Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Be Free!

Nancy imagines that freedom is the sole allocutor of its own injuction: be free!

"Be free!" . . . commands the impossible: there is no freedom that is available or designable before this injunction or outside of it–and the same command commands impossibly, since there is no subject of authority here. Once again we touch the limit of comprehension. But we do so in order to find ourselves once again before the necessary anteriority of freedom, which is no longer illuminated here only in regard to thinking but also in regard to freedom itself (if we are still permitted to make this distinction). Freedom must precede itself in its auto-nomy in order to be freedom. It cannot be ordered, its advent can be prescribed only if it has already freed the space in which this prescription can take place without being an absurdity, or rather without being anterior to the slightest possibility of meaning in general (and yet, is it not also a question of this?. . .). We cannot say "be free!" except to someone who knows what this phrase means, and we cannot know what it means without having already been free, without having already been set free. In the imperative in which freedom differs in itself, it must also have preceded itself. "Be free!" must occur unexpectedly as one of freedom's orders. Freedom must have already freed itself, not only so that the imperative can be pronounced, but so that its pronouncement can be an act endowed with the force of freedom. (In this sense, if it is correct to claim that the imperative, in general, is powerless over the execution of what it orders–it is not the cause–it would not be correct to claim that it is without force. This force is what makes intonation (a form of intensity) a remarkable element in linguistic descriptions of the imperative mode. This force forces nothing and no one. In a certain way, it is a force without function, or is only the intensity of a singularity of existence, insofar as it exists.)

(The Experience of Freedom, pp. 108-109, Nancy's emphases)

If freedom speaks through us rather than to us, are we free to intone it? To caress, sweeten, roughen or bend the note of freedom? Is there a prejudice against intonation, that it would not really be part of the logos, not really be thought. If I start to veer towards the singularity of the voice, I may find I've made a mistake in regarding the singularity as the interlocutor of freedom. If freedom addresses itself, does it tolerate interlocution, that is, interruption? Uninterrupted freedom would seem to be a rarity in this world, but that may be what Nancy is asking us to imagine as the only possible way of freedom.

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posted by Fido the Yak at 1:05 PM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can't keep up! - but I will look at the agemban thing.

something in the air:

Came across this quote from D's LoS in the intro to stengers' Whitehead bk:

"Nothing more can be said, and no more has ever been said: to become worthy of what happens to us, and thus to will and release the event, to become the offspring of one's own events, and thereby to be reborn, to have one more birth, and to break with one's carnal birth..." (p.149-50).

"However, whitehead isn't a phil. of rupture and Process and reality wasn't written to indicate a path of Stoic asceticism, or more specifically, to philosophically justify spiritual disciplines which aim to free experience from the illusions of the self........."

all this occurs in a discussion of whether W. is a 'theist' - apparently not....altho he does have quite a lot to write about religious exp. 'An adventure of the spirite.'

October 25, 2007 12:55 AM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

(I hope it was clear that The Power and the Glory link was to the playlist for all six parts of the lecture.)

That's a wonderful quote from Deleuze. It's immediately preceded by a quote from Joe Bosquet, "Become a man of your misfortunes; learn to embody their perfection and brilliance."

I have mixed feelings about breaking with one's carnal birth. I suppose that would mean breaking with one's mother, and though we all break with our mothers eventually in one way or another, it seems many mothers don't want to be forgotten. Anyway, such a break may be necessarily implied in the idea of a rebirth.

Is one's birth a misfortune that one should learn to embody? That in fact is close to my view (I'm hedging in case this ever gets back to my mother ;-).

I wonder if learning to embody also means breaking from one's carnal birth, or from one's body.

Do you think Deleuze's stoicism is a path to a spiritual discipline?

October 25, 2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our births as misfortunes! Ok.

As for Deleuze's stoicism - I don't know enought about it. I suspect that Deleuze's life of phil. study was a kind of spiritual path - and it has been noted that he found a kind of peace in it (can't remember who said that - maybe Derrida!).


October 25, 2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger Fido the Yak said...

misfortunes--I hedged also because I am sketpical of fortune. But I am not blind to the brilliance of being alive.

October 25, 2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being alive - maybe an unwanted gift/surprise for many?

qv. Is life worth living?, in William James, The will to believe.
'the immense army of suicides'...

Stengers is looking at the diff btwn the Jamesion God and the whiteheadian god. I haven't 'digested' it all yet...but I will try


October 25, 2007 4:33 PM  

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