Chord: substance abuse


It was very difficult for him to sleep. To sleep is to be abstracted from the world; Funes, on his back in his cot, in the shadows, imagined every crevice and every moulding of the various houses which surrounded him. … Toward the east, in a section which was not yet cut into blocks of homes, there were some new unknown houses. Funes imagined them black, compact, made of a single obscurity; he would turn his face in this direction in order to sleep.


There is an Indian story — at least I heard it as an Indian story — about an Englishman who, having been told that the world rested on a platform which rested on the back of an elephant which rested in turn on the back of a turtle, asked… what did the turtle rest on? Another turtle. And that turtle? “Ah, Sahib, after that it is turtles all the way down.”


Every instance of continuity is achieved through a discontinuity, a hiatus; every leap across a discontinuity represents a risk taken that may succeed or fail; there are thus felicity and infelicity conditions proper to each mode; the result of this passage, of this more or less successful leap, is a flow, a network, a movement, a wake left behind that will make it possible to define a particular form of existence, and, consequently, particular beings. … [T]he grasp of existents according to the mode of reproduction is not limited to lines of force [“inert matter”] and lineages [“life”]; it concerns everything that maintains itself: languages, bodies, ideas, and of course institutions. The price to pay for the discovery of such a hiatus is not as great as it appears, if we are willing to consider the alternative: we would have to posit a substance lying behind or beneath them to explain their subsistence. We would certainly not gain in intelligibility, since the enigma would simply be pushed one step further: we would have to find out what lies beneath that substance itself and, from one aporia to another, through an infinite regression that is well known in the history of philosophy, we would end up in Substance alone, in short, the exact opposite of the place we had wanted to reach. It is more economical, more rational, more logical, simpler, more elegant — if less obvious in the early phases owing to our (bad) habits of thought — to say that subsistence always pays for itself in alteration, precisely for want of the possibility of being backed up by a substance. The landscape discovered in this way seems surprising at first glance, but it has the immense advantage of being freed from any ultraworld — substance — without loss of continuity in being — subsistence. There is nothing beneath, nothing behind or above. No transcendence but the hiatus of reproduction.


Whence things have their origin,
Thence also their destruction happens,
According to necessity;
For they give to each other justice and recompense
For their injustice
In conformity with the ordinance of Time.

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