Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What's the Point?

How can we have hope in general when so much, including our own potential demands, weigh against the possibility of hope for security, stability, love, and all that?

Postmodern nihilistic thinking is often maligned for failing to be sufficiently interested in anything. If capitalism recomposes ad infinitum, only to stop itself short because that which was being used has finally been used up completely, what's the ultimate point in combating this reality of decompostion/recomposition? We are marching towards begin-used-up-completely; so, it would seem simple enough, because absolutely negative, that the point is to be living-useless. Obviously this is the category of politico-aesthetic revolt, depending on what we mean by this qualitative difference; and hence, what this means isn't mine to say for anyone else (and maybe even for myself to come). 

Those that malign postmodern thinking shouldn't malign them on this score, for seeing the hard truth, that is to say; they ought to malign them for failing to see that one can be a different kind of monster over and against being the monstrosity that is consumption-work-death-life. This is the thin line between pessimism and nihilism; and once we distinguish the truth that nothing matters, that history is hardly progressive, since it is merely a really good trick, etc., we individuals might be open to possibility--active, passive or otherwise.

In combating this reality, at best, an analogous microcosm of the microcosmic indifferent universe, Irony is taken to be reasonable. How can anything be taken seriously given a long view? This position, politically narrowed, concerns not the question of how anything can be taken seriously at all, but rather, given the problem of other people, how can a positive project be taken seriously? In Derrida's terms, or at least some of them, our projects will always crumble (autodeconstruct), because nothing but our positing these values, and 'holding' them--and therefore holding that which is Wholly Other at bay--keep them alive. But that which is Wholly Other has a claim on existence too.--And not just a potential claim! The uncanny, freakish, and monstrous elements of our worst fears already exist in other worlds, in the margins. 

Of course, this position follows as an opening. There are Wholly Others because we speak Law, as Agamben's anthropological machine suggests; for if law is a sorting device for good and evil, there will always be those that fit the place of the evil. But this is only a problem of naming. The fact that there are others outside of us that we malign by doing politics sets the tone for "deconstruction" of anything seemingly stable in the long view. What of the short view? Whose view? 

Being Ironic, from our position, is a humbling matter of realizing the limitation already upon our positive valuations. Everyday people may not care, other species surely do not; and then there's the unruly gang of nihilists (and/or queers, and/or individualists, and/or insurrectos) that continually frustrate anarcho-politicians via ironic laughter. Our question might be: How can we place upon ourselves final causes, if we can't even decide whether we will want what we have decided? And the answer might be, following the later Derrida: The long view is a tactic, a seeming ontological explanation. It is one that merely might be taken seriously. You See: Derrida was wise; he probably read Rorty and named his ontological principle (deconstruction) a quasi-transcendental, which is a fancy way of being agnostic about the metaphysics of the Real. Nevertheless, with Derrida's word as a tactic, the way is still open to follow Nietzsche: the proposition of Nihilism (Nothing matters) can be applied indifferently, it might be applied willy-nilly; and especially only if it pays. This is the right of its posit: since it is a posit, one need not be consistent about it.

Laughter itself, the ironic gesture, is only possibly a very serious matter because deconstruction was always a long view, something remote, and at that, something only possibly remote. Yet, still, one might laugh with the long view in mind. Alternatively, one might laugh the long view off. There are obviously options. There is a huge cavern between the pessimistic "nothing matters at all", and the nihilistic "Obviously this right here doesn't matter". The Pessimist gives herself a program; while the nihilist is iconoclastic, if useful.