Coro-nations: The Crowning Ultimatum of Truth

In brief story of the salt mine (see here), everybody has their “duty” to perform.

That is, we are all fellow laborers here, each facing roughly the same dangers – say, of injury, imminent collapse, flooding, or monoxide poisoning – despite our differing tasks. As such, we each have our own relatively unique experience and perspective in the mining business, though with much overlap.

Francois Laruelle, for instance, is self-described as “a miner rather than a surveyor” (Anti-Badiou, xl). Thus, Badiou is named as the “surveyor” in question.

We find this to be true also by way of Badiou’s own auto-biographical references (see here):

There are two periods in the history of my rupture with the official Left.

The last, well known, is May 68 and its continuation. The other, less known, more secret and so even more active. In 1960 there was a general strike in Belgium. I will not give the details. I was sent to cover this strike as a journalist – I was often a journalist, I have written, it seems to me, hundreds of articles, maybe thousands. I met mine workers on strike. They have reorganized the entire social life of the country, by constructing a sort of new popular legitimacy. They have even edited a new money. I assisted at their assemblies, I spoke with them. And I was from then on convinced, up till this day I am speaking to you, that philosophy is on that side. “On that side” is not a social determination. It means: on the side of what is spoken or pronounced there, on the side of this obscure part of common humanity. On the side of equality.

The abstract maxim of philosophy is necessarily absolute equality. After my experience of mine workers strike in Belgium, I have give a philosophical order to myself : “transform the notion of truth in such a way that it obeys the equalitarian maxim, this is why I gave the truth three attributes:

1) It depends on an irruption, and not on a structure. Any truth is new, this will be the doctrine of the event.
2) All truth is universal, in a radical sense, the anonymous equalitarian for-all, the pure for-all, constitutes it in its being, this will be its genericity.
3) A truth constitutes its subject, and not the inverse, this will be its militant dimension.

All that, in a still total obscurity, is at work when I meet in 1960 the Belgium mine Workers.

Yes, all that in a still total obscurity indeed. Badiou’s philosophy began as it were with a simple DIALOGUE with mine workers, but he has since eliminated that which sparked his genius. Laruelle, too, tirades at length against this critical dialogical element, as well as against the mathematical Master. It is this element of dialogue which I seek to re-open in the unfolding of non-violence. We’ve met many people here, and we too have interviewed them closely through our extensive reading. Let us see , briefly,what they have to say.

Of course, we first pick up the trope from Novalis. Consider the excerpt from The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Volume 5, Romanticism, page 132:

NovalisMine

There’s that inheritance by Freud, Jung, and psychoanalysis generally, carried on through to Lacan. He himself might be considered a guard, a gate-keeper watching over the unconscious. “The Name-of-the-Father” of course still reads the dusty, mostly unreadable sign above the entrance to this particular mine shaft — clearly nobody has bothered to replace it for years. Just give him a wave as you enter each morning; he is a peculiar fellow.

Meet the rest of the “post-structuralist” mining team.

Foucault, of course, is the great master of archaeology and rare artifacts. If you find any gems or fossils, be sure to send them his way. Derrida, by contrast, is without question in charge of quality-control, checking the ore that has already been mined, pointing us to the best chambers in the labyrinth for future discovery, and so forth. He’s also a bit paranoid about roaming myths of haunted crypts, and ghost-like specters, but let’s put that quirky attribute aside. Otherwise, he too is a nice guy to work alongside.

Deleuze and Guattari, the hybrid metallurgist (D&G in the singular), knows much about the process of mining itself and even writes in A Thousand Plateaus that “Every mine is a line of flight”, informing us further that:

Metal is neither a thing nor an organism, but a body without organs. The “Northern, or Gothic, line” is above all a mining or metallic line delimiting this body. The relation between metallurgy and alchemy reposes not, as Jung believed, on the symbolic value of metal and its correspondence with an organic soul but on the immanent power of corporeality in all matter, and on the esprit de corps accompanying it. [...]

AXIOM III. The nomad war machine is the form of expression, of which itinerant metallurgy is the correlative form of content. [...]

