The schism of the species: theses on Dionys Mascolo’s La révolution par l’amitié (2022). by Gerardo Muñoz

1. Remembrance without restitution. The publication of Dionys Mascolo’s essays in La révolution par l’amitié (La fabrique, 2022) opens a path to a singular thinking that refused to conform to a master thinking, and even less what has come to us as political theory, or radical critique. Theory and critique have shown their resilient adaptiveness to university discourse. Thinking, on the contrary, moves annexes a relation with the missing word. This caesura negates the closure of both politics and community, it shows its insufficiency. In a letter to Maurice Blanchot regarding his ceased friend Robert Antelme, Mascolo comes to terms with this specific question: the remembrance of what loss in the actual word is – the voice of his friend Robert Antelme – what cannot be posited as a restitution of representation, but rather as effective effort to transcend mutism and silence that would have sunk writing into a pathos not short of a “miserabilist” stance [1]. The exigency of language is absolute. In an analogous way, we can say that the writing in La revolution par l’amité (La fabrique, 2022) is not a matter of restituting the history of Marxism, the intellectual debates of French theory, or even the burial site of a thinker that rejected repeatedly the metaphysical function of the public intellectual (a sort of captain at the steering wheel of public opinion, a cybernetician); but rather the remembrance that thinking is the irreductible site of common to the species. Remembrance has no “archive” and it does not produce anything; on the contrary, it invites a path to thinking in order to bring the absolutism of reality to an end.

2. The irreducibility of the species. For Mascolo – as for Nicola Chiaromonte – the stimmung of the modern age is not a lack of faith, but a bad faith subscribed by the subject of knowledge, a guardian of the nexus of legitimacy. In his practice of writing, Mascolo explored something like a countermovement to the rationality of the intellectual posture, in which communication ceases to be a common means in order to become a production of ends and instrumentality. Hence, what Mascolo called the “part irreductible” – and its “doubt in any system of organized ideas in sight” – is the only intuition of the unity of the species in communication. And if the intellectual is an organic unity of hegemony that replaces the function of the priest in the Church bureaucracy and its paideia (recall Antonio Gramsci’s “organic intellectual”), for Mascolo irreducibility in the sharing of thought in communication is “not political” as he states in Autour d’un effort de mémoire – Sur une lettre de Robert Antelme (1987). This step back from the production of modern politics thoroughly imagines another figure of communism. It is at this point where the whole Cold War polemics between humanism and anti-humanism is destituted internally: the species finds a way out of political domestication.

3. Communism of thought. We can understand why for Mascolo “the word communism really belongs more to Hölderlin than to Marx, as it designates all the possibilities of thought; that which escapes in thinking, and only that can constitute its work (oeuvre)” [2]. In other words, communism for Mascolo is not a matter of doctrine or an Idea, nor about philosophy of history and its inversion; it is not about a political subject or a unity of organization of political force; communism is a use of thought in language in proximity with what escapes in every communication. The inoperative communism, hence, is only possible in friendship, as a continuous experimentation of taste that cannot coincide with a community form. As Mascolo writes in his essay on Antelme: “We did not live in community. This is a deceptive word…we existed in a sentiment of mutual gift of freedom” (53). Any reinvention of a politics to come after the collapse of authority must commence with this rejection of a compensatory communitarian closure. Today only a conspiratio between friends can animate a new field of intensification for renewal.

4. Refusal and friendship. Even in his earliest stages of writing such as “Refus incoditionnel” (1959), the condition for friendship for Mascolo is to refuse the current state of things; to retreat from the demand of reality in order to survive in the imagination of the shared word. In this sense, the thematic of friendship does not make subjects of duty towards a social bond, but rather a secret in the word designated by separation. Friendship floats high above symbolic representation, as it moves to an inclination that is singulare tantum. If modern politics thought itself as a repression and administration of the hostis; for Mascolo the practice of friendship is the sacred space that is never inherited, but, precisely the dwelling of those who “seek” after in the wake of the homelessness of man and nature. This is analogous to Hölderlin’s allowance of thought which moves in passion while accounting for the abyss of our relationship with the world (aorgic) of originary detachment.

5. Revolution as style. In a brief text on the Cuban revolution of 1959, originally written for the collective exhibition Salón de Mayo in Havana, Mascolo says a new revolution in the island could potentially offer a the opportunity of a new style [3]. Of course, as soon as Fidel Castro supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, it was clear that such promised crumbled, and that the Revolution will fall well within the paradigm of the metaphysics of historical project and the subject (“a new man”). But what is style? Once again, this speaks directly to Mascolo’s passion for the irreductible outside of the subject, and for this reason never alienated from the schism of the species. The notion of style relates fundamentally to our exposition to the outside, to the event of expropriation, which defines our fidelity to the invariant dimension of our character. A new style, therefore, is not something to be produced, an effect of the subject, but rather the unit of an ethical practice in our encounter with the outside. If the apparatus of the revolution was instituted as a the production of a civilization; the fidelity to a style names the modes of life that cannot be oriented towards a specific work. A new aberrant freedom emerges.

6. Saint-Just’s ethos. Mascolo never ceased to reflect on the ethical determination of politics, against politics, and for a transfigurative notion of a politics for the here and now. And he dwelled on this problem in his writings on the ethical figure of Saint-Just during the French Revolution (“Saint Just” and “Si la lecture de Saint-Just est possible”). Unlike the monumental historiographies – both left and right, revolutionary and conservative, historicist or revisionist – that situated the revolutionary under the sign of Terror and Revolution, of will power and the emergency of Jacobinism; for Mascolo Saint-Just stands a figure that keeps an important secret. And this is it: “the inhumanity of Saint Just is that unlike many men, he does not possess many lives but only one” (130). This is a concrete definition of a ethos that is irreducible to the “monstrous arts of government” in an epoch where the political had become the secularization of fate. In the same way that Hölderlin turned his gaze towards the impossible and concealed distance of the moderns in relation to truth of the Greeks, for Mascolo’s Saint-Just the legitimacy of the modern universalization (in the State, the Subject, the Social) does not have the last word. The ethos of life keeps the remembrance of an abyss of the monstrosity of historical universality and the social equality.

