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Philosophical History and the Developmental Illusion

(After Derrida and Deconstruction)

The Developmental Illusion as Affective Desubstantialization

We need now to elaborate on these issues via the tracing of something like a history of philosophy as a desubstantializing development. As we proceed to flesh out, examine and question the behavior of a `progress´, we will have the opportunity to see its ultimate failure as the limitation of any positive philosophy, whether positive in the sense that a Levinas or Kierkegaard privileges the goodness of alterity or otherness, or positive in Derrida´s minimal senses of a modalizing play of quasi-transcendentally nameable terms:absence-presence. When we look over our shoulder at a philosophical history from the vantage of our thinking, we may preliminarily see its thread as something like an affective evolution. Texts could be selected such as to carve out an intellectual history (not limited to the `West´ but universal in scope) as a progressive desubstantialization of the moodiness of meaning's diacritical play, the reduction of a mystery-substance play which previous philosophies' terms implicate.

There would in fact be no thinking to be found anywhere which would not belong to such an affective-ethical development as either its furthering or as an anachronistic regression from that frontier. Any moment of thinking evinces itself as a limit of understanding which is simultaneously a limit of its tolerance, its ethical generosity and the fatness of its suffering. It would be as if a history of human (and pre-human) culture could be thought as an affective development manifesting itself as a progressive increase in a benign, intimately anticipatory understanding of a world; a knowledge evolution as condensation of moreness would be an et hical condensation. Each succeeding philosophy would further desubstantialize meaning; reducing the mystery which previous philosophies' founding transcendent terms has expressed.

There would be a relative substantiality, thickness, harshness, distancing to be read in the instants of a discourse, separating events of meaning from each other and at the same time rendering the presence of `each´ event being separated as harsh and thick in its substance. The delicate interstices of feeling, mood, affect weaving and reweaving an account of meaning would reveal by re-inventing most penetratingly the magnitude of this gap each time, dictating the nature of our pleasure and pain as a relative self-distancing. Plato's forms, Descartes' Mind, Hegel's Spirit, Nietzsche's Will to Power, Heidegger's Being, Derrida's trace all mark nothing other than moments of an extraordinarily intimate ethical self-transcendence. From a neolithic animism to a pre-Socratic flux, from a Medieval worldly-divine dualism to a categorical idealism, from a Hegelian thinking of dialectical contradiction and power to the genealogies of Nietzsche and Foucault and the alterity of Derrida, the (almost) same movement of moreness would be seen, which we have characterized preliminarily as something like a depowering condensation, a progressive reduction of moody mystery via the repetition of an impossibly insubstantial dissymmetry.

We can state preliminarily that when we look more closely at a philosophy which projects a world of solid and irreconcilable differences between heaven and earth, body and mind, good and evil, subject and object, we see its desire directing it toward the answering of its questions but re-inventing its questions in the act of answering them. The elegant insignificance of this re-directing directionality reproduces itself over the course of a writer's career, or over the course of a cultural history, as an imperfect evolution-as-invagination, a minimization of content and form, structure and genesis, of mystery and thingness, of suffering and emancipation.

How do we identify something like the relative moodiness of a discourse? Where exactly in a text do we find its ethical limit, its thickness of structural-genetic tension? In which concepts? We find it in each moment of a writing. To mean `this now´ is itself already nothing other than a `more than this´ of a particular momentum of acceleration-condensation. Meaning´s content would be nothing but a barely registering separation from a barely registering presence. The content-genesis of a text would originate in a particularity which holds no stable substrate-referent other than marking always a new sense of momentum as contraction or expansion. Figures wanting to comprise a philosophical tradition: transcendental, logos, ideal, empirical, foundational, metaphysical, mark almost nothing as they are re-invented in-as context except as they indicate always an impossibly evanescent new way in which meaning´s edge motivates itself as quasi-accelerative variable.

