Monthly Archives: September 2009

Some Notes on Relationality – Mourning

The First Mourning

– All things exist in relation to other things. There is no thing that exists in isolation.

– There is no isolation because no thing is complete, but is historical. This means that even if a thing never relations to any other thing, it will at least relate to other instances of itself (past or future selves).

– If no being is ever complete then ontology as the study of Being qua static presence is useless as static presence is impossible. We will hereby discard ontology in favour of hauntology, that is, the study of spectral being, becoming and unbecoming, the raveling and unraveling of beings across time.

– Since all things are incomplete (historical) beings, their relations must themselves be incomplete because they too are historical, that is, always coming to be and passing away. It follows that if a thing is always changing due to time, then that things relations are themselves constantly changing as the thing takes up new relations and no longer relates to other things. Partial objects have fleeting relations.

– If hauntology is first philosophy then there are two starting points for metaphysics: either we begin with coming to be or we begin with passing away. I am not yet sure what difference this makes and so will begin with the latter, passing away.

– All beings are in mourning. What do we mean by mourning? Mourning is the other side to haunting. It is essentially the residue of a relation which is carried on by a thing with more existence. Nothing is impossible. This should be taken literally, nothingness itself is impossible; things always persist through relations, across history (across time). Haunting/Mourning, a persistence beyond existence. Any relation between entities of unequal existence can be said to be a relation of haunting/mourning (depending on which perspective is taken).

– But what is mourning? What is it to mourn or be mourned?

– When a relation passes away, fading out, it does not simply dissolve. There is a process whereby the network of relations is altered by the newfound gap. I catch myself thinking another that isn’t there, not any more. We catch ourselves relating (in this case thinking, feeling) the gap. The network must be reformed anew.

– “My double is wandering through the networks…” (Jean Baudrillard. Impossible Exchange, Verso, 2001:15). Not exactly “double,” though you do persist. We should say rather, “Pieces of me cling throughout the networks.”

– I am covered in these pieces of history. They stick to me and try as I might I cannot shake them off.

– These pieces of history define me in some way. These pieces of you become pieces of me. These pieces of me become pieces of you.

– I am always mourning because I am always in relation to the past. History forces itself on me, on everything. Everything is always mourning. Sometimes it’s simply more pronounced. Sometimes I mourn even more.

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Light posting

Posting has been light lately due to the start of the semester and continuing work on the Heidegger book I’m editing, plus I’m working on the . I finished the draft of the book and turned it over to be proofed once more by fresh eyes when I was tasked with grant applications that need to be filed by the end of the month. The past few days have been focused on those. It looks like posting will continue to be light over the next week or so, though I may try to post little things like art and whatnot. I also found out today that my grandmother passed away last night, and while it wasn’t entirely unexpected (she had many health problems), it’s still sapping a lot of my mental and emotional energy. I’ll probably be heading back home to New Brunswick once arrangements are made for a service. I wish it were under better circumstances, thought it will be nice to see my father and maybe pay a visit to the Bay of Fundy.

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The Art of Kazuki Takamatsu

The images are far too big to fit nicely here, so go check out the work of Kazuki Takamatsu here.

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Systems of Thought and the Issue of Names

As some of you know by now, I’ve taken something of a pet interest in the Speculative realism Wikipedia page. This isn’t because I feel like I’m any sort of authority on the subject, but I’ve read a lot of the material and basically no one else was chomping at the bit about it. Actually, as both Nick and Graham mentioned (though it was Nick who brought it to my attention), the page was basically stillborn, with so little there that people were threatening to delete it.

So I fixed it up a bit and added subsections and publications and mentioned some of the presses that have shown an interest and I think it’s a pretty decent little page now. It certainly fits the criteria of something worthy of being on Wikipedia. So now we’re out of the woods, we’re not in danger if dying of exposure without a wikipage.

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Fire Ants Build a Boat Out of Themselves

One of my pet interests are “superorganisms,” insects such as ants and bees. Their organizations and talents are simply remarkable. Case in point, watch as a colony of fire ants survive a flood by building a boat out of themselves:

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