“There Is No Invariant”

(title borrowed from “The Heidegger Change”,  by Catherine Malabou)

In the difference between the imaginary and the actual, both of which are also real, the Self as individual occurs and recurs, as modifications of the Self. The membrane between our ontic shared everydayness and individual ontological uncanniness is porous, and itself changes as we pass through from one realm to another. It is through the metamorphosis of modification itself as mood/mode that modification is never purely mechanical, not a simple to and fro, but a to and fro in which the mode/mood being left is not truly left, but changed; the mood/mode that arises is itself modified by the mode/mood exchanged for it; the mood/mode exchanged from is modified by the mode/mood that arises.

The Self as the membrane, as the site of ontic-ontological exchange, is not merely porous but purely one dimensional; it is the ontological horizon itself, abyssal not because it is deep, but because it is not even shallow. The fantastic as the exchange of the ontic and the ontological is experienced not only in the projection of the imagination but in the mode/mood that arises in and from it. The horizon as abyss, as no-thing but its demarcation, originarily betweens as such, and only insofar as things are betweened can relations form. Only in the leap of exchange, in which the leap catches itself in mid-flight, can the Self recur as self-same.

In the everydayness of the symbolic, in which we suspend doubt in the static permanence of reality while at the same time knowing it as both changing and already changed, we become familiar, at-home, by a constant forgetting of how what is immediately experienced appears. This simultaneity of seeing and not seeing the ontological dimension in our preoccupation with the ontic reveals the self-sameness and exchangeability of ontic beings for their ontological being, their essence for being which gives change; their being as essence which changes, essence as change which passes into the being itself. This at-homeness of the familiar, though, is an exchange for originary belonging as initially being “placed” in one’s proper place, which immediately changes from place to topographical position in a shared place, not an intersubjectivity but a co-belonging as being-with-others-in-the-world, where none of the three terms any longer denotes something separate that could be encountered by an other; the other is no longer other. This realm of exchange is the realm of the fantastic, the effective virtuality of imagination as part of the real.

World has neither outside nor inside, it is simply there, given along with the Self, from which it is only distinguished by the structure of its narrative, which itself is always changed. In our concern for what is worldly as such: the structure of the Self as care, structure becomes jointure, an enowning of each to the other that was exchanged for co-owning of shared property in an earlier exchange. Form becomes the motility between structure as what is self-same but changed as jointure, and vice versa, not the static form of the statue but the flash and glimmer of every aspect of a running dog. This flash of the outward aspect is eidos, which was exchanged for idea as what is immutable in the originary exchange.

The question of self-identity misses the contradictory insistence on both recurring as itself and recurring as changed, which change, as ontological exchange, is imaginary yet no less real, as the imagination and its inherent excess. The imaginary, the real and the actual are themselves always already changed and exchanged. In English “self identity” was “ipseity”, or “self-ipseity”, self-sameness as the identity and difference of and between identity and difference. World properly is a gathering, a meeting of exchanges that in their simultaneous difference and exchangeability, their incomparability and equivalence, that worlds as the exchange that exchanges equivalence for exchangeability, and exchanges difference for incomparability, essence as what is common for essence as what is unique, and thus itself changing. It is the exchanging of the essence of truth as the ground of present beings for the truth of essence as the juncture and jointure of change that worlds/whirls what presences and is exchanged once more for simple being-there: the Self, or ipseity, as the minimal difference in the self-same as an ontological-ontical converter, a converter given as thrown and actualized as project, whose essence is its existence.

Being is simply given, as is time, but given as absenting, as a withdrawing that is always already withdrawn, and in withdrawing gives essence as the juncture of exchange, gives temporality as temporalizing. Change becomes mutable, pliable. Being as permanence gives way to being as what changes, while time as mutation gives way to time as what gives the self-sameness as recurring.

As both goal and finale of metaphysics the intertwined equiprimordial threads of metaphysics: ontological capitalism, history, rationality and conceptuality, the domain of comprehension rather than understanding; essence as immutable is transformed in a metamorphosis where it becomes the juncture of exchange. The twisting-out transforms the immutable into the point of jointure of the osmosis of the ontical into the ontological and back, the metabolism of the real as ontical-ontological conversion. In every conversion this membrane is itself transformed anew, and the converter is actualized as its own constant metamorphosis, as existing.
The original substitution of the supreme god as nothing but interminable exchange without determinability (Kaos, El), for the immutable yet exchangeable god (Janus) is simultaneously faith in the substantiality of the currency which initially bore his image and was minted in his temples. First Caesar as son of the god is substituted as the idol of an idol, and then Christ as substitute for Caesar once Christianity was transformed into an isomorph of the cult of Caesar. Simultaneously substance substitutes for idea or concept, createdness for substance, mathematical certainty for creation, enlightened  rationalism for the “night where all cows are black” at the heart of subjectivity, and lastly as will, which as the will to power collapses in mere will to will.