In following vicissitudes of `affective desubstantialization´, we would find no particularity captured by authorial names and the terminology which would be ascribed to them, other than that which would allow us to experience a differing so insubstantial that its entire force was absorbed in the recognition that there would always be another sense of moreness, split in the instant of its emergence as the bipolarity of transit. The uniquely particular that would distinguish one writer´s thesis from another, or differentiate his work within itself, would be absolutely overwhelmed by the extraordinarily content-devoid self-similarity which links them developmentally via the rhythmic shifts of momentum of moreness. We would find (almost) the same dynamic accounting for the way in which we would perceive any philosophy to have `transcended´ or fallen short of its predecessor. A text´s effect would manifest a most infinitesimal rhythm of repetition, a return that knows nothing else about `itself´, anything substantive, qualitative, never needing or ever being able to know, other than that it reaffirms, as barely a new particularity, a varying gesture of condensation.

Alright, you say. Enough of this dreaming. It is perfectly understandable to want to hold onto a stable order, to build a proper shelter to hold off the storm of wild, contingent history. But recognize that one's proper order is a bastard. First of all, there is no simple philosophical history as such that we can turn to and unfold, but a sea of aesthetic-political-empirico-ethical economies saturating each other and permeating us. The hope of categorical purity is left in ruins. Furthermore, a purity of direction, an emancipatory telos, runs aground against its own basis, event to event, as contingent contaminant. What is the ethical, emancipatory achievement in a progress which is always shattered by a radical outside which intervenes from the inside as a spacing-temporalizing subversion, re-making this would-be inside other and elsewhere? So dream on, but mourn also, for that ideal of proper order which never was and never could be. To this we say, yes, absolutely, there never could be such a thing as a pure history of philosophy, or aesthetics, or science, as such. There would already be an interweaving of all possible modes and moods of thought such that any self-same category or thematic history would have no basis to begin as self-present and self-identical theme. To think of a sedimented, impure philosophical history would not only be to have a contaminated substrate but something which poststructuralist writers might delight in calling an originally subverted and perverted progress of that history. But for us, it is crucial to point out that what we have in mind as history's non-id entical basis effects less than (but is not a critique of) a contamination or a subversion, leaving us nothing to mourn.

We want to convey what it is that one is left with when one exposes the damage done by such poststructuralist terms, the violence and incomprehension they subsist in. We offer that at least a part of the story we want to tell of a language beyond-within the various Othernesses favored by poststructuralist and deconstructive currents takes us through `good´ metaphors such as affective desubstantialization. We choose to introduce our thinking with the tease of a positive philosophy, a therapeutics, an emancipatory rhetoric. We say, let us at first walk through a history as that which risks bearing a resemblance to a non-self-identically good journey, but a journey whose sense of good spirals around and around itself from one instant to the next, never allowing us to know exactly what good could mean.

Let us borrow a metaphor of a developmental illusion in order that we may initially convey the strange idea of a trace which is impossibly close to itself, and impossibly minimal in itself. But don't let us get caught up with the inadequacy of this non-self-identically reinventing positivity. What is much more important than the fact that we seem to tease with a metaphysical relic is what it is that is happening with our history which is `good´ in always barely differing ways of being good, in its supposed ethical-affective-intellectual advance. The larger significance of this economy of repetition is not in what we would label it, whether we call it good, bad, condensation, regression, desubstantialization or resubstantialization , but the fact that experience threatens the basis of all labels by barely registering any sense, any difference at all. A history is devoid of the fatness of sense which could justify a decentered archeology or genealogy, except as barely more than itself.

A philosophical, or any other supposedly nameable history, would not simply be the thinking of a strange progress, it would also be the thinking of a peculiar dynamic of regress, of the failure of experience to honor our desire for a self-transcending sameness in a march of `better and better´. Along with the appreciation of a moreness which aims toward the `betterment´ of a closer proximity between two events which stand for less, a more intimate genesis alongside a more insubstantial structural moment or pole, there would be the specter of anachronism, nostalgia, forgetting, of apparent return of what was, a seeming resubstantialization of that which had been desubstantialized. The world as it would appear to me would be an always shifting vicissitude of momentum of an order both potentially, non-self-identically, progressive and regressive, but the radically unformidable nature of this bivalent play would reduce the world in all its wild impossibility to a gentle, familiar, anticipatory experiencing as characteristic of moments of so-called anachronistic regress as of progressive condensation.

