Epideictics III — New Histories


We have aimed (or, at the very least, repeatedly claimed) to sidestep philosophy. All along, our main directives — if one’s able to motion-blur the proliferation of so-called technical content — have been GENERALITY and GENERICITY; but in our theoretical mood that eschews argument for bald and torrential assertion, we’ve been using them in ways that break with the philosophical method. Namely, we made the grasp for genericity free, if somewhat dangerous: abstraction proliferates for the sake of abstraction, that is, for the sake of avoiding particulars. We’ve let the question of whether particular abstractions (and everything’s particular in its own level) are the “right ones” to its own dynamic development: the good chain of abstraction is expected to flip over (the famed “switcharoo”) at the point of ultimate voidness.

A decent interpretation of all this could say that we’ve made up the word “genericity” to describe a freestyle kind of “generality” that plays in the “theoretical mood” without making claims it cannot cash. But that’s not really it; without the sharp gener/ality/icity distinction the entire project collapses, because theory (despite all of its sex appeal and seduction) is all about operating in genericity; only a tiny percentage of its claims in generality.

I did what anyone would do in my position: retreat into my books and spill bullshit on Twitter to calm that urge to spill my seed (meaning: my ideas).

We ultimately come back to Deleuze 1968. It becomes clear that genericity is nothing but repetition, and generality is nothing but generality (but hark, Deleuze uses the word “generality” to mean “genericity”, and then words like “the virtual” and “intensive spatium” to mean “generality”). There’s a historical and ontological interplay between generality/difference and genericity/repetition; but this comes up in the wider project of founding generality/difference for itself and not as an outcome of repetition.

This is the clear source of my unease about philosophy in what pertains to theory and asemic horizon: having sewn Deleuze patches on my jackets and promised to name my firstborn “Gilles”, theory as presented here was always obscurely contra-Deleuzean. Deleuze 1968 stood as the eventual limit of philosophy; if we’re not traveling intergalactic space after Deleuze 1968, it’s our damn fault.

But we’ve never aspired to an anti-Deleuzeanism; theory had not had its proper beginning before Jair for the simple reason that explication of minutiae (and there are paragraphs in Deleuze 1968 that easily lead to entire careers) didn’t appeal to us, given that we had no career as a professional philosophers to be develop. Theory was obscurely meant to be orthogonal to philosophy (and therefore, Deleuze 1968) — to say nothing about reality itself but rather play with abstractions that let us (and this is always collective, you and me) cross levels of “meta”. This is also the method of mathematics, specially before its first break with physics: find the abstractions that let you reason in terms of abstractions.

What are the implications of this realization for theory? Much of what it says — truth-rain, interfacticity, axiologies, diegesis, chronicities, etc. — is sound in essence, but anything that wants to be powerful (e.g. to discover and enact general axiology) has to be in potentia; it has to arise from something else — from the becoming of something else — and has to account, as rigorous as the art really allows, for its own becomings. We’ve set up theory as a configuration of sites (and this is one of the dangers of Lacan as a model); we give people long maps, tell them to visit these sites. Yet the stray grasses and berries that spurt from th e empty ground tend to be regarded as nuisances, overflows of meaning in what hopes to develop as a perfect architecture of meaninglessness.

This, of course, is unsustainable. What’s more, in tends to suffocate concept-weeds that are swelling with reality, like saturation, in the name of Procrustean formulae like “sandwich dialectics”. What behooves us (yes, you and me) is nothing short of a bebop revolution in this respect.