Some interesting posts up, the first being Reid’s outline of Dark Matter, the second being Levi’s response. Like Levi, I think it may be helpful, at least for me, to talk about these issues, putting it into my own language so as to navigate this terrain in order to better understand my own thoughts.
First I want to talk about the trace. Derrida speaks of “the trace” in terms of proto-linguistics, as that which is prior to language. I use it in terms of my reading of Schelling however, as that which is proto-ontology, that is, that which is prior to Being. I don’t mean that there are things before there is Being, but that there are pseudo-things before there are real, complete things. I mentioned this briefly in terms of ontological retardations, places where the process of becoming-actual is impeded in some way and beings emerge deformed. I also refer to these things as ghosts, in that they are quasi-beings.
It should be clear from this that I am not simply speaking of an epistemological problem, it is not that these beings are not fully formed because of a problem with cognition, but rather, because there is a problem in some sense with Nature itself. This is an ontological problem in that Being itself, which is only ever a process of becoming, of actualization and aspiration, gets “stopped up” and stunted.
Reid speaks of
dark matter as a non-conceptual symbol effectuating within existential judgment the real suspension of such judgment, or the foreclosure constitutive of such judgment, we propose a shift from ontology in general, as a philosophical determination, to something like an anontology (anon-tology or an-ontology), a material ontology or ontology as material for (non-ontological) thought. This is not a variant of ontology or species of ontology so much as a kind of ’state of exception’ of ontology, in which the ontological law is suspended while the force of this law is still in effect. In such a suspended state, there is no specification of ontological materials or of existential values, but rather a general anonymity of materiality regarding its existential specificity. Anontology is a kind of crypto-ontology, liberating the force of ontological thought from its self-imposed criterion of sufficiency to the Real.
I think that a proper hauntology could actually accommodate such a scenario. If we accept my above outline of ghosts as quasi-real entities, then it becomes possible to take this to its extreme and accept ‘dark matter.’
We must first understand that Being is itself susceptible to stunted growth, and as such, that there are gradations of Being. (I would argue, as mentioned above, that Being as such is actually only ever an aspiration, that Being as static presence is itself impossible.) If we assume that there are gradations between Being as impossible perfection (static presence) and Nothingness (as entirely absent presence) then what is to stop us from continuing down the slope of existence? Could there not be ontological voids or black holes? Could there not be entities that are entirely vaccuous to the extent that they deny Being to those entities around them, that is, that like black holes, actually exist not only as void in reality but destroy existence itself?
If ‘dark matter’ is that which is a nothing without context, that is, not a simply empty space in reality, I think the comparison to a black hole is fitting. My ontological black hole not only exists as void, but denies its very context and exists to annul its context in the universe. It is not a quasi-being, not a ghost, but a voided void, an absolute denial of existence.
To connect this further to my work: I’ve written previously about the Abyss (Ungrund) in Schelling (not here, but maybe I’ll post some of my essays in the future), saying that after the act of creation, that is, after the expansion of Being (exhaling, or, the actualization of the second potency) that the contraction of Being (inhalation, or, the actualization of the first potency) remains (albeit spectrally). That is, annihilation is a spectre haunting creation, the order of existents is haunted not only by the possibility of being destroyed, but with the ontological awareness that creation emerged ex nihilo. This is what Schelling refers to in the Weltalter as “the Past which was never Present” or, those memories which seem eerily real, but never really were.