Ah yes, you say. It's all clear now, the dialectic has come to pay a visit. But no, the regressive return of a transcended past is not for us a device which would complete the pure emancipatory order of history, but neither would it spoil the order of desubstantialization. Both simple notions of the goodness of progress and the badness of regress must give way to an idea of moreness which is prior to any nameable notions of valuation or sense. As we will see more clearly later, that which disappoints the dream of progress is a SEEMING regress, an APPARENT anachronistic return of what was. The apparent return of that culture, philosophy, which had been superceded would be a species of furthering. But to say that the seeming detour from, or subversion of, the sameness of progress really belongs to a progress will force us to realize that an ethical development of history would now have to be thought as no longer an emancipatory move; it will be a move too insignificant to be recognizable as any nameable mood or valuative force. Even as we now temporarily characterize this economy of repetition as the `goodness´ of desubstantializing condensation, we know that its effect is not to be located as any specifiable valuation; condensation is a device to give us a taste of a dynamic too insignificant to carry the weight of any value-sense-mood-name. We would recognize that meaning's edge, which we initially characterized as a bivalence, is really an anti or non-valence whose particular moments are less substantial than any tension of moods-senses-names, less significant than something like a play of affirmation-negation or progress-regress.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves here, (as if we have anywhere to go). We need to treat in greater length the way in which a peculiar notion like anachronistic regress needs be understood, the means by which we are to think its relation to history as desubstantializing gesture. Specifically, we need to explore how the wild contingency of affectivity, mood, sense in all its impossible vicissitudes is to be recognized via a progress-regress hinge which would seem to threaten to reduce the world to a near bi-valence which is in fact an impossibly insignificant play.

First, we want to take the liberty to treat a philosophical history in a restricted fashion. If we pretend that there could be such a nameable thing as `philosophical´, if we could imagine a trend of this supposed history as developmental, ignoring for the moment the disappointment of anachronism and regress, we will leave out little else that could be said about experience other than that, in the guise of our disappointment, what has past has apparently and redundantly returned to repeat its intimate, and less than nameable, movement. We will then analyze the role of the apparently anachronistic text in order to be able to unravel both the illusion of the developmental and the anachronistic. In the process, we will show how such a questioning infiltrates to the very idea of absence and presence, threatening our ability to know what such terms could mean in any sense, even as differance.

Kant as Affective-Ethical Depowerment:

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Let us now examine how it is that such a reading of specific texts may uncover a radical insignificance of affirmation-difference. Taking Kant as an example, we could locate his idealism as submitting a previous tradition of thought (a `tradition´ only existing in its re-invention moment to moment within the thinking of anyone in particular), to a reduced, that is, more insubstantial basis. The unfolding of a notion like the Kantian ideal could be determined in general as a play between a range of terms such that the thinking of a subjective realm would clarify the meaning of a material nature as contingent, lending to corporeality its association with selfish human inclination which grounds the possibility of evil as imperfection, which has the quality of being fallible and so on. There would be a certain moody tension dividing the selfish and the selfless, between the bodily and the spiritual, between inclination and duty, the subjective and objective, the evil and the good, the imperfect and the perfect, fallible and infallible, dependent and independent, material and formal cause.

