TO RETURN

Currently this is practically the only feed I contribute to. It’s my go-to feed for when I’m feeling resistant towards writing anything (quasi-)publicly, so as to get the wheels turning - but I’m posting so rarely that the engine just turns right back off anyway, and the next time I post I end up right back here. I’m devoting a fair amount of time to writing privately, trying to consolidate my system of ideas into something fully coherent and beautifully polished. For me, however, writing and thinking always constitute essentially an affliction, especially when I keep what I’m writing to myself. “Always” is the wrong word. I really don’t know what to write right now. You're just reading me fish around for coherent sentences to begin, pass through, and end.

I’m reading hardly anything at the moment - I swore to myself that once I finished Reza Negarestani’s Intelligence and Spirit I would no longer allow myself to dive deeply into any book, because clearly at this point reading anything at all is a rationalization (i.e. occupying myself with another’s thoughts amounts to avoidance, a waste of time). I know just what I want to say, or I know it as exactly as one can without having actually fully said it, and I don’t need help from any other voice ancient, modern or contemporary.

One book I have been reading, however, despite my prohibition (but not really, because I’m not reading it systematically and taking notes etc), is a text by Jean Wahl, a French philosopher who was quite prominent during the heyday of existentialism and phenomenology, but who is not currently discussed in any philosophical circles I’m aware of. Partly I think his current neglect is explained by his perhaps being too clear in his writing, making it seem facile and fashionable or glib. But it’s also partly - and this is what I’m attracted to - because his stance on the relationship between philosophy and theology was so level headed and reasonable. Unlike so many continental philosophers, he doesn’t contort and mangle his words so as to appear to not be talking about God while manifestly talking about God.

Of the many interesting points he makes, I’ll just list one here: he’s critical of Heidegger’s insistence upon secularizing the concept of transcendence. Heidegger asserts, as though it were a fact, that humans are faced with essential finitude (this awareness of finitude thus becoming a liberating transcendent experience). According to Wahlm, this declares far too much about the nature of the Absolute than any honest philosopher has a right to - namely declaring that it certainly does not exist. It would be more philosophically rigorous (because more skeptical, more open to the alterity) to allow the Absolute to have theological meaning, namely to allow it to perhaps not exist, but to perhaps exist, or even to alternate between seeming to exist and seeming not to (what Lacan calls “insistence”). This idea was taken up by Marion and the other theologically-inclined French phenomenologists like Jean-Yves Lacoste and Michel Henry (the idea that the idea of God can’t be bracketed out of phenomenological experience).

Anyway, as I write this out more, I see more clearly that by reading Wahl I really am simply avoiding working on my own text (as much as I could be), because hardly any of the ideas I’ve encountered his book have surprised me, they simply resonate with me - they’re ideas I’ve already had or encountered. I think the fact of the matter is that - given that my formal education in philosophy ended long ago, and given that very few people who are acquainted with Liturgy have any inkling of the depths to which I’ve gone in my study of philosophy, psychoanalysis and religion - I am in fact deeply afraid to consolidate what I’m trying to say in my own voice, because I am unconsciously anticipating showing it to ‘the world’ and being unjustly scorned for all my sincere hard work. I’ve had vitriolic scorn hurled at me for even making the gesture of philosophizing at all, in the context of being.a musician, not just by message board trolls but also by powerful journalists - these latter have actually done a great deal to harm to whatever I have of a ‘music career’ - this fact more than any of the others makes me extremely reticent to articulate myself.

Everyone pays lip service to the idea of going against the grain, of being so uncool for a time that you then turn around and are extremely cool once society catches up, of being ‘untimely’, as the Nietzschan term goes, but my experience is that in the current era it is almost impossible to be truly untimely rather than pseudo-untimely. Shaming and ostracization have more power to cut to the quick in the present than they once did, because the would-be ‘alternative’ world is just as rigidly codified as the supposedly more conformist world to which it is an alternative (and, according to my theory, this is a symptom of the fact that capitalism simply extracts pseudo-transgression from the young in order to trick them into sacrificing themselves at its altar via confused self-expression and render them incapable of discursive reasoning, which is a major requirement for achieving ‘post-Capitalist desire’).

The thing is, I really can't blame it on the journalists, because all this time I’ve known precisely what I’m doing and the effect it would inevitably have. This point reminds me of something Nick Land said in a recent podcast interview I listened to this weekend: part of why he’s so sure that every humanist attempt to defeat Capital will fail, no matter how ingenious or radical, is that as soon as you start doing anything well, it becomes capital. You get attention, produce value, expand in complexity in some way, and (he didn’t take the point in this direction, but this is the way I see it) soon your own desire changes, you’re infected with the will to grow your brand and derive rewards, and pretty soon you’ve just expanded Capital’s reach. I can confidently say that given how thwarted, broken and bizarre the ‘career trajectory’ of Liturgy has been, that this bullet has been dodged! And I am hoping that the next round of activity will have a thorough enough philosophical architecture that it might be possible to move forward with enough self-awareness that a certain success can go hand in hand with actually fostering concentration, focus, reasoning, a coherent narrative of world history together with a highly crystallized and coherent desire for an astonishingly different and better future era for civilization, and tactics for working towards this vision which are both explicitly elaborated and rigorously performed. My goal is to try to live a future mode of production and inspire others to do the same, basically. In any case, there really will be a book coming later this year. It really is close, and I actually have a sense that the world is fairly ripe for it (for a book that endorses rational theology and a religion conceived as a coordination between both the transgressive and the conservative tendencies in various domains of the humanities).