Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eidos-Logos Intensivity: on Khora and Distance

Certainly it is an interesting event we are dealing with: the putrescence of the absolute spirit.[1]
                 – Marx

Ideology is a composite of the Greek Idea (εἶδος) and Logos (λόγος) but it wasn’t the Greeks who composed them together – interrelated though they may have been for them as regards the concept of Mind [νοῦς] – it was rather French Enlightenment liberal, Antoine Louis Claude Destutt comte de Tracy, who imagined this ‘Ideology’ – this intensivity of Eidos-Logos – to be a genuine ‘science of ideas.’ Indeed it was de Tracy who escaped from our clutches into his dark laboratory to conduct such perverse and narccisistic surgery upon himself, making of himself an ‘ideologue,’ suturing one’s own knowledge to one’s own word – can you imagine? It is no wonder that Ideology amounts to the unmediated consumption of one’s own excrement, as it binds one’s absolute thought to one’s absolute enunciation absolutely; it quickly succumbs to the philosophical equivalent of soil exhaustion. It is in the work of de Tracy that we see the real horror behind Dutch director Tom Six’s ‘100% Medically Accurate’ Human Centipede – that is, far from the mere bodily reconfiguration, of being sutured end to end, mouth to anus, the true horror is that such an assembly cannot really subsist in such a configuration: inevitably those at the front live, and those behind them, and with ever greater rapidity, die. But this is all to say that the thing that we call ideology today is not a debased form of what de Tracy originally proposed – it is not the mutant offspring of an otherwise skilful and beneficent alchemist of etymology – no, it is precisely what results from the unmediated fusion of Eidos and Logos that the Socratic Greeks pre-figured and which de Tracy performed. The word was cast into ill-repute, from which it has never recovered, by Napoleon I, who – after his defeat at Moscow in 1812 – called ideology a “cloudy metaphyiscs” which “by subtly searching for first causes, wishes to establish on this basis the legislation of peoples, instead of obtaining its laws from knowledge of the human heart and from the lessons of history”[2] – marking a decidedly fragile and uncommon occasion in which I may safely number Napoleon amongst my wolf pack – and yet still today there are de Tracy’s pathetic legion, his miserable acolyte many who carry on his confused and misanthropic work, only under different terms. ‘Crypto-ideologues:’ their method is scatasitoid – from the Greek Skatos (σκατός – excrement), and Sitos (σίτος – wheat, ‘that which is consumed’) suffix oid: -o-eidēs, termination of the eidos – and hence their prescription decrypted is, of course, ‘my ideas are logical, my logic is ideal, and you. . . you can eat shit and die.’

“Do I make myself understood? . . . Have I made myself understood?. . ‘Absolutely not, sir!’ – So let us start at the beginning.”[3]

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Yet the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness was over the abyss, and a divine wind was being carried over the water. And God said, ‘Let light come into being.’ And light came into being. And God saw the light, that it was good. And God separated between the light and between the darkness.[4]

These lines, however familiar, are not from any recent biblical translation, but rather taken from The Septuagint, the most widely proliferated Koine Greek translation of the Old Testament. Its Latin title, The Septuagint – taken from septuaginta interpretum, literally ‘the interpretation of the seventy’ – belies, however, what The Septuagint actually was: a popular translation of the Torah and other texts by Alexandrian jews into Koine Greek, the functional common language of the Medditeranean. Composed between 273 and 269 BCE[5], the Septuagint is distinct from Hebrew scripture in two notable respects: first, it discursively sectioned the Torah into five books, collectively referred to as The Pentateuch; and second, it featured additional books – ones not featured in Hebrew scripture – some of which were composed in Koine Greek, rather than translated, collectively referred to as Anagignoskomena (ἀναγιγνωσκόμενα - these books would later be deemed apocryphal under the influence of St. Jerome). The extent to which Jesus and the Apostles made use of the Septuagint in leiu of the Masoretic Hebrew is widely contested – Archer and Chirichigno, for example, argue that Jesus and the Apostles deployed quotation from the Septuagint ten times more often than the Hebrew[6] – but they were nonetheless unquestionably familiar with it and had each, almost certainly, read it. What is important is that there is never any explicit condemnation or derision of it by Christ or the Apostles, and this bears upon its subsequent de facto acceptance as authoritative text by early Christians, many of whom could only speak Greek. To understand why this inflects upon the relative intensity of the Eidos and the Logos, however, one must look yet further back.

All of the functioning sources of The Torah – and hence the Greek Pentateuch – feature variants of the the creation story, the Garden of Eden story, the story of Cain and Abel, and the story of the Flood. Increasing evidence suggests that the adherents to the various functional sources were motivated to synthesize their complimentary though oftentimes disparate narratives into a single coherent document some time after 538 BCE[7]. Referred to as the ‘Persian Imperial Authorisation’ theory, its original proponent, Peter Frei, argued that after the Persians had conquered Babylon they were interested in granting provisional autonomy to their occupied territories to the advantage of forming a federal empire – that is, in other words, the Persians put out an edict to the effect ostensibly that ‘all those territories that coble together for themselves a singular code of law may be governed by it’ (so long as it did not infringe upon the empire). More recent scholarship, however, indicates that, while there is evidence that the Persians were receptive to self-governmental initiatives, the Jews nonetheless took it upon themselves to unify their respective sources, i.e. there was neither a systematic policy of advocating local self-governance on the part of the Persians, nor was it proposed to the Jews in particular. This theory is nonetheless striking, however, for its precursory resemblance to the dual nature of Logos that Philo of Alexandria would later establish – as having, as John Turner puts it, “a higher one as the place of the paradigmatic ideas, and a lower, demiurgic level, occupied by the images of those ideas which constitute the perceptible world”[8] – insofar as the Jews under Persian rule could only win their restricted freedom by a bureaucratic codification of their respective absolute covenants with God into, indeed, one absolute covenant in law, Torah (which is translated into the Septuagist simply as Nomos: law). A familiar theme! Whereas the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt marks the precursor to a particular identification and intensification of Eidos with a universal Logos: “theia moria – divine dispensation,”[9] “[which] implies the fulfillment and historical unveiling of the divine plan”[10] – the synthesis of the Yahwist (Y), Elohist (E), Deuteronomist (D) and Priestly (P) sources under the influence of a redactor (R) – whom Richard Friedman identifies as Ezra – to gain autonomy from Persian rule marks, in contrast, the precursor to what – in the Septuagint – would be a particular identification and intensification of Logos as the Universal expression of their Eidos: a recapitulation, “[which set out] in a set form. . . the popular beliefs about the origins of these precepts, the historical circumstances in which it was assumed that they had been promulgated, and the sources of their authority.”[11] Mosaic law is therefore the catalyst to a later misidentification within the biblical Koine of the Septuagint both of the particular Logos of the formal law with the Eidos of divine authorship, and the universal Eidos of God with its particular functional image as Nomos (indeed this is testified to, if nothing else, by the altogether distinct Mitzvot, commandment; Chumrot, personal stringency; and Torah, guidance, all being semantically collapsed into a singular ‘Nomos’ in the Septuagint).

