Who is this person?

What else is she doing?

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“it’s not complicated” is where politics goes to die.

People tend to use relativism as an excuse for narcissism. they confuse “I can only speak for myself” with “I can only speak about myself.”

Patriarchal authority Vs contractual authority: The order of patriarchal authority demands constant and repeated obedience to a particular person. That person can change opinion at any point in time. So the protection that person grants in exchange for obedience is fragile. That is why patriarchal authority rules by fear: technically speaking, protection can be revoked at any moment – and besides protection there is only violence (or is it?). The order of contractual authority also demands obedience – but obedience to a contract, an order, not a person. That contract, because it is set in writing, does not change its opinion. So the protection that contract grants in exchange for obedience is solid, stabile, reliable – at least ideally speaking. This, I take it, is the perceived progress of contractual authority (basic laws, constitutions, parliaments, democracy etc) over against patriarchal or personal authority (monarchy, aristocracy, absolutism etc) : relative reliability and thus at least a partial cure for the incessant fear that otherwise marks many people’s existence.

Hospitality requires a whole cluster of skills. But contractuality requires only one: obedience. Thus, societies are easily arranged around social contracts: submission for protection, the end. But in this case, the simple order is not the better order. It inevitably produces misery embodied in the indifference among people and loneliness within each one of them.

Three dimensions of art making:

1) pre-enactment (craft the new world) the age of questions is over

2) research (limits of the material, self-expression, scientific research with artistic means, re-invention of past technologies [tungerluy, brathway Shirley] ),

3) perfection (evoke beauty, display nature)

Superhero and supervillain movies are almost like abstract art in the early 20th century. In braque and Picasso, but also manet, monet and other impressionists, you can see figurative painting dwindling slowly, with an increasing quasi scientific interest for the relationship between color, canvas and frame. Likewise, present day movies such as suicide squat 2 exhibit barely any storyline in favor of mere presentation of characters and action scenes. The narrative is barely a vessel for color, speed of movement and characters drawn in brought strokes, the individual parts of the movie seem hardly connected, the individual elements are consumed in the moment. It s poor film-making, catering to an audience that mostly watches the movie in order to have their Fandom tickled for sure – and in order to sell some merchandise. However, on the screen, we see how the movie itself literally falls apart, how its parts come off like an old piece of furniture – but only to take on a sculptural life of its own.

We are living in a post nazi world. The nazis set a new paradigm of evil, which the post ww2 order manifested around. The united nations, genocide conventions, the US as global police are all alleged attempts to prevent a catastrophe like the Nazis in Germany ever to happen again. Even neoliberal capitalism with its unflinching support of individual expression is formed as the antidote to totalitarian equalization of individuals into a united volk. The worst thing you can be called is a nazi, or be compared to Hitler. The nazis are here with us, as a repressed mythology – and hence also as an object of fascination… Yet any determined negation runs the risk of backfiring – to become what it denies…

Meta power of judgment : the capacity to judge which judgment should be made. That is : looking into a room, what s the important thing to focus on? Looking into a machine or a text: what s the problem, what s of interest etc? This capacity may be the difference between human intelligence and machine intelligence – the former has a space for meta judgment while the latter stays within the bounds of predetermined judgements to make (such as : find the rule within this set of numbers or find the hole in the pipe etc).

Liberal democracies promise equal opportunity. But we don’t need opportunities. What we need are actualities, real conditions. Instead of longing for equal opportunities, we should long for actual happiness. And a society should aim to provide the conditions for real material happiness among its people and not just the opportunity to maybe be happy if the stars align accordingly.

The obsessive neurotic imperative is a narcissistic version of the categorical imperative : everything ought to behave in such a way as if my needs were natural laws.

