Monday, August 27, 2012

The Hermetic Deleuze

Balder started an IPS thread on this new book by Joshua Ramey. There is also some discussion of the book in this post referencing the Footnotes 2 Plato review. My initial response:

I admit to being highly skeptical of a hermetic interpretation of anything, let alone Deleuze. This is largely due to my initiation into, and intense participation in, a contemporary hermetic tradition some years ago. I've discussed this elsewhere and found so much metaphysical baggage in this line that I could no longer tolerate it, being in my mind retro-romantic and quite regressive. Now I hear the buzzwords "re-imagined" and "re-invented" regarding hermetics, and thought this could be the case when I re-entered that tradition in the last few years, only to discover in a school purportedly intent on doing exactly that that the egregore, so to speak, is so rife with the baggage that I found the effort not worth the time.

However I more and more find that with Stengers and others there is sorcery afoot, in capitalism and elsewhere. I like Bryant's notion of thought-forms as objects in themselves, and in which we take part and are in large part are controlled by them, as in ideology. A more modern term for this is meme, and they are much larger than any one of us, or even any combination. I prefer it because it takes out the timeless and unchanging form aspect of it, as memes, like Bryant's objects, are contingent, historical and material. Still, they are quite powerful, like hyperobjects, and very much like angels and demons, very much like egregores, and need to be changed to effect humane political enactment.

So if we can re-work the hermetic into something like this I'm all for it. But I'm not sure we can do so by accepting the perennial tradition's interpretations and practices, for they are hand-in-hand of a metaphysics of the most ontotheological kind and will only serve to contaminate, and ultimately defeat, a postmetaphysical project.

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