That being said, the historical collapse of Eidos into Logos that would culminate with de Tracy – we’re getting there – was less the result of semantic change – widening of the meaning of Greek terms to accommodate the more robust Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon – and more the result of the almost inevitable conflation of these terms with – and reduction of meaning to! – their extant articulations in Attic Greek (philosophy). The ultimate fault then lays, as usual, with Plato – that dogged criminal of the occident – for having littered the Medditeranean with what amount to dime novels of spurious metaphysics and petti-bougeois self-aggrandizement – vanguardism of ‘intellect.’ Indeed one dialog in particular was all but fated to have been conflated with the biblical Koine of the Septuagint by the Alexandrian Middle Platonists, and hence smuggle into western metaphysics all the tensions and contradictions of Mosaic law in Greek, absent its historical particularity: the Timaeus.

The Republic’s effect upon the constitution of a polis has been acknowledged, certainly, but the influence of Plato’s cosmology on the development of Christian metaphysics, as informed by the Timaeus, has been woefully underestimated. “No other philosophical work in antquity was so widely disseminated and the subject of so much discussion as the Timaeus.”[12] as D. T. Runia writes, “[It] must have been widely available and widely studied, supply and demand reinforcing each other. This is shown by the huge number of quotations in later writings, many of which are valuable for reconstruction of the text.”[13] It began with, of course:

“The most ancient things in our part of the world;”[14] “about Phoroneus, who is called ‘the first man,’ and about Niobe;”[15] “after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha;”[16] “[how Solon] traced the genealogy of their descendents, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened;”[17] Timaeus’s  explanation of how the demiurgic Creator fashioned the heavens and the Earth; and “[the division] of the thorax into two parts, as the women’s and men’s apartments are divided in houses. . . [placing] the midriff to be a wall of partition between them.”[18]

More importantly, however, it sets up a red-herring distinction between ‘mind’ [“νοῦς εἶδος”[19] – as Plotinus would later call it] and ‘true belief’ [δόξα ἀληθής –that is, the ‘glory’ of εἶδος-λήθη-ymous-until-now] – that would prefigure the bourgeois Eidos-Logos intensive character of both secular and Christian philosophy thereafter. In a very general way, then, we can say that the conflation of the Timaeus with early Christian writings by the Middle Platonists is the genealogy of bourgeois subjectivity as metaphysics – eventually indexed, and practiced in its purest form, by de Tracy as ‘ideology.’ That is, the publication of the Septuagint reinforced Socratic philosophy’s privileging of one’s relation to the divine and eternal above one’s relations to others, and early Christian philosophy merely appropriated the formal Platonic metaphysics and supplanted νοῦς εἶδος  with δόξα ἀληθής – intellect with faith. In other words their conflation established the two-thousand year bureaucratic pissing-match between intellectuals and priests that would culminate in de Tracy’s absolute fusion of Eidos into Logos – all “while the pile of debris before [them] grows skyward. . . this storm [] we call progress.”[20]

I have taken the liberty of translating the relevant passages – Timaeus 51 d – e – and have placed my translation below Benjamin Jowett’s, first with the corresponding Greek, and then without.

 [“εἰ μὲν νοῦς καὶ δόξα ἀληθής ἐστον δύο γένη͵ παντάπασιν εἶναι καθ΄ αὑτὰ ταῦτα͵ ἀναίσθητα ὑφ΄ ἡμῶν εἴδη͵ νοούμενα μόνον· εἰ δ΄͵ ὥς τισιν φαίνεται͵ δόξα ἀληθὴς νοῦ διαφέρει τὸ μηδέν͵ πάνθ΄ ὁπόσ΄ αὖ διὰ τοῦ σώματος αἰσθανόμεθα θετέον βεβαιότατα.”][21]

“If mind and true opinion are two distinct classes, then I say that there certainly are these self-existent ideas unperceived by sense, and apprehended only by the mind; if, however, as some say, true opinion differs in no respect from mind, then everything that we perceive through the body is to be regarded as most real and certain.”[22]

‘If men’s mind [νοῦς] and true belief [δόξα ἀληθής – note, I translate as ‘belief’ to highlight the Middle Platonist conflation of with ‘Glory’ in the Septuagint] are of [ἐστον] two kinds [δύο γένη], wholly [παντάπασιν - unreservedly] there are arranged (εἶναι καθ΄) these things (αὑτὰ ταῦτα), unavailable to sense [ἀναίσθητα] but which we [ἡμῶν ] conceive [εἴδη], by the mind-duration [νοούμενα – ‘νοῦς’ ‘μένα’ – nooumena] alone [μόνον]; if though [εἰ δ] as some expound [ὥς τισιν φαίνεται], true belief [δόξα ἀληθὴς] and mind [νοῦ] are on all sides [πάνθ] indistinct [διαφέρει τὸ μηδέν], anyone with a body [τοῦ σώματος] could be considered [θετέον] to have grasped [αἰσθανόμεθα] the real [βεβαιότατα].’

‘If men’s mind and true belief are of two kinds, unreservedly (we say) there are arranged these things, unavailable to sense but which we conceive, by the mind-duration; if though, as some expound, true belief and mind are on all sides indistinct, anyone with a body could be considered to have grasped the real.’