A good art project is generative, hospitable to future projects. In the end of a good project, people team up for the next project, plan things, invite each other for dinner. They spin off into new worlds, new connections…

On the sad toxicity of cis het men: There s often an underlying defensiveness in cis het men that can burst out and turn into aggression. It’s a shakyness underneath, a deep insecurity. I wonder if it is a result of the transsexual contract – cis men are the protectors but not entitled to protection, lest they will lose status. This fear of being protected, the fear of giving oneself over to protection is the political cause or origin of castration anxiety – anxiety to lose some power, then be declassified as a man and hence lose all status completely. Gay men, bottoms especially, often don’t show that anxiety – they know that it’s OK and often pleasurable to hand themselves over to someone else s care (lest they feel shame about bottoming, which is when they battle the cis het phantom within). In any case, if it is correct that the deep anxious trembling in many cis het men comes from their structural position as protectors who don’t learn how to be protected, then we can clearly see how the transsexual contract really harms cis het men : the transsexual contract turns these bodies into protectors. But nobody can thwart of dependency and the necessity of being cared for. Yet that means that these cis het men must be inherently afraid of their own needs, caught between a rock (lose status as protector) and a hard place (remain forsaken without care and affirmative dependency). Cis het masculinity is thus really an impossible position. Of course, it can be mediated, sublimated if you will, in many different directions – the needy husband at home the stern leader in the office, the complicated man towards lover or therapist or both etc. Yet still, this mediation only testifies to the power of the impossible paradigm of cis het masculinity. In fact, the necessity for such mediation makes it a properly toxic paradigm: it s not just bad, but radiates out, poisons other paradigms, drags them down with itself… Such as cos het femininity, organized around an incessant need to be protected.

Cis het societies are often founded around lineage and ancestrality. Babies babies babies babies. Western democracies are exemplary of this logic : you are part of the community if you re born into it: French mother, french passport etc. Of course, there are other ways to get a European passport. But this “naturalization” is always an attempt to become “equal to” those born into the community. In that way, cis hetero sexuality is built into the way in which at least European democracies negotiate belonging, negotiate citizenship. At this point, the politics of migration meets queer politics : migrants are born elsewhere, they are “foreign” because western communities are founded on BABIES, on lineage etc. (both antisemitism and anti-zionism carry some of thst flavor as well) Centuries of discrimination against queer and trans people had the same reason: they don’t procreate, they exit from the ideology of THE Baby, they interrupt the lineage, they commit treason to THE People, a people formed of babies of others who belonged to the same group. In this sense, the problem negotiated both in queer politics and in migrant politics is THE BABY, physical reproduction as the foundation of society…. In this sense, maybe the relative guardedness of queer and trans communities is a good thing. You have to get initiated, you need to know the codes, the ways of speaking the ways of behaving. You are not born this way, not entitled to attention and access by birth. It s a community of initiation, not of procreation. If there is a queer or trans society, a transgender state, then this might be a base idea towards it: the trans state is a state of initiation, not of birth…

There is no text without its enabling and restrictive context. Thus, wherever I talk about myself in this text, I react to discursive requirements and expected suspicions. These accomodations make this text more consumable. The structure of this text is hence an artifice – and necessarily so. Furthermore, there is no human body without technology. Everywhere, devices direct desires, be it through discipline (education), pleasure (sex, games, friendship), training (the bike, the gym, but also trashing oneself in an act of resistance) or otherwise. Food, bodies and babies are produced in and through devices – think of combine harvesters, dating apps and childbeds.  Gender affirming medical procedures and live saving medication are merely additional points on that spectrum.

Is memory an effect of libido? I wonder if memory is particularly strong when a surplus of libido is caught up in it – when a sexual encounter could not succeed or anger could not be expressed etc. It seems as if this extra force that was present in the moment was the force that is stored in memory, impresses itself… “cry me a river” is literally true : the incapacity to cry in the moment results in the formation of a physical impression, a trace elsewhere – and that trace then hosts infinitely many more tears, real and imaginary…

Maybe “maturity” and “immaturity” can be read alongside handling of emotions. Children mirror the expressions of emotions of their care givers. And later people mirror others they are attached to. Yet this does not indicate the inner life of that person – it merely references the people they have liked before. Is it in order to communicate belonging to a certain group, to check out whether the people you liked are the people they liked? Another question : is it possible to adjust the expression of emotions more closely to what is going on inside (including the various wirings through other sources)? Is that maturity?

