And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Slavoj Žižek,"What the left gets wrong about Gaza and “decolonisation
The West needs to remember that not all freedom movements are progressive or democratic.

When left-wing critics of Israel characterise what it is doing in Gaza as genocide, they are often accused of inverting the true relationship: Israel is just defending itself while Hamas plans an actual genocide of Jews.

But genocidal rhetoric is increasingly present in the public speeches of Israeli politicians themselves. When the defence minister, Yoav Gallant, ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip after the Hamas attack, he said: “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed… We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” More recently, in October, when Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza Strip, he invoked the Amalek, a nation in the Hebrew Bible that the Israelites were ordered to wipe out in an act of revenge. “You must remember what Amalek has done to you,” he said in a speech announcing the start of a ground invasion in Gaza, and added that Israeli soldiers were part of a chain that goes back 3,000 years. Genocide justified by religious fundamentalism.

There is no place for peace treaties here. Tzipi Hotovely, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, insisted in an interview with Sky News on 16 October that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza: “Israel is in charge of the safety of Israelis; Hamas is in charge of the safety of the Palestinians.” Of course, there is no humanitarian crisis among the Palestinians, since the Israeli high command apparently consider them to be not fully human. No wonder that, together with Netanyahu and other leading Israeli politicians, Hotovely resolutely rejects the two-state solution: “human animals” don’t deserve a state.

A day before three Jewish hostages were mistakenly killed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza on 15 December, Netanyahu said: “I say this in the face of great pain but also in the face of international pressures. Nothing will stop us.” The addressees of this message are not only the relatives of the remaining hostages, who accuse the government of not doing enough to release the estimated 129 that remain in the Strip; the main addressees are perhaps foreign governments, including the US, that are exerting pressure on Israel to show more restraint. Netanyahu’s ultimate message is: even without the support of its Western allies, nothing will stop Israel in achieving its goals (total annihilation of Hamas; rejection of the two-state solution).

The problem with this radical stance is that, as Hani al-Masri, the director-general of the Palestinian Centre for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, pointed out correctly, in pursuing them, Israel is “a prisoner of its own unreachable goals”. Why? Because, to use another quotation, as the anarchist and pacifist president of the Palestine branch of the War Resisters’ International, Natan Hofshi, wrote back in 1946: “Without an understanding with our Arab neighbours, we are building on a volcano and our whole work is in jeopardy.”

Peace will only emerge when Palestinians are allowed to organise themselves as a strong independent political force, broadly democratic and rejecting all forms of religious fundamentalism – something Israel is doing everything possible to prevent by giving Palestinians one choice: to accept Hamas as the only voice that is fighting for them. The latest opinion polls show that anger over the war is boosting Palestinian support for Hamas, particularly in the West Bank, where the IDF is not conducting an all-out offensive and where Hamas does not have control. Throughout the Arab world, hundreds of thousands are protesting against Israel, and tensions are reaching a point of explosion. Some on the left may see in such an explosion a moment of truth, when liberal-pacifist illusions about the occupation are upended – I see in it a catastrophe, not only for Jews and Palestinians but for the world.

Netanyahu’s “nothing will stop us” speech echoes Vladimir Putin’s statement the day before, on 14 December, in which the Russian president vowed to fight on in Ukraine until Moscow secures the country’s “demilitarisation”, “denazification” and neutrality – unless Kyiv accepts a deal that achieves those goals. “There will be peace when we achieve our goals,” Putin declared. “As for demilitarisation, if they [the Ukrainians] don’t want to come to an agreement – well, then we are forced to take other measures, including military ones.” Putin couldn’t restrain himself from cynically remarking that Russia is demilitarising Ukraine by way of destroying hundreds of its tanks and guns – war is thus presented as the ultimate act of demilitarisation. But did some Western heads of state not make a similar point when, reacting to the desperate calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, they advocated a “sustainable ceasefire”? Though their idea was a ceasefire that would lead to permanent peace, it ultimately amounts to the claim that the only “sustainable” peace is that which follows a (military) victory.

The parallel between Israel-Palestine and Ukraine is imperfect: in the case of the Palestinians and their Israeli neighbours, a compromise between the two peoples is the only way out, while Ukraine is a victim of brutal aggression and has the full right to persevere until victory. Ukraine is now paying the price for exclusively choosing the side of the Western powers, ignoring the link between its struggle for independence with the developing world’s decolonisation process, as well as suppressing its own political left as suspect, somehow associated with Russia. Now that Western states are sceptical about the extent to which they can continue to help Volodymyr Zelensky’s government, Ukraine may find itself in a desperate position.

We have to engage with the topic of decolonisation. The scholars Eve Tuck and K Wayne Yang are right when they insist that “decolonisation” should not be used as a universal metaphor: “Decolonisation brings about the repatriation of indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption of decolonising discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasing number of calls to ‘decolonise our schools’, or use ‘decolonising methods’, or ‘decolonise student thinking’, turns decolonisation into a metaphor.” Such a metaphoric universalisation blurs the actual violence of decolonisation. “Decolonised thinking” (done in a safe academic environment) is a poor substitute for the real and brutal struggle of the oppressed against their masters.

What now overshadows this is the violence of Hamas, which was perceived by many as an attempt at actual decolonisation. However, this is where things get more problematic. First, it is all too easy to dismiss the state of Israel as a result of the colonisation of the Palestinian territory – I agree with Edward Said who thought that both Palestinians and Jews have a right to live there, and that they are condemned to live there together.

I don’t consider Hamas’s stance “leftist” in any meaningful sense of the term, and I don’t envisage a military defeat of Israel as a solution to the Middle East crisis. In a recent piece for Al Jazeera, Jamil Khader, a professor at Bethlehem University, condemns my “lofty aspirational vision” as “completely disconnected from the realities on the ground”. What he finds “incomprehensible” is my insistence on “some liberal politics of hope in this catastrophic context”, like when I see a possible change coming through “the slow rise of solidarity between the Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Jews opposing the all-destructive war”. As a pragmatic realist, I am well aware that such a solidarity is difficult to imagine today. But it is here that we should resuscitate the famous motto of the May 1968 protests in Paris: Soyons réalistes, demandons l’impossible. Be realistic, demand the impossible. The truly dangerous utopia is the idea that the solution to the Middle East crisis can only be achieved through military force.

The second point to address on the subject of decolonisation is that the reality of it often is a metaphor for another process. Recall numerous African countries, from Angola to Zimbabwe, where the overthrow of Western imperial control ended up with corrupted social orders in which the gap between the new masters and the poor has become greater than it was before independence. “Decolonisation” was thus a metaphor for (or one aspect of) the emergence of a new class society.

South Africa today has the biggest gap between the poor and the rich – no wonder that a very depressing thing happened to me in July 2023. In a public debate at Birkbeck Summer School in London, a black woman from South Africa, a veteran activist for the African National Congress, which has ruled the country since 1994, said that the predominant stance among the poor black majority is now increasingly a nostalgia for apartheid. Back then, she said, that demographic’s standard of living was, if anything, a little higher than it is today, and there was safety and security (South Africa was a police state, after all). While today, the woman explained, poverty is supplemented by violence and insecurity.

