Was mich interessiert, ist das Problem des Sehr Tiefen Denkers: Wenn ein Sehr Tiefer Denker, der an der letzten Schicht arbeitet, also jemand wie Laotse oder Dostojewski oder Nietzsche heute daherkommt, was würde der dann sagen? Das Streben des Sehr Tiefen Denkers ist darauf gerichtet, den Status seines Zeitalters festzustellen, und, insofern er an der letzten Schicht arbeitet, dadurch auch den Status aller Zeitalter und eines jeden Zeitalters festzustellen. Armstrong sagt, jenseits der Vollendung der Meditation des Yogi, die darin besteht, dass der Yogi mit den Dingen eins wird, gibt es noch extremere Zustände, die nur von einigen wenigen Yogi erreicht werden können, und die sich allein durch Paradoxien beschreiben ließen: da gibt es eine Leere, die gleichzeitig eine Fülle ist; eine Abwesenheit, die gleichzeitig eine Anwesenheit ist; ein Raum, der raumlos; eine Zeit, die zeitlos; ein Leben und einen Tod jenseits von Leben und Tod, u. dergl. In der Sprache der östlichen Metaphysik ist das, in etwa, das Tao. In der Sprache der westlichen Metaphysik könnte man das, in etwa, als das ontische Potenzial bezeichnen. Das ontische Potenzial suggeriert eine tiefere Schicht als das Sein, mit dem sich Heidegger so intensiv beschäftigt hat. Heidegger gilt manchen als der tiefste Philosoph des 20. Jahrhunderts, der Sehr Tiefe Denker (wie z.B. Wittgenstein) beschäftigt sich aber eher mit dem ontischen Potenzial. Heidegger ist ahnungsvoll und unklar, aber einfach, daher bei der akademischen Philosophie sehr beliebt; die Rede vom ontischen Potenzial ist klar und abgründig, kompliziert und einfach, daher ist davon auszugehen, dass sie bei der akademischen Philosophie sehr unbeliebt sein wird. Insofern es allein durch Paradoxa beschreibbar ist, erscheinen seine klaren Tiefen als hohe Anarchie. Dieses Kreuz musst du tragen, nicht umsonst symbolisiert das Kreuz letztendlich den Zusammenhalt der Welt und die Herrschaft über die vier Himmelsrichtungen. Das Problem des Sehr Tiefen Denkers soll weiter vertieft werden. Neues Jahr, neues Glück.
Badiou also says that poetry is something that discovers infinite power and potential within language, a ressource of power that is infinite and transcends and shatters any possible contour. I have spoken about the necessity to gain access to the „deep structure“ of literature – which means: the Experimentierfeld ihrer Möglichkeiten (the field of experimentation concerning all the possibilities inherent in literature) – that is the „deep structure“ of literature! As is also widely known, my approach to literature has strong affinity with the associative and paradoxical logic of dreams. Freud, if I am correct, says that poetry/literature and dreams are practically identical. If we take this together you easily sense that literature and poetry and art is something that is inherently abysmal. That is good, because it negates gravity (as concerns the usual experience) and makes you levitate and drift; that is bad because it negates gravity (as concerns the usual experience) because boundary and solidity evaporate and you´re in a free fall (with the prospect of a probably devastating landing as it suddenly obviously affirms gravity). There is nothing that seems truly solid and secure when you do poetry. You´re easily disoriented and you´re alone. Therein, poetry again resembles madness and you again approach so-called Dichterwahnsinn. Wahnsinn means incoherent identity of signifier and signified and the enterprise of poetry – i.e. to extend the relationship between the signifier and the signified – makes you easily feel revoving between super-sanity and insanity. Art and poetry are subjective truths. If the subjective truth becomes of objective importance, the artwork finds solidity in itself and it is ereted by its own inner strength and stability. The romantic content becomes classic. The romantic aspect means abysmal depth, infinite passion and infinite jest; the classic aspect means pacification of passion, staring into a flat, tamed abyss with tranquil eye, the Apollonian. The romantic content and style becomes a new classicism, in the case of success. End of story.