Four criteria to determine if you are in a relationship. If two apply, you are probably in a relationship. If three or more apply, you are almost definitely in a relationship.
1. Sex on a regular basis
2. Transference
3. People think you re in a relationship when they see you together
4. Enacted collectivity: Participation in each other s a-venir, for example future projects (such as care), decision making processes (it s not just transference anymore but enacted collectivity) etc

How to be funny : confuse categories and smile. Examples : four causes (“why is this here?” “because you put it there” – confusing efficient and final cause), intimate distinctions (“and then the mirror image just got up and walked away”) , normative and descriptive (“can I?” “I don’t know if you can but you re certainly invited to…”) etc.

the idea of property as a thing, a mere object that can be appropriated by any person whatsoever presupposes a real distinction, a complete conceptual separation between subjectivity & objectivity, between things & their users, between humans & their environment. yet that is not the case: we become who we are through the production & the use of things, just as we ourselves are extensions of the things we use & produce. That is why we keep things of other people as reminders, that’s why we spend time in acquiring the right kinds of objects, clothes, instruments, apartments etc., making them our own, learning them, tweaking them etc. The basic premise of property, that it could be understood in separation from people & other objects, is just false.

Existence has at least two very general dimensions: reality and intelligibility. Reality is the dimension that kicks back, intelligibility is the dimension that is perceptible to a somewhat attentive observer. In other words: Intelligibility is the way in which the world appears to someone and reality is the way the world is. Reality is presupposed by intelligibility as that which intelligibility is about. And inversely, intelligibility is indispensable to reality because even if reality itself or some piece of it was un-intelligible, if nobody could ever know of it, then that un-intelligibility would still be presupposed in this very argument. Like a black hole in outer space makes itself known by the way in which other objects behave around it, unintelligible reality makes itself known at least on a discursive plane by the way in which concepts tend to turn in a similar place or cannot cross a certain boundary (Derrida’s difference is a prime example of this). 

reality & intelligibiliy are two fundamental dimensions of existence – where intelligibility is simultaneously a dimension of reality & a surplus to reality, simultaneously a version of reality itself & in turn the intelligibility of that version of reality – ad infinitum

Political factioning is easy. The question is: What is the problem that politics is supposed to solve? If your response is ‘authority’, you are an anarchist. If your response is ‘distribution of wealth’, you are a bourgeois capitalist. If your response is ‘private property’, you are a communist.

mysticism & philosophy: mysticism articulates things you didn’t know how to say before. philosophy demonstrates things you didn’t know could be thought before.

if the pandemic has demonstrated anything it is that derrida was right: people unnecessarily cling to the fantasy of presence wherever they can, and totally unnecessarily so.

functions of art and critical theory in times of war: first off there is a general confusion: as if there was war now and there had not been war before. there has been war before – in syria, in yemen, in the balkans. beyond that, the TOTAL WAR of the 40s has fundamentally transformed western economies such that times of peace are basically war in suspense. canned food, chocolate bars, MDMA and crystal meth are the remnants of this war that has been commodified and was woven into ‘civil’ life, but did not altogether end (re-nazification instead of de-nazification). secondly, another confusion: art and real life, theory and ordinary thought/conversation are not really distinct. there is an intimate difference between them, which has them appear different but also connects them, intricately. whenever we wonder whether we should go pick up refugees from the border, donate money, host people, join a march etc, we are engaging in critical thinking. whenever we make each other laugh over lunch, impersonate our friends towards each other or make fun of politicians, we engage in artistic activities. these are concrete activities in the real daily lives of every human being. there is, in fact, no life without theory, no life without art, as theory is just the intellectual reflection on life and art is its elaborate repetition. the question then cannot be ‘what are the functions of art and critical theory in times of war?’ the question must be a question of staging: is there a point to stage critical thinking and art, to professionalize, to intensify, to engage with these activities as main activities for a certain amount of time? and my answer to this question is: yes.
the appears war is different now because a nuclear power is involved that is taking on NATO in a proxy war which could technically flare up into a fully fledged war that involves us more directly. here is a list of activities that both staged art and critical theory can have in these times:

  • a) polemical functions:
  • brushing your teeth: keeping the critical faculty afloat
  • immunizing us against fake news, ideology, lies
  • keeping the domestic front solid (example: bundeswehr corruption)
  • cyber war, social media (example: latour vs. baudrillard ‘why has critique run out of steam?’)
  • b) hospitable functions
  • trauerarbeit vs. melancholia
  • maintaining community (art & CT as activities that form community)
  • reproductive labor, preparing us for more concrete activities (activism)
  • mental health: art and theory as soothing devices.
  • maintaining the idea of a better world so it remains clear what is being fought for – and that the regime organizing the fighting is not what we support. 
  • eternal war is good only for those in power, for arms companies and for politicians benefiting bc nationalization and increase of conflict within society. we need to keep up the actual idea of another world, a world beyond the war so as to keep the door open that will lead us out of the war.