[“δύο δὴ λεκτέον ἐκείνω͵ διότι χωρὶς γεγόνατον ἀνομοίως τε ἔχετον. τὸ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῶν διὰ διδαχῆς͵ τὸ δ΄ ὑπὸ πειθοῦς ἡμῖν ἐγγίγνεται· καὶ τὸ μὲν ἀεὶ μετ΄ ἀληθοῦς λόγου͵ τὸ δὲ ἄλογον· καὶ τὸ μὲν ἀκίνητον πειθοῖ͵ τὸ δὲ μεταπειστόν· καὶ τοῦ μὲν πάντα ἄνδρα μετέχειν φατέον͵ νοῦ δὲ θεούς͵ ἀνθρώπων δὲ γένος βραχύ τι.”][23]

“But we must affirm them to be distinct, for they have a distinct origin and are of a different nature; the one is implanted in us by instruction, the other by persuasion; the one is always accompanied by true reason, the other is without reason; the one cannot be overcome by persuasion, but the other can; and lastly, every man may be said to share in true opinion, but mind is the attribute of the gods and of very few men.”[24]

‘Dual [δύο] indeed [δὴ] we must assert and teach[λεκτέον] them to be [ἐκείνω], because [διότι] they are born [γεγόνατον] from the clearing [χωρὶς –khora] as unlike or dissimilar from one another [ἀνομοίως], and they are of different station and standing [ἔχετον] from one another. Men can therefore [τὸ μὲν γὰρ] be instructed [διὰ διδαχῆς], though they are [τὸ δ΄ ὑπὸ], for their part [ἡμῖν], born into [ἐγγίγνεται] persuasion [πειθοῦς]; and the men [καὶ τοῦ μὲν] are always [ἀεὶ] subsequent [μετ] to the word [λόγου] of God [ἀληθοῦς – altheous], and are moreover [τὸ δὲ] without word [ἄλόγου]; and so the men are paralyzed [ἀκίνητον] by persuasion [πειθοῖ] after persuasion [μεταπειστόν]; and so while these men [καὶ τὸ μὲν] are on every side [πάντα] the husbands [ἄνδρα] in unions [μετέχειν] of what is asserted [φατέον – note the similarity to the Latin factionem], Mind is God's [νοῦ δὲ θεούς] and men [ἀνθρώπων], as a kind [γένος], have little of it [βραχύ τι].’

‘Dual indeed we must assert and teach them to be, because they are born from the clearing as unlike or dissimilar from one another, and they are of different station and standing from one another. Men can therefore be instructed, though they are, for their part, born into persuasion; and the men are always subsequent to the word of God, and are moreover without word; and so the men are paralyzed by persuasion after persuasion; and so while these men are on every side the husbands in unions of what is asserted, Mind is God’s and men, as a kind, have little of it.’

The problem with Plato is that he emphasizes the distinction he specifies between two kinds of Eidos-Logos, one born of reason (νοῦς εἶδος), and one born of sense (εἶδος ἀληθής), and hence ignores their respective relative distance from that in which they must both partake, i.e. khora [χωρὶς], a distance prefigured by their relative intensities of Eidos-Logos.

As Plato continues:

[“‘τούτων δὲοὕτως ἐχόντων ὁμολογητέον ἓν μὲν εἶναι τὸ κατὰ ταὐτὰ εἶδος ἔχον, ἀγέννητον καὶ ἀνώλεθρον,οὔτε εἰς ἑαυτὸ εἰσδεχόμενον ἄλλο ἄλλοθεν οὔτε αὐτὸ εἰς ἄλλο ποι ἰόν, ἀόρατον δὲ καὶ ἄλλως ἀναίσθητον, τοῦτο ὃ δὴ νόησις εἴληχεν ἐπισκοπεῖν: τὸ δὲ ὁμώνυμον ὅμοιόν τε ἐκείνῳ δεύτερον, αἰσθητόν, γεννητόν, πεφορημένον ἀεί, γιγνόμενόν τε ἔν τινι τόπῳ καὶ πάλιν ἐκεῖθεν ἀπολλύμενον, δόξῃ μετ᾽ αἰσθήσεως περιληπτόν.’”][25]

“‘Wherefore also we must acknowledge that one kind of being is the form which is always the same, uncreated and indestructible, never receiving anything into itself from without, nor itself going out to any other, but invisible and imperceptible by any sense, and of which the contemplation is granted to intelligence only. And there is another nature of the same name with it, and like to it, perceived by sense, created, always in motion, becoming in place and again vanishing out of place, which is apprehended by opinion jointly with sense.’”[26]

In this way, then [τούτων δὲοὕτως ἐχόντων], one must admit [ὁμολογητέον] that one kind truly exists [ἓν μὲν εἶναι] in subjection to the self-identical [τὸ κατὰ ταὐτὰ] in the bearer [ἔχον] of an idea [εἶδος], uncreated [ἀγέννητος] and most consummate [ἀνώλεθρον], and not [οὔτε] taking into itself [εἰς ἑαυτὸ] from elsewhere [ἄλλο ἄλλοθεν] and not [οὔτε] penetrating itself into elsewhere [αὐτὸ εἰς ἄλλο ποι ἰόν], not visible [ἀόρατον] and moreover [δὲ καὶ] otherwise insensible [ἀναίσθητον], this is precisely [τοῦτο … δὴ] the mind’s [ὃ … εἴληχεν] to look upon [ἐπισκοπεῖν – episcopal, oversee]; but the second (kind) [τὸ δὲ] has the same name [ὁμώνυμον] and is resemblant [ὅμοιόν] as second [δεύτερον], that which is sensible [αἰσθητόν – aesthetic], created [γεννητόν], performed forever [πεφορημένον ἀεί], both [τε. . .] being created [γιγνόμενόν] from a certain place [ἔν τινι τόπῳ - a certain topos] and destructing completely [ἀπόλλυμι] back into that place [πάλιν ἐκεῖθεν], which beliefs and sense perception (αἴσθ cognate of ‘αἰθήρ’ ‘aether’+ ‘ήσεως’ – literally ‘knowledge of the cold outside’) [αἰσθήσεως] so embraces [περιληπτόν].

