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On the Faultline: the ¡®Double ¡°Economy¡± ¡¯


Double Economy I (Knowledge at its Limits).




Does the description of things require that we make of everything a single undivided picture?


What do the differences between classical physics and quantum theory, equivalence, exchange and gift theory, conflicting directions in the image in art history, together with the distinctions of fact/value, and use/mention in philosophy and analogous differences in linguistics have in common? On the face of it¡­ only their differences. But if we look closer¡­ there is more. 


Permit me to begin with one of my own terms, one designed to throw light on the description of human behavior (as opposed to the description of things) the notion of ¡®gift¡¯ and other related, apparently, ¡®sacrificial¡¯ and even destructive forms of exchange and their relationship to identity: ¡®disjunctive reciprocity¡¯.


Let us begin with a concept of division¡­ which is at the same time a crossing of that division.


¡®Disjunctive reciprocity¡¯; a concept designed to deal with an exchange over a barrier, a division, even a means of crossing that barrier, such that an operation on one-side has an effect on the other. The barriers in question: between subject and object, self and self-image, self and others, collective identity and matter, spirit and matter, mind and body¡­ An exchange understood as beyond equivalence, beyond rational and quantitative equivalences, apparently, ¡®beyond sense¡¯; usually glossed as ¡®gift exchange¡¯, ¡®sacrificial exchange¡¯ or ¡®symbolic exchange¡¯ (of self or of others, of selves or of things¡­ but always including time) usually expressed as some form of rituality¡­  And usually involving the maintenance or assertion of a given identity. A matter, or an idea, for the Social or Human Sciences ¨C the observation and description of human behaviour. (See my application of this idea to Durkheim¡¯s, ¡®On Suicide¡¯¡­ )


Opposed by ¡®rational¡¯ exchanges based on equality, equivalence, or ¡®equivalent reciprocity¡¯ - as in tautology in mathematics, and in everyday social life and economics. Often encountered here is the metaphor, or extended use, of ¡®economy¡¯, usually indicating a manner of exchange, here of equivalent quantities¡­ But why ¡®economy¡¯? Because it is the received word in the field (see below), and because of its application in economics (the relation of identity and commodity); in other usages we find an extended use of choice or exchange, or choice as exchange ¨C together with the idea of a system or model understood in terms of key terms and their translation or circulation. (As a metaphor ¡®economy¡¯ is a sign of dealing with abstractions, with generalities, modelled on an exchange of meanings, first for second, the ¡®economy¡¯ of metaphor). So, in this light, gift, sacrificial or ¡®identity exchange¡¯ would be another kind of exchange relation, another kind of ¡®economy¡¯. Market or rational exchange, the classic or ¡®normal¡¯ form of economy, is calculated, negotiated on the basis of equivalence, involving shared elements which are commensurable. Commensurable, the basis of measurability, because the two terms of exchange are said to exist, and the exchange to take place on, a single or continuous manifold. Unlike ¡®gift exchange¡¯ (or ¡®disjunctive reciprocity¡¯).


Economies shared (but not reducible to one). As in commodity and gift forms of exchange in consumerism, and in our modern forms of identity (nation, class, consumer), not surpassing ¡®archaic¡¯ gift exchange, but co-opting it, or being co-opted by it, as money is spent on identity, or recognition, an assertion of identity and belonging (both part of, and a part), that part of the price we pay for our self-image and ideal belonging¡­ (including the sacrifice we make for our class politics or for the nation). The union of objective price and matter, with a gift or sacrifice made to the self, an exchange yielding subjective identity¡­


A difference also found in philosophy itself (most notably deployed in ¡®Anglo-American analytic philosophy¡¯ - the ¡®other¡¯ to ¡®Continental philosophy¡¯, the more usual home to this kind of theorizing¡­). Here we find the incommensurable relation of ¡®fact¡¯ and ¡®opinion¡¯, reference and value, of ¡®is¡¯ and ¡®ought¡¯ value ¨C and so again aspects of the subject/object distinction or kind or series¡­ That these latter terms (opinion, value or values, and ¡®ought¡¯ or moral choice) are also aspects of our personal culture and choices, our existential point of view, our self-recognition and assertion (¡®sovereignty¡¯) and our identity (we might call them identity propositions). Facts (¡®restricted¡¯ description) of course, like numbers and logic (and the related concept of ¡®eternity¡¯), do not exist in an abstract vacuum, they are ¡®for us¡¯, allied to desire and choice and so require the return of the human element and context (¡®general¡¯ description). This difference too joins the others in the human sciences or arts as part of the their ¡®double economy¡¯ - with the added insight that (as in the purchase of a commodity) we see here the suture of the two halves, the intersection of the two sets, the two ¡®exchanges with the world¡¯, in one sentence, as when we state a fact and then ¡®draw¡¯ a moral or ¡®infer¡¯ an action¡­