If we suggest that Kant's `freedom of will´ is captured by this play, what does this `freedom´ enact? The freedom declared by Kant would be found to infest the entire variety of names for things, differences, concepts in his discourse (just as each new term re-invents oh so subtly the sense of freedom that would presume to frame it) as the transformative repetition of a mark of fatness, spacing, solidity, moodiness which a circular chain of terms like evil-material-fallible-contingent-corporeal point to. But what would ground a notion like `moodiness´? We have said preliminarily that there would be no way in which we could or need define the effect of any notion except as it exists as quasi-momentum, a relative density. Thus, as a general notion of `moodiness´, Kant´s thesis would only come into view meaningfully in relation to that which it furthers, reduces and condenses, or that which appears preliminarily to desubstantialize it.

We could preliminarily recognize Kant's thinking as the desubstantializing furthering of a preceding history of monotheistic metaphysics. In saying this, though, we would not be able to or need to discern any contingent particularity in the terminology Kant or his predecessors choose other than in its role as depowering division of a previous philosophy's terms, which terms would themselves indicate nothing qualitatively other or more than a similar move in relation to the thinking they question. If, as Kant says, the autonomy of a priori synthetic propositions would reveal as `heteronymous´ the contingency of empirical experience which Rationalist discourses are founded on, this tells us that something like a categorical imperative represents an impossible divestiture of the sense of difference that would locate the affectivity of something like a Rationalism, but the particularity of this sense of minimization is itself so inconsequential as to elude the grasp of a name for this achievement.

In other words, there would be no contingent `way´ or context in which a gesture of desubstantialization would reveal itself as difference between textual meanings, other than as the preservation of its own move as always (barely) new non-self-identical instantiations of momentum. Context, as the mediation or textuality of experience, performs its work before there is a question of a qualitative way or how. Contingency is too labile, too intricate, too efficient at preventing the institution of moody, configurative sense into an account of meaning to leave us anything to say, anywhere even to begin or need to begin to assign a way in which Hegel, whoever he is, differs from Kant or from himself from moment to moment in his writing, other than as a continuation-transformation of a thread with no perturbation or content besides that which would establish that there would be the repetition of the twoness of meaning as new particularities of density.

The letters, words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters that we read in Kant's or another writer's text form an ebb and flow of spacings and continuances, expansions and contractions, coherences and incoherences which gradually evolve for us a vibrating thematizing of demoodalizing moreness. This thematic re-invents its basis from moment to moment without its minuscule self-differing preventing us from continuing to recognize a developmental impetus devoid of a specific semantically identifiable way or quality of effecting itself. The words that are chosen so carefully by Kant, and that are read and re-read so carefully (differently) by so many readers, are able to tell us nothing about themselves by way of conceptual definition. But what if we honor Kant's words as utterly contingent singularities speaking in such and such a particular way only to us now at this very moment? Do they not deserve to be paid attention to in their exquisite contextual specificity? Yes, absolutely, but what do they offer us besides, to put it crudely, a SPEED, a being faster or slower, denser or less dense, fatter or thinner in its presence and absence than an immediately preceding event? And if a word, a meaning, an event is not literally a speed in any traditional mathematical-physical sense, it borrows from a certain metaphor of speed a differentiability drained of force or tension. It is not a question of rejecting or accepting a certain terminology, or even of deconstructively forcing it moodily, angrily otherwise, but of staying gently, impossibly closely with it in moving within it.

When our reading enlightens, excites and challenges us as it overtakes, accelerates and precipitates an `older´ thinking, it sees to it that the terms of sufficiency of meaning of the older text are repeated at a more intimate site of difference. That which was previously deemed sufficient unto itself is now considered as no longer irreducible but as necessarily divided within itself. Thus, something like a metaphysics of Rationalism only appears inadequate as the grounds for a metaphysics when that thinking begins from a more integral, insubstantial relation of meaning´s presence-absence poles. By the same token, languages of rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza) could themselves be followed as the reduction of the rigid substantiality of medieval monotheisms (Maimonides, Aquinas), which in turn would divide the solidity of the terms of a preceding era (classical), and so on. In projecting such a history, what would be located as the names of particular philosophical concepts, discourses, authors, or eras would affix, even for an instant, no sense other than as a barely other or new name for quasi-rate, speed, momentum, density. To attempt to return to these names is to already move beyond-and-within them.