7. Borrowed existence. Dionys Mascolo lived at the dusk of the modern arch of the revolution, whether understood as eschatology or a conservation of the natural order of the species, as Saint-Just proposed against the Rousseaunian social contract and the Hobbesian mechanical Leviathan in exchange for authority. We have already crossed this threshold, and we are in the desert of the political, retreating on its shadow fallen into administration of fictive hegemonies. Hence, the question of an ethos of existence becomes even more pressing from Mascolo’s thematic of friendship in order to refuse what he calls in “Sur ma propre bêtise et celle de quelues autres”, a “borrowed existence in a comedy that feels as if we are being watch by God alone” (219). Indeed, as some have diagnosed with precision, the religion of our time is absolute immanence, the full disposition of the tooling of our means [4]. A cybernetic dreamworld, whose pathetic figure is the “influencer” (a few strata beneath the luminosity of the intellectual). This can only fix us into the stupidity of intelligence of the species: specialized intelligence, in other words, prisoners in the sea of nihilism. The intelligence of the species, on the contrary, is the cunning (methis) of the fox: a way out in spite of the swelling tides. But against the nihilism of a borrowed life of immanence (beatitude of the impersonal, and iconicity of things), Mascolo’s thought insists stubbornly in friendship as the initiation in an uncharted path to reenter the world once again.

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Notes 

1. Dionys Mascolo. Autour d’un effort de mémoire: Sur une lettre de Robert Antelme (Maurice Nadeau, 1987). 

2. Ibid., 50.

3. Dionys Mascolo. “Cuba premier territoire libre du socialisme”, in A la recherche d’un communisme de pensée (fourbis, 1993).

4. Lundi Matin. “Éléments de descivilisation. Partie 4”, Lundi Matin, 2019: https://lundi.am/Elements-de-decivilisation-Partie-4

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 especie de instancia profética de toda filosofía, como en su momento pensó Gianni Carchia.

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Notas 

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

Homo Lupus Felix: Against Civilization. Notes for a presentation in the Eckhardt S. Program, Lehigh University. by Gerardo Muñoz

There is no question that Alice Rohrwacher’s Lazzaro felice (2018) is a marvelous cinematic work insofar as it measures up against the epoch by radically questioning the principles that have upheld what we know as civilization. This slight adjustment is critical given that ideology, political economy, or subject oriented frameworks of analysis have become insufficient to deal with the crisis of civilization. As a matter of fact, they have become functional (mere deployments of technique, to put it in Willy Thayer’s vocabulary) to the infrastructure, and its specific philosophy of History that promotes the maintenance of Order after the liquidation of its legitimacy. I would like to clarify that I am understanding civilization in a twofold register: as a genetic process of human anthropology based on the matrix of “appropriation, distribution, and production” of the world (a techno-political grid popularized by Carl Schmitt); but also as the total realization of an economic or political theology, which we can directly link to the function of “credit” (and the process of abstract dialectic between credit and debt, as a ground of a new “faith”) that is deployed as the medium of the total sum of social relations that commands beings in the world. Civilization is the general matrix of a process of optimal rationalization of the events that take place in the world, making us potential reactionary agents of the time of its phenomenality.

Aside from all the Christian and religious imaginary, Lazzaro felice is a theological film, but only insofar as it takes the irruption of the mythical remnant very seriously. There is something to be said here – and I think the film stresses this in several parts of the story – between religion and theology, dogma and the spiritual (anima), and the sacred and the commandment solicited by faith (pistis). In other words, Lazzaro felice enacts a destruction of a political theology by insisting on the civilizatory decline towards reproduction of as mere life of survival; a life that is delegated to the abstract faith of credit. In this sense, it is no mistake that Lazzaro’s homicide takes place in a bank and executed by the community of believers (capital, in the end, has already been incarnated; it is the Subject). The laboratory where this takes place is the metropolis, which as I have argued elsewhere is the site of devastation and optimization life in our epoch, which unifies world and life putting distance into crisis, in a suspense of the experiential [1]. The consumption of the new political theology of unreserved equivalence between humans and objects is what Rohrwacher interrupts through the fable of the beatitude of Lazzaro as a life to come in the threshold of the highest phase of the metropolitan stagnation. I will limit my commentary here to three nodes that allow the Lazzaro felice to expand this critique of civilization and the principle of the “civil society”, a notion that we will return to.

First, there is the fable, a capsule of an ancient gnostic wisdom. The fable is what can radically alter evil by tipping its objective realism into a real of the imagination against the grammar of order. Avoiding the order of narration based to account for the history of progress and developmentalism from the rural to the civilization of the metropolis, Rohrwacher’s strategy resorts to the ancient craft of the fable. This is fundamental for a number of reasons. First of all, because the fable allows to withdrawal from pure counter-narrative of historical development and its justifications that allow for the interruption of the time of development, while offering a possibility of an otherwise transformation of the world. This is the gnostic texture of the fable that Hans Blumenberg identified in this form, since obscuring of the distinction between humans and animals relaxes the burden of proof of the absolutism of reality as predicated in the matter of facts [2]. It through fables that something escapes, because there is always an image that escapes the narration of the events of this world. But the fable also offered something else: the beginning of myth as the site of legitimation for foundations of social relations. This is why, as T.J. Clark has reminded recently, Hegel associated the fable with the origin of master and slave dialectic, as a new form of domination of world once the world’s enchantment and mystery was dissolved: “In the slave, prose begins” [3]. The end of a paractical poetics? Perhaps. This means that the price to be paid to enter into the prose of “civilization” is to assimilate the unfathomable and invisible contours of the world into the polemos of storytelling; to be a subject of a story, and as a result, of historical transition. This is what civilization mobilizes through the fable as its posited legitimacy. It is in the fable where the abyss that separates us from the world becomes animated, ordered, and narrated in order for the apparatus of production to commence. It seems to me that Alice Rohrwacher goes to arcanum of civilization when she treats the fable of the wolf, which has functioned to legitimize the passage from the state of nature to the modern concept of the civil in Hobbes’s theory of the state. We should remember the brief fable in Lazzaro felice:

“Let me tell you the story of the wolf. A very old wolf had become decrepit, he could hunt wild animals anymore. So, he was excluded from the pack…and the old wolf went to houses, to steal animals, checks and sheep. He was hungry. The villagers tried to kill him in every way possible, but they didn’t succeed…as if he were invisible.”

