|ND Guide Pages 137-208|
Logic of Dissassembly 148-149|
In fact the dialectic is neither solely a method nor something real in the naïve understanding of the term. Not a method: for the unreconciled thing, which lacks precisely that identity which the thought surrogates, is contradictory and blocks every attempt at unanimous interpretation. This thing, not the organizational drive of thought, is the impetus to dialectics. Not something simply real: for contradictoriness is a reflection-category, the thinking confrontation of concept and thing. Dialectics as a procedure means, to think for the sake of what was once experienced in the thing as a contradiction and against it in contradictions. A contradiction in reality, it is a contradiction against these. Such a dialectics is however no longer compatible with Hegel. Its movement does not tend towards identity in the difference of every object from its concept; rather it suspects something identical in it. Its logic is one of disassembly [Zerfalls]: of the prepared and concretized form of concepts, which the cognizing subject immediately faces at first. Their identity with the subject is untruth.
On the Dialectics of Identity 149-151|
Identity is the Ur-form of ideology.
The Hegelian synthesis is throughout the insight into the insufficiency of that movement, into the costs of its production, as it were. As early as the introduction to the Phenomenology he gets to the very border of the consciousness of the negative essence of the dialectical logic he is expounding. Its command – to gaze purely at each and every concept until it moves itself, becomes non-identical with itself, by virtue of its own meaning, hence of its identity – is one of analysis, not synthesis. What is static in the concepts is supposed, so as to satisfy these latter, to release what is dynamic out of itself, comparable to the commotion of the drop of water under a microscope. That is why the method was called phenomenological, a passive relationship to what appears. It was, in Hegel, as what Benjamin called a dialectics at a standstill, already far more progressive than anything which appeared a hundred years later as phenomenology. Dialectics means, objectively, the breaking of the identity-compulsion through the stored-up energies which are bound up in its concretizations. This ended up partly prevailing in Hegel, who indeed could not confess to what was untrue in the identity-compulsion. In that the concept experiences itself as non-identical and moves, it leads, no longer merely itself, to what Hegelian terminology terms its Other,3 without sucking it dry. It determines itself by that which is outside it, because it does not exhaust itself according to what is its own. As itself it is not at all merely it itself.
The unifying moment survives, without the negation of the negation, yet also without delivering itself to the abstraction as the highest principle, not by advancing step by step towards the general master-concept from the concepts, but by these latter entering into a constellation. These illuminate the specifics of the object which the classifying procedure is indifferent towards or uncomfortable with. The model for this is the conduct of language. It offers no mere sign-system for cognitive functions. Where it appears essentially as language, becoming portrayal [Darstellung], it does not define its concepts. It obtains their objectivity through the relationship in which it posits the concepts, centered around a thing. It thereby serves the intention of the concept, to wholly express what is meant. Solely constellations represent, from without, what the concept has cut away from within, the "more", which the former wishes to be, so very much as it cannot be the latter. By gathering around the thing to be cognized, the concepts potentially determine its innermost core, thinking to attain what thinking necessarily stamped out of itself. The Hegelian usage of the terminus concrete, according to which the thing itself is its context, not its pure selfness, registers this, without however, in spite of all critique of discursive logic, ignoring this. But Hegel's dialectic was one without language, while the simplest literal meaning of dialectics postulates language; to this extent Hegel remained the adept of current science. He did not need language in the emphatic sense, because to him everything, even what is devoid of language and opaque, is supposed to be Spirit and the Spirit, the context. This supposition is beyond salvation. That which is resolvable, which is not in any previously-thought context, does indeed transcend its self-enclosed nature out of itself, as what is non-identical. It communicates with that from which the concept separated it. It is opaque only for the totality-claim of identity; it resists the latter's pressure. As such however it seeks expression. Through language it dispels the bane of its selfness. What in the non-identical is not to be defined in its concept, surpasses its individual existence, which shrinks into the polarity to the concept, at which it stares. The interior of the non-identical is its relationship to that which it is not itself and which its instituted, frozen identity with itself withholds from it. It attains itself only in its disclosure [Entaeusserung: removal, relinquishment, realization], not in its hardening; this can still be learned from Hegel, without making concessions to the repressive moments of his doctrine of realization [Entaeusserung]. The object opens itself to a monadological insistence, which is the consciousness of the constellation, in which it stands: the possibility of immersion in what is internal necessitates what is external. Such immanent universality of the individual however is objective as sedimented history. This is in it and outside it, something all-encompassing, in which it has its place. To become aware of the constellation in which the thing stands, means so much as to decode the one which the latter bears within itself, as what has come to be. The chorismos of the outside and the inside is for its part historically conditioned. The only knowledge which can unleash the history in the object, is that which is aware of the historical positional value of the object in its relationship to others; the updating and concentration of something already known, which it transforms. The cognition of the object in its constellation is that of the process, which it has stored up within itself. As a constellation the theoretical thought circles around the concept, which it would like to open, hoping, that it springs ajar like the lock of a heavily guarded safe: only not by means of a single key or a single number, but by a number-combination.
