Quickie Reply to Graham
1. ZERO PERSPECTIVE: In response to Levi first, I think sometimes why me and Levi talk past each other is that it gets tedious always distinguishing between ‘real’ and ‘phenomenal’ while blogging, and that can lead to confusion. For example, one would hope that at this point I’m aware that phenomenal objects are related to perspective, but not real ones. While I may disagree with this, its not that I don’t understand the distinction. Hence, the response to the issue of ‘zero perspective’ is well, yes, from within OOO, of course, though that’s not really what I was getting at. My concern is that real objects, to exist as objects, cannot be defined in the manner that OOO seems to want, at least, not without producing paradoxes, or at least, that’s how it appears from here.
2. THE REAL OBJECT: Which brings me to Graham’s reply, in particular, in relation to Paris. I know Graham has discussed this in his written work, and so its not that I was arguing out of ignorance of this, its more that I was hoping something had shifted a bit. Of course there are a gazillion phenomenal ‘Parises’, so to speak. And I agree fully, that SOMETHING withdraws underneath all of those, otherwise, you’re right, no potential for novelty, surprise, the new, etc. It is, as Graham repeatedly says, like a black-hole, you can tell it by its effects in the realm of the phenomenal.
But where we part ways, and this is what these discussions has elucidated for me, is precisely WHAT withdraws. For Husserl, it was something close to a Kantian ding-an-sich, with a lot of bells and whistles added, but he got into difficulty whenever he hit the limits of objects and the syntheses of parts (ie: his passive synthesis of time in the Cartesian Meditations). This is because, in my reading (and I am in no way, shape, or form a Husserl scholar!), he was doing what worries me in OOO, namely, talking about real objects, but importing aspects from the phenomenal realm.
This is why I think we can say that SOMETHING withdraws under Paris, and under everything that is ever ‘perceived’ (and I use this word liberally here). But I don’t think we can ever say anything DEFINITE about that which withdraws, we only ever have the effects. That is, we can say that SOMETHING withdraws under Paris, but NOT that the ‘real Paris’ withdraws. This is because to call the ‘real’ that withdraws UNDER Paris the ‘real Paris’ is to import aspects of the phenomenal grasping of the withdrawn realness into one’s discussion of the real. My approach to the real is much more Lacanian, IT withdraws, but we cannot say anything about the IT without importing our own filters. Where I differ from Lacan is that I think there are physical reasons why this is the case, not merely metaphysical ones. And this is where I think Deleuze’s notion of the virtual, as a multiplied, multiplicitous version of the real (its actually fascinating to watch Guattari struggle to pluralize Lacanian concepts in his notebooks, but both of them really were in an often ‘hidden polemic’ realtionship with Lacan), suits me better. I have other issues with the virtual, both those are for another time.
Point is, I agree with Graham and Levi that SOMETHING withdraws under Paris, I just don’t think we can call it ‘the real Paris’ unproblematically.
3. PSEUDO-OBJECTS: Which goes actually to the heart of Graham’s followup post, about distinguishing between real and pseudo-objects. Are soccer-moms real objects? Well, phenomenally, of course! That is, some folks have categorized the mass of people out there into this category, and as a concept, ‘the soccer mom’ is as real as either chalk or cheese, in the CONCEPTUAL realm. But do soccer moms ‘really’ exist? I think this is a false question, for all the reasons listed above. The real withdraws from EVERY symbolization thereof, but to say the real is potentially composed of soccer moms, well, I see WHY one would want to do this, I just don’t think you CAN without it altering this concept to the point at which it seems to me to stop making sense. Because if there can be soccer moms ‘in the real’, so to speak, then you have all the questions that define the phenomenal realm – distinction between entities, genesis, decomposition – that I’ve spoken about elsewhere, APPEAR IN THE REAL. And this is precisely what you don’t want to have happen, unless you want to import perspective into the real, but then what the heck could the real even mean, what would distinguish it from the phenomenal?
4. SCHREBER: I find it fascinating that Levi links up the potential ‘g-d’ of an object-oriented philosophy with Schreber. I need to think about this more . . . Ok, now I’ve fun out of time, I’ve got to run and catch a train to Long Island!