From whose ground heaven and hell compare
Olga Balema, Georgina Braoudakis, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Georgia Dickie, David Flaugher, Aleksander Hardashnakov, Jason Matthew Lee, Jared Madere, Carlos Reyes, Eric Schmid, Andy Schumacher, Ben Schumacher, Luke Schumacher
Organized by Ben Schumacher
13. June - 26. July 2014

Installation view

Installation view

David Flaugher, Lisa’s Potpourri, 2014, Wax, candle wicks, plastic, lights, 10 ø 30 cm

Andy Schumacher/Ben Schumacher, Untitled, 2014, Laser cardboard (drawing) and 3D print, framed, 63 x 95 x 3 cm

Carlos Reyes, Untitled (mushrooms cry, 11:48), 2014, Laser etched mushroom, ø 25 cm

Jason Matthew Lee, Iciclesmadeofsweat, 2014, Spray painted pay phone, 50 x 20 x 15 cm

Georgia Dickie, Slipmat With Protrusion #1, 2013, Rubber slip mat, found object, 30,5 x 29,2 x 15,2 cm

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Jared Madere, Untitled, 2014 (detail), Salt, funerary arrangements, ink, Dimensions variable

Installation view

Olga Balema, Subscribing is better, 2013, Plastic box, steel, hoses, water pump, textile, 74 ø x 64 cm

Installation view

Aleksander Hardashnakov, The Trap Room 1, 2014, Colored pencil, gesso, oil, on scratched canvas, board mounted to panel (hardware), 46 x 61 cm

Installation view

Installation view

Aleksander Hardashnakov, The Trap Room 4, 2014, Colored pencil, gesso, oil, on scratched canvas, board mounted to panel (hardware), 46 x 61 cm

Aleksander Hardashnakov, The Trap Room 2, 2014, Colored pencil, gesso, oil, on scratched canvas, board mounted to panel (hardware), 46 x 61 cm

Aleksander Hardashnakov, The Trap Room 3, 2014, Colored pencil, gesso, oil, on scratched canvas, board mounted to panel (hardware), 46 x 61 cm

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Installation view

Say our universe is only one region of cosmological fallout among many, from some great cosmogenetic
event—not the first or only cosmogenetic event, but a cosmogenetic event. Like the popular imagining of the Big
Bang, this event is unique and has specific consequences, but it also has a generic aspect, without pretensions to
absolute originality or primal origination. The different regions are characterized by disparate determinations of
elemental matter and energy (or their analogues); correspondingly, motion, change and continuity occur differently.
How far could we take this? Our most fundamental characterizations of the basic “stuff” of reality—e.g. space and
time, matter, substance, waves and particles—as well as our most fundamental categories for understanding their
relations—e.g. cause and effect, chance and necessity, change and continuity, and so on—might not even apply or
anyway apply only in asymptotic approximation to other cosmological regions. The perspective we have developed
on this reality is complicated not only by the fact that there are other realities (and other perspectives) of disparate
developmental dispositions, but also because its cosmo-logic does not consist simply of the innate and eternal
determinations of self-identical “matters.” First off, it can be said that things and their systematic interrelations are
the results of earlier spontaneous developments. They cannot now be separated out from those processes, as if a
moment had passed wherein the privilege of the constitutive interactivity of the disparate gave way to the privilege
of the thing. For even that separation would coincide with the interactive process and separateness would be a result
of its development. The thing (or the system of things) would be, not a passive unity, but the living unity of forces
continuing along a certain trajectory. Moreover, the affinity in the coming-together of the thing and the violence and
adversity of its separation out of the mix would be one and same (as we say: “depending on perspective,” which is a
force of preeminent concern here). So, secondly, the immanent cosmo-logic of this reality involves the ongoing
realization of spontaneous developmental interactions between disparate forces, energies and matters—or rather,
between irreducibly, incomparably unique cosmic happenings. Rest and stability are not passive moments in which
privilege must be accorded to that moment of which this one is the repetition, or to that previous moment from
which the present one continues more or less the same. Both change over time and periods of relative stability,
perseverance, and even rest are constituted and reconstituted through a repetition or endurance of the interactions
immanent to the developmental event; or, in other words, through a micrological continuity of the spontaneous
interactions characteristic of the macrological event (without placing undue emphasis on either of these cosmological
moments). Moreover, there is no telling how or when some interaction internal to this “system” or between it
and another—which, similarly unique, may be immanently related through a kind of marginally porous border
and/or cosmogenetic lineage—may set off another spontaneous macrological event.

In beginning with this brief narration, it seems that we have tried to complicate the simple togetherness or
duration of what it is that persists here, now, immediately apparent to the senses. The imperative of this apparent
complication occurs insofar as this very togetherness, seemingly of a stable nature, is posited as the tensed and
provisional result of what could be described, not as a logically necessary process, but as a spontaneously
necessitated happening between elements of radical difference. What now appears as the natural affinity of the
necessarily related, then, would in fact result from the competing tendencies of adversity (e.g. separation and
infiltration) and compatibility (e.g. growth!) and contain the tension of such interactions in its really provisional,
uncertain systematicity and logically abstractable togetherness. Insofar as we retain, reproduce and reverberate with
the effusive back-and-forth of this legacy, it is tempting to view our individuated division out of the fray as a kind of
ignorance, self-preservative functioning, or (what seems more damning) fear vis-à-vis the historical drama that is
effectively living us. From this view, simplicity might be seen as a kind of myth—a feeble attempt to abstract
ourselves from the principle of spontaneity that both determines and undermines the constitution of “moments” of
existence. Our simplifications could be seen as weak and one-sided reiterations of aspects we are thrown into by
virtue of our contingent positioning. We try to fix the determinacy of that contingent positioning—to see “life” in
terms of our life—rather than interpreting its determinacy as that of life and, in a problematic sense, for us as the
living. Although we sense that we are always at a marginal front of the drama, it remains the case that we are the
composition of that front.

On the other hand, willful complexity and confusion appear here as a superficial response to the
promiscuous undertones of the mytho-logical simplicity through which diverse individuals and societies are grouped
together. The basis of that response might go as follows: our way of grouping what are complex and different
matters grasps their composition as a simple unity of independent matters whose relatedness-in-difference is taken
as subsidiary or incidental. In privileging, or taking as primary, the atomistic identity or unity of the different, we
project the abstract perspective of human observation onto matter. When we then consider the human subject as a
composite of individual nerve cells, we simultaneously conceive matter through the veil of our own perspective and
posit that image as a generative principle to which all else reduces—i.e. the atomistic matter is generative, but
generates nothing but what ultimately reduces to its own primary identity, which is interpreted from the start in
accordance with the projection of our own abstract perspective!

