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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10 responses to “Some Notes on Relationality – Mourning

  1. michaeloneillburns

    I’m 100% with you on the first 4 points, really good stuff. Not so convinced once the starting point for metaphysics becomes hauntology, but i find a lot of sympathy with what you’re exploring here. Look forward to seeing how this all develops.

  2. Drone Module

    On point 2:

    I wonder what an object-oriented retort to this might be, specifically Harman with his desire to have objects retain a discrete substantial existence.

    I’m very interested in the work you’re doing on this blog, and just wanted to say as much.


  3. Interesting stuff. All very “if…then” direct causality stuff, though, which seems contrary to the “spirit” of what you mean by hauntology. And modern physics, even…

  4. I’m not sure why you say that “if…then” is contrary to the “spirit” of what I mean by hauntology. It’s basic logic, if you accept X, then Y, etc. A lot of times I will write notes on problems in that way to help sort out the logic of concepts I’m developing.

  5. Well, you say the relationship is direct — causal — when you are discussing things like history, memory and being. Is the way history effects (and affects) all things really an x then y logic? I get that you are trying to work out your thoughts, but are they possibly impeded by a kind of Newtonian schism right from the start?

    Isn’t this what all the discussion is about? Finding ways to move beyond the linear, reductionist, mechanistically material and directly causal relationships that weight down the history of philosophy.

    Maybe this is what you mean by “thinking the gap”?…

  6. Thinking logically is not the same thing as claiming there is only mechanical causality. They are distinct things, with the former simply being a style of argument, not the style of the world. You are confusing things when you make that connection.

  7. I completely get that distinction. All I’m suggesting is that epistemology bleeds into ontology (or hauntology) here…As it often does.

  8. I think epistemology qua theory of knowledge certainly has to do with ontology. I don’t think epistemology has to do necessarily with one’s style of argument however. Again, I think you are reading far too much into a type presentation. Just because I argue against systems of thought that are EXCLUSIVELY mechanistic in terms of causality does not mean that I think that model of causality is impossible. Besides that, we are talking about completely different things, where one is answering the question of what kinds of causality exist in nature, and the other being how arguments flow. There is a difference in type here, where you are taking my presentation for the message itself. With that said, this isn’t even an argument, but my own notes which I am simply sharing publicly, which you are making a much bigger deal about than needs be made.

  9. When I read Spectres of Marx, I took mourning to be a trope for the kneejerk capitalist response to its nemesis: the persistence of the ghost in culture e.g. mourning entails forgetting the past and speculating on the future- thus is inherently commodity fetishist.
    In this way, the subversive and subliminal logic of the ghost confounds our attempts to overcome loss- our blind faith in objects as means of escaping death is inherently doubtful because these objects will outlive us.
    Mourning and haunting are enagaged in a fight to the epistemological death…

  10. I want to write about monster-logy. Monster-logy is a discourse about some on-limit experience such as amnesia, torture, taking drug, hang-over, a long malady and the death. The most typical place for living a monster is Minotaur’s labyrinth in Sphinx desert in the margin of the polis. Andre Mason has painted a painting whose name is “Labyrinth” which George Bataille had loved so much but went under possession of a famous collector, a collector who won a famme-fatale who had been wife of Mason and then Bataille and beloved of Lacan, the collector, who has born a daughter for Lacan who could not give his name to her for some legal problem and so on. Talk about the form and shape of Minautor is sense-less for everyone who had seen it were dead except its killer who forget everything about it, even the love of Ariadne. Some telling goes that Lacan’s obsession with the name of his daughter gave birth to theory of “the-name-of-the-Father”. This joke has something of truth becoz it is allegory of the Real: the loss of a loss. Only the-Name-of-the-Father sheild us against that trauma. Monster id not a Real but is a master-signifier: Think about leather-face of “Texas Chainsow Massacer”, a monster who has a problem with walking like the mytholigical race that oedipus represents by his name. Monster may be a persona like Michel Meyer in “Halloween”. Monster may represent oblivioun realised in deformity like Gregor Samsa, and may be fallen Adam becoz an apple his father threw into his flesh. Monster is legacy of the Father, the bens Father we see in Kafka’s fictions; but monster is a being which has no ontology like “Alien” of Ridley Scott. The histeric laughter of Jack Nicholson in “Shining” has no existence or ontology. if this text is interesting for someone I can continue.
    p.s.: I am Iranian and my mistakes in spelling or something else concerning my English may be forgivable.

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