Thoughts on the “End of Metaphysics”


The self that appears to itself is a recollection from recurrence, a memory inscribed into the real of what has recurred as self-same. Its substantialization (as subject) is a posit of itself as absolute to which the absolute can itself appear as such, i.e. as absolute. The I-Subject is the necessary invental condition of belief in absolute appearance and so also of absolute belief, and yet absolute belief is never mine, but that of the nobody, the “subject supposed to believe”. It is not a choice but a “de-scission” which enacts a cut in the real, always already made, that immediately recoils into the belonging-together of absolute appearance and the I-Subject as the same.

This cut creates the “gap” in the real that is constitutive of “reality”. It “betweens” absolute appearance and the I-subject as the same, as invental subjective appearances. This “absolute appearance” is “being” (as beingness of beings, and simultaneously as a being, the most banal of generalities and the highest of beings), not the appearance of a substantial being that lies behind or beyond appearance,. This latter is no more than a projection of absolute belief itself. The I-subject is the image of absolute appearance (or presence, as beingness of what is present) in that both are the appearance of the “less than nothing” that structures reality, as opposed to the simple presencing of the real, its active appearing as such, which is not abstracted or mediated but immediately intuited.

We constantly miss the appearance of the real because it has always already happened before we can experience any thing as such, and thus can take it as an object for re-presentation, description, analysis, explanation, etc.. Understanding occurs in and as the experience of the appearance of the real, and so we constantly fail to understand understanding, since no amount of description, analysis or explanation of what is re-presented implies any understanding beyond simple intuition of the real as what presences. The conceptual, which includs all rationality, can never grasp the inceptual since presencing is not graspable in the sense of an object, but is that to which we are owned over and thus concerned with. It is experienced as captivating and transporting, which only appear as exceptional because are in perpetual flight from it.

Christianity as the final form of metaphysics appears as theism, and already includes atheism, monotheism, and polytheism as non-distinctions of itself. The operative distinctions lie between orthodox, reformation and counter-reformation (Jesuit) theism which are differentiated by the potential content of the place of the theos: as universal in the orthodox (which includes pre-reformation Catholic), as personal (reformation protestant), and finally as particular (counter-reformation Jesuit Catholic). Whether the place is seen as empty or containing one or more universals, persons or particulars makes no significant difference, since neither the structure nor the potential content is changed. Christianity proper is the most truly atheist of atheisms, since the place of the theos is not only empty, i.e. God is not only dead as in Judaism, replaced by the big Other of the law, but God has seen himself to be dead AND as having killed the big Other by destroying the law. The “holy ghost” is not the big Other but little more than the relations between members of the community: the community and the “little other” that betweens and intensifies the basic meaning (sense, direction) of human being – care – into love. “Little more” though does not imply “nothing but”: it is not nothing but “little more than” nothing.

The historical edifice of Christianity is the formal structure of theism. The place of the theos, since it remains although empty, can be filled by monarchy, democracy, humanism, science, Darwinism, revolutionary Marxism, psychoanalysis, progressivism, etc., all of which are simply reformulations of metaphysical theism. The “new atheism” is a reactionary reformulation precisely in that it is a return to the reformation as opposed to the counter-reformation (Jesuit) atheism of Voltaire for example. As personal it is also the most vulgar. Psychological interiority arose as an attempt to harmonize the radicality of Christianity proper with the continuance of Roman law, and thus is part of the subversion of Christianity into metaphysical theism. The radicality of Christianity has never been properly operative because it was usurped by Augustus as a facade that not only conceals the operative god, but conceals that very concealment (the operative god was already concealed by the cult of Caesar). All theisms continue that concealing of the concealment of the operative god that continues to structure western society, which today means human society. Although western society includes “everyone”, it remains non-all, in that “everyone” is always exclusionary. Those disincluded from metaphysical reality, which includes rationalism and capitalism as well as theism as equiprimordial constitutive threads, are not part of “everyone”. They are the residue, refuse, rabble, the lumpen, those that don’t “matter” and thus are immaterial to metaphysics. They are the only true Christians as St. Paul appropriately defined them – “the shit of the earth”, in all their inherent radicality.

The “nothing has changed” which “changes everything” is precisely the “little more than” nothing recurring (appearing) without the minimal difference that allows everything to appear “as if” nothing has changed, when in fact everything insofar as it recurs as self-same is also self-different and thus has always changed. This “little more than nothing” as self-identical allows everything to appear as changed. This “little more than nothing” can itself only appear as an intimation of the self-concealing, as refusal. The insight into what can only be mystery is the event of the collapse of the “big Other” into the “little other” that is little more than the between of otherness and self.

Religion proper is neither the de-scission of metaphysics nor a choice but this reflexive insight that may eventuate to a given self or not. The “end of metaphysics” which is theism in its various forms is not the “last”, which is older than the first beginning as metaphysics. That which is oldest only appears last to man, if it appears at all.

The “end of metaphysics” is not a termination but rather a potentially interminable “etcetera and so on” which may continue for longer than its entire development. It is an end, though, in that there are no positive possibilities remaining latent in it, and the “and so on” is no more than a constant reshuffling of the same as standing-reserve or resources, constantly accelerated, in order to give the appearance that something is happening. As such it is also the end of history. Only the intimation of the last provides a possibility of another history, the recovery of which requires that we retrace history beyond the first beginning. There is no possible bridge to another beginning, precisely because the abyss of the real has no banks, there is only the leap into the abyssal itself. Those that venture the leap find themselves where they already were, yet stand there for the first time.

This end, as the end of metaphysics, includes all the ambiguous inversions of the basic metaphysical positions: those that consider themselves scientifically enlightened are immediately seen publicly as the most naive, while fundamentalists are the most cynical of atheists. Those that profess atheism are the only “true believers” left, and the so-called cynics are those that cling to a belief that truth exists behind the facade about which they are cynical. These inversions, as ambiguous, include the reality that in any given case they may not be inverted. The ambiguity can even exist in the same person, such that what appears as genuine one moment is purely cynical in another moment. We see conspiracy theorists as incredibly naive precisely because “everyone knows” there is a conspiracy and knows what it is. It is and has always been hidden in plain sight: the concealing of the concealment of the operative god.  This operative god though is itself merely an idol, something exchanged for the primary god, that which is last, because it is prior to the first.

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