Issue #18 November 2018

How to end every war, beyond the Derridean horizon, towards Outer Heaven, or a very partial response to “Violence and Metaphysics”

Peter de Francia — The Bombing of Sakiet (1959)

“In effect, the necessity of gaining access to the other…as the necessity from which no discourse can escape, from its earliest origin…are violence itself, or rather the transcendental origin of an irreducible violence…It is an economy. And it is this economy which, by this opening, will permit access to the other to be determined, in ethical freedom, as moral violence or nonviolence.” (160)

“Violence, certainly appears within the horizon of an idea of the infinite. But this horizon is not the horizon of the infinitely other, but of a reign in which the difference between the same and the other, differance, would no longer be valid, that is, of a reign in which peace itself would no longer have meaning.” (161)

“If it is called ‘trace’, the word can emerge only as a metaphor…For it must be made to appear. And the phenomenon supposes original contamination by the sign.” (161)

“This secondary war, as the avowal of violence, is the least possible violence, the only way to repress the worst violence, the violence of primitive and prelogical silence…” (162)

— “Naked Snake”, a.k.a. Jacques Derrida

“A language of nukes…No words will be needed. Every man will be forced to recognize his neighbor. People will swallow their pain. They will link lost hands. And the world will become one. This war is peace.”

— Excerpted recording archived in the global AI network known as “S.E.Y.N.”

“We all fought a long, bloody war for our liberty to free ourselves from systems, nations, norms and ages, but no matter how hard we fought, the only liberty we found was on the inside, trapped within those limits…But you have been given freedom. Freedom to be… Outside.”

— “Big Boss”

It does not suffice to merely avow the transcendental violence which is every relation, being, phenomenality as such. For to declare violence for all to behold and heed is on the one hand, a repression of this violence, and on the other, an asserting of the primacy of this violence, its enshrining and apotheosis: to repress one variant of violence presupposes the irreducibility of that violence, and in demanding justice for that violence it merely repeats the worst violence in a gesture of peace, that is, of truce.

It does not suffice to merely succumb and wallow in an economy of war, deterrence, and tracing, for this economy is manifestly one which not merely prioritizes synthesis1placeholder, but construes synthesis as the sole relation there is. Synthesis as the making-available of the Other for one’s own sake, as something to be accessed and accessible, and in making available already synthesizing the Other, subordinating the Other to a corpus, a structure; or with a capitalist spin, the registration of the Other into a philosophical market as commodity to be owned — as violence. A synthesis is only ever a reciprocal proffering of oneself as trace and to be traced, multilateral eviscerating and evisceratedness: its populist name is masochistic historiology (自虐史観)2placeholder. It is only incidental that this historiology is so often a tilted one, organized around a discourse of defeat inscribed by the defeated, and hence, its impression and predication as “masochistic”; though it is far from incidental that thinkers of certain fields concern themselves, like a cult of exhibitionists, with this tiltedness, with what is blankly called “justice”, that other thinkers concern themselves with frameworks, circuitries, totalities, for the abolition of synthesis in general is not so much impossible as it is inconvenient for them: that it is in effect the deprivation of all thinkers of the horizon of all their enterprises. At the heart of thinking must be a certain compromise, a truce made with the transcendental violence, a confrontation, avowal or disavowal which does not, cannot negate (commit suicide), latent in every knowing, thinking, speaking, writing, in relation in general.

Do not mistake this however, for an appeal for a more “speculative” approach to counter Kantian or colonial dogmatism; this is not the pretext for one to conjure up a new entry point (such as cybernetics or mathematics) to overcome this one particular violence obstructing the path to the “real”; or to sketch out an atomistic chart of objects and dotted lines in between. It is of little doubt that this historiology is an impediment and that to its left or right, before or behind it, lies alternatives; but it is of equally little doubt that the hegemony of this historiology is so far and deeply entrenched that it cannot be surpassed with ease and certainly not by the nostalgic efforts of thinkers looking to a “pre-Kantian” age.

