A reply to Steve Buttes on infrapolitics. (Gerardo Muñoz)

Chillida 1970

Steve Buttes’ “Some questions for infrapolitics” is an intelligent and generous effort that engages with several key problems at the heart of the ongoing collective project of ‘Infrapolitical Deconstruction’. Although, it begs to say that Moreiras’ works – from the early Interpretación y Diferencia (1991) to Línea de sombra (2006), have been central to thinking de-narrativization and the critique of metaphoricity, bringing these problems into new light from different registers (the literary, the cultural, and the political), I think it would be incorrect to frame the particular project of infrapolitics as a culmination of Moreiras’ own thought and itinerary. In this light, what I find of importance in Buttes’ intervention is the fact that he does not just hinge on a particular problem, but is able to juggle and render visible a series of common elements of the project that merge with his own research (1).

Indeed, it was unfortunate to have missed Prof. Buttes at the last formal meeting during the Harvard ACLA 2016 conference, but we could only hope that there will be another timely encounter for discussion. For what it is worth, I want to lay down a few commentaries on some issues raised by Buttes. My aim is not to correct or even less defend a programmatic way of infrapolitics, but perhaps to think about his recent inquiry as parallel with some of the problems that have been pertinent to my own intellectual reflection over the last two or so years. I hope this will serve as a reparatory outline for future discussions to come.

In a precise moment of his commentary, Buttes writes: “That which escapes regulation, visibilization through the metaphors chosen to organize the world—the unthought thought, that which “what was never [on the] radar” (“Some comments”), freedoms that remain beyond writing (Williams, The Mexican Exception), the unfinished manuscript (Cometa, “Non-finito”), averroist intellect (Muñoz “Esse extraneum”) and so on—always remains invisible, and as a consequence always emerges as something that looks like the thing it is: real life beyond calculation, beyond visibilization, beyond metaphoric capture. In other words, it is the image, as Dove has called it. This image, of course, is characterized by its invisibility, by its ability to be sensed but not seen, experienced but not known, used but not valued”.

I am entirely in disagreement that infrapolitics could be thought as invisibility in opposition to visibility, since that opposition itself remains caught in calculation that renders the operation of unconcealment and the existential analytic obsolete. The very idea of the averroist intellectual has nothing to do specifically with the image as such, but with metaxy (or metaxu as rendered by Weil’s anti-personalist Platonism). This is why life as pure means constitutes itself impersonally from the outside. Hence, to reduce the question of the image to a division of the senses (sight) or to the disciplinary arrangement made possible by modern art historical discourse (Fried et al) is interesting, but not relevant, at least not for averroism. It is true, however, that averroism is crucial for infrapolitics. To some extent averroism, like the existential analytic or marranismo, is an important referent for infrapolitical existence and posthegemonic democracy.

א In her important research on the saturated image, Camila Moreiras Vilaros has emphasized the transformative nature of images from a regime of the society of control to one of saturation and exposure. If the first still has a mode of coercion over bodies and subjects, the second one is hyperbolically without subject, substance, and extension. Exposure coincides fully with the image of the world in positionality. In this sense, infrapolitics fundamentally thinks not the invisible, but the invisible as already fully visible. To be marrano in the open means to dwell in the event of total exposure.

Weil, Esposito, Coccia, Agamben, or Moreiras are thinkers of this outside as metaxy, although do not particularly wish to install an “invisible iconology”, or “an icon of potentiality over actuality”. I am convinced that the question of iconology features centrally in Prof. Buttes’ research, but from my own understanding, infrapolitics cannot be separated from an actuality granted by a form of life or the second division of existence that renders inoperative the very distinction of actuality and potentiality. In fact, in recent months some of us have understood the importance of undertaking Heidegger’s influential seminar Aristotle Metaphysics 1-3: the actuality over force, as to cautiously rethink the difficulty of the Aristotelian category (actuality) that is at stake here. In terms of the icon, in my own research project I have thought of another relation with pictorial space that is not possessed by iconicity, which allows possible oikonomical arrangement and sacrament institution [2]. I would say that, indeed, landscape is important for infrapolitics, but far from rendering a dichotomy between the visible and the invisible, the expropriated and the appropriated, it seeks to think distance and dwelling.

