The Cudgel Argument

by rsbakker

Let’s get Real.

We’re not a ghostly repository of combinatorial contents…

Or freedom leaping ab initio out of ontological contradiction…

Or a totality of originary and everyday horizons of meaning…

Or a normative function of converging attitudes.

We are not something extra or above or intrinsic. We can be cut. Bruised. Explained. Dominated.

Reality is its own argument to the cudgel. It refutes, not by being kicked, but by kicking. It prevails by killing.

Who cares what the Real is so long as it is Real? It’s the monstrous ‘is-what-it-is’ that will strike you dead. It’s the razor’s line, the shockwave of a bullet, the viral code hacking you from inside your inside. It’s what the sciences mine for more and more godlike power. It’s out there, and it’s in here, and it doesn’t give a flying fuck what you or anyone else ‘thinks.’

Ideas never killed anyone; only Idealists, and only because they were fucking Real.

Realism is a commitment to the realness of the Real. Of course, this is where everything goes diabetic, but only because so many think the realness of the Real requires some kind of Artificial Additive. Just as Jesus is the sole path to Heaven, Ideas are the sole path to the Real, so we are told. Since we already find ourselves in the Real, we must therefore have a great multitude of Ideas. As to their nature, the only consensus is that they are invisible, Pre-Real things that somehow bring about the realness of the Real. This consensus has no ‘evidence’ per se, but it really feels that way when certain trained professionals think about it.

Really, it does.

Luckily, Realism entertains no commitment to the realness of not Real things, be they post, pre, or concurrent.

But Ideas have to be Real, don’t they? What is this very diatribe, if not an argument for yet one more Idea of the Real?

The realness of the Real does not require that we think there must be more to the Real, some yet-to-be-discovered appendage or autonomous force. We need only remember that what cognizes the Real is nothing other than the Real. We must understand that we too are Real—that the dimensionality that kills is also the dimensionality of Life. And we must understand that the dimensionality of Life far and away outruns the capacity of Life to solve. We must understand, in other words, that our Reality obscures the realness of the Real. Life is Reality pitched into the thresher of Reality. When Reality murders us, it murders an incredibly unlikely fragment of Itself.

We are Real. But we are Real in such a way that Reality eludes us—both the Reality that we are and the Reality that we are not. And this, of course, is just to say that we are stupid. We’re stupid generally, but we are out and out retarded when it comes to ourselves. But it belongs to our stupidity to think ourselves ingenious, fucking brilliant. We glimpse angles, wisps, and see things incompatible with the Real. We think uttering pronouncements in the Void shed rational light. We stare at brick walls and limn transcendent necessities. What seems to so obviously evidence the Ideal is nothing other than the insensitivity of the Real to the Real, the fact that its fragments can only be tuned to other fragments, and to its (fragmentary) tuning not at all.

What seems to evidence the Ideal is nothing other than the insensitivity of the Real to the Real, the fact that its fragments can only be tuned to other fragments, and to its (fragmentary) tuning not at all. The Idea is the thinnest skin, Life neglecting Life, and duly confounded.

We have always been obdurate unto ourselves, a brick wall splashed with colour, checkered with different textures of brick, but a brick wall all the same. Everything from Husserl to Plato to the Egyptian Book of the Dead is nothing more than incantatory graffiti. All of them chase those terms we use as simpletons, those terms that make complete sense until someone asks us to explain, and we are stumped, rendered morons—until, that is, inspiration renders us more idiotic still. They forget that Language is also Real, that it functions, not by vanishing, but being what it is. As Real, Language must contend—as all Real things must contend—with Reality, as a system that locks into various systems in various ways—as something effective. Some particles of language lock into environmental particles; some terms can be sticky-noted to particular covariants. Some particles of language, however, lock into environmental systems. Since the Reality of cognition is occluded in the cognition of Reality, these systems escape immediate cognition, leaving only the intuition of impossible–because not quite Real–particles.

Such as Ideas.