A new science of experience. by Gerardo Muñoz

This is merely a footnote to an exchange in light of the short talk “Immanence and Institution” that I delivered yesterday in Mexico City under the generous auspices of Professors Benjamin Mayer Foulkes and Andrés Gordillo (the recording should be available soon in the audio archive). In the rich discussion that followed the hypothesis regarding the triumph of the dominance of the civil concept today, Andrés Gordillo noted that a practice of “discernment” was required to confront the ongoing condition of planetary catastrophe that has only intensified in the wake of AI automation processes that orient the optimizing and unifying the totality of world-events. Alluding to his historiographical research on early modern epoch, Gordilo alluded to the mysticism of the seventeenth century’s “science of experience” (following Michel De Certau’s The Mystic Fable but not only this work) as an existential practice to retreat from the dominium of confession, but also to refuse the Protestant unification driven by the ends of predestination and grace. And unlike the early Christian mystics of the void and releasement, the proponents of a science of experience favored a discernment with God that was vested in every creation of possibilities and modalities exterior to life.

The mystical defense of a science of experiences, then, refuses the concretion of the social subject: being a subject of sin through the postlapsarian condition, but also reflecting the Protestant subject of election that will give birth to the secularization of consciousness and will. The science of experience is the exposure of the soul to the possible transformation with the exteriority as prefigured in transcendental exteriority. A transfiguration of the foundational unity of theological revelation. I find it fascinating that these mystics of the seventeenth century (some of them marranos or facing the problem of conversion) were already aware that an epoch of total dominium and absolute collapse against life requires a transformative nexus with the temporality of experience. 

When Erich Unger in 1921 contemplates the rise of a catastrophic politics in his Politics and Metaphysics, he retorts to a politics of exodus that, precisely, affirms the experiential dimension of existence and communication through what he would call the elevation of the imaginative capacities. In the face of a subsumption of politics into catastrophe, for Unger the immediate task was to elaborate the praxis of experience from the psychic imbalance of the corrosive effects of the subject. In other words, the science of experience names an interior exodus against every instance of rhetorical and mimetical fabrication that seeks to hold the plan discernment of life into a regime of administration and accumulation of plain historical time.

I agree with Gordillo that perhaps the diverse experiments of the “science of experience” could very well be understood as experiments in transitional thought against historiographical closures. The notion of experiment could be extrapolated from Saidiya Hartman’s usage, in a minimalist sense: ways of living on the other side of the rhetorical assignment of the fictitious life of the subject. But perhaps the very term “science of experience” today is a misnomer, in the same way that the proto-concept of “experiential politics” deployed by Michalis Lianos during the cycle of the Yellow Vests runs into an aporetic threshold to name the crisis of the soul’s attunement in the face of the conflagration of the world. Precisely the errancy of experience (and its non-sacrificial relation to pain) is what cannot be subsumed – and for this reason the invisible fleeting gradation – neither to a science nor to a politics.

Cowper Powys on catastrophic world-events. by Gerardo Muñoz

In the short epilogue “Historical Background to the year of grace A.D. 499” to his novel Porius (1951), John Cowper Powys lays out a remarkable prophetic evaluation of a world fallen into a permanent catastrophic condition. Powys’ return to the sixth century in his novel departed from the fascinating fact that during the mid-fifth century there appears to be “an absolute blank” page about the history and culture of its people. And the only historical record proves that the central element was the Arthur’s commanding political dominion over the English territories. In these blank pages of history there are no tormented voices or traces of everyday existence, but the most absolute compacted pressure of barbarism and grandiose “crafty personal diplomacy” oriented by political rule. For Powys, this is the movement of abstract historical force that raises up the mirror of civilization and barbarism in the West.

However , this mirror is completely alien to any notion of happiness, imagination, and sensibility between the surviving human species. A world war had just concluded and atomic menace was the strange tune of daily life. But, in contrast to the triumphalist and historical narrative of postwar diplomatic theaters, Cowper Powys directs his vision (like Hölderlin and Pound before him with Greece and the Latin Mediterranean poets) to a prehistoric strata where language and sensation still had a chance against the civilizational collapse of the West. Against both civilization and barbarism, Powys prepares himself to drift away from something major, perhaps more even more catastrophic, which he never names directly in the Porious prologue, although he can unravel its essence in the last paragraph:

“As we contemplate the historic background to the autumn of the last year of the fifth century, it is impossible not to think of the background of human life from which we watch the first half of the twentieth century dissolve into the second half. As the old gods were departing then, so the old gods are departing now. And as the future was dark with the terrifying possibilities of human disaster then, so, today, are we confronted by the possibility of catastrophic world events compared with which those that Arthur and his Counsellor and his Horsemen contented against seem, as the Hebrew poet said, a “very little thing” [1]”.

It is thanks to the genius of Cowper Powys that the coming of catastrophe is understood not as another phase in world-history, but rather, as the opening of endless catastrophic world-events. Even before Martin Heidegger would define the essence of cybernetics as the consummation of the calculation of world events, Powys had already suspected that a stealth rationality towards calculation of events was the catastrophe that crossed the very line of the polarity of barbarism and civilization. The catastrophe of world-event consummation was hinged upon the total convergence of machine and humanity that would liquidate the free relation of the living in the world. As Powys had written in The Meaning of Culture (1930) decades prior: “Money and machines between them dominate the civilized world. Between them, the power of money and the power of the machine have distracted the minds of our western nations from those eternal aspects of life and nature, the contemplation of which engenders all noble and subtle thoughts” [2].

The ascent of atomic existence and the absolute dependency on administrative infrastructure to contain the world, will validate Powys’ astute observation about the ongoing catastrophe at a moment when its development was barely beginning to gain traction. And against futile political fictions, Powys was aware that in a civilization of collapse, political chatter becomes the only legible foul discourse: “Among other aspects of our destiny in this modern regime, the rumor of politics makes itself only too audible” [3]. The seriousness of this rumor has only deepened almost a century after.




1. John Cowper Powys. “Historical Background to the year of grace A.D. 499”, Porius (1952), xi.

2. John Cowper Powys. The Meaning of Culture (Jonathan Cape, 1932), 150. 

3. Ibid., 302-303.

Adespoton, the flight of freedom. An intervention on Pulcinella for the PAN Group Meeting. by Gerardo Muñoz

I want to thank Lucia Dell’Aia for putting together the PAN Group, which she describes as a natural garden composed of different voices already constituted and dispersed around the world. The group’s initial inspiration springs from Giorgio Agamben’s Pulcinella ovvero divertimento per li regazzi (Nottetempo, 2015), a beautiful and important book. Pulcinella is, prima facie, a book about a puppet (the famous Napolitan puppet that I remember first encountering years ago in an Italian pizzeria in New York Upper West Side without knowing much about him), but it is also something else. As it is already common to Agamben’s thought, these figures are depositary of arcanii of the western tradition, and Pulcinella is no exception. I want to suggest to all of you something obvious: Pulcinella stands for the arcana of blissful and happy life in the wake of a catastrophic civilization. It should be obvious that the thematics of happiness have always occupied a central place in the Italian philosopher’s work, and every book is a way to measure up to this latent sensibility proper to the mystery of anthropogenesis. In a way, then, Pulcinella rehearses an idea that has been present since the early books, although restated in new garments that have remained unsaid. In this short intervention I want to address these two dimensions, and perhaps contribute to the already rich discussion on Pulcinella in the intersection between philosophy, poetry, ethics and politics, which Lucia suggests it should be the way that we approach the field of forces of thought.