If we take this to further extremes you may again remember Kafka who, at some point of his career, said that he wouldn´t be interested in mastering poetry and achieving some ideal of classicist mastery over literature and art anymore, but that his sole interest would be to lift „the world into the pure, the real and the invariable“ („die Welt ins Reine, Wahre, Unveränderliche zu heben“). Indeed, that is the end beyond the (classicist) end of art and any intellectual and spiritual endeavour. Some people, including Kafka, are able to achieve such a state of mind, that is commonly referred to as Satori or the transition/transgression of the (fundamental) phantasma. Rumi says that for him that seeks God, it is impossible to find God. Since in the moment you find God, you will lose yourself in God. Like a river that enters the ocean. Or grain in the soil that becomes a plant. Correspondingly, if you lift the world into the pure, the real and the invariable, you will get „lost“ into the world, a swimmer in the world ocean (who is, however, not incompetend or crazy, but able to swim), the poet´s frenzy/insanity turns into super sanity. The contours of the world and the contour of your subjectivity become the same. And that is what you have in the works of Kafka. Since the world is, to a considerable degree, mad and helpless, you will become, to some considerable degree, mad and helpless as well. From frenzy there is no absolute escape since it is an inherent aspect of the world. However, there is a considerable difference between super sanity and insanity. I wish you a Merry Christmas, not least also to all the unbelievers.
There has been a show about contemporary textile art that gave me some terrible thrills. Textile art traditionally is about making clothing and Raumtextilien more beautiful and appealing; contemporary textile art however has emancipated from functional aspects, instead aims at creating artworks and sculptures, focusing on the materiality of textile, colours, interplay, forms and dimensionality and reaching into and occupying space. It often carries a social and political message. I have to say that I like very much the dimensional aspect of that kind of approach. True art is about suggesting a view into another dimension and the exhibition just offered me that. I find it difficult to say much else about it, although I have read about textile art subsequently, I could not study it extensively, but it is also good when impressions overpower the intellectual capacity to exhaustively describe them. As already mentioned, art is also about creating symbols that express the state of the art of contemporary society. As you don´t have an easy state of the art of society that could be expressed e.g. via Warhol´s repetitive soup cans or Beuys` naive but powerful social sculpture nowadays, but a very complex and individualised society, no such obvious symbols seem to be at hand. Overlaying and telescoping stuff seems to be the name of the game contemporarily. Via overlaying and telescoping stuff you create more dimensionality and you create more depth and substance. I have to say that those textile artworks offered me new glimpses about what aesthetics can be. There is a dimensional intensity in them, vibration and reaching into space and territory. It was about time someone came and does something like that.
Unprotected 0 Fig 120° is a tasty and refined sculpture/structure that bears charisma. What makes the specific charismas of such sculptures/structures that are both so silent and so manifest? Well, that they are both so silent and manifest. They are erect, they stand tall (or at least upright), they are constructed and crafted. Craftsmanship, intelligence and refinement they embody. They are manifestations. Due to their impersonality and blatant materiality they appear as objects in this world, as manifestations independent from man. As manifestations that are both personal and impersonal they may be both older than man or younger than man, at any rate they seem to transgress man and stand erect into an indefinite and/or potentially posthuman future – due to their futuristic architecture may even be a call from the posthuman future. They are both dependent from man and independent from man. Because of this, they are both sublime and – as maybe referring to an aesthetic/intellectual category of its own – less-than-sublime, and therefore create a more comprehensive whole. In their silence, they do not speak but seem vocal nevertheless. Maybe they embody some truth, but refuse to speak so that we are forced to enter into a relationship of mimesis and intuitivity to tap the secrets they seem to maintain or to express. They are a frontier to our imagination and confront us with the blank space of our original imagination. In that aspect, they are metaphysical and abysmal. They can only be completed with imagination, they are symbiotic with our imagination. In Marlena Kudlicka´s works sculptures get transgressed into structures. That is an aspect inherent in sculpture, but within the aesthetic approach of MK it gets more distinctly revealed. It becomes an emergent quality. It is transgressive. MK says she is interested not only in „structure“ but also in fragility and error as inherent parts or incremental ingredients of large structures. The delicate nature of construction of her native Poland under communism where building materials where often and unpredictably lacking provide an impetus, intellectually and metaphysically, that reminds us that the inclusion of fragility and error into that which seems solid and erect, greater completeness and substantial quality is achieved. It also reminds us that via the inclusion of idiosyncracy, beauty truly gets achieved, personalised and individualised (technically, beauty is just a combination of qualities in their most average manifestations). Hell yeah, Unprotected 0 Fig 120° is a manifestation! As such, it does not need further or external qualities as it comprises many (and probably paradoxical) qualities and seems a world in itself, a world that that is self-contained. It stands upright, it is solid, compact and affirmative. Indeed, it is a great affirmation! Imagine a little figure that wanders around and affirmatively and determinedly beats a drum – „Here I am! What would you do against me?! Here I am! And you can do nothing about it!“ That would be a personification of Unprotected 0 Fig 120°, at least as I can imagine, as it is presented before my inner eye. Very cute, very powerful, if not brutal. It is a great affirmation, indeed!
