Double Economy IV/ Repetition
Part 1. Diremption and Repetition.
Part 2. (I) The ¡®Double Economy¡¯ and Repetition in ¡®the Eternal Present¡¯ and (II) the Rhetoric of ¡®the Eternal Return¡¯ .
Part 3. Further Clarifying Afternote (¡®Repetition¡¯ and Kierkegaard in Derrida¡¯s ¡®Pharmakon¡¯ and Deleuze¡¯s ¡®Quasi-causality¡¯).
Diremption and Repetition
Repetition; always in time, so always a process: in the subjective realm, such a process gives memory; in the objective realm, such a process gives ritual. For ¡¯again¡¯ can only mean that ¡®it¡¯ happened ¡®before¡¯ (even if the recognition is retrospective ¨C which also means that it may be¡ creative). Repeated behaviour provides the building blocks of culture (habit, practice, cycle and event).
Repetition in the subjective realm, offers ideas as self-recognition together with the recognition of things and others; in the objective or intersubjective realm, repetition offers actions, re-configurations of matter, as becoming ritual. The former supports the self from within: the latter from without. Repetition in the assertion of things and self is the ability to recognise things and self, is memory. Repetition as social interconnection ranges from the everyday to intense communication; ritual from (quantitatively speaking) the handshake to the festival (and qualitatively, from giving to taking, from making to destroying, from the habit of charity to the pogrom). Identity supported by repetition as memory and in ritual repetition of actions with others and things. So, repetition, developing onto ritual, as the fundamental support of the transmission or continuity of self and its connectedness to others. Recognition in both senses, of self by self and others by self (including things), and of self by others, of self with others. Repetition is the key structuring element both in temporality and in time, in personal as in social memory - with increasing degrees of codification and affect forming rituality. Root of individual and social cohesion. Repetition as the ¡®ground¡¯ of identity and community.
Repetition. With memory supporting the self, self-presence, and undermining its illusion of autarky (the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯). With ritual supporting social relations, identity as belonging, imaginary or real (or how we imagine ourselves and our connections to others, whether fictional or real - subjunctive or indicative¡ for a wished-for identity is still an identity).
Repetition, its possibility as ¡®Truth¡®, in science, in description and experiment (basis of axioms, propositions, laws; of confirming, checking, recognising).
Repetition; impossible as an absolute (arrow of time); fundamental as constituting connection, as transmission in process (as identity in process).
Repetition; with the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ as the guarantee (fictional) of repetition, of return, of recognition¡
So, giving an interesting circuit (or ¡®economy¡¯): from repetition (memory) to the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ (self), and from the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ to the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯, then from the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ (ritual) to repetition (social continuity and connectedness)¡
Derrida again¡ (¡®Post¡¯- deconstruction as description¡)
In effect, Derrida¡¯s difference with Husserl and Levi-Strauss, with Phenomenology and Structuralism, with self-presence as fundamental intuition and with absent, but essential, ¡®deep structure¡¯, is, respectively, the ascription of an inside and an outside, or an ¡®internal¡¯ and an ¡®external¡¯, type of ¡®eternity¡¯ or a priori ¡®starting point¡¯. The ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ (¡®full presence¡¯, the ¡®privileged moment of eternity¡¯ as essence) as opposed to the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ (¡®the metaphysics of absence¡¯ as essence) both implying universal validity and an a priori ¡®transcendental¡¯. What we have is two, perhaps complementary, types of foundation seeking, both equally mythical, equally illusory; one showing the dangers of relying on intuition alone, ¡®pure¡¯ presence alone, the other the dangers of constructing a (concealed) universal (Kantian ¡®reason alone¡¯) ¨C always present (as essence) but absent from our experience.
