Digging Into the End

I remember when my little brain first gained the conceptual ability to ponder (outer) space.  I let my mind wander as far as it would go into space.  It traveled deeper and deeper where the star lights began to grow dim.  Then light became absent.  Things slowed down but my mind continued.  Eventually my mind reached a wall, or more accurately a corner, a point where my mind was funneled.  This is the end, there is no further.  But the thought came to me, What if I began to dig into the end?

This thinking always comes back to me when the question of immanence and transcendence surfaces.  It always supported, in my mind, a position of transcendence.  I no longer see this as the case.  I see the question now more as a Hebrew one; that is a question of boundary.  In any  event I have been trying to think through various expressions of immanence lately.  Most of them are loosely or directly connected with Gilles Deleuze (and seems to characterize much of the contributions at AUFS).  Currently I am reading Philip Goodchild’s Deleuze and Guattari: An Introduction to the Politics of Desire.  As I am working through many things I do not understand I came across a very helpful and short statement on understanding immanence.

A truly critical philosophy can only be judged by the immanence of its criteria: it must do what it says, and say what it does.  It becomes a being-thought: a thought of being and a being of thought.  The second limit of critical philosophy is therefore a pure plane of immanence; this is the only possible meaning of the ‘end of philosophy’.  Immanence does not mean the absence of determination; rather, it implies that all that one is should be put into how one thinks, so that one’s entire mode of existence may be changed by encounters and idea within thought. [emphasis added]

This is far and away the most helpful thinking I have encountered in this discussion.  I have always approached the question as a jockeying for position over transcendence.  Who is policing the boundaries?  Who is claiming access or insight into the other side?  Who has dug through the end?  Goodchild’s (or Delueze’s) posture orients the question much more existentially and in many ways reminds me of statements found in Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground in which the Underground Man attempts to face himself.

There are certain things in a man’s past which he does not divulge to everybody but, perhaps, only to his friends.  Again there are certain things he will not divulge even to his friends; he will divulge them perhaps only to himself, and that, too, as a secret.  But, finally, there are things which he is afraid to divulge even to himself, and every decent man has quite an accumulation of such things in his mind.

. . .

I particularly want to put the whole thing to the test to see whether I can be absolutely frank with myself and not be afraid of the whole truth.

This thinking has no interest in the perception from outside as an abstracted and inaccessible site of conversation.  This thinking desires to put all into play; a venture of risk and trust.  I cannot rely on a secure deposit outside the relations of this world.  What else is kenosis?  As such this becomes a venture that may offer traction to the Christian notion of faith.  And perhaps more importantly this thinking may actually put flesh on the possibility of conversion.

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2 thoughts on “Digging Into the End

  1. David, first time checking out your blog. I clicked on Goodchild because I am going to be reading Capitalism and Religion this week.I appreciate this post–it articulates for me more precisely what is at stake in the immanence/transcendence discussion (especially the recent ones b/t Kotsko and Congdon). Undoubtedly transcendence has far too often been used as security but I am still undecided whether to abandon it or not. Like you (I think) I am quite allergic to its use as a way of avoiding the truth, especially kenotic truth; nonetheless, I have been thinking about Heidegger’s use of transcendence, i.e. it occurs when we allow ourselves to be suspended out into the Nothing. I don’t know Heidegger well enough to evaluate this thought as much as I’d like to, but I’m struck by its use of transcendence. Anyway, thanks for the post, I’ll be adding you to my RSS.

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