TREVOR OWEN JONES’ THE NON-LIBRARY (2): Estranging The Cavern or Renewal vs Withdrawal

The Library is illusion, containing totality and difference as each implying the other, in an amphiboly with no outside:

What the Library sustains has always been illusion, but in this illusion it has found its material basis in treating information and knowledge in amphiboly (5).

The Non-Library is not the negation of the Library, but its suspension into newness. The Outside to such an amphibolous object which seems to include its own opposite as part of its very constitution is not elsewhere or elsewhen (in a quantitative difference of location), nor even elsewise (in a qualitative difference of manner). As we have already said the Non-Library is Erewhon, or nowhere as “now-here”:

the Non-Library is, in fact, the New Library. The Non-Library is where known things are never learned and is here, now (2).

Deeper than any opposition or antagonism, Trevor Owen Jones invokes an agon of the Library with this other version of itself, which includes both light AND shadow. Going outdoors into the Light, leaving the Library for its constituted Other, is the futile Platonic gesture of leaving the Cavern for Transcendence, i.e. for a larger Cavern promoting the illusion of its outsideness. Better to admit that the Outside is immanent, in agonic, rather than peaceful, coexistence with the inside.

Some have called this inside “correlationist”, but as Katerina Kolozova has shown, this concept too hides an agon. Intrathetic correlation (as for example Meillassoux uses the term) relates to an illusory Outside, epistemologically and/or ontologically constituted by the discourse of the University, wherever it may be found. Extrathetic correlation (such as we find for example in Laruelle) refers not to an elsewhere, but to a now-here othered and estranged. Intrathetic correlation is associated with a doctrine of abstraction and withdrawal, whereas extrathetic correlation primes abundance and renewal.

Strictly speaking the doctrine of strong withdrawal makes invention impossible, impedes radical newness, and pursued logically leads to the denial of all relationality, and thus of time itself. Renewal is tied to the abundance of the Real and to our resistance to the monist Icon of the Count-as-One:

To resist this Icon is less of an effort of withdrawal, but is rather an effort of renewal; this renewal itself is less revelation or salvation and is instead invention, artifice, and poesis (49).

Resistance is not withdrawal and critique, but the effort of plurality and renewal. The illusory move out of the Cavern sometimes takes the form of transgression, but even this term hides an agon. Deleuze and Foucault have shown how transgression to can be intrathetic, posing a rule or norm at the moment of espousing its other. Such is the so-called “Oedipus” complex, which has nothing to do with Oedipus and everything to do with Freud’s own incestuous longings and obsessions. This whole thematics maintains and elaborates a set of binary oppositions established on the subordination of difference to homogeneity. Resistance comes first, according to Foucault and Deleuze. One must begin with heterogeneity, and not try to attain it by starting from homogeneity and merely negating it.


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