So knowledge again is as if underpinned by another ¡®double economy¡¯, a double rhetoric, the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ and the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯, ¡®in¡¯ and ¡®out¡¯, both claiming eternity, foundationality, extra-temporal reliability, exceptionalism; but the second founded on the first, and first founded upon the illusory extrapolation of our experience of the present¡
¡®Full presence¡¯, its positing, as basically talking to oneself¡ a generalisation from our existential ¡®interior monologue¡¯, and not writing to one¡¯s self. The latter happens outside, the former is inside, closer¡ so we prefer the former as purer, more authentic, more proximate, more immediate¡ as if unaffected by anything else¡ as if unchanged by anything else¡ But all is influenced by the past, and so by repetition, by memory, and by the changes of meaning implied by its continuation (again repetition) into the future¡ With each new repetition, each new change in time and space, or each new change of reader, a new meaning arises, a different meaning arises; as in linguistics, a change in context equals a change in meaning (and so the self-present self becomes the voice of the past, becomes the repeated, relived, reinterpreted, retrieved memory from the past¡ which is then itself repeated and altered¡). The insistence of the present, the insistence on this presence, even as it passes, as it is¡ passing¡ part of an ongoing process, is the ground of the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯. Our voice as present to ourselves (often called ¡®phono-¡¯ or ¡¯logo-centrism¡¯, when this idea is enlarged into the foundation for a philosophy, a meta-physics, a religion or an ideology¡).
So in Nature-first philosophies (like Romanticism, Liberationism or religions like Daoism, Natural Law religions like Buddhism, and in concepts like, ¡®authenticity¡¯, and ¡®alienation¡¯), the ¡®authentic self¡¯ is our self in the context of Nature, away from Culture¡ before the influence of ac-culturisation (before socialisation!) ¨C in practice anti-urban. And of course, the voice is always read as more natural -more ¡®truthful¡¯- than writing¡ so provoking a broad range of anti-education movements. Nationalism and other exclusive types of identity-based ideology (religion, class, region, family, gender, sexuality) are of course based on this notion of a true essence, belonging, identity, the essence which is more ¡®essential¡¯ than the others, which is beyond change or evolution and defines who is ¡®us¡¯ and who is ¡®them¡¯.
A few more words on the relationship of the self and the group as the two options, or joint basis of ¡®Truth¡¯. Again, our own experience seems non-surmountable, non-negotiable: but this ¡®obvious¡¯ presence of the perception of things, others and self to self as opposed to the less present intermediary of intersubjectivity, exactly is the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯¡ (the preference for self-present, ¡®self-evident¡¯ experience, not least of which, ¡®belief¡¯ as the basis for ¡ belief). Ourselves, however, allied to our memory, make notoriously unreliable witnesses, liable to influence by mood, anxiety, drugs, age and desire. (Also ¡®obviously¡¯ is the wrong metaphor, as, if we ¡®see ourselves¡¯, then we imagine ourselves as other and so we are already seeing ourselves as others see us, and not ¡®directly¡¯ experiencing ourselves from the inside¡). So truth is a matter of self with others as Truth¡ (or ¡®groups of others¡¯ -say scientists- as recording truth for us to learn from ¨C ¡®second hand¡¯, as text or ¡®writing¡¯). A matter of ¡®concerted being¡¯: a concert of beings is required for truth to be agreed upon - to emerge (the product of a concerted effort ¨C so always liable to organizational or institutional taint, or bias¡ of ¡®local taboos¡¯).
Difference again. Self, our ¡®now moment¡¯, as if (in that (non) place ¨C the ¡®place¡¯ of difference (of binary oppositions, or binarized differences in general). Just like the experience of self (the present) between past and future. One criticism of this parallel is that it is an artificial parallel or allegory: however, this criticism suggests an outside point of view, where two different matters are seen as yoked together, a ¡®third person imaginary¡¯ which, in this context (outside of the self, of all selves¡ of everyone¡) can only be fictional (the point of view of the Other). However, this argument¡¯s starting place is our internal experience. In experience the self is more present than past and future, with self as ¡®difference¡¯ (or moment of difference) the two sides of the binary in question become secondary or semi-present, and we see the relative ¡®positivisation¡¯ of the difference in question¡ as opposed to the ¡®down-grading¡¯ (and de-hierarchisation) of the two terms of the binary¡. Rendered on ¡®either side¡¯, of the self¡ or as ¡®after it¡¯, or as less present¡ as governed by it, framed by it. Indeed, the additions of a positive and negative shading to the opposing terms of the binary is perhaps the best proof of the validity of this parallel as these could only come from the self (its prehistory, past). Nature having no positives and negatives (or no negatives, depending upon your philosophical point of view). Things are either present (to us) or less present (present as memory): ¡®not-present¡¯ suggests our recognition of a certain lack of presence - and therefore is a matter of memory (¡repetition).