As early as in the gloss “Idea of Happiness” in Idea of Prose (1985), Agamben thematizes the problem of happiness inscribed in the relationship between character and destiny that will reappear in a central way in Pulcinella: “In every life there remains something unlived just a s in every word there remains something unexpressed…The comedy of character: at the point when death snatches from the hand of character what they tenacious hide, it but grasps a mask. At this point character disappears: in the face of the dead there is no longer any trace of what has never been lived…” [1]. Against the metaphysics of eudaimonia and the theological tribulation of happiness as a reflection of property (“in pursuit of happiness”, Thomas Jefferson will define civic life within the organization of the goods of the res publica); the idea of character is what traces the unlived in every life; and, more importantly, what neutralizes the tragic dimension of the narrative of destiny. Narration is the point of fixation and representation transcendence; it creates order and irreversibility, it hold us accountable. This is why character is a parabasis of destiny, thus its comic axis: “Character is the comic aspect of every destiny, and destiny is the tragic shadow of character. Pulcinella is beyond destiny and character, and tragedy and destiny” [2]. Pulcinella breaks aways from the prison of the metaphysics of destiny and character posited as “substance” for action. This is why, radicalizing the relation to death in the gloss on happiness, Agamben will introduce the theatrical figure of the parabasis to define the desertion from the conditions of fixation and historical time [3]. In other words, there is happiness when there is a possibility of parabasis in the face of catastrophe. And catastrophe is nothing but the integral adaptive operation between character and destiny that regulates legal fictions, political mediations, and ultimately the opposition between life and death. If Søren Kierkegaard understood Pulcinella as a figure of privation in opposition to the knight of faith; for Agamben, on the contrary, Pulcinella does not depend on fides or the persona, but rather on a comic intensification that allows “life itself” to move beyond the theological conditions dispensed by sin, guilty, or fear of death – all guarantees of the economy of salvation [4]. Pulcinella heresy is to move within and beyond the world, as Agamben writes in a remarkable orphic moment of the book:

“Che Pulcinella abbia una speciale relazione con la morte, è evidente dal suo costume spettrale: come l’homo sacer, egli appartiene agli dei interi, ma appartiene loro così esageratamente, da saltare tutt’intero al di là della morte. Ciò è provato dal fatto che ucciderlo è inutile, se lo fucilano o impiccano, immancabilmente risorge. E come è al di là o al di qua della morte, cosí è in qualche modo al di qua o al di là della vita, almeno nel senso in cui questa non può essere separata dalla morte. Decisivo è, in ogni caso, che una figura infera e mortuaria abbia a che fare essenzialmente col riso.” [5].

The comic dimension in Pulcinella’s expressive character, then, has little to do with an anthropological laughter automatism that would reveal the species proximity to animality (but also its outermost distance and alienation). More specifically, Pulcinella’s character is a lazzo or medial relation that exceeds life and death fixation. At the same time, Pulcinella (like Hölderlin, Pinocchio, to recall the other figures in Agamben’s most recent books) irradiates a new type of existence; in fact, an existence against all reductions of subjectivity and personalism, which could very well defined by the pícaro motto “vivir desviviéndose” [6]. If we grant this, we are in a better position to grasp that death is not finality to “a life”, but rather a limit of caducity of experience that those in possession of character can breach in order to affirm the releasement of happiness. In a fundamental way, life is always unto death, so it is through his character that one could accomplish resurrection and become eternal. It is obvious that Pulcinella’s character has important consequences for a novel characterization of freedom; a freedom beyond the attributes of the person (be the ‘harm principle’ or the ‘non-intervention’) and the modern legitimation through the rise of interests as a way to suppress the passions. One could say that the politico-civil conception of freedom always stood on the firm ground of the fiction of the person, which Pulcinella destitutes by emphasizing the unlived reminder: the soul. And it is the soul that renders – this is not explicit in Giorgio Agamben’s book, and could perhaps be a theme of discussion – a new principle of differentiation within the logic of immanence of nature. Towards the end of the book, Agamben appeals to Plato’s Myth of Er, which speaks to the penumbra or zone of indetermination between life and death, character and destiny; while preparing the ground for a different conception of freedom. A freedom defined through a very important term: “adéspoton” or virtue – which he designs as without masters and beyond adaptation, and it has been taken as one of the earliest affirmations of the notion of freedom as a separate intellect (a rendition elaborated by Plotinus’s Enneads VIII) – but this, I think, could be fully assessed in another ocassion. This is what Agamben writes:

“Nel racconto di Er il Panfilio alla fine della Repubblica, Platone ha rappresentato le anime che, giungendo dal cielo o dal mondo sotterraneo “in un luogo demonico” davanti al fuso che sta sulle ginocchia di Ananke, scelgono la vita in cui dovranno reincarnarsi. Un araldo le mette in fila e, dopo aver preso in mano le sorti e i paradigmi di vita, proclama che sta per cominciare per esse un nuovo ciclo di vita mortale: “Non sarà un demone a scegliere, ma voi sceglierete il vostro demone. Chi è stato sorteggiato per primo, scelga la forma di vita [bios] a cui sarà unito per necessità. La virtù invece è libera [adespoton, “senza padrone”, “inassegnabile”] e ciascuno ne avrà in misura maggiore o minore a seconda che la’- miola disprezzi. La colpa è di chi sceglie, dio è innocente” (617e).” [7]

The adéspoton is a strange and sui generis virtue, since it does not appeal to a moral conception of the good. Of course, this allows for something very subtle: retreating from the tribune of morality, the adéspoton belongs to the access of a life in happiness. I think this complicates the picture of Agamben’s insistence through his work on “beatitude” – and in large measure, Spinoza’s conatus essendi – since adéspoton is not a form of absolute immanence, but rather of a soul that is always inadequate in relation to the assigned preservation of its nature (perseverantia in suo esse). In other words, the adéspoton is the intensity that allows for a relation between interiority and exteriority through an acoustic attunement with the world. The adéspoton refuses the conditions of possibility for “freedom”; since it conceives freedom as emanating from the non-objective conditions of the contact with the outside.

At this point I will reach a preliminary conclusion in my intervention picking up on this last problem: the outside. Of course, to speak of the outside – the “transmigration of souls” as in Plato’s quintessential myth – already announces an imaginary of flight. And it is no coincidence that Pulcinella is a sort of half-bird creature: a chicken that cannot flight, but nonetheless experiences the outside thanks to its adéspoton. Agamben reminds us of the etymological proximity of Pulcinella with “pullecino” or chicken like creature like the Donald Duck [8]. It is also no coincidence that Agamben closes the book recalling how Giandomenico during his last years of life was fascinated with all kinds of birds that he painted in the Palazzo Caragiani in an effort to radically dissolve the human form [9]. I think that birdly nature of Pulcinella is to be taken seriously, given that in the mythical register of the Hebrew bible, the large bird, the Ziz, is the third mythic creature along with the Leviathan and the Behemoth, the creates of the sea and the land that have marked the world historical opposition of appropriation. And it is more strange that, in The Open, Agamben mentions the Ziz without thematizing its potentiality for the flight from the nomos of the earth that today expresses itself as a civilizational conflagration. The Ziz, very much like Pulcinella, prefers “not to” to participate in the geopolitical confrontation between land and sea undertaking a flight of its own from life towards freedom.