Indeed, the subject/object division of the ¡®world¡¯ makes possible the careful usage of non-contradiction and excluded middle; a divided manifold (like change, transformation and process) may require their descriptive force as a first step¡­ and their paradox as a last¡­


Similarly, whilst creating a whole was once a commandment whose force ranged over the history of philosophy and interpretation, more recently, advanced rhetoric, especially ¡®deconstruction¡¯ has dispensed with this rule, so permitting fragmentation and division as the acceptable ends of analysis and description.




These twin ¡®economies¡¯ in the arts and human sciences as themselves distinct from (but in some aspects similar to):


Disjunctive series: two broad series, one conjunctive, rational, continuous, by implication single (¡®One, ¡®the Same¡¯, the Whole, the Big Picture), based upon established, or agreed (theoretical), but measurable, quantities or equalities: the other, discontinuous, itself ¡®disjunctive¡¯ between its parts, but also eminently empirical¡­ The former, apparently unaffected by the perceiving subject (the interference is deemed infinitesimally negligible); the latter, notoriously, so affected, limiting what we can say about our object: a ¡®continuous series¡¯ opposed, or complemented by, a ¡®disjunctive series¡¯¡­ Themselves in a relation of (complementary) disjunction.


This division, in the ¡®hard¡¯ or ¡®physical¡¯ sciences, shows two ¡®complementary¡¯, but disunited, forms¡­ parallel ¡®disjunctive series¡¯, is made up of classical physics, including Einsteinian relativity (itself divided into ¡®restricted¡¯ and ¡®general¡¯ forms) and, on the other hand, quantum physics and its ever-more successful theoretical progeny.


Both disjunctions, in the physical and in the human sciences, are best explained as the fruit of arriving at the outer gates of human knowledge, the horizon of one kind of explainability, the limits of epistemology (at least in its ¡¯classical¡¯ form). So instead of a unified plane, we have the aporia, or disjunctivity, of subject and object; of the subject in its (non)interface with the object. On the one hand we have the commodity, equivalent or rational exchange and gift or identity exchange; ¡®equivalent reciprocity¡¯ and ¡®disjunctive reciprocity¡¯; a complementary disjunction in the explanation or description of the human sciences. Both are need for the proper description of human behavior. On the other hand, we find a continuous ¡®classical¡¯ manifold (in all dimensions) without gaps, and a discontinuous world of probability and exchanges of point of view (particle for wave, velocity for position, one form of measure for another ¨C mutually exclusive); a ¡®conjunctive series¡¯ and a ¡®disjunctive series¡¯ in a complementary disjunction in the explanation or proper description of the behaviour of matter in the physical sciences.


Furthermore, we a find the limits of, and dual perspective on, human knowledge already demonstrated in how we divide our cultural manifold. In the various directions of writing (left to right , right to left, top to bottom) together with the related directions of image flow in narrative images, when contrasted to how we (traditionally) go around (three dimensional) sacred objects and so where we nominate the most important place in a (two dimensional) image, offer two kinds of left/right directionality. Left/right Narrative or ¡®Subject Right¡¯ /left (left to right in the West; right to left in the traditional art and writing of the East) and left/right Power or ¡®Object Right¡¯ (or internal and external point of view).¡¯ Object Right¡¯ requires that we surrender the precedence of our right handedness for that of the object (¡®Might is Right¡¯) so we depict sacred personages on the top left of the image (our left, the object¡¯s right) and go around sacred places and statues on our left (clockwise) but according to ¡®their¡¯ right hand side (both West and East are ¡®Object Right¡¯ cultures). Interestingly cultures influenced by Moslem and Jewish religions do not show this division, they write right to left and go around sacred objects on their -the person¡¯s- right hand side (equally interestingly both are also iconoclastic cultures¡­ the sacred object or person may not be depicted). As in the other bifurcations introduced above, the history of art (for example) requires both directionalities to describe the disposition of entities in an image (the top left to bottom right diagonal) and how we combine image, text, statue and edifice in terms of space and direction of movement. Culture is also a divided manifold and its fault-lines follow those of the human and hard sciences and what they describe¡­.