(I) The ¡®Double Economy¡¯ and Repetition in ¡®the Eternal Present¡¯ and (II) the Rhetoric of ¡®the Eternal Return¡¯
(I) The ¡®Double Economy¡¯ and the ¡®Eternal Present¡¯: A summary of the issue, of what is at issue¡
Fictions we live by¡ The dream of a unified (or unifiable) manifold, un-rent veil of the temple of knowledge: at once an axiom (a ¡®given¡¯) and an act of faith, now revealed as a forlorn wish (subjunctive, as usual, masquerading as indicative). Gift of illusion.
The assertion of facts governed by a single ¡®royal¡¯ house; housed in a unique library, whose classifications are quantitative and whose qualitative divisions are not incommensurable.
Fictions we live by¡ The dream of self-mastery, of a unified and transparent (to self) Self. Foremost amongst life¡¯s necessary provisionals: ¡®the Self¡¯¡ the philosopher¡¯s stone, now dissolved in the acid of empiricism, as of the rationalist¡¯s myth of ¡®self-identity¡¯. Ground zero of the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯; necessary¡ but an illusion ¨C a present with no presence (whose only presence is the present). Rendered possible by repetition (by our desire to be ¡®in two places at the same time¡¯, identity stretched over points on a process). Rendered impossible by repetition, by process and by our pre-conscious, invisible causality (an illusion only sustained from without, the ¡®object¡¯ point of view to sustain the ¡®subject¡¯, the objective as permit for the subjective - the view of the other, to support the self¡ our self in our imagination - precisely our imaginary self).
This ¡®originary¡¯ repetition (a connection between two points which, as experienced, is always retrospective) is also present in all recognition (of things and people, as well as of self). It is in this sense that repetition is the ground of memory. The past, absent, or ¡®semi-present¡¯, as when we are conscious of it as past; as when we ¡®recall¡¯ it to the present (recall it to presence¡ or recreate it in the present ¨C the original imprint now lost with the original event). In the present, however, presence is recognition, is a repetition of the past as a reference to the (lost, invisible, trace) foundation of this moment of presence¡ (Also a product of the invisible, the unconscious the body, the nervous system, the Other). So, we are left with the self¡ Self as moment, un-pin-downable, unlocatable, between memory (internal, past) and input (external, stimuli). Mistaking the presence of the present as the presence of self. As well as the other of the body to consciousness, of the house to the inhabitant, the invisibility of the neurological process of perception to the perceiver, and the transmission of such, the perceived, into consciousness (the role of the pre-conscious).
The ¡®Eternal Present¡¯, in this regard, is not a metaphysical or consolatory concept¡ (the last lash of a mortally wounded ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯). But our on-going moment in the sea of presence. So rather a descriptive and experiential ¡®place holder¡¯, descriptive of the process of experience; subjective experience; not existing (independently) as a fact, empirical, rational nor objective. Not quantifiable, nor a matter of reference - again, not a fact¡ Unless regarded as a fact of consciousness, a fact of personal experience generalised into a fact of ¡®species-experience¡¯; of life, our ¡®house¡¯ in the body, our ¡®window on the world¡¯ our ¡®homepage¡¯ in the head. Our very own genius loci, which is accompanied by the less-present, past and future, by the occasional lapse into dream mode, and by the decidedly non-present, sense of eternity - the Eternal Present¡¯s invisible extrapolation. Indeed, it is our sense of ¡®Eternity¡¯ that is the basis of the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ as of the ¡®metaphysics of self-presence¡¯, twin supports or ¡®foundations¡¯, offering twin guarantees regarding the status of our outer and inner realms: of the world and of identity; one dwelling in ritual, the other in memory (their repetition provides the rationale for both kinds of guarantee, community and self - both finally empty¡ imaginary). The Eternal Present is a fact of (my) human existence and not a fact of matter, a matter of fact. For an experiential starting point is not a ¡®foundation¡¯ upon which to build a scientific edifice: but it may be read as a kind of conceptual metaset¡ in experience the only one that counts¡ (but does not count as ¡®one¡¯ ¨C for that would be the ¡®outside¡¯ view¡ but ¡®zero to two¡¯ ¨C from the zero of the self to the two made up of the other and its view by ¡®one¡¯¡ ¡®one¡¯s self¡¯, degree zero of the self).
