Being as Exchange, Things as What Recur

Without realizing it, the theologian Bernard Lonergan stumbled on the key to understanding Heidegger’s work – that “things”, properly, are schemes of recurrence with a probably greater than zero and less than one. “Being” is the event in which what recurs recurs as what it is – the appropriating event in which things come to belong to one another, and thus be what they are.  The mystery is in the belonging, the granting/gifting of a relation, itself undefinable.

Thinging is this recurrence of what recurs. The “evolutionary postulate” is the insistence of things on increasing the likelihood of a given scheme of recurrence as the thing itself. Being is therefore change, the exchange of everything for everything, which underlies simple physical processes, biological metabolic processes, and socio-historical processes alike.  This begins as g and turns back on itself as spirit.

The “last god” is as such also the first god of western society, Chaos in the Greek formulation, as the ground of interminable exchange which always withdraws in the exchange itself (and thus simultaneously Tartarus, the abyss of withdrawal, since origin is always dual). The idolatry of the substitution of the means of exchange, currency, for exchange itself (which is by definition unrepresentable), is the basic and foundational idolatry of western civilization.

The truth of gods is that they are the belonging together of man and tool, as the gifting/granting that enables man to be man as such.  This back and forthness of man and tool, and the granting of the between, underlies the back and forthness of psyche and society, as demonstrated in Plato’s Republic, and in the Poetics, Ethics and Politics of Aristotle.

Non-conceptual peoples do not intend anything “behind” or “beyond” the thing when they talk in ways that get translated as “god” or “spirit” of the thing, but of what determines the thing as what it is, the epitome of that thing, which in Plato became Idea, and later essence.   The nearness of epitome and thing in modern technology exposes the exchangeability of thing for essence, of essence for being, and so of being for thing.  This exchangeability cannot be monetarized or valued at all, and the “frictionless capitalism” of modern technology is simultaneously the end of capitalism, as the end of the possibility of monetarizing exchange itself.  Frictionless capitalism was always a phantasm, for the simple reason that if you’re doing nothing (or next to nothing) someone will always be willing to do it for less.

It becomes, thus, the intimation of the Last God, as the covering over, first by currency as Janus, then by Caesar as the son of (the) god, and finally by Christ as the isomorphic substitution in which the concealment of the idolatry is itself covered over, is finally exposed.

Yet what it conceals, finally, turns out to be self-concealing, as unrepresentable there is no possibility of Chaos without the abyssal, concealing withdrawal of Tartarus, and thus cannot appear except as intimation of that which withdraws and thus opens the place for what recurs as such.  The abyss, properly, is the erotic horizon of the future.  Yet Chaos itself is not the first god, but an exchange for the Phoenician/Canaanite ‘L.  The spreading of the seed of B’L is the granting/gifting of the between.


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