If a white person were to say this, they would be, of course, immediately accused of racism – but we should nonetheless think about it. If we don’t do it, the new right will do it for us (as they are already doing, lambasting what they regard as the inability of South Africa’s black citizens to run a country properly). The temptation to risk brutal “decolonisation” irrespective of what follows should be resisted. Mao said: “Revolution is not a dinner party.” But what if the reality is that after the revolution there is nothing to eat?

The question we should raise with respect to Hamas is not just what will happen after it loses this war – it is what would happen if Hamas was to survive and continue to rule Gaza? What would be the reality in the Strip, after the waning of enthusiasm for liberation?

Sunday, December 17, 2023

A 20th/ 21st Century Political Paradigm Shift?

The Sentry's Challenge: "Halt! Who goes there? Friend, Foe, or Subversive Globalist Cockroach?

from the Notes of Byung-Chul Han's "Burnout Society"
1. An interesting, reciprocal relationship holds between social and biological discourses. The sciences are not free of nonscientific dispositives. Accordingly, a paradigm shift occurred within medical immunology at the end of the Cold War. In America, Polly Matzinger discarded the immunological model of preceding decades. According to her model, the immune system does not distinguish between “self” and “non-self,” i.e., domestic and foreign, but between “friendly” and “dangerous.” See Polly Matzinger, “Friendly and Dangerous Signals: Is the Tissue in Control?” Nature Immunology 8.1 (2007): 11–13. The object of immune defense is no longer foreignness or Otherness as such. Only foreign intruders that act destructively in inner, domestic space are combated. So long as what is foreign does not attract unwelcome attention, immune defenses ignore it. It follows that the biological immune system is more hospitable than previously assumed. That is, it does not harbor xenophobia. As such, it proves more intelligent than human societies. Xenophobia is a pathologically escalated immunoreaction that proves damaging to one’s own development [die Entwicklung des Eigenen].
Now, apply the lesson to the Hamas/ Israel problem???

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

From Cultural Capitalism... to Emotional Capitalism

Parasocial relationships are one-sided relationships, where one person extends emotional energy, interest and time, and the other party, the persona, is completely unaware of the other’s existence. Parasocial relationships are most common with celebrities, organizations (such as sports teams) or television stars.

Parasocial relationships expand the social network in a way that negates the chance of rejection and empowers individuals to model and identify with individuals of their choosing who naturally elicit an empathic response. For some, the one sided nature of the relationship is a relief from strained complementary relationships in their real life. Parasocial relationships are cultivated by the media to resemble face-to-face relationships. Over time, so many experiences are shared with John Daily or Justin Beiber or Jay-Z that we develop an intimacy and friendship with the ‘media user’ and feel that they know and understand us.

In the past, parasocial relationships occurred predominantly with television personas. Now, these relationships also occur between individuals and their favorite bloggers, social media users, and gamers. The nature and intimacy of parasocial relationships has also matured. Reality television allows viewers to share the most intimate and personal lives of television personas, and celebrities openly share their opinions and activities through various social media outlets such as twitter and Facebook.

Additionally, the Internet allows for 24-hour access to media users, and increased internet dependency may lead to increased parasocial interactions. While parasocial relationships still remain one-sided, they have transformed into more interactive environments, allowing individuals to communicate with their media personas, and increasing the intimacy and strength of the parasocial relationship.

Despite the one-sided nature of parasocial relationships, there are numerous similarities between these relationships and more traditional social relationships. Studies show parasocial relationships are voluntary, provide companionship, and are influenced by social attraction. Furthermore, viewers experience a connection with the media user and express feelings of affection, gratitude, longing, encouragement, and loyalty towards them.

Just as relational maintenance is important in sustaining a relationship with our real life friends and family, relational maintenance also occurs in parasocial relationships through events such as weekly viewings of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Blogs and social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, increase the ease with which viewers can express their feelings. Parasocial relationships are popular within these online communities, and this may be due to the increased sense of “knowing” the personas, or the perception of parasocial interactions as having a high reward and no chance of rejection.

Historically, parasocial relationships were viewed as pathological and a symptom of loneliness, isolation and social anxieties. However, one study found there was no correlation between loneliness and the intensity of viewers’ parasocial relationship with onscreen characters. Other research has decreased the stigma of such relationships and led clinicians to believe that such relationships can broaden one’s social network rather than restrict it.

Parasocial relationships are important to viewers, and in many ways advantageous because of the support that the viewer gains from the relationship. Many seriously ill people find afternoons with Oprah or Ellen the one chance in the day to see a friend without stress and gain strength from their relationship with the hostess.

Individuals with parasocial relationships often express appreciation towards their favorite personas for helping them to get through tough times. Additionally, some viewers perceive the personas as helping to significantly shape their own identity. The support that parasocial relationships provide is of substantial value to the viewers that engage in them, and with new social media techniques, these relationships are a viable way to expand individuals’ social networks.

Excerpts from video on Emotional Capitalism above (asides deleted)...
Today talk of feelings and emotion has grown inflationary. Many academic disciplines are researching emotion. All of a sudden, the human being no longer counts as an "animal rationale", instead man is a creature of sentiment. That said, hardly anyone bothers to ask where this sudden interest in emotions came from. 
Scientific emotion researchers are clearly not reflecting much on their own activities. Thus, they have failed to remark that the emotional boom stems from economic process above all. Worse still, utter conceptual confusion prevails. Emotion, feeling, and affect seem interchangeable for many researchers. Yet feeling and emotion are not identical. We speak, for in instance, of a feeling for language, athletics, or other people (spruch Gul Bal Gul MIT Gul respectively, linguistic aptitude, and act for sports and compassion. One may have a feel for language, or a feel for others, but no one has an emotion for language. 
Our experiences calm emotion, calm-emotion. There's no such thing as a language affect, or a calm affect either. Mourning is a feeling too, but it sounds strange to speak of an affect of mourning, or of an emotion of mourning. Affect and emotion refer strictly to subjective matters, whereas feelings refers to something objective.

Feelings can be recounted. It has narrative length or breadth. Neither affect nor emotion admits an account. The crisis of feeling can be observed in contemporary Theater which also represents a crisis of giving account. Today the narrative fear of feeling is yielding to the clamorous fear of Affects. Because narrative is lacking, an affective Mass gets pulled onto stage. But in contrast to feeling, affect does not open up space. Instead, it steers a linear path in order to discharge, to unload itself.
The digital medium is an affect medium too, digital communications fosters immediate release of affect, catharsis, affect for. Simply on the basis of temporality, digital Communications convey an affect more than it transmits feeling. Shit storms are streams of affect. They represent exemplary phenomena of digital communication.

Feelings are constantive. For example, we say, "I have a feeling that". In contrast, it is impossible say, "I have an affect or an emotion that". Emotions are not constantive, but performative. In that sense, they refer to actions and deeds. In that sense, they're behavioural. Furthermore they are intentional and goal oriented. Feelings, on the other hand, do not necessarily display an intentional structure. Often the feeling of anxiety has no concrete object. What is it that makes anxiety different from Fear which has an intentional structure. Nor is it a feeling that is a sense for language intentional. Its non-intentional is what primarily distinguishes it from linguistic expression which is because it expresses is emotive. A feeling of cosmic Oneness and oceanic sense of the world and Cosmic and misdeful de oceanusful. That it does not focus on anything or anyone in particular is also possible. Neither emotions nor affects achieve the dimensions that characterize feelings. Emotions and affects are expressions of subjectivity.

