On Epistemiology

Every epoch is haunted by a series of paradoxes: every social formation, every expression or formulation of knowledge is structured by that which it cannot integrate into itself. The epoch defines the series, but the paradoxes structure the limit-boundary of the epistemic situation. There is no radical exterior to a given ‘psycho-situation.’

The ‘outside of knowledge’ is not merely clouded in ignorance, obscurity, but is, in fact, paradoxically absent. There is no ‘outside’ of the historical-linguistic situation, or rather, the position of the unnameable or ‘uncounted’ within the situation is already the structure of a paradox from the standpoint of that historical epistemic formation.

I must immediately clarify that I am not trying to establish a scheme for the division of historical eras; rather, I mean to investigate the series of human cognitive acts as an intentional evolution of the relationship between language and power. The question of what we shall call a ‘psychosituation’ is that of the interdependent reproduction of forms of truth-expression and systems of truth-repression. In other words, the epistemological schema is interwoven into the socio-political organizations as conflict; in fact, they emerge only later, as a result this paradoxical struggle, as separate, self-perpetuating, atheoretical forms of knowledge or historical formations of power. The question which can only be answered within a later psychosituation (as it is always an unresolved paradox within the episteme) is about the relationship between the ‘accidental’ multiplicity of sociality and conversation and the ‘deliberate’ generality of knowledge forms and power-relations, whether pyramidal and axiomatic or dis-associated and subtractive. Thus we are asking an epistemo-technological as much as a sociohistorical question. The boundaries of the psychosituation are formally paradoxical, which is equivalent to the impossibility of traversing, from within the given social formation or epistemological paradigm, any rational structure which is paradoxical from within the psychosituation. Since the relation between knowledge and the social (‘real’) situation exposes radically the inextricable bondage of cognitive potentiality to political, cultural and biological forms, how do we account for the true, episteme-shattering act of cognition which represents an authentic yet radical break with the traditional forms of knowledge tradition?

We shall say a psychosituation is the functioning of language/power as it (subjectively) investigates/dominates truth/the real. The psychosituation is only traversed paradoxically, that is, it is traversed at the same time it is traversed e process of technological progress as it relates to real historical development is essentially paradoxical. This is because the psycho-situation is the most real, functional unit of progress, that is, an epistemic co-ordinate: a mapping of power and technology to knowledge and ‘truth’ in a society. The given “psychosituation” is always particular, unique, an historical accident, but also an inevitable result of the resolution of earlier ‘paradoxes’ (and we’ll get into what exactly we mean by that in a second); thus the psychosituation is the multiplicity of the social relation. Thus it is a singular multiplicity; the birth of the psychosituation is the inauguration of a new language, the ground or staging for a new set of paradoxes.

The question of historical analysis, then, would seem to revolve around reconstructing narratives of previous epochs around the new psychosituation--in a sense, we see them clearer because we have the benefit of hindsight, of having many of the paradoxes which haunted earlier eras resolved. Psychosituational analysis means considering the relationship between tools, power, language, etc., and the ‘real’ web of social organization. The primary hypothesis is that we must view historical social organizations (inevitably) as positive, creative formations--the criterion is as always never whether the formation (the idea, the act, the organization or the technology) is good or bad in itself, but whether it successfully reproduces its own mode of existence, i.e., as the resolution of a paradox and the staging of new paradoxes. The present moment is an accidental conjuncture, a nonsensical sense-event, which is produced as the disjunctive epicenter of dual, interlocking corridors of non-symmetrical paradox. The structure of the paradox is both delightful and humorous as much as it is alien and horrifying because it is an epistemologically-directed ‘logic bomb.’ It is aimed at the heart of what we can and can’t know, and blurs the distinction so that no traversal is possible within the structure of the paradoxical narrative; it is a description, nonetheless, of a particular though somehow logically inconsistent universe, which causes the very reason which enabled us to comprehend the structure somehow unable to continue. The paradox does not aim to point out a contradiction in anything but truth itself; hence the convoluted ‘dual’ structure where its very particularity implies its address is universal, extending from the tiniest particles in the universes to the black holes our galaxies spin around.

An epoch cannot traverse its paradoxes, for once the traversal is made the epoch upon which they depended for their staging disappeared; then the new paradoxes become the old paradoxes, and the stage is set for a new escape. But ultimately this is inadequate, right? Let’s say paradoxicality possesses a rational structure which yet cannot be traversed by reason; you could say paradoxes are post-sensical. There is no escape from the structure of paradox--which we now understand as the entire process of the creation of a space between psychosituations, so there’s no escape from the epistemological present within the epistemological present, we have to go, in a sense, beyond space, beyond time. Multiplicity is the basis of paradox, the infinite depth of the original abyssal contradiction: self-interpretation; yet a paradox, The reproduction of the structure of the singular multiple establish the boundaries between epistemes at the same time it stages questions, disarms and dissolves boundaries in the same, contradictory movement--and this movement is the evolution of reason.