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All Hail the Sacred Chao

by on February 15, 2013

As a card-carrying Discordian Pope, it’s gratifying to see chaos finally granted the sovereign status it obviously deserves.

I’m still working my way through After Finitude but I have some initial reflections. Around p. 37, when Meillasoux addresses the hypostatizing ‘strong’ correlationism, he restricts ‘relation-to-the-world’ to subjects – things that have intelligence, will, life, etc. I’m wondering to what extent certain brands of strong correlationism actually depend on a conscious subject. Does Deleuze’s hypostatization of difference really depend on consciousness? I’m not sure if it does or not. But what if we imagine a kind of strong strong correlationism that hypostatizes the correlation even unto wolves, armies, and centaurs (by this I mean ‘objects’)? What does this do to Meillasoux’s argument against correlationism?

Also, I am wondering to what extent the idea of Nirvana can be seen as the ethical imperative of Meillasoux’s metaphysics. Is Nirvana the total alignment of the self with the hyperchaos of the Universe, in which anything and nothing is possible at every moment? It seems like there could be a link here. As a side note – sometimes I am suspicious that  academic philosophers are blind to the implications of their thought, that they don’t take into account whether or not their ideas do (or possibly could) conform to lived experience. By contrast, Buddhism argues backwards from experience. If someone like Meillasoux logically deduces a metaphysical truth that contradicts the actual lived experience of thousands of years of spiritual seekers (and I’m not saying he does this), who are we to believe?

  1. Yes! It is very gratifying to finally see chaos get a proper mention. I’ve been babbling on about entropy and universal perishability this whole semester, and it is vindicating to finally see it receiving serious treatment. But that has spurred on a thought: is Chaos a paradox, and thus a primary absolute?

    I largely view chaos and time as being on equal footing, if not two purely interchangeable terms. Time and chaos share certain qualities, most notably, both are clearly present in our reality, but have no discernible physical forms, much less an observable force beyond the perishability of all things (i.e. a wavelength, temporal radiation, or even an empirical law capable of quantifying its affects beyond simply being a condition of existence [Entropic theory tries, but ultimately concedes the influence of chaos is too vast to even attempt a generalization, much less mathematics]). We can ask where does time affect an object? In the sensual qualities? The real object? It would seem to me to be both, and thus time and chaos melds the for-us and the-thing-as-it-is into a single influence (I prefer the term influence rather than force since force implies something measurable in empirical discourses). In this sense, in terms of the-thing-as-it-is, I see a paradox: time and chaos affect physical reality, as such they participate in physical reality, and must operate in a condition of being, but they are equally a non-being, a non-being that (if we concede to chaos theory and certain new ideas about the formation of the universe like that of Stephen Hawking) is seen by many as the catalyst of the formation of being (specifically, Chaos here). If we concede that chaos exists, which seems entirely undeniable to me since all things deteriorate, or that time exists (which I understand an idealist argument can be made that it does not, a stance that I may or may not have taken on previous occasions), then can’t we say that Chaos is both a being and a non-being, and even a primary absolute in terms of Stephen Hawking’s theory of the formation of the universe since he contends that Chaos was the ultimate catalyst for the formation of being, thus making it anterior to being?

    I know this is a bit off from a discussion of Nirvana, but it seems like we are both following similar paths.

  2. I would like to add that time/chaos obviously affects the Real Qualities, Sensual Qualities, the Real Object, and the Sensual object all the same. I stopped short of that for some reason.

  3. jmdaven permalink

    I think Deleuze’s hyperstatization of difference would rely on a subject because without a subject becuase (so far as we have read in D&R) he seems to have implicitly remained within the correlationist corolary that for difference to exist, something must perceive difference. That is for there to be more than simple univocal being, but univocal being with a difference, there must be a notion of difference, even of difference without a concept. Not 100% sure though, perhaps we’ll discuss this in the other class?

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