The arcana of Pulcinella resonates with the Ziz mythic figure, but it is not dependent on myth or allegorical substitution. The parabasis is the exposition of every life here and now. Although the figure of the bird disappeared from Agamben’s mature work, one should not dismiss his first publication, the poetic short-story “Decadenza” (1964), which he wrote while a law student at Sapienza, and which tells the story of a depressed community of birds with eggs that do not hatch and species that have lost the contact with the external world [10]. I think it’s fair to say that Agamben’s Pulcinella finds the ‘exit’ to the oblique and impoverished world of “Decadenza” through Pulcinella’s adéspoton: a new capability is imagined to flee from the catastrophe of the world, against nihilism and the global conflagration (think of the fetichistic avatar of political destruction), but rather to dwell in the non-event of happiness in the mystery of every life. If as Agamben writes, metaphysics is always the production of a dead-end – always arousing a feeling of “being-stuck”, always in need of “catching up” at the expense of suppressing our ethical freedom – one could very well see how Pulcinella’s flight of freedom is the path against metaphysics par excellence [11]. As Agamben writes at the closing of Pulcinella: “Il segreto di Pulcinella è che, nella commedia della vita, non vi è un segreto, ma solo, in ogni istante, una via d’uscita” [12]. One can imagine him being a truly unforgettable anti-Sisyphus.




1. Giorgio Agamben. Idea della prosa (Quodlibet, 2002), 93.

2. Giorgio Agamben. Pulcinella ovvero divertimento per li regazzi (Nottetempo, 2015), 4

3. Ibild., 35

4. Søren Kierkegaard. Fear and Trembling (Penguin Classics, 1985), 79.

5. Giorgio Agamben. Pulcinella ovvero divertimento per li regazzi (Nottetempo, 2015), 65.

6. Gerardo Muñoz. “La existencia pícara. Sobre Pinocchio: Le avventure di un burattino (2021) de Giorgio Agamben“, Infrapolitical Reflections, 2022: https://infrapoliticalreflections.org/2022/01/03/la-existencia-picara-sobre-pinocchio-le-avventure-di-un-burattino-2021-de-giorgio-agamben-por-gerardo-munoz/ 

7. Giorgio Agamben. Pulcinella ovvero divertimento per li regazzi (Nottetempo, 2015), 105.

8. Ibid., 47.

9. Ibid., 122-123.

10. Giorgio Agamben. “Decadenza” (Futuro, 1964). I thank Philippe Theophanidis for bringing to my attention this early text. 

11. Giorgio Agamben. Filosofia prima filosofia ultima: Il sapere dell’Occidente fra metafisica e scienze (Einaudi editore, 2023), 103.

12. Giorgio Agamben. Pulcinella ovvero divertimento per li regazzi (Nottetempo, 2015), 130.

A noncatastrophic politics. Some notes on Erich Unger’s Politics and Metaphysics (1921). by Gerardo Muñoz

Erich Unger’s Politics and Metaphysics (1921), published just a year before Political Theology (1922), fully captures the spirit of the epoch: it is the moment when politics becomes catastrophic; a vehicle for war conflagration, an instrument for the acceleration of technology, and the spatial fragmentation of civil society and state. The overcoming of man through technology meant a new ‘reality principle’ in which the species were forced to adapt to an abstract process of catastrophic metabolic regulation. Unger’s essay, thoroughly ignored at the time of its publication, was a product of what in Political Theology (1922) was labeled as the force of indirect immanent powers. And from his side, Walter Benjamin, in his preparatory notes for his essay on violence, made the obscure remark that Unger’s Politics and Metaphysics (1921) ultimately favored the ‘overcoming of capitalism’ through errancy (at times translated as “migration”, which has been recently corrected by Fenves & Ng’s critical edition of the “Critique of Violence”) [1]. Indeed, in his short tract, Unger called for a “non-catastrophic politics”, which he understood as coming to terms with the problem of metaphysical structuration and positionality, and for politics to have a chance a principle of exodus was needed. This goes to show why Schmitt reacted against this spirit of the epoch, going as far as to say that his “concept of the political ” was the unified response to a sentiment of a whole generation, as well as the detector of enemies of the political demarcation [2]. In contrast, for Unger modern political autonomy had collapsed, and catastrophe now expressed itself as a civilizational problem of living forms, and so it demanded a confrontation with the problem of unity and separation of politics and metaphysics.

Politics is not metaphysics, but it had to be confronted with it if a non-catastrophic politics is to be imagined. This meant a new conception of the problem of “life”, which in Unger’s speculative philosophy received its historicity from immanence through the temporality of the tragic. The psychic separation between metaphysics and politics (a politics of the subject and subjection) meant fundamentally a catastrophic politics, which Unger read against the backdrop of the Oskar Goldberg’s Hebrew speculative reversal as a new re-constitution of the people (Volk) outside the fixation of the state. All of this is connected to his previous work on the stateless dimension of the Hebrew people in a short tract entitled Die staatslose Bildung eines jüdischen Volkes (1922). For Unger, the Hebrew prophetic rulers were not just a form of government, but rather also of healers, practitioners of a “techné alupias” of psychic intensification in the business of instituting an autoregulation between the metaphysical and the political.

The contrast with Carl Schmitt’s position is, once again, illuminating to say the least: whereas the figure central to Schmitt’s juridical thinking is that of the Pauline Katechon, the restrainer against the apocalyptic catastrophe; for Unger, no stranger to theological myth, appealed to a Parakletos of a universal People (Volk), coming to one as a single consciousness against unreality. The theological drama that informed the positions of both Schmitt and Unger, recasted the problem of separation the central concern of a particular thinking in a time of constituent power (and its infrastructure in the principle of civil society). But whereas Schmitt’s Katechon depends on an institutional mediation conditioned by revelation and authority; Unger’s non-catastrophic politics evokes a ‘people’ emptied of patrimony as reservoir of new energies for the unification of reality against psychic imbalance. Against the “relentless forms of domination”, Unger did not appeal to institutional mediation of the moderns, but instead to the interiority of the species that, in turn, required a “political principle of exodus”:

The principle of the exodus can end the civil war and represent the presupposition for the emergence of real political units, thus putting an end to those centrifugal tendencies which are lethal for any real synthesis. This principle of separation of communities operates an external delimitation of the Material to give rise to a possible real unity. It now considers establishing the basic regulatory principles of its internal structure.” [3]

The principle of exodus of politics meant, all things considered, the opening the metaphysical order of the possible against what was understood as domination of the species within the paradigm of civil war. It is telling that for Unger, like for Carl Schmitt, the true force to be confronted is that of the stasiological force, or nihilism, as the condition for the catastrophic politics in the perpetuity of separation during time of finality (Endgultigkeit) in historical transformation. For Unger this was no easy task, nor fully passive and open to gnostic reversal. On the contrary, it is connected to “a kind of intellectual orientation required of anything who might wish to understand this reflection” [4]. This is ultimately tied to Unger’s most enduring idea in Politics and Metaphysics (1922) – at least for some of us that look with suspicion anything that the contemporary has to offer today, or that has ever offered – which is the metapolitical universities, not mere supplementary communities against the politics of catastrophe, but rather practical forms of encounter, languages, and exercises in thought that return the dignity to the shipwrecked fragments in the field of immanence.

