What is Critical Metaphysics?

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“There was no longer any reality, only its caricature”

-Gottfried Benn

 

“We are the cause of the universe, its creation and its future destruction.”

-Baudelaire

 

It does not escape us that “‘metaphysical’- exactly like ‘abstract’ and even ‘thinking’- has become a word before which everyone more or less takes flight as before a plague victim.” (Hegel). And it is certainly with a shiver of wicked joy, and the worrying certitude that we’re going right to the wound, that we bring back into the center what the triumphant frivolity of our times believed it had forever repressed to the periphery. In so doing, we also have the effrontery to claim that we’re not just giving in to some sophistical caprice, but to an imperious necessity inscribed in history. Critical Metaphysics is not just one more piece of blather about the way the world is going; nor is it just the latest piece of heady speculation with some particular intelligence to it – it is the most real thing contained in our times.  Critical Metaphysics is in everyone’s guts.  Whatever we might protest about this, there is no doubt that people will try to say we were the inventors of Critical Metaphysics, so as to hide the fact that it existed already before finding its formulation, that it was already everywhere, in the state of emptiness behind suffering, in the denial behind entertainment, in the motives behind consumption, or, obviously, in anxiety.  It’s clearly a part of all the sordid spinelessness, the incurable banality, and the repugnant insignificance of the times called “modern” that it’s made metaphysics the apparently innocent leisure activity of learned men in stiff suits, and that it’s reduced it to the sole exercise proper to insects like that: a kind of platonic mandibulation. Merely by virtue of the fact that it is not reducible to conceptual experience, Critical Metaphysics is the experience that fundamentally denies an inept “modernity”, and, with open eyes, celebrates more each day the excesses of the disaster.

changed April 21, 2011