It is a remarkable fable that inverts the political fiction of the wolf in Hobbes; mainly: a man is an arrant wolf to another man (homo homini lupus), which justifies the exodus from the state of nature as the “miserable condition of civil war” between men. The stakes are clear: by repressing civil war (stasis), civil society emerges as a divided but unified body under a sovereign principle of authority [2]. The wolf is first established as creature of fear and depredation in order to allow for the principle of civilization to emergence as uncontested and necessary. The fable of the wolf is the protofigure that guards the history of perimeters of civilization as a way to pacify and repress the latency of civil war. Rohrwacher, against the Hobbes political fable, gives us a fable of the wolf that not only is uncapable of waging life as war, but that it enacts full refusal and desertion to be hunted; that is, to be invisible, which ultimately entails a life not outside of a politics of hunting and the secondary pacification by which the end of hunting mutates to the enclosure of domestication [4]. 

If the wolf stands for the invisible it is because it occupies the excess of total legibility of a new civil order, that is, of a world administered by technique of order. The wolf is a prefiguration of the invisible that is improper to every life (and thus to all biopolitical domestication proper to civilization) in the passage from the organic community of the living to the civilizatory topos of the metropolis. The wolf condenses the instructive character in every life; that is, what cannot be reduced to the fiction or the depredatory total war of the civilization nor the fiction of the community lacking an open relation to the world.  This fable, then, is not just what unveils the fictional grounds of the legitimacy of civilization (its “black magic” under the light of rationality and control) but also what reprepares another community. A community in which what we have in common is not an attribute, a substance, or an identity, but an irreducible ethical relation in which civil war cannot equate total hostility and what establishes an absolute difference between life and the “principle of the civil” that formalized the aspiration of isonomic equality:

“The immemorial bad reputation of the wolf (wolf bashing) informs us about one of the oldest tricks of civilization. This consists of bearing the weight of predation on what is heterogeneous to it. To be able to say that man is a wolf of man, the wolf must first have been disguised as a “predator.” We do not mean that the wolf is gardener of daisy flowers, we mean that he behaves neither as a tyrant nor as a bloodthirsty animal, and even less as an individualist (the famous “lone wolf”). In fact, the wolf may have taught communism to humans. The cub that opens its eyes among humans recognizes them as part of its clan. Two lessons: 1) friendship ignores categories; 2) the common is the place where we open our eyes to the world. What the human, for his part, has “taught” to the wolf – like an angry father yelling at his son “I’ll teach you!” – is the servility of the good puppy and the good cop”. [5]. 

               The end of the film comes full circle with the only condition of finding a way out, producing a break in the infrastructure of the domestication, opening a path within and against the metropolis. It is almost as if the film, like in life, was a preparation for the moment of exodus and retreat. In fact, the wolf deserts the metropolis passing through and beyond the highway in plain rush hour. According to Alice Rohrwacher, the wolf leaving the city and not being seen was a reinforcement of the invisible ethical dimension that is proper to every life (an ethos, which in the old Pindaric sense that refers not only our character, but also, and more fundamentally to our abode and habits that are world-forming), and that is devastated by the anthropological crisis of the species in the wake of the process of civilization [6]. However, the wolf exit from the metropolis is not an abandonment of the world in the manner of a monastic communitarian retreat; but rather the pursuit of liberating an encounter with the events of the world foreclosed by topological circulation of credit that amounts to borrowed life without destiny. 

Now to the question that signals an instance of construens in what follows the desertion: what about happiness? It is here, it seems to me, where the beatitude of Lazzaro could be thought as an ethical form of life – as preparation to learn to how live a life against the abstract processes of domestication – that exceeds the two hegemonic paradigms of happiness offered by Western civilization: on the one hand, happiness understood as an equilibrium operative to virtue (aretē); or, on the other, the community of salvation as a compensatory effect for the structural gap of the fallen subject, original sin (felix culpa). One could clearly see that politics at the level of civilization could now be defined as the instrument that manages the production of happiness as a temporal exception in life, but never a defining form of our character.

The wolf that is Lazzaro’s form of life – at a posthistorical threshold that dissolves the anthropological divide man and animal – offers us a third possibility: happiness understood as the refusal to partake in the promises of civilization in order to attune oneself to an errancy of life that allows itself to be hunted by an experiential imbuing of the world. Happy Lazzaro? Yes, but never a Sisyphus who is incapable of experiencing the vanishing horizon between earth and sky in infinite divisibility of the world. The wolf unleashed traverses a geography against domestication, revoking the phantasy of home (the oikos). I will let the last words be made by some fellow-travelers contemporary American thinkers: “Civilisation, or more precisely civil society, with all its transformative hostility was mobilized in the service of extinction, of disappearance. Fuck a home in this world, if you think you have one.” [7].

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Notes

1. Gerardo Muñoz. “Dix thèses sur Lazzaro felice” en tant que forme de vie”, Lundi Matin, May 2019: https://lundi.am/Dix-theses-sur-Lazzaro-felice-en-tant-que-forme-de-vie

2. Hans Blumenberg. “Of Nonunderstanding: Glosses on Three Fables” (1984), in History, Metaphors, Fables (Cornell University Press, 2020), 562-566.