Unger knew very well that there was no absolute “exteriority”, and so the defense of a metapolitical university was offered not as a “new political unit” of intellectuals leading the masses, but something quite different: the encounter of a finality that is not knowledge but “the effective treatment of the concrete” elevating itself from mundane understanding of social knowledge [5]. This is no collective practice either, since the discriminatory point assumes the internal perspective of the instance of “intensification” [6]. And intensification is not executed from the coordinates immanence of the social but rather as a ‘possibility of an elevation (Steigerbarkeit) capable of returning to reality against a non-catastrophic politics. For Unger the notion of elevation – necessarily to destroy the compulsory mimesis and automatic recursiveness of subjection – is predicated as a path of innerness, “that is, in the inclusion of originally alien psychical factors within a single consciousness” [7]. The metapolitical universities were, hypothetically, hubs for the concrete practice of elevation vacant of any universal pretensions of unreality. Here Unger, like Schmitt, does not propose an exodus from politics, but rather an elevation to a coming politics whose mediation is neither annihilation nor exchange, but rather the imagination and concrete practice of organization. The question, of course, is whether the politics of exodus today has not also collapsed to the catastrophic (no longer an exception to it but immanent to the logic of equivalence), which means implies a relocation: the practice of the metapolitical university, mutatis mutandi, now presupposes an exodus from politics.




1. Peter Fenves & Julia Ng (eds.). Walter Benjamin: Toward The Critique of Violence: A Critical Edition (Stanford University Press, 2022), 92.

2. Carl Schmitt. Glossarium: Anotaciones desde 1947 hasta 1958 (El Paseo, 2019), 240. 

3. Erich Unger. Politica e metafisica (Edizioni Cronopio, 2009), 87.

4. Ibid., 92.

5. Ibid., 23.

6. Ibid., 100.

7. Ibid., 24.

Glosses on Idris Robinson on Enzo Melandri’s logic of analogy. by Gerardo Muñoz

This is the final entry on the mini-series of interventions within the framework of the course that I am teaching at 17 instituto on contemporary Italian political thought. In this last fourth installment we had a very rich and productive conversation with Idris Robinson (University of New Mexico) on the philosophy of work of logic developed by the Italian thinker Enzo Melandri. Melandri’s work remains largely unknown, aside from the recent new editions of his major works at Quodlibet, and the recent monograph Le Forme Dell’Analogia: Studi Sulla Filosofia Di Enzo Melandri (2014) by Angelo Bonfanti. Idris’ doctoral dissertation (hopefully a book in the near future) will be a major contribution in a rising interest on Melandri’s work on logic, politics, and history, and its dialogues with the work of Wittgenstein, Foucault, and Agamben. As Idris Robinson recalled, the work of Melandri would have been entirely unknown if it weren’t for Agamben’s book on method, Signatura rerum, which uses Melandri’s work on analogy and paradigms as conditions for his own archeological method. This whole terrain remains to be explored, as Philippe Theophanidis suggested, given that it has been for the most part ignored in all the main works on the Agamben’s thought (including Villacañas’ otherwise excellent essay on method, history, and archaeology in the recent collective volume that I edited). But to the extent that Enzo Melandri’s work remains to be translated into English, Idris’ lecture serves as an important introduction to some of the key elements of his work, even if there is a lot to fill in and discuss from now on. All of the questions regarding Agamben’s method should emerge from this terrain, rather than the exhausted and ambiguous mantra of “critical theory”.

1. First, Idris Robinson suggested that Melandri’s central contribution departed from the distinction of two major path of Western logic: linear logic, which comes full circle in symbolic logic and formalization at the turn of the twentieth century (Russell, Frege, Wittgenstein); and analogical logic, which remains suppressed, but subterranean latency for problems of bivalence and the excluded middle against all preconditions of the identity-difference polarity. Like Agamben would later do with his rereading of energeia/dunamis opposition in Aristotle, Melandri was also a strong reader of Aristotle’s logic and the categories in order to advance a series of logical alternatives (not by any means the only ones, and not necessarily distributed equally): a) a different conception of the principle of identity (p / -p), b) gradations of contradictions (p / -p), c) inclusion of a middle or third as failure of bivalence, d) continuity and gradation, and e) the equivocity of meaning. All of these should not be taken at face value or even as complete abandonment of linear logic. Needless to say, these elements supply analogic logic an exit from linear reductions of formal logic and its presuppositions on the grounds of identity and negation to secure general ends and goods. By working within the paradigm of analogy, Melandri is said to account for indetermination and modality, which do not divide form and matter as opposites as in the linear model of the Aristotelian canons of medieval philosophy (Aquinas as its foremost representative) to the more analytical models of twentieth century logic.

2. The work of analogical logic allows Idris Robison to take up the question of form (he referred to it as morphology) as a problem of experience and specular observation of the world. Essentially this is the difference between Goethe and Newton in their explorations of colors, whereas the paradigmatic assumptions of Goethe aligned him with the logic of analogy by favoring deviations, gradation, and middle terms when thinking about the sensible problem of colors as an immanent series in nature (a method continued in Benjamin’s constellation images in his study of nineteenth century, but one could also think of Aby Warburg’s pathosformel as index of Western Art). Whereas Newton made an experiment and deduced the range of colors from a prism; Goethe was able to engage in observation (Idris alluded to his descriptions in his Italian diaries entries) in changing phenomena and organize it as such.

3. As a methodological question, what is important is how the paradigm becomes the unity for regulating (perhaps not the happiest of words) and constructing the indeterminate zone between thinking and the world, and in this way avoiding the abyss of pure relativism (or the arbitrary, I would also add). In this sense, the Goethe example stands for the problem of paradigm, but it does not necessarily entail – at least in my view – that his work is in itself free-standing for analogical transformation of life and thought. At the end of the day, Goethe is also famous for claiming that “All theory is gray, forever green is the tree of life”, which could explain why Giorgio Agamben in his most recent book on Holderlin’s final year juxtaposes the chronicle of Hölderlin modal and dwelling life (the parataxis is analogic poetics with respect to language) with the diplomatic and successful life of Goethe (the linear logic here could also be transposed with the ideal of destiny becoming ‘political’, as it is appears in his meeting with Napoleon). In any case, the logic of analogy and the reduction of paradigms becomes crucial to account for two distinct problems (at least this is my first reading, and I am in no way speaking on behalf of Idris Robinson’s thesis): to hold on to a stratification of history (open to configuration of mediums – images); and, on the other, a ground for logic, but only insofar as they are neither at the level of historical necessity and negation (philosophy of history), nor about linear logic that dispenses moral ends according to some “natural law”. From this premises, it should be interesting to explore Agamben’s archeology and ethics as a third path that diverges from both rationalization and the moral standing of understanding the just or the good.

4. Finally, I think two major problems emerge from a first preliminary confrontation with Melandri’s work, which we are only beginning to see how they “operate” in Agamben work, although at some point one should also confront the work on its own merits: on the one hand, the logic of analogy provides us with a truly historical method that is sensible to forms and stratification of the imagination that does not depend on conceptual history (in the manner of R. Koselleck), and even less on teleological historical progression. At the level of content, the analogical paradigm is consistent with trumping (suggested by Philippe Theophanidis) the hylomorphic conjunction of Western metaphysics, and thus contributing to a logical infrastructure for the form of life that abandons the primacy of ends and realization. What could this design entail for the transformation of our political categories? Does this necessarily imply that analogical legislating is always about political ontology! Does it require interpretation or a qualification of truth-validity? Or rather, does analogy favors the event instead of formal principles that have subsumed the grammar of politics and its negations (yes, also revolutionary politics, a problem also present in Della Sala’s paper)? Sure, extrapolating these questions to the field of politics is perhaps too hasty to fully repeal deontological concerns. Perhaps analogical analysis requires, precisely, a distance from the subsumption of political ontology at the center of thought. But to be able to answer these questions we need to further explore the work of Melandri. Idris Robinson’s lecture has provided us an excellent starting point§.