What if the glove has two fingers: ¡®two fingers to the world¡¯¡­ (with mutual contact, overlap, a shared part of the glove, or¡­ not¡­ only a mutual application - but no unity). Or four¡­


Useful are two concepts popularized by George Bataille, who might be said to be the nearest thing to an originator of this kind of perspective, part of his distinctive take on the anthropological tradition (after Durkheim and Mauss - with Hegel, Nietzsche and Freud): the notions of ¡®restricted¡¯ and ¡®general¡¯ economy. The first, the ¡®restricted economy¡¯, excluding, ¡®smoothing¡¯ ¡®rounding¡¯, axiomatising for coherence. The other, the ¡®general economy¡¯ inclusive at the price of ¡®incoherence¡¯, fragmentation or sacrilege. One the realm of official explanation: the other its supplement. One all that is the case¡­ the other as that which is left out in order that it might be the case¡­ We might further note the origins of his concepts in ritual exchange (the impact of anthropology ¨C the beginning of our ability to compare our own with other¡¯s societies and cultures), and so with the return of the lost, excluded (or tabooed) in ritual practice and the ¡®irrationality¡¯ of ritual destructiveness or ¡®expenditure¡¯, in literature as in economics, often referred to as ¡®the accursed share¡¯. Part of gift exchange in general, or, better, ¡®identity exchange¡¯ (what appears as apparently ¡®left over¡¯, or left out, expendable, in one form of exchange, but put to use in another form¡­). Like ¡®mindless¡¯ vandalism. Like suicide and terrorism. Or like the return of ¡®noise¡¯ in music¡­ in theory and in practice.


And in metaphysics¡­ (of metaphor as imaging, or understanding, by means of image and concept, of a ¡®invisible¡¯, even ¡®sublime¡¯ process¡­). And in the language of an ¡®outside¡¯ (metaphysical marker par excellance): ¡®beyond economy¡¯ as the refusal to see different, complementary, but disjunctive, forms of exchange (rooted on our species being and its limitations), working across the human and physical sciences. A truly inclusive ¡®general economy¡¯.


And in relation to our ¡®post-¡®isms: Post-modernism, Post-structuralism, Post-Foundationalism and Deconstruction for example¡­ Markers of a change of episteme, or intellectual epoch, in the late twentieth century. Postmodernism as the return of the excluded of ¡®Modernism¡¯, the return of ¡®banned¡¯ history, of elided forms and contents. ¡®Post-foundationalism¡¯ as ¡®anti-epistemology¡¯ in line with the physical sciences and my suggestion, above, for the human sciences. Post-Structuralism as returning subjectivity (elided by Structuralism) and the ¡®Reader¡¯ (the perceiving subject as constitutive of meaning) together with a pragmatic turn in tune with the Linguistic sciences. Deconstruction operates a similar move in philosophy - but with a possible difference in the relationship of ¡®complementarity¡¯ versus ¡®un-decidability¡¯ (Plotnitsky) or in the seeking out of the ¡®infrastructures¡¯ that seem to appear in a variety of complementary types or genres of text (Gasche) and may be said to influence the ¡®shape of the pocket, or our ¡®enclosure¡¯ of thought (so closure of meaning as current ¡®certitude¡¯ and conceptual limitation).