Feelings also have a different temporality than emotions, they admit duration. Emotions prove significant more fleeting and shortlived than feelings. Likewise, an affect is often limited to a single moment. In contrast to feelings, emotions do not represent a state. The emotion does not stand. There is no emotion of rest. A feeling of calm is easy to conceive. An emotional calm. In contrast the expression emotional state has a paradoxical ring. Emotions are dynamic, situative, and performative. Emotional capitalism exploits precisely these qualities. Feelings, in contrast, cannot be truly exploited as so much as they have no performativity. Finally affects are not performative so much as eruptive. They lack performative directionality.

Atmosphere, our mood, sturm und drag, differs from both feeling and emotion. It possesses even more objectivity than feeling. Objectively, a space or room can harbor any given atmosphere. An atmosphere or mood, expresses a way it is. In contrast, emotions derive from deviations from the way it is. For instance, a place may diffuse a friendly mood. This atmosphere is something wholly objective. There is no such thing as a friendly emotion, or a friendly affect. Atmosphere, mood, is neither intentional nor performative. It is this element where one happens to find oneself it was it Von man seek. Defended, it represents a state of being or a state of mind, Beed kite. As such the atmosphere is static and constellative, whereas emotion is dynamic and performative. "Where" distinguishes a state, a disposition, in contrast to whether a direction defines emotion. Feeling in turn as a matter of therefore, "why".

Eva Illouz's.. "Cold Intimacy: In the making of emotional capitalism" offers no answers to the question of why it is that feeling experiences a boon under conditions of capitalism in particular. What is more, the book equates a feeling and emotions without drawing any conceptual distinctions at all. Nor is it very useful to locate the question of feelings under capitalism at its inaugural stages.

Weber's "Protestant work ethic" contains a core thesis about the role of emotions and economic actions for which anxiety is provoked by "inscrutable Divinity," which is at the heart of the capitalist entrepreneur's frantic activity, "Eva Illouz's so-called intimacies". It is mistaken to understand anxiety in terms of emotion. Anxiety is a feeling. It corresponds temporality proves incompatible with affect. Affect is not a constant state. As such, it lacks constancy that defines feeling. It is a constant feeling of anxiety that would entail a frantic entrepreneurial activity, but what Weber analyses is an aesthetic capitalism of accumulation which obeys rational logic more than it follows emotional logic.

Accordingly, capitalism of this sort does not feed into the consumer capitalism which derives its profits from emotions. Moreover emotional capitalism operates through selling and consumption of means and emotions. It is not use value, but a motive or cultic value that plays a constitutive role in the economy of consumption. By the same token, Eva Illouz  fails to account for the fact the emotions come to possess value for capitalism only when a switch to an immaterial production occurs. Emotions have become the means of production only in our own times. Although also contends the core of the Doyan sociology, solidarity represents a bundle of emotions binding social actors to a central symbols of society they inhabit.

Summing up her argument she declares "unknown to them, canonical sociological accounts of modernity contain if not a full-fledged theory of emotions, at least numerous references to them. Anxiety, love, competitiveness, indifference, those are all present and moreover historical and sociological accounts of the ruptures which have led to the modern era." All these references to the various sociological theories of emotion do nothing to explain all the boom of emotion today. This corresponds to Eva Illouz's neglect of the conceptual distinctions between feeling, emotion, and affect. After all, the indifference and guilt are neither affects nor emotions. They are only meaningful to speak of the feelings of guilt. Eva Illouz's has failed to notice that the boom of emotions in our time ultimately derives from Neoliberalism. The neoliberal regime deploys emotions as resources in order to bring about heightened productivity and achievements.

Starting at a certain level of production, rationality, which is a medium of disciplinary Society, has its limits. Henceforth, it is experienced as a constant and inhibition. Suddenly it seems rigid and inflexible. At this point, emotionality takes place, which is the attending feeling of Liberty, the free flowing of Personality. After all, being free means giving free reign to emotions.

Emotional capitalism banks on freedom. It hails emotion as the exposition of unbridled subjectivity. Neoliberal technologies of power exploit the same subjectivity mercilessly. Rationality is defined by objectivity, generality, and steadiness. As such, it stands opposite emotionality, which is subjective and situation and volatile. Emotions arrive above all when the circumstances change and perception shifts. Rationality entails duration, consistency, and regularity. It prefers stable conditions. The neoliberal economy, increasingly dismantled by the continuity and progressively integrating instability in order to enhance productivity, is pushing the emotionalization of the productive process forward. Accelerated communication also promotes its emotionalization. Rationality is slower than emotionality. It has no speed, as it were. The process of acceleration now is leading to a dictatorship of emotion.

Consumer capitalism list emotions in order to generate more desires and needs. Emotional design models most emotions and shapes emotional patterns for the sake of maximizing consumption. All in all, today we do not consume "things" so much as "emotions". The former cannot be consumed without end, but the latter can. Emotions assume dimensions beyond the scope of the individual's use value. In doing so, they open up a field of consumption that is new, and knows no limits. In disciplinary Society, where one's task is to function, emotion represents disturbances. Accordingly, every effort is made to weed them out. Disciplinary societies concerned in part by orthopaedy, seek to make a shapeless mass of dough into an unfeeling machine. Machines function best when all emotions and feelings have been switched off.

The boom in emotions today stems not least of all, from a new immaterial mode of production in which communication interacts. Interaction plays an even greater world. It calls not just for cognitive competence, but also for emotional competence. In this context an integral person is installed in the process of production. Daimler Chrysler has publicly declared that since employees behavior and their social and emotional skills play an increasing role in the evaluation of the work, this will be assessed on the basis of objectives achieved and the quality of outcomes. Now sociality, communication, and even individual conduct are being exploited. People provide raw material with the optimization of the corporate communication. As Hewlett Packard puts it, "HP is a firm where one can breathe a spirit of communication, a spirit of interrelated relations, where people can communicate, where you go towards others in an effective relationship."

A paradigm shift is taking place in the administrative level of companies. Emotions being granted more and more significance. Rational management techniques are being replaced by emotional management. Managers today are safely leaving the principle of rational action behind. Increasingly they resemble motivation coaches. Motivation connects with emotions. Positive emotions provide deferment. And while by this deferment, makes motivation grow. Emotions are performative in so far that they call forth certain actions. As inclinations, they represent the energetic, the sensory, even the sensuous basis for activity.

Emotions are steered by the limbic system, which is also where drives are seized. They form pre-reflective half-conscious psycho instinctual level of action and stateful awareness. Neoliberal psycho-politics seize the emotion in order to influence the actions on the pre reflective level. By way of emotion, it manages to cut and operate deep inside. As such, the emotion of words form a highly efficient medium for psycho-politically steering the integral person as a whole.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Schmittian Schloch...

Cyclopian Nirvanas
The Russian/ Chinese Approach to "Nationalism".  One with a "limited view"... the other,  a more "global" view of the Avenue of Sphinxes.
To Montu we shall go, To Montu we shall go.  Hi-Ho the Derry-Oh to Montu we shall go!

Straussian Moments - The Return to Politics

The original Peter Thiel text

So was all this an Ad for Thiel's Palantir Technologies?

Thursday, December 7, 2023

On Techtopias...

