Old Ontology

I have some disdain for a prevailing boyishness that insists on irreligious anarchism. This is a way of going too far that was popularized by the perversity of Joyce, Proust, Barthes… the absence of master signifiers is the source of hubris. Boyishness goes in and out of fashion, and the present era is predominantly girlish, or you could say this age is better at producing girls. This pushes boyishness into the opposition. Victorian boyishness developed a link with the future related to flight, electricity, railways etc., but that is severed as the future now becomes girlish, which in turn makes the past boyish. These are abstract dances of alternating sexes, races, ages… an uncontrolled experiment which puts univocity to the test. All the philosophies available today are much too ideological, especially the materialisms with their awkward masks of neutrality. Today’s materialism updates the old liberal hypocrisy that said “rich and poor are equally forbidden from sleeping under bridges”, so that now we say that objects are equally objects regardless of whether they are galaxies, soap operas or credit derivatives. And if someone notices that our objects happen to be small and boyish, then we invite them to explore whatever objects they fancy. Am I the only one who finds this neutrality promiscuous? Maybe Slavoj Zizek would agree. I believe that boyishness should be pushed into old age. The basic elements of boyishness are flight, armies, women, and blue. But even more primary than these is oldness, and what I’m interested in here is the taste of oldness. More specifically, I’m interested in a boredom that some manage to appropriate as a luxury. This is a comfort that comes from a long life filled with enjoyment, and from pretending that the enjoyments are finished while secretly knowing that they are not. Old neutrality is the medium where boyishness detaches from itself and attains another sexuality in its exposure to the other. The process of ageing could take only a split-second abandonment of boyish dreams which are a primordial cause. This is slipping into the neutral medium of an epoché. Ontological difference is a breach in conceptuality which troubles its own nomination, and this is the disturbing test which boyishness fails. For this reason boyishness remains within the ends and means of mythical violence. Oldness passes the test by entering a medium of rarefied neutrality where it painlessly contemplates the most painful separations. It is important to appreciate the ontological wound in all its vulnerability, and how it opens between the vulnerability of a cultural way of life, and the vulnerability of merely biological life. This alienation is the axiomatic of bureaucracy which presumes these offset births and deaths. The challenge of ageing is to suture nature and culture, and this is the purpose of the infinitesimal calculus that penetrates into the molecular beyond matter. It’s necessary to reach a fine consistency between chronological finitude and aeonic infinity that penetrates down to the smallest scales, and it’s this profound infinitesimal reflection of difference that releives the chasm between nature and culture. The test proves that you die only once, and that your culture is inseparable from your biology. This is the inalienability of oldness. Does your culture go to the grave, or could you continue to exist as mere physiology? Ageing is the education in univocity that makes a cultural form-of-life coincide exactly with biological existence. Only the mysterious penetration of ontological difference into matter holds the chance for just one life. Oldness is a life that can be lived finally without the vulnerability of ontological difference.       

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One Response to Old Ontology

  1. underground-man says:

    I’ve spent most of my adolescence trying very hard not to be a stereotypical, Stephen Dedalus-like intellectual dandy, but the harder I tried, the more I became it. As much as I still think intellectuality for the sake of intellectuality is a bad thing, I’m also wary of action for action’s sake, which, in the final instance, leads to, and I don’t use this word lightly, fascism. The way I see it now is that being an intellectual and engaging in intellectual affairs is like an addiction, or, a bit more charitatively, my fate. I’m not trying to overcome it anymore, only control it. On the other hand I’m also not expecting it to lead anywhere. I see it as a way of life.

    Is this the type of boyishness you talk of?

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