Friday, August 2, 2019


Negative Dialectics teaches us that the consciousness of life is located within a subconscious matrix. This means reality seems false, while what is false, seems like reality. (Adorno called this "the abstract monotony of the administered world").*  When it comes to communication this means the Negative Dialectician sounds like a mad man, a conspiracy theorist, because his view of the world is made up of all that contradicts the artificial. He appears to conformists, and all that are socially programmed, as one who is "out of touch with reality." This is the impression his analysis of the world gives those who live in the world, who accept what is fabricated, as though it comprised totality.

To resist the false discourse of administered reality, to slice through it in search of what contradicts it, to find its inconsistencies and paradoxes, is to level a wound on those who rely on it for stability. Psychology tells us that this is experienced as a violent assault. To challenge an individual's cherished beliefs is to disrespect their person (this is the silent precept the world lives by). And yet resistance is necessary to get at the truth. The categories of administered reality will not simply fade or dissolve, and this is because they are innovated in response to reality itself, in most cases, they need to be exploded through polemical confrontation, to die the death of self-negation. This procedure doesn't have to be crude or adolescent, it should not be driven by the ego's desire to escape the pain of its fragility. The nature of the universal is such that it carries its own weight, it merely needs to be brought into collision with what is hallow, its weight will crush the lie, the fraction cannot stand in the presence of the whole. But here we are not speaking of the universal in terms of identity, as all forms of vulgar idealism make it out to be; here we are speaking of the universal as that of "difference," the attribute discovered by Hegel. This is an exceedingly hard reality to fathom, that the universal is the contradiction, that the universal is continuous transformation; truth is the endless repetition of critique. Those who seek to make it static fear reality, their agenda is not to understand it but to suppress it, to live off the false capital of their delusions. 

The opposite extreme is equally false, those who deduce from this fact, a universal subjectivity, are equally confused. Negative Dialectics walks between the extremes at the same time it rejects their liquidity, not because Negative Dialectics presumes to play a game, but because Negative Dialectics strives to be true to the universal form, that of "difference." Difference as concrete, is a verdict that demands the betrayal of itself in order to be true to itself. What many would here call mad, because they strive for the validation of an idealistic identity, an identity that brings them comfort against reality, which is to say, "contradiction," is itself a form of genius brought to consciousness as a tool of thought. The power of this thought, has of yet, never been implemented into the social consciousness of the species. Because of this man suffers under the error of his coherentism, saying he fears reality is the same as saying he fears contradiction.

Negative Dialectics, in polemical form, amounts to nuclear destruction of all that demands authority for itself as the positive. Those who experience the heat of its criticism are deeply offended by it. For not only does it shatter the myth of the presented world, but it destroys the premisses on which the Self is erected. In truth, Negative Dialectics is a forbidden form, it is forbidden by the shallowness of man's psychology. Man's psychological need is for comfort, he needs to see himself as the pinnacle of the universe. This is the essence of his ideological delusion. To progress against delusion, idealism, by means of Negative Dialectics, is to proceed against the human psyche as a heretic. Woe to those who shatter pragmatic narratives!

Those who contradict the status quo are labeled "delusional." It's easier to attack the messenger than it is to deal with his contradictions. This allows comfort to be maintained. The fearful listener is most tempted to declare that the dialectical critic is merely posturing in the realm of abstraction, that his words are but empty concepts having no bearing on reality, and yet, this charge of idealism, is actually the crime of the one making the claim! The Matrix in which the idealist lives is a construct of abstraction aspiring to the confusion of its concretion. The idealist's feelings of safety amount to blank concepts void of existence, theological images, they merely serve the purpose of comfort, validation through the edifice of mass delusion.

Dialectics entails an understanding of objections through the history of the object's concretion. And neither is the comprehension of the object's concretion isolated from the causality of the world into which it is born. As thought reflects on the object, the unfolding nature of the object reflects back to thought, thus transforming thought, shaping it in terms of Being's transformative nature, so it can organically revise itself, from the premise of concretion, to act more intelligently on the very object it contemplates. This is the symbiotic union of Dialectics, between thought and the object of its gaze. It is the secret of Dialectic's power when it comes to comprehending reality. As the object fluctuates, Dialectics allows itself to be altered by the object, it then reaches back toward the object with greater awareness and intelligence. The fact that Dialectics is informed, by the concretion of the object, is what gives it the power to both defy and crush the delusions of idealism. The mother of Dialectics is not the concept, but the nature of matter itself, which is to say, not the abstract microcosm, but the dimension at which man breathes and lives. This is the dimension which exercises authority over the quality of life. This is the domain that matters, the dimension which must be understood, whose contradictions must be resolved so long as man lacks the power to transcend this domain. Perhaps one day this will be possible, but until that day man must face the objective forces which threaten to crush him, which threaten to wither the social attributes of intelligence and quality.                     

In the first instance, it's nearly impossible to proceed in social terms through means of Negative Dialectics. In society, Dialectics occupy the place of the Demonic. Adorno asked if Negative Dialectics was even possible, this is an easy question, a more difficult question is whether its discourse will be tolerated? The discourse of Dialectics must run its course, in time, in order to have its effect, if thwarted, Negative Dialectics become ineffective. This is why all Dialectics presuppose the intelligence of the democratic form. Barbarism has never permitted the fruit of qualitative sophistication, most specifically against the insecurity of its own dogmas. Regressing to the level of animal violence, it fruitlessly seeks to resolve contradiction through means of violence. When violence is adopted as the intelligence of resolution, the species negates the only authentic hope it has ever possessed, that of thought. Once one has journeyed through the dark realm of negation, concrete hope (as opposed to so much groundless idealism) means everything! That it has an objective existence is itself the most profound truth of comfort. The probability of hope is one of the promises of Dialectics.  

The polemics of Dialectic work within the domain of contradiction, instead of slicing off the paradox of the material form, the contradiction of Being, Dialectics allow the object to be itself, to unfold in negation, it doesn't try to make the object conform to its ideal. This organic approach to the world has the high benefit of yielding concrete-resolutions-of-material-intelligence. This exceedingly rare power, that comes to us through Dialectic thought, cannot be emphasized enough. The resolution-component of Dialectics is only part of the value of Dialectics. The other power it offers man is that of comprehension, understanding a world unfolding in negation. Reality always presents itself as the self-justifying-positive, this is the ontology of the moment, negation is that which transcends time in order to comprehend being. Without negation man is deceived by appearance, by the instance of the image.            

In order to rescue ourselves from our own stupidity negation is necessary. Nothing is more important. A thinker who understands this must realize that this begins with a Dialectical comprehension of Self. As we have said before: Man cannot see himself by looking in the mirror. The polemic of Negative Dialectics begins with a polemic against the appearance of Self, against every positive form projected by the ego. Only those who can suffer the defeat of the image they love, the death of every conceptual idol of comfort, will be able to wield the tool of Dialectic.                     



*Negative Dialectics, Introduction, Section 3. Reality and Dialectics, translation by Christian Thorne