Ash Narain Roy, "Tech Follies"
Evgeny Morozov in his book, "To Save Everything, Click Here", states the obvious. The technological solutionism is the romantic utopia of our age. He cautions us against a techno-utopian pipedream. We should instead rely on empirical rationality in our thinking. Is Morozov, a Belarus-born American writer, spreading techno-panic? He is not the only one to talk about the claptrap of techno-solutionism. Digital is now political, after all.

Today gamification, gamestyle moves and rewards have become the new instruments of politics. Many leaders now treat politics as a start-up and have been successful too by incorporating game features into their campaign strategies. Gamification is an emerging practice in numerous fields like education, healthcare, wellness and politics. Although it is an effective mechanism to engage people on social issues, gamification can also be used for manipulating collective action towards illegitimate ends.

Gamified practices are being used in politics by leaders and parties to spread political messages and gain votes during elections. Before the European elections in 2019, Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s far-right League, created a campaign “Vinci Salvini” whereby the fastest users to like and share his posts gained points. The incentives included a prize of a phone call from Salvini, a selfie posted on the official Facebook page, or a private meeting with the leader. The aim was to give him more visibility.

It won’t be farfetched to imagine such gamified campaigns will be used in Indian elections. Watch for 2024. Bill Gates and other tech billionaires believe technology provides all the answers. Some political leaders also subscribe to a similar view. Gates believes humanity belongs online. Elon Musk said when he made his offer to buy Twitter that it was about “the future of civilisation”, not making money. He also claimed that he was for making it “a trusted platform for democracy”.

Nothing could be farther from the truth and more farcical. We are led to believe that a technological solution for many of our ills is the way forward to make great progress and to solve complex problems. Why do we fall for such follies? Evan Selinger of Rochester Institute of Technology offers three explanations. First, techno-solutionism is psychologically reassuring. Second, it is financially enticing, a silver bullet for the world struggling for resources. Third, it reinforces optimism about innovation.

The world has moved from “polycrisis” to “permacrisis.” It is a crisis that can only be managed, not resolved. French philosopher Edgar Morin believes that humanity now resides within a network of interlocking systems. Any crisis in one of those systems will engender a crisis in all the others. One would be naïve to believe that technology alone can solve our problems. Technology is an enabler and it is a tool. Governance works better when it combines compassion for the poor and the underdogs.

That policy works best which balances hard heads with soft hearts. Globally, governance is increasingly moving beyond governments. Citizens in their thousands are seeking to create a path with, against and beyond the state. A contrary trend is the technocratic-managerial governance. What James Burnham and George Orwell called “managerialism” is seen as a right solution. Bureaucrats don’t govern, they are expected by their political masters to be “techno-fixers.” Sadly, techno-solutionism is fast becoming a hardened creed that brooks no opposition.

No doubt, the digital revolution has helped in many ways. Digitisation has helped reduce the gap between citizens and state institutions in some respects. But democracy of voters is far from becoming a democracy of citizens. Internet is a blunt instrument to solve complex societal problems. Far from being a cure-all, it may actually aggravate some maladies, such as the concentration of economic power and the rich-poor divide. As Pablo Picasso said, “computers are useless. They only give you answers.” What is worrisome is the gamification of the mind.

It seeks to create a “new man” who can fit into the money and machine of the rich and powerful. It is a simplistic view of social progress. Israeli public intellectual Yuval Noah Harari argues that technology might make billions of people economically irrelevant. As they lose their economic value, he further argues, they might also come to lose their political power. The digital public square undermines trust in institutional authority. It hollows out localism and attenuates electoral politics.

Today, corporations, schools and governments use games and gamification as tools for profit and coercion. We now live in a digital democracy where deliberations take place on social media that is gamified to reward. Andrew Keen in his book "Internet is not the answer" dismisses the claim that it’s a technology that liberates, informs and empowers people. Technology may be the coal and steel of our time.

But it is not a one -click solution. Technology should connect people and then immediately disappear like a tactful matchmaker. We talk about digital democracy but can we ignore digital autocracy? Today, truth has become inconvenient to the triumphalist victory lap of digital autocrats. When the internet was introduced, the tech giants fetishised open access and knowledge-sharing. Data is now the sword of the 21st century. Those who wield big data are the new Samurais.

All of the great data technology advancements fall short of expectations as data is also redundant, misplaced, undefined, reused and misused. Today, big tech and companies who “own the fastest computers with the most access to everyone’s information” hold disproportionate economic power. It has led economies into recession, imperilled personal privacy, and hollowed out the middle class.

We have to modify technology, or else it will modify us. To South Korean-born philosopher Byung-chul Han, the smartphone is “a tool of domination. It acts like a rosary.” Technology of domination “generates totems that are used for subjugation.” Tech giants have ensured that digital prison becomes a digital comfort zone.

With full digitisation of humanity, we will have much to grieve while Jeff Besoz and Elon Musk will be busy colonising outer space and the Peter Thiels and Larry Pages of the world will be searching for ways to live forever. We desire our own domination. As one analyst puts it, “in Hegelian terms, we have escaped the master-slave dialectic by becoming both master and slave in one.”

(The writer is director, Institute of Social Sciences, Delhi)

Becoming Animal

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Popular Quantum Science

Everybody Knows....

Excerpts from the last video:
Sensation -> Imagination -> Memory -> Intellect
1st -> Limit-object; that which can only be felt (the sentiendum)

2nd -> Limit-object; "that which can only be Imagined" (the phantasteaon)

3rd -> Limit-object; "that which can only be Remembered" (the memorandum)

4th -> Limit object; "that which can only be Thought" (the cogitandum)
All four "differences" form the idea through process of "transcendental empiricism".

This is different from the Platonic model of 'recognition'. Recognition may be defined by the harmonious exercise of all faculties upon a supposed same object: the same object may be seen, touched, remembered, imagined, or conceived.

Deleuze believes that knowledge begins in Encounter, not Recognition.

The difference in method/ approach form "quadripatite fetters under which only that which is identical, similar, analogous, or opposed can be considered "different": difference becomes an object of representation always in relation to a conceived identity, a judged analogy, and imagined opposition, or a perceived similitude.

Platonism is incapable of grasping difference itself.

"It is noteworthy that the dogmatic image, for its' part, recognizes only error as a possible misadventure of thought, and reduces everything to the form of error. This indid is the fifth postulate that we should take into account: taking error to be the sole 'negative' of thought."

So why do we err...
"Hume is here effecting a second major displacement in philosophy: for the traditional concept of error he substitutes the concept of delusion or delirium, according to which there are not false but illegitimate beliefs, illegitimate operations of the faculties, and illegitimate functionings of relations." (Desert Island)

These come from an inability to formulate a problem properly, not one of "recognition" but of "individuation".

"Individualtion as such, as it operates beneath all forms, is inseparable from a pure ground that it brings to the surface and trails with it. It is difficult to describe this ground, or the terror and attraction it excites. Turning over the ground is the most dangerous occupation, but also the most tempting in the stupefied moments of an obtuse will. For this ground, alonmg with the individual, rises toi the surface yet assumes neither form nor figure. It is there, staring at us, but without eyes. The individual distinguishes itself from it, but does not distinguish itself, continuing rather to cohabit with that which divorces itself from it."
When do we really think?
...for Plato, Sense is a hypothetical proposition -> apodictic (T/F) proposition.

