Act the Third:It is necessary to take a position where destruction is not seen as the end goal, but as the precursor.” (Junger, The Worker)

 

At the moment in the spectacle when commodity domination reveals its metaphysics, and reveals itself to be metaphysical, its real past and present contestation comes back onto the stage and reveals itself as such.  It is then that its relatedness to messianic movements, millenarianisms, mysticisms, the heresies of the past or even with Christians before Christianity appears.  All “modern” revolutionary thought settles before our very eyes into the encounter between German Idealism and the concept of Tiqqun, which in the Lurianic Kabbalah refers to a process – one of redemption, of the restoration of unity between meaning and life, the repair of all things by the action of human beings. As for its supposed “modernity,” that in the end it was but the repression of its fundamentally metaphysical character. Thence the ambiguity of the work of a Marx or a Lukacs, for example. As a rule, the Spectacle, where we saw the conceptual violence of idealism change into real, even physical violence, repudiates as “idealist” this very aspect of the thinking of those it didn’t manage to suppress soon enough.  That is a solid criteria to judge pseudo-contestation’s consequent criticisms, which are always allied with this society in their relentless evacuation of all the Unspeakable out of the politically expressible.  Such bastards can unfailingly be recognized by their rage to understanding nothing, see nothing, and understand nothing. As long as they live, anxiety, suffering, the experience of nothingness, the feeling of foreignness to everything – as well as the innumerable manifestations of human negativity - will be expelled from the gates of Publicity, either with a smile or with a team of riot police. As long as they live, people will consider them null and void. The historic window opening at present is the psychological moment that will bring to light the content of truth, that is, the power of devastation, in all past and present critique. Since commodity domination has come to fight openly on the metaphysical battlefield, its contestation will have to place itself on that battlefield as well. This is a necessity which has as little in common with the good will of militants as it does with the resolve of their cardboard theoreticians: it has to do with the fact that this society needs that conflict in order to have something to employ all its accumulated technological powers in. Once again we’re in a high-speed chase where we can’t just be content to apply critique, but must begin by creating it. It’s about making criticism possible, and nothing else. Thus, Critical Metaphysics isn’t just another object jumping up on the world stage in all its definitive splendor; it is what elaborates itself and will elaborate itself in the fight against the present order. Critical Metaphysics is the determined negation of commodity domination.

 

Whether this negation manifests itself without betraying itself or whether its forces will be hijacked once again to serve the calculated spread of disaster has nothing to do with necessity; it depends on the melancholic decision made by a few free elements bound together by their determination to make a practical use of their consciousness, in other words, to sow in the world of the Spectacle a Terror that is the inverse of the terror that reigns at present. However, the simple fact that, faced with a reality that has taken such a perfectly systematic turn, it can no longer be contested in its details, leaves no room for ambiguity about the terrible radicalness of our era. Critique has no choice but to seize things by the roots; and the root of man is his metaphysical essence. So, when domination consists in occupying Publicity, building a world of facts piece by piece, a system of conventions and a mode of perception independent of any relations other than its own, its enemies recognize one another in their double ambition to destroy the aura of familiarity in what still passes for “reality” by revealing it to be a mere construct, and to set up symbolic spaces in the recesses of the present semiocratic tyranny, autonomous from the state of public explanation and foreign to it, but with as much a claim to universal validity as it has. We must everywhere contradict People. And that’s what we’re working on, according to our own penchants, when we reveal the Young-Girl as a political coercion apparatus, the economy as a ritual of black magic, Bloom as a criminal saintliness, the Imaginary Party as the bearer of a hostility as invisible as it is absolute, or the corner bakery as a supernatural apparition. It is above all about bringing out, in everything people say, in everything people do, and in everything people see, its natural unreality factor. This world will cease to be so monstrous when it ceases to be taken for granted. And so the whole of our theory is written in everyday life, where it must obtain, still and forever, all the familiar things that is our duty to render disturbing. Our maniacal interest for “miscellaneous events” could be related to this, because in them is the habitual itself uprooting itself from normal habit, the varnish on which thus suddenly fades away. The lucid and blind violence of a Kipland Kinkel or an Alain Oreiller is a testimony what happens when one takes a lethal doses of the negative truth of man, that a well-planned, everyday banality is invariably asphyxiating. Up to a certain point in this offensive language comprises the field of battle; what we’re doing is burying mines all over it. This isn’t an arbitrary choice; it’s based on the observation that domination, which was forced to infest it, will never be at ease there. Though in certain aspects the economy’s present effectiveness and its apparent durability are based on a free manipulation of signs, and their operative reduction to signals, it is just as clear that the definitive success of this reduction will be its death. So that domination can still handle them as its vehicles, the signs must contain some meaning, that is to say a transcendence which in one way or another goes beyond the present state of things and the threat of nullity. And there is a contradiction there, an open wound, that if it were exploited malevolently enough could bring about the downfall of domination. We’ll provide for that.

