Unreal Nature

December 9, 2016

This Remainder

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:29 am

… the fact that there can be many different kinds of singular, many different things that may be counted as one, is always a threat to the establishment of number.

Continuing through In Defence of Quantity: Living by Numbers by Steven Connor (2016):

… Religion is what binds — ligare. And this binding often involves the imagination of number. Monotheism has been described by Peter Sloterdijk as deriving from an allergy to the number two, which we might see as the fundamental and formative fracture within the order of number itself, and striving to bring ‘everything down to the number one, which tolerates no one and nothing but itself.’

[line break added] Number is useless without the capacity to count, that is, to take account of pluralities. But plurality, the fact that there can be many different kinds of singular, many different things that may be counted as one, is always a threat to the establishment of number. Monotheism depends on the claim that there is no god but God, but there are at least three kinds of monotheism of which account must be taken; in one of the three, the Christianity formed around the Trinity, the one is three.

[line break added] Monotheism is haunted by set-theoretical paradox, because there must always be an excess, of outsiders who cannot be accommodated to the Kingdom of Heaven. It can only be one if it is not two, but if it is only one and not two, then this means it does not in fact include two, which means it cannot really be one. Oneness requires there to be some surplus or remainder, which will nevertheless then compromise any claim of any One to be All-in-one. This remainder has many names: evil; the Devil, sin; woman; time.

My most recent previous post from Connor’s book is here.

-Julie

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