some disparate, unstructured thoughts on the feasibility of a non-conceptual understanding…


On the question of whether there can ever be a non-conceptually driven desire to know the world…

There has to be a total dislocation from the ‘world’ (and from a traditional epistemology of adequation too), before we can start improving or editing ostension.

In other words, ostension is garnered through dislocation.

How this latter process works and proceeds, however, I think is entirely down to pure, blind selection and material force (i.e. conceptless or acephalic flow: ‘I don’t vouch, I bet’). But, nevertheless, you need to first become self-cognizant of the fact that everything in cognition is appearance, without remainder, before you can start improving and editing the structure of appearance itself (i.e. positing scientific theoretical entities that can never ‘appear’ but undergrid the structure of appearance itself). We need, in other words, to become self-aware of the transcendental split between appearance and reality, not only in order to adjudicate between what is real and what is not real (which even if it does not adequately select for theories, is the very basis and condition of possibility for a theory that attempts to explain the world in a novel way not contained in our intuitive understanding – it is the very condition of proposing a theory that updates, and thus replaces, our prior knowledge), but primarily also in order to vouchsafe the sovereign autonomy of reality from all intelligence or representation (a autonomy that reality retains in the last instance). Appeals otherwise are appeals either to Pre-established Harmony (a harmony that cannot be explained without recourse to an extra-conceptual conceptuality – a.k.a. idealism), or to Intellectual Intuition (that is, even the most elegant appeals to acephalic selection, I suspect, possibly merely smuggle the ‘epistemic virtues’ that guarantee ‘selection’ within what should be a cold, non-epistemic reality). Both result in backdoor idealism. The transcendental split between appearance and reality is what guarantees realism (considered as the autonomy of the real from the idea). And we can only protect this split via recourse to something that surpasses all appearances of reality, something -in other words- that seems to “transcend” (<- scare quotes, here) this conjunction: i.e. the fact that none of our concepts of understanding can be straightforwardly derived from being. That is, they may just happen to happily coincide with it, for all we know; but, we can never ensure this or prove it apodictically, because they could always be otherwise without remainder… thus blowing Pre-Established Harmony out of the window. This insight (self-awareness of the split) is, in terms of intellectual history, what kicks intelligence into self-intensifying, turbulent, overdrive (rather than happy harmony and the homeostasis of adequation). Adequation is prelapsarian intellectual pastoralism. This entails becoming recursively aware of the fact that -because everything is appearance- nothing appears necessarily, thus, by coming to be recursively aware of this, we can manipulate the structure of appearance itself. I.e. we feed our knowledge of groundlessness back into ourselves in order to self-inflict this upon ourselves, as a form of unlimited theoretical lability and motility: an indefatigable drive of innovation… Recursively wielding our own groudlessness (our own Nothing, our own Zero, so to speak) is genuinely what I believe turbo-charges thought and unleashes it as a force that rips up the structure of time: unleashes techonomics as the reorganization of terrestrial matter.

Via becoming recursively aware of the distinction between appearance and reality, intelligence becomes capable of imagining things otherwise than the entirety of appearance, thus it becomes capable of thinking about futures that are entirely non-uniform viz-a-viz the present, thus -via representing these futures internally to itself- thought opens up (summons) the structure of templex loops constitutive of modernity: via the conduit of planning (prediction and forecasting), the future begins to infect and rip apart the present (from the inside). Whilst I deeply agree with the hypothesis that science can only emerge from within Capital, and I see this ‘dislocative’ step that I have been pursuing as entirely part of Capital’s abstractive prodcedure, I simply do not think that it can be cast as continuous with anything previously existent within matter… (Capital/intellect comes from the future, not from the past…) Selection is still sovereign in the last instance, but intelligence invents and installs is own unique criteria of selection, that are not easily or straightforwardly ‘reducible’ to previous pressures (i.e. to the whims and flows of matter – biologically or economically conceived – this being the case, still, even though intelligence is entirely material). We need to retain this dislocating movement as primary and untouched, because I see it as the very pneumatic engine behind capital and intelligence self-intensification. Whatever the historical force was/is that instigated this, it was something that summoned this ‘primary scene’ (of the scientific laceration of appearance) by outstripping any previously instantiated epistemic-authoritative structures in play, and catalyzing disintegrative effects through a world-historical force capable of forcing an ever-increasing wedge between ourselves and our ‘selves’ – one that creates the material and necessary conditions for the dislocative moment constitutive of manufacturing temporal-intelligence-loop.

Following from all this, one last point: a point of caution regarding letting this focus on conceptuality collapse into ‘semantic’ universalism: the whole point of Kant’s ‘turn inwards’ to concepts was to ensure apodictic knowledge (‘If we cannot know about the material world, then transcendentalise the world!’ – i.e. the world outstrips spatiotemporally finite intelligent beings in terms of extensity of isntances, thus engendering the problem of enumerative induction; thus, to solve this and retain certainty, we need to internalize spacetime and make it into an intensity of a whole of possible experiences, from which we can derive apodictic knowledge again, or, knowledge that speaks for all instances), thus the turn inwards towards conceptuality is a turn towards conceptual homogenization… An ‘image of thought’ that, perhaps, promotes a ‘common sense’ as that which ‘everyone already knows’. However, the turn to concepts does not need to be this ‘turn inwards’ aka ‘apodicticity-through-identity’, I do not think: as I hope I have somewhat begun to indicate above, in the way I am laying out the ‘intelligence-explosion’ that has already happened, it is instead a kind of total revocation of the principle of identity… one that uses the (irreducibly conceptual) split between appearance and reality to feed back into intelligence its own destitution to create an auto-turbulent principle of accelerating intellectual self-propulsion… I.e. it condemns us to eternal self-lacerating motility or destitution (not identity)… We only find ourselves in our eternal destitution. I.e. to put it super crudely, where Kant uses the turn to concepts as an enclosure via a self-relation of exhaustive containment (thus a ‘turn inwards’, towards certainty-ensuring homogeneity and identity), I would propound this turn -instead- as a self-relation of pure contingency (thus a ‘turn inside out’, the intussusception of Geist)… We are only self-conscious because we know we can be entirely wrong about reality; this gap of leeway within cognition is the crack in reality through which temporal looping leaks (and eventually floods). We can only ‘think’ (and thus stammer the word ‘reality’… let alone ‘infinity’) because we are internally riven and eternally not ourselves. Shakespeare’s Iago sums up intelligence self-intensification well when he proclaims: “I am not what I am”.


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