the conspiracies behind which I’m the mastermind. Correct me if I’m wrong, but how am I supposed to know that you are not a psychotic reader who has not only just happened to read one or more of my books, but who also happens to think he has solved the riddle just like that?” “Well, you obviously cannot know that, what’s more, you are not supposed to know that anyway. So why don’t you just stop presenting yourself as someone who is supposed to know everything.” “I must admit, I’m having difficulty relating to you.” “Perhaps that’s because you are an anti-correlationist, as you would put it.” “I think there is a grand misunderstanding here. Anti-correlationism has nothing to do with two individuals having difficulty communicating with one another. As a matter of fact, what’s at stake in anti- correlationism is much more profound than that. I don’t know if it’s necessary to get into details, but let me at least say just this: anti-correlationism is not a state of mind, or a state of situation, as Badiou would put it, rather, it is a mode of being and thinking, which is driven by a will to think non-reflectively and non-determinatively, that is, to think objects as they are in themselves, rather than they are for mortal humans. Anti-correlationism proposes that it is possible and necessary to think and speculate on a world independent of human thought and/but engagingly indifferent to the symbolic reality. In short, it is an attempt to traverse the fantasy and touch the Real, as Lacan would have put it if only he was alive, which he did when he was.” “How would a human do that, if I may ask?” “You surely may ask, and the answer you get would be that natural sciences and mathematics have already been doing that for centuries. It is only a matter of finding, or rather, creating a new language that would do(express) the same in and through words, rather than the symbols of mathematics, chemistry and physics.” “I didn’t call you to engage in philosophical and scientific discourse doctor. You are a suspect and my duty is to warn you that if you continue your sinister acts, you will regret being alive and capable of thought. Good bye!” “Good bye, sir.”

Araya pek çok ahkâm tohumu serpiştirdiğimizin farkındayız. Lâkin farkında olduğumuz bir başka şey de bizim, bu anlatının yazarı ve/veya yazarları olarak, okuyucularımıza sadece zevk vermek ve hoş vakit geçirmelerini sağlamak için yazmadığımız gerçeğidir. Son derece önemli mevzuları mercek altına alıyoruz burada; anlatıya ara vermişsek insanlığın geleceğine dair birtakım endişeler taşıyor oluşumuzdandır. Her neyse, lâfı daha fazla uzatmadan kaldığımız yere geri dönecek olursak görürüz ki olayın aldığı gayet komplike hâl yıllardır durmaksızın coşkuyla çarpamktan yorgun düşmüş ve/fakat aynı sebepten, yani durmaksızın çoşkuyla çarpmaktan ötürü, kas bakımından güçlenmiş yüreklere acı vermektedir. Çünkü “Ölüm ve Kapitalizm” temalı konferansın ilk konuşmacısı üç silahşörlerde şok etkisi yaratacak bir kişidir. Söylemeye gerek var mı bilmiyoruz, ama her ne hikmetse “istihbaratın düştüğü yanılgının ve bilgi eksikliğinin boyutları hem korkunç, hem düşündürücü, hem de ibret vericidir,” demekten de kendimizi alamıyoruz. Söz konusu yanılgıdan kaynaklanan istihbarat krizinin üç silahşörler için bu duygulara ilâveten endişe verici de olmasının ise insan doğasının gereği olduğunu da sözlerimize eklemeyi ihmâl etmiyoruz. Zira konferansın ilk konuşmacısı devletler platformunun korkulu rüyâsı Dr. Lawgiverz’dir. Belli ki doktor Japonya’da olmaktan ziyade tıpkı üç silahşörler gibi İngiltere’nin başkenti Londra’dadır.

