+++ Editor (LR): We have here to thank The Conformist, who appears very well informed, and to apologise for not following up on her/his statement fully (although some attempt is made below, in the main text). It just was not possible to sustain a dialogue on two fronts. However, in response to her/his comment, I think it higlights precisely Brassier’s failing, if anything. It is unclear what is intended by Brassier’s project if all that is achieved is to lay the account for ‘meaning’ at the foot of ‘underlying insensate, inorganic, insignificant processes’, whilst claiming that this does not harm meaning (‘qualia etc’.) as such. There is a reflexivity to this argument that is akin to watching ‘truth’ presented as in a hall of mirrors, wherein every image is indiscernible from a reflection of the original intended image (taking that the original image=meaning): We can have no idea if we are seeing real ‘truth’, or a refracted form. Put simply, if ‘meaning’ is designated as possible only on account of underlying processes, one wonders just which of these processes (or almalgamation of processes) makes such a designation possible? Is not every proclamation of ‘truth’ or ‘meaning’, or of the origins of either, dependent on those underlying arbitary processes?
As such, it is not possible to stand aside from these processes, and, indeed, any belief – even those that are scientifically founded – that we have found the originary cause of human conciousness, could in any case be a mere reflection of our own thought projections – they being in fact predicated on underlaying processes that we cannot understand or access. I try not to beggar the point too much, but a repetitive reiteration of this failing goes precisely to show where the fault lies – in a perpetual reflection of the base problem of philosophy (the subject’s inability to know for sure that it really knows what it knows!), that is most distant from truth whenever it claims to truly know that truth: Yes, science is as perverse as religion, and no amount of criticism aimed at the latter (and its agnostic and atheistic correlates) will absolve the former.
And here is where Brassier’s attempt royally fails, as the extent of his own complicity within processes of thought that will show up biased results (the philospher’s mind being ever amienable to ‘wishful thinking’, the likes of which Brassier would like to see banished) can never be itself wished away. The only way, in my mind, out of this quandary, is to accept as given the impossibility of the mind perceiving the truth re; there being meaning in life or not – and the bases of that ‘meaning’ – and to then predicate a ‘meaning’ construed under those terms – a meaning based upon there being no real existent meaning, and, thereby, not a ‘rescue’ of meaning by any measure: Meaning must be construed as co-existent with its opposite, but must be seen as no less ‘meaningful’ for this fact. It is here that Aesthetics becomes central as recourse to the artwork, and the illusion it plays in creating a ‘meaning’ despite its inherent meaninglessness provides us with the grounds upon which such an undertaking might be achieved with regards to ‘life’ itself.+++
[The re-numbering, from ‘1.’ of the entries here denotes the passing of the dialogue from ‘Larval Subjects’ to this current ‘blog’ site. There is also a marked difference in the material approached. Whilst the broad subject remains the same, a shift is made towards a more direct consideration of ‘art’, and, later, ‘conceptualism’.]