DeleuzeMine

Perhaps they are expert smiths, and the oeuvres of D&G are themselves “a [mixed] weapon, a tool-maker” (415). After all, they do suggest that nothing is, in itself, revolutionary or reactionary. They might as well be in charge of operations, over-seeing the process of becoming to its completion — not knowing the consequences of the project itself. They do their best, though, to manage despite the difficulty of surviving in this industry. In their words, ”There are no nomadic or sedentary smiths. Smiths are ambulant, itinerant. Particularly important in this respect is the way in which smiths live: their space is neither the striated space of the sedentary nor the smooth space of the nomad” (413).

So too there is a “phenomenological”, a “hermeneutic”, a “structuralist”, and an “existentialist” mining squad in this mountain, among many others not too far from here.

Let us recount just an instance, for old times’ sake:

Sartre took two weeks off from his conversations with Gerassi in December 1970 to go to the city of Lens and preside as judge in an extra-legal, nongovernmental “people’s” trial in which the GP had begun to play a major role. Six miners had died in a mine accident and, rather than investigating the mine owners, the government had arrested and charged four of their coworkers with manslaughter, provoking large demonstrations. In the people’s trial, the owners themselves were tried for dangerous and unhealthy safety conditions and engineers, doctors, other experts were brought in to testify.

“The court—and me in my summation—demanded that the miners who had been careless and were accused of manslaughter be freed and that the owners be arrested,” Sartre recounts. “The miners were indeed freed…a decision on new safety regulations was made and the owners put them into effect…they had to pay sums to the victims…none of which was ordered by a state court—just a vote by the people of that community.”

In the world of theory, however, if we are to take this analogy to the mine shaft seriously, it is precisely this danger we are forgetting — no matter our squad. Meanwhile, Harman has been making a fuss about “undermining and overmining”.

Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, each one works well at certain rocks, in certain conditions, but which condition is ours, uniquely ours? Which one is human, all too human? Which one is beyond? Which mine are we to take up ultimately, which line of flight comes first-in-the-last-instance? Which of the many accelerationisms hits just the right spot? (see here)

These questions can only be answered through a certain space of dialogue, where we are, in the immanence, called upon from without to remember the danger of the mine.

Acid Rain in the Philosophy of the Black Forest

I believe, or in any event I am led to believe, that this forgetful confusion came by way of and not necessarily because of Martin Heidegger, who originally set the scene through the question of the “storage of energy”. There is after all the question of potentialities that will arise as the discussion carries onward.

He writes as follows: “…a tract of land is challenged into the putting out of coal and ore. The earth now reveals itself as a coal mining district, the soil as a mineral deposit” (14). To enframe the entire earth as a coal mine, as a territorial scene for our drilling and mining desires — well, this is grounds for some serious ecological problems. Indeed, Heidegger recognized this: ”Enframing [Ge-stell] means the gathering together of that setting-upon which sets upon man, i.e., challenges him forth, to reveal the real, the mode of ordering, as standing-reserve. (20) and “…where Enframing reigns, there is danger in the highest sense.” (28)

There are many such enframings, which one, if any, can we say is a “first-order” framing? Which enfolds all the possible others?

If anything, “post-modernity” has shown us affirmatively that Philosophy in and of itself has proven to only be able to enframe insufficiently — it forgets danger, it fails to think violence, it cannot understand trauma and dissociation, it freezes in Crisis, and so forth. Post-modernism in theory is a testimony to the danger that is present, an awareness that there is danger. Yet, it lacks the means to speak of it, as if petrified by the sight of a dead body at the scene of an accident.

If the “good news” of Laruelle’s non-philosophy is that not everything is philosophizable, then the “bad news” is the same: that not everything is philosophizable. It is not so easy as this, we cannot philosophize our problems away. We need to get rough-and-dirty in service of “the Real” in order to address these Crises as we experience them, both inwardly and outwardly.

We need to set aside our anger and turn to compassion, in humble recognition of the danger of the mine shaft. To be prepared, to the greatest extent possible, for the onset of tragedy.