However, the scrupulous critic continues, it makes equal theoretical sense to view matter as generated,
whether in its inherent composition or as the spontaneous continuity of a thing perpetually constituted and
reconstituted by its primordial conditions of difference—i.e. as the matter of a differential relation between unique
forces and energies. We can, of course, view simple, ready-to-hand (apprehensible), logical images as useful,
empirically observable, and so on. But, on its part, simplicity is an accomplished simplicity and itself a kind of
force—an abstract and abstracted force—as little undoable as it is unproblematic. We can view ourselves as a
complex of individual nerve cells which, however, effectively retain the unity of simpler cells, which retain the
simplicity of molecules, atoms, and so on—all along retaining the view of ourselves as abstract independents
isolated in our void. But even the abstract imagination cannot avoid the sense that this is a tensed separation
(somewhat in the manner of an inherited responsibility), and that our separateness is marked through the very same
force of tension separating the logical abstraction from the qualitative array of (sensory-perceptual) objects. For
example, it is shared experiences and histories, and their repeated application and communal circulation, that
naturalizes the methods and concepts of a discourse—which is not to place discourse on one side and reality on the
other, but to designate the principal dialogues of question and answer, call and response, repetition and adversity,
through which “reality” is held together and thrust forward. The simplicity of thought is inextricable from a
continuous process of simplification, bound up with complex relations to the expenditure of time and energy which
are interpreted (i.e. in a simplifying manner) in the course of that very relation. Thus, what is here at issue is not
only the treacherous complexity of what merely appears simple, but the complexity of accomplished simplicity as

Consider Heidegger’s manner of calling into question the conventional approach to language:

“Man speaks.” This idea evokes the sense that language is: 1) something spoken by human beings, as their
activity; 2) a means of giving interpersonal expression to personal thoughts, feelings and experiences, i.e. a universal
medium of communication between speakers; and 3) a form of “presentation and representation of the real and the
unreal” (Heidegger 190). All of these approaches to language seek to characterize its universal character—i.e. the
fundamental system underlying all particular instances of language and connecting them together—as well as its
function, or (more broadly) what it does. They treat language alongside corresponding perceptual, cognitive and
motor capacities that together are said to constitute the human being as such. And just as language is used to
logically represent and qualitatively describe other phenomena, it is further used to logically break down and
represent both isolated acts of linguistic expression and the sociohistorical processes through which they change
over time. All of this is correct, says Heidegger in his “Language” lecture. But the truth is that “Language speaks”—
“Sprache spricht.”

Heidegger thus makes a “beginning” of his lecture with the tautological proposition “language is
language.” The tautology appears obvious and self-evident—a bare assertion of language’s equality to itself—such
that, if anything, it can only function as a beginning (and a particularly unhelpful one at that). But in fact, we easily
see that it is no more a beginning than it is a mere result; for it says that, throughout all that is said and done,
language continues in its speaking just as it begins of itself, regardless of whatever affects or intentions, effects or
purposes have been expressed, communicated or accomplished in between. So, similarly, we can say that “language
is language” is an empirical observation and/or a logical proposition, suggesting the simple self-identity of the
phenomenon of language with itself; but this remains inattentive to what the proposition is actually saying in its
circularity, a circularity that precedes, supersedes and proceeds all throughout the specialized disciplines of logic
and empirical science.

Of course, the logical structure of the proposition is familiar. We can take the “is” as a sign of equality,
saying that language is identifiable as language. Even if we were to replace the word “language” with a nonsenseword
or a simple “X,” we would remain with the formula by which anything is identified and thereby addressed
(e.g. in rational thought and language). But we are left the difficulty whether it is the address or the thing addressed
that is primary in the identity—for if it is both then the very concept of identity appears as a tensed simplification.
The difficulty is especially prevalent in the case of language because it is in itself a mode of address; and yet that
address invariably speaks toward, or is solicited for the presentation of, things. It is only in rarefied form that
language addresses itself—and even then language is sent out in particular acts meant to speak to the universal
ground from which they emerge. Thus, the abstraction of language as a universal task or objective function makes of
it a kind of thing, when language of itself presents itself differently: “language is language.” To interpret this as a
logical proposition is a simplification, or the complex situation of a misinterpretation, fixating on a passive relation
of terms that is not language’s own, however readily it may provision itself toward those purposes (i.e. by speaking

The proposition “language is language” establishes speaking as a type of relationality, calling us into its
active sense without assigning us a position in it. But we can only respond to such an invitation on the condition that
we already abide in the openness of such a relation—for we can very well move from a condition of relatedness
toward the statement of identity, but no merely self-related identity could ever overcome its own passivity. The
proposition of the original relation of language thus calls our accomplished statement of language’s logically
necessitated identity with itself back within the originality of the relational address which stands before and
supersedes all established relations. The seemingly tautological proposition thus takes us on a little tour of sorts. We
might say that it establishes us within a mode of comportment, the faithful progeny of a perpetual re-beginning:
never where we think to have located ourselves; never finding anything we do not have already. For just when we
thought we were speaking about language, it becomes clear that speaking is occurring despite ourselves—in a sense,
language itself is either speaking out or beckoning to us, as the ones who are capable of speech. For if we had
language, there would be no sense in speaking its name twice. The question then arises: do we have it partially, such
that we need to continue to make it appear by speaking its name; or do we have language in excess, as a freely given
speaking? But either of these ways of looking at language misses the point. For each of these places the human and
language in an abstract, algebraic or even geometric relation, effectively deemphasizing the “is” which goes between
(or relates) the related, when the question is really why, even when we seem to be speaking about language, we are
always destined to continue speaking—i.e. we cannot simply (transitively) speak language and have done with it or
(intransitively or reflexively) do language, and similarly have done with it. Heidegger remarks that “The speaking
does not cease in what is spoken. Speaking is kept safe in what is spoken” (191-192). In acts of speaking, humans
respond to the relation in which they are already held together by the very fact that they can be said to have a
language or some language (and it is always a particular manifestation of language that is had). It is this relation in
which the human is placed with language all throughout acts of speaking, and out of which the relation to it (in the
sense of the logical formula) is only provisionally differentiated, that is vital to the speaking of language itself.