§ Idris Robinson’s intervention on Melandri and the discussion should be available in the next days at the 17/instituto YouTube channel.

El bien común según Hölderlin. por Gerardo Muñoz

En una carta tardía de 1837 dirigida a su amigo Karl Künzel, Friedrich Hölderlin ofrece una pequeña definición del “bien común” que merece ser atendida por la sencilla razón que el poeta se desmarca de la gramática de la secularización de la modernidad (en este caso específico, vinculado al roblema de la separación entre moral y derecho) desde la cual se dirime el fondo último de lo que entendemos por libertad. Dice lo siguiente el fragmento de la carta a Funzel:

Cuando las personas se preguntan en qué consiste el bien, la respuesta es que deben rendir su honor a la virtud y practicar en la vida aquello a lo que se comprometen. La vida no es como la virtud, porque la virtud concierne a las personas y la vida está más alejada de ellas. El bien también está constituido en general por la interioridad de las personas. Al amable caballero se recomienda. Buonarotti.” [1]. 

La condensación del fragmento nos exige que separemos distintos elementos para alcanzar la mayor claridad posible. En primer lugar, Hölderlin pregunta por el bien y alude a la vida, lo cual sería consistente con cierta concepción aristotélica de la virtud y la prudencia de la persona, aunque rápidamente contradice esta predicación (en otra instancia hemos comentado la operación de la legitimidad del predicado), puesto que “la vida no es como la virtud”. No existe tal cosa como vida virtuosa porque no la virtud no coincide con las obras del actuar. Pero en un segundo paso contemplamos algo más contundente en el movimiento de Hölderlin: a primera vista uno pensaría que el bien se fundamenta en una impersonalidad substantiva (o incluso, en su acepción moderna, en una tipología de bienes) tal y como lo define el derecho natural en su ideal moral, aunque no es este el caso.

Hölderlin no parece transitar por este terreno ya que la virtud está alejada o separada de la vida, y el bien esta constituido por la ‘interioridad de la persona’. Hölderlin no dice el bien es la persona, o la persona porta el bien, sino que alude una dimensión que se separa con respecto a la vida. De esta manera, Hölderlin esquiva fundamentar el bien en una antropología humana, al mismo tiempo que se aleja de una separación trascendental del principio teológico-político; a saber, que el mundo es “bueno” (o tiene la posibilidad), y los hombres son malos, tal y como Carl Schmitt fijaba las condiciones de la teología cristiana en el temprano “La visibilidad de la Iglesia” (1917).

¿Dónde se encuentra, entonces, el “bien común” según Hölderlin? Pues, podríamos decir que en divergencia de la vida y sus formas, en el sentido de que la “vida” no es ni la oposición al mundo ni tampoco en la adecuación contenida en la persona. En este sentido la “vida más alejada” es homologable al enigmático verso del cual fuera su último poema “La visión”: “Cuando a lo lejos va la vida habitante de los hombres…” [2]. El bien común, por lo tanto, es el abismo entre la vida y sus medios cuya expresividad más pura es la palabra o la poesía, aunque no como unidad de la representación, sino como modos posibles e irreductibles. El bien común, entonces, es lo que siempre resta a la vida de toda comunidad, y lo que persevera en las formas de ser de cada cosa. Ni la política ni la moral puede legislar el abismo en el que acontece una forma. Esta separación de toda ‘obra de la comunidad’ se hace explícita en la pregunta de su ensayo sobre la obra de teatro de Schmid: “Los discursos, cuanto más extravagantes tengan que ser en lo común o en lo no común, ¿no tienen también que interrumpirse con tanto mayor rapidez o fuerza?” [3].

El bien común de la vida, carente de una mediación estricta con la naturaleza, lleva al colapso todo intento de actualizar la libertad como síntesis entre derecho y razón. Esto quiere decir que a la pregunta del joven Hölderlin ¿Dónde puedo encontrar una comunidad?”, el último testimonio en torno al “bien común” respondería: no hay síntesis mediante la comunión, solo abismo como “suprema antiforma o poesía de la naturaleza”. Lo que tiene lugar es la abdicación de cada vida en lo común. Pero esta abdicación es la única posibilidad de retener la disyunción ética entre el “bien” del alma y el común que “evidencia un cuerpo viviente” [4].




1. Friedrich Hölderlin. Correspondencia completa (Hiperión, 1990), 581. 

2. Friedrich Hölderlin. “La visión”, en Poemas de la locura (Hiperión, 1998), 139.

3. Friedrich Hölderlin. “Sobre la pieza de Siegfried Schmid La Heroína“, en Ensayos (Hiperión, 1976), 119.

4. Friedrich Hölderlin. “La satisfacción”, en Poemas de la locura (Hiperión, 1998), 139.

Glosses on Federico Della Sala on tragedy, comedy, and revolution. by Gerardo Muñoz

These are further notes on the mini-series of interventions within the framework of the course that I am teaching at 17 instituto on contemporary Italian political thought. In this third installment we engaged with Francesco Guercio and Federico Della Sala around the notions of comedy and tragedy in Italian theory, and the development of political reflection in Italy from the sixties onwards. Della Sala facilitated an excellent paper entitled “Tragedy and Comedy in Italian Theory: Notes on the intersection between literature and politics” (for the moment unpublished), which was extremely suggestive, elegant, and comprehensive in terms of its critical take on the horizon of Italian theory. These notes are by no means representative of the richness of Della’s text: rather, it just wants to highlight a few checkpoints to further the discussion of the seminar. Francesco Guercio participated in the conversation as a commentator who provided important insights on several of the essay’s critical movements.

1. In his paper, Della Sala offers one of the strongest critiques of Italian theory that I have read in recent times (perhaps the strongest), and it does so by engaging its own premises on alterity and historical restitution, which he defines as working within the paradigm of political modernity. As it emerges in the projects of Massimo Cacciari, Roberto Esposito, Antonio Negri, but also in the commentaries of the so-called Italian difference paradigm by academics such as Dario Gentili, the common terrain is to sustain a paradigm of alternative modernization rooted in difference and conflict. In a way – and I understand I risk of simplifying Della Sala’s layered argument a bit – Italian theory amounts to offering a paradigm that remains within the metaphysics of power and governmental optimization, even when it speaks the language of contingency, errancy, or the outside. Here Della Sala’s critique of Italian theory differs quite substantially from the normativist accounts raised against Italian theory, such as that of P. P. Portinaro, whose discomfort is really against political excess and its allegedly revolutionary principles. For Della Sala, on the contrary, Italian theory is a betrayal of thinking the transformative politics at the threshold of the ruins of modern principles of authority and legitimacy. Indeed, Massimo Caccari’s return to renaissance humanism in his Mente Inquieta: saggio sull’Umanesimo (2019), or Esposito’s Pensiero istituente (2021) that ends up defending human rights and anthropology of rights, ironically self-serve Portinaro’s critique of the “radical excess” as if inadvertently admitting the irreversibility of political modernity. Of course, this doesn’t get out anywhere. In fact, it is regressive, instead of moving thinking forward.