So one response to the self¡¯s fragility, its inflated illusion of self-presence, no more inflated then when made the basis for a ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ (as tracked by Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Lyotard and Derrida) is rituality. The repetition of action and event as the ¡®proof¡¯ of identity. This is the realm of the assertion of self: of self and community; of the ¡®gift economy¡¯, sacrificial and occasionally destructive; the subjective side of the subject/object incommensurable in the realm of economics and the social or ¡®human¡¯ sciences (usually represented on the object side by equivalence and production in the realm of exchange). Diremption denying a single united manifold of knowledge in the description of human behaviour. Offering instead, adjacent strands or compartments of knowledge ¨C with each zone of knowledge or practice (cultural) further riven in two¡ Attempted unifications have included religion (faith) and reason (ideology and the concept¡ the assertion of the essence of¡ and the a-priorisation of such as Natural Law) the fruits of the rhetoric of eternity ¨C the rhetoric of the Absolute Outside where putative universals may take refuge. But in practice, it is rituality, from everyday habit to collective festival, that bridges the gap, that unifies the un-unifiable¡ that offers ¡®presence¡¯ in return for sacrifice, in the return of ¡®gift¡¯¡ Offering the gift of recognition at all levels. But regarded as utopian or archaic (as ¡®good, or ¡®bad¡¯) on the value, moral or subject side of human experience: as opposed to the factive, scientific, object side, where both are ¡®reunited¡¯ as forms of description in anthropology (which accepts the ¡®gift¡¯ form of description, the presence of non-equivalent forms of exchange as part of identity and society). A ¡®unity¡¯ achieved at the price of the breach of our last resort, the sciences; for if the social sciences must include the diremption into gift and commodity (non-equivalence as well as equivalence in exchange) based forms of description, then in the physical sciences too we witness the strange fruits of empirical enquiry in the divide inaugurated by the opposition of classic versus quantum descriptions (the putative objective view and the view given by the interference of the subject ¨C the former now reminded of its subjunctive foundation and the latter a reminder of the limits of human perception¨C both reminders of the ineluctable humanness of human knowledge¡). A riven world; riven worlds: layers of understanding, themselves divided¡
Moreover, if we look further, this state of riven-ness is also found in the arts. Found in the culture we make and build, in our representations and our architecture; in the object and subject points of view found in left/right movements in the representative arts, in the directionalities found in the world of the image: found again in the difference of the top level of the built environment to the rest, the place from which statues, and not only statues, look out¡ look down¡ (as with all object points of view, places of the rhetoric of eternity). And a riven-ness found in language (philosophy and linguistics) in the description of thought as it takes an internal or external, expressive or factive, subjective or objective stance: as in the case of the following paired concepts: subjunctive/indicative; fact/value or is/ought; use/mention; performative/constative¡ Again, as in the human sciences, the governing division is one of the assertion of facts about things and the assertion of self.