We enter into the always strange and unfamiliar territory of language, as if for the first time, as soon as we
begin to analyze the manner in which its components appear to us. Various elements associated with linguistic
expression can be distinguished through empirical investigation. In fact, a great deal of them—e.g. words, thoughts,
feelings and perceptual objects—are relatively transparent in their differences, even when it remains obscure how
they fit together. One does not need to perform a dissection of the human body or brain in order to distinguish these
aspects of language, as one does to uncover the physiology of speech, for example. At the same time, similar to the
more “animal” impulses and instincts like hunger, digestion and parental attachment, speech is a distinction of
normal human beings, separating them from the plants and animals but not requiring any uncommon capacities or
environmental conditions, or even a meagre concern for how its complex of components fit together: “we are always
speaking [. . .] even when we are not particularly listening or speaking but are attending to some work or taking a
rest. We are continually speaking in one way or another. We speak because speaking is natural to us” (187).
Language is distinct from concentrated thought and attention, and its more or less unbroken operation in human life
continues even in their absence—to the extent that, if the unreflective or unreflecting could or would reflect, they
would see that they were speaking. Language is indefinably close to the “nature” of human beings: we speak long in
advance of our awareness of that speaking, even longer before we have the chance to theorize about its generic
properties or deeper significance, and again more or less indifferently past the conclusions developed out of the
latter reflections.

Heidegger’s approach to language is bound up with the tension that is fundamental to the statement that
“Language speaks” (188). The speaking of language must be responded to apart from the thoughts, images and
concepts that it evokes and which determine it in turn. But the speaking of language cannot be isolated from the
spoken words in which it invariably comes to completion; or from the thoughts, feelings and concepts with which it
is inextricably bound up. Language is itself, but never itself alone. In Heidegger’s own analysis, language is said to
speak thoughts, feelings, things, the earth, the sky, mortals and divinities. It would be thoughtless to reduce any of
these to purely linguistic entities, even if they cannot be thought without being spoken (of), and even if, like humans,
they are what they are only on account of their capacity for speech. For the proposition “language speaks” indicates
that the presentation of things accomplished with language is proper to speech rather than perception, memory or
hallucination—and we must remain mindful of all of them in their differences. It is the mode of presenting peculiar
to language that we are trying to get at while remaining aware of the necessity of approaching it in its togetherness
with what is presented, and with other forms of presentation.

In order to reflect on the words “language speaks,” we must respond to the speaking of some language in
our own way, rather than simply seeking to comprehend (in the sense of apprehending or taking in hand) what it is
that Heidegger is saying. For Heidegger’s discussion involves an attempt to respond to language—i.e. to something
spoken—in a manner that corresponds to the speaking of that language, rather than exhausting its meaning with his
own thoughts and interpretations. Speaking does not speak itself alone—which is to say, it speaks to the hearing, and
can be heard in many different ways. For hearing is necessarily itself a kind of speaking: “in what is spoken,
speaking gathers the ways in which it persists as well as that which persists by it—its persistence, its presencing”
(192). Obviously, this manifold speaking cannot be heard simply in the manner of an historical occurrence in which
the thoughts, feelings and experiences of a particular speaker are given external expression. Hearing reaches out
toward what is spoken in anticipation of its communication, and is thereby also immediately inclined toward
response, i.e. speaking.

“Ether” is a word familiar to the ears of the majority of English speakers. In ordinary usage it can mean the
air, the atmosphere or the heavens. In its adjectival form, “ethereal,” it can mean otherworldly, ghostly, gaseous or
immaterial. The more or less synonymic or anyway closely associated words are abounding. As soon as one begins
to describe the ether, a spectrum of meanings ranging from the concrete to the symbolic to the altogether obscure are
placed side-by-side. One is reminded, somewhat disconcertingly, how baffling and strange the familiar can
sometimes be. At the same time, this is just a word, and it is sometimes the case that a word issues from little more
than a fanciful unreality in the human imagination, or else as a merely useful conceptual construct, meaningless in
itself. However, it may be the words that are difficult to place within the realm of representational meaning that are
of the greatest interest to a discourse on the speaking of language.

Electromagnetic waves were first predicted mathematically by James Clerk-Maxwell in the 1860s: “both
light and electricity, Maxwell showed, resulted from vibrations in the ether; they differed only in the rate of
vibration” (Czitrom 62). Clerk-Maxwell was concerned with the phenomena of light and electricity and invoked the
idea of “the ether” in order to explain their material basis. The ether was not something Clerk-Maxwell observed,
but is said to have provided him with an explanatory ground for the material processes underlying phenomena
observable to the ordinary human eye: “although the notion of a mysterious, all-pervasive ether later became
discredited among scientists, it served Maxwell as a convenient fiction to help explain the presence and behaviour of
electromagnetic waves” (Czitrom 62). The phrase “convenient fiction” circumscribes the concept of ether within
certain parameters of meaning. We are quickly drawn toward the conclusion that the use of the idea of ether was
incidental to the matter at hand, which concerned the real generation of the phenomena of light and electricity
through the mathematically predicted occurrence of electromagnetic waves. The word “fiction” suggests
intentionality: it says that Clerk-Maxwell invoked the immaterial idea of ether in order to bring into relief, like
coloured light on a white projection screen, the more substantial theoretical entity of wave-vibrations in the air.

But we must still account for the idea’s placement among the other so-called inventions of the human
imagination as well as the conditions of its generation, as long as we remain set on explaining it in terms of some
fictional unreality it presents—for it is said that the fiction, itself simply a convenient trope, is brought forward to
explain what is too complex to be accessed directly and therefore can only be reached through a simplifying
medium. Thus, it should not be too difficult to determine the grounds on which this fiction was produced. We can,
for example, spell out its historical determinations. In fact, both the word “ether” used by Clerk-Maxwell and its
general conceptual associations connect it in a remarkably little-altered manner to ancient Greek thinking of around
two and a half millennia before. In or around the sixth century BCE, the Milesian philosopher Anaximenes theorized
about what he called “a?r”:
Anaximenes . . . like Anaximander, declares that the underlying nature is one and unlimited
[apeiron] but not indeterminate, as Anaximander held, but definite, saying that it is air. It differs in
rarity and density according to the substances <it becomes>. Becoming finer, it comes to be fire;
being condensed, it comes to be wind, then cloud; and when still further condensed, it becomes
water, then earth, then stones, and the rest come to be from these. He too makes motion eternal and
says that change also comes to be through it.” (Curd 19-20)
The stuff of nature—what we now sometimes call elemental matters and other times phenomenal appearances—is
said by Anaximenes to result from the rarefaction and condensation of a single underlying nature, a?r, which is
invisible “when it is most even” (Curd 20). We can easily draw parallels between the varying levels of condensation
and rarefaction of the a?r and Clerk-Maxwell’s later conceptualization of electromagnetic phenomena as resulting
from the varying rates of vibration of a single ether; or between the all-encompassing nature of the ether and the
cosmogenetic and cosmological characterizations of a?r. That is, it is quite possible to make hypotheses about Clerk-
Maxwell’s way of constructing ideas, concepts and images—or what Heidegger calls the “act of imaging” (195)—as
well as his use of the word “ether” itself within the historical process through which both thought and language are