2. Della Sala credits Italian theory – specially from the 1960s onwards, perhaps from the work of Mario Tronti and autonomia more generally – with bringing the question of politics to the center debate, showing the limitations of political economy in Marxist thought and the insufficiency of the negative. But, at the same time, it has done so by remaining within a paradigm of crisis in which the ideal of struggle defines the meditation between politics and life. And this can only exacerbate the administration of a catastrophic of politics. It is through the “krisis” of negative thought (Cacciari, Vattimo, and Esposito) that something like a literature of Italian theory becomes tragic, amounting to a sort of reverse nihilism. Della Sala does not it claim it explicitly – and I wonder if he would agree with my own personal translation – but this tragicity results to a compensatory wager to the sacrificial horizon of the philosophy of history opened by Hegelian dialectics or the imperial romanitas conception of politics. So the sense of the tragic in modernity can live comfortably within the paradigm of the sacrifice of modernity, and it does not get us very far.

3. As Francesco Guercio also suggested it, the abyssal ground of modernity becomes tragic when it places life in the site of death, which entails that existence can only be understood as something to be administered and protected. It goes without saying that this is the overall project of positive biopolitics and immunity in the horizon of democratic legitimacy, whose final utopia, according to Della Sala, is to live at least one day like a King. This rings true given the operative function of King and “archē” (principle) that are needed to legislate the creation between politics and life, history and the anthropological sense of reality. Under this paradigm there is no space – or it is always parasitic, always subjected to the enmity of the species– to the question of existence, which becomes a generic aggregate of civil community. But can one subtract oneself from the seduction of a demonic politics and its negative relation to the tragic politics in the face of nihilism? The strong thesis in Dalla Sala’s paper is that Italian theory has not been successful to the task and that we must begin from scratch putting aside, once and for all, the mythical paradigm of crisis.

4. It is here where comedy enters. And it enters obliquely, although in resonance with Giorgio Agamben’s most recent argument in his book on Hölderlin, where the comic is understood as a retreat from the conversion of the tragic into the sacrificial suture of modernity. And for Della Sala, but also for Agamben, comedy has little done with the anthropology of laughter or the psychic drive of the Freudian slip. Rather comedy becomes the possibility of imagining a life that refuses the promise of living like a future king. On the contrary, the motto of the comic can be the early Hispanic (it was mentioned by Francesco Guercio in the conversation) “vivir desviviéndose” of the pícaro existence that allows for the mystery of life without political subsumption. Della Sala concludes his paper with a provocative assertion: “after all there has never existed nor will exist a tragic or unhappy revolution”. But would a “happy life” be consternated about revolution, or should it forfeit revolution to the trash bin of the modern political concepts? Isn’t comedy the abdication of revolution, either as the return to the same (think of Saint-Just naturalism) or the overcoming of the temporal order of the day after tomorrow? Perhaps comedy as the texture of life is a thorough abandonment not only of the tragic, but also of the efficacy of revolution as a residual messianism. And it is against the closure of revolution (because revolution depends on a principle of authority the exact moment that it triumphs) where the ongoing stasiological present should be thought.

Felicidad en separación. Sobre Averroes intempestivo (2022), de Karmy, Figueroa & Carmona. por Gerardo Muñoz

¿Por qué volver Averroes en nuestro tiempo? Se pudieran enumerar muchas razones, alguna de ellas de justificación de corte universitaria o histórica. Averroes porque quiero aprender del mundo árabe medieval sin teleologías historicistas. Averroes porque es un nombre intermitente en los textos que leemos y discutimos. Averroes porque convoca, pero también hay bastante más. Decir Averroes sigue siendo nombrar uno de los márgenes de la tradición filosófica occidental, aunque también es cierto que marginados hay y siempre habrán muchos; y, sin embargo, nos seguimos ocupando de Averroes y no de los otros que en realidad no interesan. Sin embargo, es probable que no seamos nosotros los interesamos en Averroes, sino el viejo comentador quien permanece como una sombra insondable que acecha a todo pensamiento y reflexión atenta. Por eso es por lo que tienen razón los editores del excelente volumen colectivo Averroes intempestivo (Doblea editores, 2022) al decir que el averroísmo es un espectro que recorre la imaginación a pesar de carecer de una arquitectónica sistemática de conceptos morales, políticos, u ontológicos. Aunque es gracias a esta misma razón que el averroísmo sobrevivió a lo largo de siglos, tras su exilio de la universidad medieval, en el extrañamiento lingüístico de la poesía, como señalan Agamben & Brenet en Intelletto d’amore (Quodlibet, 2020).

En efecto, no podemos hacer una historia de la sensación y de la experiencia de la lengua desde el concepto, sino que tenemos que contar con el espectro averroísta para esta génesis. El averroísmo es la verdadera marca de la philia en la filosofía, lo cual implica un paso atrás de la objetivación del mundo, la sistematización metafísica y sus tribulaciones, o el ordenamiento teológico de lo político aunque sin abstraerse de la configuración de la realitas. En tanto que potencia de lo impensado, la figura de Averroes sigue inspirando la incesante aventura de todo pensamiento sereno y medido (no hay que olvidar que, en su relato sobre Averroes, Jorge Luis Borges pone en escena justamente la búsqueda sobre la pérdida absoluta de la modernidad: la comedia) que autoafirma la separación originaria con el mundo bajo la fuerza del medio de la imaginación y de los sentidos.

De ahí que uno de los aciertos inmediatos de Averroes intempestivo (2022) – que recoge una serie de estudios que en muchos casos exceden los límites académicos propios de la una práctica del objeto de estudio en cuestión – es hacer patente un Averroes que en su excentricidad filosófica es tan moderno como cualquier referente de la modernidad occidental. Desde luego, Averroes, como luego Hölderlin, son portadores de un gesto de pensamiento en el cual se tematiza lo más “ajeno” (o lo extraño, diría Brenet en su lectura) en proximidad con lo que es “propio”. ¿Qué más arduo que el uso de la potencia al vernos asediados por la propia contemplación de la teoría? El sentido de lo “ajeno” en la relectura de Averroes en torno al corpus griego (los corpi filosóficos de Platón y Aristóteles) – así como luego lo llevaría a cabo Hölderlin con la tragedia de Empédocles o en los himnos pindáricos – es la exposición de la potencia a ser lo que somos en el medio de las cosas y de nuestras pasiones. El estudio o el pensamiento se vuelven exigencias éticas: estilos de estar en el mundo. En otras palabras, en Averroes lo ajeno cobra un sentido de expresión que solo puede ser registro de lo acontecido, y no de lo temporalmente inscrito en un mundo entregado a la eficacia administrativa de personas y objetos en la economía pastoral de las almas de los vivientes. Como lo demuestra con contundencia argumentativa Rodrigo Karmy en su ensayo “El monstruo Averroes”, la gnoseología Averroes supuso una dificultad mayor para la confección de la antropología tomista al desligar la voluntad subjetiva de los presupuestos necesarios del derecho natural [1]. El averroismo es otro nombre para el verdadero antipersonalismo sin recaer en la negatividad de lo sacro.

Al final , la monstruosidad de Averroes, como sugiere Karmy, consintió en una operación deflacionaria de la substancia calificada del hombre, por lo tanto abandonado las categorías hidráulicas de la culpa, la responsabilidad, de los actos, y toda la dimensión sacrificable de la persona propia de la filosofía de la historia cuyo coste ha sido el al nihilismo y su voluntad de poder. Averroes es un pensador que, previendo el nihilismo del valor como apropiación del mundo, hizo posible una antropología erótica y poética para expresar otra forma de estar verdaderamente en libertad. De ahí que Averroes tampoco encarne un gnosticismo ni una religión secularizada en nombre de la inmanencia absoluta (algo que solo puede devenir en el momento de la traducción de la irreductibilidad de las cosas a la iconocidad objetual, como hemos argumentado en otro lugar), sino que es un pensador de la individuación desde los acontecimientos que afectan a cada una de las formas de vida [2].

