Monday, June 08, 2009


Vedela tal, che quando 'l mi ridice

TINIEST DIVINITY: difference & repetition = all I confess I cannot say when I speak and
. There is what this line says, which is straightforward, and there is what this line is, something that keeps saying it. It keeps saying in a universal sense: "Man speaks only as he responds to language. Language speaks. Its speaking speaks for us in what has been spoken."[i] In a general sense: "Poetry is news that STAYS news."[ii] And in an absolutely specific sense which, like your own breath, is infinitely more important than either. This is not an other or extra or allegorical sense, not a deeper saying hidden underneath the obvious, not something structural or mythic or symbolic. It is a sense living so secretly and openly, so publicly and intimately, that it passes through us visibly unnoticed, incognito. Being seen neither with nor without comprehension, being something apparent but altogether beyond and before surface as such, this sense is exactly what makes all its senses possible, the subtle medium of their presence. Like a face itself, an impossible and inevitable silent projection preceding all expression, this can be called the apophantic sense, so as to indicate a properly phenomenological meaning-perception of something as it shows itself.[iii] Or it can be called the special sense, to mean a perception of something's special being, its essential appearance.[iv] The A/S sense is tasted by reading two-dimensionally, too close to the page, aperspectivally, floating.[v] The beauty of this sense, its God-proving detail (whatever that is), is that it ain't at all abstract, that it is always a this. It is, simply, wonderfully, as it appears to be.[vi] How does it appear? By being (the sense that appears as) wholly at home with the fact that it appears.[vii] What does it appear as? As itself, in this case, the rich, ready-to-be-endlessly-glossed idea that the what of seeing, its suchness (Vedela tal), IS the when of its resaying (quando 'l mi ridice). Or as Deleuze saw: "Habit is the originary synthesis of time, which constitutes the life of the passing present."[viii]

[i] Martin Heidegger, "Language," Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hoftadter (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 210

[ii] Ezra Pound, The ABC of Reading (New York: New Directions, 1960), 29.

[iii] "Thus 'phenomenology' means . . . [apophainesthai ta phainomena]—to let that which shows itself be seen from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself Heidegger" (Heidegger, Being and Time, 34).

[iv] "The image is a being whose essence is to be a species, a visibility or an appearance. A being is special if its essence coincides with its being given to be seen, with its aspect. Special being is absolutely insubstantial. It does not have a proper place, but occurs in a subject and is in this sense like a habitus or a mode of being, like the image in a mirror" (Giorgio Agamben, Profanations, trans. Jeff Fort [New York: Zone, 2007], 57).

[v] "If one form of thinking, rational and horizontal, clamps man to the earth, another, which we may tentatively call meditative, or 'vertical' thinking after Parmenides, may literally raise man into the air. . . Horizontal thinking, we may say as Max Frisch said of technology, is a way of organizing the universe so that man won't have to experience it. Vertical thinking is a way of transcending the horizontal thinking to rejoin the universe. Thus we may say with Heraclitus 'The way up and the way down are the same.' We might remain satisfied, with the scholars, not to take Parmenides seriously in his vertical description of seeing (flying). This is the same attitude of patronization which art scholars still indulge toward 'flat' Byzantine and Medieval painting and toward the Eastern 'mandala'. These scholars insist that painters lacked the technique for painting in three dimensions; on the contrary, it is we who have lost the capacity to see in two dimensions. . . . Many are the men who have drifted, in dreams, out the door, through the garden, and out into the street. . . . When I was a child my eyes 'flattened' space" (August Plinth, Principles of Levitation, 38-42).

[vi] Cf. "He who knows everything displaces nothing. To each one I appear to be what he thinks I am" (Meher Baba, Life at its Best [San Franciso: Sufism Reoriented, 1957], 3).

[vii] "Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is" (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, tr. C.K. Ogden [Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1998], 6.44). "God or the good or the place does not take place, but is the taking-place of the entities, their innermost exteriority. The being-worm of the worm, the being-stone of the stone, is divine. That the world is, that something can appear and have a face . . . this is the good" Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community, 14).

[viii] Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia, 1994), 80.


kvond said...

What effect happens when we merely mouth a word, and do not speak it?

Are we then inside or outside of language?

Ὁ ἄναξ οὗ τὸ μαντεῖόν ἐστι τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς, οὔτε λέγει οὔτε κρύπτει, ἀλλὰ σημαίνει.

The lord whose oracle is at Delphi, neither tells nor conceals, but indicates.

– Heraclitus, fragment 93

anna klosowska said...