However, the more we try to locate Clerk-Maxwell’s conceptualization of the ether within its historical
context, the more difficult it becomes to play it off as a mere fiction, primarily because it falls within one of the
more ancient, enduring and importunate strains of human conceptuality, fictional or otherwise. In Anaximenes’
view, a?r is both the cosmogenetic and cosmological principle underlying the entirety of existence—to borrow
Heidegger’s terminology, the element of both its presencing and its persistence: “just as our soul, being air, holds
together and controls us, so do breath and air surround the whole kosmos”; “the principle is unlimited [apeiron] air,
from which come to be all things that are coming to be, things that have come to be, and things that will be, and
gods and divine things” (Curd 20). From Clerk-Maxwell’s perspective, on the other hand, the ether becomes a
valuable concept precisely where the existence of gods loses its tenability within the empirical edifice of the epoch
of scientific reasoning. From that view, the concept is established within the highest realm of scientific progress.
And yet, Anaximenes had already accomplished a comparable—which is (emphatically) not to say identical—step
back even before monotheistic religious beliefs came to hold sway. Despite the myriad advances in mathematics and
physics at play in Clerk-Maxwell’s thinking, the ether comes forward as more of an echo of a thinking long past
than anything else.

The paradox surrounding the similarity between the ether and a?r results precisely from the enormous
differences which otherwise surround the thinking of the two. In each case, the concern is with the tangible, visible
and/or measurable on the one hand, and with their underlying conditions on the other. But for Anaximenes, the a?r is
what brings things into becoming, and it is indistinguishable from that becoming; while, for the theorists of
electromagnetism, ether is what allows things to be, persist, and act as what they are to our knowledge. In that sense,
it is self-effacing in its obscurity, serving as the mysterious background of the known without enveloping it in the

At the same time, we cannot yet go so far as to suggest that the so-called fiction is of negligible importance
to the science, a mere accident of history whose significance reaches only into a more or less incidental realm of the
popular imagination, beside which science follows its own necessary progress. This is so even though, from a
certain view, the ether never added anything to the knowledge or understanding of gravity, light, heat or
electromagnetic waves. Clerk-Maxwell predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves mathematically, without
providing any substantial speculation on the condition of the ether; correspondingly, the comprehension of the thing
discovered does not depend on a familiarity with the historical context, from Anaximenes to Clerk-Maxwell, of its
initial discovery. When the issue concerning electromagnetic phenomena was practical and technical, one did very
well without so much as mentioning the ether. For example, Guglielmo Marconi was an early innovator in wireless
telegraphy, but he was concerned primarily with sending coded messages across oceanic divides in a really practical
manner; he was concerned with gravity, light, heat, electromagnetic waves—and the sound of spoken language
transmitted to and from telephone and radio terminals. In this context, the question becomes why the ether had to
arise in the scientific imagination at all. On top of the “echo” noted above, the science of electromagnetic waves
seems to stand as an alibi or occasion for the reinvigoration of a thinking long past—an occasion taken up eagerly
into the beginning of the twentieth century. Importantly, a closer investigation suggests that this thinking is
inextricable from its manner of speaking.

Just because the ether seems so discordant and misplaced (what some would call a scientific naivety), it is
not to be easily dismissed. The characterizations of the ether are fumbling and obscure, usually resulting in almost
comic triviality. For example, despite the qualification of the ether as “subtle” and “incomprehensible,” it is given
distinctly material qualifications derived from the most readily available empirical phenomena. The ether is called a
“substance” that “penetrates” the observable matter of nature (Lodge quoted in Czitrom 64), and the image provided
of matter “embedded” in the ether is analogous to any number of common experiences, such as the suspension of
stones in mud or earthen particles in water. The ether brings things together and holds them apart, facilitating their
interaction. But the ether is nothing distinctive in itself. It is posited as a provisional concept with the caveat of
extreme uncertainty: “can we smell the ether, or touch it, or what is the closest analogy? Perhaps there is no useful
analogy; but nonetheless we deal with it, and that closely” (Lodge quoted in Czitrom 65). The ether is understood by
way of analogy, and this analogy is useful up to a point, but ultimately any way of imagining it is untenable as a
description of how things really are. In other words, the comprehensive concern underlying all concepts of ether is
perpetually in the mode of speaking toward the phenomena of experience; it never comes to rest in the spoken (i.e.
its speaking is never finally spoken for).

It is tempting to say that the theorization of the ether leaves things be, but this is an unhearing, surface-level
approach if it takes that “leaving be” as a trivial, passive affair. For, first, this is where language is the least
straightforwardly bound up with what is not constituted in the speaking of language—that is, distinctive perceptual
or conceptual things that it represents—while simultaneously reaching out toward the entirety of empirical
phenomena. Theorists of electromagnetism, in their treatment of the ether, quickly move from speaking all things all
at once to speaking nothing: here, it is the “mysterious and all-encompassing” universal ground; there, it is a mere
“convenient fiction.” It can be said that the ether is constituted only in this diverse, often contradictory, seemingly
trivial speaking. Moreover, it is precisely where the language of the ether seems to speak nothing that it is actually
labouring to speak toward all things at once, or that it has given up such a labour. Both Anaximenes and nineteenth
century practical and theoretical scientific discourses invoked the a?r/ether in relation to phenomena in which they
took a generally concrete interest. Even in the obscure terrain of the ether, “language speaks” in regard to thoughts,
feelings and experiences; it does not invent fictions out of the ether, but places concrete phenomena within the ether.
Why is a fiction needed to support a science, especially as the background of all theoretical and empirical
phenomena? The fiction supports the concretization of facts and recedes into their historical background—literally
the background out of which it is said that nature has finally emerged directly, as a matter of fact. Only after the
putative emergence in fact is the support subsumed (or overwritten) under its matter and thereby demoted to the
status of an historical curiosity.

It is the speaking of language that is deemphasized under the tangible development. Heidegger makes a
distinction between speaking and the spoken. All speech comes “to completion in what is spoken”; but “the
speaking does not cease in what is spoken. Speaking is kept safe in what is spoken” (191-192). We can think of this
distinction in terms of the relation between the isolated act of speech and the shared conditions of the speaking
community in which it is constituted as meaningful. The community shares and circulates associations between
sounds, conceptual constructs and perceptual and affective experiences. The individual speaker communicates only
by applying the common codes (semantic, syntactical and grammatical) in relevant social contexts. On the other
hand, the community consists only of the aggregate of individuals who give the system currency through specific
acts of speech. It is only insofar as speaking is always occurring (i.e. in particular instances) that the general
conditions through which it operates are maintained and transmitted through time. But the system is then
inextricable from the aggregate of specific acts of speaking which necessarily come to completion in the spoken.

