The slave’s rejection

I want actually to continue developing the last entry, the awkwardly named ‘Negative Transport’… the basic argument there was that, since we are all negative, the real question is what kind of negativity — and our goal here is not, in fact, a taxonomy of negativity, but rather oddly enough, an attempt to write a history of some particular kind of negativity, the slave negativity.

‘What’s the difference?’, I find myself asking. Our project hovers between *explanation* and *redemption*: and, thinking generally and vaguely about this project, I find myself perhaps having to *insist* on things. I’m bothered by a conflict of interest here… I *don’t* want to think about the interaction of all negativity, since negativity is simply a consequence of … ‘thinking’. To clariy — thinking is not a neurological activity but a behavorial one. Thinking, then, is simply our living in the world. But it turns out that this living is not the interaction between subject and object, being and world, etc., but rather, agent and things that *don’t exist* — that is the combination of negativity and tautology that occur at a very early, very fundamental way, ie, before conceptual, linguistic ‘thinking’ (in the conventional sense).

In Heart of Darkness, Marlow called the imperial project a ‘fantastic invasion’, among other things — he spoke of all the scheming and backbiting of all the agents in the station. So this I take to be that general sense of negativity: ‘fantastic’, living in a parallel world, involving things that don’t exist. But there is also some form of negativity that Conrad seems oddly commited to — obviously, Conrad himself is living in a world just as fantastic — as are the natives, even though they are often described as ‘natural’, ‘belonging there’, etc.

As in the last entry, the claim here is the paradoxical ‘more negative’, emphasized in the master-slave relationship. Since everyone is negative — and this means, remember, forming themselves in a moment of rejection, so that creativity *is* understanding — we must insist on something further. Let me suggest what this could be.

… and again, let me reiterate that I feel a ‘conflict of interest’ here, a kind of “cheating” historiography — since we have control of both what ‘events’ are and what causes those events. At any time, we can argue that an event as ‘noninteresting’ or ‘nonimportant’ if it doesn’t accord with our mode of rejection. In other words, we won’t be writing an explanation of a priori events, but the events will change as we see fit, though it will always *seem* like these events are determined a priori — since we will also have to argue for the *significance* of what we talk about. (Ie, our rejection of an event from history will have to seem objective.) This may be a consequence of having to ‘stop early’, ie, we are fundamentally ‘idealists’, we are interested, not in a vivid, final picture of a fantastic world, but in the historical significance even of an incomplete world. We will be ‘stopping early’ in our understanding, we won’t be trying to understand anything precisely.

Last entry, I made the argument that general negativity was ‘not negative enough’ since, though it rejects the apparent order of things, the system, it is still the master of language, which it views as ‘transport’: a vessel for my own ideas, etc. Now, a consequence of thinking being non-neural is (1) the ‘alongside’ effect, and (2) recklessness. Both are aspects of ‘slave’ negation.

For example, as I write right now, I am, it seems, putting down into written letters my inner voice. But actually, I realized yesterday, that writing merely occurs ‘alongside’ the inner dialogue — the ‘correspondence’ between the two is not necessary. So, for example, I could perhaps write only the interesting bits, or maybe I could be drawing while I think. But, to carry this a step further, even this *inner voice* occurs alongside … “thinking” — this is a bit more difficult to conceive. Perhaps this is the model of poetry, or rhetoric. Perhaps my inner voice is not the honest expression of ideas but rather merely a babble.

The inner voice, I want to emphasize, occurs alongside ‘thinking’, in the non-neural, retrospective sense. The paradox — we’ve gone over this before — is that this thinking is at once holistic, ‘ret-conned’ (to use a comic book term — to retroactively provide continuation to a story) into history, and a ‘real’ element of our world, as real as everything else out there. Today, we tend to equate the two, but this division, I believe, is precisely what slave negation is based on.

So there is a kind of ‘recklessness’ to writing, and this is detectable in HoD, it in fact forms the defining element of negation for Conrad.

TBC — examples! I don’t have any yet



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