Against epistemic authoritarianism: Just as religion had the protestant uprising which shifts authority from church officials to the individual conversation with God, philosophy had the humanist uprising and later the philosophies of the new sciences, which shift authority away from (at times the same) officials at the universities to individual encounters with truth and research. Dante’s convivio and his divine commedy may stand in as exemplary for this movement. However, the problem is: residues of institutional authority always remain, be it in canonization, in access to publication and distribution, to education or in the plain power of the office, money and libidinal, oedipal relations to parental proxies. One of these proxies, and not the least problematic one, is one’s own (super) ego as replacement of the institutionalized authority, a disembodied, atomized vessel of ‘opinions’ and arbiter of universal knowledge. Yet another one of these proxies is the pseudo-anarchistic denial of all authorities from a thinly veiled ultimate authority that denies all authority. In a way, this is the political aspect of bad skepticism: the bad skeptic doubts everything, though that everything can be doubted (‘is merely an individual opinion’) occurs as dogmatic truth. Likewise, the allegedly individual thinker rejects all authorities except her own authority to reject all authorities – and in that dogmatic assumption, she is an epistemic authoritarian. The question, however, is: how can authority be re-distributed beyond such contraction in designated pockets of epistemic authority? What can another paradigm of knowledge look like? In other words: What is epistemic atheism? It could, for example, continuously rebuild and discredit its own authority, leaving itself and others with nothing but a critical engagement. Philosophy as expression of the problematicity of reality itself, rather than an attempt to master it. Yet it is important not to go for cheap effects and not to drop into the mere presentation of opinions and skeptical nothingness. It is crucial to dramatize the problematicity in such a way that its impass becomes palpable, requires engagement, resists complacency, generates movement, resistance, rebellion and expression in political, social and libidinal rearrangement.

The problem with progressive terminology is its double edge: on the one hand, by contracting apparently diffused experiences and conditions into concepts, progressive terminology can have an empowering effect. On the other hand, the same contraction makes the same experiences and conditions manageable for those (already) in power. That is why critical terminology must always evolve – so as to avoid complete appropriation by the state apparatus. Yet under conditions of neoliberal capitalism, this constant evolution becomes yet another tool for marketing and the accumulation of (socia, cultural, monetary) capital. There is no hope. The end.

If conceived in two dimensions, a turning spiral will appear as a sinus wave if looked at from one side, a cosine wave from another side and a circle from yet another side. Our own perspective from above, however, is just another perspective on the same object, albeit in three dimensions. All of these ‘perspectives’ are real. Being particular mathematical expressions, they do not depend on a certain perspective strictly speaking – rather, they manifest the same figure in different dimensions of reality. Although circle, wave and spiral may appear mutually exclusive, they are really just different expressions of the same thing – with the catch that that thing does not exist outside of its expressions. My suggestion is that different takes on philosophical problems (such as: are mind and body one or many? Is there agency or are we necessarily determined? What is infinity? Is there meaning behind signification? Etc.) are really just different expressions of that problem in reality, just as wave, circle and spiral are different expressions of the same figure. Yet, neither does that figure exist outside of its expressions (the three dimensional version is not ‘more real’ than its two dimensional counterparts), nor does any philosophical truth exist outside of its expressions in its critical discourse (no philosophical position is ‘more real’ than any other). Philosophical speech, then, should not insist on the superiority of the circle over the spiral, but rather study the plasticity of philosophical problems. For this purpose, I suggest the dramatization of these problems. Theorizing this process in detail is the heart of my philosophical project.

the existence of a justice system is proof that reality itself is unjust. it is because the world as it is does not equalize harm, does not compensate losses and does not progress towards freedom that justice must be produced actively. in this sense, justice is a construction. yet this construction is malleable and yesterday’s crime may well be tomorrow’s law – for better or worse. so keep on pushing.

