Ktismatics

15 February 2007

Nature Does Not Exist

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 4:14 pm

What then is Nature, that Nature which Galileo declared to be written in ‘mathematical language’? Grasped in its pure multiple-being, nature should be natural-being-in-totality: that is, the multiple which is composed of all the ordinals… Nature has no sayable being. There are only some natural beings… One could say: everything (which is natural) is (belongs) in everything, save that there is no everything. The homogeneity of the ontological schema of natural schema of natural presentations is realized in the unlimited opening in a chain of name-numbers, such that each is composed of all those which precede it.

Badiou, Being and Event, 1988

The first question is this: do I really want to get to the point where I can honestly say that I understand what he’s talking about? My answer, almost unbelievably, is ‘yes.’

The second question is this: am I able to resist this lure? My answer, almost certainly, is ‘yes.’

The third question is this: will I resist?

Maybe there’s a short-cut. I will now turn to a randomly-selected sentence in this book and deem it a mystical portal to Truth. I’m thinking of page 284. I’m thinking of line 5. Let’s see… here’s the complete sentence, with line 5 in bold:

The effort, this time, is to contain the un-measure, not by reinforcing rules and prohibiting the indiscernible, but directly from above, by the conceptual practice of possibly maximal presentations.

Okay, does anyone receive any messages from this passage?

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6 Comments »

  1. I’m taking up the challenge, using my own context as a key to understand what is said. This may not be what the author intended to say, nor what others make of it, but often enough there is a parallel to be found. To contain the un-measure makes me think of trying to get rid of the metrical thinking learned at the university, in particular statistical and physical laws. Containing though seems implying the use of restraint and just that physical measure, a box, a unity to make the un-measure hold inside a container or box or measure, sounds static. Thus there is paradox in containing the un-measure. Does it refer to quality instead of quantity.
    Oops, now I see that you wanted to talk about the bold section. Indiscernible, but directly from above, by the conceptual practice of
    This seems a reference to a hierarchy of thoughts, a coordination from above (a world of thoughts and concepts ?). Prohibiting the undiscernible is trying to reach an objective unbiased clear view (I don’t know of what) by getting everything out in the open, making it discernable and containable? Thus the way to contain the un-measure is by the use of concepts in direct relation to the un-measure.
    Seems this is very close to philosophy of language? And opens room for belief or mind over matter.

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    Comment by Odile — 16 February 2007 @ 12:21 am

  2. I think you are very good at this, Odile — taking a small fragment and assembling something whole around it. Perhaps here you have demonstrated the praxis of “containing the unmeasure.” The isolated fragment cannot be measured because it has no location on any dimensions. Now you have affixed it to a structure. But can the un-measure be contained without transforming it into the measure, without “prohibiting the indiscernible?” Can structures contain elements that are not themselves part of the structure? It is a paradox, as you say. This is a strange way to read a book.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 16 February 2007 @ 7:41 am

  3. I just wanted to say once more, Dang I love your web site. Even though I understand only about 15% of it. I still feel like I’m learning something!

    Ivan

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    Comment by Ivan — 19 February 2007 @ 7:26 am

  4. Thanks, Ivan. I’d say if I understood 15% of what I talk about I’d be in good shape.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 19 February 2007 @ 8:29 pm

  5. But can the un-measure be contained without transforming it into the measure, without “prohibiting the indiscernible?”
    In my opinion this happens all the time I think. First there is a formless indiscernible idea that I can sense, it is not completely without boundaries and shaping itself. (using words is discernible though) The funniest thing about this is that this touches in essence the subject of my book – but then, this is how each of us try to make sense of the world around us, relating content to our own historical context.

    Maybe the trick is not to affix it permanently, rather like a piece of puzzle trying where it fits in more than one structure?

    Another view might be that if we derive a measure or containment for the unmeasure, we keep realizing that the measure is but the reflection of the unmeasure, not the unmeasure itself.

    Can structures contain elements that are not themselves part of the structure?
    Visually, I can imagine a structure being around an object, being able to rotate around an object without the object moving, while the relationship to the object changes.
    Structures imply relationships, definitions, operations. In a way structures can be seen as theories that predict relationships between elements, e.g. distance between elements. “contain”: if you mean keep in a certain location relative to other elements, a fence could be such a theory that is even designed to contain elements that are not part of the fence inside a location. Fences need not be material :D.

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    Comment by Odile — 20 February 2007 @ 1:01 am

  6. I’m intrigued by what you’re saying here. Your book must be a good one.

    In Genesis 1 God confronts the “formless void”: I believe it’s not a frightful chaos, but a realm of pure potential from which unprecedented ideas spring.

    Maybe the trick is not to affix it permanently, rather like a piece of puzzle trying where it fits in more than one structure? I agree. The same things and ideas can have different meanings in different contexts, different “realities.” In Genesis 50, Joseph is reunited with his brothers, who sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph is now a powerful man in Egypt and his brothers are afraid. Joseph tells them not to worry: you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Same event, two different frameworks for making sense of that event.

    The measure is but the reflection of the unmeasure, not the unmeasure itself. Right: the name of a thing isn’t the thing itself; the score on an IQ test isn’t the same as the intelligence that generated that score.

    Visually, I can imagine a structure being around an object, being able to rotate around an object without the object moving, while the relationship to the object changes. Structures imply relationships, definitions, operations. In a way structures can be seen as theories that predict relationships between elements, e.g. distance between elements. “contain”: if you mean keep in a certain location relative to other elements, a fence could be such a theory that is even designed to contain elements that are not part of the fence inside a location. Fences need not be material. Again I agree: the fence isn’t the same as what it contains; the theory isn’t the same as the phenomena it describes. So a conceptual or aesthetic reality is a framework that defines relationships among the raw stuff. The same stuff can be interrelated in many different ways without changing the stuff itself. So: many frameworks, many realities can be superimposed on the same material world. Science, economics, politics, art, religion — many realities coexisting in the same space and time.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 20 February 2007 @ 5:15 pm


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