א It was something like this that was at stake for Heidegger in one of his rare essays written as a general reflection on art, but specifically meant as a commentary on a Spanish sculptor that he very much admired: Eduardo Chillida. In Die Kunst und der Raum (1969), Heidegger writes: “Solange wir das Eigentümliche des Raumes nicht erfahren, bleibt auch die Rede von einem kunst-lyrischen raum dunkel. Die weise, wie der Raum das Kunstwerk durchwaltet, hangt vorerst im Un-bestimmten.” Before the pictorial space there is the question of space. How to account for the peculiarity of space? That was Heidegger’s question, since spacing meant to ‘erbringt’ (don) freedom and the life (wohnen) for da-sein.

The word “value” appears in different ways about seven or eight times in Buttes’ piece. I am not sure I can take up the different ways in which it appears, at times in opposition to use. However, it is clear that infrapolitics does not seek to value any ontic or ontological position, since it departs necessarily from a critique of the principle of general equivalence as the contemporary determination of nihilism (an argument made forcefully, I think, by Moreiras, Villalobos-Ruminott, & J. L. Nancy). Thus, it is inconsistent with infrapolitics to argue that “infrapolitics, creates […] a fetish—“a form of thinking the political that fetishizes the undoing of power as a value in itself”. Undoing power arrives at the non-subject or post-hegemony as democratic condition for social existence. But how is this “value” or instrumentalized for “value itself”? In some cases, Buttes seems to take value for ‘preference’. Infrapolitics does not make that decision for preference’s sake, but for understanding the non-correspondence between life and politics in thought.

א The question of value tied to the problem of ‘poverty’ and ‘exploitation’ is a register that infrapolitics does not take for granted. However, I am convinced that the pursuit of a new jargon of exploitation today is always in detriment of the possibility of understanding the existence of man otherwise. It is a very strange turn that some today on the Left– take Daniel Zamora, who fundamentally misinterprets Foucault’s work – keep insisting on the question about the necessity to reintroduce proletarian identity as determinate subject against diversity. It makes no sense to do this in a time like ours, where work and labor have completely disappeared. I prefer to discuss inclusive consumption (Valeriano) and uneven pattern of accumulation (Williams), not labor and exploitation.

In one of his footnotes, Buttes claims that “infrapolitics spans writers from Javier Marías, to Borges, to Lezama Lima to Cormac McCarthy to, as I note below, Ben Lener, and also, plausibly, Sergio Chejfec or Alberto Fuguet, then infrapolitics is the canon, it is the archive itself”. It is a surprising remark, but I understand that I might not fully understand its implications. Does it entail that infrapolitics is an archive of a particular style, or that it coincides merely with a work-for-the-archive? I agree with Moreiras that infrapolitics is a type of relation with the archive, and in fact, at the moment the collective is currently thinking through the archive in relation to the general historiography of the imperial Hispanist tradition [3]. Does this mean that infrapolitics is merely a relation with Hispanism and the Spanish letters? I am not convinced. I do think that there is intricate relation between writing and infrapolitics, but it could be extended and explored in other forms of art (painting, music, cinema, or even dance). Most of us work on writers such as Roa Bastos or Raul Ruiz, Lezama Lima or Oscar Martinez, Juan Rulfo or Roberto Bolaño; but these proper names are far from constituting an infrapolitical archive. There can never be an archival infrapolitics.