A useful distinction regarding privilege is Kant’s distinction between “worthiness of happiness” and “actual hapiness,” where the former is subject to ethical discourse and state legislation, while the latter is not. You can do everything right and still suffer a terrible accident or be depressed for life just because. Justice is a human construct, not a feature of reality itself. Privilege, in turn, is not concerned with actual happiness, but only with the assumption of worthiness of happiness – people may or may not see a trustworthy business partner, an interesting lover or an object of gratuitous violence in you. All this, however, resides in the realm of (alleged) worthiness of happiness and the affirmation or denial thereof, not actual happiness. That s why struggling hard or being unhappy are not arguments against happiness – you may be extremely privileged,  but unhappy , unlucky or make bad decisions that turn on you. It is important to keep the two apart. For likewise, more privilege does not mean more happiness. More privilege means more justice. But justice and a happy life are two different things. They are surely not unconnected. But they are not identical either.

The heterosexual family is a secular religion. It continues the ideological function of religion in the full sense: deferral of redemption and happiness into an elsewhere. This elsewhere used to be paradise, the afterlife or rebirth. It is now the next generation: people are ok with oppression as long as their children will have it better. They forfeit their own well being for the benefit of someone else. But despite that promise of social mobility being little more than a broken promise, the point here is this : the heterosexual family structure stands in the way of people s self empowerment. People don’t rise bc their children might have it better. This disempowering libidinal trap must be disarmed for the sake of the pink revolution. Heterosexual childhood and patrimony must be abolished. 

The philosophical mind is a factory. Philosophical reasoning is concerned with the contraction and condensation of reality, of thoughts and of relations into units that are easy to handle and quick to trade. Vast landscapes of rich emotional lives and complex experiences shrink into a bunch of terms that can be easily combined and used to speed up thinking. Philosophy is always on drugs, is a drug – it´s pure speed, pure acceleration of the connections between these distilled realities. In this sense, the philosophical mind is the first machine.

The existence of emotional pain is proof of the dysfunctional misalignment between social institutions,
traditions and practices on the one hand and the emotional material, such as psychological
or affective needs and capacities, on the other hand.

In capitalist democracy, the rulers have a common church, named capitalism, worshipping money, which is generally despised by the ruled, who think themselves better or more pure than the rulers by avoiding the chase of money. However, that purity is exactly a part of their oppression, because it keeps them from seeking office and high positions, so that moral superiority works to maintain their oppression.

Wonder if you’re (still) in a relationship? If two of the following three criteria apply, you are probably in a relationship – if not, then not. 1) You have transference (the person is on your mind, is your interlocutor, you recognize things they might like or dislike, you are afraid/excited/insecure/etc about/around them, you project things on them etc.). 2) You have sex with each other. 3) Other people think that you’re in a relationship when they see you together.

Freedom is Toxic. Concretely: In reality, the 20th century realized autonomy in automobility – the car. this picture prevails. In general: really existing freedom is the positive feeling (affect, emotion) of non-resistance. this freedom ultimately remains dependent on external factors (namely the obstacle removed, the technology overcoming the resistance – such as the car, the fridge, the tax break, the nanny). in this sense, freedom is toxic: it proclaims a perpetual dependence relation. Positive freedom (productive external interference such as health care or social obligations) is a nice concept, but it is not how people conceptualize and live freedom – it should better be called ‘sociality’ or something like that (for that’s what society really is or could be: a set of enabling external interferences – social relations, taxes and cultural practices that make our emotional lives communicable and manageable). An example: the women’s march pictures a world free from patriachy on the streets. But a challenged master wouldn’t be challenged if he (sic) wasn’t the master. And so patriarchy prevails through the emancipatory attempt. There is no feminism without victims.