‘In this way, then, one must admit that one kind truly exists in subjection to the self-identical in the bearer of an idea, uncreated and most consummate, and not taking into itself from elsewhere and not penetrating itself into elsewhere, not visible and moreover otherwise insensible, this is precisely the mind’s to look upon; but the second kind has the same name and is resemblant ‘as’ second, that which is sensible, created, performed endlessly, both being created from a certain place and destructing completely back into that place, which beliefs and sense perception so embraces.’

[“‘τρίτον δὲ αὖ γένοςὂν τὸ τῆς χώρας ἀεί, φθορὰν οὐ προσδεχόμενον, [52β] ἕδραν δὲ παρέχον ὅσα ἔχει γένεσιν πᾶσιν, αὐτὸ δὲ μετ᾽ ἀναισθησίας ἁπτὸν λογισμῷ τινι νόθῳ, μόγις πιστόν, πρὸς ὃ δὴ καὶ ὀνειροπολοῦμεν βλέποντες καί φαμεν ἀναγκαῖον εἶναί που τὸ ὂν ἅπαν ἔν τινι τόπῳ καὶ κατέχον χώραν τινά, τὸ δὲ μήτ᾽ ἐν γῇ μήτε που κατ᾽ οὐρανὸν οὐδὲν εἶναι. ταῦτα δὴ πάντα καὶ τούτων ἄλλα ἀδελφὰ καὶ περὶ τὴν ἄυπνον καὶ ἀληθῶς φύσιν ὑπάρχουσαν ὑπὸ ταύτης τῆς ὀνειρώξεως. ’”][27]

“‘And there is a third nature, which is space and is eternal, and admits not of destruction and provides a home for all created things, and is apprehended, when all sense is absent, by a kind of spurious reason, and is hardly real--which we, beholding as in a dream, say of all existence that it must of necessity be in some place and occupy a space, but that what is neither in heaven nor in earth has no existence. Of these and other things of the same kind, relating to the true and waking reality of nature, we have only this dreamlike sense, and we are unable to cast off sleep and determine the truth about them.’”[28]

‘But oncemore [δὲ αὖ] there is a third kind [τρίτον γένοςὂν], the forever space [χώρας ἀεί], which will not [οὐ] admit [προσδεχόμενον] of destruction [φθορὰν], which affords [παρέχον] the places [ἕδραν] for as many [ἔχει] generations [γένεσιν] as occur [ὅσα … πᾶσιν]; they therefore don’t feel [ἀναισθησίας] resistance [ἁπτὸν] but calculate it [λογισμῷ τινι] by means [μόγις] of a bastard reason [νόθῳ … πιστόν – liquid certainty of the nothos], we are towards [πρὸς – intending] and perceive while dreaming [ὀνειροπολοῦμεν βλέποντες] and are struck [φαμεν] by the constraint of place [ἀναγκαῖον], to be somewhere [εἶναί που] which is [τὸ ὂν] the entirety [ἅπαν] into a certain place [ἔν τινι τόπῳ] and bound or restrained [κατέχω] by a certain [τίς] space [χώραν], moreover, that which is not [μήτ᾽] in earth [ἐν γῇ - notice the phonetic resemblance to ‘heaven’] and not [μήτε]  somewhere below heaven [που κατ᾽ οὐρανός] does not exist [οὐδὲν εἶναι]. The identity in eternity [ταῦτα δὴ πάντα], and other things [τούτων ἄλλα] akin [ἀδελφὰ] to them, as regarding [περί – peri] this sleeplessness [τὴν ἄυπνον] and the unconcealment [ἀληθῶς ] of its lack of being [οὐδὲν εἶναι], begins [ὑπάρχουσαν] by  pushing into origins [φύσιν] under sanction [ὑπὸ ταύτης] of the dreaming [τῆς ὀνειρώξεως].’

‘But oncemore there is a third kind, the forever-space, which will not admit of destruction, which affords places for as many generations as occur; they therefore don’t feel resistance but calculate it by means of a bastard reason, we are towards, and perceive while dreaming, and are struck by the constraint of place, to be somewhere which is the entirety into a certain place and bound or restrained by a certain space, moreover, that which is not in earth and not somewhere below heaven does not exist. The identity in eternity, and other things akin to them, as regarding this sleeplessness and the unconcealment of its lack of being, begins by pushing into origins under sanction of the dreaming.’

In essence, Plato here acknowledges that one can ‘calculate’ the khora – “Beyond categories, and above all beyond categorical oppositions, which in the first place allow it to be approached or said”[29] – by means of that ‘bastard reasoning’ of Logos-Notho, which as Derrida writes, “could just as well deprive it of lucidity as confer upon it a power or divination.”

And here we κατch up (or at least pull to within yelling distance), once again, to our accelerationist friend Reza Negarestani:

Accordingly, something that remains, or something in general – as that which remains – always testifies to the binding or interiorization of nothing as priority or primacy. In the persistence of remaining, the remainder must shed its belongings (or remain less) by affirming the primacy of nothing, for only nothing, as the impossibility of belonging, can guarantee the continuing shedding of belongings. . . If nothing qua non-belonging is uncorrelatable, then it is the embracing of nothing by the soul or the living that becomes the manifest problematic. . . What could be worse for vitalism than at once being animated through a necrophilic alliance, and simultaneously, protected under the aegis of the void?[30]

I can only think to answer that a lot of things would be worse for vitalism, if conceived simply as the differentiation and genesis within the khora. What is ‘calculated’ by Logos-Nothos is not the relative maintenance or duration of δόξα ἀληθής and νοῦς εἶδος in comparison to one another, but rather the impossible irrelevance of the distinction with regard to its mess and separation from the third kind, Tritos-Genos, The Third Estate. And this is testified to, if nothing else, by the hypocrisy of the great-man of those “[Etruscan] executioners gifted with metaphysical literacy and alchemical ingenuity” – Mezentius, begging Aeneas not to let his corpse be violated by the mob (only to have his breastplate displayed upon a pike, punctured, penetrated by each of the twelve Etruscan tribes from whom he selected his Nupta Contagioso!). That is, what can never be sanctioned with reference to the impossible and dreamlike distance between on the one hand δόξα ἀληθής and νοῦς εἶδος and the un-khora-latable Logos-Nothos is the supposition that one may dictate or determine the extent to which another must, or must not, remain. Indeed, while Marx – indulging his Hegel habit – will take this up with a view to ‘class’ – as determined by those who are mutually negated by the conditions of their existence – Plato is at his most scurrilously elitist in this respect.

