To begin from the beginning…

Yes, I haven’t posted for a long time and this, for me, is like I’m starting from scratch but without the rigmarole of setting up a new site. As Badiou is so fond of quoting from Beckett “Try again. Fail again. Fail better“. I thought, to get myself off the mark once again, that I should explain a little about the title of my blog.

To avoid the void is to ignore the void that founds the ground of ones existence. The void, to put it in Badiouian terms (a philosopher whose concepts I’m becoming ever more accustomed to thinking through), is that which is not counted in the state of any situation, yet founds the presentation of that state. Although when I first thought of ‘Avoidingthevoid’ I wasn’t thinking specifically of Badiou, but was in fact referring to an absolutely pointless coupon that gets spat out by the QuickTicket machine at most British railway stations. It is the excremental excess of, what must be, a software problem that would be too difficult/time consuming/unprofitable to fix. Having in my hand this ticket and laughing manically for a few moments, I envisioned a closet existentialist NetworkRail computer engineer insisting that to fix the problem would require a complete overhaul of the system (while deviously rubbing her hands with the thought of thousands of commuters everyday presented with a slab of existential irony). The commuter, the archetypal purveyor of the average-everyday, is the avoider of the void par excellence: my fantasy mythical commuter determines and over determines their life-world everyday through clockwork repetition and habit. The expectation is that is seamless continuity, or at least expected dis-continuity (this is the British railway network we’re talking about here, after all) and as such the world of engagement is that of normalized relation and  anticipation. The smooth movement from A-B is filled with the contingencies of the day, but only as they prove to be variations of figures within a formalized and structural norm. The commuter does not dare look for the exception, does not dare be perturbed by the odd ranting nutter, a delay due to a ‘fatality on the track at Clapham Junction’ or the ‘miserable’ British weather. No, they plod on through these things to reach their destination, unimpressed by the distractions of the day. Avoiding the void is the everyday act of a routinized nature and it is with a hint of irony that I called the blog ‘avoidingthevoid’, not as a description of the task of this blogger, but the activity I would try to be avoiding.

Recently I was fortunate enough to have participated in something that gave me a shock to thought, a true deterritorialization and experience of the velocity of flux (to put it in sexy Deleuzian terms). Take a look at this book if you’re curious  HERE The result of this was not a kind of Heideggerian authentic resolute being-towards-death ‘F5 refresh’ style re-orientation, but a glimpse at just how withdrawn the average-everyday is from this encounter with the unnameable: it is the unnameable that proves the singularity of the truth. Now, as the days role on, I’m finding it a more pressing need to try and provoke myself into approaching this site once again, but through what at first feel seems the impotent medium of language.

To articulate something means to bring into joint the out of joint. Linguist expression is the articulation of an analysis (which means to break up). The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that to say anything is an act of bravery and to say something new is an act of revolution. In this sense, I agree wholeheartedly with the ruminations of the object-oriented philosophers (specifically Harman) when they talk about overdetermined objects as those ‘elemental’ things we must build with, use and abuse in order to create a new style, a new level of the world or in Badiouian terms, a new Truth.

I’m sure Harman would not agree on lumping him in with Badiou, but like I said before, I’m finding Badiou’s concepts quite fecund at the moment, especially to understand recent (pseudo) political activity of the election. I’m trying to reconcile Laruelle’s comments about Badiou as a modern and not a contemporary philosopher (defined through the Decision of his mathematical ontology), with Badiou’s politics and my own social discontents. This reconciliation does involve OOP, although I feel it to be more relative to Bryant’s OOO than Harman’s, for as a truly ‘realistic’ contemporary political trajectory to be thought. It is for this reason that I’m starting to blog again, as blogging is by its nature a public display of ones creative juices there is the necessity of exposure that is both confessional and communal. In this sense, blogging is the contemporary retrieval of the art of confession for the post-panoptically enmeshed subject: if your going to be watched then you might as well make it interesting, try and dissolve some of those overdetermined elemental objects that construct the everyday. This is not to reveal any hidden essence or to fetishize difference in-itself, but to not be sutured to a fidelity of a simulacrum that avoids the void for the sake of a closed particularity of an abstract set (i.e, don’t live a lie).

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2 Responses to “To begin from the beginning…”

  1. Christian Says:

    Good luck sir, I’ll be following along.

    • avoidingthevoid Says:

      Thanks… that’s good of you. How do you like the new title image? My thinking is that subtlety is overrated. Opening a web page and seeing a giant VOID before my eyes should be a great way to start the day from now on.

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