א In a recent intervention on the subject of infrapolitics, Michele Cometa suggested that infrapolitics was indeed the place to use literature as a thing for thought [4]. The modern invention of university disciplines and faculties, archives and practices such as “literary criticism” is a perversion of an an-archic space of unity where there is no differentiation between literature and thought, the image and life. One has to break away from the modernist fantasy that there is a ‘proper location’ for an object of studies. There are only relations of force constituted by tradition. This is why Dante at the dawn of Modernity, and later Leopardi during the bourgeoisie revolution, could see themselves as poets, thinkers, political theorists, and lovers. There was no separation.





*Image: Eduardo Chillida, drawing, 1970.

1. Buttes, Steve. “Some questions for infrapolitics”. https://infrapolitica.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/some-questions-for-infrapolitics-by-stephen-buttes/

2. Mondzain’s research is fundamental here, since her work on early Byzantine Church’s articulation of hegemony is intimately tied to the operation of iconology. See, Image, Icon, Economy: The Byzantine Origins of the Contemporary Imaginary. Stanford University Press, 2004.

3. Alberto Moreiras. “A response to Steve Buttes”. https://infrapolitica.wordpress.com/2016/04/11/a-response-to-steve-buttes-by-alberto-moreiras/

4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6ddjE_sL5w

Esse extraneum: on Emanuele Coccia’s Sensible life: a micro-ontology of the image. (Gerardo Muñoz)

coccia sensible lifeLa vita sensibile (2011) is Emanuele Coccia’s first book to be translated into English. Rendered as Sensible Life: a micro-ontology of the image (Fordham U Press, 2016), it comes with an insightful prologue by Kevin Attell, and it belongs to the excellent “Commonalities” series edited by Timothy Campbell. We hope that this is not the last of the translations of what already is Coccia’s prominent production that includes, although it is not limited to La trasparenza delle immagini: Averroè e l’averroismo (Mondadori, 2005), Angeli: ebraismo, cristianesitimo, Islam (co-ed with G. Agamben, 2011), and most recently Il bene nelle cose: la pubblicità come discorso morale (2014). One should take note that in Latin America – particularly in Chile and Argentina – Coccia’s books have been translated for quite a while, and have been part of a lively debate on contemporary thought. We hope that a similar fate is destined in the United States. For some of some of us working within the confines of the Latinamericanist reflection, an encounter with Coccia has grown out of our continuous exchange with friends like Rodrigo Karmy, Gonzalo Diaz Letelier, and Manuel Moyano. It would be superfluous to say that Coccia’s work is nested in the so called contemporary ‘Italian Philosophy’ (pensiero vivente, in Roberto Esposito’s jargon), although one would be committing a certain violence to reduce it to another ‘theory wave’ so rapidly instrumentalized in the so called ‘critical management’ within the North American university.

Coccia’s tropology (not entirely a set of fixed “categories” or “concepts” for a philosophical program), such as imagination, the sensible, and the averroist intellect are signatory relays for a potential history of thought against the grain of grand conventional histories and historiographies of Western philosophy, or even more so, against the reaffirmation of a principle of philosophy of history in the wake of nihilism and biopolitics. It is most certainty true that Coccia’s investigations share a horizon that we can call the “form of life” – some of us also call it “infrapolitical existence”, which for Coccia himself has translated as the vita sensibile – although both his approach and condensation of thought always presuppose an efficient interrogation of the singular indifferent to “influences” or “schools of thought” (even when Coccia moves deep into scholastic and medieval philosophy). Perhaps no less important of a metacritical index is the unreserved service for a reconsideration of the philosophical tradition – and more importantly, the transmission and disposition of a thinking that remains unwritten – beyond the history of metaphysics and political theology.

Sensible Life is not a book about the ontology of the image in the pictorial or phenomenological sense, but an investigation into the metaxy of existence and being in the world. As Coccia argues early on in the book, ‘the sensible life is a world given to us, and only as sensible life are we in the world’ (2). Against biopolitical or vitalist (neo-positivist) remnants of understanding as fated in the subject (or the persona), Coccia prepares the ground for a physics of the sensible that affects, without really transforming, the human as subject, although it does seek to exhaust itself in subjectivity. Coccia argues, as if implicitly taking up Simone Weil’s suggestion, that the form of sensation is always a modal relation with the outside, an improper distance (metaxu) of the ‘in between’, necessary for any schematization of concrete existence [1]. Hence, perception or sensing is only possible because there is metaxy, and not because there is a subject as the producer and commander of capacities and substances. Against distributive ontologies that design complex arrangement and division of ‘life’, Coccia’s sensibly maps out a region that has always already been there, and that turns to another relation with ontology and language.