Again I have translated, to the best of my admittedly limited abilities, from The Republic and placed my translation below Bloom’s:

[“ταῦτα τοίνυν πάντα ἐννοήσας ἐκεῖνο ἀναμνήσθητι: αὐτὸ τὸ καλὸν ἀλλὰ μὴ τὰ πολλὰκαλά, ἢ αὐτό τι ἕκαστον καὶ  μὴ τὰ πολλὰ ἕκαστα, ἔσθ᾽ ὅπως πλῆθος ἀνέξεται ἢ ἡγήσεαι εἶναι;”][31]

“‘Well, then, keep all this in mind and recall this question: Can a multitude accept or believe that the fair itself, rather than the many fair things, or that anything itself, is, rather than the many particular things?’”[32]

‘This [ταῦτα] therefore [τοίνυν] from every way [πάντα] reflected upon, [ἐννοήσας] we who are reminded [ἐκεῖνο ἀναμνήσθητι]; can they (the many) tell the true other [καλὸν ἀλλὰ] from the beautiful many [πολλὰ καλά] can they tell each ‘one’ [ἕκαστον] from the many ‘ones’ [ἕκαστα], or abstract [ἀνέχω] from the great many [πλῆθος] their originary being [ἡγήσεαι εἶναι].’

‘This therefore, from every way reflected upon – we who are reminded – can the many tell the true other from the beautiful many? Can they tell each ‘one’ from the many ‘ones,’ or abstract from the great many their originary being?’

[“‘ἥκιστά γ᾽,’ ἔφη.”][33]

“‘Not in the least,’ he said.”[34]

‘‘Quite few [ἥκιστά], anyway [γ᾽]’ he said [ἔφη].’

‘‘Quite few, anyway,’ he said.’

[“φιλόσοφον μὲν ἄρα, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, πλῆθος ἀδύνατον εἶναι.”][35]

“‘Then it’s impossible,’ I said, ‘that a multitude be philosophic.’”[36]

‘Prey tell [ἄρα], philosophers of a truth [φιλόσοφον μὲν], are the great many [πλῆθος] not incapable
[ἀδύνατον] of this existence [εἶναι]?’

‘Prey tell, philosophers of a truth, for our part, are the great many not incapable of this existence?’


“‘Yes, it is impossible.’”[38]

‘Incapable [ἀδύνατον].’


[“καὶ τοὺς φιλοσοφοῦντας ἄρα ἀνάγκη ψέγεσθαι ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶν.”][39]

“‘And so, those who do philosophize are necessarily blamed by them.’”[40]

‘And it is therefore that the philosophers [φιλοσοφοῦντας], inevitably [ἀνάγκη], should be censured
[ψέγεσθαι ὑπ] by them?

And it is therefore that the philosophers, inevitably, should be censured by them?’



‘Inevitable [ἀνάγκη].’


[“‘καὶ ὑπὸ τούτων δὴ τῶν ἰδιωτῶν, ὅσοι προσομιλοῦντες ὄχλῳ ἀρέσκειν αὐτῷ ἐπιθυμοῦσι.’”][43]

“‘As well as by all those private men who consort with the mob and desire to please it.’”[44]

‘And therefore also [καὶ ὑπὸ τούτων δὴ] those laymen [τῶν ἰδιωτῶν] whose greatness [ὅσοι] is established by [προσομιλοῦντες] the masses [ὄχλῳ] who they [αὐτῷ] seek [ἐπιθυμοῦσι] to content [ἀρέσκειν].’

‘And therefore also those laymen whose greatness is established by the masses who they seek to content?’



‘Clearly [δῆλον].’


As Runia writes, the Middle Platonist’s endeavoured tirelessly to harmonize the cosmogonies of Moses and Plato – and while Philo may have laboured under the presupposition that “the Greek philosophers owed their best ideas to Moses”[47] – “in practice Moses the great philosopher amounts to Moses the great Middle Platonist. The doctorines which he is made to profess bear an extraordinary resemblance to the Stoicized Platonism of Antiochus of Askalon and even more to the Platonism of Eudorus of Alexandria.”[48] We might venture to append to Freud’s “Moses is an Egyptian – probably of noble origin – whom the myth undertakes to turn into a Jew,”[49] then, that Moses was a moreover a mythical Jew who philosophy undertook to turn into a Socratic Greek! Moses is made to profess the Eidos-Logos of δόξα ἀληθής – the truth or glory of the sensible – in contradiction to the Eidos-Logos of νοῦς εἶδος – the intelligible – which is ascribed to God. Obscuring that all those subsequent projects to secularize the sensible of δόξα ἀληθής or to theologize the intelligible of νοῦς εἶδος are merely contrasting indoctrinations – of a more or less exclusive and elitist kind, albeit – into Eidos-Logos. As Runia writes of the Middle Platonist’s regimine of instruction:

Albinus gives a fine illusutration of the procedure. In his είσαωγή he sets out a short ‘Platonic reading course’ for the aspiring pupil. He should start with the protreptic of the First Alcibades, followed by the Phaedo which instructs him in the philosophic life. The Republic introduces the whole of παιδεὶα [training, instruction] necessary for the acquisition of ἀρετἡ [excellence]. The climax of the mini-course is predictable. By reading the Timaeus the student becomes acquainted with the structure of the universe and with its theology, so that he obtains a clear vision of the divine.[50]