Everybody should change their first name when they leave home. for every (temporally) first name is burdened with oedipal conflict and dressage, the discipline to follow orders. inadvertently, the first name as used and given by parents carries that power with it. it is important to leave it behind on the road to autonomy/independence. this process may be repeated upon departing from a toxic workplace, an abusive relationship or wherever else it comes in handy. changing your name should not be any more exciting than getting a new haircut.

on living without cis men: it’s like living without spaghetti. I am gluten intolerant, so i can’t eat normal spaghetti, which are mostly made from wheat. i could technically eat lentil spaghetti or other kinds of gluten free spaghetti. but it’s awfully expensive – too expensive for me. who really wants to pay more than 2 Euros for just a bunch of spaghetti? so i just don’t eat spaghetti – i eat rice noudles, rice, sweet potatoes and all kinds of other stuff. and people really tend to underestimate how amazing these kinds of food are. sure, it requires a touch of creativity from time to time – but the reward is almost guaranteed. people around me pick up on it too and sometimes we come up with astonishing food creations – together, as a collective act. there’s a whole world of food out there that has no use for spaghetti at all and it inspires co-operation and collective thinking. now, sometimes when friends cook for me, they will use gluten free spaghetti – and that’s nice. but somewhere inside me i am also thinking “why do you need to make me eat like you do? why do you need to normalize me?” Of course, it’s only spaghetti, hospitality always wins and the next time around, i’ll cook risotto or whatever. But the case is analogous: nothing is irreplaceable. Not even cis men.

Mistakes are ontologically necessay – deflection and imaginary existence are necessary inflections of absolute infinity. 

Emancipation is always emancipation of matter and not material emancipation of otherwise disembodied minds or consciousness. That is to say: the original oppression is the subjection of matter to spirit (aristotle, neo platonism etc.). This oppression is being mirrored in its multiple inflections (black/white, male/female, cis/trans etc.). In each case, the corporeal, passive, inferior part is subsumed to authority and control of the spiritual, active, superior part (in fact, the former is often omitted, re-invented as a deferred, broken version of the latter). Thus, the original oppression is the inscription of this division in the first place, pitting the two against each other. But nothing is going to move without the radical embrace of the weakened, material, embodied position. Writing, extension, the body, desire etc. are the sites of radical resistance – but only so as to dissolve the opposition altogether (which is opposed to gender-, race-, matter-blindness on the one hand and a new kind of domination on the other hand).

Violence is commonly understood as something external, be it natural or artificial. The disaster, however, is that violence is constitutive of anything potentially violated or commited violence against. Violence, as much as it is a problem, is necessarily part of any possible solution. We are the violence. There is no such thing as “the good” – not just because of relational judgment, but also because the inaugurating force establishing boundaries crossed later on was already violent breach of given conditions. Philosophy is therefore the study of violence and itself violent – the violent study of violence. 

It’s because psychoanalysis is not a science that a cure is possible. Otherwise,  things would be absolutely determined – our own psychic apparatus and trauma would be the hell within our hearts, the one we carry everywhere and – like the hedgehog in the fable – is always already there when we come around the corner. But that s not the case. Psychological development cannot be determined (lest we knew the full order of causes). The essence of the human mind is indetermined. No one knows what a psyche can do. Re-staging the trauma remains possible. 

midlife crisis is really just the second coming of castration – it is the realization that some doors have closed, that you are bound to obey actuality. reactions are as varied as they come – depression, resistance, acceptance, ignorance etc. 

the difference between analytic and continental philosophers might be one of motivation: analytic philosophers are mostly technocrats who believe that philosophical truth may foster scientific progress which ultimately makes everything better. in that sense, analytic philosophers are children of the enlightenment. continental philosophers, however, have a different relation to truth, one that is fundamentally disjointed from any notion of progress or social emancipation. in this sense, they are children of the traumatic destruction of the enlightenment dream – the bastard children of enlightenment and singular occurrences such as auschwitz, the transatlantic slave trade or colonial violence.  that is why continentals generally stay closer to social struggles as a field of interest in their own right, shying away from the highways of truth as quick access points to valid conclusions. inversely, that is why analytics look to empirical sciences for guidance in their philosophical endeavors. sometimes, analytic philosophy becomes itself a version of empirical research (such as in the close link between philosophy of mind and cognitive science), while continental philosophy sometimes does itself become a version of certain social struggles (such as poco and feminist philosophy). 

three ways of social interaction: a) the narrative approach : telling each other stories of one s life as in a novel, orally presented. serves to keep a distance from one another, people are witnesses to each other s lifes. danger: emotional isolation. b) the anecdotal approach: small sound bites, puns and ironic commentary. allows for close connection (doing things together, being in on the joke) without much exchange of information. danger: may backfire if the joke turns out to be oppressing the wrong people. c) the therapeutic approach: seeking advise with concrete problems, be they pragmatic or psychological in nature. serves to found real social bonds and solve trouble collectively, thus with more power than it may be possible individually. danger: bad advise and an asymmetric, dominating dynamic if applied one widely, also possible renouncement of agency. 

on neoliberal ‘philosophy’: recoding existing thought in new terminology is not philosophy but just a new rhetoric, generating a new product. It is thus deeply capitalistic. and that is the drama of the so called ‘new materialism’.

