Comic-book Gratitude

Charles Spinosa responds to my previous post here. As usual it is very thought-provoking, and here is my response: Charles
thanks for your prompt comment. I think my formulations have inadvertently been open to misunderstanding. I did not wish to say that Jules had a hallucination of God physically descending from heaven when I said that his words expressed a « false perception ». By « perception » I did not mean purely sensory perception, but the wider notion where perception, affect, and cognition are mixed inextricably in our awareness and understanding of the situations we are in. I would however maintain that he exhibits affective alienation and and cognitive dysfunction. His comic-book simplified, exaggerated, and caricatural stereotypes shape and perfuse not just his understanding of the situation, but also his affective reaction. His « gratitude » is perfused by his literal-minded theism, and is thus bogus.
I’m surprised to see you oppose, as if they were incompatible, comic-book and ontotheological interpretations. « Ontotheological », it seems to me, characterizes a type of understanding of being, and not just an explicit philosophical position. Ontotheology is and has been an overriding influence (I would like to say « perfluence ») in favour of literalist (and fundamentalist!) interpretations and enunciations, such as those of Jules. This is a case not of moral luck, as occurred in the Wesley Autrey example, but of ontotheological luck – even the experience of luck is perceived in a theistic way of understanding.
So of course it’s a false perception, as we both know that God does not exist and there is no divine intervention, or why are we talking to each other? Vincent’s phrase « this shit happens » has, in my opinion, been given short shrift (short philosophical shrift) by Sean and Bert. It need not be an expression of nihilist apathy, the postmodern ingrate zombie syndrome (« Vincent is an ingrate », they seem to be saying). It could be Lucretian and Mallarmean, and I think that gratitude to the throw of the dice (or to the « flip of a fair coin ») is a possible, and desirable, mood. You talk of  « a kind of endlessly reverberating irony », which is a beautiful expression, but sometimes I like to use Deleuze’s distinction between irony and humour. Irony is ontotheological (of course, as you know, Deleuze does not use this term, as he has no truck with Heidegger, finding him too turgid and pious), whereas humour is atheological, as no foundation or last level is posed. So a good question would be: is Tarantino being ironic or humoristic here?
I like your perception of incommensurability that does not shatter the dialogue, when you say at the beginning and also at the end of your comment that you and I are doing something different from  what Sean and Bert are doing. I too think that incommensurability exists but that it is porous, and is not what rules out any dialogue, but potentially, and sometimes actually,  what makes it interesting. Unfortunately, Bert and Sean set up a (typological) opposition between Jules and Vincent, and come down firmly in favour of Jules and his comic-book gratitude (thank you for giving me a more pop synonym for « ontotheological »). You say (but you are a formidable rhetor) that D&K set up « thought experiment in which Jules’ and Vincent’s views are supposed to be precisely equally justifiable by the evidence available. » But D&K say: « Our claim is that gratitude is the more fitting response. » And unlike you they do not seek to perceive incommensurabilities here, but fall into monistic commensuration: « Whether that gratitude is directed toward Athena, Jesus, Vishnu, or nobody at all is almost irrelevant ». (Please don’t try to make something of the reflex « almost ». The whole style of ATS is one of qualification and attenuation, which are themselves consensus-building, monist, tools). My whole response to ATS is one of enthusiasm for the pluralist and incommensurabilist aspects, and disappointment at the monist  and commensurabilist residues. I always liked Bert’s translation of « Das Man » as « The One », precisely because of the connotations of pluralist resistance to the hegemony of the One. So I guess I have to disagree with your « empty victory » thesis as well.

Cet article a été publié dans Dialogue with Spinosa. Ajoutez ce permalien à vos favoris.

Votre commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Google

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Google. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Connexion à %s