2 Difficulties: Audientiality and Vococity

When I write, I have a temptation to destroy myself. What do I mean? When I initially sought to write the former sentence, my inclination was to write as follows: “When one writes for others, they can too easily develop a temptation to destroy themselves.” Doesn’t the use of the first person do something to that sentence? I believe it does. What is it? Only what the French philosopher Louis Althusser called “interpellation,” or drawing-you-in [1]. And when I refer to myself expressly through my own pronouns (I, me, my, mine), don’t I draw you in more than I do when I write using abstract banalities like “one” and “they”?

I can’t say how exactly I developed this tendency to self-immolation. I believe it has to do with the quantity of writing I produced over the past few years in undergrad and in my master’s degree, but I can’t be certain. What we we’re long ago taught in high-school – avoid the first person at all costs! – here returns in a most hateful garb. Here, I was only able to speak of myself as a methodologic (think: “critic” as “one who critiques”, but instead “methodologic” as “one who practices a methodology”). (Here again was the temptation! I thought first to say: “Here, one was…”). Such nebulousness comes from this! Instead of I myself speaking from the first person, instead everything comes to me in this rarefied garb between a pretentious objectivity and an obvious subjectivity. If I say “one says,” surely I mean that I say it, but I am hesitant to lay claim to it for fear of the obvious problem – who am I that you should care?

But this is strange. The audience for whom I have been writing for the past 5 years was almost entirely an academic audience. With Weber in “Science as a Vocation,” [2] the academic wants everywhere to destroy himself. Cutting away slivers of truth, he wants everywhere that his cuts be everyone’s – thus every academic is at infinite pains to “justify” their work and, above all, its “generalizability.” There is something life-denying about this in Nietzsche’s sense. Indeed, Nietzsche long ago saw this and called it what it was – the so-called “objective man” who squabbles over petty truth-claims while he himself languages in personal obscurity [3, Ch. 6].

The impulse to destroy oneself (God! there it is again!) in – no, my impulse to destroy myself – in my writing is a crystallization of this horrid trait. It is depersonalization in the most concrete sense. But this is only because of the audience for whom I was in the past writing. That audience demanded of me my self-destruction. I habituated this not only as a theoretical attitude but as a practical habit. And in this habit I practiced a normative injunction – “Do not write of yourself! Write of the objective tendency only!” How horrible this is to me! How life-denying, how spasmodically putrid! Ideas, instead of being unified in my concrete apperception, are instead organized in some sham pretention to the absolute which never finally coheres [4]. Yuck!

I call this phenomenon audientiality. It is the internalization of the audience for whom one is writing as both a practical habit and a normative injunction. When I address myself to you, dear reader, as a being free and equal to myself, I don’t require flat academic language. I can speak freely of my experiences, since we are together here in the instance of your reading my writing. I could never say this of my academic audience, since the we-relation [5] present here is a subjective fact, and not an objective one. Namely, I can speak “subjectively” with my pronouns and yet write something factual for you because we experience that relevance together. The academics will have nothing of this!

I call this a difficulty because of its unconsciousness. Writing for an audience whose members you respect not as academics but as free and equal beings implies, for me, a kind of regression. I already wrote this way as a highschooler. Only having come out of the meat-grinder of academia, has my mind been processed otherwise. I must forget this! I must remember to write for an audience of equals, not academic scrutinizers!

I call this practice of writing vococity. This is the self-consciousness of one’s writing-for-an-audience. Audientiality is the unconscious precondition for vococity. Where the former is an always-already in-motion practice of writing-for-an-audience, the latter is the realization that one was in fact doing so. Of course, one is always only writing for the audience they imagine. So, to write for one audience and not another is only to write for one phantasm whose impressions on the mind are more vivid than another. All of this is, in a way, nothing but a dream made concrete. But then this, I hypothesize, is why mental illness and writing are so often concomitant – Nietzsche, Plath, Woolf, Hemingway, etc. There is so much phantasmagoric about it, so much imagined. What one calls their own self-consciousness is only another phantasm. One cannot be too heavy-handed with the declaration.


[1] L. Althusser, “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” p. 38.

[2] M. Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in sociology, Nachdr. d. Ausg. 1958. New York: Oxford Univ. Pr, 1981.