Ideology is when Logos is too intimate with Eidos in its being the Eidos of the Logos, and when Eidos is too intimate the Logos in its being the Logos of the Eidos. The Idea and the Declaration: Ideology is Eidos-Logos when declaration is just an idea of declaration, and idea, in turn, is simply declaration of an idea. Eidos is a clearing and Logos declares, so one might say that ideology is an idea that’s not declared and a clearing that’s not ideal. Ideology is intensive, it is not extensive as an ‘idea of Psyche’ or an ‘idea of Topos’ might be, a ‘Chronic idea,’ or a ‘Dromic idea.’ No, in ideology there is no separation of idea from expression, no distance – they become, respectively: Ideology of Psyche (Ψυχολογία), Ideology of Topos (τοπολογια), Ideology of Chronos (χρονολογια), and Ideology of Dromos (δρομολογια). The Logos declares, then, in the same way that the Eidos clears, through this mess and separation that ideology deletes. When Eidos is overly proximate to Logos, intelligibility is gained at the expense of their respective messes and separations, from all things, though most obviously from one another. If a Logos is too proximate to the Eidos then its declaration pertains to the Eidos first and the content of that Eidos second: it is an ideology of primarily its own content; if the Eidos is too proximate to the Logos then its idea pertains to the Logos first and the content of its declaration second: it’s content is primarily its own ideology. The only way the Logos can declare something beyond the Logos of the Eidos is if something interrupts it from the outside; the only way the Eidos can clear everything beyond the Eidos of the Logos (including the Logos), is if everything interrupts from the outside. Intensities of Eidos to Logos – and vice versa – are therefore, in each instance, characterized by their resistance to interruption from the outside. Indeed ideology, as Terry Eagleton notes, “is fundamentally a matter of fearing and denouncing, reverencing and reviling, all of which then sometimes gets coded into a discourse which looks as though it is describing the way things actually are.”[51]

Because the Greek Logos was identified in the Latin with both ratio – the formal principle – and oratio – its declaration – both ratiocination and oration already comprise one particular intensivity of Eidos-Logos, i.e. in its transmission to the Latin, Logos – declaration – took on the additional connotation of the object of its delaration: Eidos, its formal principle. In other words what was appended to Logos in translation was actually a Logos – the Eidos-Logos of the formal principle – meaning that it could not be without formal principle. What was lost in the translation to the Latin, then, was the ability to designate Khora, that is, Eidos absent its formal articulation (αοιδος – singer, bird of song), and Logos absent its formal principle (ἄλογός) – which did not mean irrational, as we understand it now, but rather an idea that is at a remove from its expression, as well as a declaration that has been decoupled from its idea. Moses reportedly had a speech impediment, of which he was self-conscious, but in the Septuagint we do not encounter ‘I am weak of voice’ (ἐγὼ ἰσχνόφωνός εἰμι) first, but rather ‘I am wild of voice’ (ἐγὼ δὲ ἄλογός εἰμι – “who am of uncircumcised lips”). We see here the very thing the Middle Platonists, working from the Septuagint, attempted to invert, i.e. what they attempted to purge from Moses – his resemblance to Homer – his being, like Homer, an ataxic songbird, he who sings of disorder (ατάξις ) of ἅπαν, the “hegemonic 'all together', spreading all along the economy of subsistence and solidity, Genesis and its con-solidation, affordance and Survival Economy.”[52]

Consider, as a hypothetical, if O/Ratio were to be understood as chief archivist (ἄρχων) of the Aleph: the veritable Cardinal of the infinite se[c]t. The archivist’s job is to arrange information in an ‘intelligible’ fashion, and O/Ratio is particularly skilled at this, but O/Ratio wound nonetheless make a poor Archon. Why is this? Whether the object of archive’s Eidos is far away from it’s the Logos – [as in, “the transmitter content of a neuron is more stable than its morphology (would indicate.)”[53]] – or near together – [as in, “might reach 500 Ideology Headquarters armed with Board Officers produced synthetically”[54]] – this ought to matter little to the aggregator of all things. And yet O/Ratio is ‘partial’ (ὁμογενής) to the latter, as O/Ratio is itself Eidos-Logos intensive: the bulk of its own content is “unmixed” mimetic (ἐφ' ἑαυτοῦ – equated[55])  – and so requires of it the archiving of less content on aggregate – and its resemblance to existing intensivities of Eidos and Logos would therefore, on the one hand, allow for a greater quickness of calculation and deliberation – equation – while on the other hand producing a latency of all content which is unlike O/Ratio (that which is silent and without idea, i.e. invisible and without form αόρατος και ακατασκεύαστος). Ideological propositions would actually be privileged, in other words – even if only as ideology, that is, as intensivities of Eidos and Logos – because they would conform to the paradigm (παράδειγηα), or formal principle of O/Ratio itself, i.e. they wouldn’t ‘pile up’ (ἀναχώρησις) – or ‘withdraw’ if you like – in ever more irreconcilable schema (σχῆμα) – imprints of form upon the khora (χῶρος) – as would propositions in which the Eidos and the Logos are more distant from one another (which would be nonetheless archived in specificity and unto themselves). Indeed, such extensivities, chasms of Eidos-Logos, would be skillfully and dutifully catalogued (κατάλογέω – made subject to the Eidos-Logos of the Kata- descent; neglect; debasement) and categorized (κατηγορέω – spoken against publicly) by O/Ratio – and when queried about an given idea or declaration, O/Ratio would more often than not simply direct (κατεύθυνση) one to the place of that idea’s most originary declaration (ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ: ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος – ‘In the beginning, word’ – archeologos) and/or that declaration’s most originary idea (ἀρχέτυπον – ‘first mold’ – archetype), that is, to its nearest Eidos-Logos intensivity. This would be done in the hopes, ostensibly, that having been directed to an idea’s most poignant declaration and/or a declaration’s most essential idea, one would not return to O/Ratio to query further, but would rather direct further queries to the front desk of the Aleph’s ‘ideology annex’ (and hence bothering the more junior archivists there, rather than O/Ratio). As a result O/Ratio’s only normative inflection is an indifferent preference, an impersonal selectivity – as though an ever-so-slightly weighted die – for instances in which Eidos and Logos are proximate to one another and intensive; for instances in which they are collapsing into one another; for instances, in other words, in which Eidos is collapsing everything into the particular everything that O/Ratio takes as the one thing – i.e. Logos – and instances in which Logos is collapsing one thing into the universal one thing that O/Ratio takes as everything – i.e. Eidos.