Ontological capitalism is co-originary with ontotheology and ontotypology.  Accounting is co-originary with historiology and scientific explanation, which is always attempted as explanation from origin, and thus always views reality as createdness. Each of these threads of metaphysics comes to an end in the fruition of techne, as the enframing-challenging of creation that is modern technology.  As itself dual, the two-facedness of Janus reasserts its dominion first as exchangeability of any thing for any other as equivalent resources. It is at the same time the culmination of determination, of dominion over beings via a static determination that frames them, and the metamorphosis of the framework itself as what desubstantializes, shattering faith in currency and exposing the idol as idol.  The equivalence was only ever an equivalence of accounting  is exchanged for the unique as incomparable yet exchangeable.

Accounting, historiology and modern science become equivalent via the analogy of the historical record and the natural-historical record with record-keeping. History as historiology is a rational backwards and forwards projection founded in the irrationality of prophetic revelation, which initially determines and continues to determine what is retained as relevant in the historical record. Modern science becomes an accounting-for what appears via technology, explanation returns to its original meaning of revealing the use put to monies held in trust. Even origin becomes impossible; every origin eventually shows itself as an exchange that in its very determinability makes the prior hazy, as the origin of history makes the prehistoric, which was perfectly determinate in and for itself, appear hazy and indeterminate. The objectivity of each is finally seen as purely subjective, while subjectivity maintains a relation with what factically appears as such, the “object” of objectivity is merely a subjective fiction.

That there is a correctness in accounting, historiology and modern science remains, but that correctness is only a substitute, a limited exchange-for truth as the certain but partial understanding of what appears as simultaneously ontic and ontological, and the appearing of appearance itself in that gap of the ontological difference. It substitutes “man” as rational animal for the fundamental ontology of the Self as fundamentally ontological. As rational and Self-consciously reflexive, yet simultaneously developmental, modern science cannot survive the irrationality of projecting reason and consciousness on a developmental reality prior to their own development. As concerned with the real, it cannot survive the entirely fictional projection of the real as a mathematically coherent ideality.  Rational comprehension eliminates the excess of the real, an excess that itself appears in originary experience as imagination, which is always changed, exchanged and changing. It is in the introduction of the uncanniness of the real via metaphor that any real understanding in science, an understanding constantly misunderstood as mere popularization, properly resides.

While in the development of western society poetry predated prose, and metaphor is the key to poetry and understanding, prose is not a development from poetry. In the event in which metaphysics originated the familiar as everydayness itself became more prosaic, and in its culmination poetry becomes merely ornamental. Poiesis as self-organizing, which is simultaneously phusis as self-originating growth, was exchanged for techne as the made, the created, the manufactured.  Self-originating reality thus becomes nature as createdness, and the originary god of gods, the god of exchange and circulation, was replaced with the creator-god responsible for the createdness of nature.

As such the most artificial of artifices is the invention of nature as apparently opposed to it. As created, nature replaces self-origination in a manufacturing of nature. Technology shows its other face precisely as was supposed to control nature, assuring man dominion over it,  itself appears as out of control, when factically it was never in our control. The “uncontrolled growth” of modern technology as self-organizing reunites it with its initial opposite. Techne is a form and as such a change of phusis, just as prose remains a form of poetry. Modern technology, in the proximity of the technological artifact with its essence as an enframing/revealing, reveals its essence as the inversion of the essence of truth into the truth of its essence, which can only fully appear as the actualization of the ontological imaginary that remains imaginary even as actualized. The creation of systems that are not simply logical, but in the (Self) organization of emergent aspects form a new system that becomes determinate, and forms new emergent features that (Self) organize into further determining systems, precisely exists as an actualized imaginary. The determining system of such systems has no substantial actuality, it is a pure virtuality that nevertheless is fully real and completely actualized. As more and more substantial, manufactured (sublated) things become part of this system, their essence also changes to that of an active revealing, a work, in which they reveal the essence of technology and simultaneously are revealed as the truth of that essence, as a technological thing.

The formation and transformation of being and beings by man via techne is at the same time the formation and transformation of man by its works. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is not only an allegory of education, although as the formation of the individual man it is also that, but an allegory of the formation of man as such. Plato, like the men in the allegory, averts his eyes at the very moment that beings as such, and thus being, first come into view. By the time he accustoms his gaze to the fantastical change in reality, being has already withdrawn in favour of essence and existence. Aristotle is himself caught in the oscillation between form as the static idea that determines the particular as a type, and form as the active flash and glimmer of the real in its aspect, as something caught in flight, but though this hints at a possible reversal of the Platonic exchange of eidos as outward aspect for idea as immutable, invisible concept, he nevertheless enacts the split in beings between those formed by phusis and those formed by techne: form and matter come to mirror essence and existence in the ontic realm. While any work of techne, whether a simple tool, a work of art or the global systems of modern technology always reveal something they themselves are not, and the originary ontological splitting of being is revealed in the ontic splitting of beings into those that formed by phusis and those formed by techne, in the culmination of the metaphysics, as the essence of the modern itself, this forgetting of both being and beings is itself forgotten in the oblivion of essence and the oblivion of phusis, resulting in the naive materialism that restricts the real to the technical and the existent.