This is a way of understanding the complex operation of language across time. Now, even though this
description yields a conceptual interrelation between calling and responding similar to that invoked by Heidegger, it
remains oriented toward the “description and explanation of linguistic phenomena” (191). However correct, it does
not attend to the speaking of language itself; despite its appealing paradoxical character and amiable positioning of
the individual in constitutive relation to the community, it attends to the logical functioning of language—giving it a
formal schema—rather than its “persistence, its presencing” (192). It thus risks distracting from our focus on the
speaking of language. (But is it not precisely the “paradoxical” nature of paradox that it distracts us with its pregnant
confusion and in so doing calls us to attend to the limitations of our own thinking?).

It seems that we are unable to approach the speaking of language itself through the tracing of its historical
recurrence. However, what about when the speaking resonates precisely in the form of an echo? For instance, the
words “language speaks”—Sprache spricht—echo themselves and produce their own peculiar resonance and
recurrence. We cannot locate that resonance in either one of the words, but quickly see that one follows the other
only by way of responding and appealing to its similarity in turn. Each is there, in and of itself, for the sake of, in
response to, and on behalf of the other.

Heidegger says that language speaks as “language, speech” (189). At the same time, it does not speak as
language alone, since it always concerns contexts of thought, feeling and perception in relation to culturally
constructed meanings. But speaking is not only the historical transmission of meaning: “the speaking does not cease
in what is spoken. The speaking is kept safe in what is spoken” (192). We see this especially in the case of the broad
historical gap between Anaximenes’ a?r and Clerk-Maxwell’s ether: they are remarkably similar, but what is
surprising is that this similarity occurs despite the drastic shifts in meaning between the different contexts in which
they are applied. The resonant echo of the ether is not merely historically-culturally constituted—it rather persists
relatively intact (if such a characterization can be made of an echo) despite broad-scale historical shifts. But we must
note well that such persistence is not at all a passive affair, a timeless self-relation such as we might imagine of a
stone. It is not possible in the case of either Anaximenes or Clerk-Maxwell to pinpoint the ether as either ground or
result, whether in its conceptual figuration or its function within reason. We can make obscure assessments of its
character, invoking its “atmospheric” quality within the cosmic worldview, finally being dismissed as a “mere
fiction” concurrently with the epochal privilege given to the rational object of empirical and practical sciences. But
we are still left asking what the peculiar appeal of the ether was, such that it was continually spoken without
ultimately getting anywhere except back to its own amateurish and fumbling but enthusiastic manner of speaking.
The pseudo-conceptualization of the ether spoke toward the ultimate unity of the cosmic phenomena, but only
insofar as the ether was thought to play an actively unifying function in the ongoing play of diverse cosmic forces:
“we must regard it as the one universal medium by which all actions between bodies are carried on” (Lodge quoted
in Czitrom 64).

What is a medium? A medium goes between; for example, ether penetrates “between the particles of
ordinary matter” (Lodge quoted in Czitrom 64). The medium connects things, but it also holds them apart. What
transpires through a medium does not happen all at once—it is mediated rather than immediate. But the presence of
a medium does not signify only that one thing happens after another. Rather, the simplest way of designating the
presence of a medium holds both that one thing happens before another, and the other happens subsequent to the
first. Whether in time, space, or any amalgamation the two (e.g. causal nature), a medium holds everything in its
place in the context of its relations. It goes between so as to unify what belongs together (atoms of matter, events in
time), but also leaves apart in their differences those same things.

Language is often said to be a medium or means of communication in that it goes between speakers,
allowing them to share thoughts, feelings and experiences, or correlate their actions and thereby work as a unity.
However, as opposed to electromagnetic waves, which are sent by a transmitter and received by a receiver, language
is predicated on a nonlinear appeal-response relationship: to speak is simultaneously to respond to a preceding
context of meaning, to appeal to the familiarity of another with that same context of meaning, to appeal to the
other’s readiness to respond, and to respond to one’s own expectation of the other’s response, which, if it comes, is
itself heard as an appeal for a response—for hearing is necessarily also a kind of speaking.

“Language speaks.” It is variously called a means of expression, a medium of communication, a mode of
questioning or interrogating the real, a function for drawing connections, making distinctions, assigning value and
giving names, and so on. The invention of fictions, the recording of events, and the abstraction of logical systems are
modes of spoken language; their constructions divert language away from the originality of its speaking and toward
the interests and desires of the speaker. But “speaking does not come to rest in the spoken”—that is, as long as we
are in the domain of language, we will remain compelled to constitute and reconstitute the identity of the spoken by
virtue of our original relatedness with speaking, a relation to which the differentiation of the spoken inheres despite
its provisional displacement. Whatever privilege we try to accord a thing, the speaking of language issues forth as
the medium through which such a thing is held together and presented in its persistence. The thing is not a result of
language insofar as language is a mode of responding and attending to, as well as presenting things in their own
differences. At the same time, there is nothing outside of the immediate relation with language, which selfeffacingly
relates the thing, carrying it along; conversely, language is perpetually solicited for the sake of preserving
the tensed identity of such a result.

Language is an overcoding that calls things out of their bear immediacy, calling them into the mutual
togetherness which constitutes a world. Only as such a restless calling and responding can language at one time
bring out the interconnected fullness of the world of things, and at another time fall into the impoverishment of
undifferentiatingly overdetermined abstraction. It is this dual effacement of the original speaking of language that
gives a?r/ether such a strange role in the history of speaking. Heard correctly, the ether speaks the precariousness of
speaking: the resonant, overcoding echo alternately dismissed as a trivial abstraction and subsumed under the
apprehended concretion of things.

