HomeUncategorizedTranscendence

Transcendence

“..the One is not the transcendent that might contain immanence but the the immanent contained within a transcendental field. One is always the index of a multiplicity: an event, a singularity, a life.”–Deleuze

 
No one should deny the experience of transcendence, but I think it is important to think of transcendence as relative and relational. Derrida calls it “quasi–transcendence”. He once said in a particularly mystical moment that “Peace is found only in a certain silence that is determined and protected by the violence of speech.” Deleuze, who always insisted on immanence, spent most of his best work arguing for a rather transcendental relational ontology, which should sound contradictory. Derrida puzzled over this word ” immanence”when Deleuze died, feeling there was some great secret there. What did he mean?
I think Derrida was more of a Jewish mystic than he wanted to admit, but he seldom did more than gesture towards the infinite and transcendent. In the quote above I think it is interesting to ponder this vision of transcendence. The peace of absolute unity, itself defended and produced by the inherent conflict of difference, carving out a space for the sacred. In the Vedas, much of the meaning is similar, as it requires the sacrifice to make room for divine harmony. There is no inherent harmony, or rather, as expressed more explicitly in early Greek number theory (though the math is in the Vedas too), the inherent harmony must be carved out of the raw material of primordial chaos and incommensurability.
So yes of course, there is God with qualities and without, a kind of direct experience with the zero and the one. But when these experiences are taken as absolute we get all the problems Derrida was alluding to with his mistrust of mysticism. And I have been expressing similar issues in this discussion. When we take some unity as ground then we tend to assume some kind of abstraction as fundamental and make mistakes when trying to understand something. We will think in terms of linear causes, or assume all influence flows from the past or from some reductive chain of sequences. We will classify things in absolute ways and rank things according to their distance from the source as more or less real or important and will tend to justify things not by their possible meaning and sense but by their fit with the grid of logical inference that is based on an unquestioned assumption of some context as natural and without need of justification.

Transcendence is then even more important as a radical break with an assumed ground and an openness to new centers of meaning.
Deleuze was very explicit about this kind of transcendence, creating a truly immanent vision of spiritual experience and ontology. It is immanent because there is no beginning or end, no absolute reference. We always find our self in the middle and have to work from there. This doesn’t mean there is no possibility of relationless experience, but that one should always keep in mind that every “one” is an abstraction of a group of relations, a selection determined by another set of relations. The absolute is the unified sense inherent in all meaning, the stamp of unity that that comes with every act of meaning, what he calls, following medieval Christian philosophy, “univocity” (one voice). Is there an experience of the ultimate abstraction? An experience of the groundless ground in negation or the ground of everything in the infinite? Sure. Without modes of transcendence we would live in a predetermined causally locked and closed system. So only in the sense that everything causes everything, and “the one” is coming from all directions of space and time/possibility, determining everything from everywhere, is the universe causal and determined. So transcendence is to spaces that are opened up within that infinite reference point, though they may be overwhelmingly stamped with character of the univocity of all things.

Comments

comments