In a large part, Sensible Life is vastly informed by his prior study on Averroes and the averroist tradition Averroè e l’averroismo (Mondadori, 2005), where Coccia studied the ways in which conventional Christian history of philosophy convicted the twelve century Iberian philosopher for the madness of positing a common and universal unity of the intellect. What Coccia thematizes in that study, but also in Sensible life with greater speculative freedom, is the extent to which reason depends on the potentiality of the intellect understood as the capacity for imagination. What is common and at the same time ‘improper’ to all beings is the potentiality of imagination that remains outside of life, never constituting a principle of sufficient reason nor the ground for dogmatic belief. The ‘scandal of averroism’, as Rodrigo Karmy has called it, was followed by the Scholastic ban on teaching averroism and removing averroists from the university. It is no surprise that this coincided with the development of the category of the person as a secondary reserve of Christian political theology and Roman Catholic ratio [2].

This is what lays bare in Coccia’s explicit condemnation of the Cartesian cogito, and his affirmation of the sensible as a de-metaphorized image without proper location, since it only dwells ‘where one no longer lives and where one no longer thinks’ (17). This impersonal drift of the sensible is what allows for an extreme de-localization in multiplicity of reproduction of images that serve to dislocate the very inside and outside of the constitution of the subject, but also of any constitution of life itself (31-32). Indeed, the first part of the book is said to write a physics of the impersonal and immaterial ‘third space’ (sic) – what in Aristotle’s vocabulary is the relation with the ‘externals’ [tōn exōthen], and in medieval scholasticism is the esse extraneum – that like marrano existence, it dwells on a dual exteriority. In a key moment of the development of Sensible life, Coccia writes:

“How, then, can we define an image? In his work on perspective John Peckham held that an image is “merely the appearance of an object outside its place (extra locum suum) because the being appears not only in its own place but also outside its own place”…Our image is nothing but the existence of our form beyond what makes up, the substance that permits this form to exist in an entirely extraneous matter to that in which one exists and mixes with. Every form is born from this separation of the form of a thing from the place of its existence: where the form is out of place, an image will have a place [ha luogo]. […] Thus, an image is defined by a dual exteriority: the exteriority from bodies and the exteriority from souls – because images exist prior to meeting the eye of the subject who observes a mirror” (19).

The reproductive machine of the sensible image does not ground itself unto the subject or the purely sensorial; a movement which would have produced yet another schism between mind and body, senses and reason, the visible and the invisible. Against the categorial arrangement of the persona (and its attributes, genus, and divisions), Coccia pushes forth a general theory of productions of forms that could account for the natural life of images (31). What is really at stake here is a medial process (provided by the medieval intentio) of multiplicity beyond being and substance, property and the proper of ontological assertion. Instead, Coccia affirms a cosmological understanding of the One. In fact, one could stress this a little bit further and argue that the averroist potential intellect is a singularization of the henological neo-platonic substance into one of pure externality beyond metaphysical structuration. But the question of henology and the overcoming of metaphysics is one that we cannot raise in the space of this commentary.

For Coccia the medial extension of the image (and the imagination) leads to a metaxy of coming together (simpatizzano, which is Italian ‘third person’ indicative for sharing, is the word he choses) that conspire to form a sort of clinamen effect of singularities. Not long ago Fabián Ludueña thematized this negative community in his important La comunidad de los espectros (Miño & Dávila, 2010) as a ghostly disfiguration that, vis-à-vis the nature of mediality, enters into relation with what is always unhomely and foreign (extraneum). That is the only possible form of the communitas in the sensible life.

