the four heroes of idiotic theory


Developing critical theory "as might an idiot" engages study methods that are not normally used and hardly ever combined. In short, the idiot is, as the word idiot suggests, on his/her own. The "his/her" is important because, as an idiot, the critical theorist adopts, per necessitas, a "trans" sexuality (≠ transgender, but the same idea). This has been done before, by Vico in his New Science and, more famously, James Joyce in Finnegans Wake, works that take full responsibility for their "polymorphous perversity," genderizing or rather sexualizing every little thing through acts of negation of negation. Vico leads the way in showing how the certum (the framed evidence of divination and epiphany) must involve the accident that is the left-side of automaton in order that the right-side of automation can create form where before there was the formless (zairja). Two other sources fund this perversity, Harold Bloom's six-term system of critical resistance and Henry Johnstone's categories of travel, oxygen and fuel to the fire of idiocy/perversity just as anamorphosis must replace the usual contrast of theory and practice and publically bounded space-times — using the evidence of ethnography/philology — must explain the clinical topologies of private subjectivity.

giambattista vico

Vico founded the original "idiot's guide to critical theory" by constituting his major work, The New Science (also translatable as "the science of nine"), as a "trans" project centered around the two aspects of Diana, one topologically governed by the logic of the dream (Semele), the other as a territorial matter of rule and exception (Diana-Actæon). No critic of Vico has noticed this, amazingly, yet Vico's 20-year labor of discovering the (metonymical) role of the imagination in constructing the first human mythic-phenomenal world anticipated Lacan's project of distinguishing a second form of jouissance, a "pre- and post-sexual" imagination able to traverse the fantasies constructed to shield the Symbolic from the Real. Returning Vico to his ground is akin to Lacan's project of restoring Freud by recognizing the role of error. Divination becomes epiphany, epiphany becomes a theoretical methodology. Study guide included.

harold bloom

Bloom does not recognize that his system is a system. By forming three pairs from the six terms, a new aspect of trans-sexuality is revealed: (1) Demon-askesis maps a positive-negative advance and retreat for a "masculinized" Eros to haunt (metaleptically) a "feminized" sanctuary. (Henri LeFebvre has botched his chance to see this by converting his genderized spaces into a binary signifier.) (2) Tesseræ-clinamen foretell the roll of falling (cf. Žižek's "recoil" as zu Grund gehen) and gravity to blood and earth — i.e. la patria — while Plato's forms are (de)sexualized in the myths of Timaeus. (3) Kenosis, knowing without knowing, and apophrades, the voice/return of the dead, bridge to essential key sources in ehtnography that show shamanism to be at the root of emergence/organicism.

james joyce

Joyce's major and final work, Finnegans Wake, serves as a topological antipode to his "geographical" Ulysses. Here, at the level of syllables and letters (litterals), Joyce proved Mladen Dolar's point about the acousmatic voice — that it eludes the analysis of linguists. This converts the theoretical masculine into a practical feminine, Anna Livia Plurabelle: the idea that the drives all have their ethnographic/philological laboratories, if only we can find them in our cultural histories. The shit of boundaries, the milk of liquid flows, the portable phallus of appearance and disappearance (hence, Merleau-Ponty's "flesh of the world") animate a super-symmetry of hyper-cathected space-times, "trans" in their ability to re-sexuate at the same time they de-sexuate jouissance. This is the science of the Lacanian lamella, that which is neither masculine nor feminine, dead or alive, here or there — i.e. Real.

henry johnstone, jr

Odysseus is the birth of subjectivity, in its full modern complexity. Like Bloom's triplet of binaries, Johnstone provides binary pairs (four instead of three) organized to reveal, within each pair, the role of occultation within enunciation and discourse theory: (1) home-away constitutes the efficient cause of travel, occulting home as the signifier that continues to radiate throughout the travel experience. (2) home-away is localized as the efficient cause of motion, a binary of control and curiosity, giving way to a final cause of accumulation that occults suffering, giving way in turn to a formal cause of reflection that sublates the materiality of saturation. Johnstone's original essay, "Odysseus as Traveler: A Categorial Study," is reprinted here.