Just in case anyone is wondering both Matthias and I are still alive and kickin , although Matthias is doing his kicking for the moment over on the Non. We have both published a series of posts there . Mine are considerable rewrites of two posts first published on this blog, while Matthias’s are wholly new and beautifully written pieces in German. Link here. Since we are both now writing for two blogs you can expect less posts here, although I for one would like to keep this blog going as I think it’s focus on Buddhism is worthwhile for the way non philosophical critique delivers massive amounts of new thinking in whatever area one applies it to. Proven, if proof be needed, by Glenn Wallis’s powerful, original and poetically exuberant text Nascent Speculative non-Buddhism and the book and blog posts which followed from it. ( Non X issue 1)
I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading Timothy Mortons essay “Thinking the Charnel Ground (The Charnel Ground Thinking): Auto Commentary and Death in esoteric Buddhism (link below) which is a mine of ideas for anyone interested in the relation between esoteric Buddhism and non philosophical thought. Its strength is that it brings Buddhism into dialogue with various strains of modernist thinking by a process of juxtaposition in which modern philosophical texts are used as a tool to probe esoteric texts and visa-verse. The result is a series of insights beautiful in their strangeness. Needless to say the text requires an effort at thought .
I am making a series of written ruminations on the text as I read and re-read Morton’s beautifully argued essay. If what I’ve written reads as conceptually overcooked that’s because it is. See what you think. (literally – see what you think)
“We have a non totalisable reality, openness to the new and to the stranger, and a non realizable infinity of interrelation. What we have is non-theism rather than theism or atheism, if by “theism” we mean belief in some transcendent beyond, and if by “atheism” we mean simple denial of anything beyond the empirical.” (Morton)
What most caught my interest here were the words non totalisable and non realizable. They highlight the way non- buddhism denies the simple opposition between the immanent /transcendent dyad. Non-buddhism presupposes the non-viability of the juxtaposition of opposites as a dialectic of the real. To use philosophical terminology, the terms non-totalisible and non-realizable, as epistemological statements about knowing or not knowing an infinity of interrelations, posits a state of mind, of knowing, which is without an ontological object. The terms non- realisable and non totalisable as statements about an ontological real subsume the dyad trancendent/immanent, bypassing a philosophical operation that would produce a synthesis (the One, the Unnamable, Suchness etc) in favour of a wholly unspeakable otherness that precedes any operation whatsoever — what Laruelle calls a given-without-givenness.
To correct the above it should read:
We have a non totalisable reality, openness to the new and to the stranger, and a non realizable non-infinity of interrelation.
What the non adds is a decimation of the ontological term “infinity of interrelation” which is the determination (in the last instance) instancing the epistemological terms non realisable and non totalisable.
In this way we arrive at a triadic of terms two of which are orders of non knowing — non realizable/non totalisable where a third term, non-infinity of relations, function as a non ontological term (in the last instance) for an immanence of the real.
If this sounds like the state Dzogchen communicates by way of auto commentary as a yogin’s effortless abiding in the already and always given natural state of non-meditation, that only goes to show that many a culture can arrive at the knowledge of the essential non-correlation between the real and conceptual thought by circuitous route and without implying any sort of syncretism.
Timothy Morton’s essay