It was indeed a very fun and exciting book. But when I finished reading it, I was also left with a lot of questions whirling in my head. It is a very strange poem with words and sentences placed in different parts of the page, and not all lined up neatly like other poems usually do. Meillassoux says that he is the first person who has succeeded in decoding the secret of the poem, and that is what he explains in this book.

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It was indeed a very fun and exciting book. But when I finished reading it, I was also left with a lot of questions whirling in my head. It is a very strange poem with words and sentences placed in different parts of the page, and not all lined up neatly like other poems usually do.

Meillassoux says that he is the first person who has succeeded in decoding the secret of the poem, and that is what he explains in this book.

Meillassoux discovers that both mysteries have the same answer, but that is not the only thing he finds out. Because they have the same answer, he thinks that the two mysteries are actually the same question. I will try to explain why I think so. He counts all the words in the poem and there are of them. He also says that the way letters are placed and the order of the poem are also decided by using the number One is that if he counted slightly differently the number would have been other numbers close to , like or The other thing is that in the case that the count ends up in a number other than , his entire theory about the secret number would have been completely meaningless.

But I think that if everything could have been different, the secret number could have been any other one, and be as meaningful as But for me this sounds like a bad science fiction or something, and it feels like cheating. I think there is a more simple reason for why Meillassoux does not write about this. It is because he does not write at all about how he writes.

But what is a pure detective work? From what I understand, pure detective work is like a book report that you have to write without referring to any other book than the one that was assigned kind of like what I am doing here. The problem with both is that they have to say two things that do not go well with each other just like Meillassoux!

The first is saying or believing that whatever the detective or the student writing the book report finds, was always and already there waiting to be found.

And this secret must be a secret that can be cracked by doing very simple things that anyone can do, like counting words, or paying attention to a particular paragraph or sentence. But at the same time, the other thing the detective or the student has to say or believe is that somebody had to write about it using words, so that people can actually realize the secret, or something about the book that had not been perceived before.

I have read many detective novels but in most of them this second point is never written out so clearly. It is more often just hidden to make the first point seem more important.

Rhetoric is the way words are used to describe and convince the reader of what is written. If this is usually hidden in detective novels and very logical analysis like Meillassoux, I think it is because they make full use of it. So detective novels have been deeply connected to and disturbed by rhetoric from the beginning. Going back to Meillassoux, I think when the reader starts thinking about rhetoric of his writing, it becomes difficult to ignore the possibility that there can be other rhetorics connected to other secrets, which can be told in equally convincing way.

The absolutization of chance makes other rhetorics as meaningful as the one Meillassoux chooses to absolutize without knowing or acknowledging so. This is because from the perspective of rhetoric, any writing is always fictive. What a strange thing to do! So the distinction between real and fictive is much more complicated here than in the simple distinction made by Meillassoux. It is always about persuasion or how language performs itself. But for me, that also leaves Meillassoux in a weak place.

When I try to see what Meillassoux is doing as a performance, I only see a French philosopher absolutizing another French poet as the greatest thing that happened in the nineteenth century culture. Which strikes me as a very French thing to do. It could even have been some alien that found and decoded his poem. The answer to the mystery that he finds can be put like this: 1 there is a definite answer that I discovered, and yet, 2 there is no definite answer.

The answer is not split between an absolutely meaningful answer and an absolutely meaningless one. Instead, the answer is that there are and can be several meaningful answers.

And if this is the answer, then it opens up a new question: how to choose one meaningful discovery over the other, and how to convey that choice in a convincing way to the readers. Everything happens within the close reading and counting of a poem. The Number and the Siren is a pure invention, worthy of Mallarme, and a singular act of close reading.

With a capital letter, no less. Or, at least, this is what its author, provocative philosopher Quentin Meillassoux, The Number and the Siren is unlike other books. Or, at least, this is what its author, provocative philosopher Quentin Meillassoux, wishes to be revealed. His first published book, After Finitude, struck out in an apparently very different direction. It attacks all other philosophies as having ignored the scientific revolution by remaining in thrall to metaphysics, and so to idealism and religion.

Even those philosophies that purport to be in the service of science fall into this trap, he says, because they attempt to formulate reasons why science works.

Therefore we simply believe that there is a reason why things are as they are, without being able to know what that reason is. And therefore the things that happen could have been any other things at all. The one thing we know for sure is that anything could happen — the sun could disappear, you could become butterflies, I could want Manchester United to win the football league.

Preposterous I know, but Meillassoux is following a venerable philosophic tradition. David Hume, in , argued that everything we know, we know from experience rather than thought he was on the side of the Empiricists versus the Rationalists.

May not the first ball return in a straight line, or leap off from the second in any line or direction? Meillassoux says that it is absolutely possible that the same cause could have a different effect.

Nevertheless, that his first book should so comprehensively according to him anyway dismiss metaphysics and religion in favour of mathematics, science and atheism, lends further piquancy to the eccentric direction his second book takes.

The Book was to be read on ceremonial occasions, at prescribed times and locations. This unlikely enterprise was intended to replace ceremonies of worship devoted to monarchies and religions with a secular ceremony worshipping the divine in the human. The coded number not telling will reveal the divine, the absolute, in us.

The main character of the poem, The Master, stands for a moment above the shipwreck of traditional certainties, hesitating to throw the dice of a new dispensation: does he in the end throw them, and if he does, what number is produced? All very high-flown you may be thinking. Well, yes. Having argued for an atheistic, materialist philosophy, Meillassoux elsewhere in his work considers justice.