 

Critical Metaphysics, in many aspects, pursues and completes the steady undermining successfully carried on by nihilism for five centuries. The consistency with which all simple faith in reality found itself, piece by piece, to be first shaken, then damaged, and finally destroyed, is not unfamiliar to it; it feels no regrets about helping that process. Critical Metaphysics has no vocation for procuring a new and refined type of consolation for humanity. Rather, its watchword is: GENERALIZE DISQUIET. Critical Metaphysics itself is this disquiet, which can no longer be understood as a weakness, or as a vulnerability, but as the origin of all strength.  It is not there to bring security to the weak in need of help, but to lead them into battle. It is like a weapon; whoever seizes it can decide who it’s going to serve. In each life that remains in contact with Being there is a devastating power; and people have no idea just how intense that power can be. The struggle against the real, taken up before us by so many others, is getting close to being won, but by the enemy. That’s why, on our wrong-headed path, we consider the preliminary to everything the pulverization of the last palpable structure for the apprehension of what exists: the quantitative abstract form of the commodity, which “for the reified” has become “the form in which its own authentic immediacy becomes manifest and – as reified consciousness- does not even attempt to transcend it.  On the contrary, it is concerned to make it permanent by ‘scientifically deepening’ the laws at work” (Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness). Rendering the wisdom of the world insane is indisputably part of our program, but that’s only the first step. Critical Metaphysics, rather, is “the spiritual movement that takes nihilism as its terrain and models itself on it, reflecting it into Being,” (Junger, Treatise of the Rebel), that necessary force that intends to reverse commodity hegemony by revealing it to be metaphysical. Only that act of reflecting reality and manifesting it as a mere interpretation, a construct, by merely showing that the essence of nihilism is not at all nihilist, already advances beyond nihilism. Everywhere it exposes its viewpoint, Critical Metaphysics marks being-there with signs contrary to the dominant convention. All reality which it is brought to bear upon brusquely changes its meaning, and its proportions are inverted: what had always appeared to be a few mere remains on the margins of the Spectacle proves to be the most real thing, what people had always thought of as the very world itself is rendered to its miniscule misery, that which appears firmly established begins to totter, what seemed to be of such airy consistency acquires a rock-hard presence. Thus Critical Metaphysics reveals the insignificance to which all being-there is reduced in the Spectacle, that false unity of meaning and life (false because it is abstract) - not as an insignificant fact, but as a political situation of servitude, a concrete form of social oppression. In so doing, it puts this insignificance into possession of a multiplied reality that nothing in this world can lay claim to.  But what it pushes into presence, and makes audible and thus real, is really all the non-identity that had been repressed to the feeble light of the infraspectacular world, everything that was neither expressible nor admissible in the dominant mode of disclosure. By starting from nothingness, Critical Metaphysics creates a truer, more compact, and looser fullness than the apparent fullness of the Spectacle: the fullness of dereliction, the absoluteness of disaster. In revealing to human suffering its political significance, it abolishes it as such and makes it the harbinger of a superior state. This goes equally well for anxiety, where what exists itself goes beyond what exists: once this experience is driven into the heart of Publicity, the finite as such falls apart and comes back together as a sign of the infinite. But the transfiguration that Critical Metaphysics is synonymous with operates first of all in man dispossessed of all that he’d believed was his own, in Bloom, who thus recognizes the nothingness left for him to share in as the only thing really of his own that he’s ever had: his indestructible metaphysical faculty. The idea of the Imaginary Party, hence, gives form to that residue, to that remainder, to non-coincidence, to everything that falls outside of the universal plane of the economy, forced takeover, and Total Mobilization. Thus, Critical Metaphysics is the doctrine of transcendence which alone permits a liberation from and annihilation of this world, draws up the prologue for all future insurrections, and affirms itself as the determined negation of commodity domination, and simultaneously it already contains, in its present manifestations, the positive transcendence that goes beyond the zones of destruction. “Each man,” it says, “exercises a certain intellectual activity, adopts a vision of the world, follows a conscious line of moral conduct, and thus contributes to the defense and victory of a certain vision of the world.” (Gramsci, Intellectuals and the Organization of Culture). Consequently Critical Metaphysics will come to impose itself as an always more inflexible and virulent injunction to each Bloom to become conscious of the worldview underlying his lifestyle, then, either rejecting or appropriating it, to recognize his peers and adversaries, and thus, fundamentally, to awaken to the world. We won’t grant anyone the leisure of failing to understand the importance of their existence. Everything is bound to everything else. We will make people lose even their taste for consumption. Critical Metaphysics is thus not content to consider everything from the point of view of Tiqqun, in other words of the unity of the world, the final realization of all things, the immanence of meaning in life; it produces that unity, this realization and this immanence in its practical and exemplary character. It is itself part of the world of Tiqqun. In its everyday existence, Critical Metaphysics is the perspective from which the Beautiful, the Good and the True have already ceased to be contradictorily perceived. Because nihilism is the “provisional loss of the opening where a certain interpretation of being-there constitutes itself as interpretation” (Junger) and Critical Metaphysics presents itself as a general injunction to determine oneself starting from the metaphysical character of the world, it constitutes by its own trajectory the fulfillment and the transcendence of nihilism; that is, in the words of Heidegger - that old swine - “The Appropriation of metaphysics,” “The Appropriation of the forgetting of Being.”  In the first place it’s about distancing yourself from the world as it is in representation; it “appears at first as a transcendence of metaphysics... But what happens in the appropriation of metaphysics, and there alone, is rather that the truth of metaphysics comes flooding back, the lasting truth of an apparently repudiated metaphysics, which is nothing else but its henceforth reappropriated essence: its Dwelling. What’s happening here is something different from a restoration of metaphysics,” (Heidegger, Contribution to the Question of Being).