According to Spinoza, things are ratios of motion and rest. We can understand heteronormativity along these lines. Although you exchange the bodies forming a family (cis-male + cis-female + cis-children = family) with other bodies (be they of the same gender or trans* or etc.), the relations between these bodies and their collective actions may well be the same in terms of hierarchies, the structure of the working day, holidays etc. etc. In that sense, the family will follow the heteronormative model physically. Otherwise said: If it walks like a cishet, quacks like a cishet and swims like a cishet, it’s probably a cishet – and the same counts for a family accordingly.

a philosophy of emotions must be emotionally accessible – it must convince emotionally and not just according to abstract rationality. that,  in fact, is one of Spinoza s cardinal mistakes: that he does not link his analysis of the affects to his methodological approach. for the latter remains strangely removed from corporeal affection. it proceeds as though a pure mind was reading it. Spinoza’s Ethics constructs a reader that by its own account cannot exist – a reader whose approach to philosophy is purely rational, disembodied as it were. 

hormonal self determination should be a general social project just as access to education, health care and legal services. it is the role of the state to balance out the injustice of birth. in that manner, access to hormones is no different from access to schools, shelter, information or clothes or food. 

horror stories and comedies often turn on  distinctions – the mirror image becoming a doppelganger,  Dorian Gray dying upon killing his alter ego,  a nose achieving a life of its own and going about life autonomously. in all these cases, distinctions are being mixed up. the conceptual distinction between a person and their mirror image is turned into a real distinction between two people, and so is  the modal distinction between a person and their nose. likewise, vampires have no mirror image, while shadows may take on a life of their own. 

Where does the fear of theft originate? Answering that question would require its own paper. Suffice it to say that capitalism picks up on the metaphysics of presence in a very material sense. Capitalism manages to exile the otherwise traumatic confrontation with the transient nature of reality into particular characters, people even – criminals, thieves, Queers, Jews, black people, women, deplorables. In this sense, the fear of theft is a general uneasiness about the fragility of the world itself. In the consolidation of property as a social paradigm and the relegation of its downfall into theft, capitalism institutionalizes immaturity (Unmündigkeit), licenses the insistence on a troubled relation to reality itself. Property is the institutionalized incapacity to deal with the inevitable possibility of loss, transience, evanescence. 

