Reality is the ‘name we assign to a state in which the dimensions of essence (what something is) and of existence (that something is) are inextricably bound to each other, without merging into one another’.”

“The present condition of metaphysical nihilism, that strips all things of their essence and existence, turning them into mere instances of an ontology of positions, signals towards a complete disintegration of reality — a collapse of the background that allows characters to act on stage, as per the metaphor that opened this book. When the frame of reality refuses to act as a frame, thus preventing the existent from emerging within it as a ‘world’, reality’s disintegration begins.”

Technic and Magic: The Reconstruction of Reality, Federico Campagna

Berardi: The Risk of Reactionary Nostalgia

“The consciousness of living in a condition of abstract domination, the consciousness of the increasing control that technical automatisms are exerting on the social and cultural life of populations, has led me to develop a sense of aversion towards the potency of technology, and a sentiment of nostalgia for political freedom and for the authenticity of life. But I don’t like these sentiments, I don’t recognise them as a part of me. They have successfully conquered some part of my mind because I fear my own impotence. But this fear is the impotence: there is no impotence except in the fear of it.

My philosophical formation, my political experience and my personal character do conflict with these sentiments of reactionary nostalgia, and of fear of the process of post-human development.

. . .

These sentiments . . . are also linked with the process of decline of my mind, of my body and my sexuality. I must consciously come to terms with impending senility, in order not to mistake this personal condition as universal.

I ask myself: how deeply have I been influenced by the reactionary philosophy that descends from the humanist critique of technique and from the nostalgia for authenticity? My intention is to disjoin the understanding of the crisis of humanism from the reactionary nostalgia conveyed by this understanding.”

—Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Futurability.

Byung-Chul Han’s elegant critique sent me back to this Berardi that I’ve not read properly. I discovered Berardi from Federico Campagna’s The Last Night. I think often of this passage.

Comradeship and Silence

Words exist but the pump to bring those words from the bottom of the well to the surface is malfunctioning. Buried in the sand at the bottom of the well is a torrent of words, but if by chance the pump stirs up some sand, by the time it reaches the surface, the words within convey nothing. As Johnson describes the adjective silent: mute, still, quiet, not speaking.

I love, (swoops and loops of love), Ellman’s description: “Beckett was addicted to silences, and so was Joyce; they engaged in conversations which consisted often of silences directed towards each other, both suffused with sadness, Beckett mostly for the world, Joyce mostly for himself.” It is such a precise description, that distinction so clear in the writing of both men.

In a timely intervention, my friend @EstherHawdon mentions the Japanese obsession with silence, and quotes Basho’s poem:

Old pond

frogs jumped in

sound of water

And goes on to say,

We usually use the word “ma (間)” meaning blank or emptiness, so when there is silence in conversation, we call this silence “ma” – “ma 間” is also used to mean blank space – e.g. there is a space between a stone and another in a garden, we call this blank “ma”

This returns me to a book that I’ve returned to again and again this summer, Federico Campagna’s The Last Night: Anti-work, Atheism, Adventure in which I found so much wisdom, particularly on his conception of comradeship (a few unlinked passages):

Comradeship among egoists allows them to further modify the reality in which they exist, thus shaping the landscape of their adventure and taming at least in part the influence that the environment in which they exist has on them.

As it always happens with the creation of a bond, unions of egoists necessarily result in something that exceeds a friendship based on shared interests or the simple joint-venture of cooperating forces.

And I make no apology for quoting again I passage I quoted a few weeks ago:

There was always something that allowed me to distinguish between the long list of unmemorable relationships and the few who were to remain. In all my strongest friendships, in all the best relationships I have ever had, an element seemed to constantly recur. It was the feeling of a movement together with the other person, a tension towards something or somewhere, a common action, a sense of solidarity within the frame of a shared intent. The people I have ever felt closest to have been something more than friends: they have been comrades.

Of course, I accept the political connotations of the word. But with a difference. Like political comrades, we were bound by a common desire and a common tension. Differently from them, however, our desires and tensions could not be limited by the dogma of some abstract ideals, let alone pre-existing ideologies. Between us, there was something that originated from us alone.

Silence as Esther describes so beautifully is neither a vacuüm to be feared, nor pure emptiness. As in Beckett’s Unnamable, referring to language and silence as distinct entities ends up conveying nothing as both merge into one. The Unnamable is silence.

Adventure with The Last Night

This extended passage is from one of those books that elicits a personal response, an engagement, an adventure. It may not resonate so strongly with everyone (of course). In particular, Campagna’s citation of the importance of friendship and daydreaming acted like a bucket of ice cold water.

Friendship, then, felt like a good ground to start my investigation. There was always something that allowed me to distinguish between the long list of unmemorable relationships and the few who were to remain. In all my strongest friendships, in all the best relationships I have ever had, an element seemed to constantly recur. It was the feeling of a movement together with the other person, a tension towards something or somewhere, a common action, a sense of solidarity within the frame of a shared intent. The people I have ever felt closest to have been something more than friends: they have been comrades.
Of course, I accept the political connotations of the word. But with a difference. Like political comrades, we were bound by a common desire and a common tension. Differently from them, however, our desires and tensions could not be limited by the dogma of some abstract ideals, let alone pre-existing ideologies. Between us, there was something that originated from us alone.
There was still motion between us was exactly it, the noun I was trying to look for.

What was it then?
Apart from in my friendships, I have encountered it in other places, in which I have never set foot but with my mind. In books, in films, in stories I met it countless times. And it had a name, then. A name so common, so simple, and that we all have long known. In those books that I used to read as a child, it was clearly stated, as a whole literary genre.
Finally I found it.
It was adventure.

Adventure!

Federico Campagna
The Last Night: Anti-work, Atheism, Adventure