What is called for now is NOT an overcoming of that dogmatism which can (fore-)conceive of nothing beyond the transcendental violence which it is, NOT a secretive conservativism, a cementing of that very economy in the name of “speculations”, “justice”, “anti-, de-…centrism”. Synthesis must be abolished but it is foolhardy to trust synthesis itself to be capable of a suicide which does not assert itself immediately prior, during, and afterwards, as my death. Even in its own voluntary negation, and precisely because it is voluntary, synthesis shall thrive.

Without the intervention of an infinitely other, which silences every relation in what Derrida correctly identified as an equivalent of the worst violence, synthesis cannot be anticipated to contribute at all to its own self-annihilation. Justice would always be a complacent one complicit with the very violence which permits the relation to be determined as “just”; and every speculation feeds only back to a scripted history, linear or otherwise, belonging to the interlocutor. This hermeneutic circle, that is, world-history, must be interrupted, and at the wound(s) torn ever wider apart, and then not promptly combined into an assemblage or a de-centered totality. Only the other alone is capable of this task; the “spontaneous” escalation of its alterity into the highest radicality or infinity collapses the economy of war, or rather drives this economy of deterrence to its arche, to the war in itself and inscribes this war into a transcendental economy of the worst violence, of the worst against the worst from one infinity to another, where the prospect of peace as abstinence from the perpetual war becomes an impossibility. This is why the coming of the Messiah (infinitely other) is held to be apocalyptic.

It becomes evident then that traced alterity does not merely guarantee the possibility of relation as synthesis and transcendental violence; it is also that which guards the relation from snapping and tumbling, it and its passengers, into the war in itself: it is deterrent against one another and against the worst violence. Masochistic historiology traces a history of a negotiated, synthesized peace, for ultimately it is concerned predominantly with peace, the “peace in our time”, even if this concern is also a silent tolerance of war. In this sense, it might be called also a disarmament race, in the broad sense of the word: every stride made must be made with tremendous care and consternation for the one misstep which shall turn a controlled explosion into “hot” explosion, a disarmed warhead into a live one.

But it is pure eschatological conceit to not regard the economy of deterrence as sufficiently apocalyptic for the many caught in the midst of the specters, offspring, and parents of the armageddon, that is, proxy wars, nuclear waste disposal, bomb testing, strategic detonations, development of fail-deadly deterrents, economic sanctions, technocapital propagation, centralization, deregulation, runaway climates, and lay and academic apocalyptism. Seen this way, the apocalypse has long arrived in its infinite postponement and imminence3placeholder: the repression of transcendental violence which affirms that violence, has merely spread itself out in battles and skirmishes which shall in time add up to a totality to rival, into that transcendental war itself — a summation, precipitation which shall in time fill up, bridge the ontological difference. Taken in this sense, either way transcendental violence shall descend, shall erupt, unfold, shall be revealed, over a span of time (kronos) or in an instant (kairos). Even as disarmament race moves ever towards a certain peace, wars pimple the visage of the world.

What precisely though is this peace towards which the disarmament race compels itself? This peace is often called complete disarmament, of every deterrent, that is, every traced alterity; towards a collapse of the economy of deterrence which does not immediately release every other into an armageddon, the conception of an alternative relation away from transcendental violence. Complete disarmament has the meaning then not merely of a seeking-out of “world peace” in the sense of a union of the world back into a global totality, but a radical reinvention of every relation and synthesis, or rather a disposing of transcendental violence and the ushering-in of another one. This in effect, is to dissolve the very primacy of synthesis as it is conceived today; “world peace” implies therefore not merely an era, a period, an event, that is, a certain duration of stillness in the midst of a storm, but the total erasure of the storm, its complete relegation to pseudo-memory unrecollectable not even in schizophrenia or déjà vu: a non-event which has never come to pass insofar as history as charted by masochistic historiology is concerned. In this sense, complete disarmament has the same meaning, that is, non-meaning as mutually assured destruction, which too is in a sense, complete disarmament. An arche preceding every zero, one, and digits, every positivity and negativity, altogether held back, deterred by the economy of war, and the transcendental war in itself; but with the instigation of the transcendental economy of infinities, of what within Logos must be identified as the apocalypse, the “worst violence”, for it signals the end of every synthesis, every relation, “world peace” shall no longer be indefinitely deferred/deterred; but to be sure, it must be synonymous with mutually assured destruction.