That is not to say that the “post-modern” is to be discarded or dismissed or scolded as such, for that human feeling is always there. Simply, if we go through the “post-modern phase”, if we swallow our pride, our disgust, and our fear, we may become or in any case we have become able to see things anew. We may begin to move again, our hands and feet, to intervene where there is pain. To ameliorate, to heal where there is suffering. The “post-modern” is necessary in this limited sense, but we should not be content with becoming sensitized to the sight of the traumatic such that we forget the facts that cause it. The post-modern feeling of nausea or vertigo must not become a neutralized business-as-usual, lest we risk becoming in our practice a fraudulent for-profit hospital with outrageous medical billing codes.

Paul Virilio is an especially important figure in this regard, not so much for his dromology, but for his unique sort of  ”endotic” vision. That is, he can see well in the darkness of the mine where others cannot: “Seeing that which had previously been invisible becomes an activity that renews the exoticism of territorial conquests of the past. But seeing that which is not really seen becomes an activity that exists for itself. This activity is not exotic but endotic, because it renews the very conditions of perception.” He, like many others, successfully keeps this danger in mind, having himself experienced War first-hand.

How could anyone forget the bombs, the sound of an explosion, the sound of metal crushing in a car-wreck, the silent hum of medical equipment, the sound of a shriek and a gunshot in the night? How could you forget? In the same way, Deleuze and Guattari are thus right to relate the form of content of metallurgy with the form of expression of the nomad war-machine. On a very basic level, they are right to speak of the nomad and the war-machine in the same chapter as they speak of metallurgy.

We are given to consider an obvious question: If both share similarly in the danger, why do we choose to enter in the salt mine now instead of a in the coal mine? Why this as opposed to that?

Alchemical Seasoning: The Salt of the Earth

If we are led in the “wrong” mine, if we are of the “wrong” mind by way of Heidegger, then our mythic suggestion is because he himself had in mind a coal mine rather than a salt mine.

The city of Bremen, in December 1949, hosted Heidegger in a lecture series called “Insight into what is” (Einblick in das, was ist). Here, he offered up fundamental theorems of thinking in which he introduced his grand idea of a “fourfold of earth and sky, gods and mortals”. This event was also Heidegger’s first public appearance after his removal from his university place at Freiburg im Breisgau following the whole “Denazification” effort. He therefore carried on his work from Freiburg, from his Black Forest hut (“die Hütte”), to the grand lecture series in Bremen, later to be called the The Question Concerning Technology.

The Black Forest region of Southern Germany has been one of the most important mining regions of Europe circa 1100. In the 14th century, Frieburg was one of the richest cities in Europe for its production of silver from the mines. Presently, air pollution and acid rain plagues the region, as trees are increasingly losing both their color and their pines.

Heidegger thus for better or worse begins – honestly – with what is closest to his heart, the trees of the Black Forest:

Technology is not equivalent to the essence of technology. When we are seeking the essence of “tree,” we have to become aware that That which pervades every tree, as tree, is not itself a tree that can be encountered among all the other trees. [...] And certainly a sawmill in a secluded valley of the Black Forest is a primitive means compared with the hydroelectric plant in the Rhine River. But this much remains correct: modern technology too is a means to an end. That is why the instrumental conception of technology conditions every attempt to bring man into the right relation to technology. Everything depends on our manipulating technology in the proper manner as a means. We Will, as we say, get technology “spiritually in hand.” We will master it. The will to mastery becomes all the more urgent the more technology threatens to slip from human control.

At such levels of abstraction, the answer is plainly that salt has a certain “bitter” taste to it that coal does not.

The very bitterness in question is the same as that which can be gleaned from Kierkegaard’s famous string of questions:

“I stick my finger in existence — it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How came I here? What is this thing called the world? What does this world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the world? Why was I not consulted, why not made acquainted with its manners and customs instead of throwing me into the ranks, as if I had been bought by a kidnapper, a dealer in souls? How did I obtain an interest in this big enterprise they call reality? Why should I have an interest in it? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am to be compelled to take part in it, where is the director? I should like to make a remark to him. Is there no director? Whither shall I turn with my complaint?”

Put otherwise, undeniably in Heidegger there are seasons, but there is no seasoning.