From Kant to Hegel with Less than a Concept:

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To then associate a proper name such as Hegel with a move beyond-within Kant is to locate the unfolding of his thinking as the determination of a simultaneously more intimate and more de-presenced site of difference. But the terminology that purports to achieve this end has no role to play other than to prevent this gesture from identically duplicating its sense from one moment to the next. A Hegelian text could be as a move within a Kantian foundation of meaning such that what was once treated as the ultimate synthesis is now perceived, via a new determination of synthesis, as longer synthetic enough. Reason, conscience and duty are now correlated with a spiral of terms whose moody implications are less formidable (differently) than that of Kant in a peculiarly intricate way. Duty is now thought via notions of progress through opposition, a mediation, self-differentiation, self-transcendence, a superceding of the self. To mean is a self-departing, self-returning movement, which both negates itself in indifferent, external otherness, and then reasserts itself as the negation of all such otherness. Subject is itself in so far as it alienates itself from itself, means something other than it meant to mean, and is then able to posit itself in and through what is thus alien. To depart from self is a fulfillment of self. To know itself and be at home with itself in what is absolutely other than itself is true Science.

What do we find when we attempt to characterize a `way´ in which Hegel´s circular language of oppositionality, self-alienation and return departs from and furthers Kant? What would underlie the shift in meaning of such terms as space and time when Hegel transforms a Kantian spatial duality, projected as a split between the realm of fallible corporeal reason and the realm of infallible spiritual absolute, into a temporal dialectic, an oppositional progression of subject-object, self-other? What can we say about the difference in orientation between Hegel's circle of referential terms `as a whole´ and those of Kant?

We have said that any critical operation of one text upon another would reveal itself as akin to a `de-moodalization´, a delicate infinitesimal invagination of space-essence whose particular instantiation from moment to moment is exhausted of all qualitative sense save the minimum necessary in order to avoid self-identicality. Because of this we need not view Hegel´s terminology of self-negational progression as one kind of device of desubstantialization among others, except as we understand, for our preliminary purposes, that to differ in kind is to do barely other than to subsume or condense. The only way to be a `kind´ is to be more, to self-invaginate, to be on the way to further destroying, at the same time, a quality-less presence and a quality-less spacing that is all that we could mean when we say philosophy (or any other name). The way, manner or mode in which Hegel's discourse as a whole could be thought of as having its effect in relation to a predecessor would be (almost) the same way that any thinking appears to us as exceeding or failing another. There is nothing other we could or need say to justify the particular sense of meaningful-ethical achievement or failure of a Hegel or any other named author except as it reaffirms the double edge of signification as always closer or farther in its quest of self-depowerment.

Recognizing in this way the instability of a name like Kant or Hegel, we can state that meaning as a self-departing, an oppositionality of negation and reconciliation, a being at home with the absolutely other, would be the achievement of a gentler, because more intimate-insubstantial, site of meaning in relation to Kant, even as we recognize that the sense of gentleness, intimacy and insubstantiality claiming to intervene between Kant and our Hegelian examination of him wanders just enough from one instant of reading to the next to force their renewal as fresh terminology. To claim that the tonality of Hegelian temporality emerges in relation to Kant as a less violently separated structure of ethical difference implies that in our reading of Hegel it is SIMULTANEOUSLY more closely related to its moral other and stands as less of an in-itself content than it does for Kant.

Each questioning of philosophy by a subsequent philosophy could justify its accomplishment not as the lessening of distance between determined concepts, which would only seek to affirm the authority of a programmatic project (conceptual relations as relations determinable according to a reigning concept of similarity), but only as a lessening of difference which simultaneously minimizes the solidity and mystery which would adhere in notions of content and process, sameness and otherness, absence and presence, subject and object. To bring things (`thing´ not as phenomenal essence but as a spacing or interval between an idiotic presencing and absencing) closer together via the gesture of affective desubstantialization would not be to strengthen the force of those events but to reduce in a peculiar way their essential content simultaneously with their dista nce from other events.

