Negativity and Transport

I only recently realized that everyone is negative, everyone rejects the world. Even those fully embedded in it have some sort of secret world — so, a la American Psycho, business men are “really” serial killers or something. This is something I’ve known for a long time, but somehow I never made the connection — for example, I knew for a long time that what absolutely infuriated me about a few black coworkers I had in my last job was how they thought they were “more real” than I was. It was a pretty shitty job filled with idiots, certainly. Anyways, I didn’t make the obvious connection that that sort of attitude is fundamentally negative, based on a rejection of the “normal”, “fake” world which they must have somehow lumped me in, as if other races couldn’t understand their suffering or the black experience or something. This is a really annoying trait of a lot of blacks — they believe that … umm, “white people” — asians are probably thought much the same way — are somehow more “positive”, more “gung-ho”, “fake” or something.

But as a consequence it would then come down to a question of what kind of rejection. This is an important next step to take, since it takes us beyond philosophical abstraction and towards historical analysis. For we know that a fundamentally negative tautology is the basis of our identity and is in fact, for our purposes, the original cause. (This is actually a big insight for me: that we locate the cause in social strutures, which at first seems simply to beg the question — and what about the cause of those structures? But it is senseless to ask the latter question — the answer is simply, “many things”. What’s interesting are the claims we can make about truth, it satisfies, at once, our desire in finding an important original cause, but also, our distrust or even hatred of pretensions to objectivity and our desire to view the world as being “human” — in the sense if “all too human” and not “gloriously human”.)

I have an interesting proposal for a kind if more negative, another step we have to take. Let’s actually talk about that phrase, “I think therefore I am”, which we talked about a few entries ago in “Bartleby’s Wall”. I went back and skimmed that entry and it is still pretty good, however, there are two things I want to point out: (1) “Language is never mystical” and (2) “the in between”.

Basically, (1) was the realization that it would absolutely be wrong to view language as arising from the “mystifying” of sound, how sound, for example, to dogs, had a definite meaning, whereas, to humans (and this would enable language) sound had a kind of mystical quality, it meant “nothing”. I think I wrote once that language was only possible when sound began to mean “nothing”. The mystical view towards language is rejected because it is entirely too teleologic– ie, it assumes language beforehand. So this insight has been, since then, further developed into the “master / slave” culture.

The second thing, “the in between”, was an attempt to understand Bartleby as trying to locate a second subconscious that would not merely be teleolgoci. And I hypothesized, in that entry, that Bartleby is interested in the strange space “on the way too” or “in between” teleologic moments. This is something that I now disagree with, or want to reexamine.

Regarding “I think” and “I observe myself thinking”, the phenomena is actually, always, that we follow alongside … thinking, what we view as thinking. So there are, indeed, always two separate moments. The first moment occurs “automatically” and this is the moment that we follow alongside. So that the subconscious, for Barlteby, isn’t the one that is “in between”, in whatever weird sense, but rather, the one that — and this agent always exists — that follows alongside what is really the superficial trappings of thinking.

For example, I become more and more aware, personally, that writing is separate from thinking, that I think while I write. I am now addicted to an Android game called “Super Hexagon”, and I actually get a lot of thinking done there, too, as my mind wanders during the automatic motions of that game. But that is exactly what I mean by “while” — I think while I write in … pretty much … the same way that I think while I play a video game.

This is the moment of “greater” negativity that we seek. The tautological construction of the self in a moment of negation leaves unexamined the agent who performs this tautology. This agent is somehow who is, in a sense, the “master” of his environment. In the terms of Heart of Darkness — if the seaman rejects life on land, then he has yet to reject the sea. The subconscious that we speak of is merely that which occurs alongside — what turns out ot be the “physical”  — activity of writing, or of thinking-writing — the master’s pretension to writing. I put “physical” in quotes because we are talking not only of the act of the hand on the pen or the vocal chords but all that one presumes to do — manupulate ideas, move people, etc.

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