If Sense = the proposition that expresses it, this gives way to an infinite regress... "given a proposition which denotes a state of affairs, one may always take its sense as that which another proposition denotes" (Logic of Sense)

To escape this paradox Deleuze uses the paradox of "Doubling". Doubling means that Sense is "no longer in a precipitation but in a suspension". To avoid redoubling, need to fix the infinite regress by fixating the proposition long enough to extract its' meaning (and fall into infinite regressions).

Formal logic -> Truth or Falsity of a proposition

Transcendental logic -> conditions of apparition of a proposition.

How do we effectuate the passage from it's logical to transcendental form?

Cogito ergo sum + Kant's missing element... "the determinable, or rather the form in which the undetermined is determinable (by the determination). This third value suffices to make logic a transcendental instance. It amounts to the discovery of Difference - no longer in the form of an empirical difference between two determinations, but in the form of a transcendental Difference between the Determination as such and what it determines; no longer in the form of an external difference which separates, but in the form of an internal Difference which establishes an a priori relation between thought and being."

It introduces "Time" because thought take time then problems must be constructed. Ideas, truths, essences must be constructed as well.
What is knowledge?
How does movement or passage translate into knowledge?

Knowledge is not a state, but a process called "Learning".

"To learn to swim is to conjugate the distinctive points of our bodies with the singular points of the objective Idea in order to form a problematic field." learning is the manner in which Thought becomes a Temporal Process.

"Learning is the true transcendental structure which unites difference to difference, dissimularity to dissimularity, without mediating between them; and introduces time into thought."

Culture is not, or should not be, a movement of normalization grounded in ideas of Identity.

"Such is the origin of the grotesque image of culture that we find in examinations and government referenda, as well as newspaper competitions (where everyone is called upon to choose according to his or her taste, on condition that this taste coincides with that of everyone else)"

Deleuze mocks the formula: "Be yourselves - it being understood that this self must be that of others"

Culture is not a movement of normalization or comformity.

"Culture(...) is an involuntary adventure, the movement of learning which links a Sensibility, a memory and then a thought, with all the cruelties and violence necessary, as Nietzsche said, precisely in order to "train a Nation of Thinkers" or to "provide a Training for the mind."
Deleuze's solution to Plato's eight postulates:
...and so the old image of thought is replaced as follows in our chart, which is also the summary of what we have so far. Thought begins not in identity but in difference. The Thinker does not have a natural affinity for the truth. On the contrary, he is forced to think because problems Force us to think. Thought does not recognize Eternal ideas, but rather it is subject to encounters. To the subordination of difference to Identity, we must begin with difference as that by which the given, is given. To error, as a product of a faulty exercise of the senses or as an extrinsic phenomenon we must oppose the imminent illusions of the Mind. To the paradoxes of Sense who must oppose nonsense. The ground with no eyes as the instance which generates sense. To the idea that problems can be mirrored in propositions, we must oppose the notion that problems must be constructed. And finally to knowledge and Method, we must oppose learning and culture. So knowledge is not a state, but a process of learning which includes things as diverse as learning Latin, learning to love, or learning to swim. This is how the image of thought becomes as Deleuze says, "a thought without image which will allow us to understand how sense can become productive so it's a creation of difference itself."

Monday, December 4, 2023

Zizek on Sloterdijk, et al

The Opposed Virtues... Temperance:Courage::Wisdom:Justice

What is Ressentiment (aka- Slave Morality)? Fuel for the Internet?

Ressentiment is an emotion in the resentment family. And so before exploring ressentiment we must first explore resentment. By resentment here we mean a sense of being wronged - of being insulted, offended or deprived unjustly. It is an emotional alarm bell signalling that our self-esteem has been attacked. It’s important to note the moral undertone here. The great 20th century philosopher of justice John Rawls suggests that resentment (and by extension ressentiment) assumes equality and hence is tied to our justice complex. 

Another key distinction is between resentment and indignation. In the case of resentment the victim is ourselves; in the case of indignation the victim is somebody else. Both are moral emotions, but resentment and its offspring aren’t merely morally scandalous, but personal experiences of attack. 

So resentment then is a moral emotion in which we are the victims. But what separates resentment from ressentiment? In their article Resentment and Ressentiment Meltzer and Musolf explore the various definitions of ressentiment in the literature and they identify two key features of the term that distinguish it from resentment:
1) the chronic ongoing character of the emotional experience the powerlessness of the individual experiencing the emotion to take retaliatory action against the sources of their emotional storm. Resentment then is the fruit of sporadic, isolated injustices whereas ressentiment is related to ongoing, lasting injustices. Something can happen today that makes you feel resentful but you might forget it tomorrow and never think of it again or only rarely. That would be resentment. You have been wronged but it’s far from a defining theme of your life. 

2) But when the injustice is something that you engage with daily and are powerless to affect then we’re talking about a different animal. We’ve moved from resentment to ressentiment. Whenever we feel like a David fighting a Goliath — when we feel like a bug being tortured by a giant (Kafka "Metamorphosis") — then we have entered the realm of ressentiment. If you feel like the Patriarchy dominates how you live your life or if you feel like liberals and their Social Justice Movement are polluting schools and destroying the culture, then you're in the throes of ressentiment. 
And on that note, we have carved out the emotional territory of Ressentiment.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Anyone Feeling Anti-Semitic? Or Just Anxious about Re-codified "Family" as "Religion" or "State"?

Slavoj Zizek, "The New Roots of Anti-Semitism" (11/30/23)
The great irony of Zionism is that it has always justified itself by reprising traditional anti-Semitic cliches about Jewish rootlessness. Yet now that the project has come to be associated with illegal settlements and proposals to annex Palestinian lands, it has become a leading source of anti-Semitism globally.

LJUBLJANA – “We must separate the Jews into two categories, the Zionists and the partisans of assimilation,” wrote Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Holocaust, in 1935. “The Zionists profess a strictly racial concept and, through emigration to Palestine, they help to build their own Jewish State.…[O]ur good wishes and our official goodwill go with them.”

In Heydrich’s terms, the creation of the State of Israel thus represented the triumph of Zionism over assimilationism. But it also complicated the traditional anti-Semitic perception of Jews as a deracinated, rootless people. This was Martin Heidegger’s view, in 1939, when he called for an examination of “Jewry’s predisposition to planetary criminality”:
“With their marked gift for calculation, the Jews ‘live’ according to the principle of race, and indeed have done so for the longest time, for which reason they themselves most vigorously resist its unrestricted application. The arrangement of racial breeding stems not from ‘life’ itself, but from the hyperempowerment of life by machination (Machenschaft). What this brings about with such planning is a complete deracination of peoples by harnessing them in a uniformly constructed and streamlined arrangement of all entities. Along with deracination goes a self-alienation of peoples – the loss of history – i.e., of the regions of decision for being (Seyn).”
Underpinning these lines is the philosophical opposition between fully living in a concrete world and denying such spiritual-historical roots by viewing all “external reality” as merely something to be manipulated and exploited. But what happens when a supposedly rootless cosmopolitan race begins to put down roots? With Zionism, the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut wrote in 2015, “The Jews, they have today chosen the path of rooting.”

It is easy to discern in this claim an echo of Heidegger’s belief that all essential and great things require a “blood and soil” homeland. The irony is that anti-Semitic clichés about rootlessness are invoked to legitimize Zionism. Whereas anti-Semitism reproaches Jews for being rootless, Zionism tries to correct this supposed failure. No wonder so many conservative anti-Semites ferociously support Israel’s expansion to this day. The problem, of course, is that expansion, under Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government, now means settling and annexing the West Bank – seeking roots in a place that was for centuries inhabited by other people.