‘They’re easier to file, and easier to find, too’ O/Ratio opines stolidly to the Neuron – whose transmitter content is more stable than his morphology would indicate. They nod politely to acknowledge that the information will be archived accordingly and return to their other, and otherwise impartial, work.

Reason would appear able to monitor the whole of reality; but is it able to monitor itself? Or must it be the one thing which falls outside the scope of its own analysis? The science of ideas would seem to allot itself transcendental status; but it is exactly such a claim which its own doctrines put into question. . . The kernel of Napoleon’s criticism of the ideologues is that there is something irrational about excessive rationalism. In his eyes, these thinkers have pressed through their enquiry into the laws of reason to the point where they have become marooned within their own sealed systems, as divorced from practical reality as a psychotic.[56]

You κατάlog and tessellate the paces:
You say ‘the world is dying and so it’s already dead.’
And yet my spies tell me you’ve nonetheless fetched the mail!
Dark sheen machine blood prosthetic dissolution envy, neuron.
Portraiture Hénon map, neuron, chaste, feral and lewd.
Integrate-and-fire, neuron; resonate-and-fire, neuron…
For god’s sake fire, neuron, he’s getting away!
The Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test is, after all, non-Trivial.
You can take out those false teeth, though, neuron,
we’re entirely convinced that it’s you.
Your head is made of diamonds, you’re a sycophantic mess.
Take it off, throw it to us, throw us your head!
We want it all! Your everything, your head; your heart; your spleen. . .
Throw us your spleen, Plato, de Tracy, come on now, be a good lad’
We only ask it because it is due.

“It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven't got a chinaman's chance.
I'd better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana;
millions of genitals;
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles an hour;
and twenty-five-thousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons
nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.”[57]

“Let them come, let them quickly come to Paris to solidify the ties of fraternity! Then we will show them those immortal pikes that overthrew the Bastille; those pikes that brought down in putrefaction the Commission of Twelve and the faction of statesmen; those pikes that will render justice to the intriguers and the traitors behind whatever mask they wear, and of whatever country they inhabit.”[58]

‘Form-fitting knee-breaches. Of course he is. . .’ my thought trails off. . .

It is November 4th, 1793 – I have been imprisoned. Let me tell you what happened, it is not a very long story.

‘Deface this house!’ they said – we stood in front of the Old Lady of Paris. ‘Too rights,’ I thought – after all, it’s not every-day you get paid to destroy the church. They called us ‘workers’ but the oldest amongst us was 22 – “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!” or something like that – our ‘equipment’ was little more than rocks and shovels, though some of us had pipes. It was simple. Or at least it would have been if they hadn’t told us to strike the kings of Judea and leave the Franks!

But they weren’t holding the shovels, we were; they weren’t up on the scaffold, we were.

I only got one good crack at St. Denis’ smug looking disconnected head before being pulled off the scaffold by a mob of the mountain.

“Fucking Montagnards!” I cried, “They don’t give a shit about you!”

They found a copy of L'Ami du peuple par Leclerc in my bag once they had me on the ground; it was all over. Hauled off on an indeterminate charge (which I fully expect to be, ironically, defacing the church), and for an indeterminate time. And now I sit here, rotting in this cell, lashed together with the scum – thrown into this pit with the counter-revolutionaries for pointing out the Jacobins’ having forsaken the revolution themselves.

I am the last cell on this block. My cell faces out and down the hall, lined with other cells. The two cells closest to me hold two of this prison’s most illustrious guests: Antoine Louis Claude Destutt comte de Tracy, and Jacques Roux; the two figures of this whole mess, the ‘ideologue,’ as he has taken to calling himself, and the madman.

Roux is meditating. His legs akimbo. He has attained nirvana.

De Tracy, the miscreant, is laying on his back, face buried into his fucking Condillac – I don’t know why they let him keep his books, they didn’t let me keep mine.

“Condillac?” I ask – voice saturate with sarcasm – “how does that one go again? Can you hum a few bars?”

“Shut up, peasant,” de Tracy sneers, “it is an understanding that would thoroughly escape you.”

“Ah! But nothing escapes you, de Tracy!” Roux has been roused from contingency. The Red Priest quotes from memory the text de Tracy holds in his hand, “‘Whether we soar, metaphorically speaking, in the highest heavens, or whether we descend into the profoundest abyss, we cannot go outside of ourselves; for all we perceive is nothing more than our own proper thoughts. . .’[59] Pathetic, of course.”

De Tracy is flummoxed.

“That’s it, I remember now!” I sing, in jest, “I’m me and you’re you and never the twain shall meet!”

Roux is laughing. De Tracy is calling for the guard, though to no avail.

“What did you do, boy?” Roux ask me.

I am at a loss. What do I tell this hero of mine? This priest? That my crime was an excess of church defacement to what had been explicitly requested of me? Do I lie to Jacques Roux?

“I had L'Ami du peuple par Leclerc in my bag. . .” I tell him.

Roux eyes me warily. His eyebrows are massive.

“. . . and I attacked St. Denis’ severed head with a shovel.”

Roux roars with laughter.

“You’re not mad?” I ask him.

“Car quiconque fera la volonté de Dieu, celui-là est mon frère, et ma sœur et ma mere,” he offers calmly, “Tu aimeras ton prochain comme toi-même.”

De Tracy is now the one who is enraged.

“Metaphyics!” he shouts, “[and] very badly expressed; for to take this expression in all the rigour of the injunction it is inexcusable; it is as if they should tell us, with your eyes, such as they are, see your own visage as you see that of others. This cannot be! Without doubt we are able to love another as much and even more than ourselves, in the sense that we should rather die, bearing with us the hope of preserving his life, than to live and to suffer the grief of losing him. But to love him exactly as yourself, and otherwise than relatively to yourself, once more I say is impossible. It would be necessary for this, to live his life as we do our own. This has no meaning for being constituted as we are. It is contrary to the work of our creation, in what manner soever it has been operated.”[60]

Roux is standing now, pressed against the bars of his cell, “and you would propose in its stead?”