“Earth is the serving bearer, blossoming and fruiting, spreading out in rock and water, rising up into plant and animal… The sky is the vaulting path of the sun, the course of the changing moon, the wandering glitter of the stars, the year’s seasons and their changes, the light and dusk of day, the gloom and glow of night, the clemency and inclemency of the weather, the drifting clouds and blue depth of the ether” (351).

At heart, it may be that the idea of salt is ever-present, and indeed global (as in “salt of the earth”) if not cosmic in allegorical scope, while coal remains intertwined “fossilization” revealed in his thematic notion of Finitude. In salt there is Life, in coal there are only traces of its once being-there. Heidegger’s thought, in the abstract, is in this sense covered with a certain “soot” to which we object in the name of an immanent Life.

This bitterness stings like salt-water in your eyes, like he sweaty residue on your skin, or better yet, it stings like your tears. Blood, sweat, and tears. You need only to clean up your thought or rinse your mind with flows of water in order to re-think the “fundamental theorems of thinking”. In the end, this maneuver translates to a certain bitterness towards the very Form of War itself, and to the practices of death-dealing in all of their instantiations. It calls for a non-linear kind of preparedness, in direct violation of Hilt’s law, the “geological term that states that, in a small area, the deeper the coal, the higher its rank (grade)”.

Nay, this is not to say salt is “quadratic”, but instead a more constant zero-point of thought in accordance with a certain fundamental Form. A crystalline structure, condensed in a point. While we may accept Deleuze’s rendering of Jung in that earlier passage, this is not to discount either alchemy or Jung.

The role of “salt” in alchemical studies must be understood as related intimately to questions of Form (see here), of the markedly non-philosophical conditions of thought itself:

Salt is the third element in the trinity of the alchemical substances in the Great Work. As mercury is the water aspect, sulfur is the fiery aspect, so is salt the form aspect (salt is a crystalline form, or crystallized energy). So it is also a name for the ‘prima materia’, for the stone of the philosophers. The alchemists say that in its lower aspect salt is ‘bitter’. Here salt is symbol for knowledge and wisdom. Self-knowledge is bitter, painful. Sometimes they speak of the bitter ‘sea water’. As water or the sea stands for the soul, it is a reference to the same self-knowledge.

Salt is also seen as a symbol for the second phase of the Great Work, albedo, or whiteness, because here light breaks through, and thus also wisdom. Christ is called ‘Sal sapientiae’, the Salt of Wisdom’.

In the beginning of the Great Work, the salt is called impure. Here it equals the earth, the body, our every day consciousness or being. The impure salt has to be dissolved (‘solutio’) into the divine water (quicksilver, or ‘prima materia’), by which it is purified. In albedo salt arises as a pure form and fixated, that is crystallized into a pure salt.

As symbol for wisdom, salt is the breath of the divine energy. This wisdom vivifies the invisible fire that energizes entire Nature. This fire controls life, movement, energy, the heavens, the planets. Paracelsus called this fire ‘the light of Nature’ a reference to the ‘anima mundi’, the soul of the world.

star as symbol for salt

Thus, we recognize Heidegger’s coal-covered “impurity” for what it’s worth: As the beginning of a Great Work. The beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of the Lord, and only God can save us now. In Search of the Philosopher’s stone, whether it exists or not, to say “Wanderer” is of course to say the name of a generic term for our identity in the salt mine.

In both Laruelle and Badiou there is thus a concern for a certain type of “generic” kept in focus, in the tradition of Heidegger’s Dasein. But our generic is at once focused upon the unique Self as a Union of Opposites. We must therefore take fault not only with the luxury Badiou awards himself, but with the direction of Laruelle’s work as well. They are, in some capacity or another, in the salt mine, but they do not see the mine for what it is, they do not see it for a place of extreme danger. In brief, they have not learned the lesson of “post-modernity”, despite striving so fervently to move past it, and despite their salty bitterness towards it.

For Laruelle, there is still a sense in which “that’s just the way it is”, as he works diligently to provide, to perform his job as a miner.