Whereas for Kant a moral duality between good and evil would imply the fatness of a rift between grossly separated realms, Hegel's moral poles as dialectical progress of opposition is at the same time a more intricate coupling and a less formidable duality of content. The sense of this greater `intricacy´ and `informidability´ would not be located as a preservation of a Kantian understanding of intricacy and formidability but instead would mark a (barely) new philosophy of such terms. It would effect a furthering which could not repeatedly confirm exactly in which direction it was going further due to an infinitesimal instability inherent in eventness.

Operating from a more (but differently) intimate thinking of difference, a site unavailable to a Kantian sense or definition of intimacy, the propositions which represent Kantian and pre-Kantian metaphysics appear to Hegel as "dead, rigid", inasmuch as they remain "external to their material". From this more intimate perspective, the terms of unity of the previous author are now seen as "wholly separate" essences, "each standing fixed and isolated from the other, with which it has nothing in common"(PS, intro). This reduction of the extremity of difference and consequence which splits meaning within itself projects an ethics of a more (differently) intense sort of empathy. A justice of blame, punishment and forgiveness, as an index of the magnitude of the gulf between what is and what ought to be, loses (differently) its severity in proportion to the desubstantialization of the world. When the transgressing other is given less irreducible, essential, ethical-moody distance to fall away from us, and when we ourselves simultaneously stand for less authority, there is (and always was) less to condemn, to reconcile, to forgive and redeem.

From Idealist Violence to the
Gentler Violence of Nietzsche:

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Reading Nietzsche as moving beyond-within a region of thought implicated by Hegel's work, we may think and feel his language at once in its intent. Will to power, as a celebration of contradiction, locates itself as a rich bath of powerful affective denotations. Tragic, suffering, wicked, intoxicated, conflicted, these terms form a spiralling movement of reference rendering an aesthetic of meaning as an intrinsic self-surpassing characterized as the contingent opposition of drives. The only reality is "our world of desires and passions, and we could not get down, or up, to any other `reality´ besides the reality of our drives-for thinking is merely a relation of these drives to each other..."(p.47,BGE). Meaning´s self-contradiction as Will to Power has the violent, substantial force of a commanding and an obeying "...we are at the same time the commanding AND the obeying parties."(p.26,BGE).

Meaning as power, meaning as domination, meaning as contradiction, intoxication, abyss, instinct and drive; these are terms whose interwoven senses come into view as a desubstantialization of the relative fatness, force and consequence of Rationalist and Idealist notions of freedom of will, and the substrate of a further condensation. As moments of a `developmental´ thread, Nietzsche works within-beyond a previous tradition which itself, as tradition, would mean an always barely self-differing moreness always in process of dividing and desubstantializing its own foundation. And this `going forward´ only occurs as our immediately, historically contingent reading of their texts.

Relative to names like Kant and Hegel, Nietzsche would constitute the thinking of a gentler, because more radically desolidified, furthering of a world. He would paint a more temperate picture of a world even in his declared intemperance, as a more intricate-unformidable affective landscape than that of an idealist or dialectical dualism with its too reified distinctions between good and evil, self and other. Nietzsche's multiple understanding of will and meaning avails him of an ethics which one might tempt to characterize as more forgiving of the deviant, the alien, that which would be thought of in terms of a break with the moral. But more precise than characterizing his approach as `more forgiving´ would be to say that there would be less for him to forgive, less of a transgressive power given to moral deviance in the first place.

The shift in terminology from the harshness of dialectical otherness to a more intricately insubstantial language of a transvaluation of values instantiates an ethical `advance´. At the same time, seen from the vantage of a more (differently) desubstantialized thinking, the relentless progress traced by the career of Nietzsche would never succeed in moving Nietzsche beneath a certain limit, beneath the relatively thick recesses of his evolving notions of conflict and contradiction, of a certain hostility and cruelty demanded by the assumption of a still too heavy content-difference marking meaning´s spacing.