[3] F. W. Nietzsche, R. J. Hollingdale, and M. Tanner, Beyond good and evil: prelude to a philosophy of the future. 2014.

[4] I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, [Private library ed. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 1955.

[5] R. R. Cox, “Schutz’s Theory of Relevance and the We-relation,” 2023.

The Underdog’s Dying Breath

For a brief moment in the history of consciousness, the underdog could fight for a better future. Before this moment, kings bore the divine right to rule over their peons, and lords retained the quasi-divine right to maintain their landholdings. In this moment, man made his own destiny (but never exactly as he pleased). After this moment, politicians bore the realist right to rule over their populations, and shareholders bore the market right to rule over employees. What was before a crystalline lattice-work of interlocking religious ritual, tradition, and culture was for a brief moment exploded, only to be immediately replaced with a steel shell built in bricks of market ritual, behavioral control, and social “science.” How fortunate man has been!

What AI can never replace

Artificial intelligence can never be you now reading, nor you later working, nor you tomorrow waking. No matter what it might replace, it cannot replace the factuality of your existence across time, nor your experiences – past, present, and future – in that time. These moments have already passed, and AI was not you in those moments, so it never can be them. Suppose that you are already an AI – you are simulated. Even in this case, you in your youness exist as no one but yourself. To deny this fact would amount to a mental suicide, from which a physical one would follow. Thus, your replacement is not merely unlikely – it is absolutely impossible. Call this the “hard limit of AI.”

Though this is obvious, it raises this question: what does our temporal irreplaceability mean? This is an entirely political question, to which Marx and Maritain respond: “We have been the truth of our artifice all along.”

Openness to Experience

📍 Openness to Experience∶ a complete kenosis, emptying oneself of all possible thought. As Orlando in Woolf’s text ceases thinking about the manifold movements of time and stands before the precipice of all futurity, so must consciousness stand towards the future at the precipice of the present. This openness empties the mind of all presuppositions, all expectations, all “musts.” There is before us only “this.” 

Aesthetic Limitations

📍 Aesthetic limitation – the fact that human experience concretized as a material item enters into another’s experience only as that item. Hereby, another is felt only as aestheticized, their humanity reduced to a spectacle. We live not with them, but by them. They are our bread and wine – we consume their living sacrifice.

Immediate upshot: all immediate statements of others always at first depend on their aesthetic appearance. Thus some say that to “make a good first impression,” one must “look one’s best.”

Mediate upshot: no one ever presents themselves as they intend, since intention is not aesthetic. Nor, moreover, can it be. One might create an aesthetic presentation through their intentions, but these will always be locked away behind a visible veneer. This is an problem of the human experience a priori.

Reality, considered from a first person point of view

Reality considered from a first point of view: the difference between (1) that which I think another thinks and (2) what I think, which subsumes and accounts for what the other thinks as incorrect. This is hypothetical, proved only where I and the other both face a situation, and wherein what I think better accounts for the situation than what the other thinks. There is no “reality,” no “actuality,” but this. Or, in sum: reality is always only what has not yet been proven unreal.

Hypocrisy-Vultures: an Idea

📍 Hypocrisy-vulture: someone who trades in others’ failures, thereby reducing all possibility to a mere show of ironic inconsistency. The only consistency, for the vulture, is the innards that can be picked apart by the loser who’s failed to submit to their view of common sense. These vultures gobble such failures up and shit them out, relishing in the excretory excitement of death, profiting thereby.

Anyone who practices the above ought to rightfully be called as such. Theirs is a repeatable pattern of behavior, a determinate character type. With their pattern disarmed as something iterative, it bares no unique content. Rather, it is just another tactic of public discourse and can be disregarded and ignored on such grounds.

A Note on the Idea of Semiotics as a Way of Life

If “semiotics” or “the reading of signs” could be a method of living, it would have to at once be a method of thought, action, and self-accruing history (or the dialectic of thought and action over time). The semiotician of life should be thus able to say the following in polysemy, or in a multivocal signification:

  1. reading any life-semiotic analysis should directly inform – it should adequately describe reality conceived of as signs
  2. reading (ibid.) should directly enable some kind of action
  3. that action should itself be conceivable as a sign, as should its vector relation to the signs against which it reacted