The second part of the book made up of seventeen scholion unveil the way in which the sensible immaterial metaxy also provide for the man’s body that accounts for a mundane relation that exceeds and subceeds the psychological and the culturalist materialisms. By reassessing vita activa and mediality, dreams and the ‘intra-body’ (Ortega y Gasset), clothing and cosmetics, Coccia situates the sensible incarnation on the very surface of the body as momentary dwelling (52). As a general anthropology of the sensible, Coccia recoils back to the ‘subject’ and even ‘identity’, but only insofar as one recognizes in this an intention that he calls an ‘ontological indifference’ that allows for an outside projection of an “infra- or hypersychic consistency – a consistency that is almost hyperobjective. Here, “the intentional sphere does not coincide with the sphere of the mind even it includes the mind; it is, rather, the state of existence of all forms when they keep themselves beyond objects and on this side of subjects, or vice versa” (55). This “infra-subjective” solicits a concrete intentional relation of dwelling in the world.

Although the space of the political is not elaborated explicitly – and perhaps for Coccia there is no need for embarking on such a task – one could say that this region is consistent with the infrapolitical relation of the non-subject vis-à-vis the ontological difference. In fact, the marrano whose existence is necessarily infrapolitical in nature is consistent with the multiplied imposture that clothes every identity and every oikos an un-homely as being-in-the-world (91). In fact, Coccia is correct in taking this cue to the limit: “only those can make up and disguise themselves can truly say “I” (86). Marrano life is also the life of the outside, a borrowed life. It is in fashion understood as a tropological site of existence, where according to Coccia a style of the multiple is given its proper place, precisely because it lack costumes, essence, or meaning. On the contrary, fashion brings to bear that only modal relations can constitute forms of life (habits). Fashion has freed life to the sensible, through a suspension of all meditation with the metaphor as its end. Indeed, it is style and not metaphorization what provides for the sensible life.

The dwelling of the sensible is also incarnated multiplicity: it is the improper relation between man and animal, between living and dying. The sensible life as pure immersion, as Coccia has argued in another place, is a flow where movement and detention, action and contemplation become inseparable [3]. It comes as no surprise that Sensible life closes with a meditation on images for life and with a general economy of natality. Here perhaps one could raise the question about averroism as philosophical transmission, but also regarding its staging of ‘living with images’. Coccia argues that life is, above all, ‘what can be transmitted, the very being of tradition” (98). But to transmit is to re-enact a style that never took place: it is a becoming of singularity. In this sense, continues Coccia, ‘Life never stops producing and reproducing, and multiplying’. However, can there be ‘inheritance’ or even ‘legacy’ of that which lacks proper place, and that is always alocational? Is not the becoming of the reproduction of the sensible the very end of transmission, the very form of dis-inheritance from any nomic determination?

It is in this aporia where Coccia’s account of the sensible life (perhaps as a flight from the form of life) touches on the question of natality as a central problem for thought, which is fundamentally a question for the history of thinking. This is also the problem that Reiner Schürmann contemplated in his posthumous Des hégémonies brisées (1996) without really unrevealing its major consequences (except in the problem of finitude posed by the tragic denial). Coccia’s invitation is for us to reimagine imagination (la vita sensibile) outside of its proactive and transcendental saturation into a region that co-belongs with thought. To this end, the vita sensible cannot amount to another anthropology, since its taskless work is to render a life that is no longer one for labor and action, but affected by the immanence of what can be imagined.




  1. Simone Weil. “Metaxu”. Grace and Gravity. New York: Rutledge, 1999.
  1. Rodrigo Karmy. “La potencia de Averroes: para una genealogía del pensamiento de lo común en la Modernidad”. Revista Plèyade, N.12, 2013.
  1. Emanuele Coccia. “Speaking Breathing”. New Observation, N.130, 2015.

