Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Intuition & Institution

This year I will make an effort to post formal pangrammatical exercises more often.

Keep in mind that "the pangrammaticon" is the general likeness of articulations of knowledge to articulations power. A pangrammatical exercise consists in completing the general formula "_________ is to knowledge as _________ is to power".

Here's one that occurred to me over the Christmas break. First, some background:

The world produces, reproduces, and transforms intuitions. This is a natural process. An intuition is a sensation that is immediately "seen as" something. Without intuition (immediate seeing), no perception (mediated seeing). Intuition constitutes our experience of objects (determined whatnesses).

History produces, reproduces, and transforms institutions. This is a cultural process. An institution is a motion that is immediately "done to" someone. Without institution (immediate doing), no action (mediated doing). Insitution constitutes our experience of subjects (determined whonesses).

Now, it seems to me that there is a kind of doing-to-someone that is necessarily immediate and eminently fundamental: violence. It is by holding back from violence that properly "institutional" experience and subjects in the usual sense can emerge. If all doing were violence, experience would probably not be possible.

So what is the corresponding ("homologous") seeing-as-something? _________ is to intuition as violence is to institution. If violence is a kind of deed that we must refrain from in order to engage, properly speaking, in "action", then what sort of sight must we avert ourselves from in order to have proper "perceptions"? One hint might be that violence is to "the social" as _________ is to "the material". Violence is an immediate experience that affects our mediated experience of who "we" are. We are looking for an immediate experience that likewise affects our mediated experience of what "stuff" is.


Presskorn said...

I'll give the question a go:

Chaos?... A sort of Hegelian night: "...this night, this empty nothing, that contains everything in its simplicity—an unending wealth of many presentations, images, of which none happens to occur to him — or which are not present. This night, the inner of nature, that exists here — pure self— in phantasmagorical presentations, is night all around it, here shoots a bloody head —there another white shape, suddenly here before it, and just so disappears." [Hegel, 'Realphilosophie']

Or perhaps just: Night.

Thomas said...

Nice one. Violence is a deed that undoes the doer. Night is sight that shrouds the seen.

Maybe. Maybe "darkness".

It's nice because agency is on the "doing" side. Darkness does not posit agency, subjectivity; it suggests something more objective.

We might say that darkness "violates" the object of perception just as violence "benights" the subject of action.

Thanks for this.

Thomas said...

benight: "To involve in darkness; to shroud with the shades of night; to obscure"