We are surely “closer” to Laruelle than to Badiou, who is likened by Laruelle to a “Goliath” (meaning “foreigner”, Anti-Badiou, xxxii) of the mine. And of course David ultimately triumphs over the Philistine, but he triumphs only by maiming, only by killing in the name of Israel. A non-standard violence, death by a unilateral stone and a dualysing sling. Could he have possibly triumphed otherwise? Yes — if only he had realized sooner what the post-structuralists did from Rimbaud that “Je est un autre“. Kristeva spells it out explicitly: “I am the foreigner” – as David slowly awakes and says to himself ever so suddenly – “I am Goliath”.

For all the time, then, that Laruelle spends trying to escape the “theology of Deconstruction” of Derrida and Levinas, he still reveals even in his (somehow sufficient, properly principled) secularism a certain Jewish/Christian vein through this dramatic image. The opening of Islam into the scene is perhaps to read (see here) “the battle” from the perspective of David-as-Goliath, to see the David’s objet petit a in Goliath’s floating head as in the painting above by Caravaggio. Humilitas occidit superbiam. Humanity kills pride. Far from the victorious narrative of the triumphant David of Team Humanity killing the Prideful Goliath, is it not David’s Pride which is killed by “seeing” in the Last Instance the Humanity of the foreign decapitated Goliath?

As a miner, surely Laruelle knows the danger of the salt mine — he lives it through his writing and feels it through his mining. Yet, at the same time, Badiou is in this sense more deserving to hear story, as it is he who is placed in the position of Goliath. It is “giants like him” who must hear our testimony the most, because Badiou contains something which both Heidegger and Laruelle notice: The will to mastery. Yes, Laruelle, in focusing on the Last Instance, is himself focused on a certain mastery too. To this extent, he should lend his curious ear as well. Yet, in Badiou, we find the most deified form of Pauline mastery which could only have come from the aches and pains of the “machinic” operations of post-structuralism.

If “post-structuralism” is revealed to be a function of dealing with a certain “mastery” over the (traumatic) Event, then it is Badiou who is – ironically – the last true post-structuralist. With Laruelle, with the non-philosophical resurgence of the democracy of thought, we begin to at last break free from such mastery only to return to the days of Heidegger, so that we may locate the ashy problem all over again in re-thinking the “fundamental theorems of thought”. We, however, non-Laruelleans, are neither simply miners nor simply surveyors; for the moment we are Wanderers.

And we are bitter, oh how we are so stubborn!

KETHER: The Crown of Truth

The question, at last, is of KETHER (the Crown).

Who, or what, shall we crown as being in charge of providing the new “fundamental theorems of thought”? Where shall we even begin?

Our explorations in the salt mine started with Hegel, Fichte, and Schelling, in the wake of the Berlin lectures as received by the likes of Kierkegaard and Engels. It seems only appropriate that, now after viewing Heidegger’s lectures, we end the formal series of chained posts where we commenced. For once they are set in stone or set in salt as the case may be, then the ultimatum is given unto us in Truth.

What is this crown? Is it, as in the Christian myth, the crown of thorns? Is it, as Hegel and Engels would lead one to believe, a crown of freedom? Nay – it is neither. In his reaction to the late Schelling’s Berlin lectures, the 21-year old Engels writes in “Schelling and Revelation”, writes in Anti-Schelling (see here), the following:

Now they can no longer say: Where is your God? What does He do? Where does He roam? Why does He no longer work wonders? For here He is, His arm strikes down like lightning in their own flock and makes fire out of water, white out of black, just out of unjust. Who can still deny that this is God’s hand?

But that is not all. By calling Schelling, the Lord has prepared for us another triumph over the ungodly and blasphemous. He has elected none other than Schelling since he, being familiar with the wisdom of this world, was best suited to refute the proud and haughty philosophers, and in His immeasurable grace and love He has opened a way for them by which they can come to Him again. Can one ask more from Him? To those who curse Him, who rage against His existence, who are His most furious, most raving, most impenitent enemies, instead of rooting them out from the earth and casting them into the deepest abyss of hell, He offers again and again a rescuing hand to draw them up to the light out of the abyss of corruption wherein they lie; nay, the grace of God is as wide as the heaven from sunrise to sunset, and there is no end to His mercy.

Who could resist such forbearance and love?