Das Leben ist ohne warum: una nota sobre Reiner Schürmann (Gerardo Muñoz).

Al comienzo de su libro Le principe d’anarchie: Heidegger et la question de l’agir (1982), Schürmann sugiere que lo fundamental en la filosofía (en la historia de la filosofía, así como en la arquitectónica de cada uno de sus pensadores epocales) no se encuentra en las condiciones enunciadas, sino más bien en eso que nunca aparece dicho, pero que a su vez hace posible la validación axiomática [1]. Este es, si se quiere, el punto de partida de Schürmann para desarrollar – quizás no exhaustivamente –la asociación entre “ser”, “acción”, y “arche” en el pensamiento de la destrucción de la metafísica de Heidegger leído en reverso; es decir, desde su última etapa topológica hacia la analítica existencial.

Lo que está en juego en el trabajo de Schürmann no es – conviene decirlo desde ya – instalar a Heidegger en un programa regido por una nueva economía categorial del presente, ni mucho menos vincularlo al fundamento de la crítica ingenua que busca superar el nihilismo en cuanto a su consumación (léase aquí la tecnología en tanto “ge-stell”). Al contrario, el interés de Schürmann es mostrar cómo la condición práctica, irreducible tanto al pensamiento como acción y a la acción como pensamiento, pudiera dar un giro fuera de todo antropocentrismo a partir del pensamiento atento al ser como tiempo en una posibilidad an-árquica que se abre a partir de lo que me gustaría traducir, via Schürmann, como la “economía de economías” , esto es, la “posibilidad” (Moglichkeit) de una economía an-árquica en el fin de la metafísica occidental [2].

En otras palabras, a partir de una doble operación, la acción en Heidegger está desprovista de arche, ya que la propia condición del pensamiento deconstruye el principio [3]. Esta reducción fenomenológica carece de toda concepción teleocrática, aunque su única potencia (irreducible a mando o comienzo) es la libertad como fin de la forma principial de la dominación. La claridad de Schürmann no prohíbe la aparición de una serie de posicionamientos, claramente centrales e importantes para lo que se ha venido pensando como la “deconstrucción infrapolítica” atenta a la co-pertenencia entre vida, ética, y política. Por esta razón, en lugar de recaer en la imposible tarea de glosar El principio de la anarquía, quiero detenerme en un momento desde el cual, quizás, pudiéramos abrir uno de estos posibles caminos aporéticos en el interior de nuestra reflexión.

Hay uno de estos momentos no dichos en Schürmann que marca el texto de comienzo a fin, y que aparece justo en las primera páginas y se vuelve a retomar hacia el final. Me refiero a un breve apunte de pasada en el cual Schürmann pregunta por el estatuto de la ética en Heidegger, cuya esencia hubiese sido decisiva si partimos que la anarquía de la época a-principial (la entrada a “esa noche del mundo”, en palabras de Hölderlin) habría dado el giro a la consumación épocal de la ge-stell tecnológica. Conviene escuchar a Schürmann sobre este momento aporético:

“…the genealogy of principles will show how this lineage itself was born; how, with a certain radical turn, the Socratic turn, the constellations of presencing began to be dominated by principles;’ how, at last, with another no less radical turning which announces itself in the technological reversal, these constellations can cease to be dominated by principles. But this thought of a possible withering away of the principles is only progressively articulated in Heidegger. It has been clear from the start that the question, “When are you going to write an ethics?” posed to him after the publication of his major work, arouse from a misunderstanding. But it is only in Heidegger’s last writings that the issue of action finds its adequate context: the genealogy of a finite line of epocal principles” [4].

