Being and Event: Knowledge of Crowds

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Being and Event: Knowledge of Crowds

Postby LD330 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:36 am

More Field Notes from the Front-Lines of Philosophy:

Being and Event is a recent (1988) philosophy book. The ideas in the book are abstract and focused on the Void. An Event is Being unfolding.

Being unfolds through Knowledge. Everyone Knows things. None of the things we know are necessarily true; however, they do appear. Appearance is in this sense Truth.

In our knowledge there are many assumptions. These assumptions are implicit in the way being unfolds (or, to put it less abstractly but also less accurately, how we live our lives).

In military intelligence there are Known Knowns (things we know we know), Known Unknowns (things we know we don't know) and also Unknown Unknowns (random things we can't possibly predict).

In Being and Event there are Unknown Knowns: Things we didn't realize we knew.

These Knowns are not implicit in one individual. There are Knowns that are known throughout cultures, groups of people, and entire epochs. Lacan's formula "The Unconscious is the Discourse of the Other," as well as his formula "Knowledge is the Jouissance of the Other," apply here.

One example of this is Newtonian Physics. An entire scientific community knew the universe worked according to Newton's Laws, or were at least operating under that assumption. Einstein developed a new theory changing the scientific community's knowledge, along with Being and the possibilities of Being.

A further example is the French Revolution. There were some things that "Everybody Knew" in order for the revolution to happen. Hence the phrase from Louis XV, "After us, the deluge." Everyone in France had some form of Shared Knowledge that contributed to the Event of the French Revolution.

Another example is the culture we live in today. What we know is dependent upon the knowledge of other human beings. We don't talk to blades of grass, trees or squirrels. We know what we know from Other Humans.

Badiou's concept of the subject is a point where a Truth unfolds. This is to say, in Humans, the "I think therefore I am" is itself an Event-Point covering the Void out of which a Truth pours. The subject is an unfolding thing. Most formulations try to cover up the Void from which reality pours with a stable subject, but Badiou points out this is itself an Event.

The importance of this is that it allows us to conceive of a Non-Dual Subject. The excess reality, or jouissance, or Truth pouring out of the Void is only one part of a greater Truth, the cultural-truth or the group-truth. The Truth of Christianity, for example, was not limited to Christ, but that Truth poured out to the Vatican, the entire Christian religion, all the way down to your local Presbyterian Church, involving millions of people.

Recognition of this allows one to play with the Truth. Two of Badiou's injunctions include "Name the Unnameable" and "Decide on the Undecidable." The idea is that Truth is unfolding, and as we already have the Truth in our veins, we have our own vantage point (entirely predicated on Others, from whom we get our knowledge) from which to act on in reality. We can see if others share components of a Truth, as their Knowledge is predicated in their Jouissance- just like yours is.

To Name the Unnameable is to give recognition to a component of a truth-procedure, or to bring a concept into the world. To Decide on the Undecidable is to choose to move a Truth in a particular direction, and to move in entirely on that Truth.

Badiou's philosophy ends up profoundly creative and life-affirming as everything that happens is a manifestation of Truth. It also moves the system of values into a form of cultural creativity, as things we have always Known come out, are named, and are realized as part of the unfolding Truth.
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