We encounter a similar issue with differing interpretations of the traditional Jewish saying “Next year in Jerusalem,” pronounced at the end of the Seder (the ritual meal marking the start of the Passover holiday). As Dara Lind of Vox explains:
“Many Jews who believe strongly in the importance of a Jewish state see ‘next year in Jerusalem’ as an expression of the need to protect Jerusalem and Israel as they exist today. Others think of the ‘Jerusalem’ mentioned in the Seder more of an ideal of what Jerusalem and Israel could be – for them, ‘next year in Jerusalem’ is a prayer that Israel will move closer to that ideal. Or ‘Jerusalem’ could just be a symbol of utopia more generally, and ‘next year in Jerusalem’ could be a resolution to bring peace to Earth in the coming year.”
These versions reproduce the duality of the transcendental and the empirical. “Jerusalem” is either an abstract spiritual site of deliverance or an actual city with real people, buildings, and religious monuments. Not surprisingly, some Muslim fundamentalists are quite sympathetic to the “transcendentalists” who regard exaltation of the actual city as blasphemy. In the mid-2000s, when then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad organized a conference calling for the State of Israel’s obliteration, he hosted a few friendly “transcendentalist” rabbis. It was an inversion of Heydrich’s view: Having Jews in our midst is okay; it is the Jewish state that is unacceptable.

But there is a third, profoundly dangerous version of “Next year in Jerusalem” that offers a synthesis of the two. Those who espouse it say: “Now that we have Jerusalem, we can use next year to demolish the Palestinian buildings and rebuild the biblical Temple on the site where the Al-Aqsa Mosque currently stands.” The struggle for Jerusalem thus becomes a sacred undertaking. Even if a crime is committed, the perpetrators will bear no guilt (in their eyes) because they are founding a new legitimate order. It is like the old joke in which the villagers boast of having no cannibals: “We ate the last one yesterday.”

But let’s be clear about what is really going on. By using Jewish victimhood to justify an expansionist agenda, pro-annexation Israelis are cynically exploiting the memory of the Holocaust. Those offering unconditional support for Israel thus are also supporting the current Israeli government against the liberal opposition that opposes settlements and expansion. Yet that expansionism is a leading source of anti-Semitism in the world today.

Among the countries offering full support for Israel is Germany, where many on the right warn of “imported anti-Semitism” (importierter Antisemitismus). The implication is that any new wave of anti-Semitism in Germany is not a German phenomenon, but rather a result of Muslim immigration. But why, then, have so many young leftists in the West also refused to express solidarity with Israel following Hamas’s attack on October 7? Why are young Americans circulating Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” on TikTok?

It is too easy to say that they simply sympathize with Hamas. Rather, what unites many of those joining pro-Palestinian protests is the broader view that the foreign policies and military apparatuses of the United States and its Western allies are beholden to Big Capital and its exploitation of the rest of the world. Sometimes, there is a very thin line separating genuine discontent with capitalism from the kind of “anti-capitalist” populism found in Bin Laden’s letter.

Many liberals have expressed their support for Israel while simultaneously voicing concerns about the number of civilians – especially children – being killed in Gaza. There is growing sympathy for Palestinians as victims, as well as a recognition of their right to resist expansionist encroachment. But how they can resist without becoming anti-Semites? It is a question that so far has elicited only silence and embarrassment.

Nomad Thoughts...

Nomad Thought (video transcript)
Probably most of us fixed the dawn of our modern culture in the trinity of Nietzsche, Freud, Marx. And it is of little consequence that the world was unprepared for them in advance. Now Marx and Freud perhaps do represent the dawn of the Culture, but Nietzsche is something entirely different, the dawn of counterculture. Modern society clearly does not function on the basis of codes. Yet if we consider the evolution of Marxism or Freudianism, rather than taking Marx and Freud literally, we see that they are paradoxically launched in an attempt at re-codification. Recodification by the State, in the case of Marxism. "You have been made ill by the State and you will be cured by the State, but not the same State". And re-codification by the family, in the case of Freudianism. "You have been made ill by the family and you will be cured by the family, but not the same family." 
Marxism and psychoanalysis in a real sense constitute the fundamental bureaucracies, one public, the other private, whose aim is somehow or other to re-codify everything that ceaselessly seeks to becomes de-codified at the Horizon of our culture. Nietzsche's concern, on the contrary, is not this at all. His task lies elsewhere, beyond all the codes of past, present, and future, to transmit something that does not, and will not allow itself to be codified. To transmit it to a new body. To invent a new body that can receive it, and spill it forth. A body that would be our own, the Earth's, or even something written. 
We are all familiar with the great instruments of codification. Societies do not vary much, after all, and they do not have so very many means of codification. The three principal ones are law, (2:00) contracts, and institutions. And they are easily to be found, for example, in the relations we have, or have had, with books. 
With certain books of law, specifically, called codes, or even sacred texts. The reader's relation is itself governed by law. Another sort of book reflects the Bourgeois contractual relationship which is at the basis of secular literature. In its commercial aspects, I buy from you, you give me something to read. This contractual relationship involves everyone; author, publisher, reader. There is also the political book, revolutionary in inclination, presented as a book of extant or future institutions. All sorts of mixtures among these types take place. Contractual or institutional books may be treated as sacred texts, for example. For the various kinds of codification are so pervasive, so frequently overlapping, that one is found embedded in the other. 
Let us take another very different kind of example: the codification of Madness. First of all, there were the legal forms: the hospital the asylum. This is repressive codification: incarceration. The old-fashioned committal that will be invoked in the future as the final hope of Health. When the insane will say, "those were the good times when they locked us up, even worse things happen today." And then came the incredible event, "psychoanalysis". It had been understood that there were people who escaped the Bourgeois contractual relation, as it appeared in medicine. These people were judged insane because they could not be contracting parties, they were held legally incapable. Freud's stroke of Genius was to bring one sort of insanity, "Neurosis" in the broadest sense of the term under the contractual relationship, explaining that (4:00) in THIS case one could make a special contract. One that permitted hypnotic abandon. 
The novelty of Freudian psychoanalysis consisted then in the introduction of the Bourgeois contractual relationship into Psychiatry, an element that had until then been excluded.  More recent solutions, solutions often with political implications and revolutionary ambitions we may call "institutional."  Here again is the triple means of codification: if not the legal, the contractual relation, if not the contractual then the institutional. Upon these codes, all our forms of bureaucratic organization thrive. 
Confronted with the ways in which our societies become progressively decodified and unregulated, in which our codes break down at every point, Nietzsche is the only thinker who makes no attempt at re-codification. He says the process still has not gone far enough. We are still only children. The emancipation of European man is the great irreversible process of the present day, and the tendency should even be accelerated. In his own writing and thought, Nietzsche assists in the attempt at decodification, not in the relative sense, by deciphering former present or future codes, but in an absolute sense, by expressing something that cannot be codified, confounding all codes. But to confound all codes is not easy, even on the simplest level of writing and thought. The only parallel I can find here is with Kafka, in what he does to German. Working within the language of Prague Jewry, he constructs a battering ram out of German and turns it against itself. By the end of a certain indeterminacy and sobriety, he expresses something within the codified limits of German language that it never before been conveyed. Similarly Nietzsche maintained, or supposed himself, to be Polish in his use (6:01) of German. His masterful Siege of the language permits him to transmit something uncodifiable, the notion of style as politics. In more general terms, what is the purpose of such thought that pretends to express its dynamism within the compass of laws while rejecting them, of contractual relations while denying them, and of Institutions while ridiculing them.