La aporía aquí es llevada a un punto máximo de explicitación: si por una parte en Ser y Tiempo se anuncia una destrucción (Abbau) fenomenológica de la historia de la ontología occidental, el pliegue que se deja caer en tanto forma de acción a-principial deriva consecuentemente hacia la pregunta por una ética en la medida en que se subscriba la tarea de Schürmann de llevar adelante una fenomenología de los principios epocales (puesto que el ser se entreteje con el carácter común presencial de la dichtung). Por otra parte si aceptamos (dice Schürmann) la solicitación de una ética en el pensamiento de Heidegger, la demanda pudiera ser entendida como generativa de elementos transformados en normas o reformulados en categorías prescriptivas o descriptivas. Lo cierto es que el Heidegger de Schürmann no avanza más allá de esta aporía central en cuanto a la radicalización de la pregunta por el Ser (ti to on) en la crisis an-árquica epocal [5]. La pregunta por la ética en el fin de la destrucción de la metafísica por lo tanto queda en suspenso.

Curiosamente quizás esta sea la misma aporía que ha llevado a Giorgio Agamben en su más reciente L’uso dei corpi (Neri Pozza, 2014), volumen que redondea el proyecto teórico-político bajo el nombre de Homo Sacer, a confrontar abiertamente la interpretación de la ontología dual (más adelante explicaremos porqué) reconstruida por Schürmann. Escribe Agamben en la penúltima glosa de “Per una teoria della potenza destituente”:

א “Il termine arche significa in greco tanto «origine» che «comando». A questo doppio significato del termine, corrisponde il fatto che, tanto nella nostra tradizione filosofica che in quella religiosa, I’origine, cioche da inizio epone in essere, no e soltanto un esordio, che scompare e cessa di agire in cio a cui ha dato vita, ma e anche cio che ne comanda e governa la crescita, lo sviluppo, la circolazione e la trasmissione – in una parola, la storia. In un libro importante, II principio d’anarchia (1982), Reiner Schürmann ha cercato di decostruire, a partire da un’interpretazione del pensiero di Heidegger, questo dispositivo. Egli distingue costi nell’ultimo Heidegger I’essere come puro venire alia presenza e I’essere come principio delle econome storico-epocali. A differenza di Proudhon e di Bakunin, che non hanno fatto che «spostare l’origine», sostituendo al principio di autorita un principio razionale, Heidegger avrebbe pensato un principio anarchico, in cui l’origine come venire alla presenza si emancipa dalla macchina delle economie epocali e non govema piu il divenire storico. II limite dell’interpretazione di Schiirmann appare con evidenza nello stesso sintagma, volutamente paradossale, che fomisce il titolo al libro: il «principio d’anarchia». Non basta separare origine e comando, principium e princeps: come abbiamo mostrato in II Regno e la Gloria, un Re che regna ma non governa non e che uno dei due poli del dipositivo governamentale e giocare un polo contra l‘altro non e sufficiente ad arrestarne il funzionamento. L’anarchia non puo mai essere in pisizione di principio: essa puo solo liberarsi come un contatto, la dove tanto l‘arche come origine che l‘’arche come comando sono esposti nella loro non-relazione e neutralizzati” [6].

Lo que subyace en está crítica de Agamben – debatible y probablemente injusta, aunque acertada – solo se puede entender a partir de una lectura detenida de su libro Opus Dei. En este libro se deconstruyen las “dos ontologías dominantes de Occidente”: el comando y el deber, el “ser” y el “deber-ser”, la “teoría” y la “práctica”, ancladas anfibológicamente en la esfera del derecho y la filosofía, introducidas en la ética moderna (Kant), así como en la invención del normativismo legal (Kelsen) [7]. No conviene en este momento hacer una lectura detenida de Opus Dei – aunque es fundamental hacerla para la comprensión de Le principe d’anarchie (1982) –en cuanto a la pregunta por la ética luego de la liquidación de las ontologías hegemónicas (principio y comando).