Evet, yanlış duymadın, “Ölüm ve Kapitalizm” adlı konferansın ilk konuşmacısı, akıl ihsan olunmuş her fâninin aklına durgunluk vermesi kuvvetle muhtemel olsa da Dr. Lawgiverz’di, ey üstündeki lâneti yazgısı belleyen şaşkın okur. Akla zarar hakikatlerin birbiri ardına zuhruyla kasılan bilinçlerin daha fazla kasılmasına gönlümüz razı olmadığından, Dr. Lawgiverz’in konuşmasının anlatımızın kurgusu açısından önem arz etmeyen yanlarını budayıp, sadece hayati ehemmiyeti haiz bazı noktaları iktibas etmenin yerinde olacağını düşündük. Eminiz ki pek çok okuyucumuz bu kararımızı sevinçle karşılamış, içlerine dolan salakça sevinçle ne yapacaklarını bilmez bir vaziyette taklalar atmaya başlamıştır. Kararımızdan hoşnut olmayan okuyucularımıza ise elimizden herkesi tatmin etmenin mümkün olmadığı gerçeğini bir an olsun akıllarından çıkarmamalarını salık vermekten başka bir şey gelmediğini üzüntüyle belirtmek isteriz. Kendilerine burada sizlerin huzurunda söz veririz ki bir dahaki sefere de şimdi sevinç çığlıkları ve taklalar atan okuyucularımıza vereceğiz aynı salığı. Böylece her iki gruptaki okuyucularımızı da eşit derecede ihya etmiş olacağız sanırız. Kendini hangi gruba dahil hissederse hissetsin, hiçbir okuyucumuzu sanrılarımızla meşgul etmek istemediğimiz için lâfı fazla uzatmadan Dr. Lawgiverz’in konferansta sarfettiği ibret verici sözlere geçelim isterseniz şimdi hep birlikte.

Ama durun bir dakika, sanırız bu kısımları böyle hızlıca geçiştirmemek lâzım, ne de olsa Dr. Lawgiverz’in üş silahşörlerin dizi dibinde olması kurguya yepyeni bir boyut katıyor. Şef yanındaki iki embesile şaşkınlık ve kınamayı aynı anda dışa yansıtan bir bakış fırlatıyor. Az önce iki embesil diye andığımız müffettiş ve çavuş ise şefe şaşkınlık ve korku dolu bakışlarını gönderiyor. İşler iyice sarpa sarıyor anlaşılan. Her neyse ama, şimdi panik yapmanın ve çevredekilere işin içindeki bit yeniklerinden örnekler sunmanın hiç sırası değil. Üç silahşörlerin bu aşamada yapması gereken soğuk kanlılıklarını korumak ve ölümle kapitalizm arasındaki ilişkileri spekülatif realist bakış açısıyla mercek altına almak maksadıyla düzenlenmiş “Ölüm ve Kapitalizm” adlı bu konferansı konuyla son derece alâkadarmış gibi can kulağıyla dinlemek. Şimdi papara koparmanın ve Dr. Lawgiverz’in yanına gidip “tutklusunuz bayım, sizi neo-liberal düzenin ve global kapitalizmin temellerine dinamit döşemeye, bu suretle rejimi yıkmaya cüret ve teşebbüs etmekten tutukluyoruz!” demenin hiç sırası değil. Bu arada dikkatli okuyucularımız soracaktır; “peki ama üç silahşörler Dr. Lawgiverz’i nereden tanıyor? Anlatıda daha önce Dr. Lawgiverz’in resmini gördüklerini hatırlamıyoruz.” Haklısınız sevgili okurlar, görmediniz, çünkü gösteren olmadı. Bizim de gözümüzden kaçan bu ayrıntıyı gündeme getirdiğiniz için size teşekkürü bir borç biliriz. Borcumuzu nasıl ödeyeceğimizi ise şimdilik bilemiyoruz. O yüzden hemen konuya açıklık getireceğini düşündüğümüz şu açıklamayı yapmayı boynumuzun borcu sayıyoruz: Dr. Lawgiverz’in resimleri devletler platformunun web sitesinde yayımlanmıştır; devletler platformu ise söz konusu resimleri bizzat doktorun kişisel web sitesinden araklamıştır. Zaten doktorun öyle saklısı gizlisi de yoktur. Internete girip google arama motoruna Dr. Lawgiverz yazıp ara’yı tıklamak irili ufaklı, renkli renksiz pek çok Dr. Lawgiverz resmine erişiminizi mümkün kılacaktır. Yani kısacası üç silahşörlerin, doktorun resimlerini görmesi değil, görmemesidir imkânsız olan. Bu konuya da yapıbozum tekniğini kullanmak suretiyle böylece açıklık getirdiğimize göre sanırız artık anlatımıza kaldığımız yerden devam edebilir, yani Birkbeck Enstitüsü’nün konferans salonuna geri dönebiliriz. Lâkin salona dönüp anlatıya devam etmeden önce tüm bu açıklamalarımızı anlamsız kılmak pahasına şunu da sözlerimize eklemeden edemedik: Zaten konferansın posterlerinde Dr. Lawgiverz’in ilk konuşmacı olduğu açık ve net bir biçimde yazılıydı. Bu posterlerin nasıl olup da üç silahşörlerin gözünden kaçmış olabileceğini ise  inanın biz de bilemiyoruz. Tek tesellimiz, bir anlatıcı da olsa insanın her şeyi bilmesinin mümkün olmadığı gerçeğidir.