The phrase “the wisdom of this world” appears also in Heidegger’s text Existence and Being too (see here), in the same kind of polemical barrage of questions as found in Engels:

It was this unconcealedness of beings that provided the possibility for Christian theology to take possession of Greek philosophy- whether for better or for worse may be decided by the theologians, on the basis of their experience of what is Christian; only they should keep in mind what is written in the First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians: “ouhi emoranen o theos tin sopsian tou kosmou; Has not God let the wisdom of this world become foolishness?” (I Cor. 1:20) The sposia tou kosmou [wisdom of this world], however, is that which, according to 1: 22, the Ellines zitousin, the Greeks seek. Aristotle even calls the proti psilosopsia (philosophy proper) quite specifically zitoumeni - what is sought. Will Christian theology make up its mind one day to take seriously the word of the apostle and thus also the conception of philosophy as foolishness?

Indeed, if there is any lingering sign of “progressive sublation” in Philosophy, it is that at one time Engels rails away against the late Schelling but at a later date Heidegger knows well to remain silent on this matter. The stakes have been high, on this question of the crown, but have we with the dawn of non-philosophy learned to take seriously the word of the apostle, and thus also the conception of philosophy as foolishness? Do we see now how the one follows or flows as it were from the other?

Engels continues, now quoting at length:

And man, the dearest child of nature, a free man after the long battles of youth, returning to his mother after the long estrangement, protecting her against all the phantoms of enemies slain in battle, has overcome also the separation from himself, the division in his own breast. After an inconceivably long age of wrestling and striving, the bright day of self-consciousness has risen for him. Free and strong he stands there, confident in himself and proud, for he has fought the battle of battles, he has overcome himself and pressed the crown of freedom on his head.

Everything has become revealed to him and nothing had the strength to shut itself up against him. Only now does true life open to him. What formerly he strove towards in obscure presentiment, he now attains with complete, free will. What seemed to lie outside him, in the hazy distance, he now finds in himself as his own flesh and blood. He does not care that he has bought it dearly, with his heart’s best blood, for the crown was worth the blood; the long time of wooing is not lost to him, for the noble, splendid bride whom he leads into the chamber has only become the clearer to him for it; the jewel, the holy thing he has found after long searching was worth many a fruitless quest.

And this crown, this bride, this holy thing is the self-consciousness of mankind, the new Grail round whose throne the nations gather in exultation and which makes kings of all who submit to it, so that all splendour and might, all dominion and power, all the beauty and fullness of this world lie at their feet and must yield themselves up for their glorification. This is our calling, that we shall become the templars of this Grail, gird the sword round our loins for its sake and stake our lives joyfully in the last, holy war which will be followed by the thousand-year reign of freedom. And such is the power of the Idea that he who has recognised it cannot cease to speak of its splendour or to proclaim its all-conquering might, that in gaiety and good heart he gives up all else at its bidding, that he sacrifices body and soul, life and property in order that it and it alone shall triumph.

He who has once beheld it, to whom in the nightly stillness of his little room it has once appeared in all its brightness, can never abandon it, he must follow where it leads, even to death. For he knows that it is stronger than everything in heaven and on earth, that it fights its way through against all enemies. And this belief in the all-conquering might of the Idea, in the victory of eternal truth, this firm confidence that it can never waver or yield, even if the whole world were to rise against it, that is the true religion of every genuine philosopher, that is the basis of the true positive philosophy, the philosophy of world history. This is the supreme revelation, that of man to man, in which all negation of criticism is positive. This press and storm of nations and heroes over which the Idea hovers in eternal peace and at last comes down into the midst of the turmoil and becomes its inmost, most living, self-conscious soul, that is the source of all salvation and all deliverance; that is the realm in which each one of us in his place has to work and act. The Idea, the self-consciousness of mankind, is that wonderful phoenix who builds for himself a funeral pyre out of all that is most precious in the world and rises rejuvenated from the flames which destroy an old time.