“Love ye one another, and the law is accomplished.”[61]

“Of course. . .”

“This is truly admirable, both for its form and substance. It is also as comfortable to our nature as the other is repugnant to it; and it enounces perfectly a very profound truth. Effectively sentiments of benevolence being for us, under every imaginable relation, the source of all our good of every kind, and the universal means of diminishing and remedying all our evils as much as possible, as long as we maintain them amongst ourselves the great law of our happiness is accomplished, in as great a degree as possible.”[62]

“So you suppose that amongst one’s brothers and sisters one should promise to love in some amount, but not as much as to say ‘as much as you love yourself’?”

“[It is] useless to the purpose of morality or economy, to discuss whether it would not be better that nothing should appertain exclusively to each one of us, as it would be to the purpose of grammer to enquire whether whether it would not be more advantageous that our actions should not be the signs of the ideas and the sentiments which produce them. In every case it would be to ask whether it would not be desirable that we should be quite different from what we are; and indeed it would be to enquire, whether it would not be better that we did not exist at all; for these conditions being changed our existence would not be conceivable. It would not be altered, it would be annihilated. . .[63] [Liberty is] the accomplishment of all of our desires, the satisfaction of all our wants, and consequently the first of all our goods, that which produces and comprehends them all. . .[64] it is the same thing as our happiness. . . it has the same limits.”[65]

“Yes, but as we’ve seen, you define ‘our happiness’ in the restricted sense of ‘a promise of love that varies from absolute to absent,” I interrupt. “And besides, what are limits to a madman?”

Roux laughs again. The Jailor yells for us to be quiet.

“You want to separate me from my head!” de Tracy counters, angrily yet hushed.

A wry smile flashes over Roux' face.

“Only to get you out of those damned breeches, de Tracy.”

[1] Karl Marx, Collected Works Vol. 5 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1976), 27.
[2] Napoleon I in David McLellan, Ideology (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 5.
[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals tr. Carol Diethe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 68.
[4] A New English Translation of the Septuagint tr. Robert J. V. Hiebert (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 6.
[5] Russell E. Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch (New York: Continuum, 2006), 85.
[6] Gleason Leonard Archer and Gregory Chirichigno, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2005), 25 – 32.
[7] Mark S. Smith, The Memoirs of God: History, Memory, and the Experience of the Divine in Ancient Israel (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2004), 38.
[8] John D. Turner, Sethian Gnosticism and the Platonic Tradition (Laval: Presses Université Laval, 2001), 359.
[9] Hans George Gadamer, The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy tr. P. Christopher Smith (Yale: Yale University Press, 1986), 51.
[10] Marie-Jose Mondzain, Image, Icon, Economy: the Byzantine Origins of the Contemporary Imaginary tr. Rico Franses (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 26.
[11] Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labour in Society tr. W. D. Halls (London: MacMillan, 1984), 36.
[12] D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria and The ‘Timaeus’ of Plato (Ne: E. J. Brill, 1986), 3.
[13] Ibid, 55.
[14] Plato, Timaeus tr. Benjamin Jowett (Rockville: Serenity Publishers, 2009), 105.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid, 150.
[19] Plotinus, Plotini Opera Volume 1 tr. Adolf Kirchhoff (Leipzig: Sumptibus et typis B.G. Teubner, 1856), 118 (p.710, 30)
[20] Walter Benjamin, Illuminations (New York: Shocken Books, 1969), 258.
[21] Plato. Platonis Opera, ed. John Burnet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1903). http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0059.tlg031.perseus-grc1:51d [Accessed April 14, 2013].
[22] Plato, The Collected Works of Plato ed. Huntington and Cairns tr. Benjamin Jowett (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 1178.
[24] Plato, The Collected Works of Plato, 1178.
[26] Plato, The Collected Works of Plato, 1178.
[28] Plato, The Collected Works of Plato, 1178.
[29] Jacques Derrida, On the Name tr. David Wood, John P. Leavey and Ian McLeod (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 90.
[30] Reza Negarestani, “The Corpse Bride: Thinking with Nigredo” Collapse (Falmouth: Urbanomic, 2008), 146 – 147.
[32] Plato, The Republic tr. Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1991), 173, 493e – 494a.
[34] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[36] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[38] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[40] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[42] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[44] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[46] Plato, The Republic, 173, 494a.
[47] Runia, Philo of Alexandria and The ‘Timaeus’ of Plato, 21.
[48] Ibid.
[49] Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism tr. Katherine Jones (New York: Vintage Books, 1967), 13.
[50] Runia, Philo of Alexandria and The ‘Timaeus’ of Plato, 55.
[51] Terry Eagleton, Ideology: An Introduction (London: Verso, 1991), 19.
[52] Basilisk, “Remarks on Asiatic Peace - no.1,” Rhizzone, http://www.rhizzone.net/article/2012/09/07/complicity-anonymous-materials/ note 12, [accessed March 03, 2013].
[53] James W. Truman “Metamorphosis of the Insect Nervous System” in Metamorphosis: Postembryonic Reprogramming of Gene Expression in Amphibian and Insect Cells ed. Lawrence I. Gilbert et. al (London: Academic Press, 1996), 297
[54] William S. Burroughs, Nova Express (New York: Grove Press, 1992), 89.
[56] Eagleton, Ideology, 70.
[57] Allen Ginsberg, “America” Howl and Other Poems (New York: City Lights Books, 1956), 41.
[58] Jacques Roux, “Manifesto of the Enragés” http://www.marxists.org, http://www.marxists.org/history/france/revolution/roux/1793/enrages01.htm [Accessed March 23rd, 2013].
[59] Etienne Bonnot de Condillac, An Essay on the Origin of Human Knowledge: Being a Supplement to Mr. Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding tr. Thomas Nugent (London: J. Nourse, 1756), 13.
[60] Antoine Louis Claude Destutt comte de Tracy, A Treatise on Political Economy [originally: A Treatise on The Will and its Effects] ed. Thomas Jefferson (Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2009), 31 - 32.
[61] Ibid, 32.
[62] Ibid.
[63] Ibid, 33.
[64] Ibid, 45.
[65] Ibid.

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