Peter de Francia — Study for The Bombing of Sakiet (1959)

Below is a transcribed conversation between Tanabe Miller4placeholder and Venom Snake over an encrypted channel.

T. Miller: History might be said to consist of the movement of absolute nothingness immanent through the mediation of beings in spirals or circles toppling, reverting, and toppling anew horizontally: it is metanoetic, repentance which always forgets nothingness as soon as it attains nothingness; perched between samsara and nirvana. The -gen of ningen is this betweenness. History is the battle royale of innumerable beings possessed by an uncountable goetia or God referred to only as “nothingness” (sunyata); their slaughter is the parousia of nothingness, also known as “history”.

V.: But the infinitely other which is exempt from history but authorizes the entirety of history, has the countenance, parousia of/traces itself and is traced as spectral and yet absolute deterrence, the force which holds every being from ascending into heaven, descending into hell.

T. Miller: It is naive to exempt any being from the absolute mediation (samsara) which is world and history. Even the demon(s) which holds absolute power is mediated by being. A demon differs fundamentally from the mortals it possesses at a whim to do its bidding, in that it has no visage, or torso, limb, organ, bone, or any form in general: they are not even presences, spectres, or any manner of (dis)simulation who might at the very least haunt beings in their sleep. This very powerlessness absolutizes the demons of nothingness; it also entails that demons must be mediated by being as their immanent agents, to effect any transformation in the world. Absolute nothingness must possess beings just to exist, or even just to have an aspiration, will towards, or possibility of existence. I have no doubt what you call “infinitely other” has this very same structure.

V: How do you propose I situate the infinitely other?

T. Miller: The infinitely other must be absolute mediation itself, but this is no more than a name, a terminology, a metaphor, a hollow box which must conceal a meaning which shall determine the entirety of the box. The other has no form, meaning, being insofar as it is absolutely and infinitely other, that is, it must be so from the standpoint of being, the ego, the self. This is what guarantees that infinitely other shall in spite of its infinite denial of access, nevertheless be open to being, comprehensible to the ego, the I, as other.

V.: …

T. Miller: Nothingness or the infinitely other, shall flood ever through that opening into being, that opening which is itself being, and walk this earth, leap, stroll, spin, dance on phantom legs, embrace, strangle, pluck fruits from trees with phantom arms; it would always remember the joy of having limbs, the pain of missing limbs. Being shall always miss the phantom caresses, the thoughts which are not her own. As they long for, think of, gaze to one another, already they are united in absolute mediation: for nothingness has no imagination, mind of its own, and being no recollection of anything but itself.

V.: We are to situate the infinitely other at a distance of no-distance from the ego, always already united in a relation, a synthesis, but separated nevertheless by a fundamental difference? Being as parousia, ens, is to be the traced alterity of nothingness; to be is already to deter, to hold away and be held away from the infinitely other: like being and nothingness, radically incompatible.

T. Miller: There is no need to insist upon a difference, or any formal simulation, textual metaphor of a “passage” between being and nothingness, ego and other. A passage is necessary from the standpoint of being which cannot envision its complete negation, and thus must visualize its negation as a passage into another world, of being. Indeed, it is imperative to not think overtly in the framework of an atomism, of history as the morbid brownian motion of beings, as a chart consisting of beings. To do so is ultimately to neglect the genuine infinity of the other, that is, its nothingness.

V.: So it is this form of opening, this trace of infinity that we must decide, give a name to?

T. Miller: We’ve only got only two options in the hyperdialectical battle royale of world-history: Heaven (nothingness) or Hell (being).