We might further wish to be aware of two senses to ¡®general economy¡¯: as the return of excluded material and so as strategically necessary supplement (and the parallel with deconstruction, ¡®the originary supplement¡¯) as in Reason contemplating Unreason; or in the sense of the necessary presence of an opposing point of view, or differing theoretical approach, but one found (after testing) to be necessary and equally valid ¨C but incommensurable. However, in our attempts to understand the irrational (the Sublime, the Sacred, or Taboo) or return excluded material (infinite numbers, the Gödelian surplus information unaccounted for by the axioms, or the questions put aside by Wittgenstein¡¯s methodology in the Tractatus), we must also beware the temptation for the ¡®general economy¡¯ to become the Hegelian Aufhebung, the general all-embracing explanation, where the two incommensurables are fused into a new synthesis (usually by means of excluding what will not fit¡­). And so the old cycle begins again. Alternatively, the ¡®other¡¯ commensurable (usually called the ¡®general economy¡¯ because it acts as a supplement to the opposed or previously dominant ¡®restricted economy¡¯) may itself become an alternative, even dominant, explanation. Or, on the other hand, perhaps just one of many in a plural manifold. Interestingly (and again useful in terms of practical explanation) the priorities (of appearance and preference and implied value) may be reversed as the ¡®restricted economy¡¯ becomes elided or bypassed, in favour of the ¡®accursed share¡¯ of the ¡®general economy¡¯. As where the ¡®irrational¡¯, assertive and sacrificial demands of collective identity force a pogrom or other such form of ethnic (or social) cleansing, intolerance, persecution, terroristic or other destructive form of identity ritual or exchange, and the rational, commodity or equivalence economy is pushed aside in favour of destructive sacrificiality, the destructive expression of ¡®sovereignty¡¯ (so on further analysis revealing the Gift¡¯s dark or negative side just as in the case of the concept of ¡¯Carnival,¡¯ another buzz word that also once also hid similar destructive, persecutory activities).



How then might our ¡®double economy¡¯, traversing both ¡®hard and soft¡¯ sciences, the physical and the human sciences, map onto ¡®subject¡¯ and ¡®object¡¯ (¡®subjective¡¯, ¡®objective¡¯) and other related binary terms? Identity exchange (non-equivalence) and ¡®rational¡¯ or commodity exchange (equivalence) appear to cover subjective and objective sides of the coin of human life respectively - the physical sciences appear objective until we factor in quantum theory and the ¡®interference of the observer¡¯ (the human sciences suggest anthropology as offering a ¡®general economy¡¯ to sociology¡¯s restricted economy¡­). At the basis of the object side we have the requirement of intersubjectivity as the standard for truth (¡®Truth¡¯). ¡®Empiricism¡¯ is the other name for this procedure which removes the question of ¡®reality¡¯ from individual experience, where it is famously unanswerable (Descartes, Heidegger et al) and places it firmly at the level of social interaction. On the subjective, individual side of the equation, the sense of what is present to us, the ¡®Eternal Present¡¯ (and a fading past), governs human experience and is the basis of ¡®truth¡¯, with a small ¡®t¡¯. Both realms of presence appear to have a form of ritual as their basis: the collective repetition of a verification which then legitimizes claims to ¡®eternity¡¯, as a universal truth (¡®Truth¡¯), characterises ¡®objectivity¡¯. Whilst in the case of the individual, the identity economy or ¡®expenditure¡¯, whether benign (the collective or festive meal), consumer (the factor of identity or ¡®symbolic¡¯ exchange in purchase) or otherwise sacrificial (vandalism, ethnic cleansing, suicide) show how ritual governs the individual sense of identity and recognition, the link to recognition, community and belonging ¨C and so the construction of the individual¡¯s ¡®truth¡¯.

Moreover, these ¡®all too human¡¯ types of behavior, cultural and even ritual in form, remind us that what we are talking about is, precisely¡­ human behavior¡­ and not just so many amalgamated reified concepts.