If there would be a dissymmetry between the sense of terms as we move from one philosophical account to another, what of this inadequation? Is the formidability or significance of this disagreement among texts of the order of a deconstruction, an opposition, a transcendence, a critique? To engage in a text is not to critique, as if to think were to experience conflict, discordance, subversion. Nor is it to deconstruct, as if there were still a certain resistance within meaning, a certain moody thickness, polarity to its edge.
The `disagreement´ that would distinguish one writer´s thesis from another is none other than that which differentiates his work within itself. But this way in which experience marks itself must be seen as less than a rift or disturbance. The extent to which meaning´s movement can be thought of as troubled would be undermined by the extraordinarily content-devoid self-similarity (and self-differentiation) which characterizes each moment as a most infinitesimal repetition, a near-duplication of imbecilic sense, a return that knows nothing else about `itself´, anything substantive, qualitative, never needing or ever being able to know, other than that it reaffirms, as barely a new particularity, a gesture of moreness. To follow this gesture is to do less than oppose, correct, or critique. Even in our disappointment, in our encounter of the apparent anachronistic-regressive text, in our experience of that which in other traditions would evoke suffering, anger, blame, we could not say that what we feel is any of this moodiness.

Contingency and the Slanting Eddies of Progress:

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There is still much we want to clarify. The most fundamental basis of the developmental illusion that we have traced in the guise of an ethically progressive history of philosophy need not, and cannot, depend on collecting a series of books on a table and proceeding to laboriously, programmatically order them. In what order does a writer write a book? In what order do we read a book? We read and write according to a contingent, non-reproducible or definable order. This originating context would have to be not only the fundamental condition for any activity of thought, but a condition that no activity could exceed or get behind. We don't usually just discover books arrayed as a development, we place them that way, and our placing is a complex activity composed of myriad findings and losings. We find ourselves wanting to arrange an array of events in such and such an order and then find and lose ourselves in process of variously succeeding or being disappointed or waylaid in our efforts. And our `final´ success will, upon closer examination reveal itself as not a linear completion of our initial intention but a movement whose sense was immediately sliding a bit already from the start. So it would be less appropriate to refer to a history as development than to refer to the developmental illusion as an aspect of experience, as one of its vicissitudes.

The basis for the developmental illusion must be in what comes to us immediately at any time anywhere in the form of contingent experience. Beneath any apparent effortful voluntarism is an order of experience preceding simple volition and intention. The subliminal order I find in the words of an author's text is not interrupted or subverted, but is precisely that order which obtains when I `leave´ my reading to engage in other supposed modes of experience. Thus, the question of how it is that an author´s work appears to me moment to moment, word by word, in terms of a desubstantializing repetition, is most fundamentally a question of how it is that all experience appears to me, of how meaning relates to itself prior to simple volition, moment by moment, as the iteration of being-two-poles. The deconstruction of a so-called text has little interest for us after we realize that the meat of experience is in between the lines, in what occurs as our attention wanders instant to instant within, without and around the supposed task of following words on a page, or engaging with words spoken in conversation or markings composing a piece of music or a painting.

The truth of the world is the truth of a little room with a table. If a series of books on the table can be lined up in a certain way, this would be because anything else we see on the table or under it or out the window, anything we hear or touch, anything we feel or conceptualize, must be the effect of a process which unites perceptual, affective and conceptual modes via a more fundamental thinking which no longer distinguishes between such modes (perceptual, affective, conceptual) as self-presenting categorical structures of experience. Everything I see reveals to me, reveals me as, little developments, rhythms of groupings and dispersions, united differently one to the next not by any dominating trajectory, will or faculty of perception, but by the non-identical commonality, throughout all of the shifts and turns of sense, of a radically insubstantial intricacy, making every new eventing seem, once we begin to think in this way, as the continuance of undulating variations and textures of more or less. These textures in their appeal as more or less interesting-intricate-coherent-depowered are the origin of the ethical, as well as the aesthetic, the political, etc.