“On Saturday, she’d left work while saying to her colleagues, as if it were a joke: ‘I’m leaving a little early today, I’m going to go throw myself into the Seine.’ The body of this resident of Villeneuve-Le-Roi (Val-de-Marine), 45 years of age, was recovered from the river yesterday morning by firemen.” (Libération, Monday November 30, 1998)

For the community of critical metaphysicians, there is now nothing more concrete than this Appropriation and this Dwelling, even if they still provisionally present themselves in the form of problems to solve, rather than as immediately given solutions. To whatever extent they can within the constraints imposed on them by this society, they are doubtless now building, somewhere in the crevices of the metropolises, a really – that is, collectively – practiced ethos where “Metaphysics (is) part of the everyday practice of life” (Artaud). One would be wrong to see this as a comfortable alternative to taking up arms and going on the attack.  Contrary to what certain hasty leftists would have us believe, in the current conditions, the immediate issue for revolutionary practice is not direct struggle against commodity domination, since that unavoidably crumbles away, “and what crumbles away may crumble away, but it cannot be destroyed.” (Kafka) Thus one must instead leave that old whore to decompose insipidly, and prepare for the moment to come to deliver a fatal blow it can’t recover from; this means uniting, by any means necessary, all the particular forces currently confronting commodity hegemony -- in other words, building the Imaginary Party. Solely because of the fact that “in a world of lies, lies cannot be eliminated by their opposite, but only by a world of truth” (Kafka), those whose vocation is but to destroy have no choice but to work for the formation, in the infra-spectacular space, of such “worlds of truth” if nevertheless they intend to become something other than the sworn professionals of social contestation.  Among the ruins, the positive elaboration of forms of life, community and affectivity independent and superior to the icy waters of spectacular morals is an act of sabotage where the power capable of defeating the imperium of abstraction acts without appearing. It thus comprises the sine qua non condition for all effective contestation, because unless they gather into mental families, those opposed to this society have zero chance of survival. Nevertheless, nothing will be able to prevent the critical metaphysicians from rallying to all agitation that explicitly attacks commodity domination, and fomenting some of their own too. We will never give up disrupting the dreary ceremony of the world. But such acts on our part will be falsely understood if without the understanding that they make sense only in the broader construction of a lifestyle that war has a place in. The peaceful coexistence of universal mutual ridicule, which makes our times such a strong emetic, is one of those things we intend to bring to a bloody end. It is intolerable that truth and falsehood go on living at peace with one another. The mutual compromise of so many viscerally irreconcilable metaphysics, in the baroque pay-toilet of the Spectacle, is one of the means at the enemy’s command for breaking down even the liveliest of minds.  Human beings will have to agree to express their disagreements, trace out the clear borders between the different metaphysical homelands, and thus put an end to the world of confusion, where no one can recognize their brothers nor their enemies anymore. The interminable disputation of theologians comprises a model for social life. The utopia of Tlön does not displease us. We grant no laurels to the love of those who were never able to hate, nor to the peace of those who have never done battle. Therefore, in daring to act in such a way as to make “the utopian rejection of the conventional world objectivizes itself in a likewise existent reality, so that polemical refusal actually becomes the central form of the work” (Lukacs, Theory of the Novel), our search for chances to quarrel with