This leads us to one particular, not to say peculiar form of human activity: thinking, ¡®theory¡¯ or philosophy. More precisely the question of limits (a question largely for ¡®Continental philosophy¡¯ as ¡®Anglo-American philosophy¡¯ would regard this as a breach of the taboo on reference to the metaset). The question of limits or ¡®horizon¡¯ and the issue of ¡®closure¡¯ or ¡¯enclosure¡¯; the thought of the edge; thinking with (out) limits. Subject and object relations, however, are all ¡®inside¡¯¡­ that is, all concepts about what is ¡®beyond¡¯ human conceptualization¡­ are still products of human thought (so we repeat or ¡®turn back¡¯ in¡­ just as we think we are ¡®escaping¡¯ or heading ¡®outside¡¯, just as we believe we are founding anew an original vision - we are back where we started (it is here that the concepts of ¡®iteration¡¯, ¡®context¡¯, ¡®appropriation¡¯ and so ¡®repetition¡¯, ¡®forwards¡¯ and backwards¡¯ may be bought into play)). Just like the expanding universe, every step ¡®outside¡¯ is more like an expansion of the inside ¨C the range of thought replacing the speed of light. Or, in a philosophical comparison, a further inflation of Hegel¡¯s ¡®World Spirit¡¯ (the sum of human culture and its self-awareness). So all thought is part of human language and culture and the ritual practice which maps the ¡®enclosure¡¯, offers ¡®closure¡¯, which maps the limits, even setting or showing, releasing, permitting negative examples (if only for a while ¨C as in ritual transgression in its traditional and commercial forms). The ritual side of this set of explanations is the supplementary, complementary or ¡®general economic¡¯ side of how we picture and explain, experience and create our ¡®reality¡¯. The return of the understanding of the assertion of the self, of the ¡®identity economy¡¯ (asserting ¡®sovereignty¡¯¡­ ¡®unto death¡¯, as Bataille famously observes) and its collective aspects are the return of an old and basic form of the self and self-making into modern thought where it was elided (or demonised) by first religion, then reason and science - for a while¡­ until returning in physics with a divided field and in the supplement of human ¡®irrationality¡¯¡­ (as prefigured clearly in Nietzsche). Twin double economies.

We might further note ritual practice as both a physical enclosure (or just a space) and an imaginary one (temporal, its period of existence or the length of the process), in which to conjure up the spirit(s)¡­ of eternity, to bless our renewal, recreation¡­ the exchange with the ¡®outside¡¯, with the ¡®heavens¡¯, with ¡®Nature¡¯ in our reassertion of identity.


So the object rejoins the subject as the twin products of ritual practice¡­






In continental philosophy, in deconstructive thought and its wake, the concept of ¡®the metaphysics of presence¡¯ has governed much debate. I want first to look at what this term might mean in practice, applied to the ideas discussed above, make a suggestion concerning ¡®differance¡¯ and temporality, and then take a specific example, favoured by Derrida, as an example of their application.




As with the limits of the object, the limits of knowledge, its being in, even a product of, our subjectivity, our languages and cultures and their concepts, so too the subject. So the illusion of presence is part of our net that we throw over things (including ourselves), mathematical, logical, quantitative, and, conceptually, qualitative ¨C all forms of representation, all human. The limits of the subject lie in its being as an object, so its (self) presence is an illusion, a necessary illusion, but a product of elsewhere - so no full self-presence, in the sense of self-created, fully autonomous ego, transparently present to itself (uninfluenced by the unconscious, the body, the presence of others, or the environment). We note the presence of this problem in its attempted cure, ritual practice with its core function of self or identity maintenance (individual and collective), and in the increasingly desperate forms of sacrificial assertion that are a response to perceived challenges and take the form of personal or organized violence, the pogrom, terrorism or ethnic cleansing.


So the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ also shows a double face. The ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ in the identity economy appears as a kind of figure, as synecdoche, metaphor, metonymy or metalepsis (of ¡®the¡¯ ¡®self¡¯ ¡®behind¡¯, the meeting of outer perception and inner memory, etc). And as supported by ritual, group membership, real or imaginary, belonging and recognition via the ¡®expenditure¡¯, sacrifice, consumerism¡­ unequal or destructive exchange (which so entrances thinkers like Bataille) as well as by religion and ideology.

The ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ in science, on the other hand, together with the economies of equivalence operate as a mask for non-equivalence. Sameness, similitude, equality, comparability, all are asserted via a simple single manifold so that quantitative mathematics and logic may function. Yet after Wittgenstein and Gödel, this too is a figure, a metaphor as comparability yields ¡®the same¡¯, an equivalent, and so the smooth foundation of logic, mathematics, and set theory. But the field is a fiction (albeit a productive one). For like the self these artificial or ¡®man-made¡¯ languages cannot account for themselves or their own field of operations, and so cannot ground themselves; and so again, we see that there is no self-identity in mathematics. If we then move to the role of averaging in actually used numbers (as opposed to infinite numbers), to the divided continuum of quantum physics and to statistical probability (the speed/position, particle/wave, ambiguity) and so to complementarity in physics, then we also can see the operation of the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ in the hard sciences (sic). Perhaps this ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ looks like a problem in the above analysis (whether physical or identity-based) but note its usefulness, indeed its fullness and inevitability when it comes to the success of its many roles, functions, in technology as in identity¡­ its ¡®presence¡¯ in these areas.