“Language itself is—language and nothing else besides.” Language is a unique, incomparable
phenomenon: any way of explaining it in reference to functions, causes, effects, and the like is necessarily
accomplished through a speaking that precedes such explanation as its condition and exceeds it in turn, relatively
indifferent to whatever it is that such explanation has accomplished, whether in regard to it or for some other
purpose. Therefore, language will always have to be approached, responded to, or addressed on its own terms—that
is, by recourse to, on behalf of, and through a partial determination of its original manner of speaking. At the same
time, language cannot be isolated, for example, to the identity of the word. The phrase on its own terms merely
gestures as a sort of reminder toward the sure but elusive domain of language, while acknowledging that language
persists through the irreducible differences of its relations with thought, perception, logic, imagination, and so on; in
such freely given diversity the differences are easily forgotten, so that the reminder is often necessary (maybe
freedom is drawn with lines and circles insofar as we are never either/ever neither trapped within a circle or/nor
strung out on a line, each thanks to the other—and each because, imagining we are positioned somewhere on a
circle, or on a line, it is impossible to say definitively on which one we currently abide, and therefore impossible to
determine the proper manner of comportment: giving thanks to the one for its gift to the other or for the respite it
provides from the other; questioning their appearances; cursing ourselves for such myopia; thanking ourselves for
the same; questioning whether there are really two such forms, whether there might be less or more, and whether we
have a clear sense of their shapes and trajectories; questioning whether there is in fact a distinction between the
manner and the way, and what matter the distinction is, e.g. whether it is itself a way or not; lending the force of
will to the confusion and thereby inverting the sense of lack; etc.)
. Thus, Heidegger says that the language of poetry
and thinking “meet each other in one and the same,” but that such sameness is “the belonging together of what
differs, through a gathering by way of the difference.” Poetic language and thinking belong together in a way that is
original and essential to both, such that we cannot speak of poetry without finding ourselves already, more or less
explicitly, in the domain of thought, or of thought without finding ourselves already, more or less overtly, in the
domain of poetry (e.g. “all language is metaphor”). Already at the beginning, both speaking and thinking have arisen
of themselves, and each on its own through its invocation of the other and in response to the invocation elicited of it
by the other.

It is not only that language speaks things; it speaks the diverse spread of worldly things, bringing them
together and holding them apart in their irreducible differences. It speaks the spontaneous necessitation of difference
itself, the perpetual re-beginning of the speaking that is also a hearing and the hearing that is also a speaking. There
is no moment (e.g. of time or causal necessity) or aspect (e.g. of a thing or relation) that can abide in privilege
insofar as every moment qua abstract becomes active only where it is not, i.e. in the relation out of which it is
abstracted. It is speaking (vis-à-vis the spoken) that abides originally in such inextricable relationality.

Perpetually reconstituted in the abstract moment of its own necessitation, human thinking cannot be
privileged; it can, and must, only give privilege. And yet, it is constantly trying to short-circuit that order: to be the
privilege it can only give; or, what amounts to the same, to make the giving of privilege pass over as the absolute
principle of the thing so privileged. In other words, to privilege is not a transitive verb, but we try to appropriate and
interpret it as such.

The idea that “man speaks” is conventionally taken to mean that humans elect to speak, coming to the
decision by way of thought. A distinction is placed between man (i.e. the rational animal) on the one hand, and the
act of speech on the other. In everyday thinking, this results largely from the fact that we are aware of thinking about
speaking in advance of the particular words that are selected (a peculiar kind of ‘after X, therefore because of X’
fallacy/temptation). On the other hand, in studies of language which attempt to give linguistic expression to the
characteristics of language itself, this is a necessary assumption. We (universal, rational beings) could not bring
ourselves to say anything about language if it were impossible to put some distance, whether real or imaginary,
between our thoughts and the words we use. While nobody would deny that the capacity for language develops and
functions interdependently with the capacities for thought, reflection and memory, when it comes time to study the
universal aspects of language, we must suppose that it is possible to keep language at a distance from rational
thought, so that the latter is capable of abstracting from the “natural,” unabated procession of the former. And the
fact that thought can abstract from such a procession and thereby produce a result, i.e. out of the affectation of such
a rational distance, leads us to invest a superordinating faith in reason’s detachment from its objects, and project it as
such an ideal. (Maybe reason is a species or partial development of faith insofar as the positing of the object—
through learned methods, concepts etc.—coincides with the possession of it, rather than, as in faith proper, having
the “object” first and positing it second).

And so, we are ill-disposed to see the manner of analysis selectively performed in such modes of rational
thinking, and that such selection tries to speak for language instead of attending to the speaking of language. We fail
to see the selecting that constitutively goes into the selected, and we thereby remain ignorant of our object—we
think we have it, but really we are straining just to catch a meagre glimpse through the interposed abstract
perspective. It is in the same way that even when we begin to view human rationality as having its own peculiar
manner of occurrence, we respond to it or speak for it in the same way we would a simple cell, or a computer; just
as, when we study emotional intelligence, we place the emphasis on intelligence and speak for and respond to it in
the same way we do rational thought, which we speak for in the same way we do computational devices, etc. We
acknowledge that they do different things, but we address that doing with an undifferentiating, indifferent manner of
response. The (sometimes unwitting) assumption underlying such an approach is that whatever differences there are
between what each does, the doing is effectively the same insofar as its significance is to produce a result. We then
abstract the result from the specificity of its thoroughgoing process.

The abstract conceptions of time, reality and necessity present a paradigmatic example. We treat the
concept of necessity abstractly, as if all that is required is some fundamental formula that covers all manners of
action and reaction, persistence and alteration. But none of these formulae can be adequate to our sense of
necessity—for necessity would not be the essence of change if it were not coextensive with that change. In other
words, the changes that occur in accordance with necessity simultaneously change the very nature of that necessity,
and therefore of change.

The abstract concept of necessity posits the predictability of a thing or state of affairs in advance of its
happening or, inversely, the predictability of the consequences of a given thing or state of affairs. In short, it
presupposes the regularity of a thing’s relations, such that all the variables on which its fate depends are readily
accounted for. The scientific object, then, is one that is determined by regional specificity and maintained within the
parameters of a given system with repeated cycles of activity. The scientific object is an abstractable objectivity only
on the condition that its environment—its comprehensive system of relations—is itself an abstractable objectivity
composed of abstractable objectivities, each variable reciprocally held in place by the mutually exerted forces of the
others. But then, how do we characterize the necessity of the forces driving the system? We can of course say that
one thing follows on another in accordance with the perceived pattern, invoking the inductive knowledge we have
attained through empirical research. We then further remark that there must be some properties inherent to the
elements in the relation that necessitates their interaction in such a way that guarantees the recurrence of the
abstractly observable moments of the cycle. In fact, whether we draw connections between one cycle and the next,
one entity and another, a state and the one that follows, etc., we are only filling out a more detailed picture of a
general pattern that has already been perceived. The spontaneous perception of a pattern has turned into the
methodical perception of patterns. But necessity is no more contained in the abstract correlation of discrete states,
entities or cycles than it is in the initial discernment of a general pattern, e.g. a day. Even as we fill in more and more
knowledge of the details, there is a kind of naivety in every step forward. For the more attention we give something,
the more we view its necessity through the abstract mode of perception implicit in the initial address of the object as
one favourable for scientific investigation. The formulation of a problem or question not only determines the
qualitative approaches to or acceptable forms of its solution or answer; it already arises in the form of an answer in
that it concerns a contingency that is addressed abstractly. It is then unsurprising that the corresponding answer is
always unsatisfactorily abstract—that is, that it contains the limitation of the initial mode of address.