So let us carry to this phoenix on the funeral pyre all that is most dear to us and most beloved, all that was sacred and great for us before we were free! Let us not think any love, any gain, any riches too great to sacrifice gladly to the Idea — it will repay us everything a thousandfold! Let us fight and bleed, look undismayed into the grim eye of the enemy and hold out to the end! Do you see our flags wave from the mountain peaks? Do you see the swords of our comrades glinting, the plumes on the helmets fluttering? They are coming, they are coming, from all valleys, from all heights they are streaming towards us with song and the call of trumpets; the day of the great decision, of the battle of the nations, is approaching, and victory must be ours!

There is that word “splendor” again, the same word Hegel used in dismissing Islam as the “religion of splendor”, crowning Christianity once more. Where Engels could not see past the coronation ceremony of Schelling, Heidegger at once began to realize in Wisdom “the splendor of the simple”.

Non-violence: Gandhi’s Ultimatum

Kether (the Crown) is “…identified by Kaballah as ‘the Sephirah Kether’, this Sphere of Aura-energy encompasses the top of the head, dome of the skull, upper brain-tissues and metabolic glands; any or all of which can become ‘sore’ or traumatized by a crisis of OVERVIEW, PERSPECTIVE and OUTLOOK.” (see here). The prefix coro-, meaning head, is at once the place of trauma and the place of thinking.

To re-crown the late Schelling in this moment is to become re-acquainted with simplicity of thought, and to re-learn the meaning of splendor in a way which is ever-conscious of the phenomena of “religion”. It is to emphasize the role of thinking calmly to avoid acting foolishly.

It is an ultimatum that is neither simply offensive (Grelet, Déclarer la gnose) nor simply defensive (Laruelle, Anti-Badiou), but is instead crowned in its own mindful ability to enfold. It seeks to have neither the first word nor the last word, neither simply in the first instance nor simply in the last. It cannot simply be as Laruelle writes “a wager of a simultaneous discovery and invention” (xxxvii, Anti-Badiou). It is not a wager, but a non-wager, a wager on Life, the unconditioned ground of any and all possible wagers. It is not a myth, but a non-myth, a Living myth, the maker of any and all possible myths.

It must therefore be, in the positive, something which we have known all along, and yet something which still needs continual re-inventing. This rhythmic history sounds off again and again in the cyclical bend of Time. It is something found, found somewhere the The Ages of the World so to speak, it must be a truth “as old as the hills”. Therefore, it must take up the FORM OF DIALOGUE, infused with WISDOM at every step of the way.

It arrives not merely in recognition of the Pauline invocation:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6), but also in such a way that the divide of the ultimatum is made securely in Wisdom (see here) “It is He Who has let free the two bodies of flowing water: one palatable and sweet and the other salt and bitter; yet has He made a barrier between them, a partition that is forbidden to be passed.” (Sura 25 – Al-Furqan [MAKKA]: Verse 53).

It is decidedly trans- or post-religious in a way that escapes the young Engels’ deepest worries, as informed by experience.

A careful line is drawn, as the enframing of enframings is taken up which remembers at all times the space of potential danger, which remembers our vulnerability, and remains sensitive to it in its enfolding of Wisdom (see here).

Here we are again, just as we began, in the space of Schelling’s Potenzen. 

T

his time, however, we have learned to see in the dark.

While it seems as though the complexity builds though the simple operations of thought, it is on the whole it is no more difficult than counting from low to high. What could possibly fit in this space, what is this Schelling point of resonance when there is conflict? What is our precommitment, our tacit axiology?

We hear it in the song of silence, in the complete absence of noise and communication, as

suddenly Schelling’s call for a “new mythology” is answered. We hear it in our spiritual retreat [ashram], in our place of safety.

Not simply a myth, but a living myth, the myth of all myths, the only myth which captures the Truth-force underlying Schelling’s philosophy.

Satyagraha Ashram,
Sabarmati,
March 2, 1930.

Dear Friend [Lord Irwin]:

Before embarking on Civil Disobedience and taking the risk I have dreaded to take all these years, I would fain approach you and find a way out.

My personal faith is absolutely clear. I cannot intentionally hurt anything that lives, much less fellow human beings, even though they may do the greatest wrong to me and mine. Whilst, therefore, I hold the British rule to be a curse, I do not intend harm to a single Englishman or to any legitimate interest he may have in India.

