On The Irreducibility of Concepts and Their Unaccountability (Part Two)

Psychology teaches us that the identity and classification of concepts on paper may be satisfactory at first glance yet the mixture of concepts within the human organism (or if you wish the mind) is far from neutral, objective or clear. Concepts travel through the terrain of affectivity yet affectivity is always already travelling through the terrain of concepts (a lot of thinkers make the mistake of trying to create a clear distinction between the two or favour one over the other). This bilateral relationship accumulates the ‘Subject’. The subject is – if it is anything –  1) this bilateral relationship between affectivity and how such is comprehended (i.e how the affectivity of ‘guilt’ is conceptually categorised (through different periods of history)) and 2) concepts and how they affect (how an already formed idea becomes a determination and even circles round to become a reflex; for example to turn a light switch on). This latter description has a broad spectrum; from tacit knowledge (the physical encoding of a conceptual task) to being determined by a concept over and beyond its standard use/meaning. We should think of the determination of the conceptual as determination per se (or conformism) because we are directed through an already-made concept. However, obsessions that appear troubling, unclear or without any immediate pragmatic orientation may very well be the awareness of a chafing; where the concept does not sit well with the particular subject (or N.A.R.P if you will). It is obvious that concepts affect people (not just through behavioural studies but also as symptoms i.e neuroses). This is mainly down to the concepts foreign nature and also to its indiscernibility (a concept can be broken down but its essence will not be found and its poignancy – of manifesting at that particular time –  will never be fully understood). There has been much effort to reduce and stabilise the non-identity of the concept (and in many ways the non-location of the concept, as each subject appropriates overlapping similarities of the concept and not some fundamental coherent identity of the concept). The way a civilization achieves this reduction and characterisation is qua assimilation. First we decide that the concept should abide to the same assumed rules of objects; we want the concept to subsist, to be empirically legitimated, and to be representational (which amounts to the same thing). As soon as this assimilation takes place we have what I have hitherto called tautology; the concept attaches itself as the shallow definition of an object (the concept-meaning-use of a ‘chair’, a ‘lamppost’, even a ‘concept’ itself as if it were intrinsically understandable). Whether through pragmatism, utilitarianism, positivism, capitalism (this tautological philosophy allows companies to sell us a concept-draped object as if they were one and the same thing) or perhaps simply for our own health, tautological reality is the fundamental paradigm of our being-in-the-world in the 21st century. The epiphenomenon of tautological concept-objects gathers its power of seduction, not only through social assimilation (large groups of people telling us this is how reality ‘is’) but also through the ephemeral, dialectical idea of resistance ; the notion that there has to be some kind of delineation whereby an object stops being an object or becomes a different object. One of the presuppositions in the notion of ‘causality’ is that something has to be caused for causation to ‘work’ or manifest. Beyond the relative, shallow contingencies of ‘use’ or ‘meaning’ (such can be transformed at any given time) and the ‘material’ contingency of an ‘object’ (again such can be transformed at any given time under the necessary conditions) what we are left with is a conceptual territory in-the-last-instance whereby the concept has to auto-delineate itself (in the subject but not outside of the subject) in order to play itself within a game. The game will necessarily be unfulfilling if we are programmed to nominate concepts based on objects and ‘uses’ within utilitarian life in-the-last-instance. The affectivity of the subject (or the void/nothing/incoherence/transcendence of the subject) is precisely the anxiety of where the chain of concepts will go and how they will affect us. This anxiety of the concept, and not simply the determination of a concept creating anxiety, discloses to us a form of reflexivity, a reflexivity somehow observant of the concepts flowing through us, a reflexivity I have called neurosis in the past. …


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