Equivalence too may be read as a human creation, especially in the human sciences, in human culture, and most especially in economics¡­ in what we value¡­. Which is also what we desire¡­ the more objective, the more subjective. Yet the market de-presences, ¡®lies behind¡¯¡­ price and value (the equivalence fluctuates from moment to moment and place to place), or the fraught relation of price and our desire (which is never limited to the function of the object bought -the ¡®use value¡¯ or ¡®function¡¯, for there is always an element of identity economy or in play¡­ the ¡®symbolic¡¯ use value or function). So there can be no opposition of archaic gift to modern reason and the commodity (neither is exclusively good or evil, reactionary or utopian ¨C though all have shared these names); both are in play in an extended (general) economy, where both play their role¡­ as part of the exchange relations that make up modern society. Otherwise put, both are required, a complementary, or supplemental descriptive relation, if the ¡®human¡¯ (what we actually do, a how we do it) is to be understood. The movement of matter as of mind, nature as of culture, both require a double economy for their non-exclusionary description.


What of the relation of the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ to the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯? Two very necessary illusions. The rhetoric of eternity features un-locatable gods and immortals; gives succor to religions and ideologies (like Structuralism, and its deep structures, Nature and its essences). But also including universals, ¡®laws¡¯, axioms, generalisations, real numbers, ¡®All¡¯ in logic ¨C all tidy and made usable by exclusion. It is the sheer un-presence of ¡®eternity¡¯ (fictional shadow of the ¡®eternal present¡¯ of everyday human experience), its very un-presence and un-presentability, that proffers the strength that lies in its being the apparent guarantor of the presence of self (with past and future) and its position with respect to larger pictures or narratives of community and history ¨C as well as of the religions, and ideologies and sciences (usually some notion of Nature or Natural Law, plays this role, euphemism for ¡®Eternity¡¯). Its very unassailability is the foundation on which these all stand¡­ So the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ and the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ are perhaps somewhat interdependent (as we can see from the ¡®universal¡¯ function of ritual with its call on the rhetoric of eternity for everlasting presence of self, others and Other, and the ubiquity of rituality in human life and from providing ¡®truth¡¯ to ¡®Truth¡¯). If the ¡®metaphysic of presence¡¯ locates our self-presence close to the voice, the inner voice as we hear it (and not to the brain that makes it and us, both), then the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ extends the seemingly endless presence of phenomena (including of self to self, and the unchangeable self-presence of concepts to themselves - impervious to history, time or context) into ¡®eternity¡¯. Both support each other, as the Eternal Present (¡®presence¡¯) produces Eternity and in in turn is ¡®positioned¡¯ in the World, in Nature and relative to the Heavens, first and last things, by Eternity ¨C metaphysically present to fulfil its role¡­


Last word on ¡®eternity¡¯: The ¡®Absolute Other or Outside¡¯ almost by definition, has no place in thought: yet all description of any putative ¡®outside¡¯ is ¡®always already¡¯ inside¡­ Such a non-place is saved for ¡®eternity¡¯ as a mental function, perhaps hard-wired (though often represented as ¡®heaven¡¯, Nature, etc.), as the guarantor of¡­ no change. Outside of history (¡®Nature¡¯). An absolute, and absolutely irreplaceable, fiction¡­ This relationship also seems to be an apt candidate for the paradoxes of the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯.


(¡®The world¡¯ is) One pocket that never escapes duality (two points of view). A monism that never escapes duality (and from where is the monism, seen¡­ ?). Even if we would prefer it to be a pluralism¡­


The glove has two fingers¡­ (or should that be four¡­)?