French philosopher Alain Badiou advocates that art should become more „affirmative“ again. Within so-called postmodernity, art somehow has lost its edge. Affirmation of particuliarities has undermined the sense of art being an expression of universality, affirmation of (particularised) subjectivity has, in practice, degenerated into an art being for the sake of self-expression without transmitting universal and objective messages and stylistic inventions (and, as one can add, contemporary emphasis on the artist´s biography – like being a member of a minority, being homosexual or having feminist credentials – over the actual art undermines the idea that art is primarily about oeuvre and not about personality). Them particuliarities seek alignment with the grand system of circulation, the art market and with „democracy“ and the democratic system of permissive communication, that, at least according to Badiou, is a system of manipulation and estalishment of a fake consensus. All of that produces averageness and harmlessness. You have an avant-gardism without avant-garde, frail particuliarties, an „inconsistent manifoldness“. Alongside with a „false humility“ that negates that art or philosophy could produce absolute truth, it has become a feeble enterprise. Badiou affirms that art should become (again) about „monumental construction“, about (grandiose) „project“ and about the creative power of weakness and establishing a stark contrast to the forces of establishment. „Art has to be as solid as a mathematical proof, has to come as unexpected as a nightly attack, and has to stand as high as a star.“ Toward the end of his life, Duchamp said that (within a permissive society that consumes and digests avant-gardism, as well as in a post-avant-garde age where artists may have to find radically new ways in order to be able to be truly innovative) the artist of the future will need to go into the underground, and also Badiou says that affirmative art of the future will happen outside the established systems of communication as it is incommensurate with them. As „proletarian aristocratism“, the artwork of the future does not communicate and it does not deliver a direct message, as it delivers a universal message to all, from a standpoint that is both weaker than the establishment and therein more universal, and also stronger than the establishment and therein more universal (and less average). It affirms the potential of art to produce truly powerful and all-inclusive as well as transcendent meaning. Avant-garde has always also been about creating a subjectivity and a territory that the „system“ (and there is always a „system“) cannot truly colonise; thererin you have a dialectics of inclusion and exlusion that is often very demanding for the true artist. – Therein, let us say, that we do not truly know how this art will look like. That we do not truly know how it will look like is, of course, a part of the game, since true art comes unexpectedly. I can also say that art with metaphysical potential is truly in place in contemporary art (though not necessarily at the forefront). I do not know what to think about Badiou´s traditional left-leaning heuristics about „democracy“ and the „systems“ of „democratic communication“ being about or resulting in the production of „false consciousness“, and, more generally, to make concluding and comprehensive statements about contemporary art is an evasive attempt that has been excitingly plagueing me now for years, but maybe we can say that true art is also about the production of powerful and all-inclusive symbols – and in a highly individualised society – where conditions are, to a considerable degree, fulfilled for which the avant-gardists, left-wingers and punks of the past have been fighting for – finding symbols like Warhols repetitive soup cans or a cubist painting as grand signifiers of respective modernity appears much less likely. To find a master signifier seems truly difficult nowadays. Nevertheless, things of depth and of value can be found, indeed. If you think of the master signifier and the symbol and the affirmative art as outlined by Badiou, the consciousness of the deep genius of art of today will both subvert and transcent today´s state of the art of the Weltgeist. It will be the Unitary Consciousness that is the reflection and the meta-level of the Weltgeist. The deep genius of the art inhabitates the bottom of the ocean, where he lives and dwells. Think of an ultra-deep genius of art that forever lives at the bottom of the ocean, whose work will hardly be recognised during his lifetime and forgotten after his demise, because people are forever too stupid to understand him! Fascinating, eh? This is, of course, only a hypothetical case, since people are not stupid.
