Tuesday, May 10, 2005


It's one of those pre-summery, sweet-smelling days. There's a lupin field behind the house. Strange caesura of seasons, warm enough to swim but without any fear of bugs. Slight asphalt breeze. So go outside. I'll be sitting on the balcony porch, reading my review copy of Murakami. Later I will cook dinner with the most beautiful woman in the world.

What then is the relationship between quodlibetality and indifference? How can we understand the indifference of the common human form with respect to singular humans? And what is the haecceity that constitutes the being of the singular?...

Nothing is more instructive in this regard than the way Spinoza conceives of the common. All bodies, he says, have it in common to express the divine attribute of extension (Ethics, Part II, Proposition 13, Lemma 2). And yet what is common cannot in any case constitute the essence of the single case (Ethics, Part II, Proposition 37). Decisive here is the idea of an inessential commonality, a solidarity that in no way concerns an essence. Taking-place, the communication of singularities in the attribute of extension, does not unite them in essence, but scatters them in existence.

Whatever is constituted not by the indifference of common nature with respect to singularities, but by the indifference of the common and the proper, of the genus and the species, of the essential and the accidental. Whatever is the thing with all its properties, none of which, however, constitutes difference. In-difference with respect to properties is what individuates and diseminates singularities, makes them lovable (quodlibetable). Just as the right human word is neither the appropriation of what is common (language) nor the communication of what is proper, so too the human face is neither the individuation of a generic facies nor the universalization of singular traits: It is whatever face, in which what belongs to common nature and what is proper are absolutely indifferent...

The world of the happy and that of the unhappy, the world of the good and that of evil contain the same states of things; with respect to their being-thus they are perfectly identical. The just person does not reside in another world. The one who is saved and the one who is lost have the same arms and legs. The glorious body cannot but be the mortal body itself. What changes are not the things but their limits. It is as if there hovered over them something like a halo, a glory.

The Irreparable is neither an essence nor an existence, neither a substance nor a quality, neither a possibility nor a necessity. It is not properly a modality of being, but it is the being that is always already given in modality, that is its modalities. It is not thus, but rather it is its thus...

...This would be the only correct way to understand negative theology: neither this nor that, neither thus nor thus—but thus, as it is, with all its predicates (all its predicates is not a predicate). Not otherwise negates each predicate as a property (on the plane of essence), but takes them up again as im-properties, or improperties (on the plane of existence).

(Such a being would be a pure, singular and yet perfectly whatever existence.)

—Agamben, The Coming Community

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