nikki moore

the capital subject is redundant

In Love, philosophy as biography, Subjection on May 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm

there was an argument of sorts yesterday.  yet i think we can agree, at least, that I was not there.

i will not be here either.  but perhaps we can say i will have been here?

honestly, now, i don’t remember the question.  i said something about a chicken.  jill stauffer says (to the chicken or the egg) …the chicken comes from the future.  in that case i was and may be again, that chicken.  we do agree, i think, that even so i’ll never know it.

repetition repetition

so today i propose to reinsert myself in and through repetition.  perhaps that was the fault?  perhaps as jean-luc marion and alain badiou contend i cannot show up if i only show up once.  maybe i(t) should be said twice: repetition. repetition.  (already preceeded by “once more, once more”..?) perhaps, however, as peter eisenmann realized when he began to sign his names and projects twice, it is an underwriting of what refuses to be underwritten… or as Derrida points out in the copyright has no insurer.

no in.surance.

so .i. re-

petition: trans. to make a request or supplication to; spec. to address a written petition to an authority in respect of a particular cause; to make a formal application to a court.  

(oxford english dictionary)

which court, which authority?  are we not already speaking of a certain sort of religion?

…however little may be known of religion in the singular, we do know that it is always a response and responsibility that it is always a response and responsibility that is prescribed, not chosen freely in an act of pure and abstractly autonomous will.  there is no doubt that it implies freedom, will and responsibility but let us try to think this; will and freedom without autonomy.  Whether it is a question of sacredness, sacrificiality or of faith, the other makes the law, the law is other: to give ourselves back, and up, to the other.  To every other and to the utterly other.

(Derrida, Jacques.  “Faith and Knowledge,” Acts of Religion.  p 71)

will and freedom without autonomy.  we know where this goes.  kant at least.  calvin most definitely.  can we escape this?  is it the ‘you’ that promises escape and what of promising?  

it hurts, but stay here with me.  i am(is) always a false promise.  i am always an outside.  a temporary convergence, you could say a binding, or even a gathering… 

Assuring oneself of a provenance of etymologies.  the best illustration would be given by the divergence concerning the two possible etymological sources of the word religio: (a) relegere, from leger (“harvest, gather”): Ciceronian tradition continued by W. Otto, J.-B Hofmann, Benveniste; (b) religare, from ligare (“to tie, bind”).  this tradition would go from lactantius and tertullian to kobbert, ernout-meillet, pauly wissowa.  in addition to the fact that etymology never provides a law and only provides material for thinking on the condition that it allows itself to be thought as well, we shall attempt later to define the implication or tendency <charge> common to the two sources of meaning thus distinguished.  beyond a case of simple synonyms, the two semantic sources perhaps overlap.  they would even repeat one another not far from what in truth would be the origin of repetition, which is to say, the division of the same.            

(Derrida, Jacques.  “Faith and Knowledge,” Acts of Religion, p. 71 bold: mine)

and of course the bold is never mine.  it isn’t derrida’s either.  and it is.  he shares it with another.  (and if i had a footnote in this format perhaps we could think jean-luc nancy’s sharing: at once a division amongst and a common between.  like sharing grapes.  but without a footnote..?  here in the body, is that possible?)

religare, relegere.  to bind and to gather.  

in the definition of “reflecting faith” and of what binds the idea of pure morality indissolubly to Christian revealation, Kant recurs to the logic of a simple principle, that which we cited a moment ago verbatim: in order to conduct oneself in a moral manner, one must act as though God did not exist or no longer concerned himself with our salvation.  

(Derrida, Jacques.  “Faith and Knowledge,” Acts of Religion, p. 51)

here i have stumbled into something perhaps i should not have seen.  an intimacy between Derrida and Zizek so profound, an intimacy that moves from profundity to surface, all surface.  

My desperate problem is how to draw, how to extract the Christian notion of redemption from this financial transaction logic.  This is what I’m desperately looking for.    (Zizek, Slavoj.  On Divine Self-Limitation and Revolutionary Love, an Interview at Syracuse University)


When Marx holds the critique of religion to be the premise of all ideology-critique, when he holds religion to be the ideology par excellence, even for the matrix of all ideology and of the very movement of fetishization, does his position not fall, whether he  would have wanted it or not, within the parergonal framework of this kind of rational criticism?  Or rather, more plausible but also more difficult to demonstrate, does he not already deconstruct the fundamentally Christian axiomatics of Kant? This could be one of our questions, the most obscure one no doubt, because it is not at all certain that the very principles of the Marxist critique do not still appeal to a hererogeneity between faith and knowledge, between practical justice and cognition.  This heterogeneity, by the way, may ultimately not be irreducible to the inspiration or to the spirit of Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone.  All the more since these figures of evil discredit, as much as the accredit, the “credit” which is the act of faith.  The exclude as much as they explain, they demand perhpas more than ever this recourse to religion, to the principle of faith, even if it is only that of a radically fiduciary form of the “reflecting faith” already mentioned. 

Derrida, Jacques.  “Faith and Knowledge,” Acts of Religion, p. 53)

996 words into this essay, this repetition, I am racking up quite a debt. but the point is that “I” is only ever a racking up, a ratcheting up of a debt that cannot be paid.  faith, credit, fiduciary terms: we are talking about promise.  unfulfillable promise.  a promise to respond, to respond.ability. this is the bottom line to any subject.  these are the terms of any subjectivity.  and this is a bank filled with empty accounts.  blank ledgers, even if not blank slates.  

given such poverty – why talk in these terms?  why speak in terms of debt or guilt, … in any of these broke.n discourses?  

perhaps that is why i can rarely speak.  i work in words to, what… nudge? invade from the inside? (didn’t deleuze call it buggery?) perhaps. i am . viral.  parasitical?  penicillin? 

insertions, injections, implosions… subjectivity, like capitalism, promises the impossible and untenable (undesirable) universal. it/they promise and project, hedging bets on markets that fall through working hands like grains of sand.silicon.sand.  the ‘as if’, the creation of smooth space proposes a life that is. elsewhere.  ‘this can’t be all that there is’.  yet if we can let capitalism run its full course, could we not let the subject do (when it already is never and exactly) the same?


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