Si en la lectura de Averroes, la potencia es una forma sensible fundamentalmente atélica – en separación con su actualización de las obras – esto supone que el verdadero sentido de cada vida es la afirmación de nuestras pasiones para la que no hay objeto ni orientación ni orden (en la doble acepción de la palabra), tal y como el derecho natural intentó formalizar la mediación entre moral y principios para el actuar. Estas son las condiciones teológicas que dan lugar al sobrevenido de la voluntad que se somete a la comunión de salvación para garantizar su sentido de libertad. Aquí también otro de los aciertos que recorre los ensayos de este estupendo libro colectivo; a saber, ofrecernos un Averroes que no es ajeno a la política, sin que esto implica abonar las condiciones sustancialitas de aquella eficacia teológica sobre la contigencia (esencialmente temporalista). En este sentido, Averroes aparece como una tercera figura en la partición entre una legitimidad propia de un positivismo excluyente, y la de un derecho natural cuyo “ideal” de justicia y bien común depende de la dimensión impolítica de la antropología de la especie. Y esta tercera postura se define como la prioridad del acontecimiento mediante la cual se vuelve posible dar forma a nuestras pasiones. En el momento en el que las pasiones se vuelven pulsiones idólatras – como en nuestro actual mundo de pasarelas, influencers, y guardianes de la pobreza del valor – la erótica del intelecto ya ha degenerado en un sadismo que, en virtud de la posesión sobre la mera corporalidad, lleva a la caducidad inerte. Es aquí donde podemos situar el punto en el que el uso se transforma en abuso (ius abutendi). Pero si la norma se ecargará de regular el abuso y el derecho natural a tipificar un cúmulo de bienes del ‘buen uso’; la lección exotérica de Averroes reside en la posibilidad de asumir un uso que, en su separabilidad con el mundo, hace viable la libertad en las pasiones. O lo que es lo mismo: en los medios con los que dispone cada singular exponiendose eróticamente al mundo.

La abnegada actualidad de Averroes reside en el hecho de que es un pensador excéntrico no porque suministre una antropología del juicio reflexivo; sino más bien porque transforma nuestro sentido del ser a una potencia en desobra con efectos irreversibles para nuestra concepción de la libertad. Por eso, lo importante no es que Averroes apueste por un sentido de la irreversibilidad en el plano de la historia o de la negativa a ser dominado (ideal republicano); sino más bien se trata de un sentido de la irreversibilidad en el registro de las pasiones, del afectar, y de nuestros contactos con lo ajeno. Todo esto nutre la dimensión modal del ser humano a partir de la separabilidad de sus acontecimientos. Ya siglos más tarde el escritor Carlo Levi diría en Miedo a la libertad desde un averroísmo intuitivo: lo esencial no es ser libre de las pasiones, sino poder estar en libertad en las pasiones [3]. No debemos hacer nada con el averroismo, pues el averroismo solo es teoría en tanto que pensamiento que ya nos atraviesa. Así, el averroísmo no es una analítica de los conceptos ni una ontología de la acción o del derecho, sino un estilo en separación del mundo que en su opacidad huye de la domesticación de lo social como imperio psíquico de los valores.

En este sentido, la imputación de Ramón Llull de los averroístas como grupos clandestinos al interior de lo sociedad, debe entenderse como la vivencia desvivida, siempre renuente de las determinatio de la obra, de la obligación, y de la servidumbre de una voluntad ilimitada a las particiones substantivas de lo común [4]. En su clandestinidad comunicacional, el averroísmo es otro nombre para la intuición que siempre ha excedido las normas de la ciudad y sus trámites civiles. Averroismo: lo que conseguido la felicidad en los acontecimientos de lo que sentimos, pensamos y hablamos. Por lo tanto, la impronta del averroísmo es la indefinición absoluta de la vida feliz. Una felicidad que se recoge en la separabilidad del dominio de los sacerdotes y de sus comuniones subsidiadas en la eterna fe de la salvación.




1. Rodrigo Karmy & Benjamín Figueroa & Miguel Carmona, Editores. Averroes intempestivo: ensayos sobre intelecto, imaginación y potencia (Doblea editores, 2022), 198.

2. Sobre la relación entre uso y objetivación en la filosofía de Emanuele Coccia, ver mi ensayo “En el reino de las apariencias: sobre la cosmología”, Ontología de las superficies: ensayos averroístas sobre Emanuele Coccia (Universidad Iberoamericana AC, 2021).

3. Carlo Levi. Paura della libertà (Neri Pozza, 2018). 

4. Francesco Márquez Villanueva. “El caso del averroísmo popular español”, en Cinco siglos de Celestina: aportaciones interpretativas (Universidad de València Servicio de Publicaciones, 1997), 128.

Sobre el Nomos Mousikos. por Gerardo Muñoz

En lo que sigue quiero organizar algunos apuntes de lectura sobre la noción griega de nomos mousikos, y para hacerlo quiero glosar algunos movimientos del último capítulo de The Birth of the Nomos (2019) del estudioso Thanos Zartaloudis, quien ha elaborado la contribución filológica y conceptual más importante del concepto hasta el momento. La noción de nomos mousikos pudiera orientar de manera decisiva la prehistoria de una institucionalidad no necesariamente jurídica, previa a la captura del derecho, y en tanto tal capaz de iluminar la relación entre derecho y forma de vida (ethos). En efecto, Thanos Zartaloudis comienza por recordarnos que en el Fedro Sócrates refería a la filosofía como la “más alta mousikē”, y que, en este sentido, la mousikē era una forma de vida, un ethos cuya exploración experiencial se daba mediante la mousikē [1]. Pero la mousikē tiene una prehistoria o una protohistoria antes del momento platónico, que en realidad es su último momento.

En sus inicios la mousikē constaba de una dimensión experiencial mayor que la technē, pues prepara las condiciones para la realización más educada del carácter (ethos) (341). Y, por lo tanto, se entendía que antes que la polis estaba mousikē, y que no habría vida en la polis sin la necesaria condición de la mousikē. Zartaloudis no llega a relacionar la mousikē con el ideal de la ciudad bella (kalapolis), pero sí nos dice que esa “experiencia” de la mousikē garantizaba un orden; una noción de orden acústico, más ligada a la voz y a la memoria que a una sustancia medible de la vida en la polis.

La mousikē, por lo tanto, apelaba directamente a las Musas, y, por extensión, a una función de la transmisión social de la memoria. Según Zartaloudis se trataba de: “una iniciación con la divinidad, que era saber común, y también poder de la música para instituir un saber común o una comunidad mediante la mimesis” (348). La mousikē constituía una forma institucional mínima, invisible, que tampoco era reducible a la especificidad de la música, sino a la asociación con las Musas. Y con las Musas se hacía posible guardar el silencio de la palabra, que entonces se entendía como un ejercicio fundamental de la paideia del ethos.

Aquí la mousikē asume su condición protofilosófica y especulativa más importante: la mousikē es el nombre que se le da al evento originario de la experiencia lingüística de lo no-lingüístico. Zartaloudis nos dice que la memoria que transfiere la mousikē es siempre de antemano trágica; y es trágica porque en ella se registra, o se intenta registrar, la pérdida de la voz como apertura del logos en la phonē. De manera que la “Musa es, el nombre de un acontecimiento que intenta ser recordado como advenimiento de la palabra, como cosmopoesis musical” (355). La Musa es, entonces, no solo ritimicidad de la mousikē, sino la memoria de la pérdida de toda divinidad que, en última instancia, dispensa la inmortalidad mediante el recogimiento de lo mortal, como sugiere Zartaloudis glosando a Jean-Pierre Vernant.