3. T. J. Clark. “Masters and Fools”, LRB, vol.43, No.18, September 2021. 

4. Thomas Hobbes. Man and Citizen (De Homine and De Cive) (Hackett, 1991), 11.

5. “Éléments de descivilisation” (part 2), Lundi Matin, april 2019:  https://lundi.am/Elements-de-decivilisation-Partie-2

6. Jerónimo Aterhortúa Arteaga. “Creer en las imágenes: entrevista a Alice Rohrwacher.”, Correspondencias, May 2021: http://correspondenciascine.com/2021/03/creer-en-las-imagenes-entrevista-a-alice-rohrwacher/

7. Stefano Harney & Fred Moten. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Minor Compositions, 2013), 132.

An epoch unmoved (V). by Gerardo Muñoz

The intrusion of appearance in the world posits the question of the unlived in every life. This taking place that appears in the world descends temporal finitude; and, more fundamentally, it posits the caducity of its unlived possibilities. In a recent book on the history of citrus in Italy, the author says in passing that blood oranges, being from the lowlands near the Etna, mixes a variation of flavors that ultimately make this particular orange expire sooner than others of its kind. Heterogeneity is a marker of caducity. The shimmering crust of this orange reveals that something like the mystery of what has not happened yet (and perhaps never will) comes to us in the sensorium, in the open of the ambient, and in the time of decay: “It gave us pause for thought. How long does it take for a lemon to completely rot?” [1]. This sense of the unlived in life was thematized by Hölderlin in his late drama The Death of Empedocles, a figure intimate to the Etna volcanic topoi“In holy union each beloved clings to love, a love One thought was dead…To they are this! The ones we so long did without, the living; The goodly gods, declining with the star of life! Farewell!” [2]. We have yet to develop a theory of the encounter that opens the epoch. But the solicitation for an experience entails the seeking of an outside to reality, in which the unlived facilitates nearness to an escape route. As we know, Hölderlin thought of the fissure of unity as excess between outside and reality, in which the relation between object and subject, thinking and action, imagination and things come to a tragic diremption.  

In this light, the actualization of the unlived is the vortex against the immobility of the epoch in which life is rendered actual in its becoming. But this requires specification; or at least a certain amendment of the pure aorgic immanence. We know that centuries before Hölderlin, Angelus Silesius provided a point of entry: “The Sun gives movement unto all, and makes the stars dance in the sky: if I still stand immovable, no part in the great whole have I” [3]. The mystical kenosis is ground cero to attunement of life. However, Silesius also seems to be suggesting that even under the dress of nature, movement is the condition for any instantiation with the abode. If glimpsed from the interior of the site of the natural world, pure immanence appears as the interrupted image without partition; but if described from the exteriority of the unlived, then world and life now meet in a kinetic extraneous divergence. 

But what is the limit of an intensity? There are two ways of coming to terms with this problem: every process of intensification reaches its caducity whenever its violence is overcome by the seduction of possession in submitting to the absolutism of reality. On the other hand, every intensity is perturbed when it finds an obstruction in the formal orientation of the concept. Therefore, when the co-existence between the exogenic and ecstatic limits meet, the free playing of forms becomes flow (plynein).  In other words, we cease to become immobile to deviate from the obstruction of the suspended wreck of every encounter.

Untimely, this invites that we reconsider the status of happiness. As a contemporary philosopher that I admire has insinuated it: perhaps happiness is the unthought notion in our tradition. In a certain way, the unthought and the unlived depart from the caesura of their own evasion. There is perhaps no need to reconstruct how “happiness” has been subordinated to designs proper to politics or commerce; or, as in the more classical tradition, the moral virtue for self-regulation and privation. Everything changes if we locate happiness in the site of the unlived, insofar as now the violence that is constituted of the separation between form and event in the texture of life. The immediacy of happiness is not being able to conquer something like a state of “blessed life” but being able to release the unlived in every succession of deaths that traverse a life [4]. 

But the unlived exits not only to de-constitute the vital determination, but also, and more fundamentally, to escape the seduction of the negative that assumes that loss and tragicity are irreparable limits. Rather, because there is something like an unlived there is happiness in the way that we constantly move within the available set of unlimited possibilities. The unlived initiates a physics that cuts absolute immanence in virtue of the genesis of style, since it is only in style where the overcoming of the unlived shelters the soul in the face of caducity. Indeed, it is in this invisible texture where the color of our mobility approaches asymptotic twirl between divinity and the world.

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Notes

1. Ciaran Carson. Still Life. Winston: Wake Forest University Press, 2020. 16.

2. Friedrich Hölderlin. The Death of Empedocles. Trad. Farrell Krell. Albany: SUNY, 2008. 93.

3. Angelus Silesius. El peregrino querúbico. Madrid: Ediciones Siruela, 2005. 

4. Pacôme Thiellement. “Le Bonheur est un twist”, 25 june 2017: www.pacomethiellement.com/corpus_texte.php?id=326 : “l y a deux lumières: il y a la lumière d’avant la nuit et il y a la lumière d’après. Il y a celle qui était là au début, l’aube radieuse du jour d’avant, et puis il y a celle qui a lutté contre les ténèbres, la lumière qui naît de cette lutte : l’aube scintillante du jour d’après. Il n’y a pas seulement deux lumières, il y a aussi deux joies : il y a la joie d’avant la peine et il y a celle d’après. La joie originelle, la joie innocente, primitive, cette joie est sublime, mais c’est juste un cadeau de la vie, du ciel, du soleil… La joie qui vient après la peine, c’est le cadeau que tu te fais à toi-même : c’est la façon dont tu transformes ta peine en joie, l’innocence que tu réussis à faire renaître des jours d’amertume et des nuits de bile noire. C’est le moment où tu commences à vivre, mais vivre vraiment, parce que tu commences à renaître de toutes tes morts successives. C’est le moment où tu t’approches de la divinité ou du monde”.

Hölderlin in Agamben. by Gerardo Muñoz

There is no question that Hölderlin occupies a central place in Giorgio Agamben’s work, although he always appears within a specific strategic deployment. Of course, it might be the case that Hölderlin is always present in instances where he is not directly cited or thematized, but in the following note I want to record four instances where Hölderlin appears in different phases of Agamben’s thinking. These notes are preliminary for a larger work in progress that looks at the status of the comic as a potential force for a transfigured politics, which is informed, although not limited by Hölderlin’s work. Hölderlin occupies, after all, the entry point to L’uso dei corpi (2014) in relation to the well-known maxim “the use of the proper”; the territory where the (modal) ontology will be measured. However, esoterically Agamben’s incorporation of the German poet suggest a ‘way out’ from the tragic politicity of modernity. It might useful here to recall Schmitt’s annotation in Glossarium about what Hölderlin symbolized in the larger picture of modern German thought: “Youth without Goethe (Max Kommerell), that was for us since 1910 in concrete youth with Hölderlin, i.e. the transition from optimistic-ironic-neutralizing genius (genialismus) to pessimistic-active-tragic genialism (genialismus). But it remained within the genialistic framework, yes, deepened it into infinite depths. Norbert von Hellingrath is more important than Stefan George and Rilke.” (18.5. 1948) [1]. To overturn Hölderlin as the figure of the tragic caesura and witness to the crisis of “distance” in modernity is most definitely at stake here in order to avoid (subjective) conditions for something like an Enlightenment renewal. More broadly, it could be productive to think of Hölderlin as the poetic site that grants Agamben a possibility of thinking the event beyond the dependency of messianism and history, now displaced by the relation between language and world. 