I can think a region of something like philosophy as a developmental field because developments are `real´ phenomena, not as linear emanations, but as almost circular eddies whose self-slanting drift brings the `progress´ round and round until at some ambivalent point its strangely imperfect compression becomes a strangely imperfect decompression and it no longer wants to be sensed as a good progress, but instead seems to continue on as now a self-slanting progress of disappointment, interruption and reversal (and what do these terms really mean?). Development finds itself subtly shifting its sense from one moment to the next, which means that it finds itself shifting its name.

Philosophical style at some point realizes that it has now begun calling itself literary, now political, economic, or scientific mode, but never as a sudden qualitative break (there being virtually no qualitative content to begin with) from one mode to the next. There would seem to be mini-strand after mini-strand of developing modes of experience, transmogrifying not just within but between, from `the´ cultural to `the´ pre-cultural, from `the´ perceptual to `the´ conceptual, from hearing to seeing to touching to tasting, and this transmogrification would itself be amenable to progressive arrangement. There would always be these new names wanting to proclaim themselves as categories when in fact they exist nowhere as categories, but are instead utterly contingent continuances from who knows where, re-inventing their sense instant to instant.

Development as almost circular eddies of radically gentle disappointment and recovery, betterment and worsening easily misconstrues its apparent departures and returns as the vicissitudes along a single line of history. The thinking of a biological evolution, a pre-organic history, a cosmological history could all be re-configured beyond the limits of scientific accounts so as to reveal themselves as the continuation of the ethical depowerment revealed in a philosophical history. But no such infinite string would have a chance to build itself. To think experience as vector of de-substantialization may be seen as an important exercise to get the `feel´ of repetition as near-accumulation, as a warm order of immediate and extraordinary precision. However, when we attempt to flesh this out to encompass an infinity of modes, with their own trajectories, we may see that any supposed vector crumbles before it can form a thread; the trajectories are radically intertwined from the outset, but not as furtherings of a unitary trend. Before a vector or trajectory can secure itself, its purity is destroyed by the effect of a tiny slippage from event to event re-orienting and re-determining the trend. Desubstantialization does not exist as a pure vector, but because of this neither does re-substantialization.

Things don´t ever get purely better and better, and neither do they ever get purely worse and worse. The slippage within the event which prevents its gathering itself as a self-identical trajectory is not an otherness. It is a less than being able or needing to know what better or worse (or alterity) could mean, even contextually. Wherever a developmental history thinks it recovers itself from its disappointments, and even before it senses itself as disappointed, it drifts and circles askance from itself with a slant so insignificant as to barely deserve mentioning. This slant is as little worth mentioning as that presencing which, simultaneously with it, is the Being slanted. A world will always be styles upon styles upon styles, developments of developments of developments, but much more important than the question of the justification of valuative direction of a history is that of the impotence of meaning's playful iteration, beyond-within its supposed power to dominate, disrupt, emote.

We are brought back to the basis of experience as modalization, what in Derrida's work is available as moodalization, the identification of the self-slanting of experience as affective-emotive. The duplicity of transit only iterates itself as mood to the extent that transit knows its variability, as this or that texture, degree, momentum of transit, as at least minimally forceful and disturbing. Derridean deconstruction may insist that the world simply is such that, even when we extricate ourselves from structuralist, naturalistic and anthropologic illusions of self-present entities, there are irreducible qualitative differences to be found in the unfolding of experience. For Derrida, the moodiness of events depends on a supposed minimally contentful variation-modalization as and between singulars. We have said that ours is a notion of meaning's self-slanting so insubstantial as to precede any sense of guilt or blame as the expression of a rift or distance between we and they, between me and myself. The more-and-less vicissitudes of an affective progress always barely redetermines its basis from event to event.

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