He gets around the problems of these positions by advocating for hope. God-to-come appears also in the millenarian idea of the Singularity: the point at which artificial intelligence reaches so far beyond our own that its technology takes us out of our human flesh and into immortal robot or virtual bodies. Ray Kurzweil, its major prophet, believes that God-like beings will exist in the future, capable of resurrecting the dead with science, of course, so plausible….

There is a body of academic research supporting the theory that ancient and modern people experienced time in different ways. For ancient people time was cyclical, like the seasons, and if events looked different, their meanings were repeated. The same basic patterns of things occurred over and over.

Modern people experience time as linear, as always progressing to a new state of things. The model for this is often supposed to be the messianic Judaeo-Christian religions. In these, an endpoint to worldly life is anticipated: the coming of the Messiah and the Day of Judgement. If you consider yourself to be unaffected by such beliefs, let me put it this way: the idea that human life is progressively getting better as time goes by, that we are advancing politically and economically towards a just world, is precisely what ancient peoples could not conceive.

Many recent movements have traded in belief in the advance toward human perfectibility, though untethered to divine inspiration. Early evolutionary science the contemporary brand is more circumspect , Marxism, Fascism and liberal democracy all rest, or rested, on the shaky conceptual ground of unacknowledged millenarianism.

With Meillassoux and the Singularitarians, messianic beliefs are similarly stripped of their origins in God, but their messianism is celebrated rather than hidden.

We have not had a Fall, and are not returning to our creator. No, the world began for no reason, it is arbitrary and meaningless — but it will be redeemed by a future miracle.

What is it that this God reflects about our contemporary situation and beliefs? If we can be redeemed only by chance in the future, it follows that we must believe our present selves to be lost. The much criticised view that we are all tainted by Original Sin at least places us in a narrative: we Fell from grace and are in the messianic historical process of redemption.

That is surely better than the idea that we are all ciphers, that meaning, that justice, have never existed for us and all we have is to hang on in the hope that it miraculously appears. The implication is that we view ourselves according to our posterity. Once we would have founded our identities on our heritage. Who were our fathers sadly, our mothers were not usually such a concern , what were we bequeathed?

Now our identity is a question of who will look back on our memory. Who in the future will validate our present? And for those who feel all this discussion seems far from everyday life, I ask you to consider why we take our selfies; why exciting and unusual events are haloed by hand-waved smartphones, seen and curated through a screen as an anticipated memory; why do we prostrate ourselves before TV judges, not trusting our talent until we have seen it played back to us?

Nothing of the good or the beautiful, nor even the bad and the ugly, is yet real. The transhumanist God of the future might at first seem more optimistic, as it asks us to participate in constructing the deity. But this is a laissez-faire spirituality, which requires no ethical transcendence, no effort to be good to one another; only technical facility.

Another, bleaker version of this retrospective creator is the hypothesis that we and our world are a computer simulation of the ancestors of a post-Singularity civilisation.

Perhaps this is the messianism of the postmodern, of consumer culture, of things reduced to the abstract numbers of scientific measurement or monetary worth, and so become indifferently interchangeable: we are empty, indolent addicts waiting for the next hit, hoping desperately for meaning to finally be bestowed by our next possession.


Curator Project 2006 of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Precarious life — as a particular state of exception where vulnerability is at stake — takes place somewhere between the unpredictable of a chance and a coldly calculated precision. The table of the dice throw is therefore double, sea of chance and sky of necessity, midnight-midday. This obsession with calculating security coincides with an attention paid to precision-driven methodologies Jordan Crandall. Furthermore, precision might also be perceived as a drive towards reducing mediation and manifesting some kind of deeper, longed-for attachment to the real, not to mention a control over the real… The title condition of waking doubting rolling shining and musing as a certain depiction of self-confidence in making is a particular volcanic line of Mallarme and as such it does take on a responsibility of a rebellious metaphor which aims at mapping an academy as a site of a risk and a revolt Badiou , a locus of impossible insubordination. Here the exhibition appears as a conversation, a certain distribution of space made within reading where no transgression of a system operates but a dispersion of partial meaning.



The compressed and punctuated translation is offered as an aid to grasping the poem as a whole, in a swift reading. The paper intervenes each time as an image, of itself, ends or begins once more, accepting a succession of others, and, since, as ever, it does nothing, of regular sonorous lines or verse — rather prismatic subdivisions of the Idea, the instant they appear, and as long as they last, in some precise intellectual performance, that is in variable positions, nearer to or further from the implicit guiding thread, because of the verisimilitude the text imposes. Imagination flowers and vanishes, swiftly, following the flow of the writing, round the fragmentary stations of a capitalised phrase introduced by and extended from the title. Everything takes place, in sections, by supposition; narrative is avoided.


mallarme coup des

Na zijn militaire dienst en een verblijf in Londen waar hij trouwde, werkte hij gedurende een groot deel van zijn leven als leraar Engels in Parijs. Als gevolg daarvan was hij relatief arm, maar dit verhinderde hem niet uit te groeien tot een belangrijke Franse dichter en criticus. Hij had contacten met Manet en Zola en heeft in zelfs Hugo ontmoet. Aan huis organiseerde hij zijn toonaangevende salon samenkomst van intellectuelen, waar men discussieerde over gedichten , kunst en filosofie. Zijn salon stond bekend als les Mardistes, omdat hij op dinsdag ontving. Aan het einde van zijn leven was hij een van de meest gevierde dichters van zijn tijd. Na zijn pensioen kon hij nog bij de begrafenis van Paul Verlaine aanwezig zijn, voor hij zelf op 9 september stierf.


The Number and the Siren: A Decipherment of Mallarmé's Coup de Dés


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