a) As early as in Stanzas (1977) Agamben writes about Hölderlin: “The name of Hölderlin – of a poet, that is, for whom poetry was above all problematic and whom often hoped that it could be raised to the level of the mēchane (mechanical instrumental) of the ancients so that its procedures could be calculate and taught – and the dialogue that with its utterance engages a thinker who no longer designs his own mediation with the name of “philosophy”, are invoked here to witness the urgency, for our culture, of rediscovering the unity of our own fragmented word” (xvii) [2]. Hölderlin occupies here the site of antiphilosophy, in which the event of language does not longer coincide with a structure of the subject, but of the potentiality of “saying”; a sayability in which fragmentation removes any commanding closure of language. The event of appearing and bring to conclusion (in the book on Paul, Agamben will associate it with the rhetorical figure of the enjambment in the poem) gains primacy over formalization. 

b) In another early book, L’uomo senza contenuto (1994) Agamben takes up the question of fragmentation of language in Hölderlin but this time provides a specific category: rhythm. On the chapter about the original structure of the work of art he writes: “Everything is rhythm, the entire destiny of man is one heavenly rhythm, must as every work of art is one rhythm, and everything swings from the poetizing lips of the god”. This statement was passed down to us by Hölderlin’s own hand. […]. What Hölderlin’s sentence says appears at first blush too obscure and general to tempt us to take into consideration in a philosophy query on the work of art. However, if we want to submit to its proper meaning, that is, if we want, in order to corrupt to it, to make it first of all into a problem for us, then the question that immediately arises is: what is rhythm, which Hölderlin attributes to the work of art as it original characteristic?” (94) [3]. So, the category of rhythm “holds men” epochally as a form of incommensurable distance with the world, which Agamben relates to an-archic original structure of dwelling. For Agamben this step-back to the “original site” vis-à-vis rhythm releases “art” as poesis from a productivist “destiny”. So, it would be obvious to say that rhythm, insofar it abolishes the production, it also thematizes the ethical life as the form of life (which is why Agamben also attaches Hölderlin as a counter-figure of the notion of “vocation”) [4]. There is no form of life without rhythm in nearness to the common ground. 

c) In Autoritratto nello studio (2017), Agamben glosses (a) and (b), that is, he recognizes the importance of Von Hellingrath reconstruction of the late Hölderlin of the Pindaric translations and the fragmentary syntax, but now situates him at the center of modernity. Agamben writes: “Walser noted, as Hölderlin before him, that the world had become simply unhabitable. And there was not even the possibility of amending it…I am convinced that Hölderlin in his last thirty years of this life was not unhappy, as some professors of literature tend to describe him. On the contrary, Hölderlin was able to dream at his house without worrying about duties. The Tubingen tower and the clinic of Herisau: these are two places that we should never cease to reflect upon. What took place behind these walls – the rejection of reason by these two poets [Walser and Hölderlin] – is the most powerful rejection against our civilization” (140-141) [5]. So here Hölderlin, like Walser, is an epochal gestalt capable of generating the separation between thinking and doing, world and experience, which became totalized in the legitimacy of the modern. What could be interpreted as ‘domestic interiority’ for the poet becomes a symptom of a radical form of dwelling at the end of reason subsumed by nihilism.

d) Finally, in a recent essay published this year entitled “Hölderlins antitragische Wendung”, Agamben goes a step further to qualify Hölderlin’s breakthrough, taking radical distance from his relation to the tragic and identifying him as a poet that must be read in a comic register. This is all the more surprising given that, as Agamben himself notes, there is almost no mention of comedy in Hölderlin’s prose, except in the review of Siegfried Schmid’s play The Heroine. And although it is true one could argue that Hölderlin undertook a destruction of the tragic poet in The death of Empedocles, as far as I am aware there has been no interpretation of Hölderlin as opening to the “comedy of life”, except for a brief mention, almost in passing, about his laughter by the Italian poet Andrea Zanzotto [6]. Agamben concludes his essay suggesting that: “With this concept of “ordinary life” I should like to conclude my reflections, at least for the time being. Isn’t it precisely this ordinary life, what in the thirty-six years in the tower, Hölderlin’s life and poetry – or his “poetry” – have persistently sought to carry it out in an exemplary and funny way? And isn’t “ordinary” life the same as the “living” life (to live according to habitus and habits), which is distant and perfect in the last tower poems: When people go into the distance, living life …?” In any case, if Hegel defines the idyll as “the half descriptive, half lyrical poems […] and mainly nature, the seasons, etc., the subject matter”; then the tower poems – this extreme, incomparable poetic legacy of the West – are an idyll of the genre” (40) [7]. And here Hölderlin appears not just as another figure in “the age of the poets” (and the genialismus‘ commanding force), but rather as the moment in which the problem of life opens to its inoperosità. The unity of humanity now navigates the fragmented reality not through the subject, but rather through the singular form of life. Comedy, then, in the idyll genre in which life is freed from both desire and liberty.

