Writing’s Vital Function

Need is an absence that renders courageous and animates life profoundly. Need is the underying cause which life is blind to.  Writing is a way for life to insist on living and dying. Literature is another name for this emergency function. Writing is a response of life to itself, and to the challenges of the vital operation of living.  A risky operation. To live is to cross, migrate, translate, and relay.  Writing is the pursuit of a conjunction or transport that overcomes an impasse.  It searches for a scene where things cannot possibly move any further, and then forces further movement. A quest for an impossible continuation. This is an instinctual attraction to the resistance of the deadlock, and a strange love of the absences of representation – absences such as essence, history, memory, symbol, concept, object, and person. Writing begins because something is missing, and that absence is preventing some operations, so writing seeks the inoperative in order to initiate operations. There are events which have been meticulously planned, but their commencement awaits some essential element which is yet unrepresented. Or there must be an intervention into some inadequacy in the distribution or balance of forces in a situation. Writing is erotically motivated by the fact that there are things that could work which don’t. The spell of unrealized potential. Unrealized potential is a formlessness that is formed through the process of writing, as described by Michel Serres. Much rests on the concept of form, and especially the structural and programmatic relations between twos and threes, and their abstract distribution on a cultural level such as hospitality relations. The basic idea of civilization positivizes formation activity as work, where a good subject makes a formed work out of a formless Earth. This model is terrible, and yet it still deserves to be reasserted, as this basic positivity of the work principle is the logical basis for cultural praxis. What is troubling about humans is this dangerous Promethean quality of homo faber, the violence of the builder. Notice the analogy between this troubling figure and the demiurge of the gnostics, and then the pungent sulphur smell of this analogy. The paranoid gnostic disintegration is finished by its facile creator-notion, as though the creator could be someone like ourselves, as though we could have an intersubjective relation with them. This explains how humanism falls into neo-gnostic and luciferian hysteria. The danger of getting the wrong creator could be damning. So instead, the creator must be embodied abstractly as axis mundi, which is the classical cosmological-axiological version of the sinthome. This means primarily that it cannot get possessed by paranoiac negativity. The axis mundi is the multi-valanced dialectical relation between sexuality, objectivity, landscape and their assemblage in cosmological orientations or dispositions.  There are ancient objects such as the lingas of lord siva, the stupas of the Buddhists, the magical mountains of Meru and Kunshan, and all the dome architecture of mosques and cathedrals.  This is the troubling night of subjectivity lost in the sex-work nexus, a persistent problem over a long evolutionary history, and which is expressed in the conflicts at the heart of monotheism, such as the relation between slavery and idolatry. The way beyond this impasse is the way of the slippery signifier (cunning as Ulysses), whose dialectical power shoulders the burden of material trauma. The greatest symbolic impasses are overcome only by the contingencies of linguistic material, which includes kabbalist letter-physics, the portmonteau, the comic speed of Christ’s dual nature, and the chaos magic of the name. A name drifts through its own obscure development where it mingles and exchanges letters with other names. There are broad question of structure and form concerning how naming relates to the homeostasis of the image. Islamic geometry is linked with strictures on representation, and this has structural consequences for the act of naming.  The link between aesthetics and language in Islam are ascetic, although this word gets opened to a broad range of senses. Asceticism is an elementary operation of power, and always takes singular dispositions. Ascetic austerity is work. Perhaps there is an emerging functionalist paradigm, a kingdom of means, where use-webs pull things into participation in providential functionalism.

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