I was thinking of another way to put this, and I wonder if you're interested? (it has to do with our discussion on [ethics, placeholder for a better word] of pleasure)

Is it: mouth a word and do not speak it

or: speak without an ethical [=placeholder for a better word] investment in the person to whom we speak. Oracles could do amazing stuff like tell your future, but they had no interest in your welfare, so whatever they spoke was useless EXCEPT to set you up for a tragic incident of anagnoresis later

I would prefer a less heartbreaking point to my own question -- but this is the more direct one, so I'll leave it as it is...but if you can transsubstantiate it somehow into comedy, please do!!!

kvond said...

Anna thanks for your thought here,

I don't know if oracles speak without an ethical investment in the hearer. They certainly are automated, but I find the Ethical inscribed in this very extreme state, something like how Poe's hero saw fate writ large in cliffs in the novela "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym". It is oracular because there is an address and an address is always ethical.

So when you say "except to set you up for...anagnoresis" this to me is a HUGE exception. It is the most pleasure bound inscription (if we are to return to "pleasure" instead of our placeholder "ethics") of the brutality of Being right into the flesh, which IS the ethical investment.

I find something of this also occuring amid Spinoza's vast architecture, nil, void, coherence of the Ethics. The bordom and repetition, interindexing is every equal of de Sade, and it is meant to ground down the flesh-mind, like a lathe's grinding form grinds down the glass blank so as to make a lens.

This, we could say, is the MOST ethical, the MOST pleasureable, jouissance limit of the organism, unto its environment. Pure inscription and intimacy.

So when you say,

"I would prefer a less heartbreaking point to my own question -- but this is the more direct one, so I'll leave it as it is...but if you can transsubstantiate it somehow into comedy, please do!!!"

{I am hoping ! that you have in mind the lines of Hermes in Plautus's Amphitron,

deus sum, commutavero. eandem hanc, si voltis, faciam ex tragoedia comoedia ut sit omnibus isdem vorsibus. utrum sit an non voltis?

a god I am, I will transmute it. This very thing, if you wish, I will make out of a tragedy a comedy, and it would be with every line the same. Do you wish it to be, or not?]

I can think of two ways of Hermetically transmuting this tragedy. The first of these is offered by Sophocles in how he transcends the tragic form in his "Philoctetes". That is amid a brute, heroic, historical juxtaposition, compassion is that which releaves the pressure of blunt-force truth/power. We build bodies, mutualities, an exchange of affects to as to increase the pleasure capacity of oracular revelation.

The second way that I see the tragedy of oracular inscription is in embracing the very pleasure form of it, grasping with both hands its jouissance essence, and realizing that circuitry is a requirement. Insofar as there is address, there intimacy, and we must allow the inscription to go deep, calling unto ourselves the com-munity capable of recieving it.

This can transform it into a comedy, but it need not be a reversal. One makes a home for the oracular. A topos, in the skin, the hearth. One gives it a site. And one can only do this by keeping track of the economy of your own pleasures.

kvond said...


I have to add that though your short article spins out from the subtitle the "Tiniest Diety" I very much like this phrase and I think that there is much more to be thought on this concept.

I want to say that there is a smaller, or tinier Diety than Difference and Repetition (are these two dieties?, or perhaps this does not qualify as a diety). Or, we should say that there is a Diety that works with smaller hands. Perhaps Zuggtmoy is the tiniest diety.

Nicola Masciandaro said...


Or divinity as the tiny itself? My 'idea' was that difference and repetition name what they cannot indicate: the "and" that is between them, and that the "and" in this sense is an all-in-all, like an infintesimal islamic occasionalist deity, an omnipresently tiny medium for all happening, but in my version never the same twice. And so, yes, maybe two-sided Zuggtmoy!



anna klosowska said...

Kvond, thank you so much, this is exactly what I was hoping for! I will be thinking along your thoughts for a while (wrapping my head around it)
Nicola, I simply adore the tiniest divinity

kvond said...


I have SUCH a problem with binaries...

(they sluggishly lure us into habits of thinking in twos, and pretending that we can counter our way to Reality with our digits)

that I want to resist this sense of "and", even if it leads to an infinite series (x + s + g + c....).

I love your idea of an infintesimal islamic occasionalist diety though. Does Zuggtmoy have to be "two-sided". I'm working on this so as to see our way through to a polyvocal, sedimented Zuggtmoy. Does she know "two sides"?

Nicola Masciandaro said...


Sounds like a wise plan. Maybe we can chuck the binary for the prespositional.