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Notes 

1. Carl Schmitt. Glossarium: Aufzeichnungen aus den Jahren 1947 bis 1958 (Duncker & Humblot, 2015). 114.

2. Giorgio Agamben. Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1993).  

3. Giorgio Agamben. The Man without Content (Stanford U Press, 1999). 

4. Giorgio Agamben. “Vocazione e voce”, in La potenza del pensiero (Neri Pozza, 2005). 77-89.

5. Giorgio Agamben. Autoritratto nello studio (nottetempo, 2017). 

6. Andrea Zanzotto. “Con Hölderlin, una leggenda”, in Friedrich Hölderlin: Tutte le liriche (Mondadori, 2001). i-xxiv.

7. Giorgio Agamben. “Hölderlins antitragische Wendung”, Studi Germanici, 17, 2020. 27-40.

A few remarks about Giorgio Agamben’s theory of civil war. by Gerardo Muñoz

In the conference “The Undercommons & Destituent Power”, I was particularly interested in a suggestion made by Idris Robinson regarding the status of the theory of civil war in Giorgio Agamben’s work. I think Robinson’s position on this problem pushes thought forward, and it allows me say a little more about a possible transfiguration of politics, a sort of unsaid in many of the recent discussions. There are at least two levels that I would like to address: the first one is philological, and the second one is more speculative. The moment that I want to dwell upon specifically is when Robinson claimed that Giorgio Agamben at some point abandoned the question of “civil war”. Robinson is right. There is no mention about civil war, insurrectional politics, or even forms of direct political strategy in the endgame of L’uso dei corpi (Neri Pozza, 2014). Indeed, in this book it is as if the “concrete political” horizon is transformed by recasting a modal ontology, a theory of use, and an archeology of “form of life”. My hypothesis, however, is that the logistics of civil war never fully disappear, since it is explored through other regional quadrants of the tradition. In other words, one should understand civil war as fold within the signatura of potentiality. This is an important point of departure since, early in Homo Sacer, we thought that the vortex of the project was going to be the critique of sovereignty; but, on the contrary, it ended up being an archeology of the notion of potentiality. Thus, in a way, civil war is to war what potentiality (dunamis) is to actuality (energeia). 

But the question of civil war never truly disappears. In a new gloss included in the Italian “integral edition” (Quodlibet, 2018) entitled “Nota sulla guerra, il gioco, e il nemico”, Agamben thematizes the concept of war in a way that sheds light to the problem of civil war. Agamben starts by pointing to the circularity of war and enmity in Schmitt’s theory of the political. For Schmitt – says Agamben – enmity “presupposes” [Voraussetzung] war, insofar as war is the condition for every enmity distinction [1]. Agamben continues to say that war and enmity converge in the same doctrine of the political: politics is always about war. However, the important metaphysical ingredient here is that war brings about a “serious” dimension to the political. So, state and politics, by means of seriousness (war), deters the influence of the “society of entertainment”, play, and the end of order. The legitimacy of war in Schmitt is weighted by a neo-Hobbesian maximization of “total war”. However, Agamben invites to take a step back. This is important, because at this point enters Johan Huizinga’s critique of Schmitt’s concept of the political, which reminds us war is constitutive of the ludic sphere that suspends all seriousness of politics rooted in enmity. So, it is war’s capacity to translate “political seriousness” what generates a politics of sacrifice proper to bare life. 

Unlike war, civil war would be a “zone of indetermination” (an event of human separation) that is more at home in play than in political action. Civil war is, each and every time, irreducible to war as the central conflict of human existence, since it stands for the free-playing interactions between forms of life as they come into inclination and divergence without ever being domesticated to a regulatory war. I take this also to be consistent with Agamben’s theory of comedy as an unthought site of Western metaphysics, which works against the tragic (constitutive to destiny), but also against war (constitutive of the political). This stasiological theory insofar as it expresses the movement of potentiality, it’s also an exodus from desire. This is why for Agamben the figure (gestalt) of the “coming politics” or a transfigured politics, is not the militant but a sort of puppet, as he writes in his book the character of Pulcinella. The comic texture of form of life leaves the epoch of tragic titanism behind. It is now expression or style what colors the outside to a politics of desire, which is always substantiated on a lack. Pulcinella does not desire anything, but only “seeks a way out”. The civil war, then, is the moment in which the comic destitutes the fiction of the subject into a form of life. This is why, as Julien Coupat has recently argued, that the role of the police is to watch and intervene at the moment when the game of civil war breaks out. The taskforce of the police become the exercise of the flattening of civil war into the grammar of war that regulates the very functioning of social order [2].

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Notes

1. Giorgio Agamben. “Nota sulla guerra, il gioco e il nemico”, in Homo Sacer: Edizione Integrale (Quodlibet, 2018). 296-310.

2. Julien Coupat. “Engrenages, fiction policière”, in Police (La Fabrique, 2020). 

Contra la mala substancialidad: cuatro apuntes para una conversación con Diego Valeriano. por Gerardo Muñoz

No queremos decir mucho sobre Diego Valeriano, puesto que siempre se pudiera decir más. El estilo Valeriano tiene el peso de lo necesario: donde no falta nada, todo es posible, todo es apertura, todo resta. Y, a su vez, todo está aún por experimentarse. Valeriano es estilo sin estilo. De ahí que en ocasiones – incluso en algunas conversaciones por mail o WhatsApp – ha descrito su escritura como el deseo de querer ser canto. La escritura abandona su primacía ficcional que inviste a la autoría. Imposible reproducir la mimesis del canto de un pájaro, ya que el mundo de la expresión es incapturable (Von Keyserling). Para dar lugar a la conversación, me gustaría dibujar esta pequeña geometría que convoca a lo que pudiéramos llamar un nuevo realismo destituyente.

La hipótesis archi-antropológica. En el momento más álgido de exaltación kirchnerista, Valeriano puso a circular una tesis que podemos calificar de “archi-antropológica”. Contra el moralismo de un liberalismo biempensante y los llamados al cierre de filas de una cultura hegemónica, Valeriano colocó el acento en el vector de la intensidad: “el consumo libera”. Era una tesis radicalmente intuitiva. Sonaba bien. En efecto, era una tesis capaz de ser apropiada por todos, de ahí su fuerza. Pero cuando un liberal la pronuncia su objetivo está claro: el consumo nos libera de la conflictividad política, nos garantiza libertad económica, y nos incluye en la civilización de la producción. En Valeriano, sin embargo, el tenor sacudía un gesto archi-antropológico: cuando nos rozamos con las llamaradas del consumo, disolvemos el reino de la antropomorfización del capital desde adentro. La tesis desplegada era maravillosa. O sea, puesto que la equivalencia es siempre una fantasía de encierra toda economía libidinal, las armas del consumo también son aquellas que liberan la vida de su concreción substancial. Era allí donde emerge toda forma de vida, todo ethos. El consumo en manos del runflerío disuelve nuestro lugar en la objetivación. Devenimos ahora un cualsea. Los condimentos están siempre en cualquier lugar. Ahora se trataba de entrar en la cocina de las prácticas: la magia de una fiesta, un saqueo, un viaje en bondi por la ciudad, una celebración, una junta nocturna, o con-vivir en la escuela. No hay jerarquías. Siempre se ha tratado de lo mismo: retomemos lo invisible que desborda nuestra vida y situemos el problema en la cesura irreductible entre el acontecimiento y las formas que les son posibles.