those whose metaphysics are objectively adverse to ours is no less important than is our quest to find our brothers dispersed in Exile. The object of authentic community can only be the conscious construction of the Common itself, that is to say the creation of the world, or, to be more exact, the creation of a world. This is why critical metaphysicians are so particularly concerned with composing, together, the true alphabet whose application gives meaning to things, beings, and discourses; in other words with reconstituting a hidden order within reality, where what exists would cease to drown them and at last present itself in the familiar form of figures, rather than as faces, in Gombrowicz’ sense. It’s about elevating elective affinity up to the free construction of a common mode of reality-disclosure. We must make our individual perceptions and our moral sentiments a collective creation. Such is the task. But here we can already feel - along with an objective feeling of evil - an inexorable shiver of vice, like one gets when fucking a Young-Girl, or shopping in a supermarket. In each of our enemies, the postmodernist, the Young-Girl, the sociologist, the manager, the bureaucrat, the artist or the intellectual, all defects that can easily all come together in just one scumbag, we see only their metaphysics. Our “power of voluntary hallucination” has gone beyond such a degree of coherence to where now everything speaks to us of what we are doing – and that’s just what our messianic era is all about: the re-absorption of the element of time in the element of meaning. Those who believe they can build a new world without building a new language are fooling themselves: the whole of this world is contained in its language. Ours does not hide its imperialist vocations any more than any other does: all poetry, all thought, all imagination that doesn’t manage to become effective, when that becomes possible, doesn’t even rise above the pathetic rank of cutesy crap.  Roger Gilbert-Lecomte gives this observation an expression we find perfectly suitable: “the birth of concrete thought (experimental metaphysics), by drawing upon the vision in its artistic expression, will transform its knowledge into power.” He has also remarked that “the experimental metaphysician bets on his disequilibrium, which gives him various different perspectives on reality.” Quite true. A world made of ideas is also a world at the mercy of ideas, as long as they rule arbitrarily. The matter that absorbs us, in sum, is the realization of the concrete utopia of a world where each of the great metaphysics, each of the great “languages of creation”, among which there can be “no overtaking nor doubling” (Peguy) can finally and in the full sense of the word inhabit the world, come into a kingdom of its own, and lose itself unrestrainedly in inexhaustible holy wars, schisms, sects and heresies, where the immanence of meaning in life will be rediscovered, where language will draw upon Being and Being language, where the metaphysical will no longer be a discourse, but the fecund tissue of existence, where each community will be another unique space within a reappropriated common, where man, giving up disguising his insoluble relationship with the world with the stupid and crude lie of private property, will truly open himself to the experience of anguish, ecstasy, and abandon. Life does not delight in our consciousness of it and its form is still experienced as suffering; this shows that we are living in times nearing their end. As for us, we announce a world where man will espouse his destiny as the tragic play of his freedom. There is no life more properly human than that. Doubtless the critical-metaphysicians carry in their unreason the outcome of the disaster. And even if we must succumb to the powers that this world will have unleashed against us, we will have at least presaged that happy time when there will be no more metaphysics, because all men will be metaphysicians, living bearers of the Absolute.  Then we’ll understand that up to now nothing’s happened.

changed August 26, 2010