We tend to place necessity between the successive occurrences of independent moments, such that the one
is conceived as following of necessity in accordance with the determinate trajectory of forces inherent to the first.
However, the idea of a “moment” is already an abstraction from the flow of time, constituted in its differentiation
from, and therefore its relation to, other “moments” abstracted from that flow. That is, this view of temporal
succession already presupposes a complex of abstracted moments, each of whose necessity is placed outside of it in
the moment which precedes it, and so on indefinitely. The paradoxical result of privileging a conception of the
abstracted moment as the absolute object to be explained is that such abstractions qua abstract really are contingent
upon the whole complex of abstract moments which precede and succeed them. But when we impute a simple
reality to abstract moments, we come to the contradictory result that each is passive in its dependence on the
possibility contained in the preceding moment but active in its own necessitation of the moment that follows, and
thus active only where it is not.

We can respect the momentously novel logic of the abstraction of linear temporal necessity while
maintaining reservation in regard to its coherence and significance. For, in a very real sense, simply to conceive of
the “moment” raises us above the immediacy of time—we can not only identify patterns, but we can make our very
actions more abstract and economical, whether those actions involve productive labour or unproductive thought. On
the other hand, this does not mean that the reality of the future is immediately contained in the possibilities inherent
to the present—it is not the “reality” of the future that is predictable in advance, since predictability and prediction
are definitively abstract. For its part, abstraction is only one aspect of thought that is differentiated out of the more
diffuse specificity of its spatiotemporal flow. The abstract logic of thought substantiates its own spontaneous
necessity at the very moment that it has posited the impossibility of spontaneity. As a concept, “necessity” draws our
abstract logic toward the specificity of the thing; but that specificity itself appears only in the crudely functional
abstractions of linear temporality, vectored and pixilated, differentiated out from the spontaneous necessitation of its
more comprehensive ground. Even on sheer practical terms, anticipating: the contingencies of phenomena according
to local and global interactions; the contingencies of the observer and its methods, conceptual constructs, and lines
of communication; and their shifting interactions, destabilized according to the predilections of particular observers,
on the one hand, and real phenomena, on the other—the idea of necessity is a manifold construct, an investment of
resources, a synthesized image, and an accomplishment with its own immanent stakes (e.g. the valorization of its

In the era of neuroscience, we have accepted the concrete or “plastic” aspect of consciousness, and yet we
treat it as concrete in the sense of material objects—which are effectively the logical objects of abstract reasoning—
just as, when we accept the ineradicable, immanent investment of the conditions of the observer in the observed, we
have a hard time treating this as anything other than a correctable refractivity, or, conversely, as simplistic
relativism. But, seeing as there are many different kinds of observation and many different kinds of objects, each
with its own manifold of aspects, it is sensible to account, practically and theoretically, for the variety of approaches
possible for empirical study—its living methodology and conceptualization. The logically extended empiricist
standpoint is neither a statement of the hopelessness of empirical investigation (i.e. “we cannot know reality as
such”), nor of its simple and inevitable limitation (i.e. “we can only know in this way”); rather, it indicates that there
are as many forms of knowledge as there are manners/styles/types of observation, that the knowledge attained
through observation (including its guiding impulses and ideas—those concerning selection of object, for instance) is
inextricable from the specific act—and that there is therefore incoherence and contradiction in not constantly taking
stock of such conditions. Such incoherence and contradiction cannot be “solved”; they are generic conditions out of
which observation arises, and which all observation serves to directly shape in turn. Observation is never without its
share of suggestive obscurity: it is quite literally made.

At the same time, observation has no fundamental ground or beginning. What it does have is a manifold of
irreducibly distinct principles (i.e. that cannot generate or account for each other). Perhaps the most infamously
elusive example is the medium (e.g. the faculties, the senses): self-effacing, appearing like a freely given gift that
simply allows things to be (conveyed and received) as they are, and yet it is just there—in regard to the absolutely
unique, neither a form nor a content but an irreducible principle—that our interpretive tendencies toward reduction
are most tempted. Taking light as our example (the sun and the media image would make for an interesting
comparison), we can say that it invites/incites the most varied interpretations—formed around the phrase “for the
sake of
”—but finally accepts none of them. We also struggle with the temptation to say for the sake of what
language, vision, hearing and so on, exist! And it is precisely the most plausible answers—e.g. genetic selfpreservation—
that are the least convincing. Within local conditions, we manage to say how, e.g. grass survives,
growing and propagating. But all of this is built off of some apparently very basic (simply lived) presuppositions—
e.g. there is grass, or there is light—comprised of irreducible relations to which logical explanation simply does not
apply. Ubiquitous, unique, primordial and absolute in speed and quality, but at the same time, as Nietzsche’s
Zarathustra remarks, “You great star, what would your happiness be had you not those for whom you shine?” (121).
Surely, we cannot make any kind of beginning by recognizing these aspects of the sun, especially since it cannot
even make for a beginning of itself (but is rather generically, parabolically constituted through the specific aspects
of its differences). Which is as much as to say that we cannot make any kind of beginning—we can only make a
beginning of something else, or something else of the beginning. But it always lends itself to this something else.
Thus, we begin with the accomplished simplicity of the abstracted moment.

Much of Nietzsche’s work is methodically committed to the paradoxical spontaneity of human thought, to
the extent that ethical, metaphysical, epistemological and aesthetic concerns are never treated without a more or less
immediate invocation of the others. All of these appear as modes of interpretation with simultaneously necessary
and limited formative roles in thought: “There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective “knowing”; and the
more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different ones, we use to observe one thing, the more
complete will our “concept” of this thing, our “objectivity,” be. But to eliminate the will, altogether, to suspend each
and every affect, supposing we were capable of this—what would that mean but to castrate the intellect?—” (GM III
12). The implications of this view of perspectivism are ambiguous. One the one hand, every perspective is both
inherently limited by its own capacities and, inversely, dependent on the perceived—since, just as certain cognitive
and sensory conditions must lay in the percipient, those conditions must respond and therefore, at least to some
extent, conform to the conditions of the perceived. For example, the fact that the intellect must somehow
compensate for its abstract distance, must somehow both measure that distance and fill the void designated therein,
necessitating further inventorying operations in turn. (Consequently, in response to our earlier remark that atomistic
matter is a projection of the abstract perspective, we can ask: but what is that perspective projecting? i.e. what
conditions and constraints is the abstract eye responding to?). On the other, perspective is a kind of self-positing
relation to a thing perceived, such that it is always more than just this viewpoint—perception always at least tacitly
implies the excess of perspectives folding over one into another. In other words, the limited standpoint of the
observer is also and for the same reasons the site of possibility (i.e. of more perspective).