Localización del poder. Nada aterra más al cosmos intelectual progresista que discutir la localización del poder. Alzar la pregunta por la extensión de sus aparatos es una herejía para los traficantes ideológicos de “teorías” fatuas. De ahí la importancia de la metrópoli, la cual debe ser entendida no como una forma contemporánea de la polis caída a la técnica, sino como la espacialización misma de la totalidad de los ensamblajes cibernéticos. La metrópoli es lo que encuadra al mundo en virtud de una objetivación de su afuera. Esta es una condición intuitiva en la escritura de Valeriano: no hay poder, hay forma de sedimentación metropolitana. La operación metropolitana es todo aquello que busca detener el recorrido cinético de mi experiencia con el mundo desde la identificación y el intercambio. Pero Valeriano va más allá: no hay un “afuera de la metrópoli”, puesto que ya sabemos que el campo es la dispensación negativa y última celda del castillo. Un gesto contrametropolitano, por el contrario, aparece allí cuando ejercemos un viaje que desnarra la intencionalidad y justificación de sus formas. Aquí instalamos un nuevo principio de discriminación: metrópoli es el partido de la reducción y la identificación; el gesto contrametropolitano es, por el contrario, lo que dispensa el campo de experimentación, de encuentros, y de goce. Un goce que no puede servir a la domesticación de los pequeños placeres del intercambio, sino el que sabe que se juega siempre con la propia finitud. El gesto contrametropolitano es lo que crea destino porque ha abandonado la ficcionalización de las orientaciones. 

Existencia hacia el final del mundo. Toda la fuerza de estilo de Valeriano se ubica hacia el fin del mundo. En realidad, es una amistosa invitación a habitar en él sin caer en la “mala substancialidad” que remite a las identificaciones compensatorias del reino del “Yo” (Tiqqun, Teoría del Bloom). Contra las malas substancialidades que sostienen la fragilidad del vacío experiencial de la metrópoli, Valeriano ofrece la aventura de una vida extática. Los zombis es la figura mitopoética de esa “mala substancialidad” que hace del apocalipsis una cárcel de la subjetivación humana. Pero siempre ha existido una salida: lo inhumano. Y es que no hay una “inhumanidad”, sino una composición disyuntiva de los fragmentos que escapan a la fijeza de la realidad: “no es un sistema, no hay reglas. Es un momento aun muy enigmático, repleto de agujeros, quiebres, saltos, tonos. Es intemperie absoluta y refugio vital” (Valeriano, Eduqué a mi hija, 40). El apocalipsis que tonifica la época abre un nuevo antagonismo infrapolítico, cuya posicionalidad se da entre aquellos que busca la fuera de la producción, y aquellos que susbstancializan el mundo bajo la multiplicación de las órdenes. Pero en un mundo carente de legitimidad, una orden es siempre dispositivo de hegemonía y subordinación. Del otro lado de la dominación, aparece el fin del reino de los disfraces: ya no lo que “soy” o lo que “debo ser”, sino “cómo soy” ante aquello que he encontrado y que me acompaña en la práctica de deserción del mundo.

Una vida que no es política. Finalmente, después de dos siglos, aparece una mirada que insiste en la separación entre vida y política, tomando partido por la primera. Una politicidad sin legitimidad incrementa la hegemonía como reino de las ordenes y reparto de las demandas. En este sentido, la vida no es una excepción a la política como orden público, sino una fuga de la topología de la depredación civil. Allí donde hay hegemonía hay sometiendo del tiempo de la vida e interrupción de lo invisible. Por eso indicaba Jacques Camatte recientemente que el poder odia a la juventud, puesto que los jóvenes se inscriben en una zona existencial previa a la domesticación. La forma de vida de la juventud – acaso la figura central de la escritura canto de Valeriano – muestra que ningún poder es absoluto sobre la vida, porque la existencia escapa el dominio de toda hegemonía. Y, desde luego, la juventud no es una etapa en el desarrollo de la vida del hombre, sino el ángel que lo acompaña a lo largo de su recorrido terrenal. El Ángel vela por el destino: guarda la distancia entre mis formas y el afuera. 

Por eso la forma de vida runfla es fundamentalmente un problema especular: contra la representación, se inclina hacia la expresión; contra la domesticación subjetiva, enaltece la vida extática; contra la sutura entre vida y política, insiste en la diferencia absoluta e irreductible de los encuentros. No hay formas absolutas, sino declinaciones con lo que encontramos. El actual apocalipsis nos arroja a un campo experiencial del cual cada vez tenemos más y más noticias. Disuelve la realidad. Esa factura del “tiempo desquiciado” nos convoca a ser quienes ya somos. Un ejemplo inclasificable de ese gesto de deserción está en los pibes que rechazan los aguinaldos de la mala substancialidad. Y ellos siempre están de vuelta.

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*Apuntes para el encuentro “Experiencia y metrópoli” que tendrá lugar el 4 de septiembre junto a Diego Valeriano, organizado en la serie “Conversaciones de Ficción” de la revista Ficcion de la razón.

Notas adicionales a mi texto de intervención en el 17/Instituto, 8 de junio de 2020. por Gerardo Muñoz

Dada las limitaciones de espacio en las que he escrito el texto para la intervención en el marco de “¿Separación del mundo?” organizado en el 17/Instituto, quiero dejar aquí cinco notas que contribuyen a elucidar algunos elementos que de otra manera parecerían muy abstractos. Estas apostillas no buscan “desarrollar” las consecuencias del ‘position paper’ – cosa que haré en otro lugar y en otro momento – sino más bien acentuar algunos de los puntos de articulación. Es una lista preliminar, por lo que es probable que hayan otros elementos que solo podré asumir después de la sesión. De manera que, de momento, esta es una lista en construcción.