Elsewhere (in my ¡®Language and Logic¡¯ book), I suggest the ¡®Eternal Present¡¯ as the experiential equivalent of ¡®difference¡¯, as the moment of where Derrida¡¯s concept of ¡®difference/differance/deference¡¯ becomes more than the ¡®positive¡¯ terms it ¡®separates¡¯; like the self, poised between past and future, on a slippery intangible, uncapturable, but inescapable (and -whilst we live- endless) moment. The very ¡®moment¡¯ of our identity, of our ¡®self-identity¡¯, an un-ceasing illusion which can be truly described as a ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ - but one we may not avoid¡­ So suggesting the experience of the ¡®Eternal Present¡¯ as not only the origin of the non-presence of ¡®Eternity¡¯, a ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ if ever there was one, but also of the originary difference that founds any binary and so also the foundational moves of modern logic and mathematics (and through the non-reversible direction of time and semi-presence of past and future, or the limits of both, infinite regress, and infinite metaset replication¡­). Otherwise put, the origin of formal languages, as of topic/comment, part/whole, element/set (as well as, mind/matter, word/thing and, of course, subject/object). To this list we might add the ¡®Eternal Present¡¯ as both basis for, and effect of, the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯, unavoidable - except in certain theoretical and religious discourses (¡®idealism¡¯, probability, ¡®deep structure¡¯, negative theology as well as all invisible gods¡­ the world of hidden essences ¨C for these we need the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯). And so in the latter case, requiring support from ritual as the material equivalent or prop for the eternal, its evoking in time and space (its presence in the experience of the participants, in their Eternal Present) - for ¡®eternity¡¯ as last foundation of matters (sic) requiring foundation.


(Structuralism however is itself the location (in both senses of the word) of an absent ¡®deep structure¡¯, but at issue here is not what is hidden, of deep structural proposition versus surface phenomena (essence versus appearance) so its lack or presence as its very strength, but it¡¯s would be unifying, global force).



And what of a change in the shape of the pocket? A change in the enclosure of thought. From within¡­ a fantasy¡­ (the illusion of the ¡®Outside¡¯). From without, from outside it could only be as a development in science and technology (in neither of which are we in short supply) or a change in history; as in the novum of Quantum science, and the approach of AI, both revolutionary in their implications for human self-understanding. So philosophy changes by the entry of non-philosophy¡­ human though by the entry of the non-human (this also is a move towards ¡®general economy¡¯) as does thought in specific cultures and communities by the exchanges with other cultures and communities and the advance of technology and science¡­ and by their effects on society ¨C which at a certain stage can no longer be denied and so new concepts are formed. Again, we would do well to note the role of the empirical as a challenge and as an antidote to the self-made, ¡®self-present¡¯ prison of philosophy, of ¡®reason alone¡¯¡­


A good example might be found in the history of sexual inequality, a received enclosure many find hard to shake; whether in life, work (the division of labour) as in representation, more particularly the representation of gender in the history of philosophy, often referred to by Derrida as a key form of the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯, as ¡¯phallogocentrism¡¯, as the backbone (sic) of presence (as opposed to feminine ¡®absence¡¯) in the linkage of ¡®gender¡¯ to ¡®presence¡¯ in Western metaphysics - or the insistence of global patriarchal traditions into the modern epoch¡­ As for example in the human sciences? Or in all knowledge, in hard sciences as the avoidance of the female, whilst in parallel, in culture and ritual the valourisation (sic) of the male; so two parallel expressions of patriarchy in knowledge and culture. Also conceptualized in a single manifold as rational, unified as male, but also supported by identity exchange as irrational, as dominated by male-supporting rituals, and excluding the female. Now returning¡­ with the female/feminine as object for the sciences and as participating or constituting subject of modern ritual and cultural practices - so showing the influence of social practice on thought, on theory, and of social change, changes in hierarchy, as affecting thought¡­ So with received structures we have the objective sciences (physical and human) as the refusal of the female (a gender blind spot), and the realm of cultural practice, ritual and doxa as the received realm of the assertion of the male. Leaving the female out; but with considerable historical exception in actual and specific place and time and practice (¡®general¡¯ pragmatic operations and insights in a restricted field against totalizing forms of structuralism and universalism with their ¡®restricted¡¯ generalisations). Received enclosures may not be the same as receiving enclosures¡­



Closure/enclosure as double closure, a double enclosure¡­ therefore the double operation of reversal sketched above¡­





Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2020