Nervous System — Mick Taussig (1992)

Why the Nervous System?

  • I admit to falling foul of the whirlygigging of the Nervous System, first nervous, then a system; first system, then nervous—nerve center and hierarchy of control, escalating to the topmost echelon, the very nerve-center, we might say, as high as the soul is deep, of the individual self.
  • And whenever I try to resolve this nervousness through a little ritual or a little science I realize this can make the NS even more nervous. Might not the whole point of the NS be it’s always being a jump ahead, tempting us through its very nervousness towards the tranquil pastures of its fictive harmony, the glories of its system, thereby all the more securely energizing its nervousness?
  • Objects taking on human forms. 
  • “Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat,” Georg Lukacs
  • Of Benjamin… “The tradition of the oppressed,” he wrote at the end of the 1930s, “teaches us that the ‘state of emergency* in which we live is not the exception but the rule.”
  • It calls for an understanding of the representation as contiguous with that being represented and not as suspended above and distant from the represented— what Adorno referred to as Hegel’s programmatic idea—that knowing is giving oneself over to a phenomenon rather than thinking about it from above. And it calls for a mode of writing no less systematically nervous than the NS itself—of which, of course, it cannot but be the latest extension, the penultimate version, the one permanently before the last.
    • Similar to the Serres Keynote — Philosophy After Nature conclusion — the contiguity of the represented and the thing:  “Being able to reflect them, any object can become the subject of other objects. Verne’s cave even shows the vision of the universe has of itself… They discover the bottom of a cornucopia, rich and saturated with material and informational plenitude that, represents both the world as it is and the joyful splendor of thinking. I do not see any difference anymore between reality and representation, since the latter is part of the former.” 
    • “…like anything in the world, like everything that lives, I am a diamond, made of hard canon that is at times pure, transparent or granular, reflecting a thousand times over the thousand and one hues of the rainbow, shining out of the multiple things of the world and of the thousands of people and living things I ever met.”

Tactility and Distraction – Chapter 8

  • O

Taussig – Cabinet Magazine Interview

How much of the magic of the state is manipulation by state operators, and how much is projection from the people onto those operators and operations—a popular participation?

It’s a circle.

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