Las Musas ejemplifican una relación entre la voz y el orden social mediante la dimensión del ritual que Zartaloudis refiere de manera directa al problema de la armonía. Y es mediante este problema que la mousikē se convierte en un tema abiertamente político, o de interés político puesto que: “Armonía no era una cuestión de darle forma al caos, en el sentido de lo medible y lo cuantificable, sino de escuchar el chaosmos y ser capaz de anunciarlo” (362). Por eso ahora se puede entender porqué mousikē eventualmente pasó a ser una forma educativa política del ethos, así como un episteme técnico de las matemáticas y de la filosofía. De manera que mousikē era la forma mediante la cual se podía activar una regeneración del kosmos desde la experiencia de la phonē en el decir. La organización de la mousikē para los griegos poseía un poder cosmopoetico. Y Zartaloudis indica que el fenómeno del kosmos no era otro que el de aletheia en la canción. Se trataría, entonces, de un ritual de la mimesis del orden de lo melódico.

Es probable entonces que el nomos mousikos haya sido el sobrevenido técnico de transponer este problema de la voz como acontecimiento a formas genéricas de la melodía y de la tonalidad (382). Y posteriormente en Platón la mousikē obtiene un carácter jurídico y social, por el cual el acontecimiento queda plasmado en el orden de la legislación estatuaria. O sea, nos encontramos ante una forma temprana de la invención del “costum” como norma escrita. He aquí uno de los misterios que Zartaloudis registra, pero que tampoco logra desentrañar del todo de manera explicita: ¿cómo entender el tránsito del orden musical previo a su dimensión estamental del derecho, y luego su confección en la sutura del nomos mousikos? Zartaloudis cita al estudioso Mittica quien argumenta que dicha transformación es de orden de la analogía, y necesariamente de un desarrollo temporal, cuya ambigüedad permaneció por mucho tiempo en la antigua Grecia.

Pero será en Las Leyes de Platón donde la analogía encuentre su mayor grado de sofisticación y perfección, puesto que las reglas mousike serán transpuestas al ordenamiento (taxin) de la polis. Y ahora el poeta aparece ‘ordenado’ para la finalidad de un ‘bien común’ de la polis, ya que el poeta compondrá en la medida en que parmanezca dentro de la ley (nomina), apele a lo bello (kala), y contribuya al bien (agatha) de la ciudad. La dimensión del kosmos-mousikos, nos dice Zartaloudis, ahora aparecía albergarse en el artificio de la palabra. Y solo de lejos era posible escuchar “el pensamiento acústico” de Heráclito. Pero entre sonoridad (nómos) y ley (nomós) algo irremediablemente se perdía: el ritmo incongruente a la forma – el orden melódico, ahora devenía un molde para el orden social. Así se edificaba el nomos mousikos como actividad cívica. Y era el filósofo quien portaría la divisa de la “más alta mousike”, cuyo mysterium era residual a la apariencia de la idea. Por lo tanto, la mousikē era una instancia profética de toda filosofía, como en su momento pensó Gianni Carchia.



1. Thanos Zartaloudis. The Birth of the Nomos (Edinburgh University Press, 2019).

Rechazo del realismo. por Gerardo Muñoz

Alberto Moreiras escribe en Infraphilosophy una magnífica nota que actualiza la conocida “estrategia del rechazo” de Mario Tronti mediante un uso metonímico, el único posible para un mundo en el cual ya la espera por la posibilidad de atravesar al proletariado como forma de capital humano ha sido realizado en su totalidad por la racionalidad del liberalismo autoritario. Seguimos domiciliados en la hipótesis subjetiva-social del capital ahora asumido como parcialización del valor en la propia esfera intelectual. Hoy necesitamos de un segundo rechazo de lo que ha sido, en efecto, ya realizado.

Una nueva literalización, como decía Tronti hacia 1966: “la burguesía vive eternamente en el ciclo del capital”. Y hoy, a varias décadas de Operaio e capitale, allí residen sus satélites en órbita, sus naves galácticas, sus ensueños de eterno Pan como ominosa luz de olvido de la tierra. De manera que la postura en la que hemos sido asignados se vuelve la primera tarea existencial que debemos rechazar. (La política ya ha sido evacuada al suelo antropológico: un capitalismo donativo tras el fin de la producción clásica).

Esto lo veía James Boggs hacia el final de The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook (1963): “…from which there is only one way for the individual to escape to prove his or her loyalty to the police state by becoming an informer for it. […] Today in the 60’s, the struggle is much more difficult. What it requires is that people in every stratum of the population clash not only with the agents of the silent police state but with their own prejudices, their own outmoded ideas, their own fears which keep them from grappling with the new realities of our age” [1].

Dejar de ser un informante supone nada más y nada menos que abandonar la esfera de lo social para así preparar los ingredientes de una experiencia en el umbral de una retirada. Otra vez Boggs: “pero no hay a dónde ir”. Esta es la condición del negro desembreando en la larga historicidad de la reconstrucción republicana. La lucha de clase ha quedado huérfana; las aspiraciones asimiladas a los subrogados de la policy y las infraestructuras; las lenguas y los contactos a las logísticas comunicacionales; el movimiento a la intensificación (aparente) de la movilización tan evasiva del conflicto como de una posible exploración de los mundos. Esta es la realidad.

Lo sensible ha dado paso a los dispositivos refractarios de una cultura como falso principio de diferenciación. Y ahora cultura solo puede ser considerada como forma de cultivo de una nueva ciencia de los encuentros por fuera de la devastación de la virtualización, que haga posible lo irreductible que el realismo hoy sostiene como mero “power nexus”. Superar las ficciones fundamentales implica abrir un abismo. Ahí moramos como existente y de paso preparamos la posibilidad de otra cosa.

No hay balance posible en el presente sin afirmar que George Floyd es la verdad absoluta de la época. Y esta verdad consistente en el hecho de que semejante mazacote llamado Sociedad ha dejado de contenernos. Ahora somos desbordes, formas minorías, itinerantes en búsqueda de ritmos, y paseantes que en su movimiento producen la seña de lo nuevo. Algunos permanecen inquilinos del realismo porque se abonan a la fe de lo Social. Hay otros, los póstumos, que saben que su destino bajo estas condiciones objetivas solo remite a una forma de administración de la muerte. Ahora podemos ver que la guerra civil es lo impensado y lo no-estudiado de la hegemonía, y en tanto tal, el verdadero antagonismo que debe ser llevado a cabo hasta la muerte [2].

Tenemos buenas razones para rechazar el realismo: no dejar impensado, otra vez, a los muertos. Y contra la ceguera de los realistas, la desrealización de los videntes. Esto implica, en cualquier caso, una nueva astucia (metīs), ya que el mundo nos exige pensar para volver a encontrarnos. Píndaro: “La astucia (metīs) del más débil logra sorprender al más fuerte hasta llevarlo a su caída” [3]. La pulsión de la astucia de quienes buscan abre la pregunta por la cuestión de nuestras técnicas (τέχνας). Una nueva comprensión de la organización para hacerle frente al estancamiento. Efectivamente, mundo no es conclusión.




1. James Boggs. The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook (Monthly Review Press, 2009), 93.

2. Frank Wilderson III. Afropessimism (Liveright, 2020), 251.

3. Pindar. Isthmian Odes (Loeb, Harvard University Press, 1997).