„Cosmosapiens“ by John Hands is one of the most astonishing popular science books I have ever come across. It is about the comprehensive evolution of man dating back to the Big Bang or, as once you have inhaled the whole thing you may be more tempted to say: the mysterious origins of the universe, and trying to expand it into the future of man and of civilisation. There are illnesses running in my family and within myself and a while ago I came to ask my doctor on occasion why medicine still hasn´t managed to get a firm grasp on them and cannot explain them despite decades of effort while in other respects it is obviously working so well. At that time I´ve been specifically impressed by stories in astronomy magazine „Sterne und Weltraum“ about techniques how dust particles are chemically analysed in open space or planets in distant solar systems are detected. Awesome! What progress has been achieved! So why not in medicine? Because nature is, and remains, a wonderful mystery, the friendly Dr Fleischer said. Because, as concerns medicine, we are still living in the stone age, Dr Huber said. Indeed, many of the complex interactions within the body are difficult to grasp. Reading „Cosmosapiens“ however gives you an indication that the triumphant hard sciences aren´t so triumphant either. I have somehow been aware about the limitations and mysteries of and within cosmological and biological theories before, but John Hands comes up with so many question marks that he is able to convincingly shed new light on how doubtful theories and paradigms that seem to stand erect and tall actually are, or may be. Absolutely astonishing his overview not only over entire disciplines but also over stuff theoretical or empirical largely neglected by mainstream academia! I do not want to elaborate much about that since you should read „Cosmosapiens“ yourself, asshole. I like to read „Sterne und Weltraum“ occasionally because I enjoy the apparent ambiente within the community of astronomers and stargazers. Calm, relaxed, tranquil, rational and friendly those people seem to be free of evil or mundane intentions, simply want to do their astronomy and foster progress, in complete innocence (that maybe even borderlines with cute naivete). The peaceful atmosphere of a late Sunday evening where all scores are settled and the good night embraces the heart and the mind. Alas, academia and scientific communities frequently aren´t that way, respectively only at a thin surface. „Postmodernists“ like Foucault or Latour may radiate an exaggerated understanding that also scientific communities are „all“ about power relationships, but given the evidence John Hands provides about how brutal reasonable elements that do not fit into dominant paradigms are frequently oppressed, it makes you think about that again. Granted, scientists are often working at the margins and in a no man´s land, and especially in the United States cosmologists and biologists may be eager to defend the legitimacy of their positions against the religious zealots by trying to present them as more monolithic than they actually are, but what they frequently seem to do deems exaggerated. Consider further that scientific communities and academia are, like the human enterprise at large, including communism, to some considerable degree, a vanity fair that serves as an exhibition hall for egos and egos are inherently fragile and may easily become aggressive when undermined – therefore the Buddha teaches us to leave the ego behind. John Hands´ frequent illustrations about the downsides of scientific communities may appear repetitive, but the frustrations of a highly intelligent person like him whose mind spans entire disciplines is likely to experience in present-day academia seem understandable. „Silence means death/ Stand on your feet/ Inner fear/ Your worst enemy“ sing Sepultura as an adress not to have yourself undermined or grinded within that. As I said, I do not want to get too much into detail as you should read the book yourself. However, my favorite inconsistency mentioned in „Cosmosapiens“ I have not been aware before is that there is actually evidence that quasars aren´t what we like to think, i.e. memories of a very distant cosmic past but proto-galaxies that are considerable less distant in space and time. When I was young I was trying to get every book on astronomy and cosmology possible. I remember, I also bought a book, „Die neue Astronomie“; I was disappointed then as it turned out to be largely not about sexy theories but about experimental radioastronomy. Awesome! Intriguing! Fascinating! I now hope I can still find it somewhere.