A Friend and I: On and In the Real

A Friend:

“I’m in the country side. Well the real might be interesting, might even be more, even if that’s not its strength for me per se. I meant the real and I meant the notion of the real that might be a few thousand years earlier than Sartre. I was wondering about what your earliest points of interest in the real were.  I guess at some point there is a serious attempt to define it and maybe not necessarily philosophically either. Again …no idea. In the mountains ? Nice , so they say . You? How’s the view from up there? You still can’t see the woe-man ? Even from up there…? Climb down a bit maybe. By the way – I never saw Sartre as having made a contribution to the real as such. As a phenomenologist (primarily) I tend to uncover a (literally) fantastic irreality – more an Image of the real. I never retread Sartre – his god thought bored me. It’s not closure – just how it was at the time for me. Sort of a case of ” not my concern” – as for “woman” and Sartre …lol…many column inches were filled over that one. Read – he wasa phenomenologist – and that’s what I uncover in him. Now, that may seem like an imposition – yet it’s one which he himself imposed – as an existentialist he seemed subject to his own category, and his own categorising divisions. Lacan not (?) although he seems to mediate the grand imposition of his ‘real’  three times .  (Bear in mind we did indeed meet in the 96 period in and through zizek right? So I entered into lacan via these modalities of the real – such as the “really real of the real” and maybe the not so real of the Imaginary, the absence of absence in the real seismically felt in the symbolic register ….all that malarky.) I, following a question I asked both you and john several months ago, was still curious concerning the universality of the real. I mentioned something like a real belonging to all subjects. I won’t go into it here, but I do now see the real as precisely that which is the “unthinkable” in, of , against, and through thought. and not only. I will go further . It’s a non conditional – ‘not only of this world in this world’. Fragments here. But. Art has no real. And neither does any other category per se. It’s not a categorical unconditional. It’s far more…universally underdetermined than, even say, horror. (Beginning – I would say more like the absence of horror, the chance of being able to distinguish horror,  though being encompassed totally withinitself . Water in water as basic metaphor. Horror’s horror.) This is what we are so fascinated by – this scopic regime …the unceasing interest of the visual in pursuing at the cost of the real … our reality. Media systems of course come to mind . But also philosophy is equally inane . As though the work could be thought only …ha! What a categorical pretense (however beautiful). (As though the WORLD could be thought only – typo …on a phone…damit ) More later …birthday greetings to us both. Birthday greetings are like trying to give something you don’t have to someone who doesn’t want it ..no?”

And I:

“Can one talk about The Real. As a concept introduced in theoretical discourse it may have only been championed by Lacan after some hazy usage by Sartre and some other philosophers. Interestingly if you look it up on “wikipedia” it just talks about Lacan. But “the real” is such an abstract concept. Etymologically it could relate to “royal” which may link itto some concept of sovereignty. For me it does have a connotation to the impossible, the sovereign immanence of what is, in the Bataillean sense and Being as Being ontologically as simultaneously void and infinite in a Badiouian sense. This links the scientific material and existent real to the inexistent real. The important difference from Kant’s noumena and all the “correlationist” philosophies is that the real is not transcendent – or rather it is simultaneously transcendent and immanent – or neither, nondualist. Certain Eastern nondualist praxis (nondual as lived theory) are able to get beyond the correlationist dualism of the West and I think Bataille was similar in his personal form of mystical praxis – informed by the East but equally by Christian and erotic mysticism. I also believe Lacan continually borrowed from Bataille’s experiential theory without acknowledging it. (He did acquire both his wife and his office.) Badiou of course also attended Lacan’s seminars in developing his axiomatic praxis so there is an unbroken line here. For me Badiou’s ontology of infinite sets or transfinites is an accurate pointing to the real as is Bataille’s sovereignty even though they appear opposites and both flesh out similar aspects to Lacan’s usage. The “psychotomimetic” experience of a large dose of mushrooms can give the experience of the real. It’s all out there: infinite information beyond the comprehension of our limited set and suddenly the imaginary-symbolic filter is removed, or the set is opened up, and one is exposed to a little more of the real. This is when it can become like horror – or ecstasy.”