  1. En su reciente libro Neoliberalismo como teología politica (NED, 2020), José Luis Villacañas coloca como epígrafe la definición de Carl Schmitt sobre el destino como destino político. En los últimos días he tenido la oportunidad de intercambiar algunas ideas sobre esta tesis, por lo cual le estoy agradecido a Villacañas, quien, ante mi pregunta sobre la dimensión antropológica de la “teoría del mundo de la vida”, ha aceptado de que la política no es todo, pero que en la medida en que responde a un momento de irrupción de lo real, se entrega al mundo de la vida como necesariamente una automatización política. Obviamente, no podemos dejar de pensar en la dimensión técnica de esa instancia auto-afirmativa. El debate sigue estando en ese umbral: ¿es la automatización la salida a la crisis de las formas políticas modernas, o, más bien, debemos asumir una diferencia irreductible entre existencia y automatismo para evitar un principio de regulación hegemónica? Quizás no otra cosa pensaba Schmitt en su mitopoética de la historia expuesta en Hamlet o Hécuba (1956).
  2. Desde luego la metafórica de la “navegación” une a la figura del liponaus con la del kybernetes. En la medida en que la cuestión del “ritmo” está ligada al mundo marítimo según Emile Benveniste, podemos decir que el “gesto de la deserción” es una manera de liberar el ritmo que establece el kybernetes. En la cibernética contemporánea, en este sentido, no hay maquinación abstracta, sino el esfuerzo recursivo por homogenizar los ritmos del mundo de la vida.
  3. La temática del destino remite directamente al tema del carácter. Carácter aquí es justamente lo que está fuera de la persona y que, sin embargo, constituye una vida. Por ponerlo en términos de Sánchez Ferlosio: carácter es justo aquello que irrumpe como figura sin porqué. En el carácter se anuda el afuera y la anarquía en el nudo de la facticidad.
  4. Escribe Giorgio Cesarano en Manuale di supprevivenza (1975): “Inutile fuggire. Non esiste una sorte che eluda le « cose » e la cosalità; niente e nessuno regala avventure alternative; la sola avventura possibile è conquistarsi una sorte; il solo modo possibile per farlo è conquistarla a partire dal sito spazio-temporale in cui le « tue » cose ti stampano come una di loro; la sola lotta reale è fare in pezzi la cosalità che ti tiene contendendole ogni moto e ogni passo; pretendere di essere qui dove tutto te lo vieta; riconoscere la propria’ volontà radicale a partire dal cemento sotto il quale affondano le tue radici storiche; esigere dalle « cose »: dagli oggetti d’amore, dagli oggetti d’odio, dagli oggetti di dolosa indifferenza e persino dai poveri oggetti della «ricchezza» inanimata, di essere con te, in quanto tu sei e vuoi essere vivo.” (46).
  5. En su más reciente libro Imagen exote (Palinodia, 2020), Willy Thayer rescata la atopía de Ruiz en un gesto que define de manera análoga all lipanous. Escribe Thayer: “La imagen exote es una migrante, una mutante afirmativa de pasión, de pathos “feliz” …estas historias, esta demás decirlo, se cuenta que los puertos del mundo…Son muchas historias entrecruzadas”. Y luego afirma Thayer: “explorar una aventura es emprender un viaje que, como catástrofe, puede “producir un inédito”. A eso le llamo experiencia.

Una epístola sobre “Snows of Kilimanjaro”. por Gerardo Muñoz

 

 

Querida L,

Me pides mi opinión sobre este cuento de Hemingway. No tengo ninguna pretensión de atravesarlo después de una primera y única lectura; pero diría, desde ya, que es un relato complejo, oscuro, coagulado, e íntimamente atado a la pulsión de muerte en la forma de un delirio conducido por un amor destructivo e imposible. El movimiento de su vórtice va desvelando los fragmentos de una vida inauténtica; una vida que, hasta el final, no está en condiciones de albergar en su interior lo insondable que una experiencia deja en el cuerpo. Cuando digo cuerpo, digo fantasma. En este punto llevo, lentamente, a Hemingway hasta el final, contra sí mismo, y a Harry contra Harry, en un desplazamiento tabular sobre la escritura. El delirio de Harry se debe a que confunde cuerpo con fantasma. Por eso desatiende al menos dos cosas esenciales: por un lado, el paisaje que hacia el final anuncia “otro comienzo”; y por otro, el modo en que lo no-vivido marca la vida de manera decisiva. La vida nunca “es”; al contrario, son los posibles que han podido ser. Esto es lo importante: primero, porque si lo no-vivido es asumido por mi como la potencia de lo que soy en el mundo, entonces no hay una laceración que me lleve a un sacrificio redentor compensatorio. Y, en segundo lugar: solo tomados por el fantasma (¿esa voz irreductible que lo persigue hacia el look out?) podemos dar espacio a una temporalidad no dañada por maquinaciones de la Historia. La desligación frente a lo histórico reanuda el vínculo del encuentro que nos devuelve a un jardín que no conoce ni agresión ni hostis en la especie. Este giro en el pensamiento permite, entonces, una cierta proximidad con lo arruinado y con el objeto perdido que hace posible una “vida verdadera”, locus de todo carácter. Al final, Harry contempla ese segundo momento transfigurado: “…all he could see, as wide as all the world, great, high, and unbelievably white in the sun, was the square top of Kilimanjaro”. Pero Harry se amedrenta ante el claro, desiste en la luz negra de lo corrupto. Y algo más. Se cuenta que el viejo Goethe, cercano a los ochenta, se embarca en un viaje a Frankfurt. En el trayecto contempla un “arcoíris blanco”, en el paisaje, y lo toma como una figura de un extraño recomienzo. La luz refractaria de las “nieves blancas” es la figura apotropaica contra “todo” (a pesar de todo); y el amor, otro nombre para la tonalidad del ser. Mientras duremos, claro.

 

Tuyo,

Gerardo Muñoz

15 de abril de 2020

Pensilvania

*Imagen: Camino hacia Mount Hood, Portland, junio de 2014. De mi colección personal.