What is added to our initial story-image, particularly to its “human” developments, in light of such
speculative insights? When cosmic regions come together and separate off from other regions, pockets of density
form, clusters of compatible matters group together, regularity is established in the interactions animating the cooccurrence
of one thing and another, the incidents of radical instability and spontaneous development settle into
cyclical patterns of change (e.g. rarefaction and condensation). It is tempting to say that chaos evolves into order
insofar as the incomparable and unique give way to the repetition of patterns, the mutual gravitation of the
compatible, the mutual dispersion of the incompatible, and so on. At the same time, settlement and systematization
are concurrent with spontaneous change and development. This point might be illustrated through several domestic
(i.e. microcosmic) aphorism-images (each, being immanent to the cosmic scale, with its own peculiar relevance):
“one never moves into a house without simultaneously preparing for the move out”; “childbearing is a funerary
preparation”; or “the life of the marriage right is in the drama of the divorce.” (We might look to the works of Samuel
Beckett in order to set out on a way of properly responding to the vital geometry of such complexes. Take this germ
of an early poem, called “Gnome”:

Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through a world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning.)

We invariably think of systems in the sense of unions and contracts sanctioned by nature from time
immemorial, omitting the principles of emergence, continuous immanent alteration, and dissolution—omitting, in
addition, that there was never a “moment” without its own immanent configuration and a consubstantial
necessitation, that it is impossible to privilege or ignore either the immanent configuration or the principle of
succession, since each is constitutively momentous in the abstract logic of the independent moment. Each moment is
differentiated out of and exceeded by a movement that is radically but interdependently different from its own
abstract logic.

Generally speaking, there is no aspect of human life not determined by the irreconcilability of opposites,
every union being in some sense bound up with the overdetermined rigidification of a soluble inequality. Difference,
change and uncertainty are regulated on personal, interpersonal and institutional levels. The coherence of any system
depends on the repetition of difference and change, rather than the self-identity of an artificial union. Identity is
precisely an achieved way of addressing the asymptotic approach of the different, a symptom of the coming together
of opposing forces—and if statements of identity succeed, it is so only to the extent that they address the
contingency of oppositions through the always selectively abstract reiteration of their patterns of difference and

What do we think in the concept of necessary action? The impossibility of something’s having occurred
otherwise? But this takes necessity in only one dimension: the immediate present. There are only two ways of
addressing this moment: as either itself and nothing more, in which case nothing can be said about it other than that
it is or was, i.e. “it happened because it happened, it had to happen because it happened, it happened because it had
to happen, it had to happen because it had to happen, etc.”; or else through that which precedes it and then that
which follows, in which case the life (or living presence) that is lost in referring the necessity of the moment to the
one that precedes it, is regained in its causal determination of the one that follows. Either way, this is wholly
inadequate to our conception of what necessity qua spontaneous necessitation actually is—i.e. the immanent
tendency and capacitation of mutually confrontational aberrant differences toward the spontaneous and unfamiliar—
and can therefore only be diminished and bastardized by our abstractions (which, however, carry their own inner
logic). According to Nietzsche we can only feel ourselves necessary in the course of adversarial relations, as against
the enemy who is also and for the same reason a friend, since it is in the confrontation of difference that one’s
powers are actualized—and the confrontational space of difference is therefore in itself the space of appearance, the
stage on which reality takes place. It is maybe in this light that we should interpret Nietzsche’s aggressive relation to
his food, which is said to have been the cause of perpetual digestive troubles, but which Nietzsche was, possibly for
that very reason
, drawn to by his interest in the aberrant force of his spontaneous necessitation (e.g. the affectiveabstract
necessitation of interpretation). The principle of spontaneous necessitation requires that we take account of
(e.g. by participating in or seeking out such phenomena) the tense together-apartness of the aberrant case, as distinct
from the conception of temporal necessity logically extracted from abstract systems, cycles and repetitions. But
human experience, including the concept of necessity that we bring to bear on it, invariably consists in and persists
through its abstract element. The significance of the concept of necessity, then, is that it is impossible to realize on
the conceptual plane—it is inherently inadequate to its own sense, and is thereby an interactive, procedural concept.
We cannot provide an abstract concept of necessity as such, since every reality must follow its own necessity. The
concept of necessity can only point the way to the necessity of its objects by finally relinquishing its hold on them.
Such feeling responsiveness must accordingly be built into the concept (keeping in mind that to respond is always
also to speak).

To repeat: in accordance with the cosmogenetic principle of the spontaneous necessitation of the
irreducibly different, Even the more or less stable entities at play in our reality must be conceived differently:
instead of being stable in themselves, their stability coincides with the principle of spontaneity through which they
developed and, along with the developed parameters, continue to develop. Their change over time and even their
periods of stasis or rest are constituted through a repetition or endurance of the interactions immanent to the
developmental event. Their endurance involves a micrological continuity of the spontaneous interactions
characteristic of the cosmogenetic event. Moreover, there is no telling how or when some interaction internal to this
“system” or between it and another—which may be similarly unique or immanently related through a kind of
marginally porous border and/or cosmogenetic lineage—may set off another spontaneous cosmogenetic event. If in
order to appear we must be necessitated, and in order to be necessitated we must come together in the apartness of
the irreducible difference, then such cosmogenesis is already occurring, as by divine ordinance. And it occurs, not in
spite of, but consubstantial with the repetition of the old and familiar, defamiliarized and familiarized anew times
over. For what persists past its coming together never finally subtends the formative occasioning or instantiatingforming
of that earlier event.

For example: All observation is immediately determined by its own conditions: this highly generalized
proposition has a history—to the extent that it is tempting to suggest also a prehistory and a post-history—varying
both between and within different disciplines of thought. One might even call it a universal of the human condition
that the contingency of perception (as well as interpretation, argumentation, communication, etc.) must be learned
again and again—or, conversely, that every particular perspective embellishes and thereby implicitly marks its own
difference in relation to every other. We could call perspectival bias self-effacing or ignorant by default, if it were
not that such charges are distinctly evaluative rather than maintaining an openly interactive relation with
perspectival bias—which is, after all, a structural feature of perspective, not a defect. For the statement is effectively
tautological: all observation is immediately determined by its own conditions. And yet, every observation manifests
the sense of the proposition in its own way so that, in the end, we cannot remove ourselves from the continuity of its

Luke Schumacher