Let us go back briefly to the example of psychoanalysis and ask why such an original thinker is Melanie Klein remains within the psychoanalytic system. She explains it clearly enough herself: the part object she discusses with their outbursts, their flow, are fantasies. The patients bring in their lived intense experiences, and Melanie Klein translates them into fantasies. Thus a contract, a specific contract, is established, "Give me your states of experience, and I'll give you back fantasies". The contract implies an exchange of money, and of words.

Now a psychoanalyst like Winikut works at the limits of psychoanalysis, because he feels at a certain point, this contractual procedure is no longer appropriate. There comes a time when translating fantasies, interpreting signifier or signified, is no longer the point. There comes a moment that has to be shared. You must put yourself in the patient situation. You must enter into it. Is this sharing a kind of sympathy, or empathy, or identification? Surely it is more complicated than this. What we sense is the implied necessity for a relationship that is neither legal, nor contractual, nor institutional. And it is the same with Nietzsche. We read an aphorism, or a poem by Zarathustra, but materially and formally, texts like these cannot be understood in terms of the creation or application of the law, or the offer of a contractual relation, or the establishment of an institution. The only conceivable key, perhaps, would (8:00) be in the concept of embarkation. Here there is something Pasqualian that controverts Pascal. We Embark then in a kind of raft of the Medusa. Bombs fall all around the raft as it drifts toward icy subterranean streams, or toward Torrid Rivers the Orinoco, the Amazon. The passengers row together. They are not supposed to like one another. They fight with one another, they eat one another. To row together is to share. To share something beyond law, contract, or Institution. It is a period of drifting, of de-territorialization. I say this in a very loose and confused way, since it is a hypothesis, a vague impression concerning the originality of Nietzsche's texts. A new kind of book.

What are the characteristics of Nietzsche's aphorisms then, that give this impression? Maurice Blanchard has illuminated one in his work Don Cretian Infini, the relation with the outside, the exterior. Opening one of Nietzsche's books at random, you have the almost novel experience of not continuing on by way of an interiority. Whether this be called the Inner Soul of Consciousness, or the Inner Essence, or concept that is what has always served as the guiding principle of philosophy, it is characteristic of philosophical writings that relations within exteriors are always mediated and dissolved by an interior, and this process always takes place within some given interiority. Nietzsche, on the contrary, grounds his thought, his writing, on an immediate relation with the outside, the exterior. Like any handsome painting or drawing, an aphorism is framed. But at what point does it become handsome? From the moment one knows, and feels, that the movement, the framed line, comes from without. That it does not begin within the limits of the frame, it began beneath, or beside the frame, and traverses the frame. As in Godard's film, one Paints the painting (10:01) with the wall. Far from being the delimitation of a pictorial surface, the frame immediately relates the surface to an outside.

Now to hang thought on the outside is what philosophers have literally never done. Even when they spoke about, for example, politics. Even when they treated such subjects as walking, or fresh air. It is not sufficient to talk about fresh air, or the outdoors, in order to suspend thought directly, and immediately, upon the outside. They come like fate, without reason, consideration, or pretext. They appear as Lightning appears, too terrible, too sudden, too convincing, too different, even to be hated. So runs Nietzsche's celebrated text on the founders of the State, those artists with the look of bronze.
One is irresistibly reminded of Kafka's "Great Wall of China". It is impossible to understand how they have gotten through all the way to the capital, which is so far from the border, however they are here. And each morning their number seems to grow. To talk with them impossible, they don't know our language even their horses are carnivorous. In any case, we can say that such texts are traversed by a movement that comes from without, that does not begin on the page nor on the preceding pages, that is not bounded by the frame of the book, It is entirely different from the imaginary movement of representation, or the abstract movement of concepts that habitually takes place among words, and within the mind of the reader. Something leaps up from the book and enters a region completely exterior to it. And this, I believe, is the warrant for legitimately misunderstanding the whole of Nietzsche's work. An aphorism is an amalgam of forces that are always held apart from one another. An aphorism means nothing, signifies nothing, and is no more a signifier than a signified. Were it not so the interiority of the text would remain undisturbed. An aphorism is a play of forces, the most recent of which, the latest, the newest, (12:00) and provisionally the final force, is always the most exterior.

Nietzsche puts this very clearly, "If you want to know what I mean, then find the force that gives a new sense to what I say, and hang the text upon it." Following this approach there is no problem of interpreting Nietzsche, there are only mechanical problems of plotting out his text, of trying to establish which exterior Force actually enables the text to transmit say a current of energy.
At this point we encounter the problems posed by those texts of Nietzsche that have a fascist, or anti-semitic resonance. We should first recognize here that Nietzsche nourished, and still nourishes, a great many young fascists. There was a time when it was important to show that Nietzsche had been misappropriated and completely deformed by the fascists. Sean Val Batai, and Kosovsky did this in the review As if Al. But today, this is no longer necessary. We need not argue Nietzsche at the level of textual analysis. Not because we cannot dispute at that level, but because dispute is no longer worthwhile. Instead, the problem takes the shape of finding, assessing, and assembling the exterior forces that give a sense of Liberation, a sense of exteriority, to each various phrase. 
The Revolutionary character of Nietzsche's thought becomes apparent at the level of method. It is his method that makes Nietzsche's text into something "not to be characterized in itself as fascists, the Bourgeois, or revolutionary, but to be regarded as an exterior field where fascist, Bourgeois, and revolutionary forces meet head on. If we pose the problem this way, the response conforming to Nietzsche's method would be, find the Revolutionary Force. The problem is always to detect the new forces that come from without, that Traverse and cut across the Nietzschean text within the framework of the aphorism. The legitimate misunderstanding, here then, would be to treat the aphorism as a phenomenon. One that waits for new forces to come and subdue it, or to make it work, or even to make it explode. (14:01) In addition to its relation to the exterior, the aphorism has an intensive relation. Yet as Kosovsky and Leotard have shown, the two characteristics are identical.