Üç silahşörler konferans salonunun arka sıralarına oturmayı seçmiştir. Bu seçimlerinin ardında yatan sebep ise tüm salona hakim bir görüş açısına sahip olmak arzusunu taşımalarıdır; böylece salonda kuş uçurtmayacaklar, dişi olsun veya olmasın hiçbir sineğe geçit vermeyeceklerdir. Bu arada Dr. Lawgiverz, Ölümlüler, Ölümsüzler ve Spekülatif Gerçekçiler adlı konuşmasına başlamıştır bile, ki söz konusu konuşmayı da ne yazık ki anlatının akışı içerisinde yeri olmadığı düşüncesiyle kitabımızın son bölümüne aldığımızı belirtelim. Tekrarlamaktan asla bıkmayacağımız o bölüm ise her zaman olduğu gibi gene Dr. Lawgiverz’den Nihilistik Spekülasyonlar adını taşımaktadır, ey görüşleriyle kitabın organik bütünlüğüne katkı koyan paha biçilmez okur!

Sanctus and Other Films by from barbara hammer on Vimeo.

Sanctus is a film of the rephotographed moving x-rays originally shot by Dr. James Sibley Watson and his colleagues. Making the invisibile, visible, the film reveals the skeletal structure of the human body as it protects the hidden fragility of interior organ systems. Sanctus portrays a body in need of protection on a polluted planet where immune system disorders proliferate.

Snow Job: The Media Hysteria of AIDS, 1988, 8 min.
Endangered, 1989, 19 min.
Sanctus, 1990, 20 min.
Vital Signs, 1989, 10 min.

Dilip ChaudhuryÜst Düzey Bir Araştırma Komisyonu’nun ilk icraatı Dr. Lawgiverz’i bulup sistemin temellerini dinamitlemesini engellemek için yargıya havale etmek üzere üç siyasi polis memuru görevlendirmek olur. Üç farklı ülkeden seçilen ve kendi ülkelerinde işlerinin ehli olduklarını ispatlamış bu üç siyasi polisin biri şef, biri müfettiş, diğeri de basit bir çavuştur. Öncelikle üçünün de konuşabildiği ortak bir dil belirleyip, ki bu dil elbette ki İngilizce’dir, işe koyulan bu üçlüye Üç Silahşörler demek ise ilerleyen süreçte açıklığa kavuşacak sebeplerden ötürü sanırız pek yerinde olacaktır. Dolayısıyla da bundan böyle onları üç silahşörler olarak anacağımızı şimdiden belirtelim.

Her neyse, geleneksel romanlarda olduğu gibi durup da bu üçlünün teker teker karakter tahlillerine girişmek yerine, karakterlerini olayların seyrinin açıklığa kavuşturmasını günümüz edebiyatına uyum açısından uygun bulduk. Örneğin göreve getirildikleri o ilk günkü karşılaşma esnasında gerçekleşen şu anekdot bile bize nasıl bir üçlüyle karşı karşıya bulunduğumuzu göstermeye yeter ve hatta artar bile diye düşünüyoruz.