Mediation Through Objectivity 172-174|
Mediation by no means says that everything would go into it, but postulates what it is mediated by, something not completely worked through; immediacy itself however stands for a moment which does not require the cognition, the mediation, in the same way this latter does of the immediate. So long as philosophy employs the concepts immediate and mediate [mittelbar], which for the time being it can scarcely do without, its language announces the matter-at-hand, which the idealistic version of dialectics denied. That this last passes over the apparently minimal difference, is what lends it its plausibility. The triumph, that the immediacy would in every case be mediated, bulldozes over the mediated and attains the totality of the concept in its blessed journey, no longer held back by anything non-conceptual, the absolute domination of the subject. Because however the difference spirited away is recognizable by dialectics, the total identification in this does not have the last word. It has the capacity to break out of the magic circle, without contrasting it dogmatically from outside to a presumably realistic thesis. The circle of identification, which ultimately always identifies only itself, was drawn by the thinking, which tolerates nothing outside; its imprisonment is its own handiwork. Such totalitarian and for that reason particular rationality was historically dictated by what was threatening in nature. That is it limitation. Identifying thought, the making of everything different into the same, perpetuates the bondage of nature in fear. Unreflective reason is deluded to the point of madness in view of each and every one which eludes its domination. For the time being, reason is pathic; only by curing itself of this, would reason be. Even the theory of alienation, the ferment of dialectics, confuses the need to approach the heteronomous and to this extent irrational world, in Novalis' words "to be everywhere at home", with the craving for incorporation and persecution; with the archaic barbarism, that the longing subject is incapable of loving the alien, of loving what is different. If the alien were no longer ostracized, there would hardly be any more alienation.
Preponderance of the Object 184-187|
The mediation of the object says, that it may not be statically, dogmatically hypostasized, but is only to be cognized in its imbrication with subjectivity; the mediation of the subject, that without the moment of objectivity it would literally be nothing. The index of the preponderance of the object is the powerlessness of the Spirit in all its judgements hitherto in the arrangement of reality. The negative, that the Spirit's reconciliation failed along with the identification, that its preponderance [Vorrang] miscarried, becomes the motor of its own disenchantment. It is true and appearance [Schein]: true, because nothing is exempt from the domination, which it reduced to its pure form; untrue, because in its intertwining with domination it is not at all the Spirit, for which it takes itself and claims to be. Thereby the Enlightenment transcends its traditional self-understanding: it is demythologization not merely as reductio ad hominem [Latin: reduction to the person], but also conversely as reductio hominis [Latin: human reduction], as the insight into the deception of the subject, which stylizes itself as the absolute. The subject is the late form of mythos, and yet the equal of its most ancient form.
Objectivity and Reification 190-193|
Those who regard the thingly as what is radically evil; who would like to dynamize everything, which is, into pure contemporaneity, tend to be hostile towards the other, the alien, whose name does not resound in alienation for nothing; to that non-identity, which would need to be emancipated not solely in consciousness but in a reconciled humanity. Absolute dynamics however would be that absolute handling of the facts, which violently satisfies itself and misuses the non-identical as its mere occasion. Unbroken universally human slogans serve thereby once again to make what is not the same as the subject, into what is the same. The things harden themselves as fragments of what was subjugated; the latter's rescue means the love for things. What consciousness experiences as thingly and alien is not to be expelled from the dialectic of the existent: negatively, compulsion and heteronomy, yet also the distorted figure of what ought to be loved, and what the bane, the endogamy of consciousness, does not permit to be loved. Far beyond the Romanticism which felt itself as weltschmerz, as the suffering from alienation, hover Eichendorff's words, "beautiful stranger [Fremde: alien, stranger]". The reconciled condition would not annex the alien [Fremde] by means of a philosophical imperialism, but would find its happiness in the fact that the latter remains what is distant and divergent in the given nearness, as far beyond the heterogenous as what is its own.
