Dark Vitalism: Some Notes
The following is an attempt to summarize what exactly Dark Vitalism means as a metaphysical project. In many ways, it seems that quite a bit of philosophy seems lost between overformalization (Badiou) and lack of it (Deleuze). There is either not enough or too much speculative play with the very possibility and stature of the thinker poorly examined.
/1/ – Nature is the concept for the All, an All which has being as becoming but not a becoming of pure-flux or totalizing immanence. This becoming is interrupted and crystalized at various stages akin to a Schellingnian/Grantian Stufenfolge (what I have also refered to as the cosmological cascade). This process of grounding and ungrounding due to forces and powers necessitates a replacement of forms with interiors/exteriors.
/2/ – Nature-as-becoming is an un-prethinkable becoming contra Deleuze’s image of thought or by any kind of virtuality. Any sense of prethinkability must be replaced by a darkness of onto-epistemlogical indistinction
/3/ – Vitalism, instead of being taken as a singular life-force which animates or enlivens all things, is instead taken to be a collection of forces comprimising a larger prohairesis which distengrates what we take to be the solidity of being both in creation, destruction, and transformation. As a result the organic/inorganic distinction is not an ontological distinction,
/4/ – The Stufenfolge and various forces cause an ontic layering which, given the ability of some forms of matter to sense and to think lead to proximal epistemologies. Given the following registers Real-Immanence-Sense-Transcendence the various relations of the layering of the world can be thought but not without the troubling ghost of thought itself as a strange relation. The issue is that thought seems to be a process (although a lesser one) then other formative processes operating through time and space. Yet the ground of thought is far more tenuous than the ground of interactions amongst stones in an avalanche.
/5/ – The strange process of thought is thought to do more ungrounding then it does or, in other words, the process of thought pushes the onto-epistemological distinction towards one or the other in regards to nature. These two strands of thinking are captured by Pierre Hadot’s Promethean vs Orphic nature. For the former nature is something completely knowable, or eventually knowable, as the source and matter for techne. For the Orphic approach nature is a monist being which must be worshipped/protected. In both cases nature is already unbalanced by the supposedly limitless power of thought, or the human, to determine nature ontologically and epistemologically. For both approaches humanity stands apart from nature.
/6/ – Following this logic we come to Grant’s enigmatic ‘nature thinks’ statement which troubles Brassier. The tension between the two is whether or not thought, as part of nature, means then that nature is thinkable and, furthermore, whether thought as a trasncendental bound to nihil can be considered natural or not. For Grant everything possible in nature is natural whereas for Brassier, the Real may be called nature but thinking that nature requires either distanciation or some other transcendental alteration. It would seem that the function of the transcendental needs to be clarified in Brassier in relation to thought and Grant’s grounding and ungrounding nature needs spatial clarifications.
/7/ – The importance of internality/externality is pivotal towards constructing a flux/individuation relation which does not rely on thought to carve out entites from the plasma of becoming. Interior/Exterior functions as the most basic representation of resistances within the flux of becoming along with points of indistinction. Inside/Outside divides the exposed and the explosion not absolutely but simply marks that the interior is mediated by internal forces which are localized (the work of cells, digestion, etc) whereas externality marks expansive forces (time, gravity, energy). Again, thought is problematic because is an internal force which poses as an external one.
/8/ – The internal and External as a representation and ungrounding/grounding in micro also hints towards onto-epistemlogical indistinction. The very division point between the internal and the external is the pivot between Real-Immanence and Sense-Transcendence. In this way we can see how idealism continues materialism in Schelling and that the former can never escape the gravity of the latter.
/9/ - Since thought is sadly aware of its flimsy ground (only exacerbated by its over extension by trying to be an externality) nature appears as horrific in its becoming and only romantic or innocuous in its phenomenologically stabilized being.
/10/ – A non-Badiouian Platonism must be pursued in which the dynamism of materiality and of the idea are tethered to realist developments in science while still acknowledging the need for metaphysics.
Filed under: Brassier, Deleuze, Iain Hamilton Grant, nature, ontology, Schelling, Speculative Realism, transcendental materialism | 13 Comments
Tags: darkness, epistemology, fields, forces, Iain Hamilton Grant, immanence, nature, Schelling