Şef şu sözlerle başlasın mesela konuşmasına: “Arkadaşlar merhaba. Bildiğiniz gibi Dünya Devletleri Ortak Platformu’nun istihbarat şubesi baş sorumlusu kendisine verilen yetkiye dayanarak Üst Düzey Bir Araştırma Komisyonu oluşturdu ve beni de şimdilik üçümüzden ibaret bu komisyona şef olarak atadı. Bundan böyle aramızdaki kültürel farklılıkları geri plana itip ortak bir amaç doğrultusunda, yani Dr. Lawgiverz’i ve Spekülatif Gerçekçiler’i haince planlarını yürürlüğe koymaktan men etmek yolunda birlikte çalışacağız. İstihbarat şubesi baş sorumlusunun bana verdiği dosyaya göre Dr. Lawgiverz şu anda Japonya’da. Sanırım aramızda bir Japon’un bulunması da bu yüzdendir.” Bunları söylerken bakışlarını müfettişe yönelterek başını hafifçe öne eğmesinden anlıyoruz ki müfettiş Japon’dur, ki nitekim öyle olduğu için de sözü devralan o olacaktır. “Teşekkürler şefim. Japonya polis teşkilatı olarak, Dr. Lawgiverz’in iletişim halinde olmanın da ötesinde bir takım bilimsel projeleri hayata geçirmek üzere son derece içli dışlı olduğu bilim adamını tespit etmiş bulunmaktayız. Takamuro Kootaro adındaki bu adam yıllardır zamanda yolculuk, ölümsüzlük ve daha başka doğa üstü hadiselerle ilgili araştırmalar yapıyor. Ne yazık ki arkasındaki güçleri henüz tespit edebilmiş değiliz, ancak Japonya dışından, büyük ihtimalle Kuzey Amerika’dan olduğunu tahmin ettiğimiz bazı şer odaklarından beslendiğini tahmin ediyoruz. Ona maddi kaynak sağlayan birden fazla enstitü olduğu aldığımız duyumlar arasında.” O vakte kadar tüm bunları dikkatle dinlemekte olan çavuş tam da müfettiş sözlerini bitirdiği esnada araya girerek Amerika Birleşik Devletleri vatandaşı olduğunu ele veren bir cümleyle başlayacaktır konuşmasına. “Chicago Haberalma Örgütü’nde geçirdiğim yıllar boyunca edindiğim tecrübeyle ifade edecek olursam Dr. Lawgiverz’in söz konusu Japon bilim adamına maddi kaynak sağlayan enstitülere göbekten bağlı olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Elimizde henüz kanıt olmasa da Dr. Lawgiverz’in Takamuro Kootaro’yla ülkemizdeki birtakım ne idüğü belirsiz enstitüler arasında bir nevi köprü vazifesi gördüğünden eminiz diyebilirim. Oradaki arkadaşlarım gerekli kanıtları bulmakla, bulamadıklarını ise yaratmakla meşguller şimdi.”

Dikkatli okuyucularımızın gözünden kaçmayacağı üzere şefin milliyetini belirtmediğimizin ise elbette ki farkındayız. Bunun sebebi kendisinin Atlantik Okyanusu üzerinde uçmakta olan bir uçakta ve/yani hiçbir ülkenin hava sahasına dahil olmayan bir bölgede doğmuş olmasıdır. Annesi İspanyol-İtalyan, babası ise Fransız-İngiliz kırması olan bu adam sizin de gördüğünüz üzere kırmaların kırmasıdır. Avrupalı diyebileceğimiz şef, artık Avrupa Birliği kurulduğu için çoğu anlamsızlaşan toplam altı ülkenin pasaportunu birden taşımakta ve yedi dili anadili gibi konuşabilmektedir. Elbette ki bunun sebebi herhangi bir anadile sahip olmamasıdır, yani mantık kurallarına özen gösteren okuyucularımızın da takdir edeceği üzere az önce yanlış bir benzetme yapmak gafletine düştük. Zira anavatanı olmayan bir insanın anadili de olmaz, olamaz.

Londra’nın her zamanki gibi o son derece soğuk ve yağmurlu gecelerinden birinde, Dünya Devletleri Ortak Platformu tarafından üç silahşörlere merkez ofis niyetine tahsis edilen, Liverpool Street yakınlarındaki o eski evde vuku bulan bu anekdot, üç silahşörlerin, ertesi gün bazı spekülatif gerçekçilerin Londra’da boy göstereceği bir konferansa, esas amaçlarının ne olduğunu kimseye çaktırmadan katılıp olayın felsefi boyutunu mercek altına alma kararıyla son bulacaktır, ki nitekim sanırız bulmuştur da zaten işte.

