To function at critical velocity, theory has to constantly flirt with a boundary between abstract giddiness and florid nonsense; the bad news is that unlike the asemic horizon it’s perfectly possible to unwittingly cross this boundary. This possibility is perfect because it is minimal: the smallest of indulgences can lead to this radical error. Far from the boundary, praxis is all there is — this is where we were trying to say something interesting about politics back in Jairwave. Beyond the boundary, everything is “catapraxic” and folded in abulia. It’s only at the perilous boundary that theory can be apraxic but alive.
Such indulgences, of course, are hidden acts of praxis, and implicit pragmas like these reveal (in a very psychoanalytic kind of mood/mode) the shameful truths that animate the truths of theory.
The phenomena of shame, failure and collapse are all downward vectors. The pull of gravity is a fundamental axiom of praxic reality. In death previously animated (that is, doted with a soul) bodies are sucked by the ambient gravity vector field. Shame animates this inanimate fall by enacting some of its debasement. Maybe the shameful thing is on its knees, roughly 1/6ths down from its rightful place of dignity. Shame is then a (partial) ex-animation. But what characterized people (and perhaps not far in the future we will have non-human people) is that they learn to cope with death and animate the inanimate. Therefore people also animate the ritual symbolic-amputation of shame. A man on his knees before a king or a Buddha can, then, be animated with the highest of dignities short of dignity itself.
It’s no wonder that there are more sexual fetishes near the ground than up in the clouds.
The fundamental shame of theory is that it proceeds by means of theory, with scarcely any allies in praxic fields of discourse, and defends itself with a kind of titillation that it dares to call “seduction”. In vulgar titillation, something that by right ought to be hidden is shown; in seduction the effects of titillation are produced (made-to-appear) with the minimal construction of effect. ISIS titillates with Facebook-live beheadings where Blackbeard seduced with explosion sounds and manic cackling. ISIS goes too far by indulging on the particular idea of sainthood, really a degraded form of Godliness where the perfection of truth has to be caught on video. ISIS is insane; because ISIS is of this world, this world is insane to some degree, some fraction of its full upright dignity.
The fool says this in this heart: because the world is insane, it must be brought to its knees and ritually shamed. Which rituals? In a more or less generic account he wants the world to surrender its full upright dignity to glorify an Other who brings it down to size. The modern rationalized form of this alter is Nature, both in outright masochistic surrender (Alex Supertramp and the Grizzly Man) and in the ritualized goddess-appeasal that expects us to switch to bird seed diets.
The theory-maker says in his overactive synapses: because the world is insane, it must be paused, gassed with anesthetics, brought down to a controlled inanimacy. His operating motto is not “yes, Mistress” but (sorry mr. Reznor) “I want to study you like an animal“. But whereas the nature worshipper is eagerly open to pain, theoreticians are highly sensitive to the fact that because the world is insane, they too must have gone doctor-rockso; this leads them to a kind of dissociative mania that might be much harder to integrate in compartmentalized form to a healthy lifestyle.