I must not be misunderstood. Though I hold the British rule in India to be a curse, I do not therefore consider Englishmen in general to be worse than any other people on earth. I have the privilege of claiming many Englishmen among my dearest friends. Indeed, much that I have learnt of the evil of British rule is due to the writings of frank and courageous Englishmen who have not hesitated to tell the unpalatable truth about that rule…

…This letter is not in any way intended as a threat, but is a simple and sacred duty peremptory on a civil resister. Therefore I am having it specially delivered by a young English friend [Reginald Reynolds], who believes in the Indian cause and is a full believer in non-violence and whom Providence seems to have sent to me as it were for the very purpose.

I remain
Your sincere friend
M. K. GANDHI

Satyagraha, the “Gandhi-myth” of the soul-force, emerges like the phoenix (see here):

For Halide Edip, the existence of Gandhi is essential for he is the crucial agent who harmonizes “the spiritual” with “the material”.

When considered in a wider picture, her contention can be interpreted as the reconciliation of the Orient and the Occident in Saidian terminology. On the other hand in Schelling’s terms, Gandhi is the harbinger of a universal unity which humanity needs to achieve in order to reproduce a modern mythology; since “myth” for Schlegel points back to what poetry seemed to be in the primal beginnings of the human race, a unity of thought, art and belief which can be realized in the future.  The artist, for Halide Edip, of this modern myth is Mahatma Gandhi. What’s more, that myth is a “living” one, and progressing day to day. It is a living myth.  It continually looks to the future. The livingness of the myth is revealed by Halide Edip in the beginning of “Inside India”: “India is no longer ‘was’: it is very much ‘is’.”

Furthermore, this living myth around the personality of Gandhi is narrated in Inside India as follows:
“… At the moment it was the atmosphere rather than the motionless figure of Mahatma Gandhi that took hold of the crowd. He was only a unit. Yet I watched him. By some freak of light, or rather because of the thinnes of his shoulders, his draperies stood out both sides in sharp angles. Everything about him seemed to have fallen into a geometrical shape. Wrapt in that white mantle, his shoulders two sharp edges, his face immobile, he looked like Buddha.”
And so it is revealed at last:
The name Novalis understands in its very sound the Ultimatum of Truth, the Gandhian spirit of No-vio-lence.

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One thought on “Coro-nations: The Crowning Ultimatum of Truth”

  1. (Btw: I still have not figured out how to get notified if you reply to my replies here. I’ve tried the things on the blog, but I find I have to return to the blog to see if you have replied. So, sorry if you have replied to others and I have not seem them yet.)

    I love your use of ideas, the irony, the metaphor, the scholarship of your highly read experience brought out to bare. It seems so obvious, not in the bad way of not needing to be said, in the good way of ‘of course!’. The salt/coal metaphor is delightful. Your whole process structure of the spheroth in essays was like reading a novel that you love and know the end, but you can’t stop reading it over and over. The questions I brought while reading, the answers I held to argue, answered as I read on. Truly wonderful!

    I cannot help but wonder, though, what the problem is. It appears that you have ‘seen the light’, but then, as our discussion – is there a residual doubt that brings your discontentment?

    I do see satyagraha as a natural solution to your argument. I cannot deny it. Yet I still cannot but wonder how it is that such ‘way’ has not taken hold in humanity. It seems that the solution has not only been spelled out sufficiently by you, but has been spelled out sufficiently at many many times in history, by many people.

    Is it that humanity, as this effort goes, has not explained it well enough? That the terms have not yet ( or maybe only now) been disclosed to their actual meanings for the intent that is/has been sought ?

    I disagree that man has moved within history to have arrived , as Engels quote, to free will. Man has always had free will. It is this idea, that humans have been progressing to a true knowledge of itself, brings in relief the juxtaposition that we are not dealing with essential objects revealed through the proper phrasing, but some essential object that is imposed by the terms, a ‘weight’, a ‘bridle’ that is the harness of humanity: not a transcendent operation, but an essential operation of consciousness. The more than human brought to bare for human reality is the real human in existence: mythology denied for the sake its ends require.

    -
    So, how then shall we proceed nonviolently; this is a project worthy of our communication.

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