More on Antiphilosophy.

Antiphilosophy could not be further away from antithinking, if “thinking is the authentic action (Handeln), where action means to give a hand (an die Hand gehen) to the essence of beyng in order to prepare for it that site in which it brings itself and its essence to speech” (Heidegger, “The Turn” 67).  We can translate: at the limit of thought, when a certain occlusion in the presuppositions makes itself impassable, further thought is possible, provided a displacement takes place. But this only ever happens precisely, as I said at the beginning of the previous blog entry, when a thinker comes to the end of his or her own ontological itinerary. In other words, there is no antiphilosophy without philosophy pushed to the limit.  To that extent, both at a personal and a historical level, antiphilosophy requires a history in every case, requires a thickness of ontology that somehow becomes void and needs to be displaced.  This is paradigmatically Heidegger’s case, in my opinion.  But not only Heidegger’s case.

The notion of antiphilosophy is indebted to Alain Badiou in our times.  It is however not a novel notion, but rather a feature embedded within philosophy from the earliest times.   It is like the “stranger” (a character first pointed out by Plato) at the heart of the philosophical tradition.   The Socrates of the Thaetetus could be interpreted in that light.  There is a way in which the presentation of Socrates as antiphilosopher helped Plato in his fight against the sophists, but only because Plato was able to recognize the antiphilosophical stranger within philosophical reflection.  Also think of Heraclitus versus Parmenides, Pascal versus Descartes, Kierkegaard contra Hegel, indeed Baltasar Gracián against Tridentine and Inquisitional thought.  Saint Anselm or indeed Meister Eckhart.  It has always been around.  And this is precisely the reason why antiphilosophy in fact bypasses the problem of the new regarding what to do about nihilism or Gestell.  It is elsewhere!  Antiphilosophy does not attempt an overcoming, does not attempt a transcending.  It is, rather, a displacement. 

The formulation in Heidegger’s “The Danger” quoted in the previous blog entry regarding “overcoming nihilism” has a lot to do, or is even the same problem as, the issue of finding a different relation to positionality than the one inspired by Will to power as the last, or latest, doctrine of being.  So antiphilosophy hints at the fact that the solution, after a certain point, goes through an abandonment and displacement in the last instance of philosophical thought.  It is post-metaphysical in the chronological sense–it comes at the end of the epoch of positionality.  But, fundamentally, it is existential and not logical.  I think this is what is hinted at in “The Turn.”  Transformation can only take place through a certain abandonment of the philosophical “action” unless and until we change the nature of the “action” of thought.

History moves, and Heidegger thinks, with a certain amount of hope that may ultimately be unwarranted, that the task of the thinker, its authentic action, which is not that of producing more metaphysics in the wake of the Greek inception, is to prepare for that historical change. For the con-version of Beying into some new historical dispensation, for which Beying (I much prefer: history) needs Dasein as much as Dasein needs history. We can prepare for a “traversal of the errancy,” a “traversal of the zone of dangerousness of the danger” in the way that an analysand prepares for a “traversal of the fantasy,” or a monk for satori. If “positionality” is a form of fantasy–but Zen has never said anything else–then there is a way in which Dasein could perhaps come to the other side of the traversing. This step is what I am calling the antiphilosophical one, because it is no longer primarily a theoretical step even if it comes at a theoretical end. Of course it has problems of its own.

The thought that nothing can avoid the aporia of metaphysics does not really ring true to me, it never did. Antiphilosophy is a better tool for that effort of leaving metaphysics behind.  In the context, and realizing that the Heidegger of the 1950s prefers the topology of world and worlding over that of Being, particularly with a capital B, I favor a formulation that would state that, on the issue of positionality at the time of its most extreme limit, what is at stake is the relation of (mortal, pained, poor) ex-istence to world. That relation–that particular relation–is not metaphysical, and is not philosophical, not necessarily, although one can always fuck it up. It is, rather, antiphilosophical, because it very much counters philosophical solutions.

But not thinking solutions.  They are to be developed. But this also means we do not have to start from any kind of hope about a new dispensation of being coming to us from the dark light of being itself, etc.  It is a form of historical action, and it has to do with displacing ontology –and its ideological projections– at the end of the epoch of positionality and in favor of the endeavor of traversing it.    

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