The entry from my philosophical journal reproduced below is a short one. It stands alone between the entry posted yesterday, which is a response to my reading political scientist Jenny Edkin’s Trauma and the Memory of Politics, and the entry for my next posting, which begins a series of entries in which my reflections are elicited by reading feminist scholar Ann Chetkovich’s An Archive of Feeling. In contrast, the entry below stands on its own, rather than as evoked by any specific reading. In it I very broadly and quickly sketch a critical reading of philosophy itself as the manifestation of a trauma–or, more specifically, of a mechanism to keep a trauma at bay.
Sunday, February 2, 2008
From its inception philosophy has defined itself by a movement of exclusion–exclusion of that from which philosophy differentiates itself, and precisely [only] in such differentiation becomes itself. Thus, in its founding movement philosophy gives priority to that against which it defines itself. It can come to itself only as the negation of its opposite, as, for Nietzsche, the “good” of the “good/evil” distinction [in the first of the three essays that make up his Genealogy of Morals] can come to itself only as the exclusion of its opposite, which has status independent of, and prior to, the “good,” which comes as a sort of afterthought, almost.
Hence the obsessiveness of philosophy’s return to defining itself [rather like the dog of the Christian gospel that returns to its own vomit, to use one of my favorite analogies], since that can never be accomplished for sure. Only what needs no movement of distinguishing itself from what it extrudes and excludes, in order to come to itself, can ever fully “accomplish”itself. Or, rather, only what never needs to accomplish itself at all, but what simply is in its fullness, like the sun in the Prologue to [Thus Spoke] Zarathustra, can escape the excremental cycle–the cycle of excreting its own opposite and opposing itself to it in in obsessive retention–[Giorgio] Agamben’s [notion of] ban.
Since its inception in Plato, philosophy has bound itself to the ban of sophistry. No wonder [then that] philosophy always reeks of solipsism, which is the shit of philosophy.
What would a thinking which was not under such an excremental ban be like?