New theory suggests that dark matter might gather in the center of the sun…

By Smaranda Biliuti, News Editor 


Dr Stephen West from the Department of Physics at Royal Holloway, University of London, launched an interesting theory about what is happening in the center of the sun. He believes that dark matter is somehow trapped at the sun’s center and it is cooling down its core.

A study carried out by Dr West analyzes the possible effects of dark matter particles on the sun’s properties, if they ever get trapped in the middle. Theory says that dark matter forms a halo around our galaxy. As the sun moves around the galaxy, there is a possibility that it crosses a current of dark matter, of which some might be captured by its gravity. If such thing happens, then dark matter particles would be caught at the center of the sun.

Dr West says that “dark matter makes up more than 80 per cent of the total mass of the universe. We know that dark matter exists but to date it has never been produced in a laboratory or directly observed in any experiment, as a result we have very little information about what it actually is. It is important that we examine all possible ways of probing the nature of dark matter and the sun could provide us with an unexpected laboratory in which to do this.”

Researchers managed to simulate the effect of dark matter gatherings and found out that this phenomenon would reduce the temperature of the sun’s core. As dark matter particles are believed to absorb energy, part of the core’s heat would be transferred to the surface of the sun. If the sun’s core gets cooler, the number of neutrinos coming from its nuclear reactions would be affected. Dr West hopes that by examining these neutrinos, he could find out more about the temperature of the sun’s core and also whether dark matter is important or not in solar physics. All this would also provide information about the mass of individual dark matter particles and about their interactions with elements from the sun.

Dr Stephen West reveals that “the next step in the work is to look more closely at the change in the predicted number of neutrinos produced in the sun as a result of dark matter collecting at the core and to examine the sensitivity of existing neutrino experiments to this change. In addition, an investigation of the possibility of probing this type of dark matter at the Large Hadron Collider is planned. The LHC could provide complimentary information about the properties of dark matter which along with the information from the sun may lead to a clearer picture of one of the more puzzling issues in physics.”

Copyright (c) 2001-2010 Softpedia.


Creatureliness and Immortality (via Speculative Humbug)

 [I now think the opinions expressed here are massively too hasty – this issue of meaning and finitude requires a lot more thought – but I’ll leave the original post up anyway.] I’ve just watched the first episode of this interview with Simon Critchley, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to note a key disagreement I have with Critchley’s position while the thoughts are still fresh. Critchley makes the point – with which I agree – that our soci … Read More

via Speculative Humbug

Excerpt from Cengiz Erdem’s Ph.D. thesis

In his Critique of Judgement, Kant distinguishes between the determinative and the reflective modes of judgement. If we keep in mind that the reflective mode of judgement reflects on particulars in such a way as to produce universals to which they can be subjected, and that the determinative mode of judgement determines a particular by subjecting it to a universal, it becomes understandable why among these two I shall be using the reflective mode which splits as it unites the subject of enunciation and the enunciated subject. But it must be kept in mind that the subject of enunciation which refers to the universal is itself a constitutive illusion, or a regulatory idea necessary for the emergence of the immortal subject as the enunciated content.

It is only in and through a position of non-mortality within and without mortal life at the same time that the exploitation of mortality can be brought into the spotlight. A critique of the exploitation of mortality inherent in particularly exemplary cultural products will be achieved through putting them in a perspective that analyzes the life death drives in such a way as to expose the exploitation of the fear of death as the driving force inherent in them. The point is that it is indeed necessary to fantasize being what one is not, in our case being non-mortal, to be able to become self-conscious of one’s self-reflexivity in the way of creating an order of signification not caught up in the rotary motion of drives locked in Klein’s projection-introjection mechanism, but rather one which breaks this vicious cycle and at least attempts to subtract death from life in a counter-act to the post-structuralist idea of life as a process of dying and death as an absent presence in the midst of life. It is only through such a subtraction of the absent presence of death within life that the productive interaction between Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism, Foucault’s bio-politics, Badiou’s theory of infinity, and Kant’s reflective mode of judgement give birth to the immortal subject as the womb of a new thought, a new life, and a new mode of being, free of the exploitation of mortality and engagingly indifferent to this mortal, all too mortal life.