“nothing really matters” is a sentence often heard in moments of depression and defeat. yet it is not true that nothing really matters. for the expression “matters” is a  two place relation. like identity, “matters” requires two things that stand in a certain relation to each other – but while identity is a symmetrical relation, “matters” is asymmetrical: you can matter to me but I don’t matter to you. however, given that “matters” is such a relation, it is never the case that “nothing matters”. for that would be like stating “I am identical to.” it’s just an unfinished sentence. if “matters” is indeed a two place relation, then there must always be something that matters to someone. in other words: things always matter to a subject, a person, an actor or something like that. if there is no such someone, the “mattering” remains empty, so to speak. the alleged depth of a sentence such as “nothing really matters” is really just its semantic inconsistency. the surprising conclusion then is: it is not and can never be the case that “nothing really matters”, simply because that “really” indicates an objective position that contradicts the way in which things matter – namely in relations to people (or actors or etc). we might even think that the challenge of the question (“what matters really ?”) does itself generate this problem : for in that question, “really” seems to indicate an abstraction from individual positionality. “beyond all the particular concerns – what is it that really matters?” and in that case, of course, the answer must remain empty, because, as pointed out above, it challenges us to go beyond the way in which things usually matter. that said, even if “nothing really matters” did have any semantic content, if it really did mean something, it would be entirely different from what we mean when we say “you matter to me” or “this is a matter of high importance (to the team)” etc. For although “nothing really matters” looks as though it was to be understood in the way in which “you matter to me” is to be understood, it really is a completely different statement: for the latter is a two place asymmetrical relation, while the former is not. they are not any more similar than “you matter to me” and “I am a chicken” – where the meaning of the second part is unknown. there are some other understandings to be analysed here: a) everybody agrees that x doesn’t matter. b) x does not matter to anyone. 
a and b clearly make sense, but are much more restricted versions of “nothing really matters” with much less practical or ethical consequences. we could develop the following version out of it: 
c) for all actors x: for all objects y: no y matters to x. 
we would then say that as a matter of fact, there is no real relation of “mattering to” in the world,  although it would be possible. in this case, “nothing really matters” would make sense. however,  this version sets very high stakes for its truth conditions and moreover it doesn’t capture what is usually transported in “nothing really matters” – namely that people mistakenly think that things matter which really don’t matter. however, c) doesn’t have much to do with “nothing really matters” in that sense. 
the last version of the sentence I want to look at is this one: 
d) nothing (really) matters to me. 
this can technicay be true and is a common expression of a depressive mindset – “there nothing worth living for for me.” the problem here, however, is not so much philosophical as it is political, social or possibly psychological. true, it may be that the worth is not worth living in – but that doesn’t mean that nothing really matters. things may still matter – for example, that the world is not worth living in may well matter to the people who are actually suffering from that world. this, however, should be interpreted as a political call to arms, a call to become active, to seek therapy,  engage in activism and change the world that matters to people, rather than (as often happens) to declare that the game is up and we should  just wait for the world to burn down quietly. 

an endless contortionist – some people say you need to understand words so as to determine their modal status. but the real catastrophe is that on the level of syntax or the signifier, everything always remains possible. this ultimate possibility allows us to strive for things impossible on the semantic,  real or material level. striving for the impossible is not vain  – it does,  however produce the mountainous wreckage we call life, the debris of the impossible, the material clinamen, reality as effect of adestination. 

The future is the shadow of reality. Final causes are but misconstrued virtual causes. Final causes (such as purposes or intentions) pretend that they did pull the present into the future by virtue of some purpose or objective. “You go home because you want to sleep” – contrued as a final cause, this sentence suggests that it is the future state of sleeping that was causing the present movement (‘going home’). That, however, is wrong. What is really the case is that something which may be constitutively absent – the presence of my loving mother right now, a protective device or the imagination of the presence (!) of an academic degree, of my hot girlfriend or of the kick of a philosphical thought – enables me to do something. “[When a] child who begins to walk […], the child constructs for itself […] a virtual object or centre and which then governs and compensates for the progresses and failures of its real activity: it puts several fingers in its mouth, wraps the other arm around this virtual centre, and appraises the whole situation from the point of view of this virtual mother. […] [However,] the real [actual] mother is contemplated only in order to provide a goal for the activity, and a criterion by which to evaluate the activity, in the context of an active synthesis.(Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 99) Virtual causes exist in the present, but they are constitutively withdrawn, not actual – such as the back of my head or the body of my hot girlfriend while I am writing this. It is the emulation or simulation of these virtual objects that enable the action. The child “puts several fingers in its mouth” emulating the mother’s breast, making the mother present, though virtually present and not actually present. The frustration experienced through the actual absence of the mother – she is over there at the end of the corridor – is compensated by way of the presence of the virtual mother – the fingers in the child’s mouth. It is not the case that the child’s mother pulls the child onto their legs and through the corridor into the future. There is no future mother acting on the child. It is the virtual mother, active in the present by way of the fingers in the child’s mouth, that helps the child bridge the gap experienced in the fulfillment of its desire, experienced as frustration. In the same way, there are no final causes. Instead, what is sometimes thought of as a final cause is really a virtual cause – a cause that really does exist in the present, but as withdrawn or as an active compensation for a perceived lack (which is not really a lack in existence, but merely a partial apprehension of reality – #spinoza). in this way, then, causation does not require the mysterious final causation (not even in the Kantian remodeling as ‘organism’). it is simply causation wired through another dimension of reality – the virtual (the virtual is, however, oftentimes and easily confused with the future. but the difference is that the future will happen at some point, while the virtual never will. The future is the shadow of reality).