Issue #41 June 2021


How dynamic are essences? That is to say, must the essence undergo the trials of living, transform, metamorphose? Perhaps it is a bit medieval to bring up essences—that vestigial hook which used to be needful to give thought something to hold onto, for concepts to be about, and for the empirical flux to orbit and eddy around like a whirlpool.

But there is something admirable, from a radical perspective, about the obstinacy that characterizes essences; the manner in which they fold time back in on itself by their escaping it. Of course the nocturnal fantasy of the ‘essential realm’ undergirded a fixed and immutable kingdom, smooth passage into which we we’re forbidden. But what happens to essences when we shift the value that we give to the empirical, that the empirical is not broken at all? Well, to draw the pentagram on the floor and speak the incantations to re-summon them, they must then blush and admit; the empirical always was broken because essences themselves war against one another. The immutable essential kingdom is a garbage heap, a chaosmos, a whirlpool of its own. Things, in their essential and apparent aspects, are just striving to become what they are in a myriad of vectors and viewpoints, with no maximal harmonic consistency as their end. The essence is cracked, yet nonetheless punctures through temporality as it haunts and is haunted by it. Yes, the essence has to undergo the trials of living, like the bones which often so perfectly serve as their analogy…

Essences, then, might not be the fixed anchors that protect us from all-engulfing time, but the very means through which transformation always remains a possibility, plasmatic force itself. There is a violence inherent to the essences, but it is through this violence that we are reminded that all is not lost, and will never be. As long as we can still grasp at these crooked disintegrating shards we can bring the past in relation to the immanent, and see how the latter matches up to the cast of the bones.


June 2021


Sartre on the Body in "Being and Nothingness"

by Jacob Saliba

Concepts Between Kant and Deleuze: From Transcendental Idealism to Transcendental Empiricism

by Andrej Jovićević

Berserk Metaphysics: On the Idea of Evil

by Antonio Wolf

The Future of Thinking in a Digital Age

by Ronald K.L. Collins