(II) Repetition and the Eternal Return
Let us look at Nietzsche¡¯s concept of the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯, a concept designed for the creation and assertion of a certain kind of self, in the light of the two fundamental manifestations of repetition in our constitution as human (in memory and in ritual). Whilst neither owes anything directly to Kierkegaard¡¯s famous distinction of backward and forward types of repetition (with their modern, post-Nietzschean, gloss of blind or reactive and appropriative or creative form of ¡®repetition¡¯) memory and ritual are clearly to be found operating in both ¨C the uses and limitations of these I will look at briefly below. Nor is it a matter of the presence of two points on the arrow of time and their interpretation; as in two (or more) kinds of use of, or response to a ¡®first¡¯ occurrence¡ to the uses of memory, of history, of the past¡. (nor with the identification or even creation of such a ¡®repetition¡¯). But rather of two zones, complimentary realms or qualities of experience, acting in parallel. Repetition as constitutive of the efficacity of both the process of memory and the processes of rituality. Of the individual self, and of the communal other of others (objective community as ¡®agreed¡¯ community). Of repetition as in internal and external guise; our in- and out-side, subjective and objective, psychological and social aspects; our thought and our behavior (our mental culture and our cultural practices).
So with memory and ritual, if we first look with Kierkegaard¡¯s ¡®repetition backwards,¡¯ then what we have appears as passive; closer to a blind, unaware, unthinking process, often reactive ¨C but which, because all repetition is never exact (never finally in the same place in space/time) can nevertheless become creative, re-inventing¡; ¡®repetition forwards.¡¯ This move from passive to active repetition with respect to both memory and to ritual, becomes stronger with interpretation and is closer to appropriation, often creative¡ (Memory alone and ritual alone as blind or passive repetition, recreating, re-affirming, maintaining past identities - but with no adaptability: this is a matter of not only what the process ¡®does¡¯, but of point of view, of what one regards or defines as significant change¡).
With Nietzsche, the consideration of memory (history) in relation to repetition as a creative act offers art as lying, and history as art¡ (this move is echoed in Foucault¡¯s appropriative approach). In both philosophers, no matter how accurate this approach is descriptively (the relation of power to discourse), once it becomes prescriptive -or actively appropriated- we have a convenient, and sophisticated, excuse for all manner of self-interested lies, denials and distortions.
However, with the Nietzsche of the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯, repetition re-appears in its other fundamental support of human life and identity, ritual; as it becomes the basis of a ritual form of affirmation, as used in the mode of ¡®as if¡¯¡ there were to be an ¡®Eternal Return¡¯¡ In this way the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯, in its guise as ritual repetition, becomes the galvanizer of will, attitude, reminder of ¡®sovereignty¡¯ (the ¡®metaphysics of presence¡¯ as recognition), as assertion of self¡ (as ¡®identity exchange¡¯). With the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯ as applied to memory, we have the affirmation of the past; as the making the best of an unalterable (but reinterpretable) past. However, in its ritual application (its application as a form of ritual) the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯ appears to operate upon the future. Yet whatever the effects of attempts to reproduce the Same (to carry on as before¡ and here the radical will of the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯ begins to look ever more conservative) the operation is, in fact, in the present ¨C a future willed in the present (all ¡®futures¡¯ are really a ¡®future in the present¡¯) and so is, on this reading, a way of accepting the present (a way of rendering the present acceptable¡). These modes of the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯, return us to repetition itself as (the impossible, because there is no absolute repetition) fundamental element in self-support and repair, identity and recognition, individual and community (memory and ritual), as the mechanism of affirmation and assertion¡ And of such an acceptance as¡ delirium¡ ritual delirium¡ (did George Bataille, who opposed chance to the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯, really miss this¡?).