Suffering Physical 202-204 |
The presumed basic facts of consciousness are anything but. In the dimension of pleasure and displeasure, the bodily reaches deep into them. All pain and all negativity, the motor of dialectical thought, are the many times over mediated, sometimes become unrecognizable form of the physical, just as all happiness aims at sensual fulfillment and garners its objectivity in it. If any aspect of happiness is frustrated, then it is none whatsoever. In the subjective sensuous data, that dimension, which for its part contradicts the Spirit in this, becomes as it were watered down to its epistemological copy, not at all so different from the curious theory of Hume, according to which conceptions, "ideas" [in English] – the facts of consciousness with intentional function – are supposed to be mere copies of impressions. This doctrine is easily criticized as secretly naïve-naturalistic. But in it the somatic moment trembles epistemologically for one last time, before it is completely driven out. In cognition it survives as its disquiet, which brings it into motion and reproduces itself unpacified in its course; unhappy consciousness is no deluded vanity of the Spirit but inherent to it, the sole authentic dignity, which it received in the separation from the body. This reminds it, negatively, of its corporeal aspect; solely that it is capable of this, lends it any sort of hope. The smallest trace of senseless suffering in the experienced world condemns the whole of identity-philosophy, which would like to talk experience out of this, as a lie: "So long as there is even a single beggar, there will be mythos";15 that is why identity-philosophy is mythology as thought. The corporeal moment registers the cognition, that suffering ought not to be, that things should be different. "Woe speaks: go." That is why what is specifically materialistic converges with what is critical, with socially transforming praxis. The abolition of suffering, or its mitigation to a degree which is not to be theoretically assumed in advance, to which no limit can be set, is not up to the individual who endures suffering, but solely to the species that it belongs to, even where it has subjectively renounced the latter and is objectively forced into the absolute loneliness of the helpless object. All activities of the species make reference to its physical continued existence, even if they fail to recognize this, becoming organizationally autonomous and seeing to their business only as an afterthought. Even the institutions which society creates in order to exterminate itself are, as unleashed, absurd self-preservation, simultaneously their own unconscious actions against suffering. Narrowly restricted indeed by what is their own, their total particularity also turns against this. Confronted with them, the purpose which alone makes society into a society demands that it be so arranged, as what the relations of production here and there relentlessly prevent, and as what would be immediately possible to the productive forces right here and now. Such an arrangement would have its telos in the negation of physical suffering of even the least of its members, and of the innervated reflection-forms of that suffering. It is in the interest of all, at this point to be realized solely through a solidarity transparent to itself and to every living being.
Materialism Imageless 204-207|
No theory may for the sake of propagandistic simplicity play dumb in relation to the objectively achieved state of cognition. It must reflect it and drive it further. The unity of theory and praxis was not meant as a concession to the weakness of thinking, which is the monstrous product of repressive society. In the form of the computer, which thinking makes itself similar to and for whose glory it would like most of all to cancel itself out, consciousness declares bankruptcy before a reality, which at the present stage is not intuitively given but functionally, abstractly in itself. Reflection-based [Abbildendes] thinking would be devoid of reflection, an undialectical contradiction; without reflection, no theory. The consciousness, which would slide a third, images, between itself and what it thinks, unwittingly reproduces idealism; a corpus of conceptions would substitute for the object of cognition, and the subjective caprice of such conceptions is that which commands. The materialistic longing, to comprehend the thing, wishes the opposite; the full object could only be thought devoid of images. Such imagelessness converges with the theological ban on the graven image. Materialism secularized it, by not permitting utopia to be positively pictured; that is the content of its negativity. It comes to agree with theology there, where it is most materialistic. Its longing would be the resurrection of the flesh; this is utterly foreign to idealism, to the realm of the absolute Spirit. The vanishing-point of historical materialism would be its own sublation, the emancipation of the Spirit from the primacy of material needs in the condition of their fulfillment. Only with the satiation of the bodily urge would the Spirit be reconciled to itself, becoming that which it only promises, so long as the bane of material conditions refuses to let it satisfy material needs.