The immortal subject within and without the pre-dominant symbolic order is not only the cause, but also the effect of its own alienation from mortal life. This regulatory idea of immortality, which is also a constitutive illusion, is inspired by the post-structuralist theme of becoming non-identical as we see in Deleuze and Derrida. If one could become non-identical, why would one not also become non-mortal? If one could become alienated from one’s identity, why would one not also become alienated from one’s mortality?  Why not become immortal so as to become capable of criticizing the exploitations of this mortal, all too mortal life? But what motivated me to take immortality as a virtual mode of being was Badiou’s theory of infinity which aimed at secularizing the concept of truth. Badiou’s technique of secularizing the truth is inspired by the 19th century mathematician Georg Cantor’s technique of secularizing the infinite. As Badio claims, the secularization of infinity started with Cantor who stated that there was not one, but many infinities varying in size and intensity. From then onwards it became possible to link Deleuze’s concepts of impersonal consciousness and transcendental empiricism with Badiou’s theory of infinity and Kant’s assertion that for reflective judgement to take place and turn the object into a subject a transcendental ground is necessary.  Now I can say that for me a transcendental ground is necessary only to the extent that it enables the subject to shake the foundation of its own mode of being and opens a field for immanent critique to take place. In other words, the untimely indifference of immortality is required in order to actively engage in an exposition of the exploitation of mortality in this time.

Fritz Kahn (1888-1968) (author), Stuttgart,1926. Relief halftone.

When the speculations concerning the extinction of all life on earth as a consequence of an explosion of the sun in 4.5 years hit the headlines for the first time, Dr. Lawgiverz was in a deep meditation, meditating the possible reasons of and the forces behind the sudden whitening of all the television screens in the world about a year ago. Needless to say, the news had come as a shock, not only to Dr. Lawgiverz whose flow of thought was interrupted, but also to the ordinary citizens of the world, who were mostly thinking nothing at all, on the verge of psychosis perhaps, as a result of their deprivation from visual images for almost a year. Dr. Lawgiverz himself didn’t mind living in the lack of visual images, because for him, to use a phrase from the famous French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the brain itself was a screen. As the attentive reader might have easily recognized, Dr. Lawgiverz was a man of contemplation, although we preferred to use the word meditation to describe his activity on that particular morning a few sentences ago. He contemplated everything from death to life and back. He even contemplated the existence of thought after there was no one left to think. There are many more things to say about Dr. Lawgiverz, but for the time being let us be content with merely saying that we who are not one have decided to leave these to the later parts of our narrative. For we are sure that all shall reveal itself as it is, to you, to us and to all the other mortals who are lucky enough to be witnessing all these speculations, as our narrative unfolds.

Dr. Lawgiverz considered himself a realistic speculator belonging to the group of speculative realists who considered themselves to have initiated a new philosophical movement which they called Speculative Realism. Even though some of them were extremely unhappy with this designation – Ray Brassier, for instance, had recently articulated his doubts about the term speculative realism, which he himself had coined – since there is no other alternative to replace it with, we have decided to stick to that problematic term. Need we say that just like us and Dr. Lawgiverz, the speculative realists too, nevertheless submitted to the naming for the sake of being something and not willing nothingness rather than not willing something, the opossite of which the famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would have said if only he was alive. Let us do not hesitate to resurrect all the living and the dead.                                                                             