Let Us return, for a moment, to those states of experience that, at a certain point must not be translated into representations or fantasies, must not be transmitted by legal, contractual, or institutional codes, must not be exchanged or bartered away, but on the contrary, must be seen as a dynamic flux that carries us away even further outside. This is precisely a process of intensity of intensities. The state of experience is not subjective in origin, at least not inevitably, so moreover it is not individual it is a continuous flux. And the disruption of flux, and each pulsional intensity, necessarily bears a relation to another intensity, a point of contact and transmission. This is what underlies all codes, what escapes all code, and it is what the codes themselves seek to translate, convert, and mint anew.
In his own personal form of writing, Nietzsche tells us not to barter away intensity for mere representations. Intensity refers neither to the signifier, the represented word, nor to the signified, the represented thing. Finally then, how can we even conceive of it if it serves both as the agent, and object, of decodification? This is perhaps the most impenetrable mystery posed in Nietzsche's thought. 
Proper names also play a role here, but they are not intended to be representations of things, or persons, or words: Pre-Socratics, Romans, Jews, Christ, Antichrist, Julius Caesar, Borgia, Zarathustra. Collective or individual, these proper names that come and go in Nietzsche's texts. And neither signifiers, nor signified rather, they are designations of intensity, inscribed upon a body that could be the Earth, or a book, but could also be the suffering body of Nietzsche himself. (16:00) "I am all the names of History". There is a kind of nomadism, a perpetual displacement of the intensities designated by proper names. Intensities that interpenetrate one another at the same time that they are lived, experienced, by a single body. Intensity can be experienced then, only in connection with its mobile inscription in a body, and under the shifting exterior of a proper name. And therefore the proper name is always a mask, a mask that masks its agent. 
The aphorism has yet a third significant relation in this case, to humor and irony. Those who read Nietzsche without laughing, without laughing often, richly, even hilariously, have in a sense not read Nietzsche at all.  This is not only true for Nietzsche, but for all the other authors who belong to the same Horizon of our counterculture. One of the things that reflect our decadence, our degeneration, is the manner in which people feel the need to express their anguish, solitude, guilt, to dramatize encounters. In short, the whole tragedy of interiority. Max Broad recounts that the audience went wild with laughter when Kafka read "The Trial." In fact it is hard to read even Beckett without laughing, without going from one moment of delight to the next. Laughter, and not meaning, schizophrenic laughter or revolutionary joy, this is what emerged from the great books, not the anguish of petty narcissism, the dread of guilt. We could call it a superhuman comedy, a Divine jest. An indescribable delight always brings forth from the great books, even when they present things that are ugly, desperate, or terrifying. As it is all great books bring about a transmutation. They give tomorrow's health. One cannot help but laugh when the codes are confounded. 
If you put thought into contact with the exterior, it assumes an air of Freedom. It gives birth to Dionysian laughter. When as often happens, Nietzsche finds himself (18:00) confronted with something he feels is nauseating, ignoble, wretched, he laughs, and he wants to intensify it, if at all possible. He says, "a bit more effort, it's not disgusting enough, or on the other hand, it's astounding because it is disgusting. It's a Marvel, a masterpiece, a poisonous flower. Finally man begins to become interesting." This is how Nietzsche considers how he deals with what he calls "bad conscience", for example.

But the Hegelian commentators, the ever-present commentators of interiority who don't even have the wit to laugh, tell us, "You see, Nietzsche takes bad conscience seriously. He makes it a moment in the evolution of spirit." Of course, they quickly pass over what Nietzsche makes out of the spirituality because they sense the danger. If Nietzsche does admit to the legitimate misinterpretation, there are also completely illegitimate misinterpretations. All those that spring from the spirit of seriousness, the spirit of gravity, Zarathustra's ape. That is the cult of interiority. For Nietzsche, laughter always refers to an exterior movement, of irony and humor, a movement of intensities, of intensive qualities. As Kosovsky and Leotard have pointed out, there is free play between the low and high intensities. A low intensity can undermine the highest, even become as high as the highest. Not only does this play on scales of intensity affect the ebb and flow of irony and humor in Nietzsche, but it also constitutes or qualifies experience from without. An aphorism is a matter of laughter and joy. If we have not discovered what it is in the aphorism that makes us laugh, what the distribution of humor and irony is, what the division of intensities is, then we have not found anything.

One final Point remains to be made. Let us go back to that grand passage in the "Genealogy of Morals" about the founders of Empires. There we encounter men of Asiatic production, so to speak. On a base of (20:00) primitive rural communities, these despots construct their Imperial machines that codify everything to excess. With an administrative bureaucracy that organizes huge projects, they feed off over abundance of Labor. Wherever they appear, something new soon arises: a ruling structure that lives. In which parts, and functions that are delimited and coordinated, in which nothing whatever finds a place that has not first been assigned, and coordinated. In which nothing, whatever, finds a place that has not first been assigned a meaning in relation to the whole. It is questionable, however, whether this text does not tie together two forces that, in other respects, would be held apart. Two forces that Kafka distinguished, even opposed, in "The Great Wall of China". For when one tries to discover how primitive, segmented communities, give rise to other forms of sovereignty. A question Nietzsche raises in the second part of the "Genealogy (of Morals)". One sees that two entirely different, yet strictly related, phenomena occur. It is true that at the center, the rural communities are absorbed by the despot's bureaucratic machine, which includes its scribes, its priests, its functionaries. But on the periphery, these communities commence a sort of adventure. They enter into another kind of unit, this time, a nomadic Association, a nomadic War Machine, and they begin to decodify instead of allowing themselves to become over codified. Whole groups depart, they become nomads. Archaeologists have led us to conceive of this nomadism not as a primary state, but as an adventure suddenly embarked upon by sedentary groups impelled by the attraction of movement, of what lies outside. The Nomad and his War Machine oppose the despot, with his administrative machine. An extrinsic nomadic unit, as opposed to an intrinsic despotic unit. And yet the society is a correlative, interrelated. The despot's purpose will be to integrate, to internalize the nomadic War (22:00) Machine, while that of The Nomad will be to invent an Administration for the newly conquered Empire. They ceaselessly oppose one another to the point where they become confused with one another.

Philosophic discourse is born out of the Imperial State. And it passes through innumerable Metamorphoses, the same Metamorphoses that lead us from the foundations of Empire, to the Greek City. Even within the Greek city-state, philosophic discourse remained in a strict relation with the despot, or at least within the shadow of despotism. With imperialism, with the administration of things and people. Leo Strauss and Koyev give a variety of proofs of this in their work on tyranny. Philosophic discourse has always been essentially related to law, institutions, and contracts, which, taken together constitute the subject matter of sovereignty, and have been part of the history of sedentary peoples from the earliest despotic States to Modern democracies. The signifier is really the last philosophical metamorphosis of the despot.

But if Nietzsche does not belong to philosophy, it is perhaps because he was the first to conceive of another kind of discourse as counter philosophy. This discourse is above all nomadic. Its statements can be conceived as the products of a mobile War Machine, and not the utterances of a rational administrative Machinery whose philosophers would be bureaucrats of pure reason. It is perhaps in the sense that Nietzsche announces the Advent of a New Politics that begins with him, which Kosovsky calls a plot against his own class.

It is common knowledge that Nomads fare miserably under our kinds of regime. We will go to any lengths in order to settle them, and they barely have enough to subsist on. Nietzsche lived like such a nomad, reduced to a shadow, moving from furnished room to furnished room. But the Nomad is not necessarily one who moves. Some voyages take place in situ, are trips in intensity. Even historically, (24:01) Nomads are not necessarily those who move about like migrants. On the contrary, they do not move. Nomads, they nevertheless stay in the same place and continually evade the codes of settled people. We also know that the problem for revolutionaries today is to unite within the purpose of the particular struggle, without falling into the despotic and bureaucratic organization of the party, or State apparatus. We seek a kind of war machine that will not recreate the State apparatus, a pneumatic unit related to the outside, that will not revive an internal despotic Unity. Perhaps this is what is most profound in Nietzsche's thought and marks the extent of his break with philosophy. At least so far as it is manifested in the aphorism, he made thought into a machine of War, a battering ram, into a nomadic Force. And even if the journey is a motionless one, even if it occurs on the spot, imperceptible, unexpected, and Subterranean, we must ask ourselves, "Who are our Nomads today, our real Nietzscheans?"