Por ahora, quizás solo debemos decir que para Agamben, la cesura que establece Schürmann entre “comando” y “principio” no es suficiente para establecer una relación an-árquica (en efecto, al citar al Benjamin de la anarquía del poder, Agamben malinterpreta totalmente la distinción crucial en Schürmann entre la “anarquía económica epocal” y la “anarquía del poder” en el pensamiento de Heidegger), sin poder establecer una ontología co-sustancial con el momento destructivo epocal. (Esto Agamben lo resuelve de diversas formas en su obra. Pero digamos que el vórtice de elaboración aparece, a mi modo de ver, en la ‘ontología modal’ así como en el concepto paulino de la katargesis en preparación para la desactivación de toda operatividad) [8].

Me gustaría sugerir, sin embargo, al menos un lugar donde ocurre algo así como una doble interrupción entre ambas lecturas; la de Schürmann sobre Heidegger y la de Agamben sobre Schürmann. La clave estaría ceñida en el concepto de Gelassenheit (serenidad) obviada por Agamben, y apenas tematizada por Schürmann. Es allí donde el momento epocal es afrontado por una facticidad unívoca de la atención ante la ge-stell vía una forma que en su uso de vida ya ha dejado de ser capturada, al decir del propio Schürmann, por los aparatos hegemónicos de la tecnificación [9]. (Debo decir, desde luego, que con esto no quiero sugerir que el principio epocal, explicitado con tanta elocuencia por Schurmann en este libro, quede superado en la obra de Agamben).

Es a partir de la Gelassenheit que la pregunta por la ontología no solo cobra un lugar importante de articulación, sino que además ya no encuentra razón de ser en un normativismo prescriptivo ni un principio en disposición del ser, sino que solo aparece ligado a la vida como facticidad, o bien en palabras de Heidegger vía Ángelus Silesius: “En el oscuro fondo de su ser, el hombre verdaderamente siendo coincide en su forma como es; sin porqué”. (La figura de Silesius es simétrica con la ‘vida sin porqué’ de Eckhart, o ‘el niño que juega’ de Heráclito).

Es importante que Heidegger no diga meramente que el hombre es sin porqué, sino que es sin porqué en la medida en que su ser ya se piensa siendo. ¿Puede ese momento de inflexión inscrito a partir de la Gelassenheit pensarse sobre los bordes de una “infrapolítica del vencimiento”, tal y como le ha llamado Alberto Moreiras en un reciente apunte programático? Por el momento solo podemos responder con las mismas palabras de Moreiras: “si esto es un programa, la letra aun no está escrita”.



  1. Reiner Schürmann. Heidegger on Being and Acting: From Principles to Anarchy. Indiana University Press, 1987.
  1. Ibíd. “The theoretical turn away from anthropocentrism is only one condition for the possible thinking (being as time) of a possibility (anarchic economy)”. P. 302
  1. Ibíd. “Heidegger makes action deprived of arche the condition of thought which deconstructs the arche…always appears as the a priori for the ‘thought of being’. P. 7
  1. Ibíd. 11
  1. Ibíd. “It is necessary to exist without why in order to understand presencing as itself without arche, or telos, ‘without why’”. 293
  1. Giorgio Agamben. L’uso dei corpi. Neri Pozza Editore, 2014.
  1. Giorgio Agamben. Opus Dei. Archeologia dell’ufficio. Bollati Boringhieri, 2012.
  1. Reiner Schürmann. Heidegger on Being and Acting. Es crucial esta distinción establecida por Schürmann, para contener la crítica de Agamben (si bien hay que tener en mente que el Agamben de Il Regno e la Gloria, tambien glosando a Schürmann, atiende al “principio económico” para sustraerlo a la oikonomia del poder. Todo esto para decir, quizas, que para Agamben el poder y la oikonomia convergen en la forma goburnamental de la soberanía que expresa la maxima ‘el Rey gobierna pero no manda’): “Economic anarchy is not anarchy of power. What I called the hypothesis of closure makes it impossible to conceive of public affairs according to the model of reference to the one, that is, according to the principial model that founds the delegation of functions and the investment of power in ad hoc representative or titular. Economic anarchy is opposite to the anarchy of power as lawfulness is to lawlessness, as thinking is to the irrational, and as liberty is to oppression”. 290