Saturday, April 28, 2012

Number Eighty-Four

Wir wurden geschaffen, um im Paradies zu leben, das Paradies war bestimmt, uns zu dienen. Unsere Bestimmung ist geändert worden; daß dies auch mit der Bestimmung des Paradieses geschehen wäre, wird nicht gesagt.

We were created in order to live in Paradise, and Paradise was ordained to serve us. What was ordained for us has been changed; it is not said that this has also happened with what was ordained for Paradise. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

We were created to live in Paradise, and Paradise was designed to serve us. Our designation has been changed; we are not told whether this has happened to Paradise as well. [Hofmann]


So Paradise may no longer be suited to us, putting us in the position of striving for what would not serve us any longer. Does this mean that we must restore ourselves through striving to what we once were, or that we have to wait for a re-ordination of Paradise, or re-ordinate it ourselves? We must not take the destination for granted.

This reminds me of Klossowski's idea of the phantasm. Like a mirage, the phantasm is a destination, understood in a general way to mean the object of any desire, that we pursue, but which we never reach. This is not because the universe likes teasing us, but because we can't know the object of desire until we get it. Supposing we get it, now we have something that we can compare with our prior idea of it, and usually we find that the two are very different. Actually, the term "phantasm" is a typically pessimistic and sullen misnomer, since we do find something real at the end of our search; if we are inclined to call it a phantasm or otherwise dismiss it, that's only because we're disappointed it didn't turn out more like what we expected. It's wrong to think that there is nothing there, when what we mean is that there's nothing there that concerns us.

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