Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Philosophy of Love

Love, says France's greatest living philosopher, "is not a contract between two narcissists. It's more than that. It's a construction that compels the participants to go beyond narcissism. In order that love lasts one has to reinvent oneself."

I agree with him. The love I am looking for is more than the animalistic coupling of bodies, and more than a dopamine rush that I could just as easily obtain from dark chocolate. What I want is an encounter - an encounter that changes both me and the other. In Badiou's philosophy, authentic love requires fidelity - not just sexual fidelity - but a fidelity to this encounter. Lovers should be as devoted to each other as rebel to her cause or as a scientist to her quest for knowledge. 

We in America are obsessed with sex, and obsessed with a story that begins with arousal and ends with climax. We believe that the climax is the goal, that climax is the thing we are striving for, and that after the climax, the story is over. But what if a True Love is structured in a different way. What if it begins with an Event, an event that cannot even in principle have been predicted, an Event that completely changes the lovers understanding of what is possible in the world, and what they must do in it? What if life after this event is not just the narcissistic rising of excitement towards a vapid bodily climax, but rather an ever deepening campaign of fidelity in which ones belief and devotion to the event is tested again and again. 

For me, love is a philosophical thing, because the search for love is a search for truth. And once found, in the violent revolution of the event, life is a devotion to this truth, a truth that before the event had not existed, and a truth that but for the resolve and fidelity of the participants, would flicker out, like a candle, and be lost forever.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Self

Okay, here are my thoughts...

I'd actually argue, despite those postmodernists who would call "The Self" a fiction or a discourse, that The Self (no quotes) has the same ontological reality as a tornado, a coffee cup, or inner city riot.  What I mean by this is that all three objects (and as a speculative realist I'm interested in objects) are emergent from deeper multiplicities.  A tornado emerges from multiplicities of air, moisture, pressure, and heat.  A coffee cup emerges from multiplicities of molecules, physical forces and chemical interactions.  A inner city riot emerges from multiplicities of human individuals, social pressures, and government force.

Likewise, The Self emerges from a multiplicity of storytelling, competing desires, and alternate personalities,  yet just like a tornado, a coffee cup, or an inner city riot, it is an object - a single object that is as real as anything else we would name with a singular noun.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A New Work by Quentin Meillassoux

Check out this review of Quentin Meillassoux's The Number and The Siren:

Quentin Meillassoux and the Crackpot Sublime

Here's an excerpt, "Now when I put it like that, it sounds crazy. When one reads it as part of Meillassoux’s tightly constructed argument, it also sounds crazy, but in a different way: It is undeniable even as it seems impossible. It works like a surprising “big reveal” in a detective story, the kind that prompts a joyful cry of “No way!” There are other similar moments throughout The Number and the Siren, which has the kind of literary quality I have come to associate with French philosophy at its best."

My own review to follow once I've actually cracked the book.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So What Are You Into?

I was at the bar Firefly in Studio City California, and a drunken gentleman bought me a martini and asked, slurring his words only slightly, "So what are you into?"

I told him, "Speculative Realism."

He looked at me blankly, "Cool. What's that?"

I thought about it for a few moments and then started speaking very fast, "It's kinda like, you know, the young hip thing in philosophy right now. These guys, their like the Radiohead of philosophy, only they're not in the same band, Ray Brassierand  and Quentin Meillasoux, they started this movement that's got a two-pronged critique of both the continental philosophy and analytic philosophy."

I swear to God, this guy looked at me an nodded, as if there were nothing strange about what I was saying, "Right," he said, solemnly.

"So its know, in a nutshell...its like "transcendental materialism" that puts the continental tradition in a better position to engage with the evolving insights of experimental science.  Like cognitive science, biology, and physics..."

"Sure. I love science." said he, without blinking.

"But at the same time its trying to ditch the analytical tradition's tendency to naive materialism. So I guess its an attempt to embrace a world indifferent to human knowing and human being, while still acknowledging the problem of epistemic contingency."

The martini was starting to kick in, my head was spinning, and he was still looking at me like he expected me to say more.

"I'm into this book by a guy named, Meillasoux. It's called After Finitude."

The man nodded gravely, "He sounds French." And then he did a shot of something. Tequila I think.

"Yes, French. A student of Badiou. You don't have any idea what I'm talking about, do you?"

"You're cute." He smiled.

"So what are you... into?" I smiled back.

"You. I kinda want to kiss you, right now." He said in a much more charming way than I would think possible. "What do think?"

I blushed. I balked. I searched for words. "I might have to consult Kant's Categorical Imperative."

"Don't bother." He said, leaning forward...

And that children, was how I , for the first time I ever, made-out with a stranger at a bar.