Quentin Meillassoux, Ray Brassier, Iain Hamilton Grant and Graham Harman were the forerunners of this new philosophical movement as far as Dr. Lawgiverz was concerned, although Meillassoux preferred the phrase Speculative Materialism as he had put it in his book After Finitude. Perhaps now is the time we should talk about another term coined by Meillassoux a little bit, in the way of opening up new passages in and through which our narrative can flow. Correlationism, which is the term coined by Meillassoux as we have already pointed out without naming it in the previous sentence, means simply this: incapability to conceieve of a world independent of human reality, and incapability to conceive of a human reality independent of the world. “Does a reality of the world in itself exist independent of human perception?” is the question Meillassoux asks and answers: yes it does, but we as humans are as yet to speculate on that. We don’t know if it is worth mentioning that our speculations must be realistic, rather than in the form of the ravings of a lunatic, as is probably the curious case of Dr. Lawgiverz. What we mean when we say real is the Lacanian Real. As those of our readers delved into psychoanalysis know, the Real is that which is outside consciousness, and it is here that the term speculation becomes relevant. For how can one talk about that which is outside one’s consciousness unless one speculates on nothing. What is required is analogical thinking, rather than a logical sequence of thoughts, to be a speculative realist who acts out nihilistic speculations. For Dr. Lawgiverz, the Real and the Unbound Nihil are the same side of two different coins.

As for Ray Brassier, it was he who coined the term Speculative Realism at the Goldsmiths conference which had taken place in London in 2007. In his book Nihil Unbound: Enlightenment and Extinction, Brassier had made a very efficient use of Laruelle’s non-philosophy, Nietzsche’s “willl to nothingness” and Lyotard’s essay Solar Catastrophe. Although all these are extremely useful for the development of our narrative, as the reader keen on paying attention to detail might have and should possibly have realised, Lyotard’s Solar Catastrophe is the one that is of exceptional importance for our purposes which are yet to be calarified.

            When Brassier, following Lyotard,  asks towards the end of his Nihil Unbound, how  thought can think the death of thought, he is clearly, just like Meillassoux, questioning whether a mortal can conceive of a being in the world as not being towards death, but rather as being outside the world and already dead. Against Kant and Heidegger, Meillassoux and Brassier propose an idea of life inclusive of death, that is, a life that doesn’t require the absence of death for its being. The post-structuralist conception of death as an absent presence in the midst of life derives from Kantian and Heideggerian forms of correlationism. In both Heidegger and Kant infinity and death surround life, they are external limits to life. But for Meillassoux and Brassier, death and infinity constitute an internal limit to life, in other words the life of thought is a life driven by death. This must be it, ends Dr. Lawgiverz his flow of thought. 

In his After Finitude, Meillassoux argues that “it is incumbent upon us to break with the ontological requisite of the moderns, according to which to be is to be a correlate.[1] Meillassoux’s aim, as he says in the following sentence, is to break with the correlationist philosophy and become capable of understanding “how thought is able to access the uncorrelated.”[2] This reminds Dr. Lawgiverz Heidegger’s equation of being in the world with being towards death. Needless to say, for Heidegger, being dead is not being in the world, for being of being requires the non-being of non-being, thinks Dr. Lawgiverz. The question is whether death is something uncorrelated or nothing at all.                                  

Noticing that we have unconsciously shifted from the past tense to the simple present tense, a wave of depression engulfed us. But since we don’t want to bore you with our personal problems and the reasons of this engulfment, we would now like to get back to the past tense as if nothing happened, or rather as if something didn’t go wrong. As we were saying earlier on, the news had come suddenly, as it generally does. Dr. Lawgiverz heard it on the radio, as probably many others did, due to the lack of televisons and their screens. The reporter was reading the headlines from the newspapers in the morning news program with a very excited voice which was and remains the voice interrupting Dr. Lawgiverz’s flow of thought: “According to the spokesman of The World Scientific Research Institude, who was an eminent astrogeologist, the sun will explode in 4.5 years, extinguishing all life on earth. The spokesman said, ‘we are convinced that this solar catastrophe will take place in 4.5 years and we regret to inform you that there is nothing that can be done to prevent it and save the human kind from extinction.”

So once again, thought Dr. Lawgiverz, nothing to be done, Beckett was right after all, disaster after disaster, from bad to worse, when will it all end? This question was pointless as it was obvious that it would all end in 4.5 years, but perhaps out of shock, perhaps not, Dr. Lawgiverz had asked it anyway.

(c) Cengiz Erdem. Mortal, All Too Mortal. Cyprus, January 2010.

[1] Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude, trans. Ray Brassier (Continuum: London, 2008), 28

[2] Meillassoux, 28

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