There is a correctness to the irrationality of determinist materialism in that we are determined by history as what-has-been, as what has been retained from what factically was. The irrationality comes from not seeing that we retroactively determine the history that then determines us, by changing what is retained and what of that remains valid, such that freedom itself is always a retroactive change. We are determined by the past, but not the real past, which is no longer real but purely virtual as the no-longer. We are thus determined by what is grammatically called the past-perfect, what has-been rather than what was.

The orientation to the past that marks accounting, historiology and science as the same, and in their sameness necessarily conservative, misses the present-perfect of what always already is and thus has no past, and its only understanding of the future is as the inversion of the past, as the future-perfect, what will have been. By contrast the craftsman, the artist, and the engineer, as each in a different manner concerned with techne, are always oriented to the future, not as what will-have -been but as what is to come, in which the their radicality appears. What is to come is never fully implied by the present, but must retroactively posit its preconditions, since it comes as a change to what has-been, which always already forms an ideal order, as an exchange that changes the past by forming an other ideal order, in which the tradition is itself radicalized.

Within the domain of metaphysics exchange is always by virtue of value, whether use-value, exchange-value or surplus-value. Man, being, the gods, and time also have their value for in terms of use-value, exchange-value, and the excess that is the mark of the real. In the twisting out of metaphysics technology, understood in its essence, is freeing, disrupting the price of freedom that as bourgeois society arose from the clash of feudal society with industrial revolution. In the global system of technology things themselves lose substantiality and become simply part of the network that functions via the actualized imaginary, and as such lose their value for exchange – both exchange-value and surplus-value. In the place of value-for is only the granting of the gift as favour. The gift remains a thing, something that enters the circulation of exchange, but the thing is no longer property, no longer ownable as such. The thing’s very materiality is revealed as a gathering that matters, that is meaningful. Its physicality is only movement that changes direction. Every metamorphosis is also a change in direction, and vice versa.  In a proper giving of a gift one must put oneself in the place of the other in imagination, and in this imagining and the gift both the giver and the other are altered, and the other is no longer fully other.

In the culmination of modern capitalism predicated on labour as surplus-value which in turn depends on surplus-currency,  which depends on faith in its inherent value,  this attachment by faith to the inherent value of currency destroys the surplus necessary for surplus-value, and thus capital as such, The technology that transformed surplus-currency into useful capital and thus completed ontological capitalism with “really existing” modern capitalism and as such has effected a dramatic transformation in everyday life, simultaneously eliminates the substantiality and thus the foundation for the faith in currency necessary for a surplus to exist: from gold to the gold standard, to fiat currency, and finally to digits in a computer that are transferred electronically from one “account” to another with neither a substantial form nor any actual movement, currency loses its substantiality further and further until the genuineness of currency, itself guaranteed initially by the technology of the touchstone, no longer has any meaning or articulable sense. As a representation of something, what it represents becomes mysterious, as value that Self-increases in the pure virtuality of its increasingly rapid and increasingly phantasmical circulation and exchange.


Calls for a reversion to the gold standard, or to gold itself as currency, miss the point that a loss of faith cannot be reversed, and that a factical change from valuing currency in gold to valuing gold in currency cannot be reversed, since the mystery of value has already been transferred from gold as substantial to virtual, and largely imaginary, electronic information. Insofar as most people still “believe” in the value of currency, its status as a belief rather than a faith or inherent trust, demonstrates the underlying anxiety arising from its dubiousness. The transformation of banks from huge marbled cathedrals with great archways and tellers that kept a modest, “spiritual” distance from customers via partitions, to current banks that perhaps have one teller in a small but open area, and everybody else working in cubicles where customers sit down with the “manager” of whatever aspect of banking they are involved in, testifies to this loss of faith as having already occurred. Without that faith, or at least a belief that is substituted for it and as pretense maintains the existing order, currency as valuable itself loses currency as an accepted notion, and becomes worthless. The lack of interest by the public in cases of fraud, even cases involving millions or billions of dollars, implies the same underlying knowing that it’s mere fantasy. While it cannot be provoked or even predicted in the particularity of its manifestation, that knowing must become self-evident as an accomplished fact.

What is given in giving can only be a thing, but a thing given as gifting rather than as value-for becomes a gifting that is also a granting; as a granting it becomes a favour arising from favouring as gifting; through all its transformations, though, it remains self-same as the given thing. What can be given most intimately, and thus enabling the most intimate gathering in exchange, is the Self, which as given is altered and alters the other, while each remains self-same they are no longer truly other. This intimacy is logos as gathering in its intimate nearness with pathos as pain and empathy, as the most painful empathy and the most empathic pain.

The nearness of pathos as madness and logos as thinking arises from the sameness of the experience of a loss of the symbolic, of that which creates familiarity and at-homeness, in a disintegration of the system of mind, and the experience of the removal of the belief that sustains symbolic reality as everyday familiarity. Both encounter immediate experience as understanding which includes the uncanny and the everyday as a gap, as the split in every real from which we were never factically separated. That gap splits every thing, even nothing insofar as it negates itself.  As the phantasmic real of the Self, which exists both as the difference between ontic everyday reality and the fantastic, imaginary, but no less real domain of the ontological, and the constant morphing of that very split in every crossing of it.

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