V: No, there is another…

T. Miller: Outer Heaven?

A fortress state sketched out in chalk, digits, diamond, and steel in the midst of the most patrolled seas interrupting vital routes of cargo shipping, offshore tax evasion, and technocapital dissemination, inhabited by Derridean phantom or phantoms: Outer Heaven. It stands against a world riven in an economy of deterrence, of FOXes playing games of nukes, bipedal tanks, vocal cord parasites, impersonal AI networks, ESP, retroviruses, and nanomachines; it opposes the world by being itself absolute deterrence. The phantoms themselves who straddle the line between being and nothingness-qua-non-being, are themselves the best deterrents: they are Snakes. They are the vectors of FOXDIE.

Outer Heaven is to be one (among many) abode of the infinitely-other, the dwelling where the other does not dwell, where the other shall remain unintelligible, dissimulated even to those very phantoms who dwell “alongside” it. Absolute deterrence is to be the visage, name, parousia, traced alterity “of” the infinitely other: it is its terminus-logos, the final word, the word to end every word, the ultimatum as ancient as the perpetual war itself. Always already contaminated by the sign, inscribed in an economy of the “secondary war”, in a masochistic historiology, this fortress is destined to obsolete, to be destroyed in time, with the end of the transcendental economy, the eventual emergence of the infinitely other, the non-event of complete disarmament/mutually assured destruction. It is then and only then transcendental violence might be overcome; it is only then we might know for the first time in spoken and written history, over the horizon of economy — every economy, economy itself — peace, for ultimately the world would be better off without Snakes.

“This is good, isn’t it?”

· · ·




To accept an infinitely other is, for me, to accept infinite solitude.

Cloven in two.

Wager nothing, a pure wager: no coin, only air.

Seas tumble down the edge.

Not a matter of gain or loss.

Starch white land.

All alone.

Pascal stirs.

Side I. If the infinitely other is absolute nothingness, that is to say, if “infinitely other” is hollow, a hallucinated sign, a hypnosis and hypnotizedness, if this Snake (traced alterity, deterrent) is Liquid, then the “transcendental” economy shall prove only a deferral of the secondary economy of deterrence, another atom in differance, which shall as such continue regardless, with its eventual summation, guided by a “Heideggerian hope” (“Differance” 159), of heaven into hell; or the transcendental economy shall negate deterrence altogether and hurl all involved into mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, grey goo, technological singularity, runaway climate change, and so on.

Side II. If the infinitely other is “extant”, “real”, that is to say, if “infinitely other” refers beyond the horizon of the war in itself, if this Snake is Solid, then the termination of the transcendental economy shall end with the ushering-in, for an undecidable better or worse, of a new “world”, which shall perhaps prove only to be another economy, another war, another heaven, another hell.

But manifestly the world has already ended.

Raphael Chim is a Hong Kong-born Chinese currently pursuing a MA in Creative Writing at University College Dublin. It is said that he is a child of the now defunct line of Zhou kings dating two millennia back.


Cf. Nick Land, “Kant, capital, and the prohibition of incest”, Fanged Noumena, on what he termed “inhibited synthesis”, taken here broadly, and decapitalized, as “synthesis”.


This term is popularized by historiographers in post-war Japan, and rarely makes it out of the archipelago; here it is appropriated for our purposes.


Derrida addressed this only minimally in “No Apocalypse, not now” in one passing remark, “ missiles…may, in the very process of calculation and the games that stimulate the process, escape…all reassimilation or self-regulation of a system that they will have precipitously…but irreversibly destroyed.” See also Masahide Kato’s conception of nuclear testings as nuclear war on the Fourth World and indigenous nations in “Nuclear Globalism: Traversing, Satellites, and Nuclear War via the Strategic Gaze”.


Cf. Tanabe Hajime. Philosophy as Metanoetics.


November 2018


A Few Notes on Identity Politics

by Timofei Gerber

Merleau-Ponty, Education, and the Meno Paradox

by John C. Brady

How to end every war, beyond the Derridean horizon, towards Outer Heaven, or a very partial response to “Violence and Metaphysics”

by Raphael Chim