Perhaps the paired and apparently opposed concepts (or moral values), ¡®reactive¡¯ and ¡¯creative¡¯, are more useful than the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯ with respect to the uses in the present; as of the fruits of repetition, of past memory and surviving cultural practice. For the reactive response may also (as no repetition is pure, is absolute) carry a trace of creativity, of something new¡ And the ¡®creative¡¯ may, of course, be simply deluding itself¡ It is in this way that the terms ¡®immanent¡¯ and ¡®transcendent¡¯, when thought in terms of repetition, also carry the possibility of the delusion of escape, of the new; where we think we have ¡®transcended¡¯ a given situation, but are in fact repeating (¡®backwards¡¡¯). And, again, the opposite paradox also applies to immanence; as when any given repetition may carry the possibility of the new, or a (accidental) step beyond, a ¡®repetition forwards¡¯, a creative appropriation¡ despite itself (or may be again, just be¡ another¡ repetition ¨C of the Same). We judge in retrospect, or according to (ideological) point of view. So, whatever its strengths as an, internal, psychological moral ¡®lifter¡¯, the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯, as described from outside, as the desire for repetition, risks the worst immanence in pursuit of a purely subjective transcendence (delirium). At best we have an appropriation that makes the best of all¡ but we don¡¯t need the drama of the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯ to do this. Nor to make of all life, all experience, a new launching point in our process of Becoming¡ Indeed, it would be hard to live otherwise¡
Given the ubiquity of the ¡®rhetoric of eternity¡¯ as the (absent) guarantee of systems, beliefs and ideologies (as also of natural law, logic and mathematics (¡®Unreal numbers¡¯)) a ubiquity found in many forms (from God to Nature to universals and the a-priori) it is not surprising that when Nietzsche needs something to lean on, a kind of moral compass, he also choses eternity as the ¡®foundation¡¯ of his means to live, his starting point of a positive method of life, of value-affirming¡ To use the rhetoric of eternity, in a new (openly rhetorical) form, ¡®the Eternal Return¡¯, to provide an orientation of, for, or in, the ¡®Eternal Present¡¯. Clearly the ¡®Eternal Return¡¯ is yet another attempt to yoke the concept of eternity to everyday use, to repair, or go beyond the fault-lines of everyday life and knowledge, beyond the divided selves we all inhabit and the divided realms of description of the world or knowledge we live to deny. It is in this way that his attempt turns out to be just the same as that of all the others¡ But not as an unconscious slide into a familiar path (or function): rather a conscious attempt, deliberate, as a heuristic, a motto, a method¡ Repetition then provides continuity, ¡®return¡¯, and recognition, as found in the twin pillars of identity, in memory and ritual; in internal and external, psychological and social, life¡ Eternity again rides in to save the day from an unpalatable empirical skepticism or epistemological and moral ¡®nihilism¡¯. A questioning that leaves no room to ¡®stand¡¯ (foundations ¡®grounded¡¯ in either ¡®self-presence¡¯ or in ¡®matter¡¯ or in a ¡®unified manifold¡¯). Which is, concerning the state of knowledge, pretty well where we find ourselves today. Except that life goes on and it all no longer seems quite so frightening¡
Part 3. Further Clarifying Afternote (¡®Repetition¡¯ in Derrida¡¯s ¡®Pharmakon¡¯ and Deleuze¡¯s ¡®Quasi-causality¡¯).
No wonder repetition is uncanny; twins, doppelgangers, copies and priorities (Levi-Straus makes much of this). Then there are simulacra, omens, imitations, mimeses (and so suitable and unsuitable imitation). And then we have Kierkegaard¡¯s repetition ¡®forwards¡¯ and ¡®backwards¡¯¡ Usually glossed as a ¡®progressive¡¯ or ¡®good¡¯ repetition (repetition with change) versus a ¡®backwards¡¯ or ¡®bad¡¯ repetition¡¯ (repetition without change, as blind and reactive versus strategic and creative, etc., etc.). A lot is at stake ¨C or may be its just another fancy form of name-calling? We might note Deleuze¡¯s, concept of ¡®quasi-causality¡¯ (as found in Difference and Repetition) and now rather fashionable, rather resembles Kierkegaard¡¯s double concepts of repetition¡ as well as Derrida¡¯s now meta-fashionable ¡®pharmakon¡¯¡ In Derrida¡¯s case the idea is simply that of good and bad effects (as read from a given point of view ¨C often masquerading as objective, that is as the only possible point of view) or as a plurality of, sometimes countervailing or conflicting, effects (as in the pluralist point of view ¨C with difference proper, so implying different and changing and conflicting points of view - awaiting empirical or other forms of differentiation and debunking ¡). This later notion is important as views of ¡®culture¡¯ and ¡®nature¡¯ are plural (so we have as many ¡®Natures¡¯ as we have cultures, as many ¡®objects¡¯ as ¡®subjects¡¯), not limited to one model (or one culture or one epoch or one science even¡). Which provides a relief from the Heidegger ¡®Ge-stell¡¯ model of technology now dominating much media (¡®critical¡¯) theory¡ (and looking like a rebirth of Neo-structuralist Marxism¡). Deleuze¡¯s idea (¡®quasi-causality¡¯) reiterates Derrida¡¯s idea (with which it has been recently linked despite the massive differences in their metaphysics) of ¡®good¡¯ and ¡®bad¡¯ effects, but apparently relying on Kierkegaard and repetition rather than Plato (all this concept creation is designed to deal with the thinking and contradictions of technology in the modern ¨C and sometimes not so modern - world). Kierkegaard¡¯s two types of repetition are by inference ¡®good¡¯ and ¡®bad¡¯, or forwards looking and changing, or backwards looking and ¡®stuck¡¯ (presumably in a bad cycle¡ however if the cycle is not a bad one, then it may be a good or useful form, I suppose, like rituality and identity and good habits and the institutions of stable government¡). So like Derrida¡¯s ¡®pharmakon¡¯ (better ¡®double edged sword¡¯ or even ¡®alcohol¡¯¡) what is good or bad is a matter of perspective. Indeed, little bit of pluralism, perspectivism, ¡®difference¡¯ or relativism soon clears up the mess ¨C as again an attempt to make one picture, a single whole, one manifold, one Object, One - where there are in fact many ¨C models based upon cultures and reason¡ This putative ¡®unification¡¯ counts as yet another form of denial in dealing with the diremption where no closure or ¡®smooth¡¯, singular ¡®plane of immanence¡¯, can survive, and is always revealed to be the product of an imposed ¡®reterritorialising¡¯ concept - so a subject assertion creating an object language or descriptive model).
Strictly speaking, any repetition whatsoever is not a simple or ¡®stuck¡¯ repetition (in absolute terms there is no ¡®repetition backwards¡¯), as the difference in time/space, a new embodiment, a new context is sufficient to at least imply new meaning or functions or effects (or affects)¡ Indeed, ¡®repetition backwards¡® and its avatars begin to look like the fixedness of the object of perception becomes an object of memory or description and of artificial or limited, ¡®restricted¡¯ object languages¡ whilst the idea of ¡®repetition forwards¡¯ is, as observed, always already in process, changing with its own tempos and with the perception of the subject in changing space time, contingent¡ so appearing as the experience of the subject in the Eternal Present, which with desire and imagination, with aim and intention, when projecting the past into future, also changes it¡ takes the fixedness of the past and makes it mobile, adaptable, something of use in a new situation (and there is always a new situation¡ ahead¡ or even ¡ now).
¡¯Deleuze¡¯s concept of ¡®quasi-causality¡¯ seems like an attempt to re-name the two possibilities flowing from repetition, but ignoring the more radical and real effects of pluralism (which philosophically he usually champions). And all repetitions of course have their prior forms, as we go back in memory or process (in the mind of the subject or in the description of an object). And projections as we look forwards, or model our future, based on extrapolations which are often just repetitions of the past¡ How we colour, fill, or fulfill our pasts and our futures is a matter for our present, a position which can be reduced to our past, but not without including others¡¯ pasts too¡ so still producing alternatives, other models and other perspectives¡ only time will tell which were cogent (note how we move forwards to look back¡ ¡®the owl of Minerva¡¡¯).
Otherwise put only the present can interpret the past, or the present always reinterprets the past ¨C the view that these presents are also products of our pasts, is of course true, but only in the abstract (in a model, a model object), the concrete determinations we usually do not know, cannot see, and are anyway complex, plural, subject to perspective and different positions (¡®subject-positions¡¯) in the present in turn¡ and so the wheel goes around, and the oscillation proper to the diremption reasserts itself against all attempts to fix or ¡®